The John Report: WWE Fastlane 2021 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Fastlane review. We are on the road to WrestleMania on April 10 and April 11, but first we must see what WWE has in store for us at Fastlane. The show is on WWE Network for those of us outside the United States. For those of you in the US, it’s on WWE Network and Peacock streaming service. By the time WrestleMania gets here, WWE Network is gone in the US leaving only Peacock. I’m sure there will be issues for some people, but hopefully it’s not too bad.

As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I have reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you. Let’s get to the show.

Here’s the Kickoff Show match with the Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe calling the action.

United States Championship: Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali (w/T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack & Reckoning)

Riddle with a takedown followed by knees to the ribs and a gutwrench suplex. Riddle with a broton splash for two. Riddle went for another broton spash, but Ali got his feet up to kick Riddle across the ring. Ali spun Riddle shoulder first into the ring post followed by a dropkick that sent Riddle to the floor leading to a two count in the ring. Ali with a knee to the ribs followed by body scissors around the ribs. Ali sent Riddle into the turnbuckle and then a dropkick to the back into the turnbuckle. Riddle went for a corner attack, Ali moved and Riddle hit the turnbuckle. Ali with a backstabber for a two count. Ali wrapped his legs around Riddle’s waist again. Ali bounced off the ropes going for a move, but Riddle caught him in a sleeper, so Ali countered that into a pin attempt for two. Riddle with a jumping Pele Kick followed by an overhead suplex and a PK kick. Riddle with a Powerbomb and a Final Flash knee to the face for two. Riddle went up top, jumped off with the Floating Bro and Ali got the knees up to block it. Ali jumped out of the corner, Riddle got a hold of him and hit a Fisherman’s Buster for two. Ali slapped on a Koji Clutch submission on the right shoulder, but Riddle powered out of it. Ali bragged about what he did there. Riddle with a kick to the face, then he went up top and Riddle tripped up Ali. Riddle managed to choke Ali a bit by the turnbuckle. Riddle lifted up Ali from the middle rope and hit a Bro Derek slam for the pinfall win at 9:16.

Winner by pinfall: Riddle

Analysis: *** A good match with a spectacular finish as Riddle hit his finisher off the middle ropes for the win. That made it look like an even more impressive move. I thought Ali got plenty of offense, he looked like a credible challenger and it took a lot to put him away. Riddle winning was the expected outcome here since he only won the title last month. I can see him having a championship reign that lasts a few months at least.

After the match, Ali’s group members in Retribution tried to help him, but Ali yelled at them. Reckoning walked out of the ring when Ali yelled at her and Slapjack left as well. When Ali blamed the two big men in the group, T-Bar and Mace hit a huge double Chokeslam called High Justice. T-Bar and Mace left, so Ali was all alone.

Analysis: I hope this is a good thing for the group. There’s a lot of talent there especially when it comes to T-Bar (Dominik Dijakovic), so maybe this leads to the group ending as it was presented and something new can happen for them.

WWE Fastlane
From WWE Thunderdome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Florida
March 21, 2021

There was an opening video package hyping up the biggest matches on the show. Very good video as usual.

There was an impressive pyro display in the Thunderdome as the crowd on the video screens were ready to go. Michael Cole from Smackdown welcomed us to the last pay-per-view before WrestleMania and the first pay-per-view on Peacock in the US. Cole was at ringside to call the opening match with Corey Graves. The only women’s match on the show was up first.

Bianca Belair made her entrance first as the 2021 Royal Rumble winner. The Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks was up next with her title. Belair faces Banks at WrestleMania. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler entered as the Women’s Tag Team Champions with Reginald joining them.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (w/Reginald) vs. Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair

Both teams were bickering about who should start the match. Banks sent Baszler into the turnbuckle, then Belair tagged in and stomped away. Belair with a running shoulder tackle, Banks back in with double knees and Belair was back in with a handspring moonsault for two. Belair tried a backslide, then a crucifix pin and Baszler tried to counter a pin with a submission. Baszler with a knee to the face. Belair with forearms to Jax, who tagged I and Banks was back in with an armbar attempt, but Jax managed to hit a body attack to knock down Banks. Jax missed an elbow drop when Banks moved and Belair tagged in with two dropkicks on Jax. Belair to the apron, Baszler distraction, so Jax punched Belair off the apron to the floor. Baszler sent Belair back into the ring with punches. Jax was back in with a headbutt while Baszler was holding Belair. Jax tossed Belair across the ring followed by Jax hitting a running splash against the turnbuckle. Jax with an elbow drop for two. Baszler with a running knee on Belair. Baszler worked over Belair with kicks to the leg while Baszler slapped on an armbar. Baszler caught the foot of Belair and then slammed her into the mat. Jax was back with a body slam followed by a chinlock. Belair managed to get out of the heel side of the ring and Banks got the hot tag against Baszler. Banks with knees for both opponents. Banks went for a DDT on Baszler where she kicked off Jax, but I don’t think the DDT worked. Belair tagged in and hit a 450 Splash on Belair. Reginald caused a distraction, so the referee didn’t count the pin. Belair punched Reginald down. Belair lifted up Baszler and sent her into a knee from Banks. That led to Banks locking on the Bank Statement submission on Baszler, but Jax broke it up by shoving Belair onto Banks. Sasha was mad about that because all she saw was that Belair hit her. Banks shoved Belair in the face and called her a “rookie” so Belair left the ring and Baszler did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Banks for the pinfall win at 9:45.

Winners by pinfall: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match with Belair as the face in peril for most of it and then Banks was on fire after that. Pretty basic stuff here. The finish was booked well in the sense that you don’t want to have Banks or Belair lose clean, but in this case, it was more because Banks was focused on Belair and that’s why Baszler got the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the win. Reginald played his role by distracting the referee when Belair hit a big move, so that part of the match was cheap for the heels. I expected the champs to retain. I think they’ll probably do a multi-team match at WrestleMania.

After the match was over, Banks and Belair were in the ring arguing about what happened. Belair tried to explain what happened, but Banks still thought Belair was the reason they lost. Banks called Belair a rookie and slapped her in the face. It sounded like some boos were piped in there. Banks left the ring while Belair pointed at the WrestleMania sign to let us know she was focused on that.

Analysis: It’s not like that was a heel turn by Banks. I’m sure there might be some people that think that, but to me, it’s just a case of Sasha being herself as a cocky champion. Banks doesn’t think Belair can beat her, but she’s also threatened by Belair. Once again I’m sure Twitter is full of people thinking Banks turned heel. I don’t see it that way. I guess we’ll see on Smackdown this week.

There was a scene from the trainer’s office with Shane McMahon limping with a crutch. Shane had an ice pack on his left knee after claiming he got hurt during a training session. Elias and Jaxson Ryker walked up to Shane with Elias saying he wants to perform in front of the crowd at WrestleMania. Shane said he had an idea. The camera panned away.

A long video package aired for the Intercontinental Title feud between Big E and Apollo Crews.

Apollo Crews made his entrance first as the challenger. Big E was next as the Intercontinental Champion. They were both very serious going into the match.

Intercontinental Championship: Big E vs. Apollo Crews

Big E sent Crews to the apron quickly and then hit a running Spear off the apron to the floor. It’s a spot that Big E likes to do. It always looks impressive. Big E set up Crews on the edge of the apron leading to a running splash on the apron. Big E: “This is what you begged for. This is what you wanted.” Crews was still by the apron, so Big E charged again with a running splash on the ring apron. Big E rocked Crews with forearms followed by a belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Big E with another belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Big E charged leading to Crews hitting a dropkick to the knee. Crews hit an impressive German Suplex followed by two more for a total of three German Suplexes. That’s impressive. Crews lifted up Big E into a spinebuster followed by a Frog Splash for two. Crews with a waistlock on the big man followed by two kicks to the head. Crews went for a standing SSP, Big E got the knees up and Big E charged, but Crews moved out of the way. They each went for moves along with counters from each man and then Big E managed to pin Crews. The referee counted the pinfall while pointing at Big E. It only went 5:40.

Winner by pinfall: Big E

Analysis: *1/2 That was good while it lasted, but I didn’t like that finish. I’m not sure if it was messed up or if that’s what they intended. Since there was no replay, maybe it was messed up. It was basically each guy countering the other and then Big E managed to get a cover, but it was difficult to see from the angle they showed. I assume they just booked this kind of short match in order to have a longer match at WrestleMania.

Post match, Crews was trash-talking Big E and hit an Angle Slam. Crews hit another Angle Slam while telling Big E that it was not over. Crews slapped Big E in the face followed by another Angle Slam. Crews left while his music played even though he lost the match.

Analysis: The post match attack means that the rivalry is going to continue at WrestleMania. That is fine with me. Hopefully it’s a better match that gets more time.

There was some Old Spice commercial spot with some Old Spice guy, Drew Gulak, R-Truth and the 24/7 Title. Tozawa was there too. Apparently, they changed the title twice with Truth keeping the title. I wasn’t paying attention. It didn’t matter.

Shane McMahon introduced Elias, who was in the ring along with Jaxson Ryker. Shane was in the ring with them. Elias was about to sing one of his songs, so Shane told Elias that he was taking Shane’s place. Shane left the ring with the crutch and the ice pack on his left knee. Braun Strowman made his entrance looking pissed off about Shane McMahon dumping green slime on him on Raw.

Braun Strowman vs. Elias (w/Jaxson Ryker)

Strowman tossed Elias across the ring, so Elias bailed to the floor. Strowman threw Elias into the turnbuckle. Back in the ring, Strowman hit a forearm to the chest to send Elias into the mat. Ryker pulled Elias out of the ring, so Strowman left the ring. Strowman ran at both guys, Ryker moved and Strowman ran over Elias with a shoulder tackle. Ryker rolled Elias back into the ring before the ten count. Ryker distracted Strowman, so Elias hit a DDT. Elias jumped off the top with an elbow drop with Strowman doing a power kickout. Strowman came back with a running splash against the corner. Strowman spiked Elias with a huge spinebuster slam. Strowman hit the Running Powerslam for the pinfall win at 3:50.

Winner by pinfall: Braun Strowman

Analysis: * Easy win for Strowman. It was a squash match that you would see on an episode of WWF Superstars back in the day. That’s exactly what it should have been. It should lead to Strowman vs. Shane at WrestleMania.

Strowman left looking happy with his destruction. There was no sign of Shane McMahon after the match.

There was a commercial for Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions interview with Randy Orton. It premiered on WWE Network on Sunday.

Analysis: I watched it in the morning and really enjoyed it. It’s a long interview at 1 hour, 45 minutes, but it didn’t feel too long to me. Orton shared a lot with Austin, who does a tremendous job of getting the best out of his guests.

A video let us know that WrestleMania was 20 days away. It’s exclusively on Peacock for those of you in the US. It’s WWE Network for me in Canada and non-American countries.

Riddle was shown backstage with the US Title on his scooter. Shinsuke Nakamura was warming up with Riddle wishing him good luck while Nakamura congratulated him on his win. Riddle did one of his rambling stoner promos about wanting to have a scooter business. Riddle said he had a cousin named Skeeter that had a scooter. When Riddle was done talking, he realized Nakamura left because he wasn’t interested. Riddle left while Nakamura walked back into the screen. Nakamura’s match was next.

Seth Rollins made his entrance for his singles match with Shinsuke Nakamura. They showed the clip from Smackdown when Nakamura got in Seth’s face to set up this match. Rollins wasn’t happy that they showed that footage. Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance. This should be fun.

Analysis: This is starting at the end of the first hour. It was not a good first hour to this show.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins

Nakamura was in control early with a kick to the ribs. Rollins got out of a waist lock attempt with a shot to the knee and he sent Nakamura to the mat. Rollins sent Nakamura to the floor followed by Rollins hitting a knee off the apron onto Nakamura on the floor. Rollins sent Nakamura into the announce table. Back in the ring, Rollins with three running knees to the ribs and a gutbuster for one. Rollins whipped Nakamura into the turnbuckle followed by a backbreaker as Rollins continued to work on the ribs. Rollins with a back elbow and knee drop for two. Rollins choked Nakamura across the middle ropes. Rollins yelled: “22 times. 22 swings.” Rollins was talking about how Cesaro swung him 22 times. Rollins tried to do the Swing, but Nakamura slapped him and slapped on an armbar, but Rollins got his foot on the bottom rope for the break. Nakamura with a baseball slide, then a running knee while Rollins was on the apron and Nakamura with a jumping knee to the back. Nakamura with kicks to the body, a boot to the throat and a knee to the ribs. Nakamura set up Rollins on the top for the running knee lift for two. Rollins blocked an Exploder Suplex attempt with an elbow shot. Nakamura was on the apron going for a kick, Rollins caught the foot and sent Nakamura to the floor. Rollins hit a suicide dive on Nakamura into the barricade. Rollins jumped off the top with a knee to the face followed by the Slingblade neckbreaker for two. Nakamura got back into it with forearms as they exchanged strikes, Nakamura stunned Rollins with a forearm and Rollins hit an enziguri kick. Nakamura countered a move with a spin kick to the head. Nakamura set up Rollins against the ropes and Nakamura hit a sliding German Suplex for a two count. Nakamura charged, Rollins caught him and hit a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. Rollins with a Falcon Arrow slam for two. Both guys were down selling for a few minutes around the ten-minute mark.

Rollins charged at Nakamura, who caught him and Nakamura hit a slam off the shoulders into a pin attempt for two. Nakamura hit a reverse Exploder Suplex across the ring. Nakamura wanted the Kinshasa, Rollins moved and Rollins hit a forearm to the back of the head. Rollins went for a running kick, Nakamura ducked it and then Rollins hit a spinning back kick to the head. That was a cool-looking move. Rollins bounced off the ropes and hit The Stomp for the pinfall win at 12:55.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty much exactly what I expected with Rollins getting the win to pick up some momentum going towards WrestleMania. While I would love to see Nakamura pushed more, that wasn’t his role here. This was about putting over Rollins in a clean fashion to get Seth ready for the likely Rollins/Cesaro match at WrestleMania. I liked some of the spots they did and I think maybe they should have had Nakamura hit a Kinshasa with Rollins rolling out of the ring. That way, it could have made Nakamura look a bit more credible. Rollins winning clean is fine with me.

There was a commercial with WWE superstars telling us to get the Covid vaccine when it becomes available to you. I agree.

A video aired promoting Rhea Ripley appearing on Raw on Monday night. Great. Just in time to get in the Raw Women’s Title picture for WrestleMania. My guess is Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania.

The video package aired for Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a No Holds Barred match. It focused on their 20-year friendship that has fallen apart. Sheamus claimed Drew never thanked him for helping him in his career. Drew said if Sheamus wants this, then it’s fine by him.

Analysis: Awesome video. No surprise there. There is a lot of history here, so I like that they covered it well.

Drew McIntyre made his usual entrance with the sword and the kilt. However, he had an addition with some blue and white face paint representing his native Scotland. McIntyre stared at the WrestleMania sign. Sheamus made his entrance in his usual gear looking ready to go.

No Holds Barred Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus

The only way to win is by pinfall or submission in the ring.

Sheamus yelled at Drew for not thanking him for their 20 years of friendship. McIntyre was aggressive with two belly-to-belly suplexes across the ring and a clothesline that sent Sheamus over the top to the floor. Sheamus tripped up McIntyre on the apron and then he sent Drew into the barricade. McIntyre came back with a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor followed by McIntyre sending Sheamus into the ring post. McIntyre cleared off the announce table. McIntyre went for kendo sticks under the ring, so Sheamus sent him into the steel steps and into the ring post. Sheamus swung a kendo stick, McIntyre moved and Sheamus hit the ring post with it. McIntyre with a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. McIntyre whipped Sheamus hard into the steel steps and McIntyre stomped on Sheamus on the steel steps. McIntyre brought a kendo stick into the ring and Sheamus kicked the kendo stick into the face for a two count. Sheamus hit McIntyre in the back with the kendo stick. Sheamus with a hard kendo stick shot to the chest. Sheamus put the kendo stick in Drew’s mouth to put pressure on the jaw. McIntyre with two headbutts followed by a boot to the face. McIntyre got some kendo stick revenge as he hit Sheamus with the kendo stick multiple times. McIntyre put the kendo stick into the face/eye of Sheamus and another kendo stick shot. Sheamus had visible red scars on his back. McIntyre left the ring after Sheamus, who did a drop toe hold that sent McIntyre into the steel steps. Sheamus had the steel steps and he ran over Drew with them. Sheamus set up McIntyre on the announce table, they each went for moves and Drew sent Sheamus into the barricade. Drew pulled on the mouth of Sheamus like Sheamus did to Drew recently. They left the ringside area with Drew dropping him with a hard chop to the chest. Sheamus gave Drew a suplex on the floor. They went up onto the second level where there were ThunderDome screens. Sheamus hit a rolling senton the flooring area by the screens. McIntyre sent Sheamus into some screens. McIntyre then whipped Sheamus into a row of ThunderDome screens and then Sheamus went crashing down to the next level. There were some small sparks that went off after that bump. The match continued as they went down some sliding apparatus to put them down on the floor again. McIntyre put Sheamus on an equipment case and wheeled him back to the ringside area. McIntyre with a suplex on the floor as payback for what Sheamus did to Drew earlier.

McIntyre brought Sheamus back by the ringside area. Sheamus broke free with an eye gouge and he hit a Brogue Kick that sent McIntyre over the barricade to the floor. They battled on the barricade with Sheamus telling Drew that he should be in the main event of WrestleMania. Sheamus delivered a White Noise slam off the barricade that sent Drew through the announce table! Ouch! That was brutal and looked impressive too. There were “this is awesome” chants for both men. Both guys were down for a few minutes and then Sheamus slowly rolled McIntyre back into the ring. Sheamus brought a piece of the announce table into the ring. McIntyre fought back with punches, then Sheamus hit Drew with some punches and McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT onto the piece of the announce table. McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick for the pinfall win at 19:51.

Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: **** This was awesome like their other recent matches on Raw. I think the first match they had on Raw might have been a bit better than this, but I still liked this a lot. There’s obvious chemistry between Drew and Sheamus as best friends that know eachother so well. I liked the action they did out of the ring with the big spot happening when Sheamus went crashing through a row of screens. Sheamus bounced back with the impressive White Noise slam through the table. McIntyre was selling very well as usual. It only took two moves for Drew to put Sheamus away, but also after 20 minutes of a grueling match. I had high expectations for this match and they delivered. If they had more matches later this year then I certainly wouldn’t mind that at all. Thank you Drew and Sheamus. This was a lot of fun to watch.

McIntyre celebrated the win as they shot the WrestleMania sign in the background. They showed replays of the key spots in the match and you could see McIntyre slap his leg while delivering the Claymore Kick. McIntyre posed on the turnbuckle and was staring at the WrestleMania sign. McIntyre was also selling a back injury while doing his posing. No sign of WWE Champion Bobby Lashley, who Drew faces at WrestleMania.

Analysis: I know that Drew McIntyre did an interview recently about how he doesn’t leg slap to make noise like some people that do it. I only mention it because WWE has banned “leg slapping” although I don’t know how aggressive they are in terms of punishing people for it. Anyway, Drew vs. Lashley at WrestleMania should be outstanding. I’m looking forward to that.

The video package aired for the advertised match between Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton while also reminding us about The Fiend, which is key to the story.

Randy Orton made his entrance for his advertised match against the much smaller Alexa Bliss. While Orton was doing his usual poses on the turnbuckle, the mysterious black liquid was pouring out of his mouth. Orton freaked out, grabbed a towel from ringside and cleaned it up as best he could.

Analysis: The black liquid strikes again. It’s mysterious.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance as some creepy version of her music and the Firefly Fun House music played. Bliss had some black eye makeup on her face. Bliss stared up leading to some purple light around the ring. The referee called for the bell.

Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss

Orton walked towards Bliss and then some fire appeared in the ring, which led to Orton moving back. Orton charged at Bliss, who moved and Orton went shoulder first into the ring post. Bliss laughed at him. Bliss walked around the ring, then Orton walked around the ring to go after her and Bliss looked up, which led to some lighting structure falling down near Orton. Bliss laughed about how it was so close. Bliss was back in the ring, Orton went back in the ring after her and Bliss threw some fireball at him. Orton was standing in the ring and there was a hand that appeared from under the ring. When Orton turned around, a fireball appeared. That’s when The Fiend showed up in an outfit that looked burned. Orton was freaking out about it. Bliss dropkicked Orton into The Fiend, who hit the Sister Abigail neckbreaker and Bliss sat on Orton for the pinfall. The referee counted the pin for Bliss. It went 4:45.

Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss

Analysis: I’ll pass on rating it, but if I had to rate it then I would say DUD, which is above negative stars. There weren’t really moves other than Bliss hitting a dropkick at the end and The Fiend hitting the Sister Abigail neckbreaker. It was more about bringing The Fiend back as we expected, so there’s no point in rating it. It has been four months since Orton burned The Fiend in the ring, so this was all about the return of The Fiend. This should lead to Orton vs. The Fiend at WrestleMania. Welcome back to Bray/The Fiend, who is back after four months off. I don’t really like the feud that much, but at least they’re trying something different with it. It probably scares some little kids even though The Fiend is a babyface based on the story. It’s bizarre.

The Fiend and Bliss stood together over Orton to end it.

The announcers went over the already announced WrestleMania matches:

* WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair

* Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos

* Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (or Daniel Bryan) (c) vs. Edge

They showed highlights from Talking Smack with Paul Heyman talking about how Roman Reigns is the sun that the WWE Universe orbits around.

The video package aired to set up the main event Universal Title match with Roman Reigns defending the title against Daniel Bryan. They did a nice job of building up to this match with promos from Bryan and Reigns telling Bryan he didn’t deserve it. Edge beat Jey Uso on Smackdown two days earlier to become the Special Ringside Enforcer for this match.

Edge made his entrance as the Special Ringside Enforcer. Edge was just wearing street clothes including a leather jacket. He is not a referee, but we don’t really know the specifics of the Special Ringside Enforcer role. Daniel Bryan entered as the challenger full of energy with “YES” chants filling the stadium as usual. Roman Reigns entered as the WWE Universal Champion with Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. Reigns did his slow walking entrance and that led to the championship introductions in the ring.

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

Edge is the Special Ringside Enforcer watching the match at ringside.

Bryan tried to use his speed to trip up Reigns. Roman powered Bryan into the corner and hit him with a forearm to the chest. Bryan went for a leg submission, but Reigns managed to get to the ropes before Bryan could lock in the hold. Bryan tried another trip with Reigns getting to the ropes to break. They locked hands, then Bryan managed to flip Reigns over going for an armbar, but Reigns was in the ropes. Bryan was celebrating that he was getting in Roman’s head with all of these submission attempts. Bryan punched Roman in the ribs repeatedly, then kicks to the legs and Reigns took down Bryan with a side headlock. Bryan stretched the right arm of Reigns leading to a near pin attempt, but Reigns came back with punches and kicks. Reigns with a punch followed by a shoulder tackle. Reigns sent Bryan’s upper back into the turnbuckle and Bryan wrenched on the left arm two times. Reigns with two clotheslines against the turnbuckle, Bryan came back with kicks and Bryan ran the ropes right into a tilt-a-whirl slam by Reigns for two. Reigns sent Bryan head first into the mat, Reigns stared at Edge and Edge told Bryan to focus on Bryan. Reigns hit a suplex for two. Bryan tried to get some momentum going, but Reigns stomped on Bryan to keep him down. Reigns slapped on a headlock, Bryan got back up, Reigns sent Bryan to the apron and Reigns hit an uppercut punch to knock down Bryan on the floor. Reigns whipped Bryan into the barricade and Roman broke the referee’s count. Bryan with kicks to the ribs and Reigns sent Bryan into the ring post. They went back into the ring with Reigns getting a two count. Reigns with another suplex for two. Reigns was talking about how Bryan won’t acknowledge him. Reigns whipped Bryan into the turnbuckle, but then Bryan did a drop toehold to send Reigns into the turnbuckle. Bryan with a running corner dropkick. Bryan went for a hurricanrana off the top, but Reigns blocked it with Reigns walking into the ring right into a Boston Crab submission. That was a cool spot there as Bryan countered into an inside cradle for two. Bryan ran off the ropes leading to a clothesline as both guys were down in the ring.

Bryan with kicks to the legs, but Reigns stopped him with a knee to the ribs. Bryan avoided a charging Reigns and sent Reigns over the top to the floor. Bryan went for an attack over the top, but Reigns countered into a powerslam. Bryan managed to send Reigns into the ring post. Bryan hit a running knee attack off the apron onto Reigns on the floor. Back in the ring, Bryan hit a knee drop off the top onto the left arm/shoulder of Reigns. Bryan went up top, Reigns was back up and Bryan hit a missile dropkick for a two count. Bryan with the Yes Kicks to the body to the chest and legs of Reigns. Bryan’s big kick was caught by Reigns, who drove Bryan to the turnbuckle. Reigns decked Bryan with an uppercut punch along with knee strikes. Bryan kicked the left shoulder of Reigns. Bryan countered a Powerbomb with a hurricanrana followed by a kick to the head. Bryan with a roundhouse kick to the head for a two count. Bryan held the arms of Reigns as he stomped away on the face of Reigns. Bryan slapped on the Yes Lock submission on the left arm/shoulder that Bryan worked on for most of the match. When Reigns got close to the ropes, Bryan applied the Yes Lock submission again. Reigns used his right hand to break Bryan’s grip on Roman’s head. Reigns got back into the dominant position with punches and forearm smashes. Reigns hit a Powerbomb for a two count. Reigns charged, but Bryan hit him with a knee. Bryan with a running knee, Reigns moved and Bryan hit referee Dan Engler, who bumped out of the ring to the floor. Good bump by the referee.

Reigns hit a Spear on Bryan, so Edge went into the ring to count the pin. Bryan kicked out at two. Edge was the referee now. Reigns with punches and forearms, but Bryan came back with a Triangle Choke submission. Reigns punched his way out of it and then Bryan was able to apply the Yes Lock submission again. Bryan had Reigns nearly ready to tap out, but then Jey Uso showed up in the ring with a superkick on Edge. Jey hit a superkick on Bryan as well. Jey sent Edge shoulder first into the ring post. Jey tried to hit Bryan with the chair, but Bryan avoided it and Bryan hit Jey with a running knee. Bryan hit Jey repeatedly with the steel chair to the back. Bryan saw the referee on the floor, so Bryan charged at Roman with the chair and Reigns moved. Bryan hit Edge with the chair in the right arm. Reigns with a Superman Punch to Bryan. After selling that for a bit, Bryan slapped on the Yes Lock on Reigns again with Reigns looking like he was going to tap out or pass out. Reigns tapped Bryan’s hand as a tap out, so that should lead to Bryan winning the match. Edge didn’t see it or refused to acknowledge it, so Edge hit Bryan with a steel chair to the body! Edge hit Reigns with the chair as well. Edge hit Bryan another time with the chair! Edge was freaking out about getting hit with the chair and yelling about how it was supposed to be his time. Edge left the ring. A new official went into the ring, so Reigns covered Bryan to win the match at 30:02. Since Bryan was hit by two chair shots while Reigns was hit once, the idea is that Bryan was more beat up.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ****1/4 This was a great match with a chaotic final five minutes. I don’t feel like rating it higher because of all the craziness at the end of the match, but I really liked the majority of the match. That’s not a surprise. It was a slow-paced match with Reigns using his power moves while Bryan kept on going for submission holds. I liked the spot with Bryan going for the Yes Lock, then Reigns got out of that and Bryan went to the Yes Lock again with Reigns powering out of it. Later on, Bryan was able to get the tap out from Reigns although there was no referee there to see it. That’s when Edge changed the course of the match by hitting Bryan and Reigns with the steel chair. Edge thought Bryan did it on purpose even though it was just an accident from Bryan, but that’s what ended up helping Reigns win the match. I thought from a performance standpoint, Bryan reminded us why he is truly one of the best wrestlers in the world. It wasn’t a carry job by any means because Reigns was terrific too. I just thought that Bryan was exceptional here. It’s a nice reminder of how amazing Bryan is when he gets a chance to have those big matches.

Here was my prediction before the match and I also mentioned it in our preview of the show.

Analysis: I think I nailed that perfectly. It’s because they kept on talking about Reigns not tapping out, so I figured it has to happen.

Reigns celebrated with the Universal Title while the announcers mentioned Reigns vs. Edge at WrestleMania. Bryan was down in the ring while Reigns celebrated some more. That was it.

Analysis: There are some fans that think they might do a triple threat at WrestleMania. I don’t know. I was recently told Reigns vs. Edge was the plan, but things could always change. The way this was booked does make it seem like they might go with a triple threat. Daniel Bryan is my favorite wrestler in WWE, but I prefer singles matches. With that said, it would be a very good match.

UPDATE: After the show was over, the news came out that the plan is to do a triple threat at WrestleMania now. I wrote up a news post on it here.

This event had a runtime of 2:44:14 on WWE Network.

Five Stars of the Show

1. Daniel Bryan – He lost, but he was the best performer on the show.

2. Drew McIntyre

3. Roman Reigns

4. Sheamus

5. Seth Rollins

Final Thoughts

I’m going with a 6.5 out of 10 for this show.

It was just an average (or slightly above) pay-per-view with two great matches in McIntyre-Sheamus and Reigns-Bryan while Rollins/Nakamura was just good. The other matches were just average or worse. The first hour was bad. I’d skip that part instead of watching it again. I do recommend checking out McIntyre vs. Sheamus and Reigns vs. Bryan because they really were excellent matches that saved the show from being really bad. I’m also patting myself on the back for nailing the Reigns/Bryan finish perfectly in our preview. I got several things right, but that one made me happy because it was a ref bump involved with it.

There were plenty of things that helped set up WrestleMania matches in three weeks, which was expected throughout the show. That included the return of The Fiend in a weird-looking outfit as he helped Alexa Bliss beat Randy Orton in a short “match” if you want to call it that. I had high expectations for Big E vs. Crews, but it had a bad finish and then Crews attacked post match, so that will continue going into WrestleMania.

I thought it would have been a better show overall, but some of the booking hurt. I did enjoy McIntyre/Sheamus and Reigns/Bryan a lot, though, so those matches did live up to expectations.

Here’s my ranking of WWE PPVs in 2021 so far.

Royal Rumble (January 31) – 8

Elimination Chamber (February 21) – 7.25

Fastlane – 6.5


Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below.


Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook