So it’s December. The final month of 2016. For WWE fans, it’s been… an experience. There have been so many ups and downs, some good (The New Day beating Demolition’s record and AJ Styles debut) and some bad (the burying of The Vaudevillains and The Club). But I really hope the WWE ends the year with a high note. With Raw headlining the last pay-per-view event of the year, Roadblock, let’s go see if they do!
Match #1: The New Day (with Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus for the RAW Tag Team Championships
It had to end one day.
As much as I adore The New Day and their antics, I suspected they were going to lose their W… W… E… World… Tag… Team… Championship titles. They’ve already beaten Demolition’s record for the longest reigning tag team title holders. So it only seems fitting that they lose. But, at least their loss was to Cesaro and Sheamus in one hell of a match!
This match had everything! The pacing was great and the action was hot from the very start. Great tag team chemistry from all participants with both teams working with each to deliver great wrestling. Really crazy double teaming antics. The New Day attempting several times to cheat their way to victory. A myriad of near falls and pinfall saves from out of nowhere where you actually thought the match was going to end. There were even times when it looked like Cesaro and Sheamus would implode and lose the match… but the duo held it together!
The finish was brilliant as someone actually outsmarted The New Day, earning them the victory. Cesaro reached for the tag and, when Sheamus tried to get his partner in, the Swiss Superman pulled his hand out at the last minute and ran in… right into a waiting Kofi Kingston! Cesaro got nailed by Trouble in Paradise and Kofi went for the pin. Sheamus, who was still the legal man, took advantage and rolled Kofi up for the pinfall victory and making it the end of the line for New Day’s historic reign as Tag Team Champions.
This was an epic match with lots of great action and lots of highlights. The finish was really great as it took someone familiar with the New Day’s tactics and actually out-New-Day the New Day.
Rating: 8.5 of 10 fake tags
Match #2: Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman in a 10-minute time limit match (If Braun Strowman doesn’t win within the 10-minute time limit, Zayn wins)
I actually loved the build up for this match as it made Sami Zayn a real underdog. The feud also made Braun Strowman look like a terrifying, unstoppable force to be reckoned with, making an already scary mountain of a man even more scary.
The match was pretty predictable. Sami Zayn tried to stick and move but eventually got caught by Strowman. Strowman then just beat up and toyed with Zayn for several minutes, even picking him up during pinfall attempts several times. Zayn tried to force some offense from time to time but to no avail. Typical underdog match.
The finish had a rather long buildup. RAW General Manager Mick Foley went out with a white towel and thought of ending the match. Strowman actually told Foley to do it so “save Zayn” from further pain. Zayn, of course, begged Foley to not do it. Zayn eventually tricked Strowman into running into a ringpost, throwing himself into the ringside barricade and other stuff. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick on Strowman as the time ran out, resulting in the default victory for Zayn.
The beatdown was standard stuff and I was actually annoyed with the amount of time given for Foley to hint at throwing in the towel. The Zayn comeback was definitely the highlight as everything built up to that point. However, that doesn’t mean the entire match was great. It felt like they were just wasting a whole lot of time just to get to that point. I actually think I would’ve like the match a whole lot more if Sami Zayn got the pinfall victory.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 minutes of waiting for time to expire
Match #3: Seth Rollins vs Chris Jericho
Am I the only one kind of sick of seeing Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho wrestling each other? I get that the WWE would like to push their bigger wrestlers into the same program. I also like Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho a whole lot. But their feud hasn’t really gelled with me all that well. And this match… it didn’t gel with me either.
The action was pretty good overall, though, with some great wrestling maneuvers from both Rollins and Jericho. Both wrestlers did put on a great show, with each of them hitting their signature moves. But, as the two have competed against each other seemingly each and every week, it’s like I’ve seen it over and over again.
The finish was also kind of a wash. Kevin Owens eventually comes out to help his “best friend” Chris Jericho but The Architech fights him off. Jericho tries to roll up Rollins but the referee gets distracted with Owens on the ring apron. Rollins then tries a Pedigree but Jericho reverses it. The Greatest of All Time starts yelling at Owens for preventing his win. Rollins comes back and, when Jericho attempts a Codebreaker, Rollins blocks it and nails the Pedigree for the pinfall victory.
This should have been a great match but it’s just the kind of match the two have been doing over and over again for the past couple of weeks now. The finish seemed a little awkward as well as the Owens distraction felt forced.
Rating: 5.5 of 10.0 Rollins vs. Jericho… again
Match #4: Rich Swann vs TJ Perkins vs THE Brian Kendrick for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
I can’t really pinpoint what the WWE is doing with the Cruiserweight division. This is the division that I would think I would be the most interested in but they keep on giving us dud matches… and this one is no different.
The match wasn’t really all that bad. It was reasonably fast paced and the in-ring action was actually really good. It’s just missing that special spark that should make things interesting. Actually, it’s a very important part of what makes wrestling really good: characterization. None of the Cruiserweights, outside of possibly THE Brian Kendrick, have shown any real personality and charisma. So, even though the action should be fantastic, I’m just not invested with what’s happening since I don’t really care for the people involved. Shame, really. It was good but just felt inconsequential.
The finish was also uneventful. Swann and Perkins are trading blows when Kendrick tries to get involved and eats a double superkick for his troubles. Swann then kicks Perkins and gets the pinfall. That it… wait!
Neville appears and it looks like he wants to congratulate Swann on his victory. But no! He blindsides Swann and beats on him. Perkins tries to hold off The Man That Gravity Forgot and gets smashed by Neville. So… it looks like Neville is headed for the Cruiserweight division. I actually like this decision as Neville wasn’t really doing anything in the main roster. Hopefully, he’ll be just the spark needed to get people excited for the Cruiserweights.
Rating: 6.0 of 10 Neville, save us!
Match #6: Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Flair for the RAW Women’s Championship in a 30-minute Iron (Wo)man match
This is the main event. Oh, you can say the match for the WWE Universal Championship the “real” main event. But we all know it’s Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair in a 30-minute Iron (Wo)man match for the Women’s title. They even subtitled Roadblack “End of the Line!” Well, as there is no rematch clause, this is the end of the line for this feud!
This match didn’t disappoint me. However, I will understand if some people didn’t like it. It was kind of slow and plodding at the start with nothing but rest hold for something like the first 10 minutes. There are also going to be some naysayers who are bound to be tired of seeing Sasha Banks and Charlotte go at it for the umpteenth time. It was also going to have a rather somewhat predictable finish with the time running out and there being a tie, showing to everyone that they’re actually evenly matched. Yes, I understand why some people will dislike this match. I call these people “idiots” because this was a fantastic match!
While it may have seemed like there was very little action during the opening moments, this actually made for good storytelling, with both Banks and Charlotte trying to one-up each other while conserving their energy. Even though we’ve seen both women compete lots of time before, they both still were able to pull of some amazing and unexpected stuff. And, while the closing moments of the match played out as predicted and I didn’t like how they did the tie but, well, it was a hell of a ride!
The finish had Sasha Banks up 2 falls to Charlotte’s 1. Charlotte had beat up on Sasha’s leg and locked in the Figure Four for what seemed like an eternity. With only seconds left, Charlotte finally bridged into the Figure Eight, making Sasha tap. I didn’t like this and I would’ve wanted Sasha to be locked in the Figure Eight for more than just a couple of seconds before tapping out. Anyway, the match went to overtime. Sasha tries to lock in the Bank Statement (and busted her nose in the process?) but Charlotte reverses it into the Figure Eight. Sasha taps out and Charlotte takes the submission victory and regains the RAW Women’s belt.
Really excellent match and both Sasha Banks and Charlotte put on one hell of a show. I didn’t like that the title changed hands so frequently and I’m actually glad the feud between the two is over. It’s just the right time to move forward and try something new. But it was great to close out one of the best feuds of the year ever.
Rating: 9.0 of 10 bloody Sasha Banks’ noses
Match #7: Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship
This match just didn’t do anything for me.
Much like the Rollins and Jericho match, we’ve seen this match happen dozens of times already on RAW. Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns has happened one too many times on RAW already. At least the Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Flair matches always tried to add something different like a Falls Count Anywhere or Hell In a Cell stipulation. This is just a match I’ve seen on RAW before!
At least Kevin Owens tried to keep things interesting. There were multiple times where he played mindgames against Reigns by rolling out of the ring to escape him. And I just love it when he taunts his opponents with truth statements, like when Owens berated Reigns for not putting up his United States title if he’s so tough. The problem seems to be with Reigns as I’m still struggling to see any charisma from him! Okay, he can take being driven through a table… wait. He can’t even do that right!
The finish was also rather stupid. Owens brings his title belt into the ring and threatens to hit Reigns with it but the leader of the Roman Empire spears him before he can. Reigns is unable to capitalize, however. Jericho runs in and teases who he’s going to assault. He chooses Owens and connects with a Codebreaker, leading to a DQ win for Owens due to interference. Jericho then smiles and hands Owens the belt: it was his plan all along!
Jericho and Owens try to leave but are cut off by Rollins. Reigns spears Owens and the former SHIELD members double team Jericho with a double powerbomb through one of the announcers tables. Owens tries to scamper away but are caught by the duo. They then do a double powerbomb through the main RAW announcer table to close the show.
Really, really dumb finish. Nothing was really resolved and all we got was Jericho and Owens are still best friends. Oh, and I guess we’ll see this thing again as they just announced that Owens and Reigns at the Royal Rumble for the belt again. Yay.
Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 weird finishes
Overall Rating for WWE’s Roadblock (2016):
As much as I loved the Tag Team and the Women’s match, the rest of the card was rather lackadaisical. The entire former SHIELD members feuding with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho has to end soon as the only thing really carrying that feud are the antics of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. You could actually replace Reigns and Rollins with anyone else because they don’t really do anything! And their matches suffer as a result. The other matches were also rather bland and unexciting.
While I would love to see the Tag Team match and the Women’s Iron (Wo)man match again, I don’t really want to slog through the rest of the matches to see them again.
Rating: 6.5 of 10.0 “End of the line” for dumb matches
What did you think of this year’s WWE Roadblock pay-per-view event? Let me know in the comments section below!