No Mercy is over with, that’s another SmackDown pay-per-view in the bag. This one was completely weird in that they had the main event open the show, and they closed the show with Orton vs. Wyatt. The triple threat title match was great, and Dolph Ziggler finally beating The Miz was a great payoff and a great moment, the rest of the card was really underwhelming though. Most of the matches ranged from average at best, to downright bad. I’m really not sold on the brand exclusive pay-per-views, especially after this. The SmackDown roster is lacking so much in depth. Maybe Raw can have a better overall offering with Hell in a Cell. There were at least two really good matches here though.
Dolph Ziggler wins the Intercontinental Title
This was the match of the night for me. It had the best story, the most interest, the highest stakes and at the end of the day both Ziggler and Miz put on a great performance. I’d go as far as saying that it’s the best match they’ve had together and it certainly stood out to me as one of The Miz’s best matches overall. They ramped up the drama with Maryse using the spray can again and The Spirit Squad (or what’s left of them) making a run in, but it all paid off. Honestly, I’m one of the suckers that thought Ziggler was leaving. I bought this as his final match, at least for a while, but I was relieved to see the guy win the title. The IC title itself still doesn’t feel like an important belt to me and given that this is Ziggler’s fifth reign with the title it just doesn’t feel like a big deal – the higher stakes were absolutely Ziggler’s career and ending his losing streak. But upon saying that, this was the most important IC title match we’ve seen in a long time and it’s a step in the right direction towards making it an important belt. I don’t know what happens with Ziggler next and how well the crowd will receive him going forward, but I thought Miz was so great and him selling the title loss like he actually lost something meaningful was great. The mindboggling thing is why this didn’t headline and go last, but I’ll get to that soon.
WWE World Title Triple Threat
This was every bit your typical WWE pay-per-view triple threat with the three guys trading big moves over and over until someone won. It’s something that I feel like I’ve seen before, but I still really liked it. It’s like rewatching a good movie that you’ve seen a bunch of times, you kind of know what to expect but you’re still happy to keep going along for the ride. The crowd was crazy hot for the match. I didn’t like the silly double submission spot, that’s the only major negative I can whine about. I didn’t see the purpose it served in the match, outside of having Styles tap out without losing the title. Why make your champion lose if he’s not putting someone over? At the end it was still good and Styles winning with a chair shot is fine in my book. It’s too early for him to lose the belt yet, although I have a feeling that he might lose it as early as Survivor Series next month if WWE is getting serious about making Survivor Series a bigger deal than usual.
Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger
A very, very minor hit. The crowd wasn’t too invested in this, but it was better than I thought. Corbin is improving, and I think Swagger is just a great guy for the new big guys to work with. Swagger did wonders for Rusev when he first came up to the roster and he might be able to help Corbin out a lot now in the same way. I’m not sure if this feud continues though, but Corbin did win off an eyepoke so I could see this going on for another month. It was neat seeing Corbin get a match that wasn’t on the pre-show or just bumped entirely.
The order of matches
No Mercy was a bizarre show. While opening with what was essentially the main event meant that the show was white hot out of the gate, it also meant the majority of everything afterwards just felt like nothing. The only other match fans cared about was the IC title match, everything else was just kind of there and felt out of place. Even I found myself struggling to maintain interest in some matches. Orton and Wyatt as the main event is just a weird and outright blunder of a call. I get that Orton is considered the second biggest star next to Cena but you have to have some kind of understanding of what your audience is coming to see – and Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton was low on that list for most people. If the triple threat wasn’t the main event, then really the show needed to end with Ziggler winning the title. Everything after that moment felt like a big anticlimax and the crowd never really got all that excited again.
Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
Speaking of Wyatt vs. Orton, not only was the match completely out of place in the main event, they didn’t even really deliver much of a match. I’m not sure if it’s that the chemistry isn’t there or they were just having an off night, but this felt like they were going through the motions and having a very simple and easy match. Maybe Orton is still hurt and so they were trying to keep things safe? But in any case, this match felt like a disappointment. And everything leading into the match didn’t do anything for me and it’s just made Bray Wyatt seem like such a joke. I like that Luke Harper had his big return here, although it was done so clunkily. The lights go out, come back on and Harper is there in the ring pulling faces at Orton who just has to stand there and wait for Wyatt to beat him. While Bray really needed the win, it’s not exactly a strong win and it probably isn’t going to help him get over. And these whacky segments they’re doing with him every week are having the opposite effect. This was just a boring match to close the show overall.
Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi
It’s hard to be super critical of this considering that Naomi was a last minute substitute for Becky Lynch, and I imagine that Becky vs. Alexa probably would have been a little better and they likely had more planned. But this match sucked. It was clunky and awkward and the crowd didn’t care about it. And I’m still confused as to why Naomi won. They’re doing nothing with her, meanwhile Alexa is the one they’re pushing as the number one contender – why have the challenger lose to a non-challenger? Maybe they’re going to give Naomi a push over the next month while Becky is out but who knows. This was no good.
Tag Team Championship match
This was very similar to their match last month and honestly all Slater & Rhyno matches are more or less the same. Slater gets beaten up, Rhyno gets tagged and gores someone and wins. It’s fine but I thought they’d deliver a bit more for the pay-per-view. And The Usos, who are supposed to be the top heel team of the brand, lose a second month in a row. I really don’t get this booking, all I can think is that The Revival might be coming up soon. And if that’s true, then it can’t happen any sooner. I need some Revival/American Alpha action please.
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
Carmella is a bad wrestler and Nikki isn’t good enough to drag her to a passable pay-per-view match. Honestly I’m feeling like Carmella would have been better suited sent to Raw as Enzo & Cass’s manager than pushed as a singles star on SmackDown. Or better yet, left in NXT where she can continue to learn. This also followed the WWE title match so the crowd was a bit burnt out already and didn’t really care much for this. Not as bad as the Alexa/Naomi match but still, really not good.
All photos via WWE.com