By Chuck Carroll
Like most big wrestling events, WWE Roadblock picks are easier to make in some matches than others. WWE has elected to put three championship matches on the card, including for the first time ever a 30-minute Ironman match between two women, for their final pay-per-view of the year. Sasha Banks and Charlotte continue to not only push women’s wrestling forward, but shatter the glass ceiling with every match. Sunday’s match at Roadblock is supposed to be the end of their feud. In some ways, it’s time to move on. In others, it’s a little bit of a shame, because it could be a long while before we see any matches of their caliber again.
But the big question coming into the night is whether WWE will double up the gold on Roman Reigns. Kevin Owens has done a solid job as WWE Universal Champion since taking over for an injured Finn Balor. We’re coming up on the best time of the year for WWE, so although it may seem like an obvious answer on paper, you never know.
Helping me sort it all out as always are my two WWE insiders. If you’re thinking about making a wager, Scott Fishman of the Miami Herald is going to be your guy. He has the hot hand at the moment, having gone a perfect six-for-six picking matches at WWE TLC and taking the overall lead. I correctly picked five of the matches, but still find myself two behind Scott. While Aaron successfully picked four matches, leaving him just one correct pick out of first place.
RAW Women’s Championship – 30-Minute WWE Iron Man Match
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
Scott: I have no doubt Sasha Banks and Charlotte are going to have a great match. I just wish they let this rivalry breathe a bit before jumping into another stipulated bout. I hope WWE keeps the gold around Banks for the simple fact that I don’t want the women’s championship to be the victim of hot potato. I can see Bayley and/or Ric Flair involvement here. PICK: SASHA BANKS
Aaron: This feud has to end here right? I know we said that after Hell in a Cell, but it really has to end with this. Where do you go from here if it doesn’t? For that reason, and that reason only, I’m leaning towards Sasha retaining. The only thing that makes me hesitate is that they’ve pushed the “Charlotte is undefeated in PPVs” bit so strongly lately, that it seems weird to end it here. But I see Sasha retaining, moving on to a program with Nia Jax, and then maybe start to turn heel in Mania season as Bayley starts entering the picture. PICK: SASHA BANKS
Chuck: It’s going to be a shame that this feud is ending. The belt has changed so many times during this program. It’s kind of like watching a tennis match where the ball keeps getting hit back and forth. But since this is the final match of their feud I can’t see the belt changing hands. They need a definitive winner, and Sasha Banks is going to get the nod for that reason. I just wonder whether Ric Flair will get involved. PICK: SASHA BANKS
RAW Tag Team Championship
Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The New Day (c)
Scott: Now that the New Day has made history as the longest-reigning tag team champions, their run is most vulnerable. Sheamus and Cesaro have meshed well together and grown on me. The unlikely duo is a random pairing that has worked, which in the past with similar experiments meant WWE rewards them with gold. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen with Cesaro and Sheamus walking away as the new WWE tag team champions. PICK: SHEAMUS AND CESARO
Aaron: I thought for sure The Club would become #1 contenders at Tribute to the Troops. It would have been so logical for The Club to end the reign, and start a run of their own. Cesaro and Sheamus puts a wrinkle into it, but it also makes some sense. I think WWE feels that they’ve caught a bit of lightning in a bottle with this team. They are entertaining in the ring and, over the past few weeks, their segments have really caught on with the fans. A loss here would stop any momentum cold for them. So for that reason, I’ll have them dethrone The New Day. Who could have seen that coming as we tried to figure out which team would end New Day’s run? PICK: SHEAMUS AND CESARO
Chuck: I’ve been predicting that the belts will come off of the New Day for a while. But now that the record for longest reigning tag team champions has been eclipsed, I think it’s certainly time. Sheamus and Cesaro are kind of like WWE’s version of The Odd Couple. And they are over big time. It’s time for a changing of the guard, and Felix and Oscar, er, Sheamus and Cesaro are your guys. But don’t look for the New Day to go their separate ways. They have a book coming out next year. PICK: SHEAMUS AND CESARO
Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman
Scott: The build for this one has been interesting with Mick Foley being effective in lighting a fire under Sami Zayn. With the 10-minute time limit, I can see the match ending in a draw. Strowman maintains his monster status, and Zayn gains some cred for lasting longer than anyone in a one-on-one encounter with the much bigger opponent. PICK: DRAW
Aaron: This feud has been awkward for a number of reasons. You understand the thought process behind it. It’s a true David and Goliath story. But the problem is that David has been portrayed as basically not cut out to be a wrestler, despite having defeated the WWE Universal champion earlier this year. It’s hard to take someone seriously when their GM doesn’t consider them fit to wrestle. Mick Foley didn’t randomly insert a time-limit into the match for no reason, thus they’ll use it. I just hope that the bell doesn’t save Sami, or it’ll be hard to take him completely seriously going forward. PICK: DRAW
Chuck: There have been a handful of ties in the NFL this season, so why not have a draw in WWE. The 10-minute time limit kind of gives that away, unless the referee or Mick Foley calls for an end to the match at 9:59. I fully expect this will largely be a one-sided affair with Sami Zayn taking a Rocky-style beating but refusing to give up. PICK: DRAW
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Rich Swann (c) vs. TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
Scott: I’m a traditionalist in a sense that I don’t like when titles change hands multiple times over the course of a few weeks. So I’m going with Rich Swann here. I would like to see WWE get behind the charismatic superstar. Plus, his theme is infectious. PICK: RICH SWANN
Aaron: Rich Swann is just about the only person to get a reaction in the Cruiserweight division right now. It’s sad, but true. Luckily, I think 205 Live will help that, as guys like Jack Gallagher are at least creating intrigue, and Gran Metalik should be debuting soon. Until then though, they need to ride the hot hand, and the moment, it’s Rich Swann with that hot hand. PICK: RICH SWANN
Chuck: This is another instance of WWE playing hot potato with the belt. But maybe they don’t really know quite yet how to book the young Cruiserweight Division. It could be a learn as you go experience for the creative staff. My best guess here is that we see another title change. Only for the simple reason that I think there has to be at least one belt change hands on the card. PICK: TJ PERKINS
Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins
Scott: This match has the makings of a show-stealer with Y2J still in the game and Rollins always one to count on to deliver. With the friendship with Kevin Owens imploded, I look for the Universal champion playing a role in the result here. A win adds more momentum for Rollins heading into his eventual match with Triple H. Speaking of Mr. Levesque, can’t rule out an appearance by him as well. We are heading into Royal Rumble season, which means the road to WrestleMania isn’t far behind. PICK: SETH ROLLINS
Aaron: Seth Rollins could easily win this match. But the question becomes where do you go if Seth Rollins wins. I think we all assume that the next feud for Kevin Owens is with Chris Jericho. Sure, you could have Rollins win, have him get distracted by something (Triple H) and Jericho win a #1 contender match. But why not have Jericho win here and make that simple? Plus, he could use a big singles win on a PPV to truly ensure his spot. PICK: Chris Jericho
Chuck: After all these years, Chris Jericho is still at the top of his game. Watching his storyline evolve with Kevin Owens has been the highlight of the RAW brand for the last two months. With their friendship on the rocks and never coming back, it’s possible we see Owens get involved in the match. But I honestly think it’s more likely that Jericho gets involved in the Universal Title match later in the night. As for the winner in this one… PICK: SETH ROLLINS
Big Cass vs. Rusev
Scott: I’ve surprisingly enjoyed the few weeks of development for the match with Enzo and Lana playing important parts. Vince McMahon and WWE are reportedly fans of Cass, so a win over the “Bulgarian Brut” would be the perfect way to be considered a viable contender in the singles ranks in the fans’ eyes. PICK: BIG CASS
Aaron: There are plenty of reasons to think Rusev could win this. He’s due for a win after losing to Roman, presumably Cass isn’t going into the singles division soon and, quite frankly, he’s the babyface in this feud. However, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Rusev has had the upper hand most of this feud, and the face usually ends up winning on the preshow. PICK: BIG CASS
Chuck: From the first time Enzo Amore was out with an injury, WWE made clear that Big Cass has a future as a singles competitor. He’s got a ton of momentum heading into this one, and a loss isn’t going to hurt Rusev. He’s going to be over as a heel no matter what as long as his real-life bride is with him. Since Lana isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, my money is on Cass. PICK: BIG CASS
WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens (c)
Scott: I don’t see Roman Reigns winning the Universal championship, even though the “Make Roman Look Strong” remains evident. By what happened on RAW leading up to the show, we are on the verge of a Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens showdown. I wouldn’t rule out some shenanigans with Jericho though. PICK: KEVIN OWENS
Aaron: You know that some in the WWE would love to put the belt on Roman Reigns right now. They saw how people reacted to Conor McGregor becoming a double-champ, and they want to recreate that in WWE. But now is not the time. There are so many places still to go with Kevin Owens, especially with Chris Jericho, and while they don’t absolutely need the title for it, the title makes it so much better. Owens having to win on his own can only be good for him, as people have had some complaints about that aspect of his run. Let him win cleanly for a few months before losing the belt. PICK: KEVIN OWENS
Chuck: I’m actually torn on this one. I can honestly see Chris Jericho costing KO the belt here. But wouldn’t that be detrimental to Roman Reigns who is only now just starting to get a warmer reception from the WWE Universe? A win may seem like he’s being shoved down the audience’s throat once again, and that’s not what’s best for business. Certainly, there has to be a way for Jericho to still get involved without the title changing hands. PICK: KEVIN OWENS
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.