Jan. 27, 2017
WWE Roadblock: End of the Line Review
This year's Roadblock: End of the Line event didn't come in with very high expectations, being a transition show before the Rumble, and it certainly didn't deliver more than it had to.
The Pittsburgh crowd is known for being pretty dead, and with attendance reportedly being record-low for a Raw exclusive PPV, last night was no exception. They didn't seem to care about any of the matches, but rather they cared about making goofy faces so Kevin Dunn would put them on TV.
Overall, WWE gave Pittsburgh no good reason to break the trend and break out in excitement, as with the exception of the tag title match, the show was pretty ordinary.
Here is a match-by-match review of the show:
Kickoff: Rusev defeated Big Cass via countout at 4:30: This was very poor way to "kickoff" the event, as the match was slow and short, and the ending was unsatisfying. Rusev tricked Big Cass into being counted out when he beat up Enzo, distracting Cass in the process. Cass was counted out when he checked on Enzo. It wasn't a bad way to keep the program going, but the last thing fans want to see on the first match of a PPV is a non-finish. (3/4*)
1. Cesaro & Sheamus defeated The New Day to win the Raw Tag team Championship at 10:10: This was the best match of the night and the most exciting match on the show. The New Day played the heels, by cheating and using their numbers game as an advantage. However, Sheamus and Cesaro kept overcoming their tricks. Early in the match, Big E did his trademark spear through the ropes onto Sheamus, but this time he actually landed safely for a change. Later in the match, Xavier, at ringside, kicked Cesaro in the face behind the ref's back. Big E hit the Big Ending for a believable near fall. Later on, Cesaro locked Kofi in the Sharpshooter, but Xavier distracted the referee with his trombone while Kofi tapped out behind his back. Cesaro did a cool sequence on Kofi, ending with The Neutralizer, but Big E broke up the count. The finish came when Sheamus, the legal man, went to tag Cesaro, but Cesaro threw his hand away at the last second. But acting as if the tag was made, Cesaro stormed into the ring to be caught with Kofi's Trouble in Paradise. As Kofi started pinning Cesaro, Sheamus, still the legal man, rolled up Kofi for the pin. This was a brilliant finish to cap off an awesome match. Afterwards, Sheamus and Cesaro continued their one-upping routine by celebrating separately. My one complaint is that the match was about five minutes too short, as if it had been longer, it would have been in four star territory. Overall, this was still a very fitting conclusion to New Day's historic title reign. (***3/4)
2. Sami Zayn defeated Braun Strowman by lasting the 10:00 time limit: For a storyline that was actually intriguing, this match was the polar opposite. I thought it was very oddly timed and executed. The first seven minutes consisted of Strowman ragdolling Zayn around, while Zayn sold his offense like a champ. At around the seven minute mark, Mick Foley came out with a towel, and for the next two minutes, he teased throwing it as Strowman and Zayn argued with him. So basically, the entire idea that Mick wasn't babying Zayn after all—and was just motivating him—was completely undone in this match. Great booking, WWE. Mick's stalling allowed for Zayn to get the upper hand. The final minute of the match consisted of Strowman running into things while Zayn moved out of the way. Zayn hit two Helluva Kicks, but the time limit expired before he could make the cover. The last minute of the match was exciting, however the other nine minutes were absolutely horrendous. (*1/2)
3. Seth Rollins defeated Chris Jericho at 17:05: If you've liked Rollins' past twenty matches with Jericho on Raw, you'd be sure to like this. I didn't think this was bad by any means, but it wasn't anything different from what we've seen on Raw. After some TV-quality wrestling, Kevin Owens showed up to cause the distraction while Rollins was on the upper hand. As the referee was distracted, Jericho rolled up Rollins, however the referee was still distracted. As Jericho yelled at Owens for interfering, Rollins capitalized with the High Knee. Jericho managed to attempt a Codebreaker, but Rollins reversed with a Pedigree to win the match. So basically, this was the exact same angle they did on Raw with Reigns vs. Jericho for the U.S. title. This match was effective in getting where WWE wanted to go by the end of the night, but it just wasn't PPV material. (**1/2)
4. Rich Swann defeated Brian Kendrick and TJ Perkins to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at 6:00: Austin Aries replaced Byron Saxton on the commentary table here, and I thought he did a very good job. I can't say the same thing about this match. For what is supposed to be an exciting Cruiserweight style, this match was pretty boring. They started off with some exciting moves, but quickly transitioned into a series of mat wrestling and submissions. Swann pinned Perkins with his kick. After the match, Neville returned with a nice ovation from the crowd. As Swann was getting ready to give Neville a nice greeting, Neville clocked him in the face. He then began to viciously attack both Swann and Perkins, as the crowd chanted, "Thank you, Neville." Neville was awesome here, and this was the most exciting thing to happen in the Cruiserweight division to this point. It's only a matter of time before Neville wins the Cruiserweight title, as he is the one standout in the division up to this point. (*1/2)
5. Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks in a 30:00 Iron Match to win the Raw Women's Championship at 34:45: Unfortunately for these women, the crowd just could not care less about this match. The women worked hard, and the wrestling itself wasn't bad, but the match construction was backwards and waiting 20 minutes for the first fall certainly didn't help excite the crowd. The first fall came when Charlotte pinned Sasha after a Natural Selection from the top rope. The second fall came moments later when Sasha rolled up Charlotte. Soon after, Sasha made Charlotte tap with the Banks Statement to get the 2-1 lead. With minutes left to go, Charlotte locked Sasha in the Figure Four Leg Lock, and with two seconds left on the clock, Sasha tapped out to tie the score. This made Sasha look incredibly stupid for being able to last two full minutes, but not a few extra seconds. It would have been better if the roles were reversed and Charlotte had the 2-1 lead, with Sasha being the one to make Charlotte tap at the way end. In this case, the fans would have actually been excited to see the score tied up, rather than dejected.
As the ring announcer hilariously botched the announcement of the tie score, she revealed that since this is the "End of the Line," Sasha and Charlotte would go into sudden death overtime. Sasha, barely able to walk with a bloody nose, got caught in the Figure Four Leglock once again, and tapped out for the second time in five minutes. This made her look even stupider for not being able to last the extra two seconds. With the fans clearly counting down the clock, it's hard to act like Sasha was unaware of how much time she had left. This was just a poorly thought out match all around the board. (**1/2)
6. Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns via DQ to retain the WWE Universal Championship at 23:20: Earlier in a backstage segment, Owens begged Jericho to forgive him behind a closed door, and added that he really hurt his feelings. This match was pretty good, as Owens and Reigns have good chemistry together. The first 18 minutes were pretty basic back-and-forth action, with Owens hitting Reigns with a wicked DDT at one point. At around the 18 minute mark, Owens Frogsplashed Reigns through the announce table, but it refused to break. Determined to break the table, Owens Frogsplashed Reigns again, this time breaking the table. Back in the ring, he hit one more Frogsplash off the top rope for a near fall. Soon after, Owens hit a Pop-up Powerbomb onto Reigns, but Reigns got his foot on the rope at the very last second. Owens grabbed his title belt and attempted to whack Reigns with hit, but was caught with a Spear by Roman. As both men were getting up, Chris Jericho showed up. He paused for a few seconds, before hitting Owens with the Codebreaker. The ref called for the DQ and awarded the belt to Owens. Jericho helped Owens up and revealed that this was his plan all along, and the two embraced as best friends again. Reigns was furious, and as Owens and Jericho attempted to escape, Seth Rollins showed up. Reigns and Rollins hit the Shield-Powerbomb on both Jericho and Owens through the other announce tables to send the fans home happy. I would have been more forgiving of this non-finish, had this not have been the third inconclusive match on this show. (***)
Overall, this wasn't a good show at all. Only four of the seven matches ended via pinfall or submission, and only three of them ended without interference playing a factor. With the exception of the Tag Team title match and Neville's return, there was nothing on this show that will be remembered fondly. (4/10)