Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk News. I am Luke Owen and this is my review of WWE Fastlane 2023 – where Cody Rhodes wins the tag team titles, Jade Cargill made her on-screen WWE debut, and Carlito returned with new garbage music. Also, Corey Graves was dressed like Barbenheimer. There may have only been five matches, but I am going to talk about them to you for the next 10 or so minutes. WWE is such a hot product at the moment. They are killing it with attendance, ratings and in-ring action. When they are in front of the
right crowd – which is more than often – you get an absolutely great time. Case in point, WWE Fastlane. A show that very few had an actual interest going into, but is coming out of talking about what a fun show it was. A more or less inconsequential show outside of the tag title switch, but a fun show nonetheless. And – perhaps even more interestingly – it’s the total opposite of AEW’s WrestleDream last week. WWE Fastlane really set out the stall of what B-shows can look like: 3-hour broadcasts with 5 matches. You shave half an hour
off this run time and it’s basically a In Your House show, or to give it a more recent comparison: an NXT TakeOver from
video packages, ad breaks or sponsor spots. And this will sound like a backhanded compliment, but I mean it as a full complement: WWE really can pad out a show. WWE Fastlane flew by. And a lot of that is down to the restraint shown by Triple H to only book 5 matches. I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record, but this was a real strength of the show. Sure, we could have had Gunther vs. Ciampa – or saved Gunther vs. Gable. We could have had Rhea Ripley defend her title. But WWE have struck the right
balance – in my eyes – of having big matches on PPV, and having big matches on Raw and Smackdown – which means you don’t have to bog down PPVs by ‘getting everyone on the card’ – while at the same time showing the networks why they’re paying you billions of dollars to broadcast the weekly shows because you’ve put big matches on the tele shows. And the first of those big matches was one that felt like it was sort of thrown together at the last minute. We might have had Cody and Jey feuding with Judgement Day over
the last few weeks, but the pair of them weren’t quite sure why they were challenging for the belts on this show in their promos on Raw – but they’ve now won them which, well I didn’t see coming. For my money this was the best match on the whole show, with fantastic action bell to bell. It was really simple stuff; Jey got worked over by the heels to build to the Cody hot tag, Rhea and Dom came out for interference and some great nearfalls, and JD McDonaugh came out to also try and help Judgement Day retain.
But it was JD’s interference that backfired. He accidentally hit Damian Priest with the Briefcase, and Cody hit a Cross Rhodes on the announcer’s table to take him out – and then hit a modified 3D with Jey for the win. I’m genuinely surprised they won, but it does set up some interesting storylines for Raw. Less so on Judgement Day’s issues or the teases of their breakup because I’m a bit over that now, but with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. They worked so hard to win those belts – and overcame The Bloodline (which included Jey) to win
those tag titles in the main event of WrestleMania. And Owens has been pretty upset with Cody since he brought Jey over to Raw, with Sami trying to play peacekeeper between the two. And now, Jey Uso has won those tag titles. Again. The titles KO and Sami lost at the last PPV. It should set up a great tag match for Crown Jewel between Cody & Jey vs. Sami and KO, which I am all in for. As that should also be a nice stopgap between the four of them teaming up to face Judgement Day at Survivor Series.
LWO took on Not The Hurt Business in our next match, which was the shortest on the show and quite rightly so. The gimmick was that Montez Ford in particular was acting quite cocky, but Lashley was all business in kicking some ass. The other gimmick is that Rey and Santos didn’t have a tag partner as Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro had been taken out on SmackDown. So the heels worked over Rey and built to a Santos tag that wasn’t there, which brought out their replacement partner: a returning Carlito, who has reportedly been signed by WWE
shortly after Backlash earlier this year but hasn’t been featured on TV. This was a fun surprise, only slightly ruined by one small detail: they changed Carlito’s music. And they changed it to some generic bit of guff that will never get the pop his original theme did. I get that WWE want to change and update all of their themes – but do they have to change and update them to sound so… generic? Everyone sounds like they’re coming out to Original Superstar Entrance Theme 21 from one of the old SmackDown games. He came in and did some
moves, getting the win with the Backstabber. This is – amazingly – Lashley’s first PPV match since Backlash. And one might think that a loss will hurt that momentum for the group, but you can easily play up the ‘they didn’t prepare for Carlito card’, but more interestingly, that Ford and Dawkins didn’t take this match seriously enough. They announced that WWE will be returning to Saudi Arabia on November 4th for Crown Jewel, and we can use this time to announce that we’ll be doing a watch party for that show at the Long Arm Pub & Brewery in
Shoreditch, London with a live edition of No Holds Board! Details of that party can be found in the link in the video description below! We’ll see you there. And maybe we’ll see Jade Cargill on that show, as she was given more of that superstar treatment on this show – being shown arriving backstage and being welcomed by Triple H while photographers tried to get snaps of the megastar. This is so smart. Not every WWE fan watches AEW, you only have to look at the ratings to see a large portion of them don’t. And so they likely
won’t be aware of who Jade Cargill is. So you show videos of her on Raw and SmackDown – touting how major publications like ESPN and TMZ are reporting this as big news – and then you show her on PPV being welcomed by Triple H. You couldn’t roll out the red carpet anymore. This is great presentation of her. And it neatly tied into IYO SKY defending her women’s title against Charlotte Flair and Asuka. Uh oh! Charlotte Flair in a triple threat? Well, she’s either not taking the pin winning the title. Amazingly, neither happened. As Iyo Sky
hit the Over the Moonsault on Flair while she had Asuka tapping in the Figure 8, which was missed by the ref who was distracted by Bayley at ringside, and pinned her. It was a great finish to what was a bit of a sloppy match in parts. Several ‘glancing blows’ being covered up by commentary, but the drama was superb. Flair was constantly overcoming the odds against Asuka and Sky – who at one point teamed up to take out The Queen. They teased the idea that Bayley was going to cost Sky the title, but she again proved
that she’s her biggest supporter by helping her win. Dakota Kai also showed up to celebrate with them. Never break this team up. Pat McAfee came out to do the John Cena Money in the Bank promo by saying that Indianapolis should get a WrestleMania if they shout loudly enough for the people in the back to hear them. They should do this in every town at every PPV. He also joined commentary for John Cena and LA Knight teaming up to take on The Bloodline in a 17 minute match that can be summed up as thus: heels worked
over Cena, LA Knight got the hot tag and he won. That’s it. That’s all that happened. And the crowd went ballistic. That, my friends, is the power of star power. You can honestly close your eyes and know exactly what happened in this match. Some of you watching this won’t have watched the match, but trust me, you know exactly what happened move for move. Pat was so concerned about Cena he couldn’t shut up talking about Heyman’s hair. I am all for LA Knight challenging Roman Reigns for the title at Crown Jewel. Damian Priest really wanted to
cash in his Money in the Bank tonight, but Rhea convinced him not to. Though it would have been a good time as Seth Rollins got absolutely battered in his main event last man standing match against Shinsuke Nakamura. These two had the most mid-PPV main event last time at Payback, but thankfully this match had a lot of plunder and smoke & mirrors to get the crowd amped up. They used tables, they used ladders, they used more tables, they used kendo sticks, and then some more tables. The crowd never really believed that Nakamura was going to win
the title, but were into Seth’s story of overcoming all the odds to retain his title with a Falcon Arrow off a stage through a table. Michael Cole was great in this match, and really put over the danger of Nakamura, especially when he misted Rollins in the face at the top of the ladder which led to Seth falling through the announcer’s table. WWE Fastlane was a totally fine show, but it was a breeze to watch and incredibly entertaining. I had a good time with this show, and you should too. But I hope that Crown Jewel and
Survivor Series in November can bring a bit of a spark back to the company, as the post-Summerslam lull has been very real this year. WWE Fastlane is 4 out of 5. We were tasked with naming every Hell in a Cell match on the most recent Survival Series, and here’s what happened.