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[2015-02-22-WWE-Fastlane] Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns

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Another great match on this show in a completely different way. While Cena-Rusev was more of a psychological match, this was more of a high-impact match. The crowd was so divided that they came across apathetic until Bryan caught Reigns with the liver kick, which was an awesome transition and really cool match choice. This is hurt in some ways by the wrong guy winning, but they did work the right match to give Reigns an earned victory to an extent, although I think they could have done more in that direction. I think about something like the Bret-Diesel match at the 1995 Royal Rumble where they teased a Bret heel turn going into the match and Bret also did heel stuff in the match like use a chair. Considering they had no plans to do anything with Bryan, they had nothing to lose by going that route here. Still, this was excellent, but I do think this was the second best match of the night, if only barely. ****

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Excellent main event that showed Reigns is quite capable of being carried to the best match of his career to date by best wrestler on the roster. Time will tell if Rollins will be able to pull this off too. Reigns really shined here with his physicality, and for those who wanna speculate that D-Bry isn't physically ready to work a dream match against Brock Lesnar, eat this fact: Reigns gave D-Bry the same overhead belly-to-belly suplex on the floor that Lesnar gave CM Punk at SummerSlam 2013.
 
This is nowhere near the work of art of that Lesnar vs. Punk classic I mentioned, but this definitely delivered. D-Bry kept pulling out his submission arsenal, digging more into it every time Reigns would power out with his superior size and strength. He then gave a preview of what will come when the day arrives that he faces Lesnar, busting out THREE tope suicidas, only to get caught and powerslammed by Reigns on the third one. They exchanged nearfalls on a spear and Busaiku knee, as well as Reigns reaching the ropes while in the Lebell Lock. Another one later had Reigns trying to pummel on D-Bry, but found himself in a Triangle Hold that was broken via a powerbomb.
 
A spear attempt was countered with a fantastic small package nearfall, a move that D-Bry had used to put down Kane in the past as well as many of his greatest opponents on the indies. With both exhausted, they emptied their gas tanks, ending with Reigns getting a spear on D-Bry during a Busaiku knee attempt for a great finish. Post-match, D-Bry congratulates him and says he better slay the Beast. This was obviously the wrong choice, but they got the most out of it. Reigns showed he was capable of having a great match, and D-Bry proved nobody on the WWE roster is more reliable in getting a pet project over. ****

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This got uploaded onto WWE's youtube page so I gave it a watch.

 

Pretty badass big man/little man match. Really picks up after the liver kick spot that ruled. Bryan filling his work in between the finisher/sub teases around primarily strikes and chopping down Reigns was great and the counter to this late being Reigns trying to demolish Bryan with forearms was awesome. The knee finally getting kicked out of had this "you know what's coming next" vibe to it but it still felt engaging to see how it would wrap up and I liked that the match didn't go into some over the top finishing run after that but stayed closer to a fight. Don't think this is as good as the Styles/Reigns Payback match but still feels like a 2015 MOTYC as I try to fill in the blanks for that year and Reigns was obviously the best Shield member and deserving of his spot at this point.

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Terrific storytelling/psychology w/ Daniel Bryan being the better & smarter 'wrestler' of the two with his strategies throughout & Reigns answering with his brute strength & pure passion. Always been kind of an underappreciated classic, and I still stand by that. ****1/2

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