It Would Be Better If WWE Roadblock Ended This Way
Less of a prediction, more of a dream
As always, with any highly anticipated WWE card on the horizon, predictions and prognostications abound for this Saturday night’s Roadblock in Toronto.
Aggregating the prophetic scribblings of seasoned ring watchers from WhatCulture to Bleacher Report, Sporting News to Heavy to Daily DDT, WrestlingInc. to Cageside Seats — along with the widely-held assumption that previously announced and already hyped Wrestlemania 32 matches will remain unaffected by Saturday’s results, whatever they may be — and the outcomes of the card’s three premier offerings look sadly preordained.
Considering half the company (and namely the reliable enforcers/consistent inferferers like Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan of the Wyatts and Alberto Del Rio and Rusev of the League of Nations) will be in Atlantic City that night, it looks like the smark money is here:
- The New Day will retain the Tag belts over The League of Nations’ Sheamus and King Barrett
- Brock Lesnar will cleanly pin Bray Wyatt, despite the efforts of Luke Harper
- Triple H will defeat Dean Ambrose to keep the Heavyweight strap
(To be fair, some are calling a League upset over New Day, for the sole purpose of building up a crowd-pleasing rematch at ‘Mania, wherein Kofi, Big E, and X win the belts back, thus cementing a triumphant — and long overdue — face turn.
This is convincing, though the idea of New Day losing the title just to get it back seems unnecessary. It makes more sense for them to retain the championship here and lose it to a more formidable duo like Sheamus and Rusev, especially if Barrett is still preparing to pack his bags, at ‘Mania. Meanwhile, Del Rio should be placed in contention for the Intercontinental Belt in the increasingly exciting mid-to-uppercard mélange alongside Owens, Styles, Zayn, and Jericho.)
All in all, observers appear to generally believe that Roadblock will be less of an obstruction, let alone a detour, and more of a bump in the road already paved to The Showcase of the Immortals in early April. Basically, it’s being dismissed as a gambit to boost subscriptions to the WWE Network, and little more.
But it would be way better if they were wrong.
With bookings shifting often in the months since Surivivor Series, due to injury, public sentiment, political whim of the back office, why should the Wrestlemania card in Dallas be set in stone? After all, Reigns still isn’t over, the prospect of glorified jobber-in-training Ambrose defeating the Beast Incarnate in a street fight continues to be laughable, and no one — not even, seemingly the WWE bookers in Stanford — can adequately explain why a revered legend like The Undertaker would play the unenviable role of Vince McMahon’s Authority enforcer against a newly-returned and unquestionably beloved Shane-O-Mac.
There’s a lot that needs redirection, reimagination, and reconsideration in the federation’s current storybook. Roadblock could — and should — provide a new, and exciting, way forward.
Here’s How WWE Roadblock Should End, and Why
We should all count on a serious 15+ minute brawl between the two headliners, incumbent WWE Heavyweight Champion Triple H and challenger Dean Ambrose, with the upper hand see-sawing back-and-forth — with missed finishers all along the way, as well as the ubiquitous and perennially lame Ambrose pendulum through the second and third ropes and Fred Flintstone-esque rev-up before lethargically sailing through those same ropes for a diving crossbody. We’ve seen it before, we’ll see it all again.
But this is all prologue.
When Hunter finally gets the authoritative (pun intended) lead over Ambrose, and is about to put him away with the Pedigree, enter Hunter’s real nemesis, brother-in-law Shane McMahon, to not only break up the pin, but consequently to deliver the match, and with it the title, to Ambrose.
WWE Universe Up For Grabs
Thus establishes the real quest for power over the WWE Universe, via ostensible control of Monday Night RAW, by only slightly tweaking Vince’s mandate: Shane will now face The Game at ‘Mania for the reins of RAW the next night and, presumably, ever afterward.
This simply makes more sense than what we’ve been fed up to now. The Authority doesn’t need the belt to assert control. It needs someone who can effectively and credibly challenge that control. A wrestler on the payroll won’t ever pose that kind of threat. The erstwhile heir to the McMahon throne, however…?
Dead Man’s Walking Papers
So where does this leave The Undertaker? Answer: who cares? Despite what Kane may say to try and justify this poor booking decision, the Phenom should never have been put in this position. Beating Shane at ‘Mania only makes him more of the Authority’s minion and there’s no future in it. Better to change tack now before it’s too late.
Would ‘Taker still be looking for that big stage paycheck — the one he’d already been promised? Fine, how about this: match him up against newly-heel Ryback, with the stipulation being that if the Dead Man fails to literally kill the hungry hippo in the ring, it counts as his second ever ‘Mania loss. Other than that, whatever.
Setting aside the McMahon angle, an Ambrose championship win at Roadblock reaps considerable benefits in its own right (undeserving of the accolade as he absolutely is). After all, Reigns would still get his title shot, it would just be against (what we’re inexplicably meant to believe is) his buddy Dean Ambrose, a far superior match to watch than one against Triple H.
Plus, with an Ambrose/Reigns Wrestlemania Main Event in the offing, this figures well into the ongoing legacy of The Shield, whereby a recovering Seth Rollins can return unannounced at a key moment to tip the scales one way or another in the title match.
Reuniting The Shield as tri-antagonists — with either Reigns or Ambrose starting as champ — sets up the title picture for intriguing and exciting twists and (heel) turns through Summerslam, factoring in Lesnar (and hopefully also Bray) as well.
The bottom line is this: WWE doesn’t need to continue to wallow in the mess it’s already made. It can easily use Saturday’s Roadblock card to seek higher ground.
Dean Ambrose is, by all measures, an awful professional wrestler. His technical skills are nonexistent, his charisma is a put-on. Everyone takes his weak bumps like he’s Ahmed Johnson, and pulls their own punches so as not to accidentally knock him out before he’s supposed to win. His so-called “lunacy” is signaled through cartoon facial expressions, unkempt and greasy hair, and constant overselling of The Ambrose Asylum by announcers, management and analysts alike. This is a guy should be laughed out of every stadium he performs in.
And yet, with booking as it’s been, he’s now our last and best hope.
If Dean Ambrose beats Triple H for the title at Roadblock, the truth is we all win.