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WWE Fastlane 2021 will be held March 21, 2021 in the Thunderdome at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. It will be the last event to stream on the standalone WWE Network in the United States and first on the Peacock Network. With three weeks to go, when the night’s done we should have a much clearer picture of what WrestleMania will look like. Chief among these is the Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan match. Will we see Edge face Reigns or Bryan at WrestleMania… or both?
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan (with Edge as Special Enforcer), WWE Universal Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Daniel Bryan politicked himself into a position to earn another shot at Roman Reigns’s title after being cheated out of a fair match at Elimination Chamber, but now he has to contend with Edge at ringside as a special enforcer.
Daniel Bryan won the 2021 Smackdown Elimination Chamber match earning a shot at Roman Reigns’s title. As soon as the match ended, Reigns took advantage of the beaten and exhausted state Bryan was in and demanded that their match start immediately. Reigns made short work of Bryan and retained the title.
WWE official Adam Pearce set up a match between Jey Uso and Bryan where, if Bryan won, Bryan’d get a shot at Reigns at Fastlane. Edge was none too pleased with this development. Jey forced a double count out so a cage match was set for the following week. This time Bryan made Jey tap out. At the contract signing, Reigns initially declined to sign but was goaded into signing it by Bryan.
An angry Jey insisted that the match called for a special enforcer and it should be him. Edge came out and convince Pearce that that was a good idea and that he and Jey should have a match to determine who would fill the role. Edge won so now Bryan needs to contend with his presence.
A subplot to keep in mind came when Bryan said that he will tap out Reigns which Reigns replied that submitting is something he’s never done and never will.
Prediction: Reigns wins, but he will tap out to Daniel Bryan at some point in the match, only the referee would not catch it either through distraction, or more likely, unconsciousness. This will lead to Edge being forced into taking over as the referee where he’ll likely up hitting Bryan with a spear meant for Reigns, forcing Edge to count to three.
Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus, No Holds Barred Match
Story in a nutshell: Former longtime friends clash as Drew McIntyre seeks revenge against Sheamus for his betrayal.
A longtime friendship between then champion Drew McIntyre and Sheamus ended when Sheamus attacked the unsuspecting McIntyre in a bid to take his championship. Stung by the betrayal McIntyre has continually gone after Sheamus who engaged with equal gusto. A No Disqualification match between the two ended by referee stoppage when neither could continue fighting which led to this match where there must be a winner.
Prediction: Drew wins in what should be the match of the night, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see a post-match attack by Bobby Lashley. Sheamus can then move on to face Riddle for the US Championship at WrestleMania.
Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton, Intergender Match
Story in a nutshell: Ever since Randy Orton immolated the Fiend, Alexa Bliss has been tormenting Orton with her dark powers, ultimately offering him an opportunity to stop her at Fastlane and she teases “his return”.
Alexa Bliss has turned to dark magic to torment Randy Orton for having destroyed the Fiend. From causing him to vomit a dark substance and being confronted with a dark(er) doppelgänger, to costing him matches, she toys with him, ultimately inviting him to “kick her out of his life”. Throughout all of this she has teased that “he” is coming back.
Prediction: There won’t be much of a match here. We’ll just bear witness to the Fiend’s resurrection. Personally, I hope the “Fiend” returns in the body of Randy Orton, possessing him.
Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews, Intercontinental Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: A serious Big E wants revenge against Apollo Crews for Crews injuring him when Crews dropped the metal ring steps on him.
Apollo Crews changed his whole demeanor and embracing his lineage after failing multiple times to capture the Intercontinental Championship from Big E. His ultimate turn came when he nonchalantly dropped the ring stairs from a great height onto Big E, injuring him. Big E came back a (mostly) changed man and is now out for blood.
Prediction: This is a hard one. Crews failing can lead him to a greater act of depravity against Big E leading to WrestleMania, or Big E can chase instead. I think Big E comes out on top, but this feud won’t be over. This is a match that I wouldn’t mind ending in a disqualification for one of the wrestlers, likely Big E, going too far.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair, WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Future WrestleMania opponents, Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair, team up at Fastlane to try to win the tag team titles.
Royal Rumble winner, Bianca Belair, finally announced the champion she would face at WrestleMania, Sasha Banks. Belair defeated Shayna Baszler in a one-on-one match and this title match was booked. Reginald, Carmella’s former sommelier, has been smitten with Banks and his presence has led to ever increasing friction between Belair and Banks. Banks dismissed Reginald so he turned to Nia Jax who may be smitten with him which has led to some friction between her and Shayna.
Prediction. At some point Banks is going full on heel, likely with Reggie’s help. The next team being groomed to take the women’s titles are Natalya and Tamina, plus they mildly have hinted at a Jax and Baszler break up. I can see Banks and Belair winning and holding the titles for a short stint.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins
Story in a nutshell: Shinsuke Nakamura seeks revenge (I’m starting to notice a pattern) for his former tag team partner, Cesaro, after he was taken out by Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins made his return to Smackdown and the locker room came to see what he had to say (the unimportant members of the locker room that is). After seeing he was the same old Seth Rollins, a lingering Cesaro drew Seth’s ire. They’ve gone back and for with each other a few times, with Cesaro doing a very long Cesaro spin on one occasion. Seth responded by stomping Cesaro several times. Enter Shinsuke Nakamura to take on Seth Rollins in Cesaro’s place.
Prediction: This is a feud between Cesaro and Seth, so Seth wins to help build up his credibility.
Riddle (c) vs. Mustafa Ali, WWE United States Championship match
Story in a nutshell: Mustafa Ali challenges Riddle for the WWE United States Championship.
After already failing to defeat WWE United States Champion Riddle, the (mostly ineffectual) leader of the (wholly ineffectual) Retribution faction, (the totally wasted talent) Mustafa Ali challenged champion Riddle (ditto) to a rematch using social media.
Prediction: Riddle retains.
Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon, May Have Been Cancelled Since It’s No Longer Listed on the WWE Website Despite Being Mentioned on Other Avenues match
Story in a nutshell: Shane called Strowman stupid, now Strowman SMASH!!!
Long term planning finally pays off as two amazing talents finally collide. After years of taking on the greatest challengers the WWE has had to offer, carrying the likes of Kurt Angle and Undertaker to great matches and putting his body on the line, Shane McMahon opened up a subsidiary to Raw, Raw Underground. Shane was as happy as one could be. Raw Underground captured the imagination of the wrestling world. It served as a springboard for talents that have had much success on the main roster like, Erik, Ivar, Arturo Ruas, Riddick Moss, and the unforgettable Dabba-Kato. It also redefined struggling acts like the Hurt Business and Dolph Ziggler.
Unfortunately, it all came to an end when Braun Strowman arrived. He tore through everything and everyone leaving naught but destruction in his wake. Left alone, surrounded by the broken bodies strewn around him Shane retreated to the island of Ahch-To to live out the rest of his days and die in peace.
But peace never comes to those that earned it and Shane was called back to action when his lifelong friend and confidant, Adam Pearce, sent for him. For Pearce had drawn Strowman’s wrath. Shane selflessly donned his finest battle gear and stepped one more into the breach to confront he who robbed him of so much.
Shane struck quickly with his greatest weapon of choice, a great drop, and laid the Monster Among Men low. He baptized Strowman with the green milk of the creatures that inhabited his island, a custom practiced by the people there to cleanse their enemy before they utterly destroy them. Now Braun Strowman is cleansed and ready to face god’s judgement, Shane McMahon’s judgement, at Fastlane (or WrestleMania).
And all of that was just as stupid as the actual story they have written for this angle which “Story in a nutshell” cover succinctly. On and there was green slime involved for whatever reason.
Prediction: If this match happens at Fastlane, I expect something screwy to happen since the “payoff” (or merciful end) won’t be until WrestleMania.