CLEVELAND — The road to #KofiMania has seemed as uncertain as ever over the past few weeks, but New Day still rocks: Big E & Xavier Woods earned a decisive win over Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev at Fastlane Kickoff, potentially providing ya boys with some leverage as they attempt to strong-arm Kofi Kingston back into the WWE Title picture from which he was unceremoniously booted by Mr. McMahon a few weeks back.

Big E decimates Shinsuke Nakamura with repeated belly-to-belly suplexes: WWE Fastlane 2019 Kickoff

A clash pitting Big E & Xavier Woods against Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev kicks off the action at WWE Fastlane 2019.

Big E & Woods did not seem fazed by those stakes. It helped that the team they faced was a budding one — at this same event last year, Nakamura & Rusev fought each other — which meant New Day’s opponents were still finding themselves on the fly. For all their inexperience, however, Nakamura & Rusev at least chose a sturdy cornerstone on which to build their gameplan: Keep Big E out of the ring.

Indeed, it often seemed like New Day was wrestling two different matches: One where Xavier Woods was in the match and one when Big E was, and the latter was well-scouted enough that the former was forced to shoulder the load. Woods couldn’t gain much traction against Rusev’s power and Nakamura’s strong-style dissections, though he showed his heart kicking out of one potential match-ender after another to keep his team in the hunt.

Big E made his presence known in the clutch, however, by throwing a meddling Nakamura into the timekeeper’s area, forcing a flustered Rusev to break the Accolade. Now staring at a two-on-one disadvantage, The Lion of Bulgaria pounced and pounced poorly, connecting dome-first with the turnbuckle and suffering a match-ending Midnight Hour in short order. The lesson? A good strategy is key, but it remains, as ever, only half the battle.

CLEVELAND — The road to #KofiMania has seemed as uncertain as ever over the past few weeks, but New Day still rocks: Big E & Xavier Woods earned a decisive win over Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev at Fastlane Kickoff, potentially providing ya boys with some leverage as they attempt to strong-arm Kofi Kingston back into the WWE Title picture from which he was unceremoniously booted by Mr. McMahon a few weeks back.

Big E decimates Shinsuke Nakamura with repeated belly-to-belly suplexes: WWE Fastlane 2019 Kickoff

A clash pitting Big E & Xavier Woods against Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev kicks off the action at WWE Fastlane 2019.

Big E & Woods did not seem fazed by those stakes. It helped that the team they faced was a budding one — at this same event last year, Nakamura & Rusev fought each other — which meant New Day’s opponents were still finding themselves on the fly. For all their inexperience, however, Nakamura & Rusev at least chose a sturdy cornerstone on which to build their gameplan: Keep Big E out of the ring.

Indeed, it often seemed like New Day was wrestling two different matches: One where Xavier Woods was in the match and one when Big E was, and the latter was well-scouted enough that the former was forced to shoulder the load. Woods couldn’t gain much traction against Rusev’s power and Nakamura’s strong-style dissections, though he showed his heart kicking out of one potential match-ender after another to keep his team in the hunt.

Big E made his presence known in the clutch, however, by throwing a meddling Nakamura into the timekeeper’s area, forcing a flustered Rusev to break the Accolade. Now staring at a two-on-one disadvantage, The Lion of Bulgaria pounced and pounced poorly, connecting dome-first with the turnbuckle and suffering a match-ending Midnight Hour in short order. The lesson? A good strategy is key, but it remains, as ever, only half the battle.