The SmarK Rant for WWE Roadblock: End of the Line 2016 (12.18.16)
I still have no idea what the title of the show is supposed to be referring to.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Bryon Saxton & Corey Graves
Live from Pittsburgh, PA
RAW tag team titles: The New Day v. Cesaro & Sheamus
The New Day try to come up with some team names for Sheamus & Cesaro but all the choices are pretty weak. Swing Low Swiss Chariot? No buys. Cesaro immediately dropkicks Kofi for two and throws forearms, and they do a really nice little reversal sequence before Kofi escapes the Giant Swing. Sheamus in with a suplex for two, and they double-team Kofi with some rapid-fire stuff, and Sheamus slingshots in with a shoulderblock for two. Sheamus goes to the chinlock, but then they get rid of the other New Days and hit a double-team into Cesaro’s forearm. That gets two. Cesaro finally misses a charge and posts himself, allowing Kofi to dump Sheamus and Big E to hit the apron spear and a big splash for two. Sheamus comes back with a necksnap on Big E, but walks into a powerbomb that gets two. Cesaro comes in with a double-team White Noise for two and then follows with a huge spinning forearm off the springboard. Giant Swing is accidentally broken up by Sheamus and the Big Ending gets two. I would have bought that one. Cesaro escapes the Midnight Special and gets a rana from the top on Kofi, which leads into the Giant Swing and Sharpshooter. Sheamus gets rid of Xavier while Kofi taps behind the ref’s back, so Cesaro hits the Neutralizer for two instead. Sheamus tags himself in while Cesaro takes care of Big E, but Xavier sacrifices himself and takes the Brogue for Kofi. SOS on Sheamus gets two off that. And then we get an INCREDIBLY clever finish, as Sheamus pretends to dive for a tag and Cesaro comes in, as Kofi mistakenly goes after Cesaro (who wasn’t actually the legal man) and Sheamus pins Kofi to win the tag team titles at 10:00. It was the right time to end the reign. Excellent opener. ****1/4 And the new champs still don’t like each other, but still share a hug.
Meanwhile, Kevin Owens thinks the interview-bot is really stupid and he’s best friends with Chris Jericho UNCONDITIONALLY. And he has the holiday scarf to prove it.
10 Minute Challenge: Sami Zayn v. Braun Strowman
Sami uses his speed to start, but gets tossed around by Strowman and choked out. Sami low-bridges him to the floor and follows with a dive, but Braun drops him on the apron. Back in, Braun gets a corner splash for two, but picks him up for more punishment. Braun keeps pounding away in boring fashion, which brings out Mick Foley with a white towel. Holy crap Mick looks thin. Anyway, then we waste another two minutes of the match playing out that drama, and Strowman charges and runs through the barricade, but beats the count back in. Braun hits the post again and Sami gets a bodypress for two, but Braun throws him out of the ring and time expires at 10:00. Sami is thus the “winner”. There was no real storyline to the match here, and no point when it looked like Sami was in any serious danger and had to fight out of it. *
Seth Rollins v. Chris Jericho
The crowd is pretty sharply split here. They fight over a wristlock and Rollins slugs away in the corner, but Jericho gets the missile dropkick for two. Jericho slugs away in the corner and unfortunately watching this show with headphones on my iPad means the spot-calling is pretty obvious. Seth tosses him for that devastating “glancing knee” off the apron, but Jericho hits him with a clothesline off an eye-rake to take over. Rollins slingshots him into the corner, but tries to go up and Jericho dropkicks him off the apron. Back in, Jericho goes to the chinlock and hits a dropkick for two. Jericho chokes him down and smacks him around as this is taking forever to get out of first gear. Seth comes back with the enzuigiri and they slug it out, won by Rollins. Seth with a blockbuster for two, but Jericho gets his own enzuigiri and they fight to the floor. Back in, Jericho catches the flying knee and turns it into the Walls of Jericho, but Seth makes the ropes. He misses a frog splash and Jericho gets the LIonsault for two. Rollins with the Falcon Arrow for two. Jericho escapes the Pedigree with a nice series of counters, into the Walls of Jericho a second time. Rollins escapes with a small package this time, for two. Rollins comes back and hits the frog splash, but now KO runs in to run interference, and Jericho cradles for two. Jericho escapes the Pedigree and yells at his BFF, and Rollins finishes with the Pedigree at 17:22. I dunno, they never really found the next gear and really struggled to get anything going for the first 10 minutes. Seemed more like an extended RAW match than anything. It was mostly good, but the dead crowd didn’t help at all. ***
WWE Cruiserweight title: Rich Swann v. Brian Kendrick v. TJ Perkins
Swann accidentally knees Kendrick in the face early and he bails to regroup, but then yanks Swann out because he was FAKING. Back in, Swann gets the enzuigiri and manages to hit a double rana on the other two, which takes some impressive flexibility. Austin Aries, joining us on commentary, immediately takes credit for inventing the move. The announcers argue over which guy is the most fun to watch while the crowd is pretty much silent. Kendrick with the Captain’s Hook on Swann after getting rid of TJ, but TJ recovers and breaks up the move with his own kneebar on Kendrick. Everyone is down and the crowd is just deathly silent. Perkins with a kneebar on Swann now, but he makes the ropes. The announcers actually point out that he’s stupid to release the hold since it’s no-DQ. The babyfaces team up with a double superkick on Kendrick, and then Swann turns on Perkins with his own superkick to retain at 6:00. Complete afterthought of a match. * And then Neville, with a new mean-looking beard, returns and beats the hell out of Swann and Perkins. The crowd actually chants “Thank you Neville” after this heel turn. About time they put Neville into this division to save it.
Meanwhile, Kevin Owens bares his soul to Chris Jericho’s door, but doesn’t get an answer.
RAW Women’s title: Sasha Banks v. Charlotte
Charlotte controls with an armbar to start and works a headlock, but Sasha comes back with a sunset flip for two. Crucifix gets two, into the Banks Statement, but Charlotte bails to escape. Back in, Charlotte gets a couple of quick rollups for two, but Sasha backslides for two. Sasha stops to talk shit about the Flair family relationship, so Charlotte boots her into the corner and Sasha comes back with a sleeper. Charlotte backdrops out and they head to the floor, where Sasha gets the double knees off the apron and back in for two. Sasha with a straitjacket hold on Charlotte, but Charlotte creates separation (and Byron gets to call it!) to escape. Sasha tosses her and follows with a dive, but Charlotte trips her into the stairs and gets two. Charlotte works her over with knees for two and gets the neckbreaker and a kneedrop for two. Charlotte with the headscissors, but Sasha rolls her over for two. Charlotte with a neckbreaker out of the corner for two, but Sasha goes up with a bodypress that misses, and Charlotte hits Natural Selection for two. Sasha tries the Banks Statement, but Charlotte fights her off and goes up, hitting Natural Selection off the top for the first pin at 19:20. Charlotte retains control with a backdrop suplex for two, but Sasha rolls her up for the pin at 21:40. Charlotte lays her out again and goes up, but the moonsault misses by a mile and the Banks Statement puts her up 2-1 at 24:00. Charlotte quickly destroys the knee and goes to work on it, finally getting the figure-four, but Sasha reverses it and they fight in the hold until the very end, at which point Sasha stupidly taps with one second left to tie things up. So now it’s SUDDEN DEATH and Charlotte goes back to the knee again, but Sasha rolls her up for two. Another rollup gets two. Banks Statement, but Charlotte goes to the bad knee to break and gets another figure-four and holy shit, Sasha’s mouth is ALL KINDS of busted open. Charlotte bridges into the figure-eight and Sasha taps at 3:00 of OT as they change that damn title AGAIN. The Iron Man aspect didn’t really add anything to the match, as it was literally only the last 10 minutes that meant anything, but it was a pretty great 10 minutes. ***1/2 Poor Sasha ended up with three of the most lame-duck title reigns ever, though.
Universal title: Kevin Owens v. Roman Reigns
Kevin runs away to start and works a headlock, but Reigns escapes with the move that’s called “Moment of Silence” in the mobile game, a back suplex into a slam. Not sure why he doesn’t use it more as a finish, it’s pretty cool. They fight on the floor and Owens takes over in the ring by stepping on Roman’s hand and such, but Roman fights back and they head to the floor again. Random question: Why did they even put the US title on Roman if the plan was to build to this feud? Owens sends him into the stairs, and back in for two, and it’s CHINLOCK CITY. Owens with a somersault legdrop for two off that, and it’s back to the chinlock. Reigns finally fights free and comes back with clotheslines in the corner, and a samoan drop for two. Owens counters the superman punch with a DDT for two, but a second punch gets two. They fight to the top and Reigns gets yet another superman punch up there, but Owens brings him down with a fisherman’s buster for two. KO goes up with a senton, but Reigns gets the knees up to block. Owens bails to escape, so Reigns gets the Drive-By and Owens continues to run away. Finally he sneaks in with a pair of superkicks on the floor and a frog splash onto the German table. It fails to break, so he does it a second time. Back in, a third frog splash gets two. Reigns comes back with a powerbomb for two, but Owens gets his own for two. Finally he grabs the title, but Reigns stops him with a spear and finally we get the gift of Jericho that we’ve been waiting for the entire match. But then he turns on Owens with the Codebreaker for the DQ at 23:30. But of course it was all a ruse and Jericho was just saving the title for his best friend. Match was WAY too long for that lame TV finish. **1/2 And then Seth Rollins comes out and we get a weird extended beatdown by the Shield on both heels, which is supposed to make them good guys, I guess?
Just an OK show with a tag title match that ended up being the highlight of the night. Nothing bad, nothing else great, and a whole lot of nothing, pretty much. Watching this show did not make me the slightest bit interested in seeing where these stories continue from here, which is a pretty major failing for a show that seemed to be specifically designed as a placeholder while they figure out where to go next.
Thumbs in the middle.
Tags: Charlotte v. Sasha Banks, Roadblock: End of the Line, Roman Reigns v. Kevin Owens, SmarK Rants, SmarK WWE Network Rant, The New Day