I can’t say that Roadblock was a disappointment, because it was never meant to be a particularly influential event. There were some quality matches and these WWE Network exclusives seem to be more in the vain of a classic “Saturday Night’s Main Event” rather than a full fledged payperview. I like the trend and they should absolutely continue to produce them.
But this one was a bit of a tease. To even have the option of Dean Ambrose winning the title from Triple H to shake up a decidedly dull Wrestlemania card and then not to deliver was...well...more of the same. In the past few years, WWE has enjoyed a level of unpredictable predictability. What I mean by that is, they have a habit of holding back the most popular superstar of the day. In this case, at least the fan favorite in title contention, is Dean Ambrose. Since Triple H vs. Roman Reigns isn’t a marquee that’s expected to sell a lot of Wrestlemania buys, many fans thought it was would be an obvious move to have Dean Ambrose upset Triple H. An obvious upset. Just like we wanted. But obviously, we’re upset!
I understand that I shouldn’t expect an outcome of a match to be in the favor of the fans. That’s how you build a good heel, afterall. It’s a masterful mind game concocted both onscreen and behind the scenes by the cerebral assassin, Triple H. The brilliance of his character is that he can manipulate his opponents in the ring, but does the same kind of manipulation to the WWE Universe in his position as a decision maker within the company. I can’t even say that as a bad thing, because the only people who are aware of the end game are the players involved.
The same thing happened with the Daniel Bryan storyline. They held him back and held him back until the fans wanted him to win so badly that it just exploded. To deny someone over and over again what they want builds and builds and makes the payoff that much more enjoyable. I believe in the kink community, this is called “edging,” which Urban Dictionary defines as, “Coming nearly close to climax...then purposefully stopping stimulation in order to delay the same, so that the ultimate climax will be more intense.”
They’ve used this technique on other superstars; notably Dolph Ziggler. But once reached, this kind of excitement can fade, so it should be used wisely. Dean Ambrose nearly winning the championship from Triple H (but losing due to the technicality of Ambrose’s foot being under the rope on a three-count) was indeed something we needed to get The Lunatic Fringe ultimately over, but it comes at a time when they could’ve utilized his momentum in the main event of Wrestlemania. They surprised us by not having a twist, but anything can happen between now and then.
Another surprise from Roadblock was the decision by The Eater of Worlds, Bray Wyatt, to have Luke Harper fight in his stead against The Beast, Brock Lesnar. This was also a match that I was hoping would end in an upset just because I love the idea of Bray Wyatt being the ONLY superstar who can beat Brock Lesnar. Yes, Bray is fantastic and can always sell a match with his mesmerizing promos, but when it comes down to the big match at hand, he doesn’t tend to walk out with the victory.
Don’t get me wrong, the stigma of the invincible Brock Lesnar must be protected. But Bray Wyatt needs to beat somebody to make his top spot on the roster viable. And being the unorthodox athlete that he his, Wyatt could pull out an upset using his mysterious abilities against The Conqueror that would keep Lesnar’s reputation legitimate. Hopefully, they are saving this feud for a long run after Wrestlemania. Bray Wyatt and Paul Heyman in strange and masterful mic battles? Who could ask for anything more?
Roadblock also featured some quality matches including an impressive showing for the NXT Tag Team Championship between Enzo & Cass and The Revival, making us all wonder why they haven’t been called up to the main roster yet. Sami Zayn was also in action, picking up a win over Stardust, giving Zayn some much needed exposure. The New Day faced The League of Nations’ Sheamus and Wade Barrett. But let’s be honest, New Day’s opening promo was the best part. There were a couple of talent enhancing matches in Charlotte’s win over Natalya and Chris Jericho win over Jack Swagger.
All in all, Roadblock was a nice, old school kind of event. No big surprises with a couple of teasers. It does strike me as a misstep that Ambrose lost his opportunity to turn Wrestlemania on its ear, since that would make this kind of WWE Network exclusive into must-see programming; thus making the WWE Network a must-buy service. I’m very curious as to what lengths (if any) the creative team will go through to make Wrestlemania more enticing. Because as of right now, Shane vs. Taker has the most attention. As much as I enjoy this flirtation with possible crowd pleasing matchups, at some point the WWE has to go all the way with us if they want to go steady.