The WWE returned to pay per view with Sunday’s Fastlane, where no titles changed hands and seven matches were shoved down our throats. Overall, the four plus hours moved along but the show felt slightly bland at times. Somewhere in that mix of ordinary, five wrestlers that left Fastlane as real winners.
Rusev: Talk about a turnaround of a career in a matter of months. For some unknown reason, Rusev Day is a hit and the crowd on Sunday showed their support. Shinsuke Nakamura is one of the most over superstars on WWE’s roster and the fans were split between him and Rusev. I doubt anyone gave Rusev much of a chance to win since Nakamura is already going to WrestleMania 34 and Rusev is not near the WWE Championship scene. The combination of Rusv and Nakamura worked as fans were into the opening contest. Rusev gets the nod because he was getting a reaction on level with Nakamura, which is not easy to accomplish.
Randy Orton: You have to give it to Randy Orton. He has been with WWE for over 15 years and consistently has been at the top. Look at the list of accolades and the stats tell you he is a future WWE Hall of Famer. In all that time, he never held the United States Championship and he has spent the majority of his career going after one of the top level belts (whatever the name of said belt was at the time). He now adds United States Champion to the list and it could not have happened at a better time. Orton struggled months into 2017 and he finally has some traction by winning gold. With WrestleMania 34 right around the corner, it looks like the United States Championship is getting defended.
Ruby Riott: All the credit in the world to Ruby Riott. She walked into Fastlane against Charlotte, a champion that has dominated everywhere she has competed. In NXT, I felt like we did not see much of Ruby as she mostly worked with Nikki Cross. She has lots of potential when it comes to basic in-ring skills and could make for a legit contender once the WrestleMania hype cools-down. Asuka challenging Charlotte might have overshadowed the match, but Ruby proved that she is a threat and not someone rushed onto the main roster.
Bludgeon Brothers: I knew New Day vs. The Usos would go the no contest route as WWE would not end such a feud at Fastlane; save it for WrestleMania 34 in four weeks. The Bludgeon Brothers had skipped my mind recently and WWE made their return count. The two leveled New Day and The Usos, causing officials to helps all five men to the back. It is clear that the Bludgeon Brothers are also in-line to get a title shot. I do prefer the show stealers from New Day and The Usos, although the Bludgeon Brothers’ destruction helped. The message by the Bludgeon Brothers was successfully delivered.
AJ Styles: AJ Styles shocked many by winning the WWE Championship overseas during an episode of SmackDown and he managed to keep the belt until now. By winning the Six Pack Challenge at Fastlane, Styles will now walk into WrestleMania 34 as WWE Champion. If that was not enough, it is a dream match against Shinsuke Nakamura that will have many non-traditional WWE fans watching. Styles has proven since day one in WWE that he is their top star when it comes to performing inside the ring. Styles deserves this current title reign and he will accomplish another dream in four weeks.