WWE Fast Lane has been something of new concept for WWE, with the inaugural show happening in 2015. It was first introduced as a PLE on the road to Wrestlemania, hence the name, Fast Lane. During the brand split of 2016 it became an exclusive to both Raw and Smackdown at certain points until the show was stopped in 2020 due to the Super Showdown event, however it was revived again in 2021 and then subsequently discontinued again for 2022! It is back this year though in an unfamiliar spot at the start of October. Despite its short existence, Fast Lane has produce some great matches and without further ado, here are our top five matches in Fast Lane history.
5 AJ Styles (c) v John Cena v Baron Corbin v Dolph Ziggler v Kevin Owens v Sami Zayn (2018, 6 Pack Challenge, WWE Championship)
Everyone wants their Wrestlemania moment. That’s essentially the story for this match, with 5 guys getting a crack at the WWE Champion, AJ Styles, to try and punch their ticket to The Showcase of the Immortals. Nakamura was lying in wait so Styles was kind of the obvious choice to retain his title here as they’d promoted the match with Nakamura a lot beforehand. The match started hot as Cena AA’d every guy in the first minute and got a one on one showdown with Styles for a couple of minutes. From then on in, this match was a hell of a lot of fun. The timing from all 6 men was spot on, as they never missed a spot or got out of line, eveyrone got their stuff in and got it in well. Owens and Zayn shined here with their captivating storyline with the commissioner, Shane McMahon, who was watching at ringside. Owens and Zayn started as friends, then turned enemies, and took us on a great journey throughout the match. Their storytelling was really strong. The other superstars engaged in fun spots around ringside and the action never slowed down. In the end, inevitably, Styles retained his title and set the showdown for a dream match against Nakamura at Mania.
4 Daniel Bryan (c) v Kevin Owens v Ali (2019, WWE Championship)
The first of a couple of entries involving one of the best wrestlers in the world, Daniel Bryan. This was in the middle of Bryan’s awesome planet loving heel championship run, and was originally supposed to be Kofi Kingston’s shot until Vince McMahon gave the chance to Kevin Owens. In a shocker, Ali was then added to the match right before it, which was underwhelming as the crowd wanted Kofi, but Ali’s skills would add to the match. Constant “we want Kofi” chants took away a bit from the early stages but the three guys worked really hard to get the crowd invested. Bryan showed his exceptional ring skills throughout the first half as he dominated the match, using great psychology to isolate mainly Owens. The one detriment to the match was the No DQ rule which was never really acted upon, as the three stars had a standard triple threat with only Rowan really interjecting himself, helping Bryan. A really strongly worked triple threat with some impeccable timing from all three and some really cool looking spots. In the end, Bryan won clean (ish) with a crazy mid air Running Knee on Ali.
3 Roman Reigns (c) v Daniel Bryan (2021, Universal Championship)
The second time these two titans headlined a Fast Lane show. The story for this was Daniel Bryan earning his spot in this match and trying desperately to try to get into the main event of Wrestlemania again. It also heavily involved Edge, who had already punched his ticket to the main event against the champion, but here, he was the special guest enforcer. Taking place in the infamous Thunderdome, the match itself was a great showcase of ring psychology, certainly for the first half. Bryan knew he couldn’t out power Reigns, so he tried to out wrestle him and did it brilliantly, Bryan being such a ring general. Reigns would ultimately take over with the power game and then the match changed with a ref bump. The match became overbooked, but Bryan’s constant submission attempts had people guessing whether he’d make The Tribal Chief tap out. Ultimately, Reigns would escape with his championship thanks to help from Jey Uso and then Edge who lost it after he took an inadvertent chair shot from Bryan. A great battle and Bryan more than proved he belonged in the main event of Mania after getting a visual tap out on Reigns that the ref didn’t see.
2 The Shield v Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley (2019)
One final match for one of the best factions in WWE history. Reigns had been battling leukaemia, Ambrose had just come off an awful heel turn, and Rollins was heading into Wrestlemania trying to dethrone a beast. Ambrose’s contract was expiring and The Hounds of Justice came together for one final match against three of the biggest heels on Raw in 2019, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre. The crowd were hot for The Shield from the get go, but as usual the heels got the heat but once the hot tag was made, the match really picked up. Big moves a plenty and false finishes were prominent, but as usual with a Shield match, wild ringside brawling was a main feature. The Shield played all the hits, ones that they hadn’t done for years. The 3 on 1 assault of every heel, the Triple Powerbomb to McIntyre, the patented 3 on 1 stalking of Corbin, and one final Triple Powerbomb to score the win, and the crowd were eating up everything The Shield did and it was incredible. Maybe not one of the best matches for The Shield in terms of in ring bell to bell action, but the crowd, the emotion and the fact it was the final time, made this match what it was and it was a fitting exit for, in my opinion, the greatest faction in WWE history.
1 Roman Reigns v Dean Ambrose v Brock Lesnar (2016)
One of three men would go on to face Triple H at Wrestlemania for the WWE World Championship. Reigns and Ambrose were friends going into this but the championship was the focus here and the friendship had to be put aside. Ambrose was by far the most over guy going into this after his stellar performances in 2015 and just a very likeable character which the fans wanted to see succeed. Roman was very much being rejected here by the hardcore fans so it made for an interesting dynamic going into it. The match itself, showcased great psychology. It was dominated by Lesnar early on, destroying both competitors with Suplexes until the former Shield members realised they had to work together to take The Beast out. It made complete sense and made the babyfaces look smart as Brock was bigger, stronger and was picking them apart. The two Shield powerbombs through the table were great to watch and got rid of Brock temporarily, both times. The sequences when Ambrose and Reigns were in the ring together were captivating as WWE teased Ambrose winning multiple times which got audible gasps from the crowd as they were willing the underdog to make the main event of Mania. Ultimately it was Reigns who benefited from Ambrose going wild with a chair to hit a Spear out of nowhere and pin his former Shield brethren. A very fast paced match that never slowed down and illicited big responses from the crowd, the three told a great story which set up two Wrestlemania matches, both of which were, unfortunately, complete let downs, but this match was anything but, a frenetic car crash that was entertaining from start to finish.
Author: Alex Bakothanasis