WWE Smackdown, WWE Raw, No Mercy
Mike Miceli – Staff Writer
Hello all and welcome to Bell2Bell, the wrestling recap and review that you’ll be able to find right here on TwoCentsTV every Sunday!
I’ll be talking about WWE Raw, Smackdown, and their Pay-Per-Views. You’ll also find my opinions on those shows and possible storylines and predictions going forward. My recaps of Raw and Smackdown will be general overviews of the programs, highlighting the major moments and matches of the shows. My PPV recaps will be a little more in depth, breaking down the show match by match.
And since we just had a PPV, let’s kick things off right this week by talking about Smackdown’s second PPV since the WWE brand split, No Mercy.
NO MERCY 10/9/16
WWE No Mercy was live this past Sunday from Sacramento, California and it had a lot to live up to. Not only was it the return of a classic PPV from the beloved Attitude Era, it also followed on the heels of the surprisingly solid Backlash PPV back in September. So how did this latest show stack up? Let’s break it down.
AJ Styles VS Dean Ambrose VS John Cena
In the Backlash main event, AJ Styles captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Dean Ambrose and it couldn’t have been a better decision for the Smackdown brand. Styles, while new to WWE, is a seasoned veteran and has held numerous titles across multiple organizations all across the globe including TNA, ROH, and New Japan. So, needless to say, I was excited to see how he did as champ.
Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed as AJ makes a great heel champ and brings a great deal of prestige and pedigree to the title. The build up leading into this match was fantastic. While Ambrose seemed more like an afterthought, as Cena and AJ’s feud has been red hot lately, the three managed to pull off a pretty decent Triple Threat match with some great spot. Cena even took a page from Brock Lesnar’s book and pulled off a double german suplex. There were, however, more than a few botched moves and the timing between the three wrestlers seemed off. Overall the match was decent but clunky and we’ve seen better from all three of these men but it was still an entertaining belt and left me wondering why this match was on first. Styles gets the heel win with a chair shot, continuing his momentum and Cena and Ambrose still managed to look strong.
Nikki Bella VS Carmella
The first of two disappointing women’s matches of the night. A dead crowd didn’t help them either. To the ladies credit, they did try their best to put on a decent match, but this reeked of “Diva’s match 2005” even down to the match time, which was well under 10 minutes. Carmella is trying to build some momentum, but she would do better recreating some of her NXT magic on RAW with Enzo and Cass. Nikki picks up the win, but neither woman brought much to the ring. Their Raw counterparts are doing a much better job of pushing the boundaries of women’s wrestling in WWE.
Heath Slater and Rhyno VS The Usos
This tag team championship match was very by the numbers. It was serviceable, but overall underwhelming. Champs Slater and Rhyno make a good pairing and it’s always nice to see a veteran worker like Rhyno get some solid TV time. Unfortunately, the Usos are pretty toxic right now as their heel turn as mostly fallen completely flat. I’ll admit that it’s better than the tired shtick they were doing a couple of months ago, but it was too little, too late. Sadly, much like their cousin Roman Reigns, they only seem to suck the energy out of the crowd. Slater and Rhyno retain in a ho-hum match that could have just as easily been on the mid-card of a non-televised house show.
Jack Swagger VS Baron Corbin
Yawn. Baron Corbin is probably the least interesting wrestler to come out of NXT. His generic style and lack of personality don’t do much to get me interested in anything he does. And, when you consider they dragged Jack Swagger out of mothballs for this feud, it just shows what little direction they have for either superstar. The match was high-impact, but lackluster and the very strange finish didn’t help. Since when does grabbing the ring apron count as a rope break? I’m fine with WWE’s fake rules, but at least make them consistent fake rules. Swagger takes the loss after a thumb to the eye, but the real loser was the audience.
The Miz VS Dolph Ziggler
Now, the stipulation to this Intercontinental Championship match was that if Ziggler lost, he would retire. But, if I’m being honest here, I couldn’t care less. Ziggler has been irrelevant for so long that I was bored before the bell even rang. Miz has been killing it lately with his revamped heel persona. Ever since he dropped that promo on Talking Smack a few weeks ago, he’s been on fire. And nothing kills a hot streak faster than Dolph Ziggler. Now, don’t get me wrong, Ziggler is an amazing talent, but he’s been booked so poorly for so long, that any credibility he had is completely gone. So imagine my surprise when Dolph picked up the win and the IC title.
The match itself was excellent. In fact, if I had to call “match of the night”, this is it. I could have done without the nonsense outside interference from the Spirit Squad, but both Miz and Ziggler had a great showing in the showcase match of the PPV. Miz is old school and he knows how to tell a good story in the ring. Dolph also bumps like a mad man, which always makes for an entertaining match. Putting the title on Ziggler seems like a bit of a waste to me considering he’s been booked like a jobber for the last year and a half, but hopefully this means The Miz can move on to the Heavyweight Title picture.
Naomi VS Alexa Bliss
I have to preface this by saying that Becky Lynch had some kind of legitimate medical issue and could not wrestle, so this match was thrown together at the last minute. That said, this match was hot garbage. Naomi is decent at best and Alexa Bliss is not ready for a main roster spot. Hands down. Much like Dana Brooke on Raw, Bliss needed more time in NXT to fine tune both in ring skills and mic skills. Now, Alexa is better than Dana (who is a complete train wreck) but that isn’t saying much. And while Naomi has some skills, she is far from the caliber of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, or Bayley. The match was mercifully short, as neither woman found their footing. There were several cringe-worthy moments in a match that seemed like one botched move after another. The crowd wasn’t having it either, chanting various things at the women including a chant for the absent Becky Lynch.
Unfortunately, the women’s division on Smackdown is just too small and too untalented at the moment. Becky deserves to be champion as she is an amazing wrestler. I just wish the other women surrounding her in the division had the same amount of skill. Naomi picks up the win. However, it would have made more sense to make Alexa Bliss, who is the #1 contender, look strong for her upcoming title match against Becky upon her return.
Randy Orton VS Bray Wyatt
And now, our main event of the evening. This match has been brewing for a while, mostly due to Randy Orton needing time to heal from his legitimate concussion at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Bray Wyatt, is another wrestler who has been booked poorly over the last year. It’s almost become a running joke amongst wrestling fans to count the days from his last singles PPV victory. As a fan of Wyatt’s in ring work and mic skills, this has been disappointing for me. But Orton and Wyatt are true professionals and managed to turn in a pretty good match. Both men were able to look strong and the audience got a nice surprise with the return of Luke Harper and the reuniting of the Wyatt Family. Bray manages to pick up a win over a major player in Randy Orton, which was a nice change of pace. But this match had mid-card written on its forehead and seemed undeserving of the main even spot.
Well, that was WWE’s No Mercy PPV and it was not good. Not good at all. It came off more like a glorified, 3 hour episode of Smackdown than a full fledged PPV. Underwhelming matches did not help the already disappointing card. We have AJ retaining his title, which is good, but this PPV contained some very bizarre booking and match placement. From the main event going on first, to weird production glitches, it all just felt… off. No match, with the exception of Ziggler/Miz, was truly good bell to bell (see what I did there?). The production aspect of the show was very disappointing as the entire PPV felt disjointed and strangely timed. This was a major step down from WWE Backlash last month. Hopefully, Smackdown can get itself back on track in time for Survivor Series.