From Sunday night’s WWE Fastlane pay-per-view on, it will be a 20-day sprint to the first night of WrestleMania 37. Three of the four major singles titles on Raw and SmackDown have their matches for WrestleMania 37 either locked in or coming into focus, and yet there are many questions left to be answered in less than three weeks.
The recent storyline chaos led to WrestleMania matches being locked in alongside Fastlane matches in recent weeks on Raw and SmackDown, and even with a few additions to the two-night WrestleMania card there are still just four confirmed matches currently set for April 10 and 11 at Raymond James Stadium.
Fastlane could even alter one of those matches, as the highest stakes contest of the night features Daniel Bryan challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal championship with Edge at ringside as a guest enforcer. Is Bryan’s creep into the world title conversation simple a diversion to kill some time ahead of WrestleMania? Or could he legitimately make a triple threat match a reality, even with a loss on Sunday?
There are three other title matches set for Fastlane, but let’s set aside Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler’s women’s tag title defense against Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair for a moment, as that seems tailor made to simply generate tension for the WrestleMania SmackDown women’s championship bout between Banks and Belair. Riddle and Mustafa Ali clash in a United States championship rematch, while Big E puts his Intercontinental title on the line against Apollo Crews in a conflict that got deeply personal in a hurry.
Finally, there are a trio of one-on-one clashes that project to be drastically different. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus settle their problems once and for all in a no holds barred match, while Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura square of in a wrestling purist’s dream. Then there’s the intergender match between Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton that could be the trigger point for the return of the long absent “Fiend” Bray Wyatt.
Follow along throughout the night as we break down the action, match by match.
Match in progress:
Recap to come.
It’s a shame that this match was relegated to the Fastlane Kickoff show for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the match itself, especially the last four minutes, was an incredible reminder of the talent that Ali and Riddle both possess. There was one particular sequence when a small package roll-up attempt by Ali was rolled through to Riddle standing up with Ali in his arms, picking Ali up and hitting a small package driver, straight into an Ali submission. To attempt it was ludicrous, to succeed and make it look that good was stunning.
There was barely a moment to catch your breath towards the end, and Riddle resorted to hitting his finishing maneuver, the Bro Derek, from the middle rope to win and retain.
Post-match, Retribution finally fell to pieces and turned their backs on Ali. Reckoning and Slapjack were first, and then Mace and T-Bar double chokeslammed Ali to remove any doubt.
HIGH JUSTICE for @AliWWE.
— WWE (@WWE) March 21, 2021
What’s next: Could Retribution continue without Ali? Sure. Should they? Absolutely not. Dominik Dijakovic (T-Bar), Mia Yim (Reckoning), Shane Thorne (Slapjack), and Dio Maddin (Mace) were saddled with a silly gimmick that Ali tried his hardest to save, but with no creative juice behind it and no major wins to speak of, it was left dead in the water. Each of them, especially Dijakovic and Yim, have incredible solo potential if given a fresh start.
As for Riddle, he’ll either have a multi-way match at WrestleMania, or dive head-first into something new on Monday night.
Still to come:
Universal championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
Intercontinental championship: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss
No Holds Barred: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura