Fast Lane 2021

The final stop on the road to WrestleMania!

It’s the final big event for the main WWE roster before we hit WrestleMania, so it’s time to move into the fast lane and cruise on in! This is the first event that’s included in WWE’s new deal with the Peacock streaming app, as the company shuts down the WWE Network in favor of having someone else host all the content.

The WWE’s big events dating back to the Wrestling Classic in late 1985 were pay-per-view events and were, in turn, referred to as such. When the WWE Network debuted about 7 years ago, I shifted to start calling them WWE Network Specials, because why pay $50-60 for an event when you can get it for a $10 subscription to the Network? But now that the Network (in the United States, anyway) is going away, how do we refer to these monthly events? Pay-per-view is the historical term, and one many still use, but that is basically an anachronism now. But since it has a history going back more than 35 years now, it makes sense to return to a classic, with a minor twist as WWE enters into its agreement with Peacock.

So, the Pea-Per-View era has begun!

Best Match: Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Daniel Bryan – Edge, who has a Universal Championship Match of his own coming up at WrestleMania, served as the special enforcer for the match, and played a major part in the outcome. It was a really fun match that saw Daniel Bryan flummoxing the champion with submission moves and set-ups, while working to avoid Reigns’ power moves. While Reigns has been the best character on WWE programming since his return in August, I think Bryan gave him his best match here. And then Jey Uso showed up and knocked out the referee and the match intensity was turned up a notch or two.

With the referee out, Edge stepped up in his role as special enforcer, taking over as the third man in the ring. Bryan pushed Reigns to the limit with his submission holds, but accidentally hit Edge with a chair that Uso brought into the ring. So when Reigns actually tapped to the YES! Lock, no one was there to see it. And then Edge hit Bryan with a chair, leading to Reigns getting a pin when a third referee entered the ring. Looks like they’re moving away from the one-on-one match between Reigns and Edge and moving Bryan in to make it a Triple Threat, which makes it all the more interesting.

Worst Match: Braun Strowman defeated Elias – The Monster Among Men was supposed to face Shane McMahon here, but “injured his knee training” before the event. And Elias started to bug him about getting a spot at WrestleMania, Shane O’Mac had an idea: have Elias replace him at Fast Lane! It went as well as you would expect. I’m pretty much done with both Strowman and Elias, and this match did absolutely nothing for me.

Breaking the Thunderdome – The No Holds Barred Match between Sheamus and Drew McIntyre was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. After beating the hell out of each other in the ring, the two men went around the Thunderdome set up at Tropicana Field and beat the hell out of each other out there. McIntyre even shoved his former best friend through some of the screens set up around Thunderdome, setting off some sparklers that could have been used at the end of an exploding ring barbed wire match! No one has yet to answer the question of why a WWE ring has so many kendo sticks – which were used a lot during the match – just sitting around under the ring, but it certainly added to the level of violence. McIntyre got the win with the Claymore, putting him in line for a shot at the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley, who wasn’t even on the Fast Lane Card.

Tag Team Turmoil (Again) – The show started with a Women’s Tag Team Championship match, with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defending against SmackDown! Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and her ‘Mania opponent, Bianca Belair. Not only were the challengers a wacky team that couldn’t get along, but the further involvement of Carmella’s former sommelier, Reginald, added to some existing tension between the champions. The first half of the match was all about how no one in the ring particularly liked their own tag team partner, but at least the champs were able to pull it all together. Sasha’s obsession with Reginald led to the challengers’ defeat, Banks slapped Belair hard after the match, which led to Belair staring at the WrestleMania sign, smiling and dancing. Between that and how tied to the women’s division Reginald seems to be, sometimes I wonder why I bother to watch this stuff.

Fiery Fiend – Bray Wyatt hasn’t been seen in WWE since Randy Orton lit him on fire, but Fiend groupie Alexa Bliss has taken up the cause of retribution (no, not them) against Orton with some Papa Shango-like tactics. In an intergender match at Fast Lane, Orton should have been able to exorcise the Fiend’s little friend, but Alexa continued to use some voodoo to perplex the Viper. Fireballs and falling lights, some more black goo and a lot of skipping around seemed to frustrate Orton, until the Fiend crawled out from under the ring in a pillar of fire and nailed a shocked Orton with Sister Abigail’s Kiss, giving Alexa the win. I would have thought it would be a DQ, since a demon from Hell interfered with the match, but obviously intergender matches are no disqualification…

I know a lot of people think this is all terrible television, and maybe it’s because I’m not watching week-to-week and only getting recaps before Pea-Per-View matches, but I really love these Fiend segments, and Bliss seems to be having a helluva time in the role. Even Orton seems to be having fun, in his own perverse way. Keep it going. Hopefully, whatever match Wyatt and Orton have at WrestleMania will be on par with the Firely Funhouse match he had with Cena LAST YEAR.

Ranking Fast Lane 2021

*DISCLAIMER* The rankings are for discussion purposes only and in no way reflect an official or authoritative list. It is simply my opinion. If you disagree, let me know in the comment.

1 – Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Daniel Bryan w/ Edge as Special Enforcer
2 – No Holds Barred Match: Drew McIntyre defeated Sheamus
3 – Seth Rollins defeated Shinsuke Nakamura
4 – Intercontinental Championship: Big E (c) defeated Apollo Crews
5 – Women’s Tag Title Match: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) defeated Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks
6 – Alexa Bliss defeated Randy Orton
7 – Braun Strowman defeated Elias

The 2021 WWE Pea-Per-View Top 10

We have a new number 1! New entries to the Top 10 will be marked in bold.

1 – Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Daniel Bryan w/ Edge as Special Enforcer – Fast Lane 2021
2 – Elimination Chamber No. 1 Contenders Match: Daniel Bryan defeated Jey Uso, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin – ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2021
3 – Universal Championship Last Man Standing Match: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Kevin Owens – ROYAL RUMBLE 2021
4 – No Holds Barred Match: Drew McIntyre defeated Sheamus – Fast Lane 2021
5 – Bianca Belair wins 30-woman Royal Rumble – Royal Rumble 2021
6 – WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Drew McIntyre (c) defeated AJ Styles, Sheamus, Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton
7 – WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre (c) defeats Goldberg – Royal Rumble 2021
8- Seth Rollins defeated Shinsuke Nakamura – Fast Lane 2021
9 – Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) defeated Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks – Elimination Chamber 2021
10 – Edge wins 30-man Royal Rumble – Royal Rumble 2021

That’s all for the final stop before the biggest shows of the year! We’ll be back in 3 weeks for the second annual 2-night WrestleMania!