Powell’s WWE No Mercy Hit List: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship, John Cena vs. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Titles

By Jason Powell

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WWE No Mercy Hits

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Titles: A terrific tag team match and my favorite match of the night. I enjoyed this more than the Young Bucks vs. Motor City Machine Guns match from Friday’s Ring of Honor pay-per-view, which says a lot about the quality of the Raw Tag Title match. Cesaro once again displayed world class toughness by continuing to work at a high level despite fracturing his two front teeth during the match. We’ve seen these teams work against each other several times, yet I find myself hoping that they will headline the TLC pay-per-view in a TLC match.

John Cena vs. Roman Reigns: This lived up to the hype of being a WrestleMania worthy match. Cena and Reigns worked WrestleMania style with all the kick outs from major moves. I bought in and believed the match was ending when Cena performed the Attitude Adjustment and then rolled through and performed the move again. One of the only negatives of the match for me is that as much as Reigns dominated the match, I didn’t buy into his near falls on Cena for some reason. Reigns winning clean followed by the respect shown post match felt premature in that they could have stretched this out into a series of matches. And I suppose they could still do that by having Reigns disrespect Cena on Raw tonight, but the post match scene felt like the respect was mutual so that doesn’t appear to be the plan. If not, the question becomes why not. Have they been rushing through big Cena matches because he’s about to take an extended leave? Either way, it was nice to see a Los Angeles crowd that has been tough on Cena over the years show him respect after the match.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Emma in a five-way match for the Raw Women’s Championship: The women’s match exceeded my expectations. It’s easy to take for granted how difficult these multi-person matches are with so many moving parts when the wrestlers pull them off so well these days. That said, I sincerely hope they get back to having singles matches for the championship and create separate feuds for the women who are not in the title picture. Jax had a terrific night. Whoever was involved in laying out this match did a tremendous job of showcasing Jax’s power moves while also coming up with key spots to take her out of the action for stretches of time. It will be very interesting to see how they push Asuka out of the gate in terms of whether she moves right into title contention or if they take their time with her.

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt: Another match that exceeded my expectations. This was the best Wyatt outing in recent memory. Was this the end of the program? If not, one can only hope that they have something big in mind to avoid this feeling like it’s overstaying it’s welcome as other Wyatt feuds have done. Could Balor be next in line for a WWE Universal Championship match?

The Miz vs. Jason Jordan for the Intercontinental Title: A minor Hit for a solid show opening match. Jordan shows good fire in the ring and his suplexes look great. Conversely, his post match interview was a big Miss. They gave his character an edge on Raw only to pull back on it in this promo in favor of having him revert to ultra nice guy mode. The crowd’s reaction to him strongly suggests that this approach is failing unless the plan is to build toward a heel turn.

Elias vs. Apollo Crews: A decent Kickoff Show match with the expected finish of Elias going over with his Drift Away move. Elias continues to click more on the main roster than he ever did in NXT, but it remains to be seen whether his singing gimmick limits him to the mid-card. Crews is still in no man’s land as part of the pointless Titus Worldwide group.

WWE No Mercy Misses

Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship: The only match on the show that fell below my expectations. Admittedly, I had high hopes for this match and it’s not like it was a poor match, but it just wasn’t as strong as I hoped it would be, nor did the live crowd seem as invested in the match as they were for the build. The finish was especially weak with Lesnar simply hitting the F5 out of nowhere just as he did against Samoa Joe. It was surprising that that more wasn’t done to protect Strowman. Obviously, there’s no shame in a character losing to Lesnar, but this felt like a deflating loss for Strowman. The key is whether they have something big in mind to heat up Strowman on Raw tonight. Lesnar retaining the championship on the same night that Reigns became “The Guy” (isn’t the Universal Champion actually The Guy?) by defeating Cena certainly reinforces the idea that Vince McMahon is hellbent on having Reigns defeat Lesnar on the big stage at WrestleMania. It’s not secret that the most passionate fans resent Reigns, and I can’t help but wonder if those fans could turn on Lesnar too. There’s been some unrest amongst those fans over the Suplex City style matches, and the resentment over the likely Lesnar vs. Reigns match at WrestleMania could make both men targets of this vocal fanbase, which could make for an interesting scene at WrestleMania.

Neville vs. Enzo Amore for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: My expectations were low for this match, but Neville dominating and Enzo doing a decent job of selling made this passable even if it was my least favorite match on the main card. The Miss is for the Eddie Guerrero style finish with Enzo kicking Neville in the balls and pinning him to win the championship. There was something about Guerrero performing those cheating spots that endeared him to the fans, whereas Enzo doing it just feels cheap and lazy.


The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...


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