Following last Sunday’s Elimination Chamber, it was finally confirmed that 2021 Royal Rumble winner Edge would be facing Universal Champion Roman Reigns for the big blue belt at WrestleMania in April.
Elimination Chamber itself was cracking in terms of laying the groundwork for logical and interesting stories to take us through to the biggest show of the year on April 10th/11th.
This was true on the Raw side as well as SmackDown but for the sake of this piece, we are concentrating on the Friday night brand.
The PPV did a great job of building on Reigns’ already stunning heel character. After outlasting 5 men in a gruelling chamber match, Daniel Bryan earned a shot at Reigns’ title on that night that The Tribal Chief forced him to take before he had even left the ring after his first match.
As he should have done, Reigns won this match in very short order and in dominant fashion, but not before we got a chink of hope.
An exhausted Bryan grabbed a charging Reigns in a Yes Lock leading to a frisson of excitement as a huge upset was teased. It was not to be. Reigns simply pulled apart the arms of Bryan, spent of energy after 45 minutes in the chamber, and quickly dispatched him for the cheap title defence.
Right after this we got the surprise Spear from Edge and the challenge for WrestleMania.
Before the PPV even finished on Sunday, this writer’s thoughts turned to Fastlane. Sure, we had the ‘Mania main event sorted, but what about Fastlane?
This show is set to be the first PPV level event after WWE Network is absorbed in to the Peacock streaming service and immediately makes it available at no extra cost to 44 million subscribers. WWE are clearly going to put their best foot forward.
A thought for a double main event hit me immediately and the happenings of SmackDown on Friday night only cemented those thoughts.
The main event of the weekly show was Daniel Bryan facing Jey Uso with Bryan securing a Fastlane rematch against Roman Reigns if he picked up the win. The match went to a double count out.
Throughout the night, we were reminded that the alternative to this match at Fastlane would be a tag team match that would see Bryan and Edge facing Reigns and Uso.
A fine match for sure but once they teased Bryan’s rematch, any seasoned observer would get that this was what was going to happen. So why keep mentioning the tag team match? It was referenced constantly throughout the show.
.@WWEDanielBryan agrees to a #SteelCage match against Jey @WWEUsos with the condition that if he wins he gets a #UniversalTitle Match at #WWEFastlane, and if he loses he must acknowledge @WWERomanReigns as The Head of The Table. #TalkingSmack@HeymanHustle@KaylaBraxtonWWEpic.twitter.com/Y79Nwf7XnF— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) February 27, 2021
On Talking Smack, the post-SmackDown show on WWE Network’s free tier, we found out that next week, Bryan and Uso will go again in a steel cage match with the prospect of a Fastlane title shot once again up for grabs for Bryan.
Yet still the tag match is referenced. Strange.
Here’s the thing: WWE clearly want us to get the idea that a tag match is planned for Fastlane, there needs to be one, even if half of each team will not be available as they will be facing each other one on one for the Universal title.
That would leave Edge and Jey Uso without partners for the match. How convenient…
I’m sure, astute reader, that you will already be ahead of me at this point so I won’t labour the point. Instead, simply expect those positions to be filled by both men’s famous tag team partners, leading us to a dream tag match of Edge & Christian facing The Usos at Fastlane.
It just fits in every single way. Christian made his hugely surprising in ring return during January’s Royal Rumble match so he is clearly ready to take part in in ring action. Jimmy Uso is medically cleared to wrestle and looking for an angle to get him back on TV and presumably join Reigns’ gang. Well, here is they angle.
That match, along with Reigns vs. Bryan offers up a rather tasty SmackDown serving for their Peacock debut doesn’t it? Throw in Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a number one contenders match as well as Bobby Lashley defending the WWE Championship against The Miz and John Morrison in a handicap match and you have a card that not only offers huge appeal but also sets things up for WrestleMania to a tee.
It’s been a great start to 2021 in terms of main event booking in WWE, and these potential storyline wrinkles would lead us brilliantly into WrestleMania as WWE marks the start of a new chapter in their recent history and attempts to put the pandemic era behind them.