WWE makes their final pay per view stop in Pittsburgh, PA at the PPG Paints Arena (formerly Consol Energy Arena) tonight as the Raw brand brings us “Roadblock: End of the Line.” The show will air on pay per view and WWE Network, with the pre-show advertised to kick off at 7PM EST, with the main card starting at 8PM EST.
Tonight, Roman Reigns challenges Kevin Owens for his Universal Championship. Will Reigns be successful, or will Chris Jericho intervene and help his best friend? Will Seth Rollins leave Jericho unable to interfere when those two square off earlier on the card? Also, will Sasha Banks end Charlotte’s unbeaten streak on pay per view tonight and retain her Women’s Championship in an Ironman match? The full card is as follows:
- Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Big Cass; Pre-Show Match
- Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman; Ten Minute Time limit
- Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho
- New Day (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro; Raw Tag Team Championship
- Rich Swann (c) vs. TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick; WWE Cruiserweight Championship under Triple Threat Rules
- Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte; Raw Women’s Championship under 30-minute Ironman Match Rules
- Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns (United States Champion); WWE Universal Championship (Reigns’ title not listed as on the line)
Pre-Show, Aired Live on WWE Network:
Renee Young checked in and welcomed her guests, Booker T and Sam Roberts from Sirius/XM “Busted Open.” Young said Booker was the next mayor of Houston, TX. Roberts said it was a dream come true to join the panel.
Tom Phillips checked in from the Social Media Lounge, where he would have Sami Zayn by later to answer fan questions.
The panel discussed the tag title match between New Day and Cesaro and Sheamus. Booker predicted a title change.
They ran a video package hyping Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte, then Bayley joined the panel. She talked about how this was the end of the Banks/Flair rivialry and Sasha wants to start her legacy tonight. Bayley said she would be next in line to face the winner, and she’s ready for 2017 and to hug the championship. Bayley predicted a Sasha win in the Iron man match because she competed in one against Bayley in NXT. Roberts also picked Sasha, while Booker picked Charlotte.
They aired a video package to hype Rollins vs. Jericho. Back with the panel, they played up the idea that the winner of this match would have to be considered the new number one contender to the Universal Champion. Both Booker and Roberts picked Jericho to win.
They recapped the Braun Strowman/Sami Zayn story through a video package.
Sami Zayn joined the Social Media lounge to take questions. He said there’s some level of fear facing Strowman. He said he is aware of what he can do to Strowman also. Sami said people ask why he’s obsessed with Strowman, and he said it’s about what it represents. It’s about making opportunites, standing up for yourself, and doing right even when people tell you it’s not worth it. He said this is the most important match of his career and that he had to go.
They hyped the UK Championship tournament and showed the video of Triple H making the announcement along with announcing Nigel McGuinness to be the color commentator.
TJ Perkins joined the pre-show panel to discuss the Cruiserweight Championship triple threat match. Perkins, in what seemed like a dick move, said people take umbrage with how he makes wrestling look easy. He said he had to beat five people to become the first cruiserweight champion and tonight he has to beat two. Perkins said he feels he has earned the right to call himself “cruisergreat.” Booker called this his shucky ducky quack quack moment of the night.
The commentary team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton checked in from their perch. Lana introduced Rusev. Enzo and Cass then made their entrance, and they did their normal routine. Enzo asked if he wanted to see the Ravishing Russian, he would check out WikiLeaks. He accused Lana of weird fetishes and when Rusev entered it was like they were playing a weird game of Jumanji. Enzo said he would continue to run his mouth because his words have the length of a seven footer. Cass had Enzo put on a red nose and ran through reindeer names while Enzo led the “how you doin'” bit.
Match #1 – Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore) vs. Rusev (w/Lana);
Winner: Rusev by count-out
The Reax: Early, Cass sent Rusev to the floor with a big boot. Late, Lana caused a distraction to Enzo on the floor, then faked an ankle injury. Rusev struck Enzo from behind, then Cass went to check on Enzo. Rusev got in the ring and Cass got counted out checking on his partner.
Cass comes off a bit dopey with this finish, but this was fine to continue the story. Cass is still very green in the ring so having him build confidence by working pre-show matches is probably a good idea right now in terms of pay per view solo matches. Look for more of this on Raw in the coming weeks.
The panel talked about Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens in the main event, then ran a video package to hype the match.
WWE “Roadblock: End of the Line,” Live from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA;
We got the opening video package, which focused on the top matches and showed a car racing toward a roadblock that had WWE talent behind it. Pyro display hit and Cole, Graves, and Saxton checked in for those who missed the pre-show. JoJo was the ring announcer for the evening.
New Day made their way out. Big E made a joke where he thought the title of the show was cock block, but Kofi cut him off before he could say it. Kingston said it felt good to say they were the longest reigning tag champs of all time. Woods led the “W…W…E… World….Tag…Team…Champions.” thing and played the trombone for the crowd while they chanted “New Day Rocks.”
Sheamus and Cesaro entered, acting as if they’re on the same page. Cole welcomed the foreign announce teams as we got set for the first match.
Match #1 – Big E and Kofi Kingston (c, w/Xavier Woods) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro; Raw Tag Team Championship
Winner: Sheamus and Cesaro to win the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Reax: At one point, Big E hit his spear through the ropes. It’s clear E changed how he does that, because he’s landing on his side or back rather than face first. Good to see. Late, Sheamus reached for a tag but Cesaro pulled his hand back and got in the ring. Kofi hit him with Trouble in Paradise, but because Cesaro wasn’t legal, the official didn’t count. Sheamus dove in and covered Kofi for the win.
New Day looked shocked in the corner. Eventually, they stood up and hugged Cesaro and gave him the belts. Sheamus ripped them away and played to the fans in the corner, to boos. Cesaro jumped into the crowd and they did a yay-boo routine, then the two men went to the stage and posed together.
The finish was played up as a genius trickery move by Cesaro to outsmart New Day. It was clever, and fans reacted positively to the title change. I know I was, because it’s time that New Day add a new layer to their character and by losing the titles that can help. They also have story to tell between Sheamus and Cesaro who don’t seem to be on the same page still.
Backstage, Kevin Owens was approached and asked about whether he would suffer the same fate as New Day. He asked if she was trying to insult him or if she’s bad at her job. Owens put himself over as being better than New Day, Sheamus, Cesaro, and Roman Reigns. Owens called her on another question, but spotted Chris Jericho. He tried to apologize and gave Jericho a gift, but Jericho tossed the holiday scarf aside and left.
Sami Zayn made his entrance for the next match. They ran a recap video package of the story between Mick Foley and Braun Strowman. Graves said Sami has a death wish. Strowman made his entrance.
Match #2 – Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman; Ten Minute Time Limit
Winner: Sami Zayn
The Reax: They showed a countdown clock on the screen. Strowman dominated most of the early offense, yelling at Zayn to stay down at different points. Mick Foley walked out about 7 minutes in with a white towel in hand. Strowman threw Zayn out in front of him and told Foley he would save Zayn by throwing the towel in. Zayn recovered, then pleaded with Foley to not do it. He grabbed the towel and threw it to the crowd.
Strowman told Foley that Zayn’s blood was on his hands and charged, but Zayn moved and he ate the ring post, then tried a second and ate the barrier at ringside. Zayn took advantage on a third missed charge, hitting a cross body block. He hit a Helluva Kick but time ran out. Zayn got out of the ring and hugged Foley, and Strowman kicked the ropes in disgust.
This will also be continuing. Zayn has the claim that he was starting to mount offense and can claim that he had Strowman on the ropes and near defeat. They went out of their way to show Strowman could beat Zayn in moments had he not played with him. Strowman ended up not being exposed here too much. The sequence with Foley seemed to take too long and ended up working against the match a little.
We got a replay of the video package announcing the WWE UK Championship tournament.
They moved to the commentary team for some additional hype of the tournament, then moved on to hype Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins with a video package.
Match #3 – Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins;
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Reax: Late in this one, Kevin Owens ran out to the ring and tried to get involved. Rollins threw punches at him and kicked him off the apron. Jericho rolled Rollins up in a small package but Owens continued to distract the official, so Rollins kicked out at two. Jericho yelled at Owens, then turned into a running knee, and Rollins put him away with a Pedigree.
This was a well laid out match with some entertaining spots and smooth offense. It played as if Rollins and Jericho were equal before Owens interfered and it backfired. I feel like Rollins gets a good face reaction, but something is still missing. I figure WWE missed it when he returned, when it would have been much more natural to make the move. But, he is starting to connect. Match of the night so far.
They ran a WWE Network ad, hyping up all of the pay per view events.
They recapped the pre-show match where Rusev got the win over Cass. They hyped that we will get a rematch on Raw tomorrow night. Austin Aries then joined commentary to help call the next match.
Match #4 – Rich Swann (c) vs. Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins; WWE Cruiserweight Championship;
Winner: Rich Swann to retain the WWE Crusierweight Championship
The Reax: Late in this one, Kendrick tried for Sliced Bread but got dumped to the floor. Perkins locked in the Knee Bar on Swann, and he got to the ropes so Perkins released. Swann and Perkins traded punches, and Kendrick returned only to eat a double superkick. Swann hit a kick and pinned Perkins.
Neville’s music hit and he came to the ring as if he were going to celebrate with Swann, who the commentary team played up as being friends. Neville attacked instead, then kicked Perkins when he tried to intervene. Neville hit Perkins with a running kick and threw Swann to the floor, then threw him to the barrier. He threw Perkins into the barrier too, then threw both men in the ring and stood over them.
The match was fine and the live crowd reacted to the spots rather than the talents. Neville was the big story here though, as he is making a splash in the division. He was fairly miscast as a heavyweight, so this is a good place to have him slot in and deliver an established talent with a heel dynamic. He was great here and looks like he could be a solid heel.
Kevin Owens tried to enter Chris Jericho’s locker room but Jericho had him locked out. Owens yelled through the door about his earlier interference, and offered to have Jericho put him at the top of the List. Owens said friends make mistakes, but forgive each other. Owens asked if they weren’t best friends anymore, and when Jericho didn’t reply he said he guessed he got his answer. Owens said that hurt his feelings.
They set up the women’s ironman match with a video package.
Match #5 – Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte; Raw Women’s Championship in a 30-minute Ironman Match;
Winner: Charlotte to win the Raw Women’s Title, 3 falls to 2.
The Reax: Cole hyped that this was the second women’s Ironman match and eleventh in history. The ladies traded offense slowly in the early going. There was an early scary spot where Charlotte kicked Sasha’s leg out from under her on the apron and Sasha took the steps face first. Ouch.
Sasha later picked up the pace and threw some strikes and double knees in the corner. Eventually Charlotte hit Natural Selection from the top rope and went up 1-0.
After some taunting and slapping, Sasha fired back with some shots but took a suplex. Sasha came back with a head scissor takedown into a pin to tie it at 1-1. Charlotte went on offense right away, looking for a moonsault that Sasha escaped. Banks locked in the Bank Statement, rolling it back over and holding it when Charlotte reached for the ropes. Sasha up 2-1.
As the match continued, Charlotte kicked at Sasha’s knee and started to focus her offense on the bad leg. Charlotte locked in the Figure Four, and Sasha countered it briefly, Sasha nearly broke it in the ropes, but Charlotte dragged her back. Finally, Charlotte turned it into the Figure 8 and got Sasha to tap with two seconds left. Tied at 2.
Chad Patton (the official) told JoJo the match would go to sudden death overtime. Cole said that normally the champion would retain in a tie, but this is the last match between the two, it’s the end of the line.
In the overtime, Charlotte went back at the bad leg. Sasha got a roll-up for two, then countered a slam attempt into a small package for two. Sasha locked in the Bank statement, but Charlotte hit the bad leg to break it. She locked in the Figure Four, then arched it into the Figure Eight for the win. Cole hyped that Charlotte is 15-0 on pay per view.
There was a lot of good drama and genuine suspense as to who would win this match, and we got a definitive finish to the match. I hope this does mean that it’s the end of the line for these two – they’re teetering on the edge of being an overexposed match despite how good the matches generally are. It’s time for a break and for the two women to move on to other things.
They ran a video package to hype up the main event. Roman Reigns got booed on his entrance, and they talked about him being the second person to simultaneously hold the US Championship and World Championship. Owens’ reaction was somewhat subdued.
Match #6 – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns; WWE Universal Championship;
Winner: Kevin Owens by disqualification, retains the championship
The Reax: Late in this one, Owens hit a pop up powerbomb and had the pin but Reigns got his foot on the ropes. Owens ran to ringside and got his belt. The official tried to stop him but Owens broke free and tried, but Reigns hit a spear.
Chris Jericho walked to ringside and slid in. He eyed both men up, but hit Owens with the Codebreaker. Cole said that the friendship was gone, and JoJo announced Owens as winner by disqualification.
Afterward, Owens and Jericho stared at each other, with Jericho holding the belt. He gave it to Owens, smiled, and they celebrated together. Those bastards! They fooled us all along and they’re still friends! Boo these men! Roman Reigns was seething at ringside, and they exited. Seth Rollins’ music hit and he backed them back down the ramp.
Reigns hit Owens with a big spear at ringside, then Jericho jumped in the ring only to take a Pedigree from Rollins. Rollins and Reigns teamed up to hit a double powerbomb on Jericho through one of the ringside announce tables. Owens escaped up the ramp but they caught him, then powerbombed him through the announce table on the stage. Reigns and Rollins stood over Owens as the show ended.
I can’t say that I’m thrilled about how it ultimately ended. If Jericho comes out and gets Reigns disqualified and leaves, then there’s a lot of questions surrounding Jericho’s motives and where he’s heading. Instead, it’s right back to the “best friends” gimmick. It feels like we’re going back to a Raw tag team main event. I think, if they go there, the match would be good, but we’ve seen it.
Overall, this was an average show I’d say. The matches were generally fine but we see a lot of this on Raw every week. The Neville heel turn was well done. The tag team championship change felt very meaningful, and the women put on a very good (if not a predictable finish) match.
I’ll be back with Raw coverage tomorrow night starting at 8PM EST. Be sure to vote in our reader poll and our match of the night poll on the site as well. Thanks for following along tonight and see you then!