At first glance, it seemed as though the WWE had made a bad business call with Roadblock. This two-hour PPV on a Saturday night looked less than appealing when first billed. Poorly advertised and minimally marketed, fans weren’t sure about many matches on the card or even what day this mini-PPV was to take place. It left a lot of people wondering, “What’s the point?” After all, Wrestlemania is only four weeks away. Why even bother running a Saturday night PPV with half a card? The main goal for the WWE was to wrap up a lot of old feuds and set up new feuds for Wrestlemania. This was pretty much an attempt to tie up all the loose ends headed into the show of shows and make sure all the dirty laundry in kayfabe-land was aired out. To the shock of the fans, the WWE accomplished that and much more. If you happened to catch the two-hour event on the WWE Network Saturday night, you’ll know exactly what we mean.
Now, let’s take a look at the match card and ratings…
The New Day-vs-The League of Nations
(WWE Tag Team Championships)
This match was you standard issue New Day match. Lots of trombone, crowd chants, outside ring work, and a lot of cheating. Great way to start things off and get the crowd hooked. Love em’ or hate em’, The New Day knows how to work a crowd. Xavier Woods with his ringside antics always gets a reaction and Kofi Kingston is always impressive in the ring. His high flying moves always get the crowd on the edge of their seats and more involved. However, there were some definite miscues and dead time. Overall, not a bad match. Not the best. Not the worst. We give it a 7/10.
Chris Jericho-vs-Jack Swagger
We’re still having a hard time understanding this one. Jericho has been set up in a clear showdown with AJ Styles. Yet, he’s facing Jack Swagger here? We’ll do you one better. This very same night, AJ Styles is facing Kevin Owens at an untelevised event in Atlantic City for the Intercontinental Title. Not sure what the WWE was trying to accomplish by doing this. This whole scenario sounds like a booking issue from the get go. You’d picture this match being a technical bout, but it was the direct opposite. A lot of outside ring work. This was nothing more than a brawl. Which leads to even more confusion seeing as this really isn’t Jericho’s style at all. He’s always been an elite technical wrestler. Why stick him in a brawl with Swagger? This match was more confusing than entertaining and very poorly set up. Overall execution was mediocre and didn’t resonate very well with fans. We give it the lowest score on the card with 6/10.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass-vs-The Revival
(NXT Tag Team Championships)
This was, by far, the best match on the card. NXT always has the ability to blow the roof off of a venue and they did nothing less Saturday night. Enzo Amore’s mic skills are, arguably, some the best in the business and this pays dividends as far as crowd payoff goes. Enzo and Cass, accompanied by the always stunning Carmella, drew a huge pop from the fans. Nothing unusual there for the “realest guys in the room”. This match had it all. Very well put together and very well executed. The NXT always seems to get more reaction from the crowd and Roadblock was no different. The fans were on their feet for almost the entire length of the match. But, who could blame em’? This one was definitely the “Must See Match” of the night. Action, suspense, thrills, chills….Carmella. What more could you ask for? There’s no doubt this match was definitely not SAWFT. We give it a 9/10. How you doin’?
This match was a very technical bout. Maybe too technical for some. But, when the daughters of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair meet in the squared circle, what do you expect to happen? When Natalya took it a step further and dedicated this match to her uncle, Bret “The Hitman” Hart who is currently recovering from surgery for prostate cancer, it was obvious, this was going to be a slow, methodical, submission based match and that it was. Although, the match was slow-paced and a lot of submissions were used, the overall exchange speed was fairly quick. A lot of the fans were surprised at how well the match seemed to flow. Very smooth progression. Very little down time with the exclusion of submissions of course. A few miscues, but nothing major. All in all, these two ladies put on a show that we think The Hitman would be proud of. Minus the ending. We give it an 8/10.
Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt-vs-Brock Lesnar
Another confusing set up for most fans. This match was originally billed as a singles match between Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar. Suddenly it was changed to a two-on-one match bringing in Luke Harper with no explanation for the WWE. Regardless, fans were still excited to see Brock and Bray in the ring together. However, their excitement was short lived as Bray soon turned tail and ran leaving Harper alone on a one way trip to Suplex City. There is some speculation as to the reason Bray did not compete at Roadblock. Some say he’s been battling a nagging back injury and a tour of Suplex City would be of no help at all in that situation. Others believe that the WWE is just teasing their hand and drawing anticipation from fans with the set-up for Brock vs Bray at Wrestlemania. Although, if Bray Wyatt truly is injured, that would open up a door at Wrestlemania for Brock Lesnar. Possibly Braun Strowman? We all know that Shane-O-Mac is facing The Undertaker at Wrestlemania inside Hell in a Cell. So, the cell will already be in place….Leaves you wonder what lies ahead. But for Roadblock, we’re giving this one a 7/10.
We were really surprised that the fans never really seemed to get on board with this match. It seems odd because this was really a decent performance. Sami Zayn usually gets a huge pop from fans but he seemed overlooked Saturday night. The match was overall fast paced, had great transitions and was really well executed. But, the fans seemed disinterested and half asleep. Stardust could barely get a boo out of the WWE Universe. They tried changing several things up but never could get over with the fans. Maybe a little more dead time than they were used to seeing in a Sami Zayn match. Still a great performance and execution despite the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm. We give it an 8/10.
Dean Ambrose-vs-Triple H
(WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
This one started off with a great intro video and a huge pop for Ambrose before he even made it to the entrance ramp. (Seriously, all they have to do is show this guy’s face on the Titantron and people lose their minds.) The match would start off slow and remain that way for the majority of the bout. The fans were still hungover from sleeping through the Sami Zayn, Stardust match. So, they began to lose interest quick. Transition speed started to fall off and there was a lot of dead time. Ambrose to the rescue! Just when you think the match has lost its appeal and the crowd has disconnected completely, he drags em’ right back to the edge of their seats and hooks em’ right back in. (Can this guy work a crowd or what?!) The paced quickened, they threw in some outside ring work and they even broke out the tables. Ambrose worked the crowd over with a nostalgic throwback to DX directed at Triple H and even paid homage to Bret Hart with his own version of the Sharpshooter. The only downfall to the entire match was somewhat of a botched ending. Triple H missed his cue to kick out of a pin making it seem as though Ambrose had picked up the victory and the title. But, they seemingly played it off as though Ambrose had his feet under the ropes and the pin fall did not count. Other than that and the somewhat elementary ending, it was a pretty good match. Nothing to go down in the history books. But, enough to get an 8/10 from us.
This PPV will not be one that goes down in history. Trust us. With the poor advertising, poor marketing and confusion of Roadblock, the WWE is lucky anyone saw it at all. Although, we are very surprised at how this show turned out. There were some really good, high caliber matches that, honestly, we did not expect to see going into this show. That’s why we’re giving WWE Roadblock an 8/10 overall rating.
With Wrestlemania right around the corner, it brings up the argument, “Was it really necessary?” The answer, No. Roadblock was not at all necessary and didn’t accomplish anything that couldn’t have been done on Raw or Smackdown. But, in the end, we’re glad it happened. The decisions the WWE makes don’t always make sense, but they know how to pull off a good show. Even in the least likely of times and places. Which also leaves to question, if a two hour mini-PPV on a Saturday night can bring a match card the way Roadblock did, what’s in store for us on the grandest stage of them all at Wrestlemania? Only time will tell. But, you can almost guarantee it will be one you don’t want to miss.
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