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The John Report: WWE Roadblock “End of the Line” 2016 Review

Posted By: John Canton on Dec 19, 2016

It's time for WWE Roadblock: End of the Line from Pittsburgh, PA.  It’s the last WWE PPV of the year. I wasn’t able to catch it live, but I did make a point to catch the Kickoff Match so let’s start with that.

The announcers for the show are the usual Raw team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Pittsburgh’s own Corey Graves.

There was a pre-match promo from Enzo & Cass prior to the match, so Enzo is back after taking off last week’s Raw to sell the beating from Rusev a couple of weeks ago.

Kickoff Match: Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore)

Cass knocked Rusev out of the ring and about one minute into the match they went to a commercial shilling WWE Network stuff.

Back from the break, Cass hit the slam and the elbow drop followed by a corner splash. Cass was on offense the entire match up to this point. Rusev bailed to the floor to avoid another attack. Rusev went over the barricade, so Cass followed him. Rusev got the advantage there. Rusev went back over the barricade. Lana shoved Enzo, so Rusev punched Enzo in the back of the head. Rusev back in the ring, Cass was counted out and that’s it after about five minutes.

Winner by countout: Rusev

Analysis: 1/2* A short match that was more of an angle than a match. If you're only getting five minutes and they put a break in there then it shows that maybe the company doesn't have faith in your match being good. Just saying. It was pretty bad with Cass on offense the whole time, Lana and Rusev outsmarting them and getting the countout win. Weird booking. It protected both guys while also doing a finish that suggests the rivalry will continue.

The Kickoff Panel of Renee Young, Booker T and Sam Roberts did some final hype for the Roadblock event.

WWE Roadblock: End of the Line
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
December 18, 2016

The opening video package set up the biggest matches of the show. There were police cars as part of the video since the show is called Roadblock after all. The main focus was on Owens vs. Reigns, Jericho vs. Rollins and Banks vs. Charlotte.

It looks like a packed house in Pittsburgh as we were welcomed to the show by Michael Cole.

The Raw Tag Team Title match is up first with Cole noting that New Day’s held the titles for a record 483 days.

The New Day trio received a huge ovation. Big E welcomed us to Roadblock. He thought Roadblock meant something else (wink wink), so Kofi Kingston had to explain what it actually meant. Xavier Woods noted they are the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all time. Kingston had some creative names for Cesaro and Sheamus. Kingston said call them whatever you want, but you never call them your…Woods finished it…WWE Tag Team Champions because…New Day rocks.

Analysis: Solid promo from the champs as usual. Big E as the guy that is sometimes dumb is a good role for him that he plays well.

Cesaro & Sheamus made their entrance. They earned another title shot at the Tribute to the Troops show that aired on Wednesday.

The announce team of Cole, Graves and Saxton were shown on camera. They’re seated by the ramp like usual. The Spanish and German announce teams were shown on camera – they are at ringside.

Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus

Dropkick by Cesaro got a two count right away. Kingston and Cesaro did monkey flips to eachother with each guy landing on their feet after taking the move. Clothesline by Sheamus behind the ref’s back. Suplex by Sheamus on Kingston earned a two count. Sheamus with a slingshot shoulder tackle to knock down Kingston. Chinlock by Sheamus on Kingston, who has “WHO? WHO? WHO?” on his tights. Cesaro tagged in, tossed Kingston into the air and hit an uppercut for a two count. Kingston wit ha back body drop that sent Sheamus over the top to the floor. Big E got the tag and hit the spear on Sheamus while he was on the apron, which led to both of them crashing to the floor. Big E hit a running splash for a two count. Sheamus back with a neck snap against the ropes. Big E caught Sheamus with a running Powerbomb for two. That wins matches for some people, but not Big E in this case. A unique version of White Noise got a two count. Cesaro tagged in with a spinning corkscrew uppercut to take down Big E. Sheamus accidentally hit Cesaro when he was going for Kingston. Ref sent Kingston out of the ring, so Woods got in a cheap kick on Cesaro into Big E hitting the Big Ending. That only got a two count. I thought that was it, but it was only good for two.

Tag to Kingston and Cesaro hit a hurricanrana off the top rope to take down Kingston. Sheamus with a Brogue Kick on Big E outside the ring. Cesaro did the Swing to Kingston in the center of the ring. Woods on the apron to distract the ref and Kingston tapped, but the ref didn’t see. Kingston went for a small package but Cesaro powered out of it and hit the Neutralizer for a two count as Big E made the save. Cesaro dumped Big E to the floor and hit a dive on him. Sheamus tagged in against Kingston. Woods shoved Kingston out of the way and Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Woods. Kingston capitalized for the SOS on Sheamus for a two count. Another awesome nearfall. Sheamus went for a tag, Cesaro went into the ring before getting tagged in and Kingston hit Cesaro with Trouble in Paradise. Sheamus was still the legal man, so he jumped onto Kingston, went on top of him, hooked the legs and covered to win the Tag Team Titles at the 12-minute mark. It drew a huge reaction from the crowd because it ended the record breaking tag title reign of New Day.

Winners and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Sheamus & Cesaro

Analysis: ***3/4 That was an awesome match. They made the most of the time given, there were several believable nearfalls that made me think we were seeing the end of the match and then it kept going. There were several instances where I’m a little surprised that a finishing move didn’t beat New Day, but I am not surprised that WWE decided to book the title change. It was the right time to do it even though I picked New Day to retain. I have no problem being wrong because I like the Sheamus & Cesaro team. This is an example of how you make the most of your time in a match. They didn't get 20 minutes, but they made the most of what they were given and it was exciting the whole time.

Post match, New Day handed the titles to the new champions. Cesaro gave all three of them a hug. Sheamus grabbed the titles and posed on the apron with both titles. Cesaro celebrated in the crowd even though he didn’t have a title with him. When they got up to the ramp, Cesaro grabbed one of the titles. He jumped into Sheamus’ arms for an awkward embrace.

Analysis: Good to see them as champions because if they lost again it would have made them look like losers too much. I still think their Best of 7 Series could have been booked better.

The Universal Champion Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Owens said he didn’t care about New Day and their record. He’s better than Cesaro, Sheamus and Roman Reigns. That’s why he’s the longest reigning Universal Champion in history, which is a fact. Chris Jericho was there. Owens gave him a holiday scarf. Jericho was mad at him, so he threw it down in disgust.

It was announced that after Roadblock there will be "Raw Talk" on WWE Network.

Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman

There is a ten minute time limit for this match. There was a clock on screen and on the video wall counting down from ten.

Zayn with a dropkick that sent Strowman into the corner. Strowman came back by tossing him across the ring. Corner splash by Strowman. There was some basic stuff from Strowman like choking, kicks and punches. Zayn sent him over the top to the floor. He went for a slingshot cross body block, but Strowman caught him and dropped him face first onto the apron. Corner splash by Strowman again. Forearm strikes by Strowman led to the ref checking on Zayn. When Strowman went for a cover, the ref counted and Strowman picked Zayn up. More forearm strikes to the chest from Strowman. There was a shot of some kid in the crowd looking scared. The timer was at 4:25 remaining as Strowman hit a stiff clothesline. The Raw General Manager Mick Foley showed up with a white towel in hand. Strowman tossed Zayn out of the ring, so that they were right in front of Foley. Zayn pleaded with him not to do it. Fans chanted "Let Him Fight." Zayn grabbed the towel and threw it into the crowd. Strowman hit Zayn in the back with a punch. Strowman told Foley he's going to finish it. Strowman charged, Zayn moved and Strowman hit the ring post. Strowman charged in again, Zayn moved and Strowman went crashing through the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, Strowman missed a corner charge. Zayn came back with a cross body block into a cover with Strowman shoving him off. Zayn went back in the ring and hit a Helluva Kick on Strowman as the clock expired. It went the full ten minutes.

Match Result: Sami Zayn survived 10 minutes

Post match, Zayn was greeted by Mick Foley outside the ring while Strowman was angry in the ring.

Analysis: ** It's a tough match to rate because it was Strowman on offense for about 90% of it with Zayn just trying to keep going. I liked the last two minutes with Zayn avoiding the charges of Strowman and getting in some offense of his own. It will probably lead to another match between them with Strowman possibly winning, but that's fine. At least Zayn wasn't made to look like a loser here and he earned a lot of respect from people thanks to this storyline.

A video package aired about WWE's announcement earlier in the week about the United Kingdom Championship. It will take place at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England and air on two nights on January 14 & January 15. The goal is to produce a weekly WWE show in England. Nigel McGuinness was also introduced as an announcer. As Daniel Bryan tweeted a few days ago, it's great that he and Nigel are in WWE together after all these years, but a shame neither can wrestle.

Analysis: It's a way for WWE to produce more content for their network while also appealing to the UK fanbase. It's a smart business strategy as long as they can afford it. Is there too much content for WWE fans right now? Sure, but nobody is making you watch all of it. Watch what you want.

Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho is up next. There's a video package highlighting their feud.

Chris Jericho made his entrance. There were fans at the first few rows with "Stupid Idiot" signs that had Jericho's face on them, which were likely handed to them by somebody in WWE.

Good ovation for Seth Rollins. I still think he needs a better theme song and fireworks or something to make it look cooler.

The international announce teams seated around the arena were introduced. They are Portuguese, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. Graves wanted to trade Byron to the Japanese team for Funaki. I'm in favor of that!

Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho

There were "Let's Go Rollins/Y2J" dueling chants. Cole said that this is Jericho's 140th PPV match. Only four men with more: Kane, The Undertaker, Triple H and John Cena. That's impressive. Running kick by Rollins. Jericho hit a missile dropkick for a two count. Jericho with a back suplex followed by a cocky pin attempt. Rollins came back with a clothesline. Jericho bailed to the floor, so Rollins jumped off the apron with a flying knee to the face. Rollins sent Jericho into the barricade. Jericho hid behind the ref, did an eye rake and took control. Rollins sent Jericho into the ring post. Jericho came back with a springboard dropkick while Rollins was on the apron. It sounded like the crowd was counting "ten" when Rollins was on the floor, so that's good. Back in the ring, Jericho hit a dropkick for a two count.  Jericho slapped Rollins in the face a few times. Rollins with a kick to gut, but Jericho stopped him with a knee to the gut. Rollins avoided the Walls of Jericho and hit an enziguri kick to knock him down. More dueling chants from the crowd. Rollins sent Jericho face first into the turnbuckle leading to a funny face from Jericho. Rollins with the Slingblade took him down. Two forearms in the corner from Rollins. Blockbuster by Rollins for a two count. Rollins went for a Pedigree, Jericho went for the Walls, Rollins fought out and Jericho hit an enziguri kick. Rollins shoved Jericho out to the floor. Rollins with a suicide dive onto Jericho on the floor.

Back in the ring, Rollins went for a springboard attack. Jericho caught him and applied the Walls of Jericho. Rollins was able to get to the ropes. Jericho went for a springboard attack and Rollins nailed a jumping kick to knock him down. Frog Splash off the top missed for Rollins. Jericho hit the Lionsault for two. Rollins came back with a Falcon Arrow slam for a two count. Rollins with a knee to the face. Rollins went for a Pedigree and they did this great sequence where they countered eachother with some different moves. Rollins teased a Powerbomb, but Jericho got a hurricanrana into the Walls of Jericho. Rollins countered into a small package. Rollins with a kick to the jaw and up top with a Frog Splash. Kevin Owens ran down to the ring. Rollins knocked him off the apron. Jericho got an inside cradle, the ref was slow to count the pin because of Owens and Rollins kicked out. Jericho backed out of a Pedigree attempt. Knee to the face by Rollins again. Jericho went for a Codebreaker, Rollins blocked it and Rollins hit a Pedigree for the pinfall win after 17 minutes of action.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match with Rollins getting the predictable victory. There were several believable nearfalls and near submission moments as well. It was about what I expected with Rollins getting the decisive win to get revenge on Jericho for costing him the Universal Title multiple times. The Owens appearance was done to show that Jericho almost won, but Owens took the ref's attention away and it ended up costing Jericho the win. It fit their storyline. I don't think anybody believed Jericho was going to win, but they did a good job of teasing that it was possible. Big win for Rollins, who has been screwed out of PPV wins a lot this year, so he needed that.

The WWE Network commercial aired. We know what we're watching, WWE.

There was a clip of Rusev's countout win over Big Cass earlier in the night. It was announced that on Raw this week it will be Rusev vs. Big Cass again.

The great Austin Aries joined the commentary team since he's a commentator on 205 Live. He's currently injured with an eye injury, but should be back in action soon.

Clips aired of the issues between Swann, Perkins and Kendrick to set up this match. It's "The Outlandish" Rich Swann because that's the phrase they like to use to describe him.

Cruiserweight Championship: Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins

There was a spot early where Swann was going to jump over Kendrick, but he didn't jump high enough and Kendrick's head went into his leg. Kendrick went to the floor, but he recovered quickly. Perkins hit a dropkick to send Kendrick to the floor. Back in the ring, Perkins with a top rope sunset flip on Kendrick for a two count. Swann with an enziguri on Kendrick. Double headscissors by Swann on both guys and then he jumped off Perkins back for a seated senton on Kendrick. Swann flipped to avoid a Perkins move and Kendrick nailed kicks on both guys. Swann with a missile dropkick on Perkins. Kendrick applied the Captain's Hook submission on Swann with Perkins breaking it up. Perkins applied his knee bar submission on Kendrick. Swann broke it up with a splash. Kendrick sent Swann face first into the turnbuckle. Swann countered Sliced Bread and Perkins kicked Kendrick to knock him to the floor. Knee bar submission applied by Perkins on Swann, but Swann got to the ropes after about 20 seconds. There's no disqualification, so Perkins didn't have to let go as the announcers mentioned. Perkins and Swann hit a double superkick on Kendrick to knock him down. Swann hit his uppercut back kick on Perkins for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rich Swann

Analysis: **1/2 A solid match that had a decisive finish with Swann winning. Good ending with the double superkick by the faces on the heel Kendrick leading to the decisive kick by Swann. It was the obvious finish since he was a new champion that had to get past the two former champions. The crowd wasn't into the match very much.

Post match, Neville's entrance took place. He's got a full beard. The pyro went off and he had a cape on. Neville went into the ring and blasted Swann in the face with a forearm. Perkins went in for the save. Neville nailed Perkins with kicks. Kick to the face of Swann. Neville dumped Swann out of the ring and sent him into the barricade. Neville sent Perkins into the barricade as well. Neville brought Perkins and Swann into the ring. He stood over them. The crowd cheered even though this was a heel turn for Neville.

Analysis: That was great. It's nice to see that WWE's creative team remembers who Neville is. I didn't expect the heel turn, so seeing him with the beard made me think that's what might happen and when he did the attack the crowd reacted to it in a big way. He's been a face for the majority of his WWE career, so it's good to see him being a heel. He's an obvious future opponent for Swann. I like it because Neville adds some star power to the Cruiserweight division.

There was some commercial for a kid's WWE game I'm too old for. A Tapout commercial also aired.

Kevin Owens was shown walking backstage. He went up to a door that said "JERICHO" on it. The door was locked. Owens was mad about it and wondered why Jericho wouldn't open the door for him. Owens suggested that maybe Jericho should just put Owens name at the top of the list. Owens said it hurt his feelings that Jericho won't even talk to him. Owens left.

The video package aired to set up Sasha Banks defending the Raw Women's Title against Charlotte Flair in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match. This was about the halfway point in the show.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance first. Cole noted she is 14-0 in PPV singles matches and 17-2 in PPV matches. Whether she wins or loses, she will have the best PPV record in WWE history for somebody's first 20 matches.

Analysis: I like stats like that. Its important to mention things like that to put over the performers and storylines in different ways.

The Raw Women's Champion Sasha Banks made her entrance with the announcers noting that Banks won her first Women's Title in that building back in July.

Raw Women's Championship (30-Minute Iron Man Match): Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair

It's a 30 minute match. Most falls in 30 minutes wins the match. There was a clock on the screen as well as the score. There is no rematch for the loser.

There was a slow start to the match for the first three minutes with basic stuff like headlocks because they don't want to go at too fast of a pace. After a Charlotte shoulder tackle, Banks got a rollup for a two count. Banks took her down with an arm drag leading into a Banks Statement, but Charlotte escaped to the floor. Back in the ring, Charlotte got a bridging pinfall for a nearfall. Banks hit a dropkick. Charlotte fought back with a boot to the face followed by another one. Banks applied a chinlock. Charlotte broke out of it leading to a nearfall. Charlotte tried to send Banks into the ring post like she did on Raw, but Banks landed on the apron and hit a double knee attack onto Charlotte on the floor. That earned a two count back in the ring. Banks took down Charlotte by hooking her arms and driving a foot into her back. Charlotte broke free and Banks sent her out of the ring. Banks hit a suicide dive into a cross body block attack on the floor. They are past ten minutes now.

Banks sent Charlotte into the turnbuckle. With Banks standing on the apron, Charlotte kicked her foot and Banks went crashing face first into the steel steps at ringside. That was a good spot. Charlotte rolled her back in for a two count. The ref checked on Banks to see if she was okay. Charlotte stomped away on Banks. Charlotte continued to work on Banks on the mat. Banks came back with a cross body block off the middle rope for two. Charlotte with a backbreaker into a neckbreaker for a two count. It’s at the 15 minute mark as Charlotte wrapped her legs around Banks’ neck to continue to work her over. Charlotte hit a knee to the back of the head of Banks for a two count. The crowd wasn’t making much noise for this match at all. Banks started a comeback by sending Charlotte head first into the turnbuckle. Double knees in the corner by Banks. Banks went up top, she went for a cross body block, Charlotte moved and Charlotte hit Natural Selection for a two count. Charlotte whipped her down by the hair. Charlotte went up top, but Banks cut off her attempt at a moonsault. Charlotte was able to stun her and nailed a Natural Selection off the top rope for the first pinfall. It took about 19 minutes for the first fall.

Charlotte earns a pinfall. Charlotte leads 1-0.

There’s under ten minutes left as Charlotte trash talked her as well as hitting her with slaps to the face. Charlotte came back with a back suplex. The crowd is still pretty silent for this match. They did a spot where Banks was trying to do some sort of rollup after a cradle, but it didn’t look great. It ended up being a more basic pinfall move that was good enough to earn a fall.

Sasha earns a pinfall. Match is tied 1-1.

Charlotte was stunned that she was pinned there. Charlotte hit a big boot to the face for a two count. Charlotte went up top for a moonsault, but Banks moved. Banks applied the Bank Statement submission in the center of the ring. Charlotte tried to fight it and when she got close to the ropes, Banks applied the hold again in the middle of the ring. Charlotte tapped out to give Banks the fall.

Sasha earned a submission. Sasha leads 2-1.

There’s about five minutes left as Charlotte unloaded with hard chops. Banks went to the middle rope, Charlotte tripped her up and Charlotte drove her foot onto the left knee of Banks. Charlotte worked on the left leg of Banks repeatedly. Charlotte applied a leg submission working on the left leg. There’s still barely a crowd reaction with about two minutes left. Charlotte applied the Figure Four Leglock. She yelled at Banks to tap out. Banks turned it over, so Charlotte turned it back to give her the advantage. There was one minute left on the clock as they were still locked into the Figure Four Leglock. With about 20 seconds, Charlotte pulled on the hold and turned it into the figure eight. Banks tapped out with just two seconds left as the crowd counted down. The clock expired.

Charlotte earned a submission. Match is tied 2-2.

Analysis: I hate the timing of that submission. If Banks can hear the crowd chanting the numbers then she should be able to hold on for two more seconds because if she does then she wins the match. That’s the kind of fall you should do with about 30 or more seconds left rather than something with the clock running down. It makes Banks look dumb by having her tap with two seconds left.

The referee told ring announcer Jojo that it’s sudden death overtime. Jojo announced it and the match continued.

Banks struggled to her feet. Charlotte kicked her in the knee as overtime began. Banks got a rollup for two. Fallaway slam by Charlotte. A slam attempt by Charlotte was countered into a cradle by Banks for a two count. Banks had a bloody nose that covered her mouth. There was a lot of blood. Banks applied the Bank Statement in the middle of the ring.  Charlotte was able to counter out of it and applied the Figure Four Leglock again. Charlotte dragged Banks towards the middle of the ring. Banks had the blood all over her face and mouth. Charlotte bridged back with the Figure Eight submission and Banks tapped out because of the pain. The tap out gave Charlotte the win at around 35 minutes. The win meant that Charlotte was 15-0 in singles matches at PPV events.

Charlotte earned a submission. Charlotte wins 3-2 in overtime.

Winner and New Raw Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair

Analysis: ***3/4 Another near four star match out of five by these women that have hit that mark a few times in my ratings. It was a long match with slow pacing early, but when they picked it up to get going it was really good. I think they could have planned the eliminations better because the first one for Banks was on a sloppy pinning move while the last one made Banks look stupid because she tapped out with almost no time left. That’s a booking problem more than anything because they could have made it more interesting. I feel bad for them because they were working so hard, yet the Pittsburgh crowd barely reacted to them until the last few minutes of the match. Their effort deserved more support from the audience, so that hurt the match a bit. I guess a reason for it is because we've seen the match so many times with a ridiculous amount of title changes. I’m glad it was a clean win for Charlotte even though I predicted interference from her dad Ric Flair in a surprising twist. Ending it the way they did was the right thing to do.

Post match, Charlotte held up the Raw Women’s Title as replays aired from the match. Banks was helped to the back by doctor as they had a towel to stop the bleeding from her nose. Charlotte held up four fingers since she is the four-time Women’s Champion.

Analysis: I’m not surprised that Charlotte won. That was my prediction because I feel like she has the more obvious next feud with Bayley waiting in the wings. It also keeps alive the singles match undefeated streak on PPV for Charlotte, which is being built up well. The feud is over...for now...until next year at some point when it picks up again.

There was a commercial about the Royal Rumble on January 29.

There were shots of some of the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting at ringside. One of them is their great running back Le’Veon Bell.

The announcers plugged Raw Talk after Roadblock on WWE Network.

The video package aired to set up Owens vs. Reigns.

The United States Champion Roman Reigns, who rarely defends his title, entered first. Lots of boos for him even though he’s supposed to be the face.

Kevin Owens, the Universal Champion, was out last looking confident. It sounded like a mixed reaction for him.

Universal Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns

Owens tried to bail early, but Reigns went after him on the floor. Owens left the ring again. Reigns punched him and rammed Owens’ head into the announce table. Reigns picked up Owens with a slam. Owens bailed to the floor again, so Reigns whipped him into the barricade at ringside. Reigns cleared off the German announce table. Owens sent him back into the ring followed by a senton. Reigns came back with a clothesline. Owens bailed to the floor again, Owens staggered him using the barricade to his advantage and sending Reigns into the steel steps. Owens hit a senton where he jumped off the steps onto Reigns on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens with some punches and kicks. Owens took him to Chinlock City while wondering why Reigns didn’t put his title on the line as well. Maybe because WWE creative sucks? Owens with a neckbreaker followed by a flipping leg drop for two. Another chinlock by Owens for a couple of minutes. Owens missed a senton splash as Reigns moved out of the way. Reigns made the comeback with a clothesline as the crowd booed him. They exchanged forearm shots. Owens escaped a Samoan Drop and hit a German Suplex. Kick by Reigns followed by a Samoan Drop for two. Owens nailed a DDT for a two count. Owens mocked the Reigns yell and hit a cannonball in the corner. Reigns no sold it and hit a Superman Punch for two. Reigns was shocked by it even though he never wins with that move. They battled on the top rope with Reigns hitting a Superman Punch. They teased a superplex, but it was obvious that wasn’t happening since KO’s feet were inside of the ropes instead of the outside where they need to be. Owens with a cradle suplex out of the corner for a two count.

Owens went for a Swanton Bomb off the top rope. Reigns got his knees up to block it leading to the double knees to the back of Owens. When Reigns set up for an attack, Owens bailed to the floor. Reigns hit a Drive By kick, sent Owens back in and Owens went to the floor. Owens avoided a Drive By on the floor and Owens nailed a superkick. Another Owens superkick put Reigns on the German announce table. Owens climbed up the barricade and hit a Frog Splash on Reigns on the table. The table didn’t break. Owens went back up to do it again and hit the Frog Splash on Reigns to break the table. The ref counted Reigns out, but he got back in the ring before the ten count. Back in the ring, Owens with another Frog Splash off the top rope leading to a two count. Reigns blocked a kick attempt and hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. Reigns set up in the corner as the crowd booed. Owens with a kick into a rollup for two. Owens with a Popup Powerbomb for two as Reigns got his right foot on the bottom rope. Owens was shocked by it. Owens did a lot of stalling. He grabbed the Universal Title and went in the ring with it. Reigns nailed Owens with a Spear. Both guys were down. Chris Jericho ran down to the ring wearing his scarf and leather pants, so not in his ring gear. Jericho looked at both guys in the ring. Jericho went after Owens and hit a Codebreaker on him. The ref called for the bell making it a disqualification. Reigns is disqualified and Owens wins the match after 25 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Kevin Owens

Analysis: ***1/4 The match was good with a slow pace early and they built it up well with a lot of good nearfalls, but I expected a better performance. Their match on Raw three weeks ago was similar to this, which shouldn’t be the case when you have more time and a major title is on the line. I like both guys a lot, but they just didn’t build a compelling match and I kept waiting for the interference because that’s the only way WWE knows how to book KO’s title matches. The crowd likely knew it was coming too because they were barely reacting to a lot of the things they were doing. I think this is an example of a match that would have benefited from 7-10 less minutes because it went on too long and the crowd didn’t seem to care about most of it. The Jericho interference is something they have done nearly every time the Universal Title has been on the line, so it has become something fans are used to even though most of us are tired of it.

After the match was over, Jericho smiled and gave Owens the Universal Title. Jericho raised his hand. They shared a big hug in the ring while Graves thought it was great that Jericho caused an intentional disqualification so that Owens can retain. Reigns looked angry at ringside, so Owens and Jericho left. They were all smiles. Seth Rollins showed up to prevent the celebration.

Reigns hit Owens with a Spear at ringside. Jericho went into the ring, Rollins went after him and Rollins dropped him with a Pedigree. Rollins cleared off the Spanish announce table. Rollins picked up Jericho for Reigns and Reigns drove Jericho through the announce table for the double team Shield Powerbomb through the table. Big pop for that.

Owens tried to leave, but Rollins prevented that from happening. Reigns was there too. They went over to where the Raw announce team was by the ramp. Reigns cleared off the announce table while the announcers left their position. Rollins picked up Owens, Reigns held him up and they delivered the Shield Powerbomb through the announce table.

The music of Reigns played as Rollins and Reigns stood over the fallen body of Owens. Replays aired of the post match beating put on by the faces against the heels. The final shot showed Reigns and Rollins standing over Owens as the show went off the air.

The show had a run time of 2 hours, 56 minutes.

Analysis: The beating by the faces was predictable with how WWE likes to end PPVs on a happy note. They were outsmarted by the heels and they got their revenge to try to pop the crowd.

Here’s what I wrote in the preview about this match: “I think all of the Owens/Jericho problems have been nothing more than a swerve on their part. Jericho will make his presence felt in this match and accidentally help Owens win. Then they can reveal that it was all part of their plan. Rollins can come out, he can beat up both heels with Reigns and the night ends on a happy note.”

Pretty close huh? The part I got wrong was saying “accidentally” because it was blatant by Jericho to help Owens win. That’s the problem with Raw. It’s very predictable with characters that aren’t that compelling because we have seen these same storylines so many times over the years. It's also a bad sign when one of your top faces – Roman Reigns – gets booed more than the heels, which is a problem that WWE continues to ignore.

 

Five Stars of the Show

1. Cesaro/Sheamus

2. New Day

3. Charlotte

4. Sasha Banks

5. (tie) Seth Rollins

5. (tie) Chris Jericho

I always pick more than five. Deal with it.

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7 out of 10 from me.

That score reflects the in-ring work more than the booking. I liked the matches for the most part, but I wish the booking on Raw was better.

I’m a huge fan of Kevin Owens, but he’s really becoming one of the worst booked major champions in a very long time. It is similar to how Rollins was booked when he was the heel champion in 2015 as well. I know it’s part of the story to make fans feel sympathetic for the faces. The problem is that one of the faces – Roman Reigns – is booed more than anybody on the show. Why should we feel sympathy? Fans don’t feel bad for Reigns.

I enjoyed seeing Neville back. He might have to change his in-ring style a bit as a heel, but I think he’ll do well. I’m just happy he’s back.

It was a predictable show for the most part. The only match I got wrong was the Tag Title match and I was close to picking a title change there. I just thought they might wait a bit more to do the change, but I’m fine with it happening.

The crowd was poor for the majority of the night. I never understand people paying money to go to a show to be quiet. Maybe I’m spoiled from being in the loud Toronto crowd and having a lot of fun. Make some noise, Pittsburgh. Come on.

WWE PPV Rankings In 2016

Money in the Bank – 8
Battleground – 8
TLC – 8
Survivor Series – 7.5
Hell in a Cell – 7.5
Payback - 7.5
Backlash – 7.5
Royal Rumble - 7.5
Roadblock: End of the Line – 7
SummerSlam – 7
Clash of Champions - 7
Extreme Rules - 7
No Mercy – 6.5
WrestleMania 32 - 6
Fastlane – 6

That’s it for this year of PPVs. I guess Money in the Bank is the champion, but I’ll make that official in my (cheap plug) WWE Johnny Awards posted on December 28. I could change my mind.

———

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

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