SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The New Day vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Roadblock got off to a hot and memorable start with Cesaro and Sheamus winning the Tag Team titles from New Day. We knew it was only a matter of time before the trio dropped their gold (er…copper), and with the tag division growing staler by the week, something had to give.
There were multiple nice nearfalls in the match, and the fake tag at the end was clever, and helped the newest Odd Couple of wrestling finally outsmart New Day. That’s a bit of an odd thing to say, but Kofi, Big E and Xavier have been acting increasingly heelish lately, so it was actually a bit satisfying to see them get theirs. Hopefully the group will cement their turns soon, and start off on their next chapter together.
Hey, Neville actually has a bit of a personality and a few facial expressions! Who would have guessed? Despite all the natural talent he possesses, he’s never been an interesting character in WWE. Perhaps a run in the Cruiserweight division as a remorseless heel will be exactly what he needs to become relevant. It was a smart move on WWE’s part to move Neville into the division, and hopefully his inclusion can finally help get this thing off the ground. Also, bonus points to Swann for him questioning why Neville was beating him as he was beating him. It’s a fair question!
Charlotte vs. Sasha
This wasn’t a classic, but the last few minutes were superb. The two put on the best match of the night, and the overtime felt realistic in a sports-like way. Their struggles to frantically lock each other into their finishers felt genuine in a way we rarely see in the company.
It’s a shame that none of the Charlotte vs. Sasha matches will be talked of in Match of the Year discussions, but as a whole, they elevated women’s wrestling on the main roster to new levels. Here’s to hoping that they don’t battle in a singles match for at least a year, as it’s time for them to work with other talent to finally add some depth to the depleted women’s division on Raw.
The 10 Minute Time Limit
If there was ever a match in recent memory to bring back the crimson mask, this was it. Sure, we got some inadvertent blood during Sasha vs. Charlotte, but Sami vs. Braun could have used some…or at least something to make it feel important. Braun has been surprisingly decent lately, but his series of back punches and shoves didn’t exactly make him seem like a huge indestructible monster; the type that Sami needed to be saved from.
The match didn’t really do anything for either man, as Sami only survived because he amazingly moved out of his opponent’s way in three consecutive attempted attacks. Is that really something he, or anyone, should be proud of?
Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins
This whole angle has been a mess, the match was underwhelming and the finish was the laziest, most overdone ending they could have come up with. Besides all that, it’s just hard to get excited about Rollins, as his character has been pretty lame, and he is now once again hanging out with the most hated man on the roster. What is there to like about him?
Add in the fact that Rollins had already defeated Jericho multiple times on free TV, and this all felt incredibly pointless. Both men needed to really bring their A-game in order to justify the existence of the match, but they came up far too short.
The Cruiserweight Title Match
The Women’s Title match was given 30 minutes at Roadblock, the Tag Title match 10, the Universal Title 23 and the Cruiserweights got a whopping 6. It’s not hard to see which title management doesn’t care about. Hopefully the addition of a heelish Neville can add some intrigue to the Cruiserweight Division, but it’s hard to imagine it getting much worse in the coming months.
T.J. Perkins especially didn’t have a great showing at Roadblock, as he looked like a fool for releasing the Knee Bar, and the announcers rightfully took him to task for that odd decision. He should also get his own special miss here for his line about being the first “CruiserGREAT” on the pre-show, and then acting like he said something genuinely clever. Blech.
The Main Event’s Ending
It was hard not to feel a bit bad for Kevin Owens, as he tried to get away from two bullies chasing him after the main event. He didn’t do anything! His facial expressions didn’t reveal that he was in on Jericho’s master plan, so in that aspect, he was innocent. Add in his heartfelt attempt to win his friend back earlier in the night, and you wanted to see him beat Roman Reigns. Hell, he showed more genuine emotion in that locker room segment than Roman has in his entire career!
This was simply a lousy main event ending. Smackdown’s TLC gave us James Ellsworth interfering in the final match of the night. The event prior to that had an 86 second main event, and the one before that had Luke Harper ruining a Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt match. If a fan is going to devote over three hours of their time on a Sunday night, is it too much to ask for a good match with a satisfying ending now and then?
CHECK OUT WADE KELLER’S DETAILED REPORT WITH STAR RATINGS: KELLER’S WWE ROADBLOCK PPV REPORT 12/18: Owens vs. Reigns, Charlotte vs. Banks, New Day vs. Sheamus & Cesaro, Sami vs. Strowman