Final Picks for Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan and WWE Fastlane 2021 Card
WWE will make its debut on Peacock with Sunday's Fastlane pay-per-view.
Sadly, despite how WWE should have pulled out all the stops to make sure this event looked unmissable and the perfect lead-in for WrestleMania 37, the card isn't too impressive.
It revolves around a series of rematches and feuds that will undoubtedly be stalled, with the real outcomes happening in several weeks' time at Raymond James Stadium.
For the most part, this looks like a show you can skip, read the results online and check out any decent clips on YouTube instead of catching it live.
Still, it does have potential to shake things up for the biggest show of the year. So before the pay-per-view begins, let's go through one final round of picks and predictions for WWE Fastlane 2021.
No Holds Barred Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
Nothing is on the line in this match, which is a shame. WWE missed an opportunity to make it a No. 1 contender's match so that at least a few fans would question whether The Celtic Warrior could get in the title hunt.
Instead, it's already been announced that Drew McIntyre will fight Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, which spoils this match's outcome.
There is no way The Scottish Warrior loses this. Sheamus lost to Lashley on Raw, and a win here would do more harm to McIntyre than good for The Alabaster Gladiator.
This exists to give McIntyre a momentum boost as he puts down his former best friend and moves on with only Lashley in his sights.
At the very least, because it is No Holds Barred, it should be a tough contest between two brutes.
Prediction: McIntyre wins.
Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton
There is absolutely no way this is an actual match. WWE wouldn't book Randy Orton to hit his scoop slams and off-the-rope DDTs on Alexa Bliss. Nor will she be going for Twisted Bliss on The Legend Killer.
This will be a glorified promo segment wherein Bliss and Orton stare at each other, the lights will go haywire and The Fiend returns.
Bray Wyatt will either put down Orton quickly or the two will fight for a while to eat up time on the show. The whole thing will be thrown out either as a disqualification win for Orton or a no-contest.
This is all about setting up The Fiend's appearance and creating footage to be replayed on Raw before they settle on whatever type of rematch they are having against each other at WrestleMania.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E vs. Apollo Crews
Big E vs. Apollo Crews is a hard match to predict. There are viable arguments for either Superstar to walk out with the Intercontinental Championship.
The case for Big E is that he's beaten Crews several times and is the bigger star, so it would make sense for him to defend the title at WrestleMania.
However, Crews just had a character facelift with his heel turn, shift in accent and bodyguards. This new-found aggression and motivation could close that gap and allow him to finally get one over on the champion.
It's a question of whether WWE sees more value in Crews' rejuvenated persona or keeping the belt on The New Day's heavyweight.
When in doubt, the champion's advantage favors Big E, although this one is close.
Prediction: Big E wins.
Women's Tag Team Championship Match
Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair skipped past Lana and Naomi for a title shot at Elimination Chamber, only to come up short. Despite that, for some reason they are getting another chance to win the Women's Tag Team Championship.
This rematch screams of WWE not knowing what to do with The Boss and her challenger for WrestleMania more than having a game plan involving Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. The tag team champions are only here to play foils to the two babyfaces so neither Banks nor Belair looks too villainous.
Most likely, The Boss will turn on The EST of WWE and cost them the match to make a statement about how she will beat her at WrestleMania. At worst, the titles will change hands, only for Jax and Baszler to win them back on SmackDown.
This isn't about the tag titles. It isn't even about Reginald, who has been one of the focal points in the SmackDown Women's Championship picture for months.
The only goal is to force Banks and Belair to start fighting each other.
Prediction: Baszler and Jax retain.
United States Championship Match: Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali
Riddle already defeated Mustafa Ali to retain the United States Championship on the most recent Monday Night Raw. There is no reason to believe he will drop the title in their rematch.
Ali didn't earn a second chance at the belt. He merely asked for it.
In other years, when WWE wasn't trying to double-dip matches to take up more air time, this would have been only one match on the pay-per-view rather than contested twice in the same week.
Of course, there's still a chance the title changes hands. There always is. The story WWE may want to tell with this match is that Ali has been so down on Retribution for its perpetual failures that Mace, T-Bar, Slapjack and Reckoning interfere to cost Riddle this match.
However, it's just as likely that Riddle simply beats Ali again, adding to his frustrations.
Prediction: Riddle retains.
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
A few years back, Shinsuke Nakamura was a Royal Rumble winner on the road to possibly winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. This time, he's a stepping stone to further another feud.
This is all leading to Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro at Raymond James Stadium. Nakamura is here because he's Cesaro's former tag team partner whom Rollins can beat along the way.
Rollins may have to resort to underhand tactics to win if WWE wants to keep Nakamura's credibility from taking too much of a hit, but a loss to a multi-time world champion isn't something to be ashamed of.
Nakamura will be fine if he loses, but if Rollins comes up short, he will have too much ground to cover in too short an amount of time to help sell the idea he could beat Cesaro at WrestleMania 37.
Prediction: Rollins wins.
Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
Stranger things have happened, but it's highly unlikely Daniel Bryan dethrones The Tribal Chief this close to WrestleMania after so much attention has been given to Roman Reigns vs. Edge.
The leader of the Yes Movement is always a threat to become world champion, but in this situation, he's likely more of a stepping stone than a major factor in the WrestleMania match itself.
Reigns has a track record of besting Bryan too. He beat him at Elimination Chamber in February and also in a more fair contest at Fastlane in 2015.
Whether Jey Uso or special guest enforcer and No. 1 contender Edge get tangled up in the action to cause enough of a distraction Reigns can capitalize on or this is a straight-up victory for SmackDown's Big Dog, the Universal Championship should stay where it's at.
Prediction: Reigns retains his title.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.