WWE Roadblock 2016 Review: What we learned, takeaways, future projections

What we took away, what we learned and what the future holds for the superstars of Monday Night RAW following the final pay-per-view of 2016, WWE Roadblock: End of the Line.

It’s the end of the line for WWE pay-per-view events in 2016. And yes, I’m sure I’ll be making plenty more puns as I go along here so just prepare yourself for that. In any event, WWE Roadblock: End of the Line is in the books, and while the 15th and final PPV certainly wasn’t the best show of the year, it definitely wasn’t the worst either. Airing live on the WWE Network from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA, the superstars of Monday Night RAW gave us plenty to talk about heading into tomorrow night and into 2017.

We saw one of the greatest feuds of the year come to a close as two women made history, watched as others got started with a shocking heel turn and saw the end of the longest tag team title reign in WWE history. Big Cass took a countout loss in a short match with Rusev on the pre-show to kick off the action for the night and will try again tomorrow night on RAW in a feud that’s really just getting started and could be interesting if done correctly. But let’s move forward to the action on the main card and take a full look at WWE Roadblock: End of the Line, starting with the Tag Team Championship match.

RAW Tag Team Title Match

Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The New Day (c)

What we learned: We learned that it’s a new day in the RAW tag team division. I told you more puns were coming. But it is true. The 483-day title reign of The New Day, the longest in WWE history, has finally come to an end after Kofi Kingston and Big E were shocked by Sheamus and Cesaro in the curtain jerker on Sunday night.

But before we got to the match, we naturally had to sit through an in-ring promo from your world-famous two-time champs, and they’re just starting to get a little more stale with each passing week, wouldn’t you say? In any event, we were treated to a good match to start the night. A good pace was set from the start as both teams came out with a lot of energy, and we got some good spots and multiple near-falls and it looked for a minute that The New Day was going to retain yet again.

But seeing as how Demolition, who is part of that class action lawsuit against WWE, is now out of the record books, it was time to end this long reign of The New Day and I really dug the finish with the phantom tag and all. It was something original and it make Sheamus and Cesaro really look like they were on the same page, if only for a moment as the new champions took a different approach to accepting the belts from their opponents following the match. While Cesaro embraced The New Day, Sheamus just grabbed the belts and started posing, which led the Swiss Superman to leave the ring and join his section of fans in the crowd. Good match. Great ending. And plenty to look forward to.

What’s next: Well, you’d have to figure that The New Day will exercise their rematch clause and we can probably expect a promo on RAW from them talking about their historic run and how they want to start a new one, etc. Maybe that match just ends up taking place on Monday night but I personally hope that creative keeps the titles off of them for a while. They’re really onto something with this Cesaro and Sheamus pairing and I’d like to see them run with these belts for a bit. With any long championship reign comes the need to shake things up a bit, and it’s no different this time. There’s a lot of good tag teams on RAW and I’d like to see some new matchups take place as we head into 2017. Everybody came out of this just fine. The New Day will still sell merchandise and it will be interesting how things change as they become the chasers. And the new champs will continue to bicker a little bit about which one of them is the reason for this new reign.

Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman

Okay, before we get to this match, can we just talk about how great Kevin Owens is?  Seriously, every time he’s interviewed backstage it’s absolute gold, and before this contest got started, he proved it once again. Sorry, I just had to get that in there. And just so I don’t waste any more time in a few minutes, he killed it again later in the show as well as he cut a great promo with a door. Now that’s talent. But let’s get to the glorified squash match between Sami Zayn and Braun Strowman.

What we learned: What did we learn here? Perhaps that creative has nothing for Sami Zayn. Nothing.

I really want to get into this storyline. I really do. I absolutely loved the promos between Sami Zayn and Mick Foley leading up to this match but the payoff (if that’s what we want to call it) did nothing for me.

The crowd was absolutely dead at the beginning of this match and they stayed that was pretty much throughout. It was pretty predictable a the start with staying away and running some time off of the clock until he finally got caught. Cue the couple minutes of power moves from Braun as the crowd collectively yawns. Tick, tick, tick. Oh look, there’s Mick Foley with a towel to throw in the ring.  And there’s two more minutes off the clock.

“The blood of Sami Zayn is on your hands.” Okay, that’s not bad from the big man. But then there’s some “offense” from Zayn as Braun hits the post and then the barricade. Okay, it’s really just Zayn getting out of the way but that’s where we’re at right now. Thought he might actually get the countout win but we’re back in the ring where Zayn hits a lateral press and is then tossed out of the ring. Tick, tick, tick. But then he hits a boot in the corner and time expires. Zayn wins. Wait, what? Yep, I guess that’s how we’re deciding the winners of matches now.

What’s next: If you watched RAW Talk on the WWE Network following the pay-per-view then you saw Sami Zayn say that that’s not the way he wants to win, which leads me to believe that this isn’t the end of the line for this thing. Now that he “survived” ten minutes in the ring with Strowman, the logical next step would be for Zayn to demand another match where he tries to pick up an actual victory. But with the Royal Rumble on the horizon, where they’ll likely want to make Braun look like more of a beast, where is this thing going? Maybe they’ve got something down the road in line for Zayn and I certainly hope they do because I think he’s a great talent. But they might need to get to it sooner rather than later as I don’t know anybody that’s enjoyed watching these matches.

I think ten minutes of Owens and Jericho backstage talking about holiday scarves would have been better than this.

Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho

What we learned: I think we’ve known this for a while now, but if we learned anything, it’s that at the age of 46, Chris Jericho may be more over than he’s ever been.

The crowd was split for this match, which is always fun, and got a nice little chant going as the match began…probably just wanted to wake up a little following the previous snoozefest. This feud has evolved nicely and while I wasn’t overly excited about these two going at it again, it was a decent match. It was pretty technical at the start with a few more rest holds than I would expect from performers of this caliber but it was fine. Instead of the chinlock that Jericho put on Rollins, I think I would have rather seen a three-minute armbar (old school Jericho fans will understand this) but I’ll let that slide.

The action picked up a bit towards the end with the suicide dive and the top rope maneuvers and such. And of course there was that whole Kevin Owens costing Chris Jericho the match thing that everybody knew was coming. But overall, this was a decent match with a very cool exchange for the finish.

What’s next: Well, as we saw at the end of the night, we know that the heat between Rollins and Jericho isn’t quite finished as we’re probably looking at a tag match pretty soon with Rollins and Reigns taking on Owens and Y2J. We know that Rollins is on a collision course with Triple H and the question is whether or not they’ll drag that out to WrestleMania or have it at the Royal Rumble to help sell some extra tickets to fill the Alamodome. It wouldn’t surprise me if Triple H shows up at the first RAW of 2017 as they usually like to make that a big show. And how much fun do you think Seth Rollins is having right now? He’s got to be thrilled about being involved in these storylines with guys he looked up to for years. I mean, his revenge road to Triple H goes through Chris Jericho. What year is this? And I’m certainly not complaining. Jericho is better than ever and the Rollins vs. Triple H match should be solid whenever we get to it.

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Brian Kendrick vs. T.J. Perkins vs. Rich Swann (c)

What we learned: I think we learned that Neville as a heel is going to be awesome. And maybe we learned that we’re always going to get a lot of commercials before the cruiserweights battle so some roadie can get those purple ropes up.

This won’t go down as one of the best cruiserweight matches we’ve seen since the return of the division, but this match wasn’t horrible. I wish they had been given a little more time but there were still some cool spots within the match. They did a good job at the start by keeping all three men involved, which is very tricky in a triple threat. I dug the double hurrincanrana from Swann and Austin Aries on commentary was pretty good, especially his “I’d be the favorite if I was in there” line.

I do get a little confused when T.J. Perkins, whom I really like, breaks his own submission hold but that’s not the first time that’s happened. The ending was a little sudden but the double superkick to Kendrick right before it was great. All in all, it was an average match but business (and the division as a whole) certainly picked up with the unexpected return and heel turn from Neville on Swann. Great post-match stuff going on here.

What’s next: I’m honestly excited (maybe not as excited as Corey Graves was) to see what Neville can do with this. The division is still growing and some of these superstars are still trying to make a name for themselves and a somewhat established star can only help with that. I will say that the fact that he was Rich Swann’s trainer sounds a little too much like the Perkins-Kendrick storyline so we’ll see how that plays out. We’ll likely see a tag match between the four men that were involved in last night’s action before Neville eventually gets his title match with Swann, which is a match that has the chance to steal any show.

30-Minute Iron Man Match for the RAW Women’s Championship

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks (c)

What we learned: I think we learned that if this pace keeps up, Charlotte will match her father’s 16 title reigns pretty quickly. In all seriousness though, we learned that the WWE women’s division is in great shape and had its best year ever.

This wasn’t the best match that these two women have had (I’m still going with the Falls Count Anywhere match) but it was still pretty good. We’ve seen so many encounters between Charlotte and Sasha Banks over the last few months so it was hard for them to throw anything new into the mix but this match still delivered. It started as I expected most Iron Man matches to start with some rest holds to save energy and feeling each other out and such but the action really picked up as it went along. Charlotte is such a tremendous athlete. She makes a lot of things look so easy. For instance, that pinning combination through the middle rope was fantastic and the crowd really didn’t pop for up because she did it with such ease. And I’m never going to get tired of those double knees from Sasha, especially when she does it on the outside of the ring. And Sasha can sell. Now, I don’t really know if she actually hit her face on the steps when Charlotte tripped her but that spot looked amazing.

I was actually kind of hoping that the match would stay 0-0 for the entirety of the match but they were able to build some drama with the pins and submissions that they did do so I won’t complain. And going into overtime was pretty predictable but that’s exactly how this feud should have ended. I didn’t see Charlotte winning but she’s now a four-time champion and is easily one of the best heels in the entire company.

What’s next: I’d put this right up there with Styles vs Cena for feud of the year but it is time for it to be over. The no-rematch clause was a good thing to throw in and it is time for some more women on RAW to be thrown into the title picture. The logical next step would be for Bayley to step up as the new number one contender, but I think a mini-tournament or a Fatal 4-Way #1 contender’s match could be in order. I mean, I’m still thinking that it’s time for a women’s Royal Rumble match but I’ll dig into that some other time. In my perfect wrestling world, Bayley would take the title from Charlotte at some point and then start a program with Sasha leading into WrestleMania while Charlotte somehow gets to a WrestleMania match with Ronda Rousey. But we’ll see how that goes.

WWE Universal Championship Match

Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens (c)

What we learned: I think the obvious thing we learned from this match is that this feud isn’t over by a long shot.

Before this match got started, I really thought Kevin Owens was giving away the ending as he held onto the WWE Universal Championship. The way he embraced it and kissed it made it look like he wasn’t going to see it for a while but perhaps I was just reading too much into that. And is it just me or does Roman Reigns get booed louder than John Cena ever did? They’re just getting louder and louder, aren’t they?

As far as the actual match goes, this pretty much followed the theme of the night in that it really wasn’t anything special. We’ve seen most of this before and while there were a few decent spots, it was a RAW main event at best. Owens’ senton off the steps was nice and the frog splashes onto the announce table were nice (big oops on that first one) but the finish was pretty easy to predict as Jericho got involved and got Reigns disqualified so Owens could keep the title. Then Rollins got involved and yada, yada, yada.

I did enjoy the awesome Karate Kid III Terry Silver logic from Corey Graves with his “you can’t breathe, you can’t fight” logic but there was nothing special that came from this encounter.

What’s next: So as I mentioned earlier, we’re probably going to see a tag match at some point soon and Roman Reigns is likely to get another shot at the WWE Universal Championship as well. I’d like to see him put up the United States Championship as well to at least add something to this program but we’ll see how that goes. You still have to figure that Owens and Jericho will actually split at some point but it’s still working and still over with the crowd so it looks as if they’re going to stick with it for a little while longer. They may not wait until the Royal Rumble for this rematch as a title vs. title match could be a good main event for that first RAW of the new year.

We’d love to get your thoughts on WWE Roadblock: End of the Line in our comments section below. And while WWE may be done with pay-per-view events for the year, we here at FanSided certainly aren’t done with our 2016 coverage. Stay tuned this week for some special year-end articles, including the 10 biggest stories in WWE in 2016 as well as our top 10 matches of the year in both WWE and NXT. And from there we’ll be looking ahead to the Royal Rumble and the road to WrestleMania so be sure to check back in with FanSided for all your WWE coverage.

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