There were three matches at WWE Fastlane that a good portion of the WWE Universe seemed to object to the outcome of. Casual fans may have been satisfied or even excited about Roman Reigns, Bayley, and Goldberg all winning their respective bouts, but the WWE’s hardcore audience flagged those booking decisions for being illogical and unwarranted.
The WWE Fastlane main event would have been over even quicker had Kevin Owens not wasted time on the outside before the bell rang. But once it did, a distraction provided by Chris Jericho resulted in the WWE Universal Championship match lasting just 26 seconds. Owens had spent the previous six months building himself into a legitimate main-event caliber talent in the WWE, only to see his reign end in under a minute.
In regard to the WWE RAW Women’s Championship, Bayley may be the crowd-favorite and babyface, but the match was set up for Charlotte to regain the title. There was an original plan in place for Charlotte to carry the belt into WWE WrestleMania, where Bayley would finally win it, but that was scrapped along the way. However, Charlotte did have a pay-per-view winning streak on the line, and it seemed to make sense for that to remain intact, at least until April 2. Charlotte, the heel, ended up being cost the match by an interfering babyface in Sasha Banks.
And then there was the showdown of WWE behemoths in Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. Reigns has been pushed to the moon over his last three years in the WWE, main-eventing WrestleMania in back-to-back years, but a vocal portion of the WWE Universe has rejected his ascension. Braun Strowman was being properly positioned throughout his well-devised push since the brand split but ended up losing clean to Reigns at WWE Fastlane, the first time he’s been pinned in singles competition.
As if losing at WWE Fastlane in the manner in which he did wasn’t enough, the following night on WWE RAW wasn’t much better for Strowman. The Monster Among Men called out Reigns to “finish what he started,” but the Undertaker came out instead. WWE officials booked themselves into a corner for this segment, and they decided that the only way out was to have Strowman retreat, leaving the ring open for the Deadman and Reigns to take center stage.
In two nights, Strowman went from the WWE’s most unstoppable monster to a relative afterthought heading into the biggest show of the year. It’s now expected that Braun will find himself booked in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, where he’ll undoubtedly enter the bout as the favorite. Reigns, meanwhile, preps for one of the marquee matches the WWE will put on next month in Orlando.
According to a recent report, Vince McMahon made the decision to put Roman Reigns over Braun Strowman clean at WWE Fastlane, basically for the reasons described above. Vince sees a match with the Undertaker as one of, if not the most important thing on the WWE WrestleMania show. It only made sense to Vince to have Reigns beat Strowman by pinfall because of where the two were being positioned at Camping World Stadium.
Not only was Reigns being groomed for a monumental showdown with the WWE’s weapon of destruction (a match that Vince has wanted to happen at WrestleMania for several years now), but he may also be in line for a huge program with Brock Lesnar again this summer. On the surface, there aren’t any plans to turn Reigns heel anytime soon, but there’s no doubt he will face a negative reaction from the WWE crowds in programs with both the Undertaker and Lesnar.
In between the Phenom and the Beast, Roman may reunite for a transition program with Strowman, as the Inquisitr detailed earlier on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how the WWE handles Strowman coming out of WrestleMania considering where he was before WWE Fastlane and where he’s heading now.
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