Going into this show, the feeling was that most hardcore fans weren’t too excited. Well, based on what the WWE presented on this show, it’s fair to say the interest level in Raw may have increased. It was a much needed change of pace for the red brand.
The New Day vs Sheamus & Cesaro
Considering how this match was announced on Wednesday night, I don’t believe there was a lot of interest in this. Well, thankfully the competitors made this into a strong opener.
I, like many fans, believed that this would be an easy win for the New Day, because that’s what we’re conditioned to think. From start to finish, they wrestled a match that kept the entire arena on the edge of their seats. I’m glad the New Day used all their tricks, because that only made for a more intense outcome. Speaking of tricks, the finish was perfectly executed. Have we ever seen a fake tag that lead to a win? That was just plain creative.
Initially I doubted the idea of Sheamus & Cesaro winning this match, but it was smart. The fans are behind them, and the two superstars seem heavily invested in the storyline.
Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
Believe it or not, this was Braun’s first ever singles match at a PPV. That’s not a bad thing, as he’s probably benefited from the extra time to strengthen his in ring skill. Also, he was fortunate enough to have his first PPV match against one of the most skilled workers in the company.
This match wasn’t about putting on a 10 minute wrestling clinic, and it never was. This was about telling a story, and that was brilliantly done. Everything from Zayn’s selling to Foley’s appearance was executed perfectly. In a world where every match is trying to steal the show through work rate, stuff like this is still appreciated
While Sami technically won, Strowman wasn’t hurt by this loss. Based on that result, this feud is in a good position to move further.
Chris Jericho vs Seth Rollins
Of all the matches on this card, I believe this was the least interesting match. There was simply no reason to care about the action, because the writing team hasn’t given it an interesting story. Don’t get me wrong, the wrestling was good, but did anybody think it wouldn’t be? I’m guessing this was probably more entertaining in person.
I can’t say I was invested in the match, but I enjoyed the finish. Owens’ run in made sense, because it progressed his story for the night. If anything, it’s the only thing that needed come from this.
Brian Kendrick vs Rich Swann vs TJ Perkins
Once this match started, I just sat back and enjoyed the action. These three kept things simple, fast, and entertaining. Along with that, this match was the decent length. If anything, it could’ve gone a few minutes longer. I didn’t mind seeing Perkins take the pin, because it protected Kendrick, who needs to remain still credible. Since TJ pinned Swann on 205 Live, it also gives the sense of strong competition within the division.
The match was fun, but the real excitement came when Neville destroyed each competitor. It was a breath of fresh air, and it gives the fans a reason to be interested in the cruiserweight division. Overall, this turned out to be a bright spot on the show.
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks
I thought these two paced out this match quite well. There were no dull points, and they used the rest spots well. I was glad to see the two utilizing big spots early on (first 10 minutes), because it created more intrigue on who’d pick up the first pin.
In terms of the pin order, I liked how it was executed. If anything, they could’ve worked the first pin earlier on. I enjoyed the first 15 minutes, but it would’ve meant a tad bit more had Charlotte scored one pinfall.
As for Sasha’s first pin, I loved it. It reminded me of a hockey game, where a team simply needs a lucky bounce to gain momentum. This is where the tables turned, and Sasha gained the upper hand. In fact, I applaud them for making the transition as smooth and realistic as it could be.
The highlight of the match and show was undeniably the figure four from Charlotte. I don’t think I blinked at all during that moment. Sure, Sasha could’ve waited those last few seconds, but her tapping out showed the strength of the figure eight. In my opinion, that’s a great way to put a move over. Along with that, Charlotte won the match with that submission, making it look like the most dangerous move in the company.
I was fine with either woman winning, because this was the last encounter. While Sasha did lose, she looked amazing in defeat. The Boss essentially lost due to a broken ankle (kayfabe) and I can buy that. Reigns and Owens had their work cut out for them.
Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens
Was it just me, or did this Pittsburgh crowd seem dead during the first half of the match? It may be partly due to them having two big matches back to back. That’s something the company should take into consideration for the next brand specific PPV.
The video package for this program was amazing. It did a great job at making this feud more interesting than it was. In fact, it made me genuinely excited.
For the most part, I believe the two heavily wrestled to their strengths. At no point did either of them look out of place. That’s a sign of great chemistry. Their match may have moved at a slower pace, but that’s something both of these men can do.
While the match was entertaining, the most engaging part was Jericho’s run in. The tension was high, and I completely bought in to what they were presenting. In that sense, I was completely fine with the DQ finish.
The whole Shield bit came off as lame, and that made this conclusion to this show feel like an episode of Raw. That truly took away from the Jericho-Owens reunion, which they did such a tremendous job building to. If anything, that angle could’ve been worked for the first/last segment of tonight’s Raw.
For a show that was terribly built, Roadblock ended up being a lot more fun than I had anticipated. The in ring action was fun, but more importantly this show told some stories, and that’s what Raw has been lacking since the brand split. I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to the fallout tonight. The low point was Jericho vs Rollins, while the high spot was Banks vs Flair. Overall, I give this PPV a 7.7/10