A month ago, the WWE’s “B-show” Smackdown, delivered a rollicking good pay-per-view with Backlash. I was surprised the Smackdown only event was that good but it was a incredibly nice surprise. Heck, I’ll say it was even better than the Raw, AKA the “A-show”, pay-per-view Clash of Champions! It did give us a glimpse of hope that the brand split was actually going to do wondrous things to the world… excuse me… the WWE Universe.
So, I actually had high hopes for No Mercy. Yes, it seems odd to look at just one show and assume that each and every Smackdown pay-per-view would be that good. But, hey, first impressions last, right? Let’s go see if Smackdown can pull it off again this month with No Mercy, shall we?
Match #1: Triple Threat Match: John Cena vs Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles for the WWE World Championship
What? Did I miss the entire No Mercy show? Oh, this is actually the first match? Cool!
This promised to be a real humdinger of a title match as all three competitors are great performers in the ring. Dean Ambrose has proven himself to be a real charismatic good guy and AJ Styles’ run with the WWE World Championship has been one of the best ones I’ve seen in a long time. And, say what you will about John Cena and how you don’t like him because he’s incredibly bland, the man knows how to pull of exciting matches!
All three participants pulled off their signature moves but the match was hardly predictable. They didn’t fall into the typical Triple Threat gimmicks like the superplex-powerbomb combination so things always felt fresh. The overall pacing was also really good as there was a lot of action throughout the entire match with very little rest holds. It was exciting however there was a lack of a truly memorable moment which keeps it from becoming a legendary match.
The finish came after both Cena and Ambrose locked in a submission hold on Styles and, while The Face That Runs The Place did tap out, as there was no singular winner, the match continued. Ambrose nailed Cena with Dirty Deed and went for the pin but Styles dragged the referee to the outside, stopping the count. Ambrose attacked Styles with a suicide dive and tried to get in the ring. But Cena had recovered enough to strike back at the Lunatic Fringe with an Attitude Adjustment from the second rope. However, before Cena could hustle a pinfall victory, AJ Styles nailed him with a chair. Since there’s no disqualification in a Triple Threat match, Styles was able to get the pinfall victory by pinning Cena.
Like I said, there wasn’t really anything that really made it stand out as well. I did expect a little more from the match, considering the caliber of the talent that was involved. It was exciting to watch at the time but I don’t think many people will remember this match as one of the greats.
Rating: 8.0 of 10 double submissions
Match #2: Nikki Bella vs Carmela
You gotta feel sorry for Carmela. Even though she’s feuding with Nikki Bella, one of the more popular Women wrestlers in the WWE (to which I say “bleagh”), she got a really cold reception here!
The match itself wasn’t anything spectacular. Carmela did try to show off that she was vicious and could inflict pain but it wasn’t really effective. There were a lot of pauses in between the action, which is par for the course for a Nikki Bella match. Things never got heated or made me want to jump out of my seat. Their match in No Mercy felt like something that supposed to be building up to something before the explosive encounter… but this was supposed to be the explosive encounter but just fizzled out.
The finish of the match came when Carmela was forced to break her Code of Silence submission hold as Nikki Bella got to the bottom rope. The Staten Island Princess started… slapping Nikki on her back afterward? Anyway, Nikki recovered and connected with her Rack Attack 2.0 for the pinfall victory.
I’m not the biggest Nikki Bella fan but I definitely wanted more than this. It was functional for the most part but not a solid outing for both John Cena’s beau and Carmela.
Rating: 5.0 of 10 Carmela’s slaps of futility? Really, what the heck was that all about?
Match #3: Heath “I Got Kids” Slater and Rhyno vs The Usos
I liked the good version of the Usos… but I like their bad guys personas a whole lot more.
I really want to thank the guys who decided to make The Usos bad guys because it really works for them. It also rejuvenated my interest in the team as a whole. However, as cool as the new Usos are, the team of Heath Slater and Rhyno are a hoot. This was definitely better than I thought it was going to be. Oh, it wasn’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination but the action was good for the most part. There were a good number of near falls as well as hot tags which did keep me glued to the screen.
The beginning of the match came after The Usos double teamed The One Man Brand. Jay then locked a leg submission hold on Heath. When Jimmy Uso got to the outside of the ring, he got nailed by a Gore by a waiting Rhyno. Rhyno then broke up the submission, got the hot tag from Slater, enabling the ECW Original to nail a Gore on Jay this time for the pinfall victory.
This was a fun match overall. Both teams’ antics really got the crowd into the match. While not a classic by any means, it was still entertaining.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 Gore! Gore! Gore!
Match #4: Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin
Well, this match came out of nowhere. This is basically a rematch from the previous Smackdown so why insert this in No Mercy?
I don’t really like the overall look of Baron Corbin and I think it was too early to draft him from NXT to the main roster. And Jack Swagger’s shtick has gotten incredibly stale now. Because of this, I had low expectations for this match. Well, this match did exceed expectations but, like I said, the bar wasn’t really that high to begin with. At least there was a lot of aggression, which suited the pace and style of both Corbin and Swagger. But things never got too brutal and there wasn’t any shocking moment that piqued my interest.
The end of the match came after Corbin dragged the ring apron/skirt to break the Patriot Lock submission Swagger was applying. As the referee fixed the ring apron/skirt, Corbin took advantage of the distraction and poked Swagger in the eye and comboed into his End of Days finisher for the pinfall victory.
It’s kind of hard to fault Corbin and Swagger as to why this was just okay. The match definitely played to their strengths as WWE Superstars but it just lacked the oomph to hold my interest.
Rating: 5.0 of 10 Smackdown rematches on a pay-per-view
Match #6: Career vs Title Match: Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz (with Maryse and a couple of other guys who’ll come out later) for the Intercontinental Championship and, if Dolph loses, he will retire from in-ring competition
I love career matches as the stakes are high and I was actually afraid that Dolph Ziggler would retire. Seeing that I’m actually concerned about a match where the outcome has already been predetermined (yes, wrestling is scripted and fake, kiddies), that’s saying something regarding how invested I am in this match. And this match didn’t disappoint in the least!
The wrestling was really great and the pacing was excellent. There was a lot fun spots and exciting moments. But it wasn’t the in-ring action that made this Intercontinental Championship bout fun. It was the emotional element. The Miz tried a lot of underhanded tactics to obtain victory several times and Dolph Ziggler kept on kicking out, not willing to lose and give up his love of wrestling. And Dolph did a great job selling all the bumps and bruises he took, which just made you want to root for him all the more so.
The finish was a bit of a mess as they went overboard with the cheating. Not only did Maryse blind Ziggler with hairspray but they even called in for outside interference from Kenny and Mikey, Ziggler’s former teammates, the Spirit Squad! Normally, I wouldn’t care for this kind of gross exaggeration of evil but the buildup throughout the entire match made it work!
Ultimately, it was the Spirit Squad’s involvement in the match that proved to be The Miz’s undoing. The referee caught Kenny trying to attack The Show Off and kicked Mikey, Kenny and Maryse out of ringside. Ziggler took advantage of the distraction and nailed The Miz with a superkick to get the three count and become the NEW Intercontinental Champion.
This was a incredibly entertaining and exciting match! The in ring action was incredibly good but what made it so engrossing was the emotional connection you felt with Ziggler and The Miz. It was in danger of having a really overly complicated finish with several people trying to take Ziggler down but it actually added to the spectacle. Really damn good match!
Rating: 8.5 of 10 Spirit Squad run ins
Match #7: Naomi vs Alexa Bliss
Look, I know Becky Lynch can’t compete… but was Naomi the best pick to replace her?
Naomi is a fine wrestler and definitely very athletic but she isn’t really all that charismatic, in my opinion. This match didn’t change my opinion of her. The match had a very average feel throughout. That being said, this should’ve been the time for both Bliss and Naomi show the crowd something special and surprise us with how good they can be. They didn’t as there were several moves that never really connected and some of them looked terrible and amateurish as a result.
The finish was pretty terrible. Alexa Bliss tried to ape Becky Lynch by locking in an arm bar submission, much like the Irish Lass Kicker’s Disarm-her. However, Naomi flipped Bliss over and pinned her for the victory. Why? This just made Alexa Bliss, the Number One contender for the Smackdown Women’s title look weak!
While the action was just okay, the ending was just bad and didn’t do any favors for both Naomi and Alexa Bliss. I will give them credit for trying to do something at the last minute but it just wasn’t all that fun to watch.
Rating: 4.0 of 10 illogical finishes
Match #8: Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
Once upon a time, a match between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt would’ve been a match worthy of Wrestlemania. That was before.
The match did start of promising with The Apex Predator trying to connect with the RKO right out of the gate. Things went downhill quickly after that. Nothing really seemed to click. There was action but I just couldn’t connect with anything that was happening. Orton was getting beat down but I just didn’t care. It was like all the excitement was sucked out of the match.
After what seemed like an eternity, Orton took control of the match and signaled that he was going for an RKO to end the match. However, the lights went out and, when the lights came back up, Luke Harper, one of Bray Wyatt’s stalwart family members was standing in the ring!
This distracted Orton enough so that The Eater of Worlds managed to sneak behind The Apex Predator and connect with Sister Abigail for the pinfall victory. Thank God the match is finally over!
Nothing really worked in this match. It’s a shame, especially since Orton and Wyatt are actually good in-ring performers who know how to get a live audience into it. They just weren’t able to do so this time around. What made it suck much more than it should be is that this was the main event of No Mercy! Not even the “surprise” Luke Harper could save this one.
Rating: 3.0 of 10 wake me up when the match is over Zzzzzzzzzzz
Overall Rating for WWE’s No Mercy
No doubt about it: No Mercy was a huge step down from Smackdown’s first solo pay-per-view event. While the World Championship and Intercontinental matches were really excellent, the rest of the matches in No Mercy were unspectacular at best. The two great matches couldn’t save what a dud a lot of the other matches were. Topping off the awful experience is the incredibly uninspired main event. I expected more from No Mercy but I guess I shouldn’t have expected too much from the WWE.
Rating: 5.5 of 10 That was the main event? Lame!
What did you think of WWE’s No Mercy this year? Let me know in the comments section below!