WWE Fastlane 2021 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

WWE Fastlane 2021 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

0 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    We're three weeks away from WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11 but before we get to the biggest show of the year, we had Sunday's WWE Fastlane pay-per-view.

    Roman Reigns defended the Universal Championship against Daniel Bryan in the main event, with Edge serving as a special guest enforcer in an attempt to limit any outside interference.

    Both midcard belts were up for grabs when Big E put the Intercontinental Championship on the line against Apollo Crews, and Riddle defended the United States title against Mustafa Ali.

    Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks challenged Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler for the Women's Tag Team Championships, Alexa Bliss faced Randy Orton, Seth Rollins battled Shinsuke Nakamura, and Sheamus went to war with Drew McIntyre in a No Holds Barred match. 

    Let's look at each match from Sunday's PPV to see if Fastlane was worth the price of admission. 

Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali (U.S. Title)

1 of 8

    The Kickoff featured Riddle defending the United States Championship against Mustafa Ali in a rematch from Monday's Raw. 

    They started with a standard exchange before picking up the pace as Riddle took control. The rest of Retribution watched as Ali berated them following a successful counter. 

    Ali dished out a lot of punishment as he tried to wear Riddle down. The champion eventually found the will to make a comeback, but Ali countered the Broton from the top rope with a pair of knees. 

    The Original Bro broke out of a Koji clutch and hit Bro Derek from the middle rope for the win to retain his title.

    Ali yelled at his followers and Reckoning walked out on him. She was soon followed by Slapjack, while T-Bar and Mace ended up attacking the group's leader with a double chokeslam. 

    Grade: B



    Riddle and Ali had a good match on Raw and this was a worthy follow-up. They had nice chemistry as opponents and paced themselves well. 

    This was some of the most aggressive work we have seen from Ali since he turned heel and joined Retribution. What was surprising was how little the group tried to help him. 

    The breakup of the stable is best for everyone. Mia Yim has been criminally underused during this storyline, and everyone else has just been playing pawns.

    Seeing how everyone is used after this will give us a good idea of who will stick around and who might head back to NXT. 

Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair (Tag Titles)

2 of 8

    The first match on the main card saw Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defend the women's tag team titles against Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks.

    Banks and Belair used quick tags and double-team moves to take control of Baszler right away. As soon as The Queen of Spades had the upper hand, Jax tagged herself in. 

    The champions isolated The EST of WWE in their corner for a few minutes while they wore her down. Reginald cheered on Jax and Baszler from ringside. The Boss tagged in and almost won with the Bank Statement on Baszler before Jax broke up the hold by shoving Belair into them. 

    This caused an argument between the challengers that led to Baszler winning with a roll-up. Banks slapped Belair and walked away before The EST could react. 

    Grade: C+



    The first couple of minutes had a fast pace, which led to Belair making a couple of minor mistakes. Corey Graves even mentioned one of them and cited her inexperience as a reason for the flub. 

    The booking of this match was predictable. We all knew Banks and Belair would not win the titles, and it was always going to end with them at each other's throats. 

    The action as good but could have been better. The early slips weren't a huge factor in the overall grade, though. 

Big E vs. Apollo Crews (IC Title)

3 of 8

    As soon as the ref called for the bell, Big E and Apollo Crews were throwing punches. The champ put his rival on the apron and knocked him off with a huge Spear through the ropes. 

    He hit a big splash on the apron while talking as much trash as possible. Big E threw him across the ring with a couple of belly-to-belly suplexes, but Crews answered back with a trio of German suplexes. 

    Crews and E tried to do a pin reversal spot that ended up looking horrible and made the end of the match appear sloppy and inconsistent with what we have seen from these two so far.

    Big E retained, but it was hard to tell who had won at first. 

    Grade: C-



    Big E and Crews have made this into one of the best feuds on SmackDown. Even with Crews' new accent being a bit confusing, they have managed to keep us invested.

    The way Big E dominated the early minutes of the match made him look great, and the way Crews rebounded was just as good. But the ending ruined everything they had built up. 

    Botches happen but when something is this bad, it sticks out. It's tough to say if the blame falls more on the ref or the Superstars. Either way, what could have been the best match of the night ended with a whimper. 

    Everything leading to the finish was great, but the way it ended is all people will remember. 

Braun Strowman vs. Elias

4 of 8

    After suffering an injury during a training session, Shane McMahon talked Elias into replacing him in his match against Braun Strowman. 

    Jaxson Ryker tried to protect Elias at one point but it did nothing to prevent The Monster Among Men from destroying him.

    The singer did hit a DDT and elbow drop for a two-count, but Strowman recovered to hit his signature powerslam for the win. 

    Grade: C-



    WWE.com had this match listed on Monday but removed it by Tuesday, so it was hard to tell if we would actually see Strowman on the PPV until it happened.

    Putting Elias in to take the loss is a decent heel move by McMahon, but it didn't make this any better. We have seen Strowman and Elias fight several times over the past year.

    The Monster Among Men gained nothing from this win while the musician continues to fall into irrelevancy. 

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins

5 of 8

    Shinsuke Nakamura had a quick exchange with Riddle backstage before he and Rollins met in the ring for their match. They locked up, and Rollins applied a side headlock.

    Nakamura countered and taunted Rollins to sucker him in for a kick to the gut. The Messiah slammed his head into the announce table to turn the tide in his favor. He scored a near-fall with a gutbuster. 

    Rollins ranted about Cesaro swinging him around 22 times on a recent edition of SmackDown. As the match progressed, they started to pick up steam.

    The Messiah was victorious with a Stomp.

    Grade: B+



    This lacked some of the physicality of their previous encounters, but they ramped it up more as the match progressed. Up until this point in the show, this was the best bout by a mile.

    Rollins is good as a heel but his character is poorly defined right now. Is he still a Messiah or just a cocky bad guy? We didn't get much of an answer here.

    Nakamura could use some wins but just having a singles bout on a PPV is a step in the right direction. Rollins will likely battle Cesaro at WrestleMania, though, leaving The Artist to fend for himself. 

Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus

6 of 8

    Drew McIntyre and Sheamus met for a No Holds Barred match to settle their differences. The Scot came out wearing blue-and-white facepaint like William Wallace to show he was ready for battle.

    The Scottish Warrior threw the first punch to start the action. He took control and clotheslined Sheamus over the top rope to the floor. When he tried to follow, the Irishman tripped him on the apron. The Scot recovered and sent him into the ring post. 

    They fought at ringside for a long time and began to bring weapons into the equation. Sheamus and McIntyre unloaded on each other with kendo sticks, and both men began to show signs of bruising right away.

    Sheamus tried to retreat, but his former best friend caught him and brought the fight into the crowd area among the LED screens. They got onto an elevated area, and Sheamus was sent crashing into some of the screens to cause a small explosion. 

    The Celtic Warrior nailed a Brogue Kick as they approached the ring again. He grabbed McIntyre on the barricade and put him through a table with White Noise. Sheamus was bleeding from his back from the impact. 

    The Scottish Warrior was able to hit a DDT and a Claymore for the win. 

    Grade: A



    This match was as brutal and physical as everybody expected it to be. These are two bruisers who are more than willing to take as much punishment as they dish out.

    Sheamus and McIntyre's long friendship allows them to bring out the best in each other. They have a special connection as opponents that can't be faked.

    It's too bad this couldn't have been a title match because it would have helped strengthen McIntyre's reign as WWE champion, but it was awesome from start to finish. 

Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton

7 of 8

    After weeks of being tormented by Alexa Bliss, Randy Orton finally agreed to face her in a match at Fastlane. As The Viper waited for his opponent, he began to cough up the same black substance we have seen in recent weeks. 

    Bliss stood in the corner and when the bell rang, she shot some fireballs at him. He ran at her, but she dodged the hit and he crashed into the ring post. 

    Orton tried to follow her around the ring until a piece of lighting equipment almost fell on him. She shot another fireball in his direction, but he managed to avoid it. The ring was then cut open behind him and a hand emerged to grab his foot.

    The Fiend appeared with a partially melted mask and a new outfit. Bliss pushed Orton into his arms for Sister Abigail. She covered him to get the win. 

    Grade: Incomplete



    You are either on board for this crazy ride or you're not. There is no middle ground with this storyline and that is what has made it so controversial among fans. 

    Bliss, Orton and The Fiend have been doing their best to sell everything, but some segments don't work as well as WWE wants them to. This might be one of those times.

    There was no wrestling to speak of because this was all about the story. Judge it how you want because there is no analytical way to assess this bout. 

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan (Universal Title)

8 of 8

    The main event of the night saw Edge serve as the ringside enforcer for Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan's match for the universal title. 

    Bryan got in the first real hit when he backed Reigns to the corner and kicked the inside of his leg. They locked up again, and The Tribal Chief overpowered him and hit a cheap shot. Bryan smiled as he got back to his feet. 

    The Yes! Man started to taunt Reigns with his quickness and kept trying to take him down at his legs. The Tribal Chief called for a test of strength, but Bryan pulled him down into an armbar and forced him to reach for the ropes to break the hold. 

    Reigns grew tired of Bryan's stick-and-move technique, so he grabbed him by the head and dragged him to the mat. The Yes! Man countered into a submission that focused on his opponent's arms. 

    The champ hit a big tilt-a-whirl slam for a two-count and talked some trash to Edge after sending Bryan to the floor. The challenger made a comeback and hit a few Yes Kicks in the corner. Reigns blocked a hurricanrana and applied a Boston Crab. 

    Bryan escaped and started trading strikes with Reigns. He sent the champ into the ring post and nailed him with a running knee from the apron. He eventually put Reigns in the Yes Lock and pulled him back to the middle of the ring. The Tribal Chief powered out of it and beat Bryan down with a flurry of strikes.

    Bryan kicked out of a powerbomb and both men struggled to get back to their feet. Reigns avoided a running knee and Bryan took out the ref instead. Edge got in the ring and made the count after a Spear, but Bryan kicked out again. He put Reigns in a triangle choke and transitioned into the Yes Lock. 

    Jey Uso came out of nowhere to deliver superkicks to Edge and Bryan. He sent The Rated-R Superstar into the post before Bryan took him out with a running knee.

    The Yes! Man picked up the chair Uso brought and used it against him. He tried to hit Reigns but hit Edge by mistake. He put The Tribal Chief back in the Yes Lock, but nobody was there to see the champion tap.

    Edge grabbed the chair and took out both men with vicious shots to the back. A new official arrived to count the pin and declare Reigns the winner. 

    Grade: A



    What a match.

    This was a different Bryan than we are used to seeing. Even as the underdog, he appeared confident and even overzealous at times as he taunted Reigns during the first half of the contest.

    The way they structured this was great because Bryan never felt like he was out of the fight. Even with Reigns being as dominant as he is, The Yes! Man's pure skill makes him a threat to anyone. The way WWE has conveyed that fact has been effective during this feud. 

    This had a lot of twists and turns but never felt overbooked. The use of Uso and Edge opens up the possibility for Bryan to be added to the WrestleMania title match with Edge and Reigns if he pleads his case to management.

    After a rocky first half, Fastlane ended up closing out the show with some solid wrestling. The card for WrestleMania is still not set in stone, but we do have some idea of what it will look like.