The last WWE pay-per-view event before WrestleMania took place Sunday night as the Raw brand presented Fastlane. It was a disappointing show with good matches that went shorter than they should have, some questionable booking decisions and a ridiculously short main event which crowned a new champion in the 50-year-old Goldberg.

Here’s a rundown of the entire show in the order that the matches took place.

Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa defeated Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar (Kickoff Show)

They got about 10 minutes, with Swann getting the pin on Dar with a Phoenix Splash. Good to see Swann back in action after missing a few weeks with a foot injury. The crowd was into it a bit when the face duo of Swann and Tozawa made their comeback. Swann gets a title shot at Cruiserweight Champion against Neville on Raw Monday night.

Samoa Joe defeated Sami Zayn

I called this one perfectly in my preview at The Comeback:

“It would be foolish to have Samoa Joe lose in his first pay-per-view match. I hope that it’s a competitive match although the more likely scenario is a dominant win by Joe. There might be a comeback by Zayn, but I expect Joe to win with the Coquina Clutch submission at around 10 minutes.”

It was a submission win by Joe and the match time was 9:45 to be exact. As I also wrote in the preview, if they got 15 to 20 minutes, it would have been the match of the night for sure because of how good they are. However, it was more of a showcase match to put over Joe as a strong heel who is going to be tough for anybody to beat on Raw. Good to see Joe booked well, but I wish Zayn was doing more. Zayn is probably the worst-booked performer on Raw right now, along with Rusev. He should be doing more.

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated Enzo Amore & Big Cass to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles

The tag champs held onto their titles with a cheap win. Same formula as every Enzo & Cass match where Enzo got beat up for most of the match, Cass got the hot tag and cleaned house. The finish saw Anderson hit Enzo with a running knee in the face. Enzo got his foot on the bottom rope, but Gallows was there to push it off and the ref never saw it, so the heel champs retained. Average match.

Where it goes from here is likely another title shot for Enzo & Cass at WrestleMania – possibly involving other teams – and I think Enzo & Cass will finally win the tag titles at WrestleMania.

Sasha Banks defeated Nia Jax

I got this prediction wrong. Jax beat Banks at the Royal Rumble and I figured it would happen again. Instead, WWE went the other way with Banks getting the bridging pin after Jax dominated about 90 percent of the match. I’m not a fan of Jax losing a match like this because I think she had more value as a dominant wrestler. Yet here they are having her lose to a simple pinning move. It’s not like Banks needs wins, since she’s going to be over with the crowd no matter what.

Cesaro defeated Jinder Mahal

They added this match to the show with no storyline except Jinder broke up with Rusev as a tag team, so Mick Foley put them each in matches. The crowd didn’t care about this match at all. The “boring” chants picked up strongly as the announcers talked about how impressive Jinder’s body is now. It’s so weird hearing announcers during his matches. Anyway, Mahal stared at Rusev, was distracted by it and Cesaro won with an uppercut in about eight minutes. If they cut four minutes out of this match, it would have helped.

Big Show defeated Rusev

It would have been great for Rusev to win this match. Instead, he lost in about 10 minutes due to three Chokeslams and a KO Punch from Show. I wish I could explain the booking logic of putting over a guy in his mid-40s over a potential future main eventer in his early 30s, but I can’t really explain it. Rusev, much like Sami Zayn, is booked so badly and should be featured a lot more than he is.

Neville defeated Jack Gallagher to retain the Cruiserweight Championship

Good match. This was one of the two best matches on the show. The outcome was no surprise because Neville is a long-term Cruiserweight Champion. They could have had a simple match where Neville won easily to retain the title, but they were given about 12 minutes (much more than they get on Raw) and had a better match than a lot of us were expecting.

Gallagher is a unique guy with the way he walks, does his moves and behaves like a gentleman. The headbutts he delivered to Neville were vicious-looking as well. We want guys to be different because if everybody acted the same way that would be boring.

There were several believable near-falls for both guys. Neville was forced to use the Red Arrow top rope move for the win because he couldn’t put Gallagher away with anything else. I like that Neville stopped doing the Red Arrow because it leads to cheers from the crowd. Only use it when you have to and in this case, he had to in order to get the win.

There was a time-killing promo from New Day shilling “New Day Pops” ice cream. I wish I could have hit fast forward through this. It was five minutes of nothing.

Roman Reigns defeated Braun Strowman

I thought it was the best match of the show, but it wasn’t a standout match either. Strowman hit a lot of big moves while Reigns punched him a lot, hit him with clotheslines a lot and moved out of the way a lot. I tweeted during the show that Strowman’s matches follow the same formula where he does a lot of the “charge at a guy, the guy moves and Strowman hits an object” spot. It happens a lot.

The big spot in the match was when Strowman hit a Powerslam on Reigns through the announce table at ringside. What bothered me is that when they went back into the ring after that, Reigns hit a Spear. That’s not a good way to sell a big move through a table. Strowman got back in control, went up top and missed a big splash. Reigns came back with a Spear (Strowman kicked out of it before) for the win after about 17 minutes of action. The idea with the finish is that Strowman tried a move (top rope splash) that he doesn’t normally do and that cost him the victory.

In the build-up to this show, I said repeatedly that this was the most interesting match because I wondered how WWE might book it. Since Strowman has been booked as an unbeatable monster since the WWE draft in July, it meant that WWE had to decide whether they wanted to have him lose clean for the first time or keep his momentum going. They went the clean loss route, much to the dismay of the Roman Reigns haters who like to complain about everything related to Reigns.

I’m not surprised by the Reigns win because he’s probably facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania. That’s a storyline that should pick up a lot of steam on Raw tonight. In order to get Reigns ready for that match, it made sense to give him a win over a credible opponent like Strowman. Another option for the finish could have been having Undertaker’s music distract Reigns leading to a Strowman win, but WWE opted to put Reigns over clean with a Spear right in the middle of the ring.

I expect to see The Undertaker on Raw tonight to confront Reigns.

Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair to retain the Women’s Title

Here’s another match prediction I got wrong. I have no problem pointing that out since I only got two predictions wrong. It’s hard to explain the logic of some of WWE’s booking decisions regarding the Women’s Title.

I thought they put the title on Bayley too soon when they did the title change on Raw last month. My feeling was that it would go back to Charlotte on this show after Sasha Banks got involved and accidentally cost her friend Bayley. By doing that, there would have been some conflict. Instead, Banks came to ringside, Charlotte went after her and when Charlotte tried to cheat on a rollup, Banks was there to make the ref aware of the cheating. Bayley ended up winning with a Bayley to Belly to retain the title. They were given a lot of time, but this wasn’t nearly as good as their title match last month.

The loss for Charlotte ended her 16-match PPV win streak in singles matches. I thought they might do a disqualification when Banks showed up and that would have kept the streak going for Charlotte, but they didn’t end it by disqualification. Why end it at a minor show like Fastlane? It just seemed like the wrong time for it to end.

Now what? The rumors are they will do a four-way women’s match at WrestleMania with Bayley defending against Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax. That probably means Jax will get a win in a singles match soon in order to make her look like a threat.

The booking of this division has seemed way off for several months. There are too many title changes that have hurt the value of the title and with only four women who have matches in the division, there isn’t much depth either. The matches are good at least, but I’m still waiting for an interesting storyline.

Goldberg defeated Kevin Owens to win the Universal Championship

Time of Goldberg’s entrance: 2:36.

Time of Goldberg’s Universal Title match win: 0:21.

The story of the match saw Kevin Owens spend a few minutes outside the ring before the bell even rang. It was a way to get the crowd to hate him because he delayed fighting with Goldberg.

When the ref finally rang the bell, Chris Jericho’s music hit as the former best friend of Owens appeared on the stage. Owens stared at him. When Owens turned back around, Goldberg crushed him with a Spear. Goldberg followed up with a Jackhammer leading to the pinfall win after 21 seconds. The story is that Jericho helped Owens keep the Universal Title for several months and then Jericho cost him the title because Owens turned on his friend. A fitting end to the KO title reign.

Normally, I can’t do this since the main event matches are usually much longer, but here is the entire main event in GIF form.

The Goldberg win has led to a lot of complaining online, even though the same fans whining knew he was going to win this match months ago because that’s what the reports said back then. I can see why people are complaining: Goldberg is a 50-year-old man who has had two singles matches in WWE in the last 13 years and he’s holding the Universal Title. It doesn’t seem right, does it?

That’s the way WWE is now. If Goldberg wasn’t in the video game last year, this probably never would have happened either.

The title win for Goldberg means that he’ll defend the Universal Title against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33. As for Owens, he’ll probably face his former best friend Chris Jericho for the US Title. Both of those matches were expected months ago.

I’m sad that Owens’ reign as Universal Champion is over because he’s my favorite performer on the Raw brand along with the hardly-used Sami Zayn. I would have loved to see Owens hold the title longer, but again, this is what we expected. I don’t really get that upset about match results like this when they have been in place for several months.

At age 50, Goldberg is the second oldest major “World” (or Universal) Champion in WWE history. The oldest is Vince McMahon, who won when he was 54 and then forfeited it. I guess WWE is going to use the “new era” term less often now, huh?

Goldberg posted this on Instagram Monday morning. It’s a quick video of his son walking with the Universal Title.

In Closing

This was an average show – perhaps even below average. When I tweeted that it was a 5 out of 10 type show, people were mad at me for being too nice. I’m hesitant to rip it too hard because I think the performers do the best they can with the material they are given and I have a lot of respect for them.

On the creative side of things, Raw has continued to disappoint repeatedly for months. There are some good things occasionally, but as a whole, the Raw brand feels stale. I hope the next month leading up to WrestleMania sees improvement for Raw since they must push WrestleMania matches harder. The returns of some big names should help too.

There are four more episodes of Raw and Smackdown before WrestleMania. It’s expected that The Undertaker will be on Raw this week while Finn Balor could return soon as well. I’ll be back Tuesday with a review of Raw.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He joined The Comeback/Awful Announcing team in 2015. Follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at Cheap pop!

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