Welcome to #Roadblock: The End of the Line, otherwise known as "The WWE is tone deaf."
This was a frustrating, backwards show, the kind of stuff that loses casual fans and tests the hardcores. First, there weren't any great matches. Second, the endings were all wrong. Third, Roman Reigns needs to work on his cardio.
The WWE might think that the man-bro relationship between #KevinOwens and #ChrisJericho is more important than the WWE Universal Championship, but they are wrong. It is not. Between the never-ending backstage skits with Owens begging for Jericho's forgiveness, to the interference from each one during the match, this relationship is getting annoying.
The #WWE also figured out a way to make Sasha Banks look like a dumb, weak quitter.
The only thing that made sense on the show was that new tag team champions were crowned. FINALLY. With the methodically plodding of a Chris Jericho match and the force of a Cesaro uppercut, Joshua Molina and Senior Editor Andreas Hale dive into the Champions.co review of the WWE's final, and possibly worst PPV of the year.
Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The New Day
It's about time. The 483-day reign, where three guys posed as tag team champions, is over.
Cesaro and Sheamus outsmarted the New Day to win the tag team championship. This was really "The Cesaro Show." He dazzled from the opening bell, delivering a stiff drop kick to Kofi Kingston. Cesaro looked like he was from another planet, darting across the ring -- and sometimes out of it -- with a combination of flair and finesse.
The titles changed hands when Sheamus went for a tag to Cesaro, but Cesaro "missed" his partner's hand. Kingston, however, didn't see the missed tag and rolled up Cesaro, thinking he was the legal man in the ring. Sheamus was the legal man, and he rolled up a stunned Kingston for the win.
In a really cool moment after the match, The New Day stared at their tag team belts lovingly, then presented them to Cesaro and Sheamus. Cesaro hugged the New Day to a massive crowd pop. Sheamus wasn't having any of it though, and snatched both belts away.
Cesaro then joined his "Cesaro Section" in the first few rows to celebrate, as Sheamus celebrated in the ring. The crowd cheered Cesaro and booed Sheamus.
JM: This was a really good match, with Cesaro demonstrating his amazing athleticism. The future is bright for the Swiss Superman. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he could be headlining Wrestlemania one day.
From the moment he rips off his fake suit, Cesaro oozes charisma. It only helps that he is a great worker inside the ring. Sheamus as his reluctant partner is the perfect matchup for Cesaro. This tag team pairing should give Cesaro the final push toward the top echelon.
As for the New Day, their title reign was more stale than a year-old box of Booty-O's; They were long overdue to lose those belts. Let's see what they can do as singles wrestlers. Kingston can have great matches with anyone. But the guy who may eventually emerge as the ace of the group is Xavier Woods, who has a layer of depth to his acting and stage presence that Big E. and Kingston do not.
AH: The New Day hadn't had a really good match in quite some time so it makes sense that Cesaro & Sheamus brought it out of them. Although them dropping the title days after breaking Demolition's record is a bit peculiar booking, it was the right move to go with something fresh.
As for the match, Cesaro ruled here with tremendous sequences and the near falls all had meaning. I'm still curious about New Day deploying heel tactics in an attempt to retain and what that means for the group, but I enjoyed everything I saw here. The finish with Cesaro pulling the okie doke on Kingston with a fake tag was one of the most creative finishes I've seen in quite some time. Great way to open the PPV.
Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman (10-minute match)
The kid is gonna be alright. Zayn not only survived the evils of Strowman, but got in some great offense also. Strowman appeared to have Zayn finished when Raw General Manager Mick Foley came out with a white towel. He was preparing to throw the towel in, but Zayn begged him not to, and then snatched the towel from Foley and flung it into the audience. Strowman tried to finish the job, but instead accidentally ran into the post and then the ringside barricade. Zayn almost won by count out, but Strowman got back into the ring. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick just as the 10-minute mark expired. Zayn survives.
JM: This entire angle makes no sense. Zayn is too good to be treated like some job guy who is lucky to hang with Strowman. The WWE is trying to build Strowman up as some huge tough guy, but they should have picked someone other than Zayn for him to feud with. Zayn is one of the best wrestlers in the company. Let's hope now that Zayn has lasted 10 minutes with Strowman they he can move on to something better and Strowman can return to scaring little children and wrestling someone his own size.
AH: Zayn is too good for this nonsense. We all know that Strowman is in for a monster heel push. But to do it at the expense of Zayn is silly. They booked this match to keep both relatively strong but Zayn clearly deserves better. He should have been traded to Smackdown Live for Eva Marie. You know a match is bad when "Delete" chants erupt in the building. SMH.
Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho
A decent match that was ruined by Kevin Owens doing a run-in to accidentally distract the referee, allowing Rollins to deliver a pedigree on Jericho for the 1-2-3 victory. Rollins was good, as usual. Jericho has mastered the art of having a good match every time, even if he does very little inside the ring at this stage of his career. Michael Cole noted that this was Jericho's 140th PPV, behind only John Cena, The Undertaker, Kane and Triple H.
JM: Nice "Let's Go Rollins-Y2J" chant to start the match. As great as Jericho is, he wrestles like an old guy. Whatever match he is in, the pace tends to slow down to his work rate. There's just something about the way he wrestles that makes a match look like it is moving in slow motion. His selling is also comical, nearly to the point of unbelievable. Everything he does is overly methodical. Rollins looked like he was actually slowing down his timing to make Jericho passable. That said, Jericho is such a veteran and so experienced, that what he lacks in speed and timing, he makes up through his ring psychology.
Owens' run-in was lame and predictable. It's official; Owens is ruined. It will take a couple years to rehab him into the rising star he was once was.
AH: A good, solid RAW match. But it didn't reach the heights that it could have for a PPV. Rollins and Jericho were, per the usual, solid. I still dislike Rollins using the Pedigree and prefer the Curb Stomp. But, that's the WWE trying to be all PG. The Owens run-in was a setup for later and did nothing for the match itself. Jericho may not be as fast as he used to be, but he still knows how to put together a good match.
Rich Swann vs. The Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins
TJ Swann pinned TJ Perkins, or "TJP" as they are now calling him, with a spinning back kick. This was a spot-fest. Since Triple Threat matches are no disqualification, the announcers buried Perkins after he released a kneebar on Swann, who had reached the ropes for the traditional break. After Swann's victory, Neville returned and beat up all three guys, setting up a Neville vs. Swann feud. As Neville was beating up all three guys, the crowd chanted "thank you, Neville."
JM: I can't stand Swann. He's too happy. He oversells when he's getting beat up. Even when Neville came out, Swann kept this big grin on his face. What did he think was going to happen? Neville was going to shake his hand? The cruiserweights need some new blood and let's hope Neville shakes it up. And, Kendrick needs new pants. Those 1980s glam-rock tights have got to go.
AH: I have been begging and pleading for Neville to come to the cruiserweight division as the heel the division desperately needs. One wish granted. Thank goodness because the crowd was absolutely dead for this match. The trio never really clicked and the finish was extraordinarily abrupt for a title match when Swann hit a kick on TJP after the duo super kicked Kendrick out of the ring. Now we can just sit and wait until Neville snatches that belt from Swann for this division to really get started.
Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte (WWE Women's Championship, Ironman Match)
Of course, it went into overtime.
Charlotte won the first fall with the Natural Selection off the top rope about 20 minutes into the match. Charlotte did some great talking after the first fall, taunting Sasha, "Come on, Sasha!, Come on Sasha," as Charlotte slapped her repeatedly. Sasha surprised Charlotte with a roll-up to tie it up with about 8 minutes left. Sasha submitted Charlotte with a version of the Banks Statement with about 6 minutes left. Unbelievably, Sasha tapped out to the figure four leglock with two second left in the match, allowing Charlotte to tie the match at 2-2. About three minutes into overtime, Charlotte regained the title with the figure eight leg lock. She's now 15-0 on PPV in singles matches.
JM: I am okay if I never see another Charlotte vs. Sasha match. Watching these two is sort of like watching Randy Orton and John Cena. They both are really good, but we have seen it all with these two. Very little seems fresh and their TV matches seemed to be a lot better. This match was totally unbelievable. Charlotte had the figure four leg lock on for the last minute of the match and Banks tapped out with two seconds left. Nothing says quitter like tapping out with two seconds left. Making it worse, was you could see Sasha looking up at the clock every few seconds to see how much time was left. Time to hop on the Bayley train.
AH: Iron Man matches are really difficult to pull off and keep an audience engaged. Especially when creative decides that the plan is to go into overtime. There was a lot of stalling and dead spots as these two have already emptied out their toolbox during the countless encounters they've had. The finish to regulation was wildly predictable as Charlotte held on to the Figure Eight for two minutes and Sasha tapped after looking up at the clock numerous times. If you strip away the 30-minute stipulation, this would have been a great match. The visual of a bloodied Sasha tapping out puts the exclamation point on this feud and it's now time to put Bayley into the mix. Where Sasha goes next is anyone's guess. Nia Jax, I presume?
Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Universal Championship)
Roman Reigns has a way of sucking the life out of every match he is in. And Reigns really needs to work on his cardio. My dog has panted less after an hour of fetching the tennis ball out of the ocean. Reigns also sells like I did as a 10-year-old wrestling my cousins in my mom's living room. Let's just say it wasn't good.
The match got decent toward the end when Owens performed two frog splash jumps onto the ringside announcers table. It took two jumps since the table didn't break the first time. Reigns barely beat the count to get back in. The rest of the match consisted of Owens hitting everyone of his finishers on Reigns, who kicked out each time.
Owens looked like he was having a nervous breakdown and went ringside, grabbed his belt and brought it into the ring to hit Reigns. The referee tried to stop Owens from hitting Reigns with the belt, allowing Reigns to deliver the spear. Then Jericho came out -- and delivered a Code Breaker on Owens, getting Reigns disqualified. Thank God, Reigns is not champion.
Jericho then presented the championship to Owens and the two celebrated, appearing to pull-off a mastermind pro wrestling heist: Jericho got Owens intentionally disqualified so that Owens could retain the title.
Seth Rollins then appeared from the back. He and Reigns put Jericho through a table, Shield style. Owens tried to flee, but Rollins grabbed him. Then, Rollins and Reigns slammed Owens through the Raw announcing table to end the show.
JM: We don't want Roman Reigns as a good guy. We don't want him bringing down Seth Rollins. We don't want him anywhere near the WWE Championship. We do want him to get into better shape -- not cosmetically, but athletically. This guy was huffing and puffing all the way through the match, to the point where the Owens looked like the better-conditioned guy. It just felt wrong for Rollins and Reigns to beat up Jericho and Owens after the match -- that's the opposite of what should have happened. The fans want to cheer Jericho and Owens. No one wants to see Jericho go through a table.
Speaking of Jericho and Owens, so this whole time these guys were fake-arguing? So Jericho purposely lost his match to Rollins just to fake out the fans? This booking was confusing, convoluted and flat out crappy. In the end, nothing really matters. It's like WWE is doing Vanilla Sky booking.
AH: Wildly predictable. The entire time this match happened, I waited for Jericho to run out and sell us that the breakup was a ruse. Gee, thanks. Kevin Owens title run has been tainted with one bad booking decision after another. Can this guy win a match on his own? It's sad because we know just how exceptional of a talent Owens is when he's allowed to go on his own tangents. But when he's got to play the brooding, cowardly heel, it goes nowhere. Especially when you have Roman Reigns who wrestles the same match every single time out. It's ridiculous. There were a few spots where Owens flashed his brilliance, but you knew it couldn't end until Jericho made his way down to the ring. To end the night on a disqualification was a poor decision by creative. The sad finish tarnished what was already a so-so PPV. Even worse, it punctuated Owens as a true transitional champion who isn't to be taken seriously. Everyone except Reigns deserved better than this.