We’re back again! Two weeks removed from Clash of Champions, it’s time to focus our attention on the Smackdown brand as they give us No Mercy. Smackdown continues to bring back names of former pay per views with No Mercy making its return for the first time since 2008, let’s hope that Smackdown doesn’t bring back Taboo Tuesday any time soon. Smackdown continuously nails its shows every week while over at Raw, they’re stalling for time while they think of a way to carry on a simple story. The blue brand is on an absolute roll and hopefully they capitalise on it with this latest pay per view offering.
The main event is kicking us off because everyone will start watching the presidential debate halfway through the show. It’s a Triple Threat for the WWE Championship, AJ Styles defending against John Cena and Dean Ambrose. Something weird has been happening on Smackdown. It’s just providing further proof that the blue brand is a magical place, but John Cena is starting to be cheered again. Meanwhile, Dean Ambrose, who was the internet’s golden boy for the last few years, has been getting a mixed reaction from the crowd. But when you think hard about it, it sort of makes sense. Ambrose has been an utter dick for a few months and is still only okay in his matches. John Cena on the other hand has been putting people over, taking extended breaks which allows us to miss him and so forth. Also, everyone loves AJ Styles. Who’s walking away with the gold?
I think having this start the show sort of helped it. The crowd was hot and ready to go and to have something that they were super invested in really made the atmosphere even better. The match was as good as I had hoped it would be, bell to bell it went a solid twenty plus minutes. Things got unnecessarily complicated when AJ Styles tapped out while Cena and Ambrose both had submissions on him. The match was restarted but it was an unneeded addition to the match. Styles whacked Cena with a chair to retain the WWE World Title.
It was an odd feeling starting a pay per view with the advertised main event, but it gave the show a sense of originality to it. I don’t think I would do it again unless absolutely necessary, but it changed up the usual format and that was fun for just one time. When Styles tapped, I was terrified that they were going to do something stupid and vacate the title. Thankfully it just proved to be an unnecessary spot in an otherwise flawless start to the show. AJ winning with a foreign objective is exactly what his character would do and it was executed perfectly.
Ever since her surprise return at SummerSlam, Nikki Bella has been attacked by Carmella on quite a regular basis. Carmella believes Nikki stole her thunder at SummerSlam as they were in Carmella’s hometown of New York that night. That’s pretty much this entire feud over the last two months. Every week it’s either another attack or someone is on commentary talking about it and they bring up the same points each and every time. The only form of progression this rivalry has had is that Carmella has pinned Nikki in a tag match a few weeks ago.
There’s not much to say about this match other than there was a lot of hair pulling and Carmella yelling for no reason. Carmella is not a polished in ring competitor and Nikki has only been back for a relatively short amount of time. Nikki pinned Carmella in about eight minutes with a TKO which she is now referring to as the ‘Rack Attack 2.0’ as her original move by the same name is what caused her neck injury. By no means technical classic, but enough to probably continue the story for a little longer.
Rhyno & Heath Slater’s pairing has been an unexpected joy to watch for the last few months. Heath is trying to provide for his kids while Rhyno appears to be doing this to fund his canned cheese and cracker habit. The pair became the first ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions at Backlash by defeating the newly turned Usos. The Usos (who had been frustratingly dull as good guys) have become this bad-ass duo who will hurt you just to get what they want, it’s simple and effective. Will The Usos become three time champions or will Rhyno & Heath Slater continue their run of luck?
It’s so weird that Heath Slater has been in two pay per view title matches in a row, this has never happened. Smackdown is a weird and wonderful place. Another match that can be simply referred to as fine. Rhyno & Heath Slater retain in ten minutes and I’m not sure what The Usos do now. The tag division is lacking in a number of areas, The Vaudevillians are being treated like crap for some reason, The Ascension still exist despite my objections, The Hype Bros are just the worst (seriously, I will personally fund the research necessary in order to have Mojo Rawley shot into the sun), Breezango are nowhere to be seen, so all you’ve got left is American Alpha. If I were a betting man, I’d say that Rhyno & Heath Slater probably don’t have much time left in their reign.
Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger. Lord almighty do I not care for either of these guys. Baron Corbin has been floating around on Smackdown, not doing a hell of a lot. Jack Swagger recently left Raw to come to Smackdown. Below is an artist’s impression of Jack Swagger and his career arriving on Smackdown.
So I’m going to be honest, I watched the presidential debate during this time. Corbin won and I don’t think anyone else cared either.
If you had told me six months ago that another Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz feud for the Intercontinental Title would be one of the best things on WWE television today I would have called you a liar and demanded that you apologise for lying. Following yet another loss at Backlash and then again on Smackdown a week later, Dolph asked for another match with The Miz, who was well within his right to be all “Dude… No. You lost again.” So Dolph had to put something on the line too, his career. The Miz accepts and now we’ve got a Career vs. Title match. The build up to this has been excellent, we’ve seen documentaries, both sets of parents get involved and even The Spirit Squad made a cameo. Does Dolph finally get the big win or are saying goodbye to ‘The Show-off’?
Wow. This match was phenomenal. It had everything you could want from a professional wrestling match. Drama, shenanigans, emotion and quality in ring action. You had interference from the likes of Maryse and some of the guys from The Spirit Squad and each near fall you thought could plausibly be the end of the match. Clocking in at almost twenty minutes, Dolph Ziggler lands a super kick on The Miz and wins the Intercontinental Championship for the fifth time in his career. I don’t have anything else to say other than this should have closed the show. Outstanding.
Originally scheduled for the show was a Women’s Championship match with Becky Lynch defending the title against Alexa Bliss. Unfortunately, Becky was pulled from the show with WWE citing medical reasons for her being unable to compete. Alexa Bliss was given another opponent in Naomi, who is still raving like she’s just inhaled something very strong. A match with no stakes makes for little investment with the crowd and sadly they didn’t really react to this. Naomi rolls up Alexa and scores a win out of nowhere in a baffling decision. Alexa will be receiving her title match in November, so they make her build to that match by losing? I’m a fan of Naomi too, but this is a dumb decision.
Time for our main event for the evening and for some reason it’s Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton. This match was supposed to happen at Backlash, but Randy Orton was still healing from injuries so they had to put it off. Instead, they had Bray Wyatt wrestle Kane in which HE STILL LOST. Bray Wyatt has been the single most ineffective character in recent memory in WWE. He promises all these things, loses and doesn’t react in any way about them. The build to this match has been surprisingly entertaining though with Randy Orton going looking for Bray backstage and he even locked Erick Rowan in a cupboard (okay, he’s probably more ineffective than Bray). Randy Orton is healthy now, so it’s time to actually have this match.
Despite the build up to this match being surprisingly fun, kooky and simply bonkers, this match was anything but that. Basically wasting time for about fifteen minutes, Orton and Wyatt put on a match with an agonisingly slow pace. Knowing that the best of the show was behind us made this match even harder to sit through. In the end, the lights went out, Luke Harper returned and stared at Randy Orton, which allowed Wyatt to take advantage and hit the Sister Abigail to finally get a win. I can’t help but feel like we’ve seen this before… Oh right, because we saw this exact finish when Bray was feuding with Roman Reigns last year. Bray is triumphant as No Mercy goes off the air.
No Mercy was not a bad show, it was not a good show, it was a show. It’s been a while since anyone has said that right? But the sentiment is true, No Mercy had a few great moments and matches but outside of two of them, there’s not a lot to see here. The Triple Threat main event opener was stellar and the Career vs. Title match with The Miz and Dolph Ziggler stole the show. Everything else was just there.
Now, not all of that is their fault. The originally scheduled Women’s Title bout with Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss and every chance of being another great match to add to the list, but sadly injury kept that from happening and WWE had to improvise. The tag match was fine, as was Nikki Bella and Carmella. Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt left a lot to be desired and Luke Harper rejoining The Wyatt Family is painfully repetitive. Baron Corbin and Jack Swagger can both go away please.
Overall, a dull show lifted up to an okay show by two great matches. Ultimately, it was probably better than Raw’s Clash of Champions by a tiny margin, but it doesn’t fare too well compared to Backlash.
Final Rating: 6.5/10