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The logical fallacy of the Roadblock main event

Dean Ambrose and Triple H is a main event Championship match most fans want to see, which is exactly why doing it on the Road to WrestleMania in the current business climate makes no sense.

The result of the Roadblock main event on March 12 is irrelevant to a larger problem, which hits to the center of the long-standing issue with Roman Reigns and the cognitive dissonance required for WWE officials to see him as the guy when every metric seems to point in another direction.

Monday's RAW show in Nashville was largely uneventful, outside of two spectacular McMahon family promos, but the goal of the entire program appeared to be to polish up Dean Ambrose en route to a bout with Triple H in Toronto on the next WWE Network special. Inherently, there's less than nothing wrong with pushing Ambrose and continuing to keep him above much of the midcard fray. He exists outside of that bubble, but not quite at the top of the graph. He's more of a Malcolm Gladwell outlier, or at least that's the hope of much of the hardcore fan base. Consider this quote from that book:

We overlook just how large a role we all play--and by 'we' I mean society--in determining who makes it and who doesn't. - Outliers: The Story of Success

In professional wrestling, outside of a select few, that statement is incorrect, but in pieces I've written in the past, I've pointed to the complete Astroturf of Roman Reigns as his biggest obstacle. The people don't believe they have a say in his ascent up the card and instead see every challenge placed in front of him as another WWE creation, done for the sole purpose of manipulating the audience into a sympathetic response.

Without rehashing those previous articles, Roman Reigns is set to be booed out of Dallas at WrestleMania, and as Geno adeptly pointed out after the injury angle, he missed the one RAW in a town where he might have been cheered. On television the night after Survivor Series, an event which also took place in Nashville, Roman received at least 85 percent cheers. I attended the show. After the cameras cut, he grabbed a microphone and thanked the audience for always being so good to him and in fact intimated that the crowd's reaction on that night was enormous for his position within the WWE Universe.

We cling to the idea that success is a simple function of individual merit and that the world in which we all grow up and the rules we choose to write as a society don't matter at all. - Outliers: The Story of Success

With all of this stated, the question increasingly needs to be asked if anyone within WWE actually understands how to get a performer over for the long term, because the treatment of Reigns - unanimously accepted inside the company as the next standard bearer - should indicate tremendous skepticism from observers in the creative process within Vince's company.

Assess the logic of the Roadblock main event, which will feature the true top babyface in the company (outside of John Cena, but on an acceptance level between the house show marks and those who think they're "in the know," it's Dean Ambrose) and Triple H. The first issue with the match is it completely negates the impact of the Fastlane triple threat. Ambrose lost that match, was the man pinned in that bout, yet he gets a WWE World Heavyweight Championship shot before the man who earned the right to face H at WrestleMania.

Further, the logic of Triple H giving Ambrose a title shot at all, when the general rule would be for an aristocratic, white collar Champion to do all he could to avoid any legitimate threats to his throne. But, let's say you can do whatever you need to do mentally to make that bundle of shakiness okay.

There's a far bigger quandary.

The match most folks want to see right now, if given truth serum or put under interrogation, is Dean Ambrose vs. Triple H. The crowd reaction at the Royal Rumble when it came down to those two is just one example, but it's less that pairing and more the desire for the Lunatic Fringe to be the main eventer. Again, the fans feel they have equity in Ambrose's spot and hopeful rise within WWE to the top of the card.

In their eyes, he's everything Roman Reigns isn't. He's a good promo, even when the material he's given stinks out loud. He's an energetic worker who possesses a palpable, naturally infectious charisma, and his style is radically different than almost anyone else within the company. It's why so many various comparisons exist, from Roddy Piper to Terry Funk to Steve Austin to Brian Pillman. Incidentally, I continue to see much of the "People's Champion" character of 1997 anti-authority Diamond Dallas Page in Ambrose, even down to the blue jeans.

So, with Ambrose firmly cemented as the people's choice and also booked to face Brock Lesnar in what should be an outstanding match in Dallas, what the hell is the thinking behind reminding the fans that Dean could be the WWE Champion? Those who were enraged at the conclusion of Fastlane have largely gotten over it, accepted the Reigns-HHH bout, and moved on to the larger WrestleMania lineup, including an intriguing program between Brock and Dean.

But, on March 12, in a title match - ensuring Ambrose has zero shot likely due to a Lesnar run-in – WWE is providing the main event most vocal fans want. It's a match that will assuredly give them a non-finish or something less than satisfactory. At the end of that night, Dean Ambrose goes back to Brock Lesnar and the company speeds toward its biggest event of the year.

Roadblock is nothing but a WrestleMania advertisement, and it does make sense for Reigns' friend to get a shot at Triple H as part of the build, but this is a special circumstance. At best, Reigns is a Faberge egg. He must be carefully protected, then shined up and placed in a perfect glass display case. Throwing Ambrose back into the title picture - even if just to set the stage for the big show - is dangerous, because yet again the fans will see their guy relegated to bridesmaid status and used as a trinket to elevate the status of the golden goose.

WWE wants Reigns vs. H and they've set it in stone. We know it and some (though not me) are still bothered by it. But, for the company to give the more desirable option as a way to then build to a far less interesting match in Dallas is questionable at best. For Reigns to have any shot with the fans, Dean Ambrose should be as far away from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as conceivably possible. The next time he steps up to that level should be the moment he wins the title, because he's been put in so many meaningless main events for the sole purpose of doing the favors for a more appropriate option (in WWE's eyes), the fans don't buy his viability in the main event.

Virtually no one expects Ambrose to beat Lesnar, as Brock being fattened up on his way to lose to Reigns is the obvious plan. So, Dean will have lost over and over to Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins and the three consecutive pay-per-view (PPV) wins over Kevin Owens don't appear to have mattered all that much. On March 12, he loses, or scores a meaningless disqualification win. At WrestleMania, he loses. Not everyone can win every match and that's not the argument here.

The problem is the Roadblock match as a whole, because it's yet another tease before Lucy pulls the football out as Charlie Brown attempts the kick. Make it non-title and have Reigns help Ambrose win, it would make more sense, but regardless of the stakes, Ambrose being this close to Triple H as the Road to WrestleMania begins winding closer and closer to its destination just reminds the fans of what they won't be getting at Jerryworld.

Think back to the Royal Rumble 2015 reaction and the sheer ignorance of placing Daniel Bryan in that match, only to be thrown out mid-way through. You don't give the fans a popular option before handing them the stale garbage they were already expecting. It's like a TNA "big announcement." Hope can be a treacherous emotion with which to toy. This one will not pay off, so it's an empty campaign promise. It's "Make WWE Great Again."

Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose is a great match down the line, but the audience will see right through it in two weeks and they'll be ticked off it's just a throwaway. It's just another manipulation to draw sympathy to Reigns through his running buddy. Even if that's not the goal, believe me, that's what you'll see on Twitter and all across the Net on March 13.

Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities. - Outliers: The Story of Success

And finally, there's this. Even if the finish doesn't matter to you and WWE mitigates every other issue for you as a fan, that doesn't make this statement any less accurate...

When your set-up WrestleMania advertisement title match will likely have a higher interest level and will generate far more positive feelings than your actual WrestleMania main event title match, it should be a BIT of a concern.

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