Trying something new here on the site, as I’ve been a lifelong fan of WWE and pro wrestling in general, so figured I’d see if people want to see me cover the world of WWE as well, so here we go with my first show review of Smackdown’s live event, No Mercy that literally just happened not that long ago.
So far, as I’ve mentioned before I’m a huge fan of the brand split, as it gives both shows reasons to exist, it’s not just watching WWE two days in a row for Raw and Smackdown, each show has it’s own feel to it, and as of now, Smackdown has been putting on the better wrestling shows since the brand split started. This is the second Smackdown only ppv, and they’ve been on a roll.
Hype Bros and American Alpha vs. The Vaudevillains and The Acension
Decent 4 man tag match to get these guys on the card. I’m still hoping that they do something of worth with The Vaudevillains sometime soon, as they were one of my favorite tag teams on NXT, but they haven’t figured out what to do with them yet since they arrived on the main roster. American Alpha picks up the win, great way to start off the action.
Match Rating: **** out of 5 Stars.
Also, Curt Hawkins made his in ring re debut since returning with the new gimmick, that he will be in action on Smackdown next week. I’ve liked the hype built up for his return, but if they don’t do something with him soon the joke will get stale, sooner rather than later.
Match #1 John Cena v AJ Styles v Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship
No Mercy started off in a bold way, putting on their title match at the start of the show. This is certainly a way to grab the attention of the fans, and casuals who may be torn between watching a scripted event where the winner is already determined as two “enemies” battle each other, or they wanted to watch a WWE show, so that gets the attention up quick. I’m still not sure how I feel about putting your title match on the show first, but that’s just in part to me being an old school fan, where there’s a place for everything on the show, there’s your opening match guys, your mid carders, and your main event guys. Nowadays I guess anybody can be a main eventer, it’s just when they put you on the show, and if you put on a match worthy enough to be in that spot.
As far as the match itself goes, it was pretty great, not the best match I’ve seen any of these guys compete in, but it had some good moments. Such as Cena dropping both guys in a double AA, and a double 5 Knuckle Shuffle…er, 10 Knuckle Shuffle I guess, and a great fakeout with Cena and Ambrose causing Styles to tap out, only for the match to continue. I was legit angry at this non finish of a match, but then it went on and was instantly forgiven, well played WWE, well played. It ends with Styles still as your WWE World Champ, and that’s the way to go I feel. AJ Styles has proven himself worldwide throughout his career and in the WWE as well this year since he arrived at the Royal Rumble back in January. Keep the belt on him for a while, smart booking.
Match Rating ***.1/2 stars out of 5
Match #2 Carmella vs. Nikki Bella
Quick little grudge match to keep the show moving between the newly turned heel Carmella and the newly turned face Nikki Bella, it was a decent match, nothing to write home about, but nothing to change the channel over either. Women are getting their due in WWE as of late, just some matches are better than others. Still this is one of two matches with women tonight, so that’s a definite change of pace, and a welcome one at that.
Match Rating: ** stars out of 5
Match # 3 Heath Slater and Rhyno vs The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Championship
I really enjoy what they’ve done with Heath Slater since the brand split. I’ve always been a fan of his since The Nexus days, and really thought they could have done more with both 3MB and the Social Outcasts, more than just entertaining jobbers at the very least, so I was happy when they put him in a tag team with Rhyno last month and they became the first ever Smackdown Tag champs.
I also am a huge fan of the Usos in how they are now as heels. I appreciated their in ring skill before as faces, but the hakas and everything about their gimmick got stale, and they needed to shake things up, and boy have they ever in this new heel role for them. I love it, they are just a brutal tag team, and I hope that they get the titles again sometime soon, but it was not to be tonight, as Rhyno and Slater managed to retain, after a pretty grueling match for them.
Match Rating: **** out of 5 Stars
Match #4: Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger
So, this match…also was on the card…if there was ever a snack/bathroom break match this was it. I like Baron Corbin but I feel like there’s some more work that needs to be done with him, and I’ve always been a Swagger fan, but there needs to be something better done with him than this pointless feud just to fill a few blank minutes on the match card. Corbin wins with the End of Days finisher. Moving on.
Match Rating * out of 5 stars
Match #5 The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler, Intercontinental Title vs Career Match
This match…holy damn…this match right here was rumored as the show was going on the air to be the main event, and it really should have been the main event of the show. This to me was the best match either of these guys has put on in some time. The buildup to this match was perfect, with Ziggler failing again, and again to defeat The Miz, just like most of his career has been as of late, falling short of what he expected and what we expected as fans. So, in a moment of frustration he puts his career on the line for one more match against The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. And so we had this match.
This match had everything you want in a WWE match, back and forth, false finishes, great action, a few great spots, multiple heel interferences by The Miz and his wife Maryse, along with The Miz’s new allies it seems, 2 members of The Spirit Squad, Ziggler’s old wrestling buddies/original gimmick back in the mid 00’s. They had me on this roller coaster of a match from the opening bell, I wanted Ziggler to win, but they really made it seem like it was going to go the way it’s always gone for Ziggler, and they had me fully invested in this match as a fan. And then Ziggler finally gets the pin on Miz after multiple false finishes and near falls…I was cheering, which rarely happens for me when I’m watching on tv. Holy crap was this match great.
Why this was changed from the Main Event spot is beyond me, this is main event material for sure. If the World Title wasn’t in the Main Event, this should have been it. No offense to Randy and Bray, they did a great little number which I’ll get to, but that was a mid card match. It should have been, it felt very mid card. This, was a main event match, any day of the week. I’ll put this in for match of the year even, it was that good. If you watch only one match from this show, watch the Miz vs. Ziggler match, and prepare for greatness. It was as glorious as you can get without a Bobby Roode appearance.
Match Rating: *****out of 5 Stars
Match #5 Alexa Bliss vs Naomi
This was supposed to be a title match, Alexa Bliss challenging Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch for her title, but, due to some unforseen medical issues, Becky would not be in action tonight. They still needed to fill some time on the card, so Naomi came out to challenge Alexa, and got the victory in quick fashion, pinning her, 1, 2, 3.
This match was a last minute addition to the card, so I can’t judge it too harshly, and it’s always great to see Alexa Bliss and Naomi in action, especially Naomi, she of the best entrance in women’s wrestling today in WWE, so it was just a filler match, but good filler though.
Match rating *** out of 5 Stars
Main Event: Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
The buildup to this match (2 months in the making) has been a bit odd, and not in the good kind of odd that Bray Wyatt does best, it started out building to a match last month, that for whatever reason IRL, Randy couldn’t compete in, so they (storyline wise) had Bray beat him down in the locker room area, only for Bray to get beaten by Kane later on in the evening.
And since then we haven’t gotten them in the ring with each other yet, just a lot of mind games sketches, which was great, which we really don’t see too much of anymore, but I never really allowed myself to get caught up in the hype, because Bray’s track record goes,
Step 1: Do cryptic promo about superstar for a few weeks
Step 2: Challenge superstar to match
Step 3: Lose to said superstar, move on to the next guy, repeat.
It’s like the writers just forgot what to do with Bray Wyatt, who’s one of the more interesting characters WWE has to offer today, so I went into this match wondering why it was the main event, and just waiting for Bray to lose again.
In the end though I was really pleasantly surprised with this match turnout, as Bray dominated most of the match, had a few good spots in there from both guys, and then the finish with the returning Luke Harper, who’d been out of action for the past 6 months, allowing Bray to hit Randy with the Sister Abigail and getting the pin. Hopefully this is just buildup to an even greater story, as I’d love to see Bray in the title scene picture, but we’ll see how the writer’s go.
Still all in all a solid B+ PPV for the Smackdown team, once again Smackdown proving to the better show of the two since the brand split. Til next time guys be sure to Keep it Reel. And if you want to see more wrestling coverage, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do this on a regular basis.