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411’s WWE Fastlane Preview

March 21, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE Fastlane

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WWE Fastlane 2021 preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas as always, and it’s time to take a look at — well, frankly what is barely a PPV. It might seem odd for some people that the company is holding a PPV just a couple weeks before WrestleMania, but it makes more sense when you consider that the WWE Network in the US just jumped to Peacock. Obviously WWE wants their WrestleMania experience to go as smoothly as possible, so this show can let them work the kinks out before the April shows. That may suck in terms of storylines, but it’s a rational reason to run a live event and if it means that ‘Mania is smoother than it otherwise would have been on the streaming side, I’m all for it. Anyway, we have a decent number of matches that all have pretty foregone conclusions in terms of results, so let’s jump right in, shall we?

Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon

Starting out with this one, it’s important to note that this match is not currently listed on WWE.com, and hasn’t been since Wednesday. That said, it was apparently mentioned during Smackdown, so it is assumedly still on. The build to this match has been…off, to say the least. Shane McMahon has been delivering promos that are apparently purposefully meandering to get people to boo him over Braun, and Braun hasn’t done anything much to Shane as a result yet. In fact, he lost a “match” to Shane on Raw and ultimately got slimed in the process. I really hope that they’re rethinking doing this match and holding off until WrestleMania so they can get a better build over the next couple of weeks. But if not, I have to assume that Shane somehow gets a win again here, because you have to believe that the endgame is Braun winning and I don’t see how Shane gets involved in a feud just before WrestleMania that ends in a match on the nothing PPV just before. The only other option is Shane running away to give the match essentially a no-finish, but the ‘E’s booking has generally been to dig the babyfaces as big a hole as possible before the inevitable win, so I’m predicting a Shane win here.

WINNER: Shane McMahon

Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

This match was announced on Friday’s Smackdown, set up as Seth Rollins feuds with Cesaro over the latter being the guy who Rollins focused on for walking away from his inspirational speech to the roster upon his return. It feels very much like the stopgap feud it is, put in place to give Rollins something to do in his rivalry with Cesaro by beating Nakamura on the way to their WrestleMania match. At one point earlier this year it looked like Nakamura might be getting a big push, but that spot has instead gone to his tag team partner and Cesaro is certainly one of the guys that has been deserving of a spotlight for a long time. This match has the potential to be a lot of fun as both men can obviously go, though they also have the potential for disappointing efforts has has seen in the past. I’m optimistic that they’ll be able to meet expectations here, though the result isn’t really in doubt.

WINNER: Seth Rollins

Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton

Listen, I know that the Alexa Bliss and Fiend vs. Randy Orton storyline isn’t everyone’s favorite feud by a country mile. A lot of people are unhappy with this whole thing, and I understand the complaints. I adore it. Bliss has been really stepping up as a character, something we’ve always known that she’s good at but she’s been on a next level here. And say what you want about the goofy stuff Orton has had to do, he’s definitely been motivated and a motivated Viper is an enjoyable Viper to watch. Obviously, WWE isn’t going to have an actual match of any real caliber here. We know how hesitant they are about intergender matches, and if they were going to do one it wouldn’t be between Orton and Bliss. But that just means we can sit back and watch the ridiculousness soar. I don’t want workrate out of this; I want an entertaining, ludicrous spectacle and I expect that we’ll get that. Either way, this is obviously leading to The Fiend’s return for a WrestleMania match. While they could wait to have The Fiend return at ‘Mania, it’s hard to believe that with three weeks left of TV before the big PPV that they will keep this strictly between Orton and Alexa. Either Alexa turns into the Fiend and defeats Orton, it ends in a non-finish where the Fiend appears, or Orton defeats Alexa as the miniboss only to have The Fiend appear after the match and lay Orton out. I don’t see them giving either side an actual win here, so I’m going with the latter. Either way, this should be fun (and hated by a lot of people).

WINNER: No-Contest

No Holds Barred Match
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre

Here we have another stopgap feud on the road to WrestleMania, where the endgame is clearly to have Drew McIntyre face Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship. It’s been a fairly entertaining intermediate feud at least; Sheamus and McIntyre work off of each other well. And while like many of Sheamus’ feuds it seems like it has gone on a bit long, there’s still enough gas left in the tank for this all-out brawl. Both men have the style to pull off a match like this well, and there’s every probability that this will be an enjoyable big man battle. But it’s also another foregone conclusion. McIntyre isn’t going to go into his match with Lashley at WrestleMania with a loss to Sheamus, and it’s just that simple. The Scotsman prevails here and moves on.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre

WWE United States Championship Match
Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali

I’ve been on record as to say that I’m not a big fan of Riddle, who I think isn’t nearly as good as his hype claims. I am, however, a big fan of Mustafa Ali who has put forth a Herculean effort in trying to make RETRIBUTION work. It hasn’t worked, but that’s because no one could save this thing. As much as I like Ali and am lukewarm on Riddle, I sadly don’t see Ali being successful on his second try for the title here. The RETRIBUTION angle has been an abject failure, but it isn’t done yet and somehow WrestleMania seems to be the place for them to blow it off. They don’t need the title on Ali to make that happen, and Riddle’s title reign is still young. WWE will likely use an Ali loss here to finally have RETRIBUTION split in some fashion, leading to a match at WrestleMania. The match itself should be good as long as they don’t overbook it too much with shenanigans, but in the end we should still see a shoeless US Champion standing tall.

WINNER: Riddle (STILL WWE United States Champion)

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Big E vs. Apollo Crews

This is the hardest match on the card to predict. Big E. is rolling along as Intercontinental Champion and has been performing well in his push, enough that it doesn’t seem like he should be dropping the title. At the same time, Apollo Crews’ new heel turn and gimmick switch is pure fire and a loss immediately after would dampen that a bit. It very much feels like a match that neither man should be losing, and probably would have been better positioned on WrestleMania with a bit more time for Crews to develop and be built up before the match. But we’re getting it here, so c’est la vie. Of the two, I think that Crews needs the win more and Big E. can rebound better off a loss. In addition, a title change would let them set up a rematch (possibly with others in the mix if they feel like doing that) for WrestleMania, so my best guess — which I’m not totally confident on — is that Crews wins and we get the title change.

WINNER: Apollo Crews (NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion)

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair

Last month I said that I didn’t think that even WWE was going to be as cut and paste with their feuds as to literally transpose the Asuka and Charlotte Flair storyline onto Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair where they win the Tag Team Championships heading toward a WrestleMania match. Fortunately they didn’t; they just tool the bones and extended it further than it needed to be. Banks and Belair have been doing what they can to build their rivalry heading into their already-announced ‘Mania match, but Jax and Baszler’s involvement due to this build-up has diluted the whole thing a bit which is disappointing. That said, these four didn’t have a bad match at Elimination Chamber and I imagine it will be the same here. The result won’t be any different, of course; there’s no point in taking the titles off of Jax and Baszler and eliminating a possible title match from the ‘Mania card. The challengers will lose a passable match, and probably come to blows after to kick their feud into high gear during the final stretch to WrestleMania.

WINNER: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (STILL WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions)

WWE Universal Championship Match
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan (Special Guest Enforcer: Edge

Considering it’s been a pretty foregone conclusion that Roman Reigns isn’t losing his title until WrestleMania at the earliest, I’ve been impressed with how well WWE has managed to keep his storylines interesting. We already knew that Edge was challenging Roman Reigns at ‘Mania for the Universal Championship, and it would have been very easy just to throw a random challenger at Reigns here, or some kind of feud-building tag team match. Instead, they’ve been teasing the idea of Bryan perhaps joining the WrestleMania match to make it a triple threat bout. That means that while there’s no doubt that Reigns will win this match and walk away with the title, we do have a reason to be invested in this bout beyond the fact that it will likely be a very good one. Edge being the guest enforcer here telegraphs some involvement by him, and that could easily open up the way for Bryan to end up in the WrestleMania bout. To be clear, I’m not convinced that will happen but it’s the fact that it COULD happen that makes this interesting. It should be a really good match, though again there is no way Reigns doesn’t leave still the champion.

WINNER: Roman Reigns (STILL WWE Universal Champion)

And that’s all we have for Fastlane! This is a show of foregone conclusions and that’s perfectly fine as long as the matches can deliver, which many of them certainly have the potential to do. Anyway, thanks once again for reading, and remember that we will have live coverage of WWE Fastlane courtesy of the one and only Scott Slimmer, right here on 411mania.com. I’ve gotta go; Alexa Bliss looks like she’s ready to DM her latest D&D session and my warlock just leveled up!

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WWE Fastlane, Jeremy Thomas