Roundtable: WWE Fastlane Preview

WWE Fastlane takes place this Sunday and we have asked the Hooked On Wrestling team to submit their predictions for the announced matches on the card.

WWE Fastlane 2021

Credit: WWE

WWE Fastlane takes place this coming Sunday and we have asked the Hooked On Wrestling team to preview the five match card.

If you need to know more info about Fastlane, you can check out our handy explainer guide here.

Once you have read our preview, you can tell us your predictions and use your WWE knowledge to win swag! Our Fastlane prediction contest has a special prize for the winner – a brand new Toni Storm ‘Toni Time’ tee from WWE Euroshop. You can enter by clicking HERE.

So without further delay, our writers give their Fastlane thoughts below.

Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

Roman Reigns Fastlane Daniel Bryan
Credit: WWE

PAUL BENSON: This should be an incredible match both in terms of in ring action and story. Bryan has had a real fire lit under him since being placed in this story that started with his Elimination Chamber victory last month. As underdog, he already has a built in motivation, to right the injustice of Reigns taking advantage of his exhaustion to get an easy win at the previous PPV. Revenge is on his mind as well as the Universal title, with Reigns doing all he can to avoid Bryan. But the true genius of Reigns’ heel character is that although he does all he can to avoid a fair fight, when the chips are down he is actually a match for anyone in the ring. He will win here to establish his dominance over the SmackDown roster again. It probably won’t be totally clean and Bryan will take him to the limit, leading many of us to believe a shock is in store. But in the end, Reigns wins. This is going to be sensational.

Winner: Roman Reigns

CHRIS HATCH: In no way am I going to say this has been a bad build or won’t be a great match. It will be phenomenal. It just loses some of its shine for me as it feels a little too predictable and is only there to serve a purpose, rather than the focus being on the quality of the wrestlers. All I can see is a strong start from Bryan, looking like he could have Reigns on the ropes and making us actually believe, then absolute destruction for Reigns to retain the title and look strong going in to WrestleMania. More important than the match for me here is how they use it to give D-Bry something good to work with over the next few weeks.

Winner: Roman Reigns

CAMERON BENNETT: I am going against the grain here and I say Daniel Bryan. We’ve heard hearsay and rumour that Vince is shaking up his Wrestlemania plans to be BIGGER especially due to crowds coming back. So what’s bigger than Bryan winning the title thanks to inrerference from The Rock to claim the Head Of The Table.

Winner: Roman Reigns

JAMES DEE: Listen, I love Daniel Bryan with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns but there is no way Roman is dropping the title before the WrestleMania match with Edge. Don’t get me wrong, this is still going to be up there with the match of the night, Reigns and Bryan have chemistry for days, and Bryan will do what Bryan does best and make us forget for just a brief second that this is all a work. He will somehow make us believe that on a B+ PPV, just before WrestleMania, he will take home the gold, win the big one and go on to headline ‘Mania with one of the all time greats, but he will fall short and once again our hopes will be dashed against the table of the High Chief and we will love it.

HOW ABOUT...
On This Day In Wrestling History… April 22nd

Winner: Roman Reigns

Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews

Big E Apollo Crews
Credit: WWE

PAUL BENSON: If you like to see two big guys ‘Slapping Meat’ (Listen to The New Day’s podcast) then this is a match for you. Two strong athletes who can also move around the ring with a built in story to bring the heat. Good stuff all round. I am struggling to pick a winner here but as I mentioned on this week’s Hooked On Wrestling Show, the Intercontinental Championship is not the be all and end all in terms of helping guys up the card nowadays. I suspect Big E losing it will give us a hook for a match for that belt at WrestleMania. But then, logic really does dictate the babyface comes back from injury for the win. Hmmmm.

Winner: Big E

CHRIS HATCH: An excellent match despite the fact we’ve seen it many times before. Both will be ready to put on a good showing, and it’s a chance for Crews to showcase his new character on a pay-per-view level. However, it doesn’t feel like he’s on the fast track to WrestleMania and the fact that the character hasn’t been fully tested (or accepted) yet leads me to think you can’t have him taking the belt at this point. He’ll get there, but Big E walks out of this one with the title.

Winner: Big E

CAMERON BENNETT: Controversial opinion, I love the new Apollo Crews. And I feel he needs the win here to solidify his heel turn and make him a main player. Apollo wins via shenanigans.

Winner: Apollo Crews

JAMES DEE: This is really the only match that’s up in the air in my eyes. Big E hasn’t had the greatest run with the title just yet and is really still establishing himself as a singles presence, however Crews needs a big victory to really cement his new role and frankly I don’t think he has a lot of chances left. Nevertheless this should be a barnburner of Big Meaty Men Slapping Meat (TM) and I think at the end of the Day Crews is going to take the hard earned victory.

Winner: Apollo Crews

Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair

Sasha Banks Bianca Belair Nia Jax Shayna Baszler
Credit: WWE

PAUL BENSON: Not a fan of this match in any way, shape or form. For one, it is the standard ‘singles title match opponents tag up to facilitate a lazy build’ trope. Secondly, we saw the exact same match last month, complete with tension between the babyfaces. I’m still not convinced we don’t see a full Sasha Banks heel turn going into WrestleMania but if that isn’t the case, I fear Reginald might end up the most prominent figure in this match, which kind of makes my heart sink.

Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax

CHRIS HATCH: I just don’t buy it. Even as a setup for WrestleMania, just repeating what happened last month seems pointless. Granted we’ll likely get to see proper dissention between Banks and Belair rather than just the hints at it, but the match holds no significance and therefore gets lost in the ether. I feel sorry for Baszler in this, as she will probably gain the least from the match give the path she could be on given how highly she was seemingly thought of when she was brought up to the main roster.

Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax

CAMERON BENNETT: I have to go with Shayna and Nia, with Bianca and Sasha on their Wrestlemania collision course I can’t see them coexisting enough to win the titles. That being said, when did wrestling ever make sense?

HOW ABOUT...
On This Day In Wrestling History… April 19th

Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax

JAMES DEE: Belair and Banks are set for a collision course at WrestleMania and Baszler has too much history with Dakota Kai for her to drop the Women’s Tag Titles before getting to fight the winner of the Women’s Dusty Classic, so this one goes to Jax/Baszler. If that looks familiar it’s because I just copy/pasted it from my Elimination Chamber predictions. If WWE don’t want to put in the work then neither do I. The only acceptable result is if Nia Jax botches so hard that she somehow breaks time and goes back to NXT a few weeks back to drop the titles to Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzales so we don’t have to deal with all that mess…

Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax

No Holds Barred Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus

Sheamus Drew McIntyre
Credit: WWE

PAUL BENSON: it is quite surprising, but also refreshing, that WWE haven’t billed this as a Number One Contender match for the shot at Bobby Lashley’s WWE Championship at WrestleMania. It is McIntyre vs. Lashley at ‘Mania and we have got time to process that and look forward to it. That works for me. If this match is a fraction of the fun of their recent Raw matches we are in for a treat. These two real life friends have such chemistry, both physical and personality wise, and it translates into sensational wrestling matches without having to resort to blood, barbed wire and gimmicks. Two proper wrestlers having a proper wrestling match. Bring it on.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

CHRIS HATCH: This feels like excellent booking and excellent timing. Again it will serve a purpose for the build to WrestleMania, but these two know each other and their jobs so well that they won’t be looking to take it easy with what’s on the horizon. They’ll go at it tooth and nail to make sure both competitors look the absolute strongest they can over the next few weeks. It’s got to be a McIntyre victory knowing that the Lashley match is coming up, but we certainly won’t get short changed in this one.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

CAMERON BENNETT: You want my prediction for this match? PAIN.Also Drew Mcintyre.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

JAMES DEE: Just give me these Celtic badasses brawling all day! I love these two together, their matches have been brutal and amazing to watch and I am chomping at the bit to see what they pull out of the bag for a No Holds Barred match. As for the result it’s obviously McIntyre. He is already positioned as Lashley’s opponent for ‘Mania and while I am sad for Sheamus because he’s been on an absolute tear recently it would be silly to have McIntyre lose here.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss

Fastlane 2021 - Alexa Bliss vs Randy Orton
Credit: WWE

PAUL BENSON: Let’s face it, this is highly unlikely to result in an actual match. This is going to be an angle that results in the return of The Fiend to build to the expected clash with Orton at WrestleMania, hopefully in a introspection filled Firefly Funhouse Match. It almost feels pointless picking a winner here but let’s just say….

Winner: Alexa Bliss

CHRIS HATCH: The best thing here is that it has sparked the intrigue of many, including me, as to what direction they take this “match”. It seems pretty certain this will be The Fiend’s return, whether it be an in-ring confrontation or through the whole match being cinematic. They’ve had enough quirky happenings during the build that with the right thought and execution, this could be something special. It could also be horrifically bad – we’ve definitely seen plenty of that through the cinematic matches – but this feels like there is more focus on what it needs to lead to that they will get it right. Here’s hoping.

HOW ABOUT...
On This Day In Wrestling History… April 21st

Winner: N/A

CAMERON BENNETT: Randy, and Randy quickly. RKO, 1-23. Goes for punt, boom, Fiend O’clock. I’ve been waiting months for him to return, don’t make me wait any longer.

Winner: Randy Orton

JAMES DEE: Do you hear that? Listen carefully and you might just pick it up, It’s the sound of SHENANIGANS!!!!! Bliss vs Orton is merely a vehicle to get The Fiend back into play for a (hopefully projectorless) big match at WrestleMania. How will they get there? Aye there’s the rub, For in that fiendish sleep, what Fiends may come,When he hath shuffled off this sacred mat,
Must give Randy pause. There’s the respect
That makes RKO of so long a life:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time…
Sorry I drifted off a little there. No contest but all story, this should be a fun one!

Winner: No Contest

United States Championship Match: Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali

Credit: WWE

PAUL BENSON: This match does not nothing for me, which is quite sad considering the talent involved. I’m not Riddle’s biggest fan but I certainly appreciate what he can bring to the table both in terms of in-ring and a unique character. Unfortunately, that character has gone through the dreaded main roster filter and it’s spat out a man-child who has more in common with Eugene than Rob Van Dam. Ali is tremendously talented but stuck playing the angry leader of a bunch of masked comedy goons. Who is this meant to be entertaining? Riddle to win in the most paint by numbers fashion possible, Ali to get angry at RETRIBUTION and somehow afterwards, the world will keep turning.

Winner: Riddle

JAMES DEE: Ali has a problem and The problem isn’t Riddle. Riddle is a symptom of RETRIBUTION failing him – read as much into that on as many levels as you would like, and another title match with Riddle isn’t going to solve that. Riddle is going to win this but again we should get a decent match out of it so I won’t complain too loudly.

Winner: Riddle

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins

Credit: WWE

PAUL BENSON: Now we’re talking! Whilst Ol’ Nakkers is a long way past his peak, he still has something significant to offer as evidenced by his recent performance in a gauntlet match on SmackDown. Rollins, for his part, continues to be a revelation in this writer’s opinion. From possibly the most generic main event babyface in WWE history to one of my favourite upper-midcard heels of recent memory. I love seeing preachy, smarmy Rollins on screen. This match can be a real banger if both men are motivated so I eagerly await seeing it. As a cheeky bonus, it will likely also pave the way for Rollins vs. Cesaro at WrestleMania. What a win! To that end, Rollins takes the tainted win here to move towards that match.

Winner: Seth Rollins

JAMES DEE: Have Rollins and Nakamura ever faced each other one-on-one? That seems like a criminal oversight. I’m glad it’s being rectified and while I love me some Shinskie-Naks, Rollins need to gather some momentum after returning from paternity leave so I’ll take Rollins on this but the match should be fantastic.

Winner: Seth Rollins

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