At the tail end of 2015, it was announced that a brand new special live event would air on the WWE Network between Fastlane and WrestleMania 32. At first, it seemed like it could be just a glorified house show similar to The Beast in the East special half a year prior, but as time went on, it would eventually become a bona fide legitimate pay-per-view event…with one caveat: that particular event never actually happened.
Originally, this show was referred to as March to WrestleMania: Live from Toronto. Typically when WWE first starts to promote a brand new event of some kind, they use an incredibly generic placeholder logo of simple white text in a standardized baseline font that they soon replace and then further tweak until they get something more on par with what what we’ve come to expect at this point. However, this was a fairly finalized logo design, albeit a simple one, sporting a traditional Canadian maple leaf and brandishing the regular WrestleMania text proudly.
Matches were announced for it and it appeared on the website without being hidden, so it seemed like all systems were go, until out of the blue, WWE released a change to the lineup by saying Triple H and Dean Ambrose would clash not at March to Wrestlemania, but Roadblock instead.
Soon enough, all of the maple leaf logos were replaced with caution signs and traffic signals and it was hard to argue that it wasn’t an improvement. Sometimes, a name change comes out of necessity or being a spinoff, such as Vengeance: Night of Champions becoming two events which eventually reverted back to the old Clash of Champions. Other times, WWE opts to change a pay-per-view’s title and it is a turn for the worse, like No Way Out becoming much more simplistic by just using the name Elimination Chamber.
This was a scenario where they ditched one of the puns (March to WrestleMania taking place in March, heading to WrestleMania—about as obvious as one could get) with another one (the Road to WrestleMania hitting a Roadblock). For a guy like myself who appreciates a nice turn of phrase, I loved the idea that Fastlane runs into a Roadblock on the Road to WrestleMania and the title seemed worthy of being a WWE pay-per-view that could become a staple of the calendar year similar to SummerSlam.
Oddly enough, though, this wouldn’t be the only Roadblock we would have in 2016, as WWE decided to bring that title back once more in December for a Raw-exclusive event, which made no sense whatsoever, especially considering how many previous names were still at their disposal (Vengeance, Unforgiven, Judgment Day, Breaking Point and so forth).
Now with the brand split, the Elimination Chamber event made its return, taking up the other spot next to Fastlane and pushing Roadblock out of the way. We may not see Roadblock return in 2017 or it might just appear further later down the line, but it is a curious case indeed.
Why would WWE create this “March to WrestleMania” only to replace it with “Roadblock” only to have a second Roadblock later in the year at a time where it had no reference to that spot in the pay-per-view lineup? We’re talking about the same time frame that would normally include the Slammy Awards, which still have not yet happened either.
What was going on in December 2016 and for that matter, what made them decide March to WrestleMania wasn’t good enough despite it getting far enough along the pipeline for logos to be made up and matches to be announced? If Roadblock can show up twice in a year, why hasn’t WWE tried to revive March to WrestleMania in 2017?
Of course, we don’t really know the answers behind those questions, but we can surmise that the title was changed because it was too generic. It doesn’t have any edge to it and it lacks the punch that other shows hit you with.
As far as the secondary Roadblock, my guess is when WWE started planning for 2017 and realized the Elimination Chamber would need to happen in February, they decided to shift Roadblock to a later spot on the calendar. The decision to have another event in December was probably rather last minute. Rather than rush the graphic design material and trust that fans would get hyped for an entirely new event that they aren’t used to and wouldn’t have much promotional material to get behind, it’s a lot easier to just take your assets from something else that you can shift into the spot. We don’t have a fully announced schedule for the rest of 2017, but unless they’ve nixed the Roadblock name entirely, it can be assumed its home is now later on in the year. Just recently, Backlash was moved from its previous September position to post-WrestleMania on May 21st, and there are nine events to be announced in the future with only Battleground, Clash of Champions, No Mercy, Hell in a Cell, TLC and Roadblock being potential carryovers from last year.
But on the subject of bringing things back, why not try to do something with the March to WrestleMania name?
Obviously, the title limits it to one specific section of the year as it would make no sense for it to pop up in mid-July, and it’s doubtful Fastlane and Elimination Chamber would move out of the way for something that got bumped from its premiere.
With that being said, I still think there’s some potential to have some fun with the concept if WWE wants to bring it back either in the next few weeks (doubtful) or 2018 (more likely, but still probably not on the table).
Live Event Tour – The simplest option would be to change the current “WWE Live Road to WrestleMania Tour” to “WWE Live March to WrestleMania Tour”. It’s nothing that would really make much of a difference, as it’s doubtful people will suddenly start buying more tickets to those shows just because it says March instead of Road, but since the phrase “Road to WrestleMania” is somewhat overused as it is, I wouldn’t mind seeing this slight alteration just to spice things up a bit, even if that spice is more on par with tasteless parsley than some cayenne pepper.
Tribute to the Troops – When I think of the word “march” beyond the month, I think of the men and women in the military forming a line and quite literally marching. As it stands right now, the end of the year Tribute to the Troops is the only show dedicated specifically to those who serve in our armed forces. It isn’t a necessity to add a second one, but with WrestleMania being the most exciting time of the year for the professional wrestling season, why not throw a little something together here as well and do a special live event at an army base or something?