WWE No Mercy 2016 Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
In an unprecedented period where we had five pro wrestling pay-per-views between Sept. 11 and Oct. 11 between WWE, Ring Of Honor and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, we were exhausted by Oct. 9 when No Mercy rolled around.
Luckily, if you look at that nice poster to the side, SmackDown Live had been headlined by the excellent heel duo of WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz/Maryse as he was engaged in a “Title Vs. Career” feud with Dolph Ziggler.
That feud would become synonymous with this show for reasons we’ll explore below.
It also helped that we had a Triple-Threat main event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship between Champion AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and John Cena that actually opened the show for a change.
Cool on the surface, but that brought us to the problem – one disorganized card.
The Pre-Show Breakdown
– Curt Hawkins stepped into the ring for the first time… and that was it. Literally. Sadly, the crowd wasn’t as pumped as we were for the former Brian Myers and his handy cane. This Chuck Norris-esque gimmick could be hit or miss. Hawkins does his part well but based off the reaction (or lack of/negative) that he received, this might go nowhere fast. Anyways, he “swerved” us with a tease of an in-ring debut here, but instead, that was hyped for two days later.
– The Pre-Show Eight-Man Tag between American Alpha/The Hype Bros. and The Ascension/The Vaudevillains was your general spot-happy “Let’s feature all the other SmackDown Live Tag Teams not in the Tag Title match” match and that was fine for what it was. AA’s involvement boosted it some, as they were able to make the other “lesser” teams look good in the process. Mostly filler stuff, but we were entertained and the crowd was into it too. It winded down to a fast-paced finish, but again we saw the all-too-familar ending of Grand Amplitude on Aiden English to get the pin for the faces. We were also pleased to mention that The Ascension benefited from this too, as we can slowly begin to take them more seriously.
– The opening video played up on the light religious theme of “No Mercy” and brushed in highlights of notable feuds like Randy Orton-Bray Wyatt, Miz-Ziggler, the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship (although they announced on the pre-show that WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch wouldn’t appear due to an injury) and the Cena-Styles-Ambrose feud.
– The WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Main Event between Champion Styles, Cena and Ambrose was successful in execution as a “Main Event Opener” for the most part. Also in there was Cena’s embedded quest to tie the 16x record of Ric Flair’s World Title reigns. The crowd was loudly vocal and pro-Styles, anti-Cena and more pro-Ambrose. Unique start as they each quarreled and tried to end the match early with their finishers, but they each stopped each other. Cena hit a cool double German Suplex spot. Constant twists and turns as the crowd was hot for it. Enjoyable stuff, especially with some near-falls for Cena with an Attitude Adjustment on Ambrose. Also liked when Ambrose stormed the ring and literally stopped Styles from tapping out to the STF. This was on its way to a possible Match Of The Year candidate… until the “false finish” where Cena/Ambrose held a simultaneous submission on Styles and he tapped out. The crowd was more confused than anything, before Referee Mike Chioda issued a restart. After that, Styles recovered from a Tope Suicida by Ambrose to bring in a chair and wallop Cena with it to get the three-count with Ambrose down from an AA off the top rope. Still a great match, but man, that first finish took the gas out of it quickly. We figured Styles would retain and we liked that he used a chair here to pin Cena. Still can’t dispute that Cena/Ambrose made Styles, the Champion, tap out. While Cena and Ambrose couldn’t both win, Styles had definitely lost. This “controversy” will probably lead SD Live television for the next few weeks.
– The Nikki Bella-Carmella match was backed by a decent storyline where Carmella turned heel and attacked the recently recovered Bella whenever possible to make a statement. We have to give props to Carmella for stepping up her character after the heel turn, as she played to the crowd many times and smartly targeted Bella’s neck and ribs, to the point where she even stretched her out with aid from the LED post. The crowd just wasn’t into it like the last match and the quality suffered for it. A nice finish as we saw Bella twice battle out of the Code Of Silence submission and worked her way into the Rack Attack 2.0 to get her revenge win. Pleasant applause at best, but perhaps Bella will be in the running for a next Title shot. We hope they continue to stay behind Carmella, who has made tons of progress since her early NXT days.
– The backstage segment with SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Maryse provided good hype for the IC Title match, as we saw Miz continue to throw shade at the GM with an expectation to retire Ziggler and compared Ziggler’s soon-to-end career to Bryan’s abruptly ended career. Miz added in an extra jerk line as he looked to renegotiate his contract once again after the win, since “Ziggler would no longer be on the payroll.” Have to love Miz here.
– The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship match between The Usos and Champions Heath Slater/Rhyno was a well-wrestled match, with the storyline headed in a clash between The Usos’ revamped heel personas on the rise (despite lots of losses) and Slater/Rhyno’s comedic underdog stature. Luckily, Slater was popular as ever here and Rhyno had a nostalgic factor to him. Usos did a swell job as they played to the crowd once a big “He’s got kids” chant began. A highlight was Slater’s top rope powerslam that got a near-fall. Our favorite moment of the bout was where it felt like the Usos were about to win when they hit their finisher on Slater with Rhyno on the outside, but Rhyno worked his way in to stop Slater from a tap out. After that point, Rhyno hit the Gore and got the pin to retain. This was interesting since it felt like the time for Usos to get the gold would be good now, but the occasion would feel bigger at Survivor Series. Plus, The Usos have lost a lot but keep their momentum. They can easily build their way back to another shot. We also may predict that whenever Slater/Rhyno do lose the belts, Rhyno would have something to do with it.
– Wyatt’s backstage promo saw him sit in his famous rocking chair and speak another language we couldn’t decipher. Autocorrect gave us the word “Doritos,” so we’ll just say that’s what we said. He also gestured a “World in his hands.” Atlas don’t have nothing on him.
– The Jack Swagger-Baron Corbin match was originally scheduled for the pre-show, but we assume they bumped it up after the Lynch injury opened up a spot on the regular card. Nothing bad storyline-wise, as this was essentially Corbin getting his win back after a “controversial” tap-out to The Patriot Lock five days earlier as he scrambled to the ropes and was misinterpreted as tapping out. Both guys did their thing, as Corbin savagely targeted Swagger’s hand, which came into play later on when Swagger couldn’t lock in his Patriot Lock. Corbin also kicked out of the Swagger Bomb and when we was caught in the PL again, he got to the apron to break the hold and used the momentary distraction of the Referee to poke Swagger in the eye and hit End Of Days to win. We predicted that from the start. The crowd was mostly quiet besides for when Swagger did his “We The People” gesture. Forgettable, but harmless.
– Now, we’ll never understand how on earth the “Career Vs Title” WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Champion The Miz and Ziggler wasn’t the main event, especially after all that came into play. The two had worked each other countless times, but always found a way too keep things interesting just when the story runs it course. This time, Miz’s phenomenal mic work as of late had elevated the IC Title into the equation and Ziggler was in the process of also finding himself. With Miz’s Title against Ziggler’s career on the line, the drama was about as high as you could get. The crowd was into this from the start, as there was a “big fight feel” to the air. Ziggler started with an offensive flurry to try to get a head start, but Miz eventually worked his way back to rest hold domination. The crowd began to duel chants between the two. Ziggler greatly sold a Figure Four by Miz as he screamed in agony and worked his way gingerly to the rope to finally break the hold. Awesome near-fall when Ziggler hit the Zig Zag just when Miz was having fun mocking Bryan’s kicks. On Miz’s side, he almost gave in to a sleeper but got to the rope at the last moment. They then repeated the Backlash finish where Maryse sprayed the foreign substance into Ziggler and led to a Skull-Crsuhing Finale, but that got a two-count this time. Ziggler hit a superkick and Maryse waved down Kenny/Mikey from The Spirit Squad to come down and distract the Referee. Miz used that moment to hit another SCF and it was totally believable that Zigler would lose here. The place nearly came unglued when Ziggler kicked out. We were loving this. The Referee eventually ejected Maryse/Mikey/Kenny from ringside and at that moment, Ziggler hit a superkick on Miz to cover him and win the Title. That, right there, is how you tell a great story. They used everything relevant to the feud – the spray, numerous finishers, the same finish in a previous finish, The Spirit Squad, interference – and played it up to heighten the drama at just the right time. Easily the match of the night (when we thought the opener couldn’t be topped) as Ziggler had another big career highlight (definitely the best one since he cashed in Money In The Bank in 2012) and celebrated with the ringside fans. Again, tell us how that wouldn’t end the show. Since we were out of notable matches left, that only meant that Orton-Wyatt would close out the show and that was misplacement if we ever heard of it.
– They followed that excellent match with a lame backstage segment where Orton looked at himself in the bathroom mirror and his reflection began to distort itself. How cooky is this? That didn’t get us any more excited for Orton-Wyatt.
– With Lynch off the show due to a “non-wrestling related injury,” Alexa Bliss was left without a Title shot, but was promised to have competition by Bryan/Shane. Bliss’ pre-match promo was good stuff, as she took credit for Lynch not being there and questioned the legitimacy of the injury as she claimed Bryan/Shane were “protecting their crown jewel.” This led to an interruption by Naomi (walking rave lady) and it was apparent that she was her opponent. We knew that Naomi and Natalya had been in a feud lately, but given the circumstances with Bliss as a heel, Naomi was one of the better options out there for a sub match. Or maybe it was Naomi’s entrance. Either way, we had our hopes up for something decent, but the ring work left a lot to be desired. Sloppy spots, as we weren’t even sure if Naomi hit her stupid Rear View finisher correctly. We assumed this would be a way to keep Bliss rolling with momentum en route to her Title shot on the Nov. 8 SD Live to come from Glasgow, Scotland (Becky’s home territory), but instead, they gave Naomi the win on a surprise pin. Bliss’ temper tantrum was sort of entertaining, but unless the plan was for Naomi to sneak her way into this Title picture, why make Bliss lose at all? Buffer material at best.
– The Orton-Wyatt main event match was reliant upon a weak “mind games” feud that already lasted more than a month with this being their first match. In no way was this worth the main event spot, although we guess that’s a good thing for Wyatt. Slow and plodding pace from the start, although Orton got a big amount of cheers. It just never picked up the way we wanted it to and seemed to set the stage for another match. Orton had the RKO ready to execute before the Wyatt sounder came on and the lights went out. When they returned, we saw Luke Harper clad in a black hood, which distracted Orton for Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail and get the win. Yup, the Harper surprise was cool, but compared to Miz-Ziggler, that was a flat ending. While we applaud the two-and-a-half-hour show length, it felt underwhelming. If this show had been arranged like Backlash was, we could be talking about another PPV where SD Live killed it. Instead, we’re left with two MOTY candidates and the rest of it all dissembled into disorganized madness.
- Pre-Show – Eight-Man Tag – American Alpha/The Hype Bros. def. The Ascension/The Vaudevillains via pinfall
- WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Triple-Threat – AJ Styles (Champion) def. Dean Ambrose and John Cena via pinfall to retain
- Nikki Bella def. Carmella via pinfall
- WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Heath Slater/Rhyno (Champions) def. The Usos via pinfall to retain
- Baron Corbin def. Jack Swagger via pinfall
- “Title Vs. Career” Match – If Dolph Ziggler Loses, He Retires – WWE Intercontinental Championship – Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz (Champion) (w/Maryse) via pinfall to become new Champion
- Naomi def. Alexa Bliss via pinfall
- Bray Wyatt def. Randy Orton via pinfall
Posted on December 4, 2016, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Booker T, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Curt Hawkins, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater, Jack Swagger, JBL, Jerry Lawler, John Cena, Kenny, Lita, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mikey, Naomi, Nikki Bella, No Mercy, Renee Young, Rhyno, Shane McMahon, The Ascension, The Hype Bros., The Miz, The Spirit Squad, The Usos, The Vaudevillains. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.