WWE No Mercy Hit List: Dolph Ziggler and The Miz steal the show, AJ Styles, John Cena, and Dean Ambrose open it, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton close it along with the return of Luke Harper

nomercyBy Jason Powell

WWE No Mercy Hits

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship: Ziggler spends a lot of time talking about stealing the show, but it had been a long time since I felt like he actually did it. This was the best match of the night. We’ve seen Miz and Ziggler work together countless times and they usually work well together. It’s not that this match was dramatically better than their previous encounters. Rather, it’s that the stipulation of Ziggler’s career being on the line worked like a charm. It actually says a lot about the sad state of the secondary titles that these two have feuded over. The fans cared when Ziggler’s career was on the line, yet they do not care nearly as much about the secondary championships. Fortunately, the work of Miz combined with this feud seems to have elevated the Intercontinental Championship to some degree. It’s baffling to me that this wasn’t the last match on the card given that it concluded with a happy ending and the fans clearly cared about it going in. Even so, Ziggler and Miz did a great job and this was the match of the night.

AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship: One can only assume that WWE moved this match to the opener position because they were hoping people would actually watch it before the Great American Train Wreck known as the second U.S. Presidential Debate started at the top of No Mercy’s second hour. I’m not sure why they didn’t hype it this way from the start since the debate schedule has been out for some time, but I like the way they made a strong late push by touting that this was the first time in WWE history that a main event would open the pay-per-view. The wrestlers did their part. Unfortunately, the match was bogged down by the double submission spot that seemed to confuse the crowd more than excite them. Likewise, AJ picking up a chair and striking Cena with it repeatedly at the end of the match made for an odd finish. The right guy went over, and the right guy lost if Cena is heading out soon to film “American Grit” again. Fortunately, the hard work of the wrestlers helped make up for the match feeling needlessly overbooked.

Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: A good match that grabbed the live crowd and held their interest from bell to bell. Slater and Rhyno continue to be over as the underdog comedic tag team, and the Usos are doing fine work as fresh heels. I still believe it’s only a matter of time before the Usos win the tag titles. I suspect that their recent losses are being justified internally with the notion that fans won’t care about these losses once the Usos win the tag titles. I would have pulled the trigger on the tag title switch here, but no major harm will come from the Usos losing this match and the underdog tag team getting more time with the tag straps.

Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger: More of an “in the middle” type of match than a true Hit or Miss. The live crowd didn’t seem to care aside from chanting We The People with Swagger a couple of times. This feud is probably more about building up Corbin than Swagger, but Swagger still has a chance to breathe some new life into his act with strong performances. Swagger has been poor on the mic thus far and I just don’t get the sense that he’s working hard to improve that part of his game. He and Corbin had a passable match, yet I believe Swagger is capable of being more than passable, and hopefully he shows it at some point during his run with Corbin.

WWE No Mercy Misses

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt: I felt like I was watching two guys work a house show main event. There was nothing special about the match and it was so strange that the decision was made to put this on last rather than the Intercontinental Championship match. That’s not a case of hindsight being 20/20, as I think most people assumed the IC Title match would go on last once the Triple Threat was moved to the opener position. The appearance of Luke Harper afterward was a nice surprise in that he had been backstage at Raw shows recently, and he even worked the Raw tour over the weekend. I’m not sure whether WWE is working harder to surprise their audience or if plans changed and they decided to move Harper to Smackdown once Erick Rowan suffered a torn rotator cuff. Either way, let’s hope WWE has a good plan for Harper beyond just having him be Wyatt’s lackey. Harper is a talented big man who is capable of being more than a setup guy.

Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss: It was not a good night for the Smackdown women. This was the worse of the two women’s matches. Did they even make contact when Naomi performed the Rearview? The finishing sequence also seemed botched with Bliss failing to apply the Cross Arm Breaker as she twisted her way around Naomi and instead fell to the mat before applying the hold. I hope they have a plan to heat up Bliss before she faces Becky Lynch on November 8. Bliss was faily flat going into the match because the broadcast team couldn’t stop talking about her small stature and creative couldn’t stop finding ways to make someone else responsible for her wins.

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella: A decent match that had the unenviable task of following the Triple Threat. The fans just don’t seem to care about Carmella at this point and it’s too bad because the writers invested a lot of time into putting heat on her going into this match. I wonder if the fan reaction would have been different if this had not been positioned as a comedown match following the “main event opener.”


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