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Roadblock ends with a whimper

For The Baltimore Sun
WWE's Roadblock ends with a whimper.

Sunday's pay-per-view, Roadblock, had the subtitle of "End of the Line." If the main event marked the true end of the line, then that line ended not with a bang, but a whimper.

The name "End of the Line" was mocked somewhat in the build to the PPV. After all, it was a mouthful that some of the wrestlers seemed to stumble on. However, it almost seemed natural with matches like Charlotte and Sasha on the card, which supposedly will be the final encounter (at least for now) between the two. However, if the main event is supposed to embody the PPV, then "Roadblock: End of the Line" is a complete misnomer. Not only did we not have a blowoff to the Kevin Owens/Roman Reigns feud (if you can call a short build a feud), nothing at all was resolved regarding Kevin Owens or Roman Reigns.

The main event match, which was quite good overall, ended in a disqualification. Chris Jericho, who had seemingly completely ended his friendship with Owens earlier in the night, made his way down to ringside in the waning moments of the match. Reigns had just hit a spear, yet was unable to capitalize due to exhaustion. Jericho made his way to the ring, and stood between Reigns and Owens. As he looked back and forth, he then hit a codebreaker on Owens.

While it first seemed like an act of aggression from Jericho, as the ring announcer let everyone know that Owens had won by DQ, Jericho smiled, and then hugged Owens. He intentionally gave Owens the DQ win, and helped him retain his title. The two embraced in the ring, and Owens, while he looked shocked initially, smiled and the two started going up the ramp. Seth Rollins, who beat Jericho earlier in the night, would cut them off, and as the two tried to escape, Rollins and Reigns teamed up to send both of them through tables, sending the PPV off with the two former Shield members standing tall.

For a main event moment, this seemed to fall flat somewhat. Nothing has changed from a month ago. You still have Owens and Jericho on one side, Rollins and Reigns on the other. Owens and Jericho are supposedly still friends, while the two Shield members are at least united in a common goal, if not friends. This main event match, on a show with a subtitle of “End of the Line,” not just ended nothing, it changed nothing. We're still set with these four in the title picture, and most likely, they will all face each other at Royal Rumble.

This is something that traditionally was avoided by WWE in the past. Main events would either have some sort of clear finish, even if interference was involved, or if not, the non-finish would serve a major purpose. This didn't do that. The match could have not happened, and we'd still be down the road to the four men facing off for the title.

You have to think that part of WWE's confidence in having a finish like this is the fact that they aren't relying on people buying the PPVs anymore. In the past, you had to have a good finish to keep people coming back. With the WWE Network, the PPVs themselves are less important. We've seen over the past couple of years that some of the PPVs have felt smaller, and this really set the bar for how meaningless a main event could really feel.

This was easily avoidable too. If they wanted, the Ironman match between Sasha and Charlotte would have felt like an important last match, and fit the PPV title. Instead, they kept the Universal title in the main event, and fans went home, maybe not disappointed, but certainly unfulfilled.

The Rest of Roadblock: End of the Line:

-As mentioned, Charlotte and Sasha supposedly ended their feud in the Ironman match, with Charlotte coming out victorious in an overtime period. Regulation came to a close as Sasha tapped out with just seconds left, despite being up 2-1. Then, in an overtime period, Charlotte took advantage of the fact that Sasha had been locked into the Figure Eight for so long to target the legs, and get a relatively easy win. This match was good, and seemed to definitively settle the score between the two (though no feuds truly come to an end in wrestling). However, the ending of regulation felt a little bit off. Charlotte fighting back and tying the score with seconds to go in regulation very much is a face thing to do. Sasha tapping out with seconds left when she knows she has the lead is also a bit odd, though that can be written off simply as wrestling logic. However, overall the match worked. As for what happens now? I think it's fair to assume that Bayley will re-enter the title picture, and Sasha will be kept busy with the likes of Nia Jax and/or Emmalina.

-The other match where you could say the “End of the Line” factored in was in the match for the tag title, as The New Day's historic reign came to an end. This match had what I legitimately believe to be one of the best finishes in years. Throughout the match, Xavier Woods kept interjecting himself, doing everything short of a DQ to help The New Day retain their titles. And at the end, they got a taste of their own medicine. Sheamus was reaching out for the tag to Cesaro. As he seemed to get to him, Cesaro pulled his hand back, obvious enough that the ref realized it, but Kofi, who was the legal man, didn't see it. Cesaro came in as if he had tagged in, and Kofi hit him with the Trouble in Paradise. As he pinned Cesaro, Sheamus, who was still legal, raced over and rolled Kofi into the pin for the win. It was truly a unique finish, and that's rare in wrestling these days. For that alone it should be appreciated. It also made sense for the reign to come to an end that way, with The New Day constantly winning due to trickery. We'll have to see where the Cesaro/Sheamus team goes from here. WWE has momentarily caught lightning in a bottle with them, but how far can it go?

-Sami Zayn “beat” Braun Strowman in the 10-minute challenge. I put beat in quotations because the match actually was a draw, but at some point, unbeknownst to anyone (including the broadcast team it seemed) a stipulation was put in place where if the match went the full 10 minutes, Sami Zayn would pick up the win. It was an interesting finish, with the time running out on Sami, who had just hit Braun with two Helluva kicks. The match was fine, nothing spectacular, but had some good storytelling, including Mick Foley coming down to possibly throw in the towel, but Sami begging him off.

-Rich Swann successfully defended his title against Brian Kendrick and TJ Perkins, but the match wasn't the story here. Instead, after the match, Neville's music hit and he came down. The broadcast team referenced their past traveling the world together, and it looked like Neville was going to go for a hug. Instead, he attacked Swann, and then proceeded to destroy all three men. So Neville is going to be in the cruiserweight division, which is a good thing, and it seems like he grew his beard to become a heel. Hopefully this injects some life into the division, which once again didn't receive much crowd support during the match.

-Rusev beat Big Cass via countout as Lana interfered to prevent Cass from getting back in the ring. They'll have their rematch this week on RAW.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout

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