Wayne Utterback writes about the WWE and sports entertainment at large for We Are Regal Radio
This is the first of what I expect to be a plethora of columns dedicated to all things wrestling. From WWE to TNA to Ring Of Honor to New Japan Pro Wrestling to Lucha Underground to any other news-worthy thing in between, I want to cover all bases and start conversations about what we love and what we loathe about the current state of wrestling.
Now, obviously, we are in the thick of Wrestlemania season. Having just come off of WWE’s Fastlane, it feels like the WWE is still trying to sift out all of the dirt from what will end up being the Wrestlemania card. The tool being used to sift? WWE Roadblock!
Roadblock seems to have one sole purpose, continue the solidification of the main event talents ahead of the big show.
Matches currently advertised for the show is as follows:
–WWE World Title Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Triple H (c)
-Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman vs. Bray Wyatt
-NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. The Revival (c)
-Other talents being advertised include The New Day, The Miz, The Usos, Paige and Brie Bella
I imagine this show will come with a significant amount of filler with the “other talents,” as there are only really three matches that will carry any sort of weight.
Roman vs. ?
As it stands, we are still waiting to hear who Roman will be facing. Some local listings showed him facing off against Sheamus, but those have changed. I guess we’ll learn more about that in the next week leading to Roadblock. He needs an opponent that brings out that shine he’s been known to show from time to time. But, with less than a week to go, there won’t be much meaning to this match. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the show.
Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt?
Suplex City will be in full effect. This will be more of a spectacle with Brock tossing around The Wyatts. It’ll make for good video packages leading into his match with Dean at Wrestlemania, but it feels so far removed from the teased feud he had with The Wyatts a little while back.
There is no big fight feel to this matchup, so my expectations going into aren’t high to begin with. It also shows just how far Bray Wyatt has fallen in terms of his importance in WWE’s current narrative. To go from battling Undertaker last year to being cannon fodder for Brock? That’s a pretty rough tumble. I expect a Wyatts vs. ? match to serve as filler at Wrestlemania.
Triple H vs. Dean?
This one has some interesting wrinkles in it. I don’t expect Dean to win this thing as the marketing machine is already moving forward for Wrestlemania.
The real question is: How are they going to make Dean look strong but not too strong?
Dean is someone who the crowd seems to connect to more than Roman and they need to elevate him ahead of his match with Brock. Unless the plan is for Dean to be suplexed into oblivion by Lesnar, they still have more story building to get Ambrose to where he needs to be to make this Wrestlemania match not feel one-sided.
Will that result in a DQ finish by some League of Nations chicanery (not if Roman gets to them first), a run-in from Brock or a sledgehammer courtesy of The Game? One of those scenarios seems more likely than a clean finish.
With this being a non-traditional WWE “PPV,” fan backlash won’t be as prominent for a dubious finish. However, this will be held in Toronto, and they are well known for being a pretty vocal crowd. So, that unknown element will play an interesting role in all of these matches.
One of WWE’s fears has to be having someone look more plausible as a contender than Roman coming out of this show, so I’m thinking we see Roman come out at the end to help Dean fend off some insurmountable odds, inevitably fending off said impossible odds.
With another WWE live event happening at the same place in Atlantic City the same evening, this event probably won’t contain much in terms of ramifications on the current lineup for Wrestlemania. The roster will be thin, but for WWE, the main goal of this special event is to keep their main event talents looking just like main event talents.
I do like these “mini-PPV’s” because they disrupt the usual pacing of the traditional monthly PPV format. However, Roadblock doesn’t appear to be shaking things up like a NXT Takeover special or even how WWE’s Elimination Chamber did this past year (in which rocketed Kevin Owens into the main roster and, interestingly enough, featured Ambrose defeating Seth Rollins in a WWE World Title Match by DQ).
WWE will play it safe with Roadblock, and for WWE’s sake, that’s a good thing because it means added exposure and promotion of their big players.
In the details:
– I’m very curious about how Wrestlemania will pan out this year. I was not particularly excited last year for the show, but I found myself fully invested once it kicked into gear and it was entertaining from start to finish.
– On Smackdown, we all finally got a Divas match we are excited about for Wrestlemania, a triple threat Divas Championship match at featuring Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch – three great styles and personalities that will click when put in one ring on the largest stage of the year. The best part? Any one of them could walk out with the Divas Championship, which gives this match high stakes.
– Not going to be too jazzed about a possible Kevin Owens/Ziggler match at WM, as has been teased the past few weeks. My pipedream was resting on that Owens and Sami Zayn encounter at the Royal Rumble as a potential match, but Zayn is still waiting for that call up. Next year may be the year that these two dance again.
– Not looking for Y2J/AJ Styles (AKA Team Dad) to wrestle in any tag match at WM. At this point, I’m just banking on an Y2J turn, but not really looking for a fourth singles match between the two, so I’m not sure what will happen there. If they go back to the well, what stipulation will be added to move this along without disengaging the audience?
I’m thinking a submission match with a lot of brawling. Or, to continue my established pipedreaming, AJ calls in the Bullet Club (Doc Gallows, Machine Gun Anderson and possibly Finn Balor.) to settle things. If not at WM, I can see Balor bringing those guys in at the NXT special during Wrestlemania Weekend. The E doesn’t want to lose the steam those signings drummed up earlier this year with die-hard fans.
So, what are your dream matches for Wrestlemania with the current roster? Let me know on Twitter or comment below. I want to see how you’d book this show to impress the expected 100,000 strong crowd.
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