WWE Fastlane 2015 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterFebruary 23, 2015

WWE Fastlane 2015 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Animosity brimmed at WWE Fastlane 2015, the last major pit stop before WrestleMania.

    John Cena looked to end Rusev's undefeated streak and pay him back for an injured cornea. Goldust and Stardust battled, despite being brothers. Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns squared off to decide who headlines WWE's premier event, just days after attacking each other like two rabid dogs.

    The first-ever Fastlane show laid the groundwork for WrestleMania by turning up the volume on its marquee feuds.

    The event also marked Sting's second-ever WWE pay-per-view appearance. He confronted Triple H in a showdown designed to build toward the next.

    Did the night's matches just feel like warm-ups for a bigger event, or did they make their mark on their own? Who stood out most in Memphis? How well did the pay-per-view entice fans to keep shelling out for the WWE Network?

    The following is a look at how Fastlane's stories and performers answered those questions, complete with letter grades.

The Authority vs. Ryback, Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler kicked things off for their respective teams, the two foes seeing each other's moves coming. 

    When it was Erick Rowan's turn to do battle, he quickly found himself in trouble. After cracking his leg against the ring post, Rowan suffered the wrath of Rollins, Big Show, J&J Security and Kane, who all pounced on his injury. 

    The heels beat on Rowan until he finally tagged in Ryback, allowing The Big Guy to go on a rampage.

    The match turned chaotic, its pace picking up. A knockout shot from Big Show and a chokeslam from Kane did Ziggler in.

    During the beatdown of the babyfaces that followed, Randy Orton charged out. He handed out RKOs like candy on Halloween. Rollins escaped, though, slipping out of the arena.

    Result

    The Authority wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Big Show and Kane stand on the entrance ramp clapping for Rollins.

    Fans chant, "We want Ziggler!" and "Feed me more!" while Rowan was in the match.

    Big Show pulls out the Haas of Pain again.

    Rollins kicks Ziggler off the ring apron.

    Ryback catches Rollins in midair, transitions into a vertical suplex and then into Shell Shocked. 

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    Buzzing energy helped this turn out to be a surprisingly fun match, despite it lacking in buildup.

    Its success is in spite of the commentary, however. There was too much rambling discussion of The Authority's tyranny over the WWE. Of course, this is a key narrative element to this bout, but Michael Cole and company too often ignored the action in the ring.

    Orton's return was expected, but it makes perfect sense. He and Rollins can now restart their feud, just in time for WrestleMania. 

Stardust vs. Goldust

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    Credit: WWE.com

    A shirtless Stardust hissed at the crowd before he and his brother collided.

    They hesitated to lock up, but once they did, it was Goldust who took charge early. He slapped Stardust, tossed him around the ring and evaded much of his offense. Eventually, though, the younger brother grabbed the reins of the bout.

    Stardust was vicious as he worked on Goldust.

    However, Goldust picked up the win. He rolled up Stardust. Confused and frustrated, Stardust walked away from the ring.

    Backstage, Stardust attacked Goldust and barked at his father. The feud just increased in temperature. 

    Result

    Goldust wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Fans egg on Stardust by chanting, "Cody! Cody!"

    "Cody's taken to wearing his paint at home."—Jerry Lawler.

    "Who's your daddy?"—Stardust to Goldust.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    Kudos to Stardust for a convincing performance as a man going mad, becoming more beastly in the process. He didn't have much time for that performance, though. It was a short bout with an anticlimactic ending.

    The backstage attack was better than the bout itself, the in-ring action clearly just a setup for what happens next. Expect things to get nastier en route to WrestleMania.

    Fastlane, meanwhile, offered a tepid appetizer.

The Usos vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (Tag Team Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Cesaro quickly made things difficult for Jimmy Uso. The King of Swing chop blocked Jimmy, creating a target for him and Tyson Kidd to aim at. The challengers then punished Jimmy, leaving him struggling to stand.

    Jey Uso tagged in to relieve him.

    The pace quickened at this point. Near-falls aplenty followed, thanks to everyone saving their partners.

    Kidd attacked Jimmy just as he was in the middle of superkicking Cesaro. Kidd drove his foe into the mat to get the win.

    Result

    Cesaro and Kidd win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Cesaro delivers a one-legged Cesaro Swing.

    Cesaro hits a superplex; Kidd follows up with a springboard elbow drop.

    Jimmy nails Kidd against the guardrail with a Samoan Drop.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    The tag teams sought to steal the show, and they did a tremendous job. A great pace and the feeling that both teams were desperate and hungry to take home the titles powered the bout. 

    Cesaro and Kidd are plenty talented enough to make this a compelling reign going forward.

    They are going to need some rivals other than The Usos, though. Following a fun series between these squads, WWE will need to find more competition for the new champs in what is a thin division.

Sting and Triple H Confrontation

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In his street-fighting attire, Triple H called out Sting once more. He got him. Sting sauntered out, soon staring down The Game from across the ring.

    Triple H sold Sting's arrival as him trying to make up for the Monday Night War. He said that if Sting walked away from the situation, his legacy would live on, and they could do business, teasing that a Hall of Fame spot would be waiting for him.

    Sting said nothing.

    Triple H looked to sucker-punch Sting, but The Icon was ready. They slugged it out, a skirmish Triple H won. He beat down Sting and went for his sledgehammer under the ring.

    Sting had a baseball bat ready, which he used to point to the WrestleMania sign. He laid out Triple H, not uttering a word.

      

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I feel sorry for you. You backed the wrong horse."—Triple H to Sting.  

    "My legacy is putting your legacy out of business."—Triple H to Sting.  

    Sting slugs Triple H in the ribs with his baseball bat.  

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    The segment had no theatrics, making it a letdown compared to Sting's mesmerizing acceptance of the confrontation. It's smart to keep Sting silent and to make him plenty powerful.

    There is, though, no indication of Sting's motivation yet. 

    Add that to only a touch of fireworks here and it felt like something that belonged on Raw, not on the first-ever edition of Fastlane. The build that will follow is sure to top this.

Paige vs. Nikki Bella (Divas Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Paige pounded on the champion early. She issued a series of fists to Nikki Bella's head, but the champ responded by knocking Paige off the ring apron.

    Domination followed. Nikki went on the attack, grounding Paige, stunning her with power moves.

    When Paige began a comeback, Nikki halted it with a hold of the tights as she rolled up Paige. 

    Result

    Nikki wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Nikki hits a nasty Alabama Slam.

    Nikki counters a potential superplex and smashes Paige to the mat with a powerbomb.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    This is the best Nikki has ever looked. The engaging match had good momentum, but it ended several beats too early.

    It appears, not surprisingly, that WWE is saving the best for WrestleMania. The two foes could pull off a high-quality match together at that event if the company lets them go on longer next time.

    That's not something one often says about Nikki, but her steady improvement showed at Fastlane.

Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett (Intercontinental Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Dean Ambrose's title hopes didn't look good early. Bad News Barrett beat on him, clubbing him with forearms and making him taste the bottom of his boots.

    It took a gutsy effort to fight back, to start issuing strikes of his own.

    The Lunatic Fringe and Barrett slugged it out before the champ decided things were getting too intense. He tried to take his title and run, but Ambrose dove out of the ring at him.

    Ambrose later had Barrett in the corner, stomping on his sternum. The referee called for the bell when Ambrose wouldn't let the champ out of the corner.

    The challenger then stole the title as Barrett recovered in the ring.

    Result

    Barrett wins via disqualification.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Barrett kicks Ambrose off the top turnbuckle and out of the ring.

    Barrett counters Ambrose's rebound clothesline with Wasteland.

    Ambrose later lands that clothesline, and it was a thunderous one.

    "Ambrose may have been disqualified, but Barrett has been destroyed."—Jerry Lawler.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    Ambrose is going to make this feud fun going forward. The spotlight promises to be on him as he holds tight to that title.

    The matches these two have later will be excellent as seen by these two foes' chemistry. This night, though, WWE served up just a sampling. This was more setup than stellar.

Bray Wyatt Poses as Undertaker

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Fans thought Undertaker was in Memphis. Druids with torches in hand led the way as they brought a casket out to the ring.

    It certainly looked and smelled like Undertaker's entrance.

    Bray Wyatt, though, was hiding in that casket. He called out The Deadman, by name this time. With a grin, he promised to take Undertaker's soul.

      

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "He has become just like everyone else—weak, broken."—Wyatt.

    "I am pain. I am suffering. I am Bray Wyatt"—Wyatt.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    WWE put together a memorable moment here. Teasing Undertaker's arrival had the fans on edge. Wyatt using Undertaker's brand of theatrics was an excellent way for him to poke fun at the legend.

    All the teasing that came before this helped make it more powerful. Suspense swelled over the past weeks, and now we're finally getting the rumored WrestleMania showdown.

    It's easy to get excited about the buildup that is coming and to see what Wyatt can do against a future Hall of Famer. 

John Cena vs. Rusev (United States Championship)

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    Cena opened things up with a powerful right hand.

    Moments later, he was clutching his ribs, dizzy, stunned. Rusev went on a flurry that had Cena reeling.

    The match was heavy on brawling going forward. The champion controlled the pace, utilizing a methodical approach.

    Cena kept charging back, but Rusev played the brick wall that he ran into. 

    The challenger survived Rusev's power moves, countering with a DDT and a pair of shoulder blocks. He had Rusev in the STF, but The Bulgarian Brute tore out of it.

    Rusev also kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment.

    It was then Cena's turn to suffer Rusev's signature move. He powered out of The Accolade, but a low blow out of the referee's sight had him right back in the hold. Cena passed out, allowing Rusev to retain.

    Result

    Rusev wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'd be talking to myself after that clothesline."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Rusev superkicks Cena as he bounces off the ropes.

    Rusev shoves his way out of the STF.

    "John Cena has hit Rusev with everything, and he still hasn't beat him."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Rusev catches Cena in mid-flight, turning a would-be leg drop into a powerbomb.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    The bout's biggest drawback was that Cena was too obvious and too loud while calling spots. It took away from the crowd's ability to suspend disbelief.

    As the match got rolling, that became less of an issue. Their chemistry got better as the action went on.

    Rusev displayed some fine heel work. His facial expressions were especially good. The same goes for his level of aggression.

    The loss by passing out has been overused in Rusev's matches. That made Cena's trip to dreamworld less powerful. It's an ending we have seen already with Sheamus, Jack Swagger and others.

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan (Winner Headlines WrestleMania)

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    With a chance at Brock Lesnar's world title on the line, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns approached each other cautiously. 

    Bryan tried to make this a mat-wrestling clash. He went for dropkicks and drop toeholds; Reigns responded with pure power.

    To try and slow the big man, Bryan focused on his left leg. The strategy didn't work. Reigns simply plowed through him with suplexes and clotheslines.

    It was a shot to the liver that finally slowed Reigns. The injury allowed Bryan to gain momentum.

    Bryan was in control, leaving Reigns hurting. The powerhouse fought back, though, as each warrior stuck hard in a thriller.

    Bryan clamped on a variety of submission holds and drummed his boot against Reigns' chest. He tried to end things with a flying knee, but Reigns hammered him with a spear for the win.

    Reigns and Bryan shook hands after the bell, the bearded babyface encouraging his opponent to take down Lesnar.

    Result

    Reigns wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Brute force makes for good counters."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Reigns hurls Bryan into the ring apron and then the guardrail. 

    Reigns flips Bryan over with a clothesline.

    Bryan counters a Superman punch with a kick to the gut.

    Reigns hits a powerbomb from the top rope.

    "I've never seen Roman Reigns hurting like this."—JBL.

    Reigns catches Bryan on his third consecutive suicide dive, suplexing him outside the ring.

    "These two are going to destroy each other."—Jerry Lawler.

    Grade

    A+

    Analysis

    An excellent story made for a great match that allowed both men to look good.

    The in-ring story and the announcers portrayed Bryan as a submission specialist and a wise strategist. It painted Reigns as a juggernaut.

    This was everything WWE could have hoped for. It was an instant classic, for one. Secondly, it launches Reigns into WrestleMania at his peak.

    This is the best Reigns has looked in a singles bout. Asked to perform under bright lights, he flourished. Now the lights get brighter and the stage gets bigger and he has to step up once again.