By Jason Powell
The No Mercy title appears to be in reference to the number of pay-per-views that WWE, TNA, and Ring of Honor have piled on us this month. Fatigue has officially set in for many fans. After a stretch in which there were three wrestling pay-per-views in eight days, WWE comes back with yet another in the form of this Smackdown exclusive show. It’s not a bad lineup, yet very little feels must see. I can only wonder how many more fans are picking and choosing what they watch via the WWE Network’s on demand feature rather than watching the full shows live.
AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship: The build to the match was good enough to distract from the fact that it feels unlikely that Styles will be dropping the title he just won. There’s good tension between Cena and Ambrose, and both men had established issues with Styles. The hype over Cena winning his 16th Championship seems to have died down after being an early focus. Cena missed last year’s Survivor Series while filming the “American Grit” reality show. If he’s on the same schedule this year, then my guess is that he does the honors here.
AJ Styles retains the WWE Championship.
Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Titles: It feels like it’s only a matter of time before the Usos take the tag titles. I say there’s no time like the present. It’s possible WWE stretches this out, but it will happen sooner or later. For what it’s worth, Slater comes into the match with a storyline knee injury courtesy of the Usos, but it seemed like he stopped selling that on Tuesday’s Smackdown.
The Usos win the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.
Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Can WWE please stop pointing out Bliss’s small stature? It started when she was drafted to Smackdown and Renee Young referred to her as a “little nugget.” On Tuesday’s Smackdown live, Mauro Ranallo made repeated references to her small size. What purpose does this serve? I’m also confused by the way they showed that Nikki Bella would have beaten Bliss clean on Smackdown had it not been for that meddling Carmella. And even when Bliss got the win in the tag match that followed, it was completely due to Carmella again. I didn’t think Bliss would win when they announced this match, but it would have been nice if they could have built her up properly as Lynch’s first pay-per-view challenger.
Becky Lynch retains the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title and Ziggler must retire if he loses: Go, Miz, go! I enjoy picking on the Dolph Ziggler character. Between his ongoing tributes to ’80s heavy metal or his ’80s inspired attire or his countless losses, he makes it so easy. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the guy behind the character’s work ethic, it’s just that his character has become such a loser. I want Ziggler to turn heel to get a fresh start. Instead, I suspect that he simply wins the championship and continues to be an oblivious mid-card wrestler who can’t understand why management doesn’t do more with him. Meanwhile, The Miz drops the championship and moves up the card where he belongs.
Dolph Ziggler wins the Intercontinental Title.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt: I assume the match is on and that Bray’s disappearance from the shipping container doesn’t mean that he’s truly joined Sister Abigail on the other side. Then again, the kidnapping made it seem like Orton was moving into the human trafficking market. I don’t know much about human trafficking, but I have to assume that if you don’t deliver the goods then you might end up being the human trafficked, so hopefully Orton will be there. I’m filling space because I don’t care about who wins. This feud is dragging even though they haven’t even had a match yet. They need a damn good one to breathe life into this program if they hope to extend it. My guess is that they will extend it either way, so I’m going with the heel.
Bray Wyatt beats Randy Orton.
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella: They did a nice job of building to this match with Carmella repeatedly getting the better of Nikki. It would be a shame to see them wrap it up with a decisive Nikki win. I assume Carmella is next in line for a title shot because it feels premature to rush into the Lynch vs. Bella showdown. I don’t have a strong feeling about this one, but I’ll go with the heel again.
Carmella beats Nikki Bella.
Curt Hawkins match: The bad Chuck Norris joke vignettes are over and we finally get to see the re-debut (is that a word?) of Hawkins in WWE. Is he going to be a comedy heel who loses after this big buildup? Do they actually have plans for him? I don’t even know who his opponent will be (James Ellsworth?!?), but I’ll go with Hawkins on night one.
Curt Hawkins beats Your Dad.
Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin (Kickoff Show): This felt like a mid-card feud, so seeing it listed for the Kickoff Show defines it down a bit. We saw Swagger win thanks to a controversial referee’s decision on Tuesday. My guess is they’re not stopping there and we get another controversial finish only this time with the heel going over.
Baron Corbin wins.