We’re on the Road to Wrestlemania, which hasn’t felt especially more important than any other show. WWE had an opportunity to add some excitement with a new Network special — Roadblock — from Toronto, but played things way too safe to get fans more invested on the journey to Wrestlemania.
Instead of shaking things up, Roadblock was more predictable than usual. If you bet on the favorites, this was one of the rare WWE cards where you could have gone perfect. Doing the expected isn’t always a bad idea, but with a less than intriguing Wrestlemania at this point, the WWE needed to deliver something to get fans excited. That’s one take, but here’s seven other big storylines from Roadblock.
New Day shtick slowly becoming old
New Day is quickly becoming like most non-main event acts that get over organically — WWE writers overextend their segments and make them less cooler versions of what attracted the fans in the first place. At least WWE is milking (no pun intended) New Day for all its worth with the new Booty-O’s cereal T-Shirt.
This match seemed to cement New Day’s face turn. It’s just as well since the fans have been cheering for them for months, but consider how far the stock has fallen on Sheamus and Barrett. Three years ago they seemed like main event fixtures for at least the next decade and now they’re a makeshift tag team in a loser faction barely a notch above The Social Outcasts. New Day’s win clearly established them as the dominant team in the division. With no competition they haven’t already beaten, it seems now is the time for some NXT talent to get brought up to battle them.
Y2J’s still got it
To ensure the Toronto crowd didn’t cheer its returning Canadian son, Chris Jericho went on a terrific cheap heat rant to turn the fans against him. In this case, the classic heel tactics work best and Jericho has always been a master at manipulating a WWE audience. More impressively than keeping up with AJ Styles was Chris Jericho’s performance against Jack Swagger. No one expected Swagger to win, but Jericho gave him enough believable offense that an ‘upset’ didn’t seem so unlikely in a strong back and forth contest. Jericho eventually got the win with the
Boston Crab Walls of Jericho. Swagger is one of those guys on the roster that would really benefit from going somewhere else. He could be a major player in ROH, but I could just as easily see him putting on some great matches in New Japan too.
NXT stars TakeOver early
You’ve gotta appreciate the scope of NXT’s popularity by the response to Enzo & Cass. The crowd chanted along with their ring entrance just like they did in the glory days of The New Age Outlaws. Enzo and Cass fully seized the moment delivering easily their best match on the big stage. It wouldn’t be a stretch at all to see them battling The New Day at Wrestlemania they looked so impressive.
The Revival were simply old school tag team goodness. American Alpha seems to be poised to take the NXT titles, but Enzo and Cass’ loss may work out in their favor. The main roster’s tag team ranks are dull right now beyond The New Day and Enzo & Cass could be just the duo to liven things up.
Natayla shines in spotlight title shot
Charlotte would be more imposing as a heel if she didn’t wear those face sparkles. It doesn’t fit her heel gimmick. It’s a shame the Divas’ triple threat is locked in as no one in the Divas division is worth getting added to the Wrestlemania triple threat than Natayla. To further hinder her odds, Natayla dedicated the match to her uncle, Bret Hart, who hopefully is now fully recovered from his bout with prostrate cancer.
Natayla has always been a performer who always shines whenever she’s given the opportunity. This was no different and what made this match so good was the longer it went, the less certain it felt that Charlotte was going to retain. I hated the finish of Natayla breaking the Sharpshooter to go after Ric Flair and Charlotte getting the cheap roll-up finish. While she’s getting a Wrestlemania title shot, she clearly proved she absolutely cannot be an afterthought in this division any more.
The Wyatts deserve better
Despite the tease of Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt, we got a bait and switch with Luke Harper being added to the mix, which essentially was a one on one match against Lesnar. The Wyatt Family finally seemed to be getting booked properly in the Royal Rumble build-up even eliminating Lesnar from the Rumble. Predictably since then, the booking has once again let them down starting with the senseless Fastlane loss to the makeshift trio of Big Show, Ryback and Kane.
In a time when the WWE needs strong heels no one was elevated since Seth Rollins went down. The only heel with any momentum remains Triple H and he’s the last one that needs to be positioned as unstoppable at this point in his career. With Lesnar going on to fight Dean Ambrose at Wrestlemania, the Wyatts still are left without any opponents for the biggest show of the year.
Taking it to the stars
Continuing the night’s underlined theme of the secondary stars of the WWE roster succeeding at proving their value to the company, Stardust had a solid match with Sami Zayn. Roadblock had a distinct feel — frequently looked over roster members battled established/rising stars to provide tune up matches for their big Wrestlemania matches. It was a little weird that Stardust is already being used a stepping stone when Cody Rhodes can offer so much more than being a talented jobber with a fun gimmick.
Roman Reigns has a tough act to follow
I know WWE is bent on making Roman Reigns the modern day MAN of the company, but at this point it’s embarrassing that WWE won’t just admit Dean Ambrose has the far stronger connection with the fans. Ambrose battled Triple H in a very strong main event that like the rest of the card, suffered from having an even more obvious predetermined outcome than normal. The commentators seemed to go out of their way to sell Triple H as this dominant legacy champion as if he was this valiant face battling a wily, sinister heel. Triple H’s Hogan spray tan looked orange-r than usual.
In an interesting move, Ambrose pinned Triple H with Dirty Deeds, but the ref almost immediately restarted the match after realizing Ambrose’s feet were under the ropes. That’s a move that works if the fans have been educated on that for a long time. Pulling that rarely used rule out in that instance was pretty ridiculous since the refs so rarely enforce any rule these days. Ambrose continued pressing his advantage placing Triple H on the table, but missed an elbow smash. Triple H dragged him back in the ring and hit the Pedigree for the clean win.
I can appreciate not wanting Triple H to look weak going into his Wrestlemania match, but the commentators trying to sell Ambrose’s match against Lesnar was hilarious since the clean loss to Triple H kills all of Ambrose’s momentum. That said, had this match been the Wrestlemania main event with Ambrose going over, it’s hard to see a lot of people complaining. I’m not sure Reigns has this kind of match in him at this point in his career.
Roadblock was a weird Network special in that it got the treatment and fanfare of a big time event, but absolutely nothing of consequence occurred as every match went according to schedule. The title matches were all worth watching from a quality wrestling standpoint, but it lacked that must-see moment. This could have been a perfect time for WWE to shake things up a bit — like Natayla beating Charlotte only to lose the belt on Monday Night RAW — to reinforce that anything can happen on any night feel.
Photo Credit: WWE.com