WWE’s newest February event, Fastlane, seems like an afterthought between the Royal Rumble and the spectacle of WrestleMania, but it can also become WWE’s saving grace.
The aftermath of the Royal Rumble match in January spelled doom for WWE. Roman Reigns, the heir apparent to the clean cut Rock-like figurehead, won the match much to the chagrin of most fans. They voiced their displeasure on Twitter, making #CancelWWENetwork one of the top trending topic on Twitter for the next few days. Fans consider Reigns too young and inexperienced become the main event superstar so early in his career, especially when there are a few half dozen wrestlers more experienced and prepared to be the next big star.
One of those superstars is Daniel Bryan, who has already had his WrestleMania moment last year. Since he didn’t lose to belt (he lost it due to a neck injury) fans thought he would return to his rightful position in the pro wrestling totem pole. Those hopes washed away as he was eliminated early in the Rumble match.
Art began imitating life as the waning popularity of Reigns and the steadfast appreciation for Bryan resulted in the main event for Fastlane on Sunday February 22nd at 5 p.m. on the WWE Network. The two superstars will now face each other in order to see who will face current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in a one-on-one match at WrestleMania.
Consider this match a possible do-over scenario for the backstage folks at WWE: if Reigns loses to Bryan, then the fans that have threatened to stop watching the product altogether will be quelled, at least for now. If Reigns wins, well, he at will least have had a stepping stone to downplay his meteoric rise as the top new star in WWE.
Life doesn’t exist in binaries, however, and neither does professional wrestling albeit it harbors on them more often than not. There is also another possibility that can result in WWE getting their wish in Reigns as the top dog and Bryan as the fans’ unwavering idol of support. There can be a Dusty Finish. A Dusty Finish, named after legend Dusty Rhodes, is an open-ended finish to a match. There is no winner, but there isn’t a loser either which would theoretically place both competitors in the championship picture heading into WrestleMania.
That may be the best course of action. For the past few weeks, Reigns and Bryan have competed with each other to prove who the most dominant of the two. They’re not sticking to the traditional binary of face and heel. They’re switching it up instead. Reigns will do something self-centered like tag himself in a match in order to show off his finishing move while Bryan will interrupt Reigns’ match simply to make fans chant for him. It’s confusing but it’s making for great chemistry. Now, there’s only one question: do either of these two superstars stand a chance against Lesnar to begin with?