WWE RoadBlock – March 12th 2016
Ricoh Coliseum: Toronto, ON, Canada.
WWE were pushing the idea that the entire WrestleMania card could be thrown into disarray after RoadBlock was over. However, inevitably, nothing changed at all and we are still on course for the biggest WrestleMania of all-time to end in a monumental failure with the coronation of Roman Reigns as the man to carry the company for the next ten years or-so. There is no point anymore in pointing out all of Reigns’s flaws or how the fans have flat-out rejected him as the top babyface, because clearly none of that matters to Vince McMahon. Reigns‘ big moment was already put on hold last year when he was supposed to beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE title at WrestleMania 31, so there is no way stubborn old Vince is going to postpone puling the trigger on Reigns – for real this time – again this year. Of course they have done incalculable damage to Reigns over the last twelve months by booking him into oblivion, but that is completely irrelevant because Reigns is Vince’s chosen one and that’s all there is to it. Believe it or not, there were quite a few people who thought Dean Ambrose actually had a chance of beating HHH for the WWE World title last Saturday night, at what was essentially a gussied up house show on the Network. I admire the optimism of these people and their ability to hold onto the tiniest bit of hope they have left that maybe, just maybe, the WWE will actually listen to the fans instead of treating them like ungrateful children who won’t finish their vegetables. But seriously, HHH was never going to give up defending the WWE title in the main event of the biggest show of all-time and he certainly wasn’t going to drop the title on a Network house show with a split crew, especially in Canada.
Here’s what you need to know about RoadBloack: It was basically a house show with a couple of big stars (Brock Lesnar & HHH) and all of the matches ranged from decent to very good. If you didn’t see the show there is absolutely no reason to go out of your way to see anything that happened.
WWE Tag Team Championship: New Day (C) w/Xavier Woods vs. Sheamus & Wade Barrett. – New Day retained in 9:35. New Day were over as huge babyfaces and did their usual shtick beforehand; they debuted an actual box of “Booty-O’s” cereal. Match was solid; Kofi played babyface in peril and Big E ran wild off the hot tag. There was a scary moment when New Day went for their Midnight Hour finish: Sheamus was supposed to counter and catch Kofi as he dove off the top, however he was completely out of position and Kofi ended up taking a nasty spill on the canvas. Barrett got a visual pinfall on Big E after the Bullhammer, but Xavier distracted the referee. Kofi took out Sheamus at ringside and Big E pinned Barrett with the Big Ending. (**¾)
Paul Heyman cut an awesome babyface promo in the back about how Toronto was the new capital of Suplex City and said Brock Lesnar would conquer Bray Wyatt later on.
Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger. – Jericho over in 8:01. Yes, this is a match that actually happened. Pre-match, Jericho got a hero’s reaction when he came out but he cut a great heel promo and buried Canada, and Canadians, which not only got the fans to turn on Jericho, but also incited “Assh*le” chants. It was some of Jericho’s best mic-work since he came back. The match was kind of flat, however I dread to think what kind of a reaction they would have got if Jericho had not cut his promo. They went back-and-forth; Swagger got more offence in that you would have expected. Finish saw Jericho get to the ropes to break the Ankle-lock and he won with the Walls of Jericho. (**)
NXT Tag Team Championships: The Revival (C) vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady w/Carmella. – Revival retained in 10:26. Enzo & Cass got a nice pop from the crowd and a decent portion of the fans sang along with their catchphrases; there were some fans who didn’t know what the hell was going on, however. Match was your basic tag team affair, but it was still a lot of fun and all four guys looked impressive. Enzo & Cass got their shine early and Cass launched Enzo over the top onto both heels. Dash & Dawson got the heat on Enzo and they came up with a few cool ways to tease Enzo making the tag before being cut off. Big Cass made the comeback and the faces got some nice near-falls with a jumping DDT off the ropes from Enzo and their Rocket Launcher finish. Chaos ensued on the outside; Carmella slapped Dawson and Big Cass ended up taking Shatter Machine on the floor. Enzo got another near-fall with a roll-up, but Dash & Dawson hit the Shatter Machine for the clean pin. – The fans really got into this match and there were loud “NXT” chants throughout. You have to imagine HHH was as smug as could be backstage, while I’m sure that all Vince McMahon cared about the size of Big Cass. (*** ¼)
There was an awkward backstage segment with Natalya challenging Charlotte to put the Diva’s title on the line. Charlotte refused, but when Nattie called her a coward she agreed for some reason even though she is a heel. Nattie dedicated the match to “Uncle Bret,” so it was clear how this thing was going to finish.
WWE Diva’s Championship: Charlotte (C) w/Ric Flair vs. Natalya. – Charlotte retained in 13:30. Really good women’s match, however they couldn’t touch their match from Takeover in May 2014. Nattie got the better of the early exchanges of holds and Charlotte went to the floor in frustration. Charlotte yanked Nattie out of the ring and started to get the heat; she posted the leg and began to work it over. Nattie came back after a chop-battle and hit a Russian Leg Sweep then went for the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte kicked free and applied the Figure Eight. Nattie got to the ropes but Charlotte hit Natural Selection for a near-fall. A few minutes later they battled on the top turnbuckle and Nattie hit a sit-out Powerbomb for another near-fall. Nattie eventually got the Sharpshooter and the fans went crazy, however Ric Flair reached inside the ring to try and help Charlotte get to the ropes. Nattie let go of the hold to yell at Flair and Charlotte rolled her up and put her feet on the ropes to get the pin. – This was another match that pretty much everyone knew the challenger had no chance of winning, but the girls worked very hard and got the fans to bite on some of the false finishes. (*** ½)
Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper. – Lesnar over in 4:03. That’s right, they pulled the old bait-and-switch on us! Bray Wyatt literally did nothing in the match and the explanation we got for this being made a handicap match was that he. “made a deal with the devil.” Lesnar was over huge as always and he gave Harper the first German Suplex about 20 seconds into the match. It was a typical Brock Lesnar house show match, with Harper getting a little more heat than usual on Brock, but still Lesnar ended up throwing him all over the place for the second night in a row. Lesnar hit a bunch of Germans and finished off Harper with the F5. (** ¾)
Sami Zayn vs. Stardust. – Zayn over in 12:40. This was inexplicable on many levels and the fact that they booked Zayn to come from behind to beat Stardust in a long match should tell you everything you need to know about how Vince & Kevin Dunn view Zayn in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong, Zayn works best at fighting from underneath but even the Toronto crowd got bored at seeing there fellow countryman selling for 90% of the match. Finish saw Zayn hit his Exploder into the corner and get the win with the Yakuza Kick. (**)
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: HHH (C) vs. Dean Ambrose. – HHH retained in 24:40. They did some stalling early then HHH proceeded to out-wrestle the babyface clean, until Ambrose used a dirty chop-block to get the upper hand. Great psychology, lads. Ambrose worked over the knee and wrapped it around the ring post, but HHH came back and kicked Ambrose into the steel steps. Ambrose went for his DDT and HHH escaped to hit his High Knee, but Ambrose landed the Nigel Jawbreaker Lariat for a near-fall. They ended up on the floor again and HHH teased putting Ambrose through the announce table, however Ambrose countered and sent HHH into the steps. Ambrose applied the Figure Four then transitioned to the Sharpshooter, which the fans went nuts for. The big spot came about 21 minutes in and saw Ambrose hit his DDT and the referee counted to three. The crowd lost their minds, however the ref immediately waved off the pin because Ambrose’s foot was underneath the plane of the bottom rope. Fans were furious, but started a, “this is awesome” chant. Ambrose scored with a tope then set HHH up on the announce table, which Hunter had stripped earlier on. Ambrose went for a running elbow drop off the barricade but HHH moved and Dean crashed through the table. They teased a count-out, but since this was a HHH match, Ambrose crawled back in the ring a nine and HHH immediately hit an ugly Pedigree to get the clean pinfall. – This was a really good main event, aside from the backwards psychology early on; it was a little slow to start with and took a while to get going, however the drama really ramped up during the closing stretch and they managed to make the crowd believe that Ambrose had a chance of winning. (*** ¾)