Monday, September 25, 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017 Results

No Mercy was alright. It reminded me of some of the old WWF Raw episodes, where you knew nothing was going to happen, but you got some fake-out title matches, and one or two "main event" level matches that you'd never seen.

It didn't elevate the level of recent PPV shows, though, not by a long shot. The two "Wrestlemania level matches" didn't even remotely live up to the hype. And there weren't any surprising undercard matches that made up for them.

Anyways, here's how it went, and how my predictions shaped up.

Pre-Show Match: Apollo Crews vs. Elias

My prediction: Apollo Crews via pin
Result: Elias via pin

Ah well, it's really not a match of much relevance. Maybe they build a mini-feud off of this, with Titus O'Neil getting back in the ring to fight Elias down the road. And maybe not. No one will care.

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (C) vs. Enzo Amore

My prediction: Neville via submission
Result: Enzo via pin

I'm 0/2 so far. But in looking at the results for this one the day after, it works okay for me. The WWE needs 205 Live to have some more mustard, and Enzo is still pretty over. You can probably get 2-3 more matches out of these two, and then mix in a few other cruiserweights to finally establish your "main event" tier for the show.

Probably it won't work, but Enzo winning is a decent way to try to add some flavor. Of course, I think you could've gotten more out of Austin Aries if you'd given him the title in one of his forty-five matches, but hey, that's just me.

Enzo cheating to win is good going forward, though. Because you don't believe he could win fair. But if he cheats his ass off, who knows?

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

My prediction: Finn Balor via pin
Result: Finn Balor via pin

Hey, finally got one right. Of course, this match was perhaps the most insanely predictable 15 minutes of my life. Every single moment, it felt like you knew exactly what was going to happen next. You know who gets excited for that? Nobody.

Balor won, hopefully they let Wyatt sit for a while to figure out what to do with him next. Honestly, it wouldn't be terrible to just leave him off TV until January, and then have him come out as a modest surprise at the Royal Rumble.

Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Jason Jordan

My prediction: Jason Jordan via DQ
Result: The Miz via pin

So I got the interference right, just not the final result. I thought this was actually a pretty good match; The Miz and Jordan actually had some decent in-ring chemistry, and both performed solidly (although I still think The Miz is just way too slow).

But the result made everything feel stupid. Much like the Singh Brothers' boring interference in Jinder Mahal's match against Shinsuke Nakamura at SummerSlam, this felt like the kind of result you would get on Raw, not on show you have to pay to watch.

Oh, and whoever decided that Renee Young should jump in the ring and interview Jordan right after the match should be fired. And banned from wrestling. And get Bonzai Dropped by the ghost of Yokozuna.

RAW Tag Team Championship Match: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (C) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro

My prediction: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose via pin
Result: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose via pin

Another highly predictable match, I think the WWE did us a disservice in this match though. Sheamus and Cesaro pulled off a number of heavily impactful moves, culminating with Sheamus hitting White Noise on Ambrose, followed by Cesaro POWER-BOMBING ROLLINS FROM THE TOP ROPE ONTO AMBROSE. And Ambrose kicked out.

No. No that's stupid. That's a move to end a match. Having someone kick out of that puts literally the whole show on blast, because it highlights how everything is scripted. "Great move, but it wasn't a finisher, so the guy kicks out." For a company that's all too happy to have matches end in schoolboy roll-up pins, they have a ridiculous aversion to acknowledging the impact of non-finisher moves.

Also Cesaro knocked out a couple teeth on the ring post. Crazy.

RAW Women's Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Bayley (vs. Emma)

My prediction: Alexa Bliss via pin
Result: Alexa Bliss via pin

Alright, now we're hitting stride, two in a row. Emma did fairly well in the match, a reminder that most women wrestlers these days actually can wrestle. The other competitors were fine, though overall unexceptional. Nia Jax is so obviously on a different planet from the other girls as far as size, but they did an alright job of using that effectively, by forcing the other women to team up to fight her. The four-person power-bomb of Nia onto the floor was a pretty good moment.

The finish was again very Raw-worthy, with Alexa sneaking a DDT on Bayley and getting a quick pin to retain. A fine match, if not a highlight.

John Cena vs. Roman Reigns

My prediction: Roman Reigns via pin
Result: Roman Reigns via pin

Really, really bad match. Things started slow as hell right from the get-go, with even the first few punches of the match taking 5-10 seconds each to "recover from" before advancing to the next move...usually another punch. I don't know if someone wasn't feeling well or something, but the whole match was incredibly slow.

The spot of Reigns spearing Cena onto the announce table was alright, but I liked it better when it was Reigns spearing the Undertaker. Some creativity people, jeez.

Reigns wins in utterly boring fashion: Kickout, Spear, Pin, Repeat. And you wonder why people boo this guy.

Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Strowman

My prediction: Brock Lesnar via pin
Result: Brock Lesnar via pin

Look, it was fine. For a standard match between two big guys, it was fine. But after SummerSlam, the excitement for Lesnar and Strowman to put on a great brawl was palpable, and they fell flat. Almost the entire match took place inside the ring, there was no real noticeably "violent" moments, and the two guys altogether did like six different moves.

If Braun's loss brings about some interesting changes for his character, maybe trying to coexist with a manager or some backup, that could be useful. But right now, he just came out looking like he could never beat Brock, so he might as well go home.

Overall: 5/8 (62.5%) Correct

No Mercy was kind of a nothing pay-per-view, but that's been the case for most of the non-big-four shows for a couple years now. Zero run-ins, one match with interference, one other match with some explicit cheating. One big spot, the power-bomb in the tag match, but the fact that it didn't win the match sapped that momentary excitement.

I get that not every PPV can be a winner. I even get that it's important for there to be less exciting PPVs, so that the good ones stand out even more. But when you're asking for money for these shows, and when you're adding an extra 6-8 PPVs every year with the brand split, and when you're talking about either increasing the price of the WWE Network or creating a second tier, you've got to deliver.

Still waiting.

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