Daniel Bryan's WWE Fastlane Epic Earns Him Spot in WrestleMania 37 Main Event

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2021


WWE almost assuredly just spoiled one of its main events at WrestleMania 37.

Sunday night at the Fastlane pay-per-view, Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan took part in a classic for the former's universal title—with a big assist from Edge

It was an edge-of-the-seat affair, no pun intended. Bryan and Reigns have some historical chemistry they have put to good use countless times. The implementation of Edge, downed referees, interferences and The Tribal Chief even tapping out but eventually winning made for a thriller. 

As expected given his consistently elite resume, Bryan made it all work. He was all over the place in the ring and gave a juggernaut of a champion all he could handle, even making him tap out. His well-established underdog character and mentality shone through yet again. It was 'Mania main event stuff, an exclamation point on his case for getting another shot at the title. 

And yet the WrestleMania 37 card has an issue: One of the main events is simply Reigns vs. Edge. 

There's almost no way that stands after Sunday night's classic. It wouldn't be a shock if less than a week from Sunday night, WWE announces in some fashion that Bryan has been added to the main event of The Show of Shows, making it a Triple Threat. 

Who could complain about something resembling a repeat? 

Bryan against Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania would have been good enough on its own. The former is an all-timer of a talent who can work literally anything, from beloved underdog to loud-mouthed environmentalist and beyond; the latter's current heel persona sitting in the spot usually reserved for a Brock Lesnar is so refreshing that any of his old feuds wouldn't feel like rehashes. 

Truthfully, Edge felt a bit ham-fisted into things in the first place. He's not a part-timer and were it not for an injury he suffered, he probably would have been around more on a full-time basis.

So it's a little unfair that it feels that way, but him going the distance in the men's Royal Rumble match to cement a spot at 'Mania felt a little forced, especially in a pandemic era when the company could be building up new long-term stars. 


Absolute CHAOS has taken over this #UniversalTitle match at #WWEFastlane! @WWERomanReigns @WWEDanielBryan @EdgeRatedR @WWEUsos @HeymanHustle ▶️ https://t.co/xLIqW8bMss https://t.co/JBRcE86flD

But adding Bryan to the match could remedy some of these concerns. He doesn't have to win by any means, but it appeases a large—and vocal—part of the fanbase. It really is the perfect balancing act, and the strong storytelling is right there. 

More importantly than covering all the bases when it comes to appealing to hardcore fans and drawing non-hardcore eyeballs, it just makes sense from an in-ring perspective.

Reigns and Bryan feel like they could put on classics every night of the week. Edge has looked good in the ring since his return and is the perfect tweener type to balance out Reigns' wickedness and Bryan's underdog role—how great was the flash of heel tendencies Sunday night when he ripped through both guys with a steel chair?

There's an underrated element at play to making it a Triple Threat match with these three, too: a title change. 

Part of the problem with just having Edge against Reigns straight-up at 'Mania is a title change would really hurt The Tribal Chief, the best thing to happen to the company in years since his long-awaited character shift. But The Rated-R Superstar can't really take a loss, either, not after his big return in front of fans, injury, re-return and men's Rumble match win. 


.@EdgeRatedR has SNAPPED, plain and simple. #WWEFastlane #UniversalTitle https://t.co/hnuCNIYTeB

Bryan is the pin-eater in this hypothetical exercise. Maybe this is too predictable, but Edge pinning him to win the title on The Grandest Stage of Them All would give the veteran his epic moment in front of at least a few fans, and Reigns would still look strong as he guns to get it back. 

So maybe that was the purpose of Fastlane's main event. It's usually a ho-hum pay-per-view that has a bunch of developments that could have easily fit on an episode of Raw or SmackDown. It's usually so "meh" that it didn't even happen in 2020. 

But WWE tossed a curveball of sorts Sunday night, leaning heavily into the talent of Bryan, arguably still the best on the planet right now. He did it all, working a fun match, combating the interference from Jey Uso, getting a bit heelish and advantageous with his use of a chair and even making the dominant heel champion tap (has Reigns ever tapped?).

What's more dangerous than a Bryan who can make the top guy in the company tap and a heel backed into a corner against two legends?

By the time 'Mania rolls around on April 10-11, should WWE make it a Triple Threat, the real match between these three could look totally different. The stakes would be even higher and the long-term ramifications more dramatic. 

Which is a really long way of simply saying things are just better when Bryan gets involved. A "Spear-off" that could have easily been Goldberg-Reigns now has the potential to instead be something that contends as a WrestleMania classic.

And all because WWE let Bryan do his thing at the little Fastlane pay-per-view before the year's biggest event.