Inside Pulse 12

Metalhead’s Riff: Dissecting WWE Roadblock 2016 (Full Results And Review, HHH vs Ambrose, The Revival vs Enzo and Cass)

Apparently WWE decided the WWE universe needed yet another special event on the road to Wrestlemania so they came up with roadblock, a Network exclusive special. Expectations weren’t really high here so let’s see what the boys and girls from WWE had in store for us:

WWE Tag Team Title Match: Champions The New Day w/Woods defeated Sheamus and King Barrett in 9:45 via pinfall:

I know this is not gonna be a popular opinion, but I’m really getting tired of those silly New Day promo’s. That being said, crowd loved, so who am I to argue with that? Decent tag match to start of the show. Say what you will about Barrett (and we at IP often do) but the guy is at least enthusiastic in the ring. Both teams worked well together and this resulted in a rather entertaining opener. Not a patch on Y2AJ vs new Day of course, but then, nobody really expected that. Zinnger of the night was JBL comparing the LoN with the Four Horseman though. That one had me rolling on the floor laughing. I  was also somewhat amused by the whole dynamic here though. Basically you had the popular heels (New Day) going after the not-popular heels (LoN), and the popular team used typical heel tactics to give the not-popular ones a typical babyface loss. And the crowd loved it. Hey, whatever works I guess…

Chris Jericho defeated Jack Swagger in 7:50 via submission:

I actually thought they were going to have a problem here, since Jericho received an hero’s welcome, but that was counting without Y2J’s awesome promo skills. Indeed, within a few minutes, those cheers were replaced by “asshole” chants. Now THAT’s a promo. Perhaps Jericho should give those WWE writers some lessons. Swagger also got a good response with his “We The People”. I don’t know about Swagger. I know a lot of fans don’t like him and find his style reckless (and it is sometimes), but I can’t help but feel more could have been done with him. Especially when you consider the response he still gets. Match was fine, they did a good job of putting Jericho over as an heel, but overall it was a bit difficult to get behind it,  since, aside from Jericho’s pre-match promo, nothing was really done to make us care about it. I was also amused by commentary putting over all what Jericho has achieved in his career (even outside WWE, which was good), while making it seem AJ still had everything to prove. Wrestling fans know better of course, but I find it funny they’re still going for that after three matches between the two and AJ having been one of the hottest thing on WWE programming for two months now. Well, at least we can look forward to more awesome heel Jericho promo’s during the build-up to their WrestleMania match.

NXT Tag Team Title Match: Champions The Revival defeated Enzo Amore and Big Cass (with Carmella) in 10:17 via pinfall:

Good response for Enzo and Cass’ entrance although part of the crowd seemed to wonder what the hell was going on. But I think that if the rumors about Enzo and Cass moving to the main roster are true (and I believe they are), people will catch on rather quickly. I’ve said this before but I really like the Revival as a team, they have that old school feeling about them that I rather enjoy. Both teams worked a very good match that easily surpassed anything the main roster tag division produced these past few years. That’s NXT for you. Great pacing throughout the match with The revival using their trademark under-handed tactics to cut off Enzo and Cass’ offense. Of course Dash and Dawson also proved they are not only about dirty tricks by pulling off some awesome spots, including catching Cass in a double team codebreaker on the floor and and finishing Enzo off with the same move, but off the top rope this time. Great showcase for both teams. That Revival/American Alpha’s match at Takeover Dallas is gonna be something else.

WWE Divas Title Match: Champion Charlotte defeated Natalya in 13:44 via pinfall:

Since listening to the latest TRA podcast (hey BD and Jonah, how are you?), I’ve decided to forego the “good Diva match” phrase, since that’s a contradiction in terms anyway, and simply speak of a good wrestling match whenever it’s warranted. And this was indeed good, although not without some issues. For example, can one explain to me why you would have Charlotte working over Natalya’s legs, ostensibly to prevent the latter from using her sharpshooter finisher, only for Natalya to completely no-sell it later in the match? This was to the point that Charlotte’s figure-four actually looked more painful to her than it did to Natalya. Second issue was of course the finish which was about as lazy as one can expect, with good old Ric doing his distraction spot. Fortunately, all of that didn’t derail what was an entertaining match by any standard. It did left you wondering why WWE isn’t using Natalya more though…

Handicap Match: Brock Lesnar defeated Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt in 4:07 via pinfall:

BROCK SMASH TIME! So, the advertised Brock Lesnar vs Bray Wyatt match was turned into a Brock Lesnar vs Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper handicap match (by the devil apparently) which ended up being a Brock Lesnar vs Luke Harper with Bray Wyatt on the outside match. Okay then. Harper was on the offensive for a few minutes, even getting a near fall, but then Brock shifted gears and destroyed Harper. It must be said, great work by Harper here, who remains one of the company’s most underrated workers in my opinion. In between dismantling Harper, Brock would stare down Bray a few time who apparently got the message since he backed away from the ring after the inevitable F5. Not much else to it, just an excuse to have Brock smash things. And before anyone asks, yes I HAVE stopped trying to make sense of the way WWE is booking the Wyatt Family. Anyway, Brock looked like a monster again and that was what was needed before his WM showdown against Ambrose.

Sami Zayn defeated Stardust in 12:45 via pinfall:

When Zami zayn has to work his ass off to get a CANADIAN  crowd into the spirit of thing you know something his wrong. Whomever came up with this match made a gross miscalculation. Sami Zayn has had some great matches as an underdog, true, but the problem is Stardust is just a undercard wrestler at this point, so the crowd just didn’t buy into the whole “Stardust dominating Zayn” thing. And while there was nothing technically wrong with this match, it never even came close to Zayn’s matches against Owens or Neville. I’m afraid I must call this a complete misfire on all levels (on top of everything it went too long) as it did neither wrestlers any favors. Too bad.

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Champion Triple H defeated Dean Ambrose in 24:53 via pinfall:

Fittingly the best match on the card (although the NXT match wasn’t far behind). Good back and forth to start off with, the action then quickly spilled to the floor. Again some storytelling issues though, as Ambrose would target the HHH’s leg, with even commentary making a big issue from this, only for HHH to no-sell the leg later on. Same observation as with the Natalya/Charlotte match, why even bother targeting body parts if the recipient of such offense is just gonna ignore it later on? Also, why do they still portray HHH as the babyface in peril at some points? This isn’t doing Reigns any favors either. But, fair is fair, this were only small issues as both worked their asses off to deliver one of the better WWE main events of 2016 thus far. Some shenanigans though, as Ambrose had HHH down for the three-count, only for the referee to claim Ambrose’s leg was under the ropes. “Bullshit” chants from the crowd, and deservingly so, but this was quickly replaced by a “This is awesome” chants as the match transitioned into a wild ring-side brawl with the obligatory commentary tables destruction. At the end of all this HHH of course retained with a pedigree.

 

Conclusion: Same as with the other PPV/Events of 2016 thus far. Mostly good matches, but sometimes marred by some very basic booking and storytelling issues, the most glaring being how they booked the Zayn match. Also, the main event, while good, was somewhat puzzling to me for two reasons. One, why is WWE’s most popular wrestler (Ambrose not HHH) constantly being put into matches where he inevitably ends up losing? The same will probably happen at WM. Ambrose is still very popular, yes, but, in my opinion, to keep that popularity intact, he needs some big wins and he needs them quickly. Also, the quality of the main event was another, indirect, nail in Roman Reigns’ coffin, because there is no way he and HHH can possibly top HHH vs Ambrose.

In the end, despite some efforts from WWE to make us believe otherwise, Roadblock was a glorified house show, because, yes there were some good matches, but the whole thing still felt rather pointless. Nothing changed, we’re still on the road to one of the most underwhelming WrestleMania’s ever.

 

 

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