No Mercy was Smackdown’s second brand exclusive PPV. Their first Backlash was a pretty decent show. Beating all expectations and sending a lot of people home happy. It’s actually the wrestling event that got me interested in the product once more.
Did No Mercy live up to Backlash? Yes and no really, mostly no. Don’t get me wrong in thinking it was a bad show though. It was enjoyable, with the WWE and Intercontinental title matches were the highlights. I’m starting to worry though that with these specials coming every other week that the fans will get burnt out rather quickly though. No Mercy, much like Clash of Champions before it just felt like a glorified version of Smackdown or Raw.
WWE Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena
The PPV kicks off with the World Title match! Normally I’d sh*t all over this, but it’s Presidential debate night so I completely understand the logic. Get those fans tuning in and hope they stay tuned it. It also means, that John Cena (who came out first) is the curtain opener for the first time in…well, a long time!
Mauro Ranallo makes the great point of kicking off the show with the main event and unlike previous world title match openers, it actually feels like it too. After the three competitors come out we get a fantastic promo video package to set the table. WWE have done a great job in making AJ Styles shine. He actually feels like a huge deal in the WWE. When he first joined, I thought they’d keep him hidden in the midcard but no less than a year into his run and he’s the world champ! Love it, even though he’s the heel he’s got a lot of crowd support too. Chants of “Let’s go Cena/AJ Styles” ring out at the start, poor Dean Ambrose…
It’s an incredibly quick paced start. All three men go looking for their finishers, but can’t hit them. It quickly brawls to the outside with Styles eventually getting the better of the opening exchanges with a phenomenal forearm to the outside to John Cena.
It’s a really good match, a fantastic opener. It’s got to be said though that due to Dean’s ‘offence’ he really does look like the weak link here. He’s punches are meh, his wacky line through the ropes clotheslines always looks stupid. His jump onto the second rope of one corner clothesline into the other corner looks daft…AJ Styles and John Cena (that’s right I said it) are in a league above.
Towards the end of the match there’s a huge false finish in which both Cena and Ambrose have Styles in submissions at the same time, AJ tapes out. Despite the fact that the ref initially calls for the bell, he then rules the match must continue as it’s not a clear finish. Why ring the bell in the first place then dummy?
AJ eventually brings in a chair and takes out Cena to pin him for the THIRD time this year. It’s not clean, but that’s incredible! Styles retains, much to my delight.
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
For some reason just before this women’s match, we got a promo for Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt. Then after both entrances we get another promo video, this time for the actual match. I’m assuming that was a mistake? If it wasn’t, it didn’t make any sense!
The opening few minutes of this match are all Carmella, she flat out dominates. The crowd don’t seem to into anything about this unfortunately. I hate to say it but this really does have shades of old ‘divas’ matches, rather than the new women’s style.
I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe the reason why the crowd weren’t 100% behind this match was because they just saw the main event of the evening moments before?
It’s not a bad match, but it ends very abruptly when Nikki hits her new finisher somewhat out of nowhere to pick up the victory. It’s a shame WWE didn’t have Carmella win, it would have been a chance to make her look really good.
Smackdown Tag Titles: Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) vs. The Usos
It’s got to be said, new Usos are so much better than old Usos. They actually have some intensity and some character, as well as some sweet new clothes. I still can’t tell the apart though. The team of Heath Slater and Rhyno are a lot of fun too, Slater has always been entertaining when given a chance. I met him in a bar in San Jose with Curtis Axel just before Wrestlemania 31, top guy.
It amuses me that despite the Rhyno quite clearly being the bigger threat, Heath Slater is still the man who gets the hot tags into save the day. It’s a nice role reversal and seeing Heath Slater running wild is ridiculous, in a good way!
I can’t believe it though! Slater and Rhyno won! Rhyno runs wild towards the end of the match and hits a huge gore to pick up the victory. I was sure The Usos were going over to continue their feud with American Alpha. Amazing result.
Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin
It’s always fun when a feud is built over a refereeing mistake. Noway in a month of Sundays did Corbin tap out during their match on Smackdown. Fire that referee. The fact that even the commentators can’t decide makes it even more laughable. Have they never seen a match before? Of course David Otunga is the one who thinks he tapped as well, freaking idiot.
Also, sorry why the hell is Corbin still introduced as the winner of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal? That was so long ago and doesn’t count for anything anyway!
We’re only a few minutes into the match before you hear the faint chants of “boring” chants. Unfortunately I have to agree. Swagger hasn’t been relevant in years and Corbin hasn’t been important since the night after Wrestlemania. You can’t put two men people don’t care about into a feud and have it work very often.
Corbin injures Swaggers hand in the early moments using the steel steps. Jack takes turns deciding on if he’s going to sell it or not. At one point he can’t lock in the ankle lock because of it, but can later. The match ends with a thumb to the eye and an End Of Days for a Baron Corbin win. It was alright I guess, should have stayed on the pre-show really.
IC Title vs. Career: The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
There is an amazing promo package showing off this feud, one of the best WWE have done in a while. It’s so good, I’ll even forgive The Miz coming out first despite being champion. I suppose with the stipulation of if Dolph lost it makes sense, one final hurrah. This is the sort of feud we live to see in the WWE. It’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s exciting. You don’t see it enough these days, but when you do. It’s great.
Ziggler spends a life time in the figure four leglock, literally centimetres from the rope. He slams his hands down to the mat several times, clearly tapping out! Well based on the Corbin/Swagger match at least, this is why continuity is important WWE.
The Miz takes the turnbuckle padding off, pushes Ziggler into it and hits a big (yet messy) slingshot sit down power bomb. Ziggler kicked out! A Zig Zag moments later has the crowd on their feet. Maryse tries to blind Dolph with that spray to the eyes again, but he gets his foot on the bottom rope. The crowd pops again! Excellent stuff.
The flipping Spirit Squad to come out and distract Ziggler, a second Skull Crushing Finale and Doplh kicks out again! He won’t stay down. The referee eventually throws out Maryse and the Spirit Squad allowing Ziggler to hit another Superkick to pick up the win!
This story line has been brilliant. It’s shown that people still care about Dolph Ziggler, despite the awful booking he’s suffered for years. He’s got a lot to thank The Miz for though, he is simply one of the best at getting other people over. He’s done it with Bryan, Alex Riley, Damien Sandow and now Ziggler.
What’s next for The Miz? Hopefully something fantastic, he deserves it too.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi
Becky Lynch wasn’t medically cleared to compete, it’s clarified as a ‘non wrestling related injury’ whatever that means, stubbed toe? Alexa Bliss comes out to cut a promo about her being scared of losing her title, which is the real reason why the match isn’t happening.
Instead Naomi comes out to challenge Bliss, the crowd go to sleep straight away. Bliss is great, Naomi is okay too but this isn’t what people want to see. Especially if you’re an Englishman watching at 3am in the morning. The crowd soon started chanting “We want Becky” me too guys, me too.
Naomi actually picks up the win. Good job making Bliss look a threat WWE, good job. If this had been a good match, it would be acceptable. It wasn’t. Lowest point of the PPV in my opinion, poor match and poor booking combined. Wasted potential.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Now I know why WWE kept showing Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt pieces all night. It’s the main event! Personally I would have ended with the intercontinental title match but I guess Randy is the bigger name? Imagine how cool it would have been having Ziggler overcome the odds, keep his job and defeat the dastardly Miz in the main event.
There’s one weird promo in which Randy is looking into a mirror which starts to warp using a snapchat preset or something. Are the audience is Randy’s head now or what? Why did we see this?!
As you’d expect with Orton it’s a slow plodding affair that takes it’s sweet time getting anywhere. It’s alright match, but with a great World Title match on first and the excellent story of the intercontinental title feud in the middle it is a little flat. There is also the problem that Bray always loses, so the fans were probably just like me. Sitting there waiting for the inevitable. Like I say, it was an okay match with plenty of back and forth proving quite nicely that both men are equal.
Just as it’s looking like Randy is building to an RKO and the victory though the lights go out and when they come back up Luke Harper is standing in the middle of the ring. The crowd explode for the returning Wyatt Family member and the distraction allows Bray to hit Orton with the Sister Abigail for the victory. Oh my god! Wyatt won something again! It’s a miracle!
Great to see Harper back even though he didn’t do anything. Awesome to have Wyatt win a match for the first time in a decade or however long it’s been. Still though, not the main event I would have gone for.