10/9 WWE No Mercy Review: WWE opens the show with a bang and closes with a very average main event


WWE No Mercy Review
October 10, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

It’s no secret that I’ve been raving about the Smackdown Live brand for weeks. Ever since Backlash, WWE seemed to hit this new gear with the blue team and really put forth interesting television shows with feuds you could actually get interested in.

In doing just about the polar opposite of RAW, characters on Smackdown were actually getting into conflicts with very basic premises without needing an authority figure constantly involved. I was really looking forward to No Mercy after a solid few weeks of TV.

Then it was revealed on Sunday afternoon that the scheduled AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose triple threat main event would be opening the show on Sunday night. I saw the tweet on my feed and had to scratch my eyes to make sure I was reading this correctly. WWE, in a move likely due to heavy competition from the second Presidential Debate, called an audible to have easily the hottest angle going into No Mercy open the show.

After RAW completely bombed in the ratings going up against the first Presidential Debate a few weeks ago (going up against an estimated 81 million viewers), I get the concern and why the company would want more people to see the most important match on the card. It’s still an interesting move and set a completely different vibe for the show going forward. With only a few hours to digest this decision, WWE trudged forward and made a go for it.

WWE opens the show with a bang

While it took a few minutes to try and focus on a main event opening a major WWE event, the unique situation didn’t take anything away from the interest and delivered on what was easily the highlight of Smackdown the last few weeks involving AJ Styles, John Cena and Dean Ambrose. We even went a full 21 minutes without a Tower of Doom spot. I was really impressed with everyone involved tonight and how they were able to keep up a very good pace with lots of teases. While the tap out scenario with Styles was creative, WWE really did a poor job of explaining what was next and why the match was continuing. Regardless of the confusion, I liked the heel presentation of Styles taking advantage of the triple threat No DQ rules and picking up another pinfall over Cena.

Very average main event

When I saw Dolph Ziggler head to the ring with plenty of time remaining I started to heavily question WWE’s call by going with Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt to close the show. While I get the overall goal with Wyatt’s creepy presentation, I found the backstage segments in recent weeks between Wyatt and Orton to be very corny. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised and while it definitely wasn’t the worst match I’ve ever seen, it still left a lot to be desired and closed the show with a very “well, that happened” vibe. It’s good to see Luke Harper back and I did like the finish sequence involving that. And hey, Bray Wyatt even got himself a pinfall victory in WWE. I’m just not super interested in this feud and it really feels like The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler would have been a better call to close the show.

Dolph Ziggler keeps his job

With a lot of TV preview screenshots floating around Twitter and Facebook the last few days, it seemed that a majority of wrestling fans felt Dolph Ziggler was on the way out and we would see the continuing reign of The Miz on Smackdown Live. What we ended up getting was another solid match between Miz and Ziggler with Ziggler overcoming lots of outside interference and a superkick (without a boot) to seal the deal to become the new WWE Intercontinental Champion and keep his WWE career intact. We need these feel-good babyface moments every once in a while from this company and I thought WWE delivered with Ziggler’s post-match celebration. Miz was just as great selling the outcome. The brand split has done wonders for both guys and I look forward to what we get next.

Random Thoughts

* I can totally get behind the troll presentation of Curt Hawkins.

* Nikki Bella hasn’t missed a beat in the ring since her return.

* Glad to see WWE stick with Heath Slater and Rhyno as tag champions.

* Jack Swagger is in danger of hitting Vaudevillains/Ascension territory.

* Loved the reaction from Alexa Bliss with her loss to Naomi.

Final Impression

55% of our readers gave No Mercy a thumbs up on our official Twitter poll. It should be noted that another 35% didn’t even bother to tune in live.

I’m not really sure if it’s fair to put this show up against Backlash or really any other WWE PPV presentation this year given the audible that was called to open with the main event. Regardless of the weird vibe, we got a solid opener with Styles, Cena and Ambrose and a great match out of Miz and Ziggler. We aren’t getting another Smackdown-only show until December so it will be interesting to see what the brand sets up until Survivor Series. Overall, a pretty good show from WWE on Sunday night. Not great, but not bad.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your No Mercy thoughts in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter: @adamwrestleview