WWE Roadblock Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
The risk you run with putting on a WWE Network Live Special so close to WrestleMania 32 (less than three weeks actually) and selling the show as the chance to “shake up WrestleMania profoundly,” there’s a good chance what they sell likely won’t happen.
After all, why jeopardize everything built up so far? That’s the problem. Mania never had a solid build to this point besides for a confirmed Hell In A Cell match between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker with WWE control on the line, one that has made little sense besides the usual McMahon family overtones.
That aside, Roadblock stemmed from Toronto and looked like a glorified house show, with almost every belt on the line for no good reason and that made it even harder to believe anything would change here, but that’s not to say the show didn’t deliver quality-wise.
– The opening video highlighted the classic “insanity vs. authority” feud between Dean Ambrose and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H in the main event, as well as the Brock Lesnar-Bray Wyatt match, promising Toronto would transform into Suplex City.
– If anything, the opening WWE World Tag Team Championship match between Champions Big E/Kofi Kingston and King Barrett/Sheamus seemed to be an experiment for a New Day face turn, based off their pop and how they seemed to fish for cheers in their pre-match promo, highlighted by the actual creation of a Booty-O’s cereal box and an all-too-real improv commercial for the product slipping in insults against their opponents. We also finally got our New Day-League Of Nations showdown, as New Day had been taunting them for weeks now. Sheamus/Barrett easily slipped into buyable heels, appearing burlier than usual and straight overpowering Big E/Kingston. New Day weren’t so much heels here, simply selling more and working a more babyface style, yet still doing heelish things. Case in point: Woods distracting the Referee on the apron when his partner was in danger of getting pinned. It was basically heels outheeling bigger heels, but doing it with style. Big E won the match with the Big Ending and that was that. New Day may be forced to turn face eventually due to their popularity, but they showed here that they can work that style and still stay true to their “unicorn prowess.”
– Where was that backstage Paul Heyman promo during any of the Lesnar-Wyatt build? At least he made it feel like Lesnar was simply fighting Wyatt on his own terms and didn’t forget the Royal Rumble.
– Give Chris Jericho credit, he’s knocking his promos out of the park with his recent heel work. He managed to turn a cheering home country response into intense boos and “asshole” chants five minutes later. This was sort of like the 2008 Shawn Michaels feud where he continued to show jealousy towards AJ Styles and spewed insults towards Canada, practically referring to it as a “stinky anus.” Not sure it was a wise segue into Jack Swagger (American Icon) being the babyface to save the day, but he was a decent candidate for a glorified squash to keep the new Jericho hot with momentum. The crow didn’t necessarily side with Swagger, but they didn’t cheer for Jericho either. It’s like the crowd knew which way it’d go. The Walls Of Jericho penned the final signature.
– In a breath of fresh air, we got to see another experiment of how Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady/Carmella would be received on the main roster platform by also showcasing some of the best of what NXT has to offer. The NXT Tag Team Championship match between Enzo/Cass and Champions, The Revival was strongly reminiscent of NXT’s fast-paced and entertainingly innovative style, for better or worse. Not everyone “got” the Team SAWFT intro, but the ones who did were loud enough to make up for the ones who were confused. This match was good, as we could almost buy the idea of Enzo/Cass winning the belts since they’d been gunning for the gold for so long and The Revival had a firm grasp on the belts since November, so it’s not like a Title change was the worst thing. The crowd popped big for Cass throwing Enzo around for their big spots, while The Revival stayed true to their “no flips, just fists” style, resorting to maneuvers that focused on breaking their opponents down and working a methodical pace. The momentum shifts were well-executed and there was a point where Enzo almost single-handedly won the match, which had everyone out of their seats. Unfortunately for Team SAWFT and their fans, this was another night The Revival emerged victorious cleanly. So much for that. Will Team SAWFT end up on the main roster after Mania?
– Natalya and WWE Divas Champion Charlotte were certainly no strangers to one another. They had a classic NXT encounter that was highly regarded as Charlotte’s breakthrough match, an effort that she has come close to repeating, but never quite getting there. The benefit of a “glorified house show” was the ability to stop and tell a story with these two divas. Natalya was in her home country and expressed in an earlier recorded segment that she wanted to dedicate her match against Charlotte to Bret Hart, her uncle. It fit Charlotte’s character to walk up with her father and laugh at the idea. Natalya proposed the belt being put on the line and taunted the Champion by calling her a coward when she wouldn’t give in. Match set up, but the belt being on the line almost gave away the result with Mania being so close. Giving Natalya a chance for a spot in the Mania match would’ve been an easier stipulation to buy. As for the match itself, it was easily both ladies’ best effort to date, coming close to what their NXT classic was. The ring work was clean and crisp, with many technical maneuvers worked in on both sides, yet being gritty when it needed to be. The finish was logical, since it involved Ric Flair forcing Natalya to break the Sharpshooter by faking to drag Charlotte to the ropes, which the Champ took advantage of, getting a pinfall by leaning on the ropes.
– For everything it was advertised to be, the two-on-one handicap between Wyatt/Luke Harper and Lesnar was a letdown. Bray cut a pre-match promo about being unbeaten by Lesnar, yet didn’t partake in the match, as Harper did a good job of selling, getting thrown around by suplexes aplenty. This was ultimately short and sweet, with perhaps the idea to protect Wyatt by having him stay out of the ring. This was kind of lame though, since we never felt that Lesnar got the revenge he was seeking and seemed too content with not getting his hands on Wyatt.
– Sami Zayn’s a character the fans love to get behind, but even a 12-minute match with Stardust can take the fun out of anything. We get that it was a chance to establish Zayn further to the casual crowd, but this felt like an odd pairing from the get-go and simply lasted too long to keep anybody’s interest. Also felt weird to see Zayn give up so much offense to Stardust, who’s pretty much an undercard jobber. All in all, the Helluva Kick was a pretty finish. Let’s never see that one again, huh?
– We’re not sure why they’ve teased Ambrose winning the World Title so many times, it almost seems like an insult to the hard work Ambrose has put in the last two years. That said, his match with Triple H took some time to get going, but the second half was strong, ironically once we reached the point where it seemed like Ambrose was his own worst enemy, having his foot under the rope for a Dirty Deeds pinfall that actually got a three-count. The rest of the match saw Ambrose go hard and take risks, but once he crashed through the announce table, that spelled the end. He beat a 10 count outside the ring, but slid right into a Pedigree which ended his hopes and allowed Triple H to remain Champion. Despite that, still a great match that makes us hope perhaps they revisit this feud down the road when it can gain more steam.
- WWE World Tag Team Championships – Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) (Champions) def. Sheamus/King Barrett via pinfall to retain
- Chris Jericho def. Jack Swagger via submission
- NXT Tag Team Championships – The Revival (Champions) def. Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) via pinfall to retain
- WWE Divas Championship – Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) def. Natalya via submission to retain
- 2-On-1 Handicap Match – Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) def. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper via pinfall
- Sami Zayn def. Stardust via pinfall
- WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Triple H (Champion) def. Dean Ambrose via pinfall to retain
Posted on March 14, 2016, in WWE and tagged Big E, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Carmella, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Colin Cassady, Dean Ambrose, Enzo Amore, Jack Swagger, JBL, King Barrett, Kofi Kingston, Luke Harper, Michael Cole, Natalya, Paul Heyman, Ric Flair, Roadblock, Sami Zayn, Sheamus, Stardust, The Revival, Triple H, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.