There are two WrestleMania main events that could be in serious jeopardy heading into Saturday’s Roadblock live event, and depending on the outcome, that could be great news for the WWE. On paper, WWE Champion HHH vs. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar in a street fight are both solid matches. There’s only one problem: nobody wants to believe in Roman Reigns. After WWE dropped the ball and had Reigns lose the Rumble to a returning Batista over two years ago, Roman hasn’t had the same momentum with the crowd. Daniel Bryan became their crown jewel, and even after he was sidelined numerous times with injuries, the WWE Universe just wasn’t ready to coronate Reigns as their next leader. Roman has been absent the last few weeks, recovering from real life nasal surgery after the beat down from HHH, where the crowd cheered as the heel champ bloodied the baby face challenger. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that that isn’t the reaction the WWE wants going into WrestleMania.
While Reigns has been MIA the last few weeks, Dean Ambrose has been alive and well. His feud with Brock Lesnar has brought a necessary physicality to WWE storylines, and win or lose this Saturday, Ambrose is going to be in one of the main events of WrestleMania. Where things get interesting is the recent reaction to Ambrose/HHH, which will culminate this Saturday at Roadblock. While fans cheered Reigns’ beat down, they reacted negatively to HHH beating down Ambrose a few weeks ago, and erupted when he hit a Dirty Deeds out of nowhere and grabbed the WWE title. It’s easy to see why fans resonate with Ambrose over Reigns: one is organic, natural and more of a ‘common man’; the other is The Juggernaut, The Big Dog and every other nickname that continues to distance himself from the fans that he is supposed to represent. Microphone work has always been a big part of what makes a WWE star, but it’s more than that with Reigns. The way he is presented and the way he continually is given odds to overcome is tiring. Why should I care that Reigns has ANOTHER title shot at WrestleMania. He’s already been given so many shots, and even won one, that at this point it’s already old news. I’m not saying Ambrose has to win Saturday, although that would be crazy and welcome, but something needs to happen outside of the status quo. As of now Reigns isn’t advertised for Roadblock, so let’s go over a few scenarios whether he ends showing up or not.
Worse Case Scenario: HHH wins, Reigns saves Ambrose from a beat down
This is the most likely scenario, especially if you go off of WWE’s recent booking of Reigns, but it’s the absolute worst case scenario. As I mentioned above, this isn’t a ‘Ambrose loses or we riot’ situation, but they should not portray Ambrose as the little brother who needs big brother Roman’s help. The build up over the last few weeks for HHH/Ambrose has been so perfect, that it’d be a shame to neuter Ambrose by having Roman rescue him. I understand Roman wants his revenge on HHH, but save it for another night. There are a few factors in our favor that suggest this scenario might not happen. HHH has used heel factions, The Wyatt’s and the League of Nations, to beat down Ambrose the last few weeks. WWE is running a live event in Atlantic City opposite Roadblock, and Del Rio, Harper and Strowman are all advertised in matches. With Bray and possibly Erik Rowan tied up with Lesnar earlier in the evening, that only leaves a few member of the League of Nations available for a possible run-in post match. While that still leaves the possibility open for Sheamus, Barrett and Rusev to interfere, I really hope it doesn’t happen.
Middle of the Road Scenario: HHH wins
This is the second most likely scenario. I don’t really see Ambrose winning this match straight up (although it would be amazing) and I’m willing to accept any outcome except the one outlined above. I really do think this will be a great, hard fought match that will continue to put over Ambrose as a top star, but I just don’t think they’ll give him a World title win yet. I could see the League of Nations possibly interfering in this match, giving HHH the win by default, or interfering with a knocked down referee to build the suspense & have HHH win anyway. This could possibly bring out the slowly turning baby face New Day to assist. This is a live event after all, so don’t rule out something like that to close the show.
Coolest If Not Best Case Scenario: Dean Ambrose Wins
How crazy would this be? The hands down best thing about the Attitude Era was the fact that at any given moment, four or five people were vying for the title. Stone Cold, The Rock, Undertaker, Big Show, HHH, Mick Foley; it was never just a basic one on one feud, and it made things a whole lot more interesting. IF Ambrose wins, you now have Ambrose as the champion, HHH as the former champion, Lesnar who already has a match with Ambrose scheduled for WM and Reigns who is the rightful #1 contender. That gives you so many options. Fatal four way at WM, make Lesnar/Ambrose for the title and make Reigns have to defeat HHH to become #1 contender or any other scenario with those four guys. It’s a long shot at best, but I’m glad WWE has built the feud to where this is even a possibility. Saturday should be a blast, unless Roman comes back and superman punches everyone and I light myself on fire.
If you’re a casual wrestling fan, now is the time to watch WWE Raw. Between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, WWE consistently puts on it’s best weekly programming. They’re not all home runs, but they’re remarkably better than most Raw’s during other times of the year. Last night’s Raw was one of those home runs. After last week was extremely heavy on the promo’s, this week’s show focused more on the in ring segments, which is WWE’s strong suit with most of their top stars injured. We got a good promo from Shane and Vince to start the show, and a great back and forth between HHH and Ambrose later in the show, but all the highlights were of the physical variety. Let’s take a look.
After Shane and Vince verbally sparred back and forth and Vince stepped on a childhood photo of him and his son, Vince summoned security to take Shane out of the building. The only problem with that is that Shane O’ Mac was having none of it. He quickly dispatched security with rabbit punches and knee strikes, and the segment was made all the better because the Chicago crowd was hot for it. As a side note, Chicago crowds have a tendency to be self serving (CM Punk chants, I’m looking at you) but last night’s crowd was awesome, especially during this segment, the tag match and the closing angle. This segment did a lot better than last week’s, where Undertaker walked out, said a sentence and left. We still have three more Raw’s until WM, and while I don’t think it’s necessary for Taker and Shane to get physical, I would still like more of an explanation as to why Undertaker is actually competing in this match.
The WWE Divas Championship match is already set, so we’re probably in for segments where each Diva looks strong going into the biggest match in all three of these women’s careers. Of any match that’s already on the card or could be added, I’m most excited for this one. This is their chance to prove on the biggest stage that women’s wrestling matters on the main roster. I can’t wait.
As much as I’d rather get stabbed in both eyes instead of watching another distraction rollup win, at least Lana has something to do now. While a Brie Bella feud is almost always awful, the crowd obviously loves Lana, and she’s very athletic, so why not give her a chance and see what she can do. Plus, Brie’s entire family is falling apart, so why not give her one more WrestleMania moment before she retires.
They’re destined to do this forever. Kevin Owens beat Neville in a very good match, and it looked like Neville was going to fall victim to another pop up power bomb on the apron until SAMI ZAYN comes out for the save. Zayn and Owens feud in NXT was cut critically short due to the injury of Zayn and the fact that Owens was just too good to keep off the main roster, so if they’re going to get a WM feud right now I am all the way in. I don’t know if they’d do a 1 on 1 match or a multi-man match like last year, but either way, any version of Owens and Zayn is gold. Throw Neville in there and make it an IC Title/’Who’s the best NXT Champion on the main roster’ match. Either way, I am all the way in.
If I could pin point why this Raw was a gift from the Gods, it would be because Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio finally stopped feuding. Kalisto got a clean win over Tyler Breeze (who got a full entrance for the first time in forever) and Ryback continued to maul the Social Outcasts. Ryback and Kalisto even got promo time backstage where Ryback inexplicably name dropped every superhero movie he’s ever seen. As much as I love Kalisto, if he fights Ryback at WM their match should end when Ryback literally pulls him apart limb by limb.
This match was important for a number of reasons. The New Day, at least on the microphone, has kind of grown stale. They’re still kind of funny, but it seems more scripted than it used to be and that is always a bad thing. What this match proved though is that The New Day in the ring, specifically Big E and Kofi, are bananas. Big E catching human beings out of thin air and slamming them to the mat will never not be awesome and Kofi has eclipsed Dolph as the best seller on the roster. I could watch that AJ Styles backflip into a reverse DDT all day every day. Speaking of AJ Styles, anyone who had any doubts about how amazing he is should watch this match. He’s flying around the ring, looks great on offense and takes a believable beat down. The old veteran Jericho was also fantastic in this match, and this is his best run with the WWE since ‘Best in the World’ Jericho. Speaking of THAT Jericho, he’s back, baby. You sensed it was coming, but heel Jericho is so great that I didn’t care. Give me Chris Jericho stuffing shirts into people’s mouths and calling them sons of bitches and I’m a happy man. Great match and a great post match angle.
The difference between a good Raw and a great Raw is the stuff that happens after a fantastic match like the Tag Titles match. WWE’s roster is stacked with talent, so even on a bad show, they’re going to put on some fantastic matches. The problem is that the writing is inconsistent, so while some performers can overcome the writing and put on a great match, others can’t and the show goes downhill. That did not happen last night, and the main reason for that is Dean Ambrose. It’s hard to believe that a Raw in March without three of the top guys in three of the main event matches of WM (Reigns, Lesnar & Taker) could be this good, but that’s what happens when you let a guy like Ambrose connect with the crowd. Wyatt deserves some credit too, and as a Bray Wyatt super fan that interaction with HHH and the World Title at the end was INCREDIBLE, but Dean Ambrose is the shit right now. Not only does he out duel HHH in a promo earlier in the night, but he puts on a great match with Wyatt, gets beat down, and then summons enough energy to turn the tables on HHH and end the night with the belt in his hands. Also, don’t sleep on HHH selling Dirty Deeds like a goddamn champion. I saw a few people on Twitter complain about it, but they’re missing the point. With HHH selling it like a knockout blow, you just showed your audience that any given moment, Ambrose can pop up and hit that move and HHH will be forced to lay there like he got hit with a shovel. So now if HHH is murdering Ambrose on Saturday, we can revert back to that image and remember that at any moment, Ambrose could strike. I don’t know what’s going to happen Saturday night, but I know I’ll be watching, and that’s half the battle.
Triple H Will Defend The WWE Title Against Dean Ambrose On 3/12 At The Newly Named WWE Roadblock Event
— WWE (@WWE) March 1, 2016
If you didn’t watch Raw last night, you missed The League of Nations and Triple H beat the ever loving shit out of Dean Ambrose to end the show. The show began with Ambrose challenging HHH for a title shot, claiming he knows deep down that Ambrose would beat him. HHH obliged Ambrose after pedigreeing him and then proceeding to punch him about 1,000 times. When Raw went off the air, we didn’t know when the title match would take place, but thanks to this tweet by WWE, we know it’ll be on March 12th. The event, which will air live on the WWE Network on Saturday March 12th from Toronto, was originally called the ‘March to WrestleMania’. Vince must have been in a bad mood after the Undertaker choked him last night, so he decided to change the event to ‘WWE Roadblock’. Both names are kind of terrible, but at least we’ll be getting a title match at a live event. I don’t know if this is a move to further push Ambrose for his eventual main event run after WrestleMania or if WWE is genuinely interested in making him a part of the main event, but either way, I’m intrigued.