No Mercy was Smackdown Live’s second brand-exclusive PPV of the new era. There were two matches of real interest to the majority of fans – the WWE World Championship triple threat match, which was announced as the opening match of the pay per view a couple of hours before the show, and the Title vs Career match between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler. Would No Mercy live up to the standard set by Backlash?
The pre-show featured the returning Curt Hawkins stepping into the ring at No Mercy – literally. This was a terrible way to start the show as the writers were building up a wrestler who no one cared about. The 8-man tag team match was a solid match-up, with the babyfaces going over in order to hype up the crowd for the show.
1) AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose vs John Cena in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Championship
Surprisingly, the main event kicked off the pay-per-view in a possible solution to compete with the Presidential Debate. It’s a risky move that would’ve paid off if the rest of the show was booked correctly. The match itself was phenomenal (it’s the only way to describe an AJ Styles match), with all three men looking strong and a tight contest where anyone could’ve walked away with the championship. There were some great spots, including the triple german suplex and Cena carrying both Ambrose and Styles on his back in position for the Attitude Adjustment. I also loved the spot where Ambrose grabbed Style’s hand in order to prevent him from submitting to Cena’s STF. I was confused when Styles tapped to both Cena and Ambrose’s submissions simultaneously and it was ruled that the submissions were offset, allowing the match to continue. The decision to keep the title on Styles was the correct call and they should make Cena’s 16th championship reign wait a good while.
WINNER: AJ Styles retains
2) Nikki Bella vs Carmella
This was a solid match with a lot of hair-pulling on Carmella’s part. Nikki winning made up for the times Carmella had the upper hand on her on every Smackdown leading up to the pay-per-view. The match itself was probably the best women’s match of the night (we’ll get to that later). This rivalry may continue in order to make Carmella look the strongest coming out of the feud.
WINNER: Nikki Bella
3) Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Usos for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
I didn’t mind Slater & Rhyno going over, but they need to featured a lot more so they can be taken more seriously. I was unhappy with their booking leading up to the pay-per-view as they were just a sidepiece to The Usos vs Amercian Alpha rivalry. This win over Jimmy and Jey made the tag team champs look strong, but the writers need to carry on this momentum. Heath Slater seems to be improving more in the ring and is making the most of this push he’s been getting. I loved the powerslam off the top rope by Slater, which was my favourite spot of the match. The Usos look really good as heels, and are doing their best to not do their old high-flying moves and keeping their opponents grounded. A change in theme song would be nice for them though.
WINNER: Heath Slater and Rhyno retains
4) Baron Corbin vs Jack Swagger
The crowd chanted “boring” during this match, which was unfotunate for the performers because the match wasn’t that bad at all. There’s not much backstory behind this rivalry other than Swagger trying to prove himself on Smackdown and giving Corbin a challenge after weeks of doing nothing. With both men tied in their series, there’s bound to be a rubber match somewhere down the line, in which Corbin should come out the winner.
WINNER: Baron Corbin
5) The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler in a Title vs Career Match for the Intercontinental Championship; if Ziggler loses he must retire
Plain and simple: this match should’ve been the main event. With all the backstory and emotion heading in this match, it should’ve gone on last. Both men put on an outstanding performance which made this the match of the night. There was amazing storytelling, the moves were crisp and WWE did a great job of fooling most of us with all the Ziggler rumors of him leaving. The story at the end of the match was about The Miz doing everything in his power to end Ziggler’s career, using the figure-four, hitting two Skullcrushing Finales and Maryse spraying Ziggler just like at Backlash. There was also the appearance of Spirit Squad members Kenny and Mikey, yet Ziggler managed to hit the sweetest superkick of his career to become the new champion. I applaud The Miz for making the Intercontinental Championship relevant again and now with Ziggler holding the title, we’re bound to get some 5-star matches with Ziggler and Miz and whoever else is chucked into the mix, which allows this title to take another step up in prestige.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler – new Intercontinental Champion
6) Alexa Bliss vs Naomi
Bliss was set to challenge Becky Lynch for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship tonight, but Lynch ended up in hospital due to a medical issue. The challenger was complaining in the ring, when she was interrupted by…Naomi? Yes, Naomi was the only babyface left in the women’s division so I guess it had to be her. It was easy to tell the match had just been put together because there were botches for most of the match. The crowd was cooling down from the emotional rollercoaster of Miz/Ziggler that people weren’t interested once they found out Lynch wasn’t competing. The Rear View Naomi gave was one of the worst I’d seen and the rollup for the finish was slow as well. Oh, that’s another thing – Alexa Bliss lost! You’d think they’d give Bliss momentum with the champion’s absence, but instead, Naomi may be injected into the title picture. Probably the worst match of the night.
7) Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
I really don’t get why this match went on last. The match itself wasn’t bad, but heading into No Mercy, this feud had less buildup than Miz/Ziggler or the triple threat. It’s nice to see Wyatt get a big win, and in the main event nonetheless, but this feud just feels useless. The return of Luke Harper was great, but it wasn’t a big enough return that should affect the end of a pay-per-view. Unfortunately, we may see this storyline continue, but I’d be happy if Wyatt goes over at the end of the rivalry.
WINNER: Bray Wyatt
FINAL RATING: 6.5/10
This PPV was on par with Raw’s Clash of Champions PPV, and definitely not as good as Backlash. There were only two matches that were worth watching and as expected, they ended up being the two best matches of the night. The main event starting the show was a nice change for once, but if that was the case, then they should’ve ended with Miz/Ziggler instead of a pointless feud like Orton/Wyatt. The other matches didn’t have much effect on the pay-per-view and it was unfortunate that Becky Lynch couldn’t compete. With this rating, Raw should answer back in the right way with Hell in a Cell.