The Road to Wrestlemania, Episode Sixteen

This is the sixteenth episode in a series, retelling the Road to Wrestlemania 2016. This episode covers Thursday Night Smackdown, originally televised on March 10, 2016.

Before the episode, two more matches for Roadblock are announced. Building on the theme, four wildcard NXT wrestlers get a chance to enter the Andre the Giant Battle Royal.

At the start of the show, footage of the attack on Dean Ambrose and Jack Swagger is shown. It includes the aftermath, during which Bo Dallas is clearly seen with the Social Outcasts watching over Jack Swagger as he is stretchered out…

Match #1: Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks

The opening match of the night is the rematch between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks for the #1 Contender spot. With the first match ending in a draw, Charlotte and Ric Flair come down to commentary to watch events unfold.

As the two wrestlers trade punches and attempted submission holds, the action rolls out to ringside. Charlotte remains seated at commentary, but her father bounces around the action, just out of arms reach as the Lynch and Banks struggle for control. Mocking, taunting, until an attempted clothesline by each wrestler leaves them both on the ground.

Ric Flair laughs at this, standing over them gloating. Until they get to their feet, and turn their attention on him…

… which ensures their backs are to Charlotte, who rises from commentary and attacks them both from behind, ending the match in a double disqualification.

Charlotte continues to attack Banks and Lynch until the referees force her away, leaving her to strut away holding her title high.

Exactly the same match as the televised version, this match finalises the scenario that will lead to a triple threat match at Wrestlemania. Ric Flair’s constant involvement in Charlotte’s affairs continues to cause her problems, and now she will see those problems come home to roost.

Match #2: AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens

In the rematch from Monday Night Raw, Kevin Owens comes to the ring more focused and determined than he has been in weeks. The bell barely rings before Owens rushes Styles, pummelling him down with a concerted, methodical, dominant attack.

Styles’ veteran instincts allow him to turn the attack around briefly, but Owens’ near obliviousness to the rules prevents him getting any momentum going.

A deft move allows Styles to avoid a Cannonball, a brief respite, long enough to drive Owens back and then to connect with a Pele Kick when Owens tries to counter.

A couple of moves later, and Styles climbes out onto the apron, looking for a Phenomenal Forearm. But Owens pulls the ref towards Styles as he gets up, and uses the distraction to hit him with a super kick. After that, Styles is dragged back into the ring and one Pop Up Powerbomb later, KO has the win.

As soon as the match is over, and KO has his title, he decides it wasn’t enough, and lays into Styles, hitting him with a second super kick and Pop Up Powerbomb. He then drags him to the floor, and sets him up for a powerbomb on the apron.

But before he can, Sami Zayn returns, charging to the ring to attack his former best friend. The two wrestlers go toe to toe, throwing punch after punch before Zayn chases Owens back into the ring. The Prizefighter catches Zayn with a clothesline when he tries to follow him, and sets him up for what appears to be a Package Piledriver.

Only for AJ Styles to return to the ring with a Phenomenal Forearm.

Owens scrambles from the ring to the floor, and the show goes to a break with Owens glaring up at Styles and Sayn, shaken but still standing in the ring, the Intercontinental Championship belt at their feet.

Owens picks up the victory, but his path to retaining the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania just got a lot murkier, with AJ Styles breaking his winning streak, and the return of his old foe Sami Zayn. Now who will face #KOMania?

Dean Ambrose, drinking a beer and nursing a sore head, rants quietly at a bar to whoever will listen about what he plans to do to Brock Lesnar and The Game.

He is interrupted by Terry Funk, who sees in Ambrose a kindred spirit.

As such, he wants to give Dean something to help him in the coming battle: his famed chainsaw.

Ambrose geeks out as Funk leaves, and even tests out the chainsaw a couple of times on the bar table. He stops though, when he glances up and sees someone out of shot.

“What?”

The camera pans, and Shane McMahon is standing there with two drinks, eyebrow raised.

“Bit much, maybe?”

Dean disappointedly looks at the chainsaw, then drops it on the table. Shane passes him a drink.

“I’m keeping the baseball bat.”

Shane raises his free hand. “Did I say anything about that?”

Once again, this is basically the exact same promo as the televised Ambrose/Funk version, with one addition: Shane McMahon. The only real issue with this promo (and the Mick Foley one) was that there was never a scenario where Ambrose would be able to use the chainsaw. Not in this era. And because of that, the promo fell flat and was largely pointless. But now, with the addition of Shane McMahon to ensure everyone understands it won’t actually be used, the chainsaw can have a presence without undermining Ambrose or the build up to the story. Terry Funk giving him the chainsaw makes sense. Shane McMahon telling Ambrose it might be a bit much makes sense. And on top o fthat, it adds a level of intrigue: Why was Ambrose drinking with Shane in a pub?

Match #3: The Ascension vs Enzo and Cass

Looking to gain some momentum before their match at WWE Roadblock, Enzo and Cass take on the revitalised Ascension. The Realest Guys in the Room attempt to get a quick victory over their former adversaries. But The Ascension are fast returning to the title picture, and aren’t about to let Enzo and Cass off easy. In fact, a fast tag and a boot to Cass’ jaw sets Enzo up for the Fall of Man, but Cass scrambles back into the ring to cut them off, and for a moment, Enzo and Cass find themselves back to back, facing Viktor and Konnor.

Blackout.

The lights come back and The Ascension are gone. The Wyatt Family stands in their place. The Wyatts rush them, though Wyatt watches, disinterested. Instead, he turns to the crowd, microphone in hand, and leads a small prayer, declaring the people to be sheep ruled by words and false prophets, and that the sun would burn it all away.

Behind him, Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan hold Cass in place while Luke Harper demolishes Enzo. After a Discus Clothesline, Harper steps back from Enzo, while the others let go of Cass. He rushes to his partner’s side, waiting for the next attack, but Wyatt finishes his speech, places the mic on the mat, and the Wyatts depart, leaving Cass nursing his partner in the ring.

After weeks without using it, the Wyatts’ blackout entrance is, while perhaps not shocking, not quite expected. While this attack is similar to their others over the last few weeks, there is one point to note: Bray does not take part. This is because he is injured in real life at this moment, and unable to wrestle (hence his lack of involvement in the televised Roadblock). However the promo he delivers instead covers this up as dismissive of Enzo and Cass, and a lack of interest in their challenge.

Stephanie is seen marching through the halls, looking like she is ready to set everyone on fire. Renee Young tries to stick a mic in front of her, asking questions about how things are going. Stephanie shoves past her, almost knocking her over. Wrestlers scramble to get out of her way. She rounds the corner, and comes face to face with a gloating Charlotte, still enjoying her attack on Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.

Stephanie unloads her frustration and anger about the finishes of every match so far, and blames Charlotte for starting it all.

Charlotte smirks, which only enrages Stephanie further. Stephanie snaps at her, saying that if she won’t let Banks and Lynch fight it out to be #1 Contender, then they’ll both get a shot.

“The Women’s Championship Match will now be a Triple Threat Match.”

The crowd roars. Ric Flair curses. Charlotte’s eyes darken, but she tightens her grip on the title. “It doesn’t matter. When all is said and done, I’ll still be the champion after Wrestlemania.”

“Well good luck at Roadblock,” Stephanie smirks.

“What?!”

“You screwed up my whole show. Wrestlemania isn’t your punishment for that. I’m making a new main event tonight. Natalya is going to take on Paige.”

“No.”

“And the winner? Gets a shot at that title of yours at Roadblock.”

Now we have some real repercussions for all the DQ finishes of late. A new main event added to the card, a Women’s Championship match at Roadblock, and the Triple Threat announcement has some real drive behind it now. And there is still one spot on the Roadblock card available…

Match #4: The League of Nations vs The Social Outcasts

The League of Nations comes to the ring to gloat before their match, after successfully beating down on The Social Outcasts in the previous episodes.

Sheamus begins ranting about how they are all former champions, how the Outcasts are nothing but classless scum. Poor needy people.

Bo Dallas comes out with the Outcasts and walks slowly to the ring. He preaches that they were Social Outcasts because they accepted everyone that believed in themselves. All four wrestlers in the ring received opportunities from the WWE, and squandered them. The Outcasts would not waste talent and opportunity.

“You think you’re better than us because you got chances we didn’t. So let’s see how you do looking us in the face.”

The Outcasts charge the ring, and despite the referees best attempts to organise or separate them, the eight men brawl in and outside the ring, tearing it apart as wrestlers are thrown into the commentary teams and out to the ring floor.

The locker room empties as Stephanie storms out screaming into a mic about how the show is going to hell, and how they are ruining everything.

When the two groups have finally been separated, Stephanie all but shouts into the microphone that she was just about ready to fire someone. “So you all want to fight? Fine. Pick someone to fight at Roadblock. Winner’s team gets to choose who from the other team gets fired.”

Mic drop.

Stephanie is desperate to regain control, but this is something else. Now, the Social Outcasts and League of Nations will be fighting for somebody’s career. Someone is getting fired…

Match #5: Natalya vs Paige

The new main event, a surprise #1 Contender match for Roadblock, has the potential to throw the entire Women’s division for a loop. Natalya and Paige, recent allies in their fight against Naomi and Tamina, find themselves competing for a shot at Charlotte’s championship, and a place in the Wrestlemania Triple Threat Match.

With their recent shared history, the two wrestlers are comfortable enough with their opponent that any early attempt at submission is quickly reversed. Natalya attempts to overpower Paige, switching tactics only when she knows Paige is not expecting a technical move.

Paige meanwhile defends everything Natalya throws at her, countering attacks and reversing holds, giving Natalya no openings to work with.

With the match reaching its climax, Natalya and Paige fight at the top of the turnbuckle. As the referee attempts to get them down, Emma slides into the ring from the crowd in civilian clothes. She dropkicks the referee in the back, sending him crashing into Paige. Paige slumps forward, while Natalya is sent crashing to the floor.

With the referee out of commission, Emma takes advantage of Paige’s precarious position to slip underneath, lift her up off the turnbuckle, and hits a bone-crunching Sit Out Powerbomb.

Her work done, she rolls from the ring, tossing Natalya back in. The Queen of Harts, still recovering from her fall, is confused, but seeing Paige down and the referee stirring, drags herself up to lock in the Sharpshooter.

Paige, disoriented, cries out, tapping almost immediately, drawing the attention of the referee, who calls for the bell.

Dazed, Natalya stumbles out of the ring. The referee goes after her to raise her hand, leaving Paige in the ring.

Emma saunters back in, mic in hand. She looks down at her fallen adversary. Crouches, grins, and says “Did you miss me?” Then she drops the mic, pulls Paige to her feet, and hits her with a RamPaige, before twisting her into the Emma-Loc.

It takes three referees to break the hold.

Emma’s return reveals another piece of the Road to Wrestlemania, and, while granting Natalya a title shot, may have cost her a partner in her battles with Naomi and Tamina.

Summary

A surprise return from Emma, sneak attacks galore, and an owner that is losing control of her roster. With the Road to Wrestlemania picking up pace, the storylines are coming to a head, and its almost time for the card to be set.

In the next episode, WWE Roadblock takes place. With a Women’s Championship match, two #1 Contender Matches, a Somebody is Getting Fired Match, and a Street Fight, Roadblock finally feels like a real Pay Per View…

Let me know what you think in the comments down below.

Episode Card
Original Schedule Revised Schedule
MizTV Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks
Sami Zayn and Neville def. Kevin Owens and The Miz Kevin Owens def. AJ Styles
Golden Truth Promo Dean Ambrose Promo
Brie Bella def. Summer Rae Enzo and Cass def. The Ascension by DQ
Y2AJ Promo Women’s Championship Promo
The League of Nations def. The Lucha Dragons The League of Nations vs The Social Outcasts
Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, and The Usos def. The Wyatt Family Natalya def. Paige