By Jason Powell
WWE No Mercy 2017 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and social media
Los Angeles, California at Staples Center
-Renee Young hosted the Kickoff Show and was joined the panel of Jerry Lawler, David Otunga, and Sam Roberts from the usual spot on the arena floor.
-Charly Caruso checked in from the social media lounge and there was actually a graphic acknowledging her name for a change. She will be joined by Alexa Bliss, who will answer the very worst of the questions submitted by fans on social media.
-A Braun Strowman promo aired from somewhere in the building. He said the beast will fall to the monster among men. Young and the panel spoke about how confident he seemed going into the WWE Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar.
-A Roman Reigns vs. John Cena video package aired.
-Kurt Angle joined the panel in place of Otunga. Angle said that the winner of the Reigns vs. Cena match will be the man. Um, wouldn’t that be the Universal Champion? Roberts pushed Angle on which wrestler he wants to win. Angle said he’s okay with Cena continuing to be the man because he’s been so reliable. Angle spoke positively about Reigns and said he beat Undertaker at WrestleMania.
The Miz crashed the set and interrupted Angle. Miz said that when he steps foot in the ring it is always a WrestleMania worthy moment. Angle wished him good luck in his match against Jason Jordan. Miz mocked the idea of needing luck. Miz taunted Angle over not being there for his son, but added that Angle would be there for his son when he loses later in the show. Lawler brought up insulting the parents of Bret Hart and how it made Bret come at him stronger to the point that he whipped Lawler’s butt. Miz held up the Intercontinental Championship and said it means everything in WWE and he will once again retain it against Angle’s “loser son.” After Miz dropped the mic and walked off, Angle also signed off shortly thereafter.
-Young interviewed Finn Balor, who was backstage on the interview set. Balor said he’s never pretended to be something he is not. He said The Demon doesn’t control him, he controls it. Balor said he’s proven time and time again that he is an extraordinary man who can do extra ordinary things. He said he will do it again against Bray Wyatt.
-Otunga rejoined the panel. Roberts and Otunga predicted a Balor win, while Lawler went with Wyatt.
-The panel discussed the Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose partnership. Otunga picked Sheamus and Cesaro to regain the tag titles, while Lawler and Roberts picked Rollins and Ambrose to retain.
-Backstage, Mike Rome interviewed Neville, who said there won’t be the classic match that everyone is hoping for. He said Enzo Amore is not a fighter, he’s an entertainer. Neville said Enzo found it hilarious when he kicked him in the “crown jewels” on 205 Live, but Neville said he will find it hilarious when he disfigures Amore. Roberts was the only panelist to predict an Enzo title win.
-A Hell in a Cell ad aired.
-An Asuka teaser video aired and advertised her for TLC.
-Charly Caruso interviewed Alexa Bliss in the social media lounge. Bliss acted confident when asked about Asuka joining the division. The first fan question asked how Bliss prepares physically and mentally knowing that she doesn’t have to be pinned to lose. The second question whether Bliss would marry some horny fan. The third question was whether she believes she will walk out as champion. She answered appropriately for each lame question.
-Otunga predicted that Bliss will retain the title. Lawler went with Nia Jax to win it. Roberts went with Bliss. Young said not to sleep on Bayley.
-The Raw broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T checked in from their perch. Elias mocked the idea of Los Angeles being the City of Angels, saying he was in hell. He said his song would change their lives. As usual, it was anti host city. He was eventually cut off by his opponent’s entrance…
1. Elias vs. Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil). Graves said Elias is incredibly talented, but he can’t stand his music. Graves spoke about how L.A. spawned great bands such as Guns N Roses (amen). Late in the match, Crews performed a standing moonsault for a two count. Crews caught Elias with a nice enzuigiri that knocked him to ringside. Crews threw him back inside and then missed a top rope move. Elias shoved him into the corner and hit Drift Away for the clean win.
Elias beat Apollo Crews.
-The panel pimped that three pay-per-views would air free for new subscribers who signed up in time for No Mercy (Hell in a Cell and TLC). They once again hyped Asuka debuting at TLC.
-A video package focussed on the WWE Universal Championship match.
-Backstage, Rome was waiting outside of Brock Lesnar’s locker room and said he was hoping to speak with Paul Heyman. When Heyman showed up, Rome stammered a bit and asked him about the Universal Championship match. Heyman said the question is whether Lesnar can deal with Strowman.
-Young questioned whether Heyman was playing mind games by positioning Lesnar as the underdog. Otunga picked Strowman to win. Roberts picked Lesnar. Lawler flipped a coin and picked Lesnar to close the Kickoff Show.
Powell’s POV: The Kickoff Show was better than usual. They had Miz and Angle both appear on the set, and also had more backstage interviews than usual, which helped break up the long panel discussions and video packages.
Join me for live coverage of WWE No Mercy on the main page.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Justin Credible returning to discuss playing comedy clubs with Sandman and Shane Douglas on "The Whole F'n Truth Tour", the status of the "Credible" documentary, reviewing AEW Dynamite with Vince Russo, and much more...