Running Time: 264 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: April 29 2019
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
Fast Lane 2019, not unlike Elimination Chamber before it, seemed like a necessary evil to get us to WrestleMania 35. But just like the Chamber PPV, this ended up exceeding expectations in part due to strong matches, and also due to major angles.
Such as the one that followed the opening match, which pitted The Usos against Shane McMahon and The Miz. With Miz’s father George looking on from ringside to watch his son perform in his hometown, the fact that he and Shane lose is one thing, but Shane’s shocking heel turn on Miz (and even putting his hands on Miz Sr.) takes things to another level.
Less successful is Asuka vs. Mandy Rose, a disappointing match with a poorly-executed finish. Better was the ongoing twist in the Kofi Kingston storyline, where he initially believes that he has been granted a WWE Title opportunity, only to be thrown to the wolves by being forced to battle The Bar two-on-one. Kofi does his best, but the numbers game catches up, especially after Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev blindside a potentially-interfering New Day.
Next up, we got two matches that are very good, though are easy to forget in hindsight. The Revival vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable sees all involved put forth a fine effort, and Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade vs. R-Truth is a lot of fun, with Joe retaining the United States Championship that he had won in the same four-way a few days beforehand.
Because this was held in the midst of WrestleMania Season, another angle follows The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection vs. Nia Jax and Tamina, one which sets the stage for Beth Phoenix to come out of retirement. Though Kofi wasn’t added to the Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens match that he had originally been a part of, Mustafa Ali is inserted as the third man, and the result is a three-way that is initially ignored by the live crowd, but soon accelerates and is ultimately a thrilling bout that deserves more praise than it has received. Bryan catching Ali with a wicked Running Knee in mid-air is a thing of beauty.
Becky Lynch then earns her way back into her own Mania title match by beating Charlotte Flair, but unfortunately the match itself is a let-down, partly due to the weak finish which sees Ronda Rousey hit Lynch with a simple punch to the ribs for the DQ. This would have been fine on TV, but it didn’t work on PPV. A subsequent angle allows Elias, Lacey Evans, Randy Orton and AJ Styles to all make an appearance (and thus benefit from an extra pay-day).
In the main event, The Shield reunites again to face Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley. It is an entertaining main event, and the context here is important. This marked Roman Reigns’ return to the ring after a battle with leukaemia, and it also marked Dean Ambrose’s final PPV headline match before he leaves the company. Therefore, this was portrayed as being a historic occasion, one last chance to see The Hounds Of Justice at their best on a major stage. Whether they reunite in the months or years to come remains to be seen.
There are a few DVD extras here: the Kick-Off Show bout between Big E/Xavier Woods and Nakamura/Rusev (which is more than adequate), the SmackDown segment which saw Owens replace Kingston in the WWE Title match, and Ronda Rousey’s heel turn on the Raw prior to this card.
As a way to increase anticipation for WrestleMania with big plot developments/advancements, Fast Lane 2019 is a lot of fun. There have been and will be better all-round events this year, and there were some low points to be sure. But on the whole, Fast Lane is a card that is definitely worth another look on DVD.
Overall Rating: 7/10 – Respectable