Fastlane (2021)

Fastlane is an upcoming professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It is scheduled to take place on March 21, 2021, and will broadcast from the WWE ThunderDome, hosted at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. It will be the sixth event under the Fastlane chronology and the first since 2019. It will also be the first event to air on the American version of the WWE Network following its merger with Peacock, becoming a premium channel for the service.

Fastlane
PromotionWWE
Brand(s)Raw
SmackDown
DateMarch 21, 2021
CitySt. Petersburg, Florida
VenueTropicana Field
Attendance0 (behind closed doors)[Note 1]
WWE Network event chronology
← Previous
Elimination Chamber
Next →
WrestleMania 37
Fastlane chronology
← Previous
2019
Next →

ProductionEdit

BackgroundEdit

Fastlane is a pay-per-view event first produced by WWE in 2015. The name of the event is a reference to its position on the "Road to WrestleMania," being held between the Royal Rumble and WWE's flagship event;[1] the first two Fastlane events were held in February before moving to March. The event was held annually until 2020 when it was replaced by Super ShowDown, but was then reinstated in 2021. The sixth event in the Fastlane chronology, it will feature wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown brands.[2]

On January 25, 2021, WWE announced that the WWE Network would become exclusively distributed by Peacock in the United States as part of a new agreement with NBCUniversal, which airs Monday Night Raw and NXT on the USA Network. The WWE Network will become its own premium channel under Peacock, while Peacock Premium subscribers will get access at no additional cost; other countries will maintain the current separate WWE Network service distributed by the promotion itself. This merger will go into effect on March 18, making Fastlane the first pay-per-view under this new agreement.[3][4]

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemicEdit

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE had to present the majority of its programming for Raw and SmackDown from a behind closed doors set at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida beginning mid-March 2020,[5] although in late May, the promotion began using Performance Center trainees to serve as the live audience,[6] which was further expanded to friends and family members of the wrestlers in mid-June.[7] On August 17, WWE announced that all future shows and pay-per-views would be held at Orlando's Amway Center for the "foreseeable future," beginning with the August 21 episode of SmackDown. Furthermore, the shows now feature a new fan viewing experience called the "ThunderDome," which utilizes drones, lasers, pyro, smoke, and projections. Approximately 1,000 LED boards were installed to allow fans to virtually attend the events for free and be seen on the rows and rows of LED boards. Arena audio is also mixed with that of the virtual fans so that chants from the fans can be heard.[8][9] After their contract with the Amway Center expired, WWE relocated the ThunderDome to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, which began with the December 11 episode of SmackDown.[10][11]

StorylinesEdit

The show will comprise matches that result from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portray heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands,[12][13] while storylines are produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.[14]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The event will be held without a paying audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, though it will feature a live crowd of virtual fans via WWE's ThunderDome viewing experience.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Caldwell, James. "WWE NEWS: February PPV gets a new title (w/Poll)". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  2. ^ Johnson, Mike (January 17, 2021). "WWE FAST LANE PPV UPDATE". PWInsider. Archived from the original on January 17, 2021. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  3. ^ Spangler, Todd (January 25, 2021). "NBCU's Peacock Pins WWE Network Exclusive U.S. Streaming Rights". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  4. ^ Hayes, Dade (January 25, 2021). "Peacock Adds Wrestling In WWE Network Streaming Exclusive". Deadline. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  5. ^ Johnson, Mike (March 21, 2020). "WWE TAPING UPDATES". PWInsider. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  6. ^ Casey, Connor (May 25, 2020). "WWE Fans Are Thrilled to See Crowds Back on WWE Raw". ComicBook.com. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  7. ^ Oestriecher, Blake (June 17, 2020). "WWE Live Events With Fans Could Reportedly Return Very Soon". Forbes. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  8. ^ "WWE introducing new state-of-the-art viewing experience with WWE ThunderDome". WWE. August 17, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  9. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (August 17, 2020). "WWE Announces ThunderDome Arena; Enhanced Fan Experience, Residency At Amway Center; First Look Video Shown". Fightful. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  10. ^ "WWE ThunderDome will head to Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field beginning Friday, Dec. 11". WWE. November 19, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (November 19, 2020). "WWE ThunderDome Moving To Tropicana Field On December 11". Fightful. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  12. ^ Grabianowski, Ed. "How Pro Wrestling Works". HowStuffWorks. Discovery Communications. Archived from the original on November 18, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  13. ^ "Live & Televised Entertainment". WWE. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  14. ^ Steinberg, Brian (May 25, 2016). "WWE's 'Smackdown' Will Move To Live Broadcast On USA (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on May 26, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.

External linksEdit