WWE Roadblock 2016 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
The road to WrestleMania 32 hit a Roadblock Saturday as the Superstars and Divas of WWE descended upon Toronto for a live special event headlined by world heavyweight champion Triple H's monumental defense against The Lunatic Fringe—Dean Ambrose.
Would the unorthodox Superstar throw a wrench in the plans for wrestling's biggest night by dethroning The King of Kings or would The Game conquer one former Shield member weeks before an epic encounter with another in Dallas?
Brock Lesnar returned to WWE Network for a clash with Bray Wyatt, just over a month after seeing his championship dreams dashed by The Reaper of Souls and his family members in the Royal Rumble. With a planned WrestleMania match scrapped in favor of Lesnar's Street Fight with the aforementioned Ambrose, would the two Superstars give eager fans a taste of what they will be missing come April 3?
Two sets of tag team titles were at stake Saturday night, as well.
WWE tag team champions The New Day battled The League of Nations in what figures to be the first chapter in their story. Then there was The Revival—Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder—who put their NXT Tag Team Championships on the line against the sport's most over duo—Enzo Amore and "Big Cass" Colin Cassady.
With WrestleMania 32 so close, Saturday's broadcast had major implications on the Showcase of the Immortals. Who won the night's biggest matches, how did each of those bouts grade and what were the highlights from the major event?
Take a look for yourself.
WWE Tag Team Title Match: The New Day vs. The League of Nations
The WWE Tag Team Championships were at stake in the night's opening match as The New Day's Big E and Kofi Kingston defended against The League of Nation's King Barrett and Sheamus in a match set up at Fastlane during Edge and Christian's Cutting Edge Peep Show.
The champions cut a promo that hit on the power of positivity, Francesca 2 and Booty-Os. Big E took shots at The League of Nations, with the crowd eating up every second of it.
Kingston's bragging early led to his downfall, opening him up to Sheamus' double ax handle and the heel challengers' double-teaming. He evaded Barrett and made the tag to Big E, who flattened the 2015 King of the Ring with a backbreaker and then proceeded to pummel him in the corner.
"You look stupid" chants emanated from the stands as Sheamus and Barrett took over, isolating Kingston from his partner and putting the titles in danger.
Action broke down late, with Kingston and Sheamus battling it out down the stretch. The former tried for Trouble in Paradise, but his opponent caught him, locking in the Cloverleaf, much to the audience's dismay.
At ringside, Big E put down Barrett, leaving The Celtic Warrior to go it alone. A nasty botched spot preceded Kingston rolling to ringside and the heels appearing on their way to victory until Xavier Woods hopped on the apron and distracted the official.
Big E pinned Barrett from there and retained the titles.
The New Day defeated The League of Nations.
The opening match of Saturday's show was a prime example of two teams trying to squeeze too much action into a small amount of the time, as it was a sprint of a match that, too often, featured disjointed and botched maneuvers.
Sheamus and Kingston, in particular, appeared to be on completely different pages throughout. The spot late in the match where Kingston attempted to leap over The Celtic Warrior, only to fall on top of him, was both ugly and scary and could have led to a significant injury.
The crowd was hot, though, making up for most of the mess. Still, one cannot help but feel like there is a much-better match to be had between these two teams—perhaps with more television time.
On a sidenote, The New Day is incredibly over and will thrive as babyfaces if, and when, that time comes.
Jack Swagger vs. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho was unmoved by the cheers that greeted him as he stepped through the curtain, denouncing them and cutting a glorious heel promo in which he revealed his shame for his Canadian heritage. The crowd erupted into a chorus of boos as he called his move to Florida years ago the "smartest move I ever made."
"I'm not the flavor of the month; I'm not the next big thing in the WWE. I'm the only thing," Jericho concluded his promo before Jack Swagger's music cut him off and the former world heavyweight champion made his way to the squared circle.
Jericho pointed out it was Swagger who ended his last run as world champion, adding some fuel to this otherwise glorified enhancement match.
Swagger unloaded with a series of rights early, only to have a cheap shot from Y2J halt his momentum.
"AJ Styles" chants poured from the WWE Universe as Jericho continued his attack on the Real American, sending him shoulder-first into the barricade. Swagger mounted a momentary comeback but was felled by a big dropkick courtesy of his more experienced opponent.
Swagger withstood a few minutes of punishment before exploding with a flurry of offense, including a Swagger Bomb. He used his leg strength to fight out of the Walls of Jericho and applied the Patriot Lock.
Jericho sidestepped Swagger, sending him face-first into the turnbuckle and moments later, he trapped him in the Walls of Jericho for the submission victory.
Chris Jericho defeated Jack Swagger.
Jericho and Swagger both worked hard but the complete apathy WWE Universe showed for Swagger in Toronto really dragged it down. Not that the match was anything more than an extended squash that one would expect to see in hour three of Monday Night Raw.
This was an exhibition for Jericho, a chance to go over another Superstar strong before his WrestleMania showdown with AJ Styles.
Swagger and Jericho may have been slightly more crisp than the tag teams that opened the show, but this one lacked heat whereas the opener had it in abundance.
A completely forgettable match.
NXT Tag Team Title Match: Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. The Revival
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady received a huge ovation from the Toronto fans as they arrived for their tag team title opportunity against The Revival, Dash and Dawson, proving their immense popularity is not limited to the rings of NXT.
"How you doin" chants rang out as the duo, along with Carmella, hit the squared circle. They went through their normal pre-match promo before the champions entered to a decided lack of ovation—proof of the lack- of-character-development problem they face at this point in their stint as titleholders.
The champions used referee manipulation early to attack Amore from behind, but the unorthodox competitor fought back with a headscissors and dropkick to take control. A tag to Big Cass led to pain and punishment for Dash Wilder, who endured a big Sidewalk Slam.
Cass tossed Amore over the top rope and onto the champions as the challengers rolled, drawing "NXT" and "This is awesome!" chants.
The babyfaces' momentum was cut off as Dawson sent Amore shoulder-first into the steel post as JBL equated the The Revival to Ole and Arn Anderson.
Dawson tied Amore in the Tree of Woe, and Dash caught him with a running knee to the midsection.
After minutes of isolation, the Certified G tagged in Cass, who unloaded on the champions with an Empire Elbow and Stinger Splash. The East River Crossing put Dash down. The challengers attempted the Rocket Launcher, but Dawson pulled Amore off the top rope.
Amore's strong near-fall was the last-gasp chance for the babyfaces to leave with the titles as Dash and Dawson finished the smaller of their challengers with the Shatter Machine.
The Revival defeated Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady.
This was the hottest match on the show so far—the result of the undying love the fans have for Enzo and Big Cass.
Dash and Dawson's heel work was strong, especially from a team working its first real high-profile match in a main roster ring. Amore and Cassady, on the other hand, are such a fun and energetic team that one cannot help but invest emotionally in them. One day, they will capture gold, and the crowd will erupt, be it during an episode of NXT or a WWE pay-per-view.
The only downfall was the lack of heat for the champions. Had fans even cared about them in the slightest, the result may have been a legitimate show-stealing match. Instead, it was simply very good.
And damn fun.
WWE Divas Championship Match: Natalya vs. Charlotte
Natalya goaded Charlotte into putting the WWE Divas Championship up for grabs during a promo recorded earlier in the afternoon, enhancing the importance of their match Saturday night.
The action was mat-based early, with Natalya sending Charlotte scurrying to the ropes to prevent a Sharpshooter. The third-generation competitor furthered the champion's despair, trapping her in a surfboard submission.
In desperate need of a break, Charlotte rolled to ringside but found no sanctuary as her challenger caught her with a baseball slide.
The champion pulled Natalya back-first to the arena floor, taking over control of the match. "You're a has-been," she screamed, adding insult to injury. Charlotte continued her assault, scoring several near-falls but failing to keep her resilient opponent down for the count. She caught Natalya's attempt at a discus clothesline and delivered a neckbreaker that netted yet another two-count from the official.
The trading of chops and forearms ensued as Natalya mounted her comeback and tried for the Sharpshooter. Charlotte's slap led to a rollup for two and a big boot. She locked in the Figure Eight, only for Natalya to repeatedly block it, and then nearly reverse it.
Charlotte made her way under the rope and to the floor, all the while maintaining the Figure Eight. With leverage, the pain coursed through the knee of her opponent. Natural Selection followed, but Natalya shot her shoulder off the mat before the referee's hand slapped the mat for a third time.
Natalya broke up a moonsault attempt with a sit-out powerbomb for a dramatic near-fall. Moments later, she finally locked in the Sharpshooter to a thunderous ovation, but Ric Flair got involved. Natalya blasted her with a hard right, only for Charlotte to grab the rollup and score the win with her feet draped on the ropes.
Charlotte pinned Natalya.
The best match on the show thus far, Charlotte and Natalya gave the WWE Universe a taste of what real women's wrestling can be. It was a fitting followup to their NXT classic from 2014, with Natalya perfectly portrayed as the resilient babyface, just as her uncle Bret "The Hitman" Hart had been so many times over the course of his Hall of Fame career.
Considering she dedicated the bout to him earlier in the day, it was a nice touch.
Speaking of nice touches, the continued tease of the Sharpshooter throughout the match helped build anticipation for the move. So when Natalya finally did apply it, the fans came unglued.
The finish could be seen coming from a mile away, keeping it from grading out higher than a B-plus, but it was otherwise a spectacularly wrestled match.
Regardless of the gender of the combatants involved.
Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt...and Luke Harper
"Brock Lesnar is every bit the monster you think he is," Bray Wyatt preached to his followers as he made his way to the ring, running down his rap sheet and accurately pointed out that Lesnar had never conquered him.
"I have made a deal with the devil himself and the devil has told me that my brother and I, Luke Harper, will slay the Beast together," he added, insinuating that The Authority has made the match a 2-on-1 Handicap match.
Lesnar's arrival drew a tremendous ovation, as The Beast Incarnate and his smash-mouth style of wrestling is a favorite among fans. Paul Heyman grabbed the microphone and formally introduced his client for the night's slaughter.
Lesnar wasted little time unloading on Harper, pounding away with a few forearms before German suplex No. 1 sent him to the arena floor. Wyatt provided a momentary distraction, allowing Harper to execute a suicide die through the ropes, wiping Lesnar out at ringside.
The Beast once again introduced Harper to Suplex City, several times in fact, while The Reaper of Souls watched from the aisle. The F5 finished the bout without Wyatt ever setting foot inside the squared circle. Instead, the leader of the family made his way backstage, clearly wanting none of The Beast.
Brock Lesnar defeated Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt.
It is hard not to be entertained every time Brock Lesnar gets in the ring and smashes a fool, but it is equally as difficult not to be disappointed by this. Wyatt was billed as the opponent, but last-minute booking added Harper to the match, presumably to keep from wasting said one-on-one showdown for a live event likely to be forgotten come Monday's Raw.
So why even change the originally scheduled bout? The exact same thing could have been accomplished without bait-and-switching the customer. It was the first real misstep on what has been an otherwise fun broadcast.
Sami Zayn vs. Stardust
Sami Zayn hit the ring to a huge pop, while opponent Stardust was met with indifference—an indictment on a gimmick that has done more to hurt Cody Rhodes than help.
Zayn starred early, countering everything Stardust had to offer and frustrating him with an armbar. An angry and aggressive Stardust, though, wrestled control of the bout away from his opponent and spent the majority of the bout working over his opponent's back and ribs.
An exchange of rollups had Zayn looking at a comeback, but the tenacious Stardust cut him off. A superplex nearly put an end to Zayn's dreams of victory in his native land.
A big clothesline was the emphasis for a comeback, though, as Zayn reached down within himself to mount the comeback. A dive over the top rope wiped out Stardust. The Blue Thunder Bomb followed, but Stardust kicked out at two.
The Disaster Kick nearly spoiled Zayn's comeback, but the Montreal native caught him with an Exploder suplex shortly thereafter and put Stardust away with the Helluvah Kick.
Sami Zayn defeated Stardust.
Skipping and lagging from the WWE Network notwithstanding, this was a fine wrestling match between two exceptional performers. It suffered a bit from a lethargic heat segment but picked up something fierce late, leading to a strong win from Zayn.
Michael Cole and JBL both put over the significance of winning on a live special such as Roadblock, adding credibility to the victory and event as a whole.
Stardust, in particularly, looked outstanding. He has been stuck in so many uneventful squashes and meaningless tag matches that it is easy to forget how outstanding a worker Cody Rhodes is. It was on full display Saturday night in what may prove to be a turning point for him here in 2016.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Triple H
The biggest match of the night took to the ring as Dean Ambrose looked to dethrone Triple H as WWE world heavyweight champion and throw WrestleMania into chaos.
Wily veteran Triple H looked unimpressed as he controlled the pace early, using his strength to shove The Lunatic Fringe away. Dueling chants in support of the champion and challenger filled the arena as the Superstars took to chain-wrestling, Ambrose grabbing a headlock before a knee to the midsection and a shoulder tackle put Ambrose down.
He recovered, though, flooring The Game and even dishing out a subdued crotch chop in defiance of his boss.
As things settled down, Ambrose proved to be quite the cerebral assassin himself, targeting the injured knee and quadriceps of Triple H while JBL put over his plan on commentary. The Game sent his opponent back-first into the steel steps and front suplexed him into the barricade to take control.
The King of Kings worked over his opponent's ribs and back, taking away his core in hopes the rest of Ambrose would crumble along with it.
Triple H's attempted superplex was countered, and Ambrose capitalized on the interruption by fighting back, unloading with a series of punches, chops and kicks in the corner. A running forearm had the champion reeling, and a bulldog nearly resulted in a title change.
The champion's patented knee to the face spot sent Ambrose into the ropes, only for The Lunatic Fringe to explode off with his signature clothesline. Triple H answered with a vicious clothesline of his own.
Action spilled outside, and Triple H ripped apart the announce table. Before he could use it, Ambrose sent Triple H into the stairs. Back inside the ring, Ambrose countered the Pedigree with the Figure Four as Michaels Cole screamed, "He's gonna tap Triple H!"
Ambrose locked in the Sharpshooter, drawing a loud audience ovation. Triple H struggled to make his way to the ropes as Cole questioned what the champion had left in him. Moments later, the challenger delivered Dirty Deeds for three, only to have referee John Cone call off the decision because his feet were under the ropes.
Outside the squared circle, Ambrose unloaded on Triple H, playing on the beating he suffered at the hands of the COO two weeks earlier. Ambrose's flying elbow attempt saw him crash through the table as Triple H rolled out of the way. Ambrose rolled back into the squared circle and was immediately greeted by an ugly Pedigree, and The Game retained the title.
Triple H defeated Dean Ambrose.
This was a brilliant exercise in drama, a match that built slowly with strong psychology, and then exploded with spot after spot designed at keeping fans guessing as to who would leave with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
From the controversial pinfall in which Ambrose scored a three-count over his opponent, to the flying elbow through the table, the performers intricately placed everything to generate the maximum amount of heat. It worked.
Everyone and their mothers knew Triple H was leaving with the title, but he is such an incredible performer, and Ambrose is such a sympathetic and lovable babyface, fans in Toronto and at home believed they may witness history.
The black cloud of Roman Reigns' second consecutive main event appearance at WrestleMania hanging over their heads did not hurt, either.
In the end, though, the predictable outcome occurred, yet it somehow did not hamper what was a spectacular wrestling match.
Interestingly enough, this is the second WWE Match of the Year candidate to include Dean Ambrose at this early point in 2016. With a WrestleMania showdown against Brock Lesnar on the books, expect that number to increase come April 3.