I made myself a sandwich before watching this show, only to find I had run out of cheese. I guess that means….
I had No MERSEY!
Emanating from Sacramento, CA
Announcers: John “Bradshaw” Layfield, David Otunga, Mauro Ranallo
WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: AJ STYLES (c) vs. DEAN AMBROSE vs. JOHN CENA
NIKKI BELLA vs. CARMELLA
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: HEATH SLATER & RHYNO (c) vs. THE USOS
BARON CORBIN vs. JACK SWAGGER
INTERCONTINENAL CHAMPIONSHIP: THE MIZ (c) vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER- TITLE VS. CAREER
NAOMI vs. ALEXA BLISS
BRAY WYATT vs. RANDY ORTON
SPOILER WARNING- MATCH RESUTLS ABOUND
Its beginning to feel like we’re getting pay-per-views from WWE almost every other week these days, whether they’re for RAW or for Smackdown. In this particular case, what feels like the umpteenth pay-per-view this month, No Mercy, is waving the flag for the Blue Brand. But was No Mercy a slam dunk, or will I be forced to make a lame joke about the show being bad using its name, like “Oh man, that pay-per-view showed its audience NO MERCY, BA-DUM TISH!”
Thankfully, its not gonna come to that, which is great, because that one pun alone nearly killed me.
No Mercy was a fine show in all, its strongest offerings coming from a couple of genuinely fantastic matches. Those two matches in question would be the Title vs. Career Match between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, and the World Title match, save for one unusual aspect to them: their placement on the card.
Now this is where I get to talk about “streaming”, something, which rarely ever sticks out to me in a show but with No Mercy, it turned out to be quite noticeable. “Streaming” simply refers to the order in which matches go on in a show, and in the case of the aforementioned matches, neither one went on quite where it should have. In the World Title match’s case, it opened the show, and the case of the Title vs. Career match, it ended up somewhere near the show’s middle. Given the high stakes and anticipation behind both of these matches, the streaming in this show seemed rather odd. The streaming of the show only became stranger when the announcers essentially started bragging about how the World Title match was opening the show. Generally speaking, your main-event caliber matches should be in y’know…the main event?
Still, these gripes aside, both matches were simply fantastic, and elevated the entire show by their quality alone. The World Title match, in spite of its main-event status, proved to an excellent opening bout; it was a high-energy, fast-paced bout full of plenty of fun spots and moments. The fact that this match didn’t fall into the normal stale trap that most Triple Threats do was a massive plus, and all three men’s timing and fluidity in their moves and ring work were absolutely outstanding. The finish, while a tad odd, proved to be a nice way of keeping Dean and Cena looking good without having to take the title off AJ Styles, and still ultimately giving him a decisive win.
I would have called it “Match of the Night”, were it not for Ziggler and Miz’s Title vs. Career Match later in the night, which turned out to absolutely steal the show. Great booking and story telling coupled with really strong performances from both Ziggler and Miz in the lead-up to this match culminated in a bout that had everything needed to be an instant classic. As somebody who’s really never been a Ziggler fan, my hat’s absolutely off to him form pouring his heart and soul into making his feud with the Miz the hottest feud going on Smackdown. Miz deserves his fair share of praise as well, being an incredible foil to Ziggler as an endlessly unlikable and effective antagonist. As much as I’ve complained about having to see these guys wrestle each other so much, the fact is that its clearly paying off for them as Ziggler and Miz consistently put together some of the best matches on any card as of late. The crowd was hot as hell for this match, only serving to elevate it even further, and Ziggler’s ultimate triumph was the perfect capstone to a truly poetically executed feud. Everyone and everything this feud involved has been spectacularly elevated, not the least of which being the Intercontinental Championship itself, which has never felt more important in the past decade than its does now.
But, as much as I loved that match and the World Title match, it doesn’t really change the fact that most of the rest of the card didn’t really achieve great heights. While there were no dreadful or even poor matches, nothing else on the card really stood out, something of a victim of having to follow a fantastic main-event level match. This was especially true of the match WWE actually decided to go ahead with as the main event, Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton. While their antics in the lead-up to No Mercy were kinda fun in a ham-and-cheesy kind of way and the match itself was solid, Wyatt vs. Orton was simply missing the spark and energy that the Title vs Career match or the World Title match had, and really Wyatt vs. Orton should have gone on before both of the aforementioned matches. That said, the finish was good, being exactly what Bray Wyatt desperately needed and it gave us a nice surprise in the return of Luke Harper, so even this match still had its upside in the end.
I know in reading this review its gonna seem like I glossed over at least half the show…which is mainly because I did. But that’s really because No Mercy was a prime case of what was, in its entirety, a competent if unspectacular show that was significantly elevated by a couple genuinely fantastic matches. On that point alone I would recommend No Mercy any wrestling fan who is actually reading this review.