Last week, WWE Superstar and one third of The New Day, Big E (Langston) –real name Ettore Ewen– tweeted out the above photo with the hashtag Black Excellence. The photo featured The New Day, Sasha Banks, and Rich Swann all holding their respective WWE championships. Most people reacted normally and took it as Superstars being proud of their titles, but some decided that it was racist, stating that a “White Excellence” post would have caused nothing but anger and outrage.
New Day’s own Kofi Kingston –real name Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah– responded to the criticism with the following statement on his own Twitter account:
“While much of the feedback has been positive, there has also been a lot of negative response with regard to the picture we posted illustrating Rich, Sasha, Xavier, E, and myself wielding our championship titles. Perhaps this is because many are in question of the motivation behind the post. It does not come from a place of malice, spite, or gloating. It comes from a place of joy and a place of happiness. We have a very strong sense of pride in being the Black People simultaneously holding championships in WWE. Historically in our nation, there was period in time where this would not have happened, followed by a long period of time where it became possible, but had not actually materialized. Now, we are in the time in which the possibility has become a reality.
Why does this matter? It matters because even though it is hard for some to fathom, the fact is that there are many people who feel as though it is impossible to attain certain goals because of the color of their skin. This is why we must acknowledge the color of ours in this instance. It is important for people of all races, but particularly people of color, and especially the youth, to see that it is entirely possible to achieve your dreams and aspirations regardless of your race. We are a shining example who want to be a source of motivation for others to believe in themselves and do the same.
Excellence is not the same as supremacy. #BlackExcellence is not meant to be divisive. For even if you do not fall into the specific category, you can still take enjoyment in our pride, because in the biggest picture, in a society that often focuses on the negative aspects of race relations, what has transpired with the 5 of us speaks positively to the progress we’ve made as a nation.”
Perhaps his words angered someone backstage because this past Sunday at RAW’s pay-per-view Roadblock: End Of The Line, New Day lost their titles, Sasha Banks was dethroned, and while Rich Swann retained, he was attacked by Neville after his match. Black Excellence was destroyed in just a couple of hours. There is no proof that any of the actions on Sunday were in retaliation to the Black Excellence post, but it does seem strange for New Day to drop their titles so soon after breaking the reign record, for Sasha to tap when she only had to last two more seconds, and for Neville to return as a heel. Was this just several bad booking decisions or did WWE have some other ulterior, albeit racially charged, motive behind the events? We will probably never know, but it should be noted that WWE and Vince McMahon have a long documented history of racism and discrimination within the company, on-air talent, and booking angles.
Looking back at Sunday’s show, you’d be hard pressed to say that race and pride didn’t play a least some small factor in how the pay-per-view was booked. Anyone who has watched WWE for years can tell you that racist events and actions have taken place in the past, leading up until now and still continue well into the current product. What do you think? Mere coincidence or did the young black talent on WWE’s roster suffer from more sinister sabotage? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The first Roadblock PPV was just last year in Canada, featuring eleven matches total, with the main event of Triple H vs Dean Ambrose, where Triple H retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This year, it has been rebranded as a Raw exclusive PPV and renamed Roadblock: End Of The Line. It will take place in Pittsburg, PA at the PPG Paints Arena. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions.
Big Cass vs Rusev – Preshow Singles Match
This feud all started when Lana accidentally saw Enzo Amore’s twig and berries while he was locked out of the locker room. Rusev caught Enzo attempting to hit on Lana, which resulted in Lana pretending to leave Rusev so she could lure Enzo to her hotel room where her husband beat the living daylights out of him. Cass isn’t one to let things slide when it comes to his best friend and tag partner, so he now has it out for Rusev. I’m glad it was a ruse and WWE wasn’t honestly trying to make a mockery of a real life marriage, plus it eased us into an easy feud. I don’t believe either of these men belong on the preshow, but let’s hope they give us a good match.
F2H Prediction: Rusev
Rich Swann (c) vs T.J. Perkins vs Brian Kendrick – Triple Threat Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The Cruiserweight Division is still struggling to find its place on Raw, and it doesn’t help that they now have their own show after Smackdown on the Network; that’s just too much wrestling to pack into one night. T.J. Perkins was a great pick as our inaugural champion and had a good run before losing the title to Brian Kendrick. Our resident pirate then lost his title on 205 Live, exclusively on the Network, to Rich Swann. Swann is an incredibly charismatic guy and a fantastic wrestler, so he will bring a lot of prestige and interest to the Cruiserweight division.
F2H Prediction: Rich Swann
Seth Rollins vs Chris Jericho – Singles Match
Kevin Owens saved Jericho from a Pedigree on the go home episode of Raw, so the friendship is back on… I think? Rocky, but they definitely will have each other’s backs. This doesn’t sit well for Rollins, who has been trying his best to get back on top of the Raw brand where he belongs. Rollins wants Owens’ title, but Jericho has been blocking him at every turn, so now they have their own issues to squash before Rollins can move on. If Owens interferes, I want it to happen after we get a clean win. Owens can beat the hell out of Rollins if he wants, but not until the bell has rung.
F2H Prediction: Seth Rollins
The New Day (c) vs Sheamus & Cesaro – Tag Team Match for the Raw Tag Team Titles
At the WWE Tribute To The Troops, Cesaro and Sheamus won a Fatal 4 Way match, beating Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, The Shining Stars, and The Golden Truth to earn a chance to challenge New Day for their titles. The New Day are now the longest reigning tag team champions in WWE history, which is huge. At this point, their titles are fair game. They broke the record, made history, and can now give up the titles without really losing. Cesaro and Sheamus are such an odd couple, but they are both fantastic athletes and ended up teaming well together, eventually. It’ll be interesting to see if they are able to keep it together and capture those titles.
F2H Prediction: New Day
Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman – Singles Match with a 10 Minute Time Limit
Braun Strowman has been crushing everybody in his path, but he did manage to make time to make James Ellsworth famous and get him a WWE contract, so he’s not all bad. Mick Foley has stopped matches between these two because Zayn is so outgunned, which is where the time limit comes into play. Granted, Strowman can probably end the match in 60 seconds, so perhaps 10 minutes is being a bit generous. Zayn is a great competitor, but I feel that WWE is still working on building Strowman into an unstoppable monster, and he needs to keep that going for a little while longer.
F2H Prediction: Braun Strowman
Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – 30 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
These women are just taking it to the extreme more and more, and it’s going to get to the point that someone gets seriously injured if they aren’t careful. I’m glad they keep trying to top themselves, but I’m more worried about their health and possible long absences due to injury (miss you, Finn Balor). Their cage match left a lot to be desired, thanks to a drawn out “injury” that nearly kept Banks from competing, but they made up for it during their next match where Banks tangled Charlotte in the stadium railing to lock in the Banks Statement and force a tap. We’ve already seen Banks compete in an Iron Man match on NXT, so I’m expecting main event material here.
F2H Prediction: Sasha Banks
Kevin Owens (c) vs Roman Reigns – Singles Match for the WWE Universal Championship
I’m so annoyed with this match. I hate it. Why does Roman Reigns, a guy already holding a title, get a title match on this PPV? I hate it. Have I mentioned that I’m not too fond of this main event? I hope Chris Jericho interferes in every shady way possible without causing a disqualification. I hope Owens beats his ass into the mat, and then powerbombs him into the apron a few dozen times. I hope Reigns can’t walk by the end of this match. Listen, I used to be a fan of Reigns, believe it or not. I just can’t buy into this fist-cocking, show-boating nonsense he insists on doing. I don’t want another John Cena. Give me quiet, brooding Roman Reigns back and I’ll be on board.
F2H Prediction: Kevin Owens
Roadblock: End Of The Line will begin at 8pm EST, with the preshow starting at 7pm, exclusively on the WWE Network. Unfortunately for fans, Lita will not be present, as new reports have stated that she has left the company. Jerry Lawler has also been removed from on air events. Live tweet with @FaceToHeel and writers @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener, and be on the lookout for our next giveaway!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
WWE Roadblock premiered tonight on the WWE Network. No, not The Roadblock, Joe D’Acquisto, from WCW. We’re talking about WWE’s newly christened Saturday pay-per-view. This review will not be kind, because this so called pay-per-view wasn’t anything special and was mainly a glorified SmackDown episode.
The show kicked off with The New Day coming to the ring to cut a really forced, unfunny segment about Booty-O’s cereal. Why WWE chose to kick off the show in such a manner is beyond me. Wade Barrett and Sheamus come out to battle for the Tag Team Championship gold. It was nice to see Barrett back in competitive action, but the match was fairly stale. New Day retained with some interference from Xavier Woods. Not much to be said on this one except that New Day retaining is a smart decision. Until The Golden Truth is legitimized as a real tag team and Enzo and Cass come up to the main roster, the tag titles are on the right team.
Immediately after that short match, Paul Heyman cuts a backstage promo that really only served to hype up the crowd. It seemed like an advertisement to sell the show we were already watching, all bracketed around saying Brock Lesnar’s name a bunch. Heyman got the crowd fired up, but didn’t really give us anything new.
Y2J, aka Chris Jericho, aka a Canadian hero in his own town, comes out and insults everybody, including his native country. Another talking segment. That makes three promos and only two matches about forty minutes in. Y2J comes across as not really a good heel, but just giving off a real Donald Trump vibe. It’s awkward and the crowd seems a little confused. Jack Swagger interrupts. They put on a good match, with Michael Cole, dare I say, actually selling the play-by-play beautifully. Perhaps he has been feeling the pressure from Mauro Ranallo? In a surprise move, Y2J makes Swagger tap out. So in the same week, Jericho, a part-timer, takes out AJ Styles and then pins Jack Swagger in his return debut? Terrible booking from WWE, even if Jericho is about to go on hiatus for his shitty band again.
And what’s more… WWE booked a Canadian hero to be the heel in a match against an American babyface while in Canada. Very, very confusing. NXT was up next. Dash and Dawson, the NXT Tag Team Champions, took on Enzo Amore and Big Cass. This was extremely exciting as it introduced Enzo and Cass to the main roster fans. Rumor has it they’ll move up to Raw and Smackdown in the near future. Really great match that showed the gaping holes in the main roster tag division. Dash and Dawson, or The Revival as their known, retain. Good outing for these four. Crowd was really into it. Best thing to happen thus far in the evening.
Natalya takes on Charlotte for the Divas Championship, in what was basically a Canadian fanboy match. As female wrestling goes, it was really good. But Nattie lost, as was expected. Not sure what the point of this match was except to let Natalya, the Canadian face, take a loss in front of her home crowd. I guess Vince still hates Canada.
Next up is Brock Lesnar vs….. Luke Harper? Bray comes out without his usual lantern but instead he’s holding a microphone. (More promos? Yes. More promos.) Wyatt verbal dissects Lesnar. His music hits, crowd goes wild. You know the deal. Lesnar destroys Harper, gaining a pinfall victory after hitting an F5. Bray Wyatt spends most of the time standing on the ramp. 90 minutes into this waste of time, and we’re still not sure what the point of all this is. This match was meaningless and amounted to nothing in terms of story. It was supposed to be the comeuppance of Bray Wyatt and he didn’t even wrestle. Brilliant.
Sami Zayn’s music hits, crowd goes ape shit for the Canadian hero. As far as the night’s going, things don’t bode well for this NXT allstar. Fresh back from his injury, Zayn takes on…. Stardust??? What in the holy hell is going on? This has been one of the most bizarre matchcards in recent memory. Is WWE trying to get everyone to turn off the Network? Sami wrestles a little soft, and appears winded at times. Sami Zayn gets the pinfall victory. There is no Kevin Owens run-in during this match and it was pretty much a snoozefest.
Triple H’s music hits. The heel champion comes out first. What’s up with this booking tonight? So many poor decisions being made. Fairly mediocre match as far as World Championships go. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds and picks of a pinfall victory! But the ref restarts the match because Ambrose had his feet under the ropes. This match shows that HHH still clearly has the it factor. Ambrose is still shaky when it comes to telling a story in the ring (ie: the in-ring psychology) in my opinion. Crowd starts an unwarranted “THIS IS AWESOME” chant. This match was anything but that if we’re judging it fairly. Definitely not one of HHH’s best. Ambrose pulls out a Figure Four, a Sharpshooter, and puts himself through the announce table. HHH tries to get a count-out victory, but Ambrose rolls in. He takes a Pedigree and HHH retains. This sets up HHH vs Reigns at WrestleMania.
Face To Heel’s advice on this “Network Speacial”? Can it, erase it, cancel it for next year. Wipe it off the Network completely. It was as pointless as Fastlane. All we need is Royal Rumble then WrestleMania. Nothing in between is needed. Everything that transpired tonight could have just been slowly put out on Raw the next few weeks. If you are reading this article prior to going in to watch Roadblock for the first time, I strongly advise you just skip it. They’ll show the highlights five times during Raw in a couple days. Let us know what you thought if you ended up watching the whole thing in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker