WWE Fastlane 2023: A Disappointing Pay-Per-View
WWE’s Fastlane pay-per-view event took place over the weekend, offering fans the promise of big names, enticing finishes, and significant developments in ongoing storylines. However, by the end of the night, it became clear that Fastlane would go down in history as the “Worst PLE (Pay-Per-View Event) of 2023.”
The pacing of the event was decent, with five matches and a relatively quick runtime. However, if there was ever an event that screamed “WWE offseason,” Fastlane was it. The outcomes and booking decisions felt lackluster and did not deliver the excitement and surprises fans had hoped for.
One of the perplexing moments of the night came at the top of the card, where Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso unexpectedly defeated The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor and Damian Priest) to become the undisputed WWE tag team champions. While Rhodes and Jey are beloved by fans, it was strange to see WWE break up The Usos only to have Jey switch brands and win tag titles during a filler pay-per-view.
This decision presents a challenge for WWE moving forward. They must find a way to keep Rhodes and Jey popular with fans while eventually having them lose the championships, all before Rhodes potentially challenges Roman Reigns for the main event at WrestleMania 40. It raises questions about the significance of the brand split and the direction of the tag team division.
Other matches during the event, such as Carlito and the Latino World Order defeating Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits or Iyo Sky retaining the WWE Women’s Championship, were acceptable and didn’t warrant much complaint. The match between John Cena and LA Knight against The Bloodline (Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa) delivered as expected but lacked the standout moment that would make it truly memorable.
The main event between Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura was a brilliant and entertaining match. However, the outcome may not sit well with many fans in the long term. Rollins, despite enduring a brutal beating throughout the match, emerged victorious. While it showcased Nakamura’s abilities, some spectators may be disappointed with The Artist’s loss, especially if it means he is pushed back to the midcard.
There was an expectation that Damian Priest would come out to cash in his Money in the Bank contract after Rollins’ match and create exciting storylines for The Judgment Day and the main event scene. However, Priest did not show up, leaving fans puzzled and disappointed. This leaves WWE with a Priest problem – he now looks like a massive dork who missed an opportunity to claim the world title.
Furthermore, the event failed to give any hints of significant developments in the wrestling world outside of WWE. There were no mentions of Jade Cargill, CM Punk, or Roman Reigns, despite AEW (All Elite Wrestling) making waves with their programming. This lack of acknowledgement may have led some fans to perceive Fastlane as a skippable event.
Overall, Fastlane 2023 was a forgettable pay-per-view in an otherwise incredible lineup of events for WWE. While it is not a doomsday scenario for the company, it does raise concerns about the quality of storytelling and leaves fans with more questions than answers. At least the event lived up to its name and went by fast, ensuring the disappointment was over quickly.