Monday, March 22, 2021

WWE Fastlane 2021

By Steve Ward

This evening marked the final pay per view on the Road to Wrestlemania, as well as, the first pay per view on the Peacock Network and the final one on the WWE Network in the U.S. The event emanated from the Thunderdome at Tropicana Field and should mark the final pay per view in the Quarantine Era as each day of Wrestlemania is expected to host a significant number of fans. This evening’s card featured seven matches with titles defended including Roman Reigns squaring off with Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (c)
Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via pinfall

The opening contest of the evening presented an interesting dynamic as Wrestlemania opponents became partners for one evening as Belair and WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks, teamed up to challenge for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. As expected, this match closed with a meltdown between Banks and Belair. After Belair allowed herself to be shoved into Banks as she had the Bank Statement cinched in on Baszler, Sasha blamed Belair for preventing the submission. While the two were distracted, Baszler rolled up Banks for the pinfall.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Winner: Big E via pinfall

Big E’s power was on full display for much of the early part of this match as he dismantled Crews while delivering a pair of brutal splashes out on the ring apron. Crews was able to build some late momentum but could not capitalize as a series of inside cradle reversals finally settled in favor of Big E. Following the match, Crews proceeded to assault Big E until he was beaten senseless so it would appear this rivalry has not concluded quite yet.

Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall

This bout was originally supposed to feature Shane McMahon going toe to toe with Strowman, however, he suffered a training injury to his knee early in the day. Following a conversation backstage between Elias and Shane regarding his Wrestlemania involvement, Elias found himself as the substitute for this match. Strowman essentially mauled Elias like a bear attacking it’s prey until he mercifully finished him off with the running power slam.

Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

As Rollins continues to find his footing following paternity leave, he has lately been on a mission demanding respect. This match came to fruition on Friday Night Smackdown after Nakamura delivered a kick to Rollins’ face creating a contest between two top tier stars who WWE creative have no clue what to do with. Nakamura appeared in prime position to overcome Rollins late in the match, however, a failed Kinshasa attempt was the only opening Seth needed. Rollins unleashed an offensive onslaught that included a well executed Falcon Arrow before he finished off Nakamura with the Curb Stomp.

No Holds Barred Match
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall

After Sheamus turned his back on his longtime friend several weeks ago, the two have become embroiled in a bitter feud that would culminate this evening in a No Holds Barred Match. Sheamus appeared to be in dire straits early in the match as he was thrown through a bay of the dystopian fan screens which ignited in sparks, however, he did turn the tables to give McIntyre all he could handle - most notably a White Noise through the announce table. In what ended up being a surprisingly brutal match, McIntyre finally persevered in the end as he put the Celtic Warrior down with a Claymore Kick.

Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss
Winner: Alexa Bliss

After Orton “burned” The Fiend alive three months ago, he has found himself repeatedly confronted by Wyatt’s sidekick Alexa Bliss in encounters that are just flat out weird. This brings us to tonight where the two were scheduled to square off. The first few moments of the “match” saw Orton stalking Bliss around the ring dodging things such as falling scaffolding and fire. Once they returned to the ring, a hand punched through the ring and grabbed Orton by the ankle. After flames shot up through the ring, The Fiend emerged sporting attire that appeared to have been singed in the spirit of Jason Voorhees after he was sent to hell. The Fiend proceeded to deliver the Sister Abigail to Orton which allowed Alexa Bliss to pin The Legend Killer.

WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Daniel Bryan
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

After Daniel Bryan overcame the odds by surviving a grueling match against five other men at Elimination Chamber last month, he was immediately thrown into his title opportunity with Roman Reigns that of course became an impossible task. Bryan then found his way into a rematch which Edge took exception to and subsequently lead to his position as the special ringside enforcer for this contest. Late in the bout, Bryan continued to bring his A submission game as he repeatedly tied up Roman Reigns. Bryan then attempted the running knee but Reigns ducked out of the way leaving the referee to take the full blow. Edge then stepped in for the referee and failed to count the pinfall on Reigns first attempt to cover Bryan. Next, Jey Uso made his way to the ring and delivered a super kick to the face of Edge and then Bryan.

Uso then introduced a chair into the ring which ended up backfiring on him as he was quickly disposed of. Daniel Bryan proceeded to grab the chair and attempted to take out Reigns who again ducked and left Edge to take the shot this time. Bryan then took out Reigns and trapped him in another Yes Lock. As Edge recovered, he cracked Bryan in the back with the steel chair while Reigns was tapping out. Edge continued to lay waste to both men before storming out of the Thunderdome. Another referee made his way to the ring just in time for Reigns to roll over and cover Bryan to retain his title. 

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