WWE No Mercy
Golden 1 Center
Sunday October 9th, 2016
Kickoff Show notes:
The middle pink rope is making its post roster split, brand extension exclusive PPV debut. Again, I’m all for WWE’s involvement with The Susan G. Komen Foundation, and cancer research in general, but does the rope have to be pink? I know it’s trivial, but it just bugs the hell out of me.
Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler & Lita are at the pre-show panel desk dissecting the storylines and setting up the show, as usual.
Curt Hawkins enters the ring to his hella lame, Chuck Norris-like “Facts” via a voiceover, sounding similar to the guy who voiced over the Eva Marie “All Red Everything” entrance. Well, I’m glad he found some work. Can’t say the same for Hawkins though. He lays the puns on pretty thick, and announces he will have his first match on Tuesday’s Smackdown, after a hefty pyro display. What a waste of good pyro.
In a backstage segment, Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan notify Alexa Bliss that Becky Lynch will not be defending the Women’s Title, due to an undisclosed, non-wrestling related medical issue. That’s a bummer. No Becky makes me sad. How will I go on? I’ll figure it out.
8 Man Tag Team Match
The Hype Bros. & American Alpha vs. The Ascension & The Vaudevillains
Jason Jordan gets the pin on Aiden English for his team to score the win. I used to not like Mojo Rawley and found his energy exhausting, but the more I watch him, I realize he is a modern day Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He plays a certain role, that not everyone can play convincingly. He fills a void and I get it now. Also, damn American Alpha are GOOD!!! Just too bad they are just another team, like The Club on RAW.
The show begins with pyro and Mauro Ranallo, JBL & David Otunga at ringside introducing the show.
Triple Threat Match for WWE World Championship
John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose vs. WWE World Champion AJ Styles
In Saturday Nights Main Event fashion (thank you Dave Murphy @helloimdave for that one), the main event is first (due to the 2nd presidential debate airing at 8:00 CST, creating a fear of losing viewers). It’s the Benjamin Button of wrestling cards! All three guys got a good reaction, with Ambrose’s being the weakest. In a convoluted, confusing moment, Ambrose had an ugly calf crusher on Styles and Cena had an STF locked in at the same time to Styles causing AJ to tap, and the bell rings. Referee Mike Chioda alerts Ambrose & Cena that it’s a wash and the match will continue. Huh? I’d like to see the WWE rulebook. I’m sure it exists, right? The match continues as Ambrose & Cena fight it out, Styles enters the ring and uses a chair on Cena, for the win. Styles retains title. Although, it was a bit contrived, it was a creative finish. And I don’t care how they do it, as long as Styles retains, I’m good. A well booked triple threat, with not an abundance of “one guy takes a nap while the other two fight” moments. Great match, and I can’t see anything topping it. ****1/2
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
Rack attack 2.0 beats Carmella & Nikki wins. Not much else to say really. Carmella did her part and didn’t look terrible. Can’t complain.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions Heath Slater & Rhyno
Beauty & The Man Beast is the team name for Slater & Rhyno, apparently. Why not? It’s interesting that Rhyno played the face in-peril here, and Slater got the hot tag. He is over now, so it makes sense. Slater hit a cool top rope power slam at one point. Solid last few minutes with Rhyno goring an Uso (I don’t know which, gimme a break) to retain the tag straps. *** Solid little outing.
Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger
I know Corbin gets a lot of shit over his receding hairline, but I think it adds to his character. If he keeps it long, and goes full on skullett, it could be money. Tell me you wouldn’t immediately hate him more. Corbin wins after hitting the End of Days on Swagger. He did some heelish cheating throughout, and that is why I still like Corbin. Good effort as both guys worked hard, and the crowd even managed to get into it towards the end. **
WWE Intercontinental Championship vs. Career
Dolph Ziggler vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz w/Maryse
There is a certain buzz surrounding this match. I will say for this whole angle, it has made me care about a match I’ve seen at least a dozen times within the year, and has given Ziggler purpose again. It also makes the IC title seem special. Also, Miz is on a roll and has reinvigorated his career. This match told a great story, had great crowd heat, and with Miz working on Ziggler’s knee, displayed good psychology. A dramatic moment occurred when Maryse got involved, and Miz capitalized with the skull crushing finale and Ziggler got his foot on the bottom rope at the last second. By this time, the crowd was losing it, and I have to admit, so was I! Some convincing near falls transpire, then Maryse interferes and even former Spirit Squad members (Ready?! OK!) Kenny & Mikey run out to distract the ref, leading to another skull crushing finale that Dolph kicks out of! The referee throws out the added players, and while Miz argues with the ref about it, Ziggler nails another superkick to Miz for the win! Crowd pops huge. Ziggler wins IC title…again. **** Well, damn! That was something, and should have main evented. Best match either of the two have had in a little while, and if not for the opener, would have stolen the show for sure. Ziggler does not leave now obviously and I am guessing Miz gets shot up to the main event scene again. Ok, I’m game. Might as well strike while Miz’s wife is hot…I mean, iron. Not that women are irons. What does that even mean? I think I’ll just move on.
Meanwhile, Randy Orton looks at himself in the mirror (where a camera happens to be), and his face gets all contorted. These type of segments are so dumb and way beyond the realm of believability. Only WWE would follow up a moment that makes you proud to be a wrestling fan, immediately with a moment that makes you want to close the blinds in case someone sees in.
Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi
Bliss cuts a promo running down Becky Lynch (hey, watch it shrimp!), when Naomi interrupts twerking her way down to the ring. Naomi pins Alexa, and it looks like Alexa has been served. Alexa throws a fit, and it’s adorable. This was a match that happened. *
Match 7/Main Event:
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
No sister Abigail tonight (contrary to internet rumors), however, Luke Harper did make his return in the match, distracting Orton, and leaving him subsceptible to Bray’s Sister Abigail finisher to get the pin on Orton. Thank god Harper is back, and on Smackdown, and with Wyatt.
Let’s just say this was about **1/2. I almost want to give an extra star for the back bump on the stairs by Bray, but I don’t want to encourage such behavior. Although, I do wish to encourage Bray telling more fans to shut up like he did early in the match. I wish I could. Nothing wrong with the match at all, but just wasn’t a match to end the show on. Just a bit anti-climactic.
Two really good matches is nothing to sneeze at, so it was a success in that regard. Everything else was standard TV show filler, but the whole show ended 20 minutes early so it didn’t feel like it dragged, which helped a lot. Refreshing. I doubt a pre-show is even necessary for these split PPV’s just to keep it tighter. Overall, I liked the show and there was nothing to strongly have negative feelings towards. It will be interesting to see how RAW’s usually lackluster Hell in a Cell PPV will fare in comparison. From where I’m sitting, Smackdown still has the trophy for best split brand, with better utilization of the lower & middle card talent. Check in on October 30th for HIAC thoughts.