Fastlane or Battleground: Which is the most consistently poor and or meaningless modern WWE B-level pay-per-view?
The answer is probably the latter, since WWE has now binned it. First promoted in 2013, the show, headlined by an underwhelming Randy Orton Vs. Daniel Bryan WWE Championship match ruined with another rotten non-finish, announced itself under less-than-auspicious circumstances. Euthanised in 2017 amid the most inauspicious circumstances imaginable - a Punjabi Prison match so dull and unwanted that a guy took a suicidal 15-foot bump, and we shrugged - the show ran the gamut from average to appalling.
Forgettable Fatal 4-Way main events (2014), a grim teaser ahead of the upcoming Brock Lesnar Vs. Seth Rollins Universal Title match (2015); and, most depressingly of all, a rushed Shield Triple Threat headliner (2016): Battleground was defined by disappointment - from fans and talent alike - when we cared enough to even emote.
That last match could and should have headlined a WrestleMania. That it did not is a major indictment of WWE's refusal to commit to a generation now normalised and demoralised.
But still. Fastlane. Fastlane isn't very good.
Fastlane has produced a few excellent matches - a minor classic, in one case - but to underscore the weird stigma that surrounds the show, a show that largely fails to add tangible excitement to the WrestleMania mega-event it ostensibly promotes, that minor classic was also something of a disaster...
10. The Star That Left Them In The Dust
You can't criticise WWE for this decision in itself; you'd have to be the worst d*ckhead on Wrestling Twitter to have predicted in retrospect the trajectory of Cody's career following Fastlane 2015. Yeah, if the Fed keeps burying Runnels like this, they're gonna pay for it, somebody out there definitely claims to have said.
But this, one of several negligent micro decisions made by WWE with approximately zero concerns for its full-time midcard roster, in part led to Stardust's departure - and WWE's macro morale problem. The brothers Runnels had pleaded with WWE - publicly - to face off at WrestleMania. WWE, in response, neglected to script a programme that scripted itself, one boasting rare and organic heft, insofar as 10 minute midcard attractions go. Instead, they had to make do with a Fastlane nothing match, one comprehensively undersold by the commentary team. JBL explained that brothers fight all the time. Bret and Owen Hart did. The Steiners did, he said.
"This seems different," Michael Cole said in response.
Yeah, no sh*t; Owen didn't coat himself with paint and act like an extra in an Andrew Lloyd Webber production, in stark, sh*tty contrast to the real personality he was forced to suppress. Forgettable at the time, and very much regrettable now, it's telling that this happened on the eve of WrestleMania. WrestleMania is where the big boys play, to paraphrase another organisation that learned this to their cost.
So often, WWE slowed the ascent of the full-timers at this ironically-named pay-per-view...