WWE Fastlane 2021 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points
WWE Fastlane was the final pit stop on The Road to WrestleMania and the company's last big chance to set the tone for the biggest event of the year.
Unfortunately, the build was lackluster and the card felt like more of a bump in the road rather than a major attraction.
Is that how things played out? Did WWE start its relationship with Peacock with a complete waste of time or were there a lot of positives to make this a decent show?
Presented in order of appearance, here are the highlights and low points from Fastlane 2021.
Full Match Results
WWE Fastlane 2021 results
- Riddle defeated Mustafa Ali by pinfall to retain the United States Championship.
- Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeated Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks by pinfall to retain the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship.
- Big E defeated Apollo Crews by pinfall to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
- Braun Strowman defeated Elias by pinfall.
- Seth Rollins defeated Shinsuke Nakamura by pinfall.
- No Holds Barred match: Drew McIntyre defeated Sheamus by pinfall.
- Alexa Bliss defeated Randy Orton by pinfall.
- Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan by pinfall to retain the Universal Championship.
Low Points: Glitches on Peacock
In an ideal world, WWE and Peacock would have sorted out the entire library of content and all the same features subscribers have been used to for years long before this soft launch.
Unfortunately, that's nowhere close to what happened.
We knew ahead of time some of the problems, but it appears others have had even more glitches and headaches with their first time using the platform.
Looking at the replies to Peacock's Twitter account shows many viewers had issues with a lag of up to two minutes behind the WWE Network version of the stream on top of the frustrations of not being able to pause, rewind or start from the beginning.
Some even dealt with severe quality dips in the resolution, with their screens appearing more like 480p than a crisp 1080p video.
It was assumed this would be a problematic launch, but low expectations aren't excuses. Hopefully, WWE and Peacock have all these issues and more sorted out prior to WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11, or there will be an even more negative response from the WWE Universe.
Highlight: Retribution Disbands
From its very start, Retribution was a flawed concept. WWE didn't appear to have fleshed out enough of the idea and was searching for a direction for weeks.
Eventually landing on names such as Slapjack, Reckoning, T-Bar and Mace was a poor answer, and the group quickly found itself losing nearly every week on Raw.
There was an injection of potential when Mustafa Ali took over as group leader, but that also fizzled out soon enough. Now, it seems this faction has been put out to pasture after the stable turned on Ali after his defeat to Riddle on the Kickoff show.
This is a good thing. They are all talented Superstars who have proved in the past they have more to offer than being grunts who cosplay as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.
There's no telling which direction the group members will each take next, but if it involves going back to being Mia Yim, Dominik Dijakovic et al, this segment will have been the mercy killing they needed.
Low Point: Women's Tag Team Championship Match
WWE has gotten far too comfortable repeating segments and matches to simply fill up time and stretch things out. The women's tag team title match was another example of that lack of creativity.
Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair lost a match against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler at the last pay-per-view, Elimination Chamber, so t wasn't necessary to see it happen again.
If something more interesting had happened during this segment, it might have been saved. Instead, it was a copy and paste of what we had already seen, only this time Banks slapped Belair.
A generic match leading up to the most obvious outcome isn't something to rave about. Fans already knew the two were fighting at WrestleMania 37. All of this could have been done a month ago, and the story could have taken a more interesting direction.
There are now just three weeks until The Show of Shows, and Banks and Belair are only just starting to truly feud.
Low Point: Big E vs. Apollo Crews
Big E has already defeated Apollo Crews numerous times, but WWE keeps hitting the repeat button.
This should have been the end of their feud. There was enough bad blood that Big E deserved to get some payback, Crews should have won the title or any kind of finality should have taken place.
Instead, just as this match was picking up steam, it ended with an awkward pin reversal that came off more like a botch than a well-executed twist no one saw coming.
Worse, it appears this is just another means to repeat this match again, as Crews was adamant this isn't over and the odd finish implies at least one more contest is down the line.
If the television shows are meant to build to pay-per-views and the PPVs accomplish nothing, then none of the programming matters.
Low Point: Braun Strowman vs. Elias
Wires got crossed or WWE purposely tried to mess with fans in regards to the Shane McMahon-Braun Strowman match that was originally scheduled.
The contest was taken off the website but remained advertised elsewhere. Then, an angle was done to write the WWE producer out of the fight through injury.
Unfortunately, all this led to was Elias being named McMahon's replacement, which amounted to a generic match that wouldn't have made a highlight reel even on an episode of Raw, let alone a pay-per-view.
Nothing happened to push the angle. McMahon didn't reveal it was a ruse or attack Strowman, who didn't win strongly enough to get a credibility boost.
This was another waste of time.
Highlight: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
In the grand scheme of things, Seth Rollins defeating Shinsuke Nakamura isn't going to be particularly memorable. But within the bubble of this disappointing PPV, it was definitely a high point.
Simplicity is key. These two talented athletes were able to put on the best performance of the night by that point and do what needed to be done.
This was about Rollins getting a win over Cesaro's former tag team partner and friend. After being away for a few months, a win like this reminds audiences that The Messiah is a top-notch wrestler. And Nakamura put up enough of a fight to prove his worth.
It was basic but effective. On a PPV with as many negatives as this, the simplest positives look even better.
Highlight: No Holds Barred Match
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus are capable of a much better No Holds Barred match than they had on Sunday, but this was still a better part of the night.
At the very least, the right Superstar won. There would be no need for The Celtic Warrior to get momentum heading into WrestleMania over the No. 1 contender, so the Scot's victory was logical.
The White Noise onto the commentary table was decent, as was the spot where several ThunderDome screens were taken out and rigged with pyro.
It doesn't feel like this is a fitting end to a bitter rivalry, though. Sometimes, good enough is good enough, and that's it.
Highlight: Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton
It was clear from the outset what this segment would be. If you're grading unpredictability as a major factor, this was a low point.
If you ignore how obvious this would play out, though, it was an interesting display of special effects.
As evidenced by All Elite Wrestling's Exploding Barbed Wire deathmatch at Revolution, gimmicks can go awry. This could have been a laughing stock, but WWE managed to pull it off rather well.
The flames that popped up to stop Randy Orton from charging after Alexa Bliss were unexpected, and the fireball she threw at him didn't look bad, either. One of the better moments was the lighting rig almost landing on The Viper.
The key to this was that WWE wanted footage of The Fiend returning, which we'll see in recaps every week going forward. That goal was accomplished, and Bray Wyatt's charred outfit looked cool.
This feud arguably never needed to happen and has limped along for much of the time, but WWE crossed the point of no return weeks ago and had to commit at this point. Thankfully, this was a step forward.
Highlight: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
The Universal Championship match was exactly what it had to be: a rock-solid main event.
Daniel Bryan is at his best when he's the underdog you can root for. He had fire and intensity, playing up his speed and technical skills to counter the champion's power game. The more knees to the head that he hit and reversals he slipped into, the greater the chances became that Roman Reigns could be overthrown.
It also meant when The Tribal Chief hung on, fought back and retained the title, he had earned it over a battered and bloodied Bryan.
Of course, that didn't come without its own controversy. Bryan inadvertently smacking Edge with a steel chair, only for The Rated-R Superstar to strike back while Reigns was tapping shrouds the future of this program in uncertainty.
However, that gets people interested in what the next step for this feud will be. Is Bryan going to work his way into a Triple Threat at WrestleMania 37, and when will he get payback on Edge?
When a good match ends with something positive to talk about, that's a win.
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.