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No Punches Pulled: WWE Roadblock 2016 Review

March 14, 2016 | Posted by Eric Presti
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No Punches Pulled: WWE Roadblock 2016 Review  

No Punches Pulled is a hard-hitting, no B.S., call-it-right-down-the-middle, review column dedicated to delivering unbiased thoughts and criticisms from the world of WWE to readers everywhere. Just because professional wrestlers pull their punches, doesn’t mean we have to pull ours.

This will be a more condensed version of our usual column seeing as this event isn’t a true PPV and many of the matches will be impromptu and have little to no backstory.

WWE Roadblock takes place from the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in front of a sold out crowd of 10,279.

The New Day (c) vs League of Nations for the WWE Tag Team Championship

Finish: Big E hits King Barrett with the Big Ending for the three count. WINNERS and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day.

PJ: This was fine. I kind of hope they go in a different, more important direction for The New Day for Mania because this felt fairly lifeless. I can’t help but feel The League is just a thrown together group of guys. This also was hurt by the fact that the New Day had an absolute barnburner with the short-lived Y2AJ on Raw merely 5 nights prior. This showed that the New Day for sure have some life as baby faces and their opening segment was hysterical. If they add a personal element, or take on a more layered story, I see the potential in these 4 having a rock solid match that would add to the Mania card. However, on this night, it just felt like a regular tag match. I am more impressed every single time I see Big E though. He’s a great talent

Eric: The New Day was great on the mic as always and continues to be one of the most entertaining features in the WWE. I was happy to see Barrett back in action after his neck issues and he looked pretty decent in the ring. Ultimately, I share the same feelings as my partner in that the League, although good, just seem plain and thrown together. Every time I see them I can’t help but wonder why they are still together. They originally got together due to Sheamus being the top guy and WWE Champion, but that has long since passed and even Del Rio has lost his title. Barrett hasn’t wrestled in two months and Rusev rarely wrestles anymore. They just seem so strange together. From here I hope to see the New Day move on from LoN. Ideally, I would like to see them face the Wyatts at Mania, but due to that having some real potential to be a good match, it probably won’t happen.

Rating: 2.75 Stars

Chis Jericho vs Jack Swagger

Finish: Chris Jericho slaps the Walls on Swagger for the submission victory.

PJ: Impromptu match fitting of a pseudo house show. Jericho cuts a full heel promo and mentions Swagger beating him for the Heavyweight strap. He then beckons, where is Swagger now? Well, Swagger comes out, and lo and behold we have a match. A pretty damn good one to be honest. I think Swagger was motivated to put on a good showing and prove that he still has something to offer the company. Which I think he does for the record. This match also proved to me that the 45-year-old Chris Jericho can still put on a decent match with no story, and without an elite athlete ala AJ Styles along side him. That being said, this was a pretty tight, athletic match. These two appear to have some chemistry. Shame nothing will come of it. Match would’ve been AT LEAST a 3 star threat if this had some build up as part of a feud, or if it wasn’t obvious Jericho was going to win. It was never a matter of if, just when. Alas, it was as it should be though. They appear headed for another AJ vs Y2J match at mania, which I am curious to see. Can they top their last effort and add another layer to make the feud interesting for another few weeks? I for, one am excited to find out.

Eric: It was good to see Jericho hit a full heel promo to officially seal his heel turn, a pretty good one at that (not to mention his awesome Smackdown promo). The only issue I had with it was he’s getting heat by taking a giant dump on his home country and then tries to get further heat by beating… an American. Sort of a strange way to go about it, but it seemed to work for him nonetheless. I was happy to see Swagger back in the ring; a guy I feel is extremely underutilized in the WWE. He put on a strong showing and showed he can still go. Both men did really. I was really pulling for a Styles vs Owens match at Mania, but with Zayn’s call up, I’m happy with the Jericho Styles match.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

The Revival (c) vs Enzo Amore & Collin Cassady for the NXT Tag Team Championship

Finish: The Revival hit a nasty Shatter Machine from the top rope on Enzo to retain. WINNERS and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions, The Revival.

PJ: What a match. This proves why there is always a place in the business for strict tag team wrestling, and wrestlers. Tag teams don’t need to be two individuals coming together as a unit. Enzo and Cass to me, are a tag team, and both would struggle in singles roles due to certain deficiencies. But that is TOTALLY ok. Because together they are awesome. Ditto for The Revival. The clash of styles with Enzo jumping around the ring like a rabbit and the no flips just fists approach of the champs was fun. I loved the Revival playing defense preventing the hot tag. They’re legit, the real deal old school, it isn’t just a gimmick. It is awesome to see a team like that in the current landscape. It was nice to see a main roster show feature a match like this, and I was happy that the majority of the crowd seemed familiar with Enzo’s schtick. I was more impressed with Colin Cassady than I’ve been in the past. He came in like a house of fire and showed me he could potentially carry the tag team if they ever turned heel. A prediction: Enzo and Cass will be a very over, contributing act of the main roster by this time next year. I don’t even need to sell you on the prospect of them versus The New Day.

Eric: Stellar performance from both teams. Enzo and Cas prove time and time again that they are over with every crowd they perform in front of. They look great together; their dynamic is great, great on the mic, its all working for them. Big Cas really brought it and looked like a stud in there. A call up for them is nearing as The Revival is ripping it up as the champs and American Alpha are clearly next in line to be champs. Dash and Dawson are another team who are very much ready to wrestle at the main roster level. Their psychology is incredible for a tag team, with their aggressive offense and characteristic limb targeting. They are a little awkward with their strange handshake and general showmanship, but that can be smoothed out with time. Overall, the match was great and both teams proved they are studs that will contribute big in the future.

Rating: 4 Stars

Charlotte (c) vs Natalya fot the WWE Diva’s Championship

Finish: Natalya is distracted by Flair on the apron while Charlotte rolls her up for the victory. WINNER and STILL WWE Diva’s Champion, Charlotte.

PJ: The best part of this match was how into it the hometown crowd for Natalya was. They bumped this up a notch for me, and Natalya is actually a fantastic babyface. She has all the facial expressions and body language down, and I found myself rooting for her as she battled, kicking out of the move that cost her the title to Charlotte the last time these two tied up. Charlotte is steadily improving in her heel role, even though I’m still not a fan of her father’s involvement, it makes sense as it gives her a heel modus operandi to fall back on. This was a classic house show match however. 99 times out of 100 if there is a match with build up booked for a pay per view, you’re not going to see a title hot shotted, especially when the exit strategy (Nattie as champ) has no path going forward for Mania. It’d be a triple threat with 3 babyfaces, with the champ having no involvement with either of the challengers. So in some ways it was sort of hard to suspend my disbelief for this bout but I do have to say the ladies did their best, and left me with an overall positive viewing experience.

Eric: Personally, I thought this was one of Charlotte’s best matches since debuting on the main roster. Natalya is severely underutilized in the Diva’s division and it’s a shame because she was an amazing wrestler far before the “Diva’s Revolution”. The family card they played leading up to the match was great, talking about the Harts vs the Flairs. This would be a great feud to drag out a few PPVs, but it has the potential to be awesome, so it won’t happen. With that being said, both women put on a clinic in there with the Figure-4 spot and Nattie fighting to slap the Sharpshooter on. Of course Ric has to get involved and ruin a good match, but that’s that how it goes with all of Charlotte’s matches.

Rating: 3 Stars

Brock Lesnar vs Bray Wyatt

Finish: Lesnar hits the F5 on Harper to pick up the win.

PJ: I’m barely going to touch on this match and I’m going to drive a stake through the heart of this ridiculous booking. So obviously, when the plan was Lesnar/Wyatt at mania, they were going to book Harper vs Lesnar for this shindig, yeah? Well, when Ambrose forced their hand and got put into the Lesnar match, they figured they’d go with Wyatt/Lesnar at Roadblock. And stupidly, they advertised it. Then some schmuck in the back says “Do we really want to waste Wyatt vs Lesnar on a stupid one off special with no build up?” (Which I agree with) And they instead go with this “handicap match” which just ends up Lesnar vs Harper!!! WTF? Stupidity at its finest, and other than getting to see Brock on TV dishing out some pain, and Harper who is a fantastic talent getting in some offense, this is totally skippable, and proves why these big events before Wrestlemania should be well thought out. Where does Wyatt go from here for Mania? Leave your ideas in the comments because I am stumped.

Eric: I was really excited for this match. Wyatt has been on a tear (besides Fastlane) and Lesnar is an absolute machine in the ring. I was really interested to see how they would book this with these two both on top of the world. Why they would advertise this match for weeks leading up to it just to change it at the last second is absolutely ridiculous. Now what? Brock just accepts that he didn’t get to fight Wyatt and moves onto Ambrose like nothing ever happened? Unless, they are still planning to go with Wyatt vs Lesnar at Mania and will add Ambrose to the Reigns vs Triple H match., which would also be dumb seeing as they already had Ambrose challenge Brock on TV. It would look bad to go back on it. Almost as bad as this match. They have seemingly booked themselves into a corner with Wyatt. We’ll see.

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Sami Zayn vs Stardust

Finish: Sami Zayn blasts Stardust with the Helluva Kick for the three count.

PJ: This was another good, albeit impromptu match. I support this one more because I think it’s important to introduce Zayn to the main roster fans before he makes a big splash. Hell of a work rate and pace cut here, great energy and even some decent psychology. I came away from this match thinking two major things; Sami Zayn lost nothing after his injury and is a stud in the making. If they protect him and put him in proper situations he could be a future main event player. Secondly, I wish they’d do more with Cody. He is, and always has been a great worker, and really if you can get past his lisp, is a decent promo too. Stardust is probably a good creative outlet for him, but the life of that gimmick is short lived. The one thing I will say that I strongly disliked, is Zayn playing major underdog to a guy who hasn’t been considered a threat in years. I get that they’re probably going to try and recreate Daniel Bryan’s path with Zayn, and he plays a fantastic underdog as we’ve seen in NXT. But to Cody? Not the best way to butter him up for a potential Owens match. Nitpicking though, he got the win and I’m glad for it.

Eric: With the news that Kevin Owens and AJ Styles were going to have a 30 minute Iron Match at the stupid house show and not on this special as well as the result on the previous match, I was pretty livid. Once I heard Sami Zayn’s music hit, I was instantly back into the show. Stardust came out and I was even more intrigued. Both of these guys can go and was sure to be a solid match. I’m glad I was correct. The pace in this one was great and the offense was pretty crisp. I’m hoping they go forward with Zayn vs Owens at Mania for the title and not include anyone else like Neville or Miz. Owens and Zayn had started a feud in NXT that the WWE needs to add to the main roster. So personal and bitter, its something we haven’t seen on the main roster in quite sometime. I’d hate for them to dilute it by adding other people the way they have diluted both a Shield triple threat match and a Shield reunion.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Triple H (c) vs Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Finish: Triple secures the victory with a Pedigree. WINNER and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H.

PJ: This was match of the night for me, but the NXT Tag Teams deserve props for giving it a run for it’s money. Triple H still has it folks. I know he’s not the IWC’s favorite grappler, but when he gets to employ his technical skills against a younger opponent, you can barely tell that Triple H is in his mid 40’s. He is absolutely jacked. He sold super well for Dean here at the beginning and that’s a good sign for Dean. The Game’s offense was crisp, punishing and methodical. Last time we saw him in a singles match, he had to carry Sting admirably to a decent match. His dance partner this time, was up to tango and these two had a fun match. Surprisingly awesome chemistry even though this is the first time these guy’s have locked up and the crowd was into it. This was the first time all night I had Mania fever watching it. I liked the part where ring positioning saved HHH’s ass. It’s a great booking technique that Ambrose can gloat about in feuds to come. “I had the COO’s shoulders to the mat and had him beat.” Classic tried-and-true stuff. Couple that with a great finish and I loved this match. It’s a shame but I don’t see Reigns HHH being able to top it.

Eric: I know many people were begging and praying for Dean Ambrose to win, but in my opinion it was fairly obvious Triple H would pick up the W. That being said, I’m not sure why people are so against Triple H being the champion. Look at his physique. Look at his match quality. The quality of this match more than proved he has a place at the top of the ladder with the rest of the main eventers. This match was amazing. Dean Ambrose looked better than ever and Triple H looked like he hasn’t lost a step. This was a very physical match and the false finishes made you think Dean Ambrose might come out with the victory. I can definitely say that when the ref counted three and recalled it saying Ambrose’s feet were under the ropes, I nearly lost my mind. Outstanding psychology and these two told a great story that I hope we get to hear again.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

The final score: review Good
The 411
Two great matches and several good ones make this an event that delivered for us. Other than the shoddy booking of the co-main event, this was as solid as you could have hoped for. Unchartered waters for WWE really. This to us, was a house show on steroids beefed up with some legitimate title matches, yet some throw in matches that befit the house show mentality. Tough to grade, but fun to watch.