WWE No Mercy is in the books and a lot of fans are surprised with what went down. It appears many fans felt that Braun Strowman would be walking away from the Staples Center in Los Angeles as the new WWE Universal Champion. At the very least, however, most fans felt he would put up a bit more of a fight against Brock Lesnar than he did. One F-5 and the Monster Braun Strowman was beaten. The finish might have been lackluster, but overall it was a fairly decent WWE PPV. Considering it wasn’t one of the company’s top 4 PPVs, No Mercy was a great event!
WWE did go big for the event, with 2 WrestleMania quality matches on the card. That shouldn’t be debated either. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman could easily main event a WrestleMania in the next few years, and many assumed Roman Reigns vs. John Cena would have one day headlined the event.
So why did WWE decide to give these matches away on a random September PPV? Only they know for sure, but it could have to do with John Cena’s movie schedule, and Brock Lesnar’s potential decision to go to UFC.
Here are 10 things WWE got wrong at No Mercy, and 10 they got right.
20. Got Wrong: Continuing The Jason Jordan/Kurt Angle Storyline At All
Nobody is buying this and nobody wants to see this. Jason Jordan is a great wrestler and should have a great career in front of him, but they need to end this story of him as Kurt Angle’s long lost son immediately.
These types of stories rarely work. It is too much of a stretch of the imagination. Fans know they aren’t really related and it becomes too much to ask of them to suspend their disbelief to such a degree. They aren’t booing Jason Jordan, they are booing the whole storyline.
They need to just wave the white flag on this one. Take Jordan off TV ASAP and send out a short series of tweets in 3 months letting fans know that Jordan is not really Angle’s son. Just say it had just been a case of mistaken identity or give Jordan a mask to wear or something.
19. Got Right: The Miz’s Unborn Child in Storylines
Some people will think that using a performer’s actual unborn baby in storylines is in bad taste, but evidently not The Miz. The Intercontinental champion announced he was dedicating his match against Jason Jordan to his unborn child. Miz has also been using his pending offspring as an opportunity to take a shot at Kurt Angle’s relationship with Jason Jordan.
If they are going to have Miz’s unborn child in storylines they need to go all the way with it. Even though the timing doesn’t fit, they should claim they conceived the child the night before WrestleMania this year. That way they can claim their child has already competed on the biggest stage in sports entertainment. They could reveal Kurt Angle as the father of Miz’s baby somewhere down the line too, thus kickstarting Kurt Angle’s return to the ring to face Miz.
18. Got Wrong: Titus Worldwide Members Not Shown on Camera
No Mercy was in Los Angeles, home to all the big stars and celebrities that Titus O’Neil has been recruiting into Titus Worldwide lately. You would think that one way to help Titus and his small faction of wrestlers to get over would be for some of Titus’ celebrity friends to be shown on camera in attendance, maybe even get them wearing a Titus Worldwide T-shirt or something.
Even Anthony Bourdain recently joined Titus Worldwide, but you would have to follow Titus on Twitter to have heard about it.
The only match at No Mercy for the members of Titus Worldwide was on the Kickoff show. Elias defeated Apollo Crews.
17. Got Right: Asuka Promos
Don’t you wish it was October 22nd right now??? That’s the date Asuka will be debuting for the Raw brand, and this was made abundantly clear in the Asuka vignettes which aired last night at No Mercy.
Asuka’s vignettes came complete with Art of War quotes and lots of imagery which implies nobody could possibly be ready for Asuka. When she debuts in the division you get the feeling everything will be different.
That Asuka never lost the title in NXT also seems significant. Everyone else loses before being called up to the main roster, but not Asuka, and that should ensure fans see her as special, which she is.
16. Got Wrong: Same Old Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt has been doing the same old thing now for over 4 years. Don’t they think it’s time to maybe freshen him up a little? Put a fresh coat of paint on this one?
Here is every Bray Wyatt program that has taken place within the last 4 years: Bray Wyatt targets a good guy on the roster. Next, Bray Wyatt cuts a spooky promo about how the WWE fans worship you *insert babyface name here* and then occasionally he will teleport to and from the ring a few times.
If Wyatt and the babyface he is feuding with really don’t like each other then we might get a gimmick match like a haunted house or a Wyatt Family compound match. Nothing Wyatt ever says will lead to anything, however, and we never actually get to find out anything further about the character.
15. Got Right: Finn Balor (as a Mortal Human) Defeating Bray Wyatt
That the Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt storyline has been all about body paint has been fairly ridiculous. Fortunately, however, WWE did at least decide to have Finn Balor defeat Wyatt without being dressed up like the Demon.
Having Wyatt win would have been a pretty poor move. Bray Wyatt’s character has grown stale, and it looks like those dreads are really starting to smell. Finn Balor, on the other hand, is a guy who should be in the main event of PPVs before the year is out.
Balor is healthy, just as popular as ever, and could move right up into main event storylines now. The same really can’t be said for Bray Wyatt, whose character could use an update.
14. Got Wrong: Continued Closeups of Cesaro’s Teeth
While Cesaro flailing around the ring with a mouth filled with chipped or broken teeth made the tag-team title match a touch more entertaining, it was probably not what the company was going for.
Early in the tag title match between Rollins and Ambrose against the Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus), Rollins gave Cesaro a slingshot into the turnbuckle. Cesaro looks like he cracked his teeth on the post and busted several of them into pieces.
Unlike what they normally do for bloody situations, WWE’s cameras decided to focus on Cesaro’s injuries several times throughout the match. It was not a pleasant sight, and Cesaro did not look to be pleased that he will be chewing his food differently for some time as a result. Now Cesaro and Sheamus look more like a team, however, as Cesaro has no teeth and Sheamus just generally looks stupid.
13. Got Right: Great Tag Team Championship Match
Don’t look now, but some of the best matches on Raw take place in the tag team division. For as much as people like to say Sheamus isn’t a very good wrestler, him and Cesaro have been having some great tag team matches throughout all of 2017. Rollins and Ambrose have been having some pretty good ones as well, since they reunited earlier this summer.
Raw’s tag team division also has the Hardy Boyz, the Revival (when healthy) and Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Every single team they have is capable of having some quality wrestling matches.
12. Got Wrong: Continued Poor Choices Regarding Emma’s Theme Music
The #GiveEmmaAChance movement should have specified that new theme music wasn’t also to be included in part of the package. WWE changed her theme music a few weeks back and appear to have been tinkering around with it ever since. No amount of tinkering will ever save it, however.
WWE would be best to just go back to Emma’s old theme music. It’s not like that theme was great, but it got the job done.
This was Emma’s first PPV match since 2014. For whatever reason, WWE doesn’t seem to have much faith in the Australian. She has had a history of shoulder problems which may explain their lack of willingness to push her. That she wasn’t able to portray the Emmalina character either probably plays a role too. It’s too bad because Emma can actually wrestle.
11. Got Right: Nia Jax’s Double Samoan Drop
Nia Jax’s critics say she can’t wrestle. While there might be some truth to that, nobody can claim that her double Samoan drop spot wasn’t awesome!
It was Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss who took the brunt of the move.
When fans say Nia can’t wrestle it is actually only a partial truth. Nia is a big lady, so she simply isn’t going to be able to move around the ring in the same way smaller wrestlers like Sasha Banks or Alexa Bliss can. To some that makes her appear less athletic. In wrestling, athletes who are that much bigger than their opponents usually wrestle as giants, however. Such matches aren’t supposed to be as athletic but provide a different type of match where the smaller opponent has to figure out a way to beat their much larger rival.
10. Got Wrong: Bayley Pinned Again
Bliss pinned Bayley to retain her title at No Mercy in the fatal 5-way match.
It’s a good thing Asuka is getting called up to Raw because the current crop of babyface women on the brand aren’t getting it done (in storyline, that is). Granted, Alexa Bliss hasn’t been able to beat Nia Jax just yet, but both Sasha Banks and Bayley have done that, and Bliss has beaten both of them several times now.
Bayley is even starting to get booed nowadays. Fans seem to be growing tired of her character, or they have simply lost faith in her and Banks because they continue to lose. Sasha Banks has won the championship 4x but has never been able to successfully defend the title in a televised match. Bayley has lost to Bliss several times, including in her hometown of San Jose.
9. Got Right: Selling Out the Staples Center
WWE sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles for a big PPV event on Sunday night. No Mercy was not one of the Big 4 PPVs, but the match lineup made it one of the biggest shows of the year.
Los Angeles is a hot wrestling market, but they expect a lot. This is a market which for years hosted SummerSlam, so perhaps WWE thought it would be appropriate to bring a big card to them at the end of the summer. LA has been where Brock Lesnar defeated John Cena in a near squash type match. It was also the city which played host to WrestleMania 21 when John Cena defeated JBL for the WWE championship. Hogan also beat Sgt Slaughter at WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles, but that doesn’t tend to be remembered as fondly.
8. Got Wrong: Renee Young’s Heavily Scripted Post-Match Interviews
Renee Young is the best at her job since “Mean” Gene Okerlund. Does anybody want to debate this? Think of all the interviewers and Kickoff panel hosts they’ve had in the past. Do any of them stand out to you in the way Renee Young does?
She’s just better than others in the role. They don’t give her any freedom, however, and as a result, she is basically just delivering lines out there.
At No Mercy, they played around with the idea of having Renee interview some of the winners and losers after the match. Not a bad idea on paper, but in execution, it was a little weak.
7. Got Right: Kids Love John Cena and Roman Reigns
WWE made sure the John Cena fans were front and center for the John Cena vs. Roman Reigns match. Several kids all decked out in their John Cena shirts were brought to more visible positions as the match was going on.
Having the kids there really did remind older fans as to why this match is important: for kids. To the young fans, this was a very important match. Young fans watch WWE more as if it were real than older fans do. John Cena and Roman Reigns are clearly the best wrestlers in storyline (Lesnar as well) so if you’re a kid Cena vs. Reigns is the biggest match there has ever been. Might as well let the kids sit front row and allow the adults to take the match off.
6. Got Wrong: John Cena vs. Roman Reigns at No Mercy?
This should have been a WrestleMania match. Not that fans wouldn’t have booed them, told them they sucked, or cheered when John Cena left the ring if it had been at WrestleMania either, but it would have made more sense.
It’s just too big of a match to have done on a random September show. John Cena is the best storyline wrestler of the last decade. Roman Reigns is the best storyline wrestler of the last couple years and expected to be for the next several more. A good guy vs good guy passing of the torch type match like this has to at least be on a big 4 PPV.
Had this match been at WrestleMania this year, it would have continued Reigns streak of taking out legends at the event. They could have had him take out Triple H, then Undertaker, then Cena, and then finally Lesnar.
5. Got Right: John Cena’s Applause
John Cena got a little respect from the Los Angeles crowd last night. After the match was over, Cena spent a few moments in the ring and the respectful crowd showed their appreciation for him. This is evidence to the fact that while people boo John Cena, they still do have respect for the man.
When John Cena goes into the Hall of Fame, most likely the year he retires, it will be the same response. When the totality of John Cena’s career is looked at as a whole it is impossible not to be impressed with the guy. Nobody has been on top for as long as Cena has, nobody has wrestled as often, and nobody has done as much charity work. John Cena has done a lot of good for the pro-wrestling business, and fans do understand that, even if they also enjoy booing him.
4. Got Wrong: Enzo’s Championship Winning Kick to the Groin
Neville has been the most dominant champion in WWE lately. So what happens at No Mercy when he took on Enzo Amore? Enzo kicked him in the “nether regions” and pinned him.
This was a shot to the nuts of the entire cruiserweight division. 205 Live is actually surprisingly watchable. There are guys like Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa, and Brian Kendrick who put on great angles and matches. Apparently, the championship glory all these guys are chasing can be won simply by kicking your opponent in the groin.
Did the referee have to be so careful when he was placing the championship outside the ring? He folded the title belt up like he was working at the Gap and took his job super seriously. They really need instant replay in wrestling, this is starting to get a little ridiculous.
3. Got Right: Everything Corey Graves Says About Enzo Amore
The one fantastic thing about the Enzo Amore storyline is that whenever he is on Raw it gives Corey Graves a chance to talk about him. Graves does not like Enzo. He does not like Enzo Amore as much as he did like Eva Marie, and that’s a lot.
Corey Graves can be very funny, and this is never more evident than when he talks about Enzo. He speaks openly about not liking the man. If you remember it was actually Corey Graves who out’ed Big Cass as the guy who attacked Enzo. If you recall, they were playing up the idea that Corey is a guy who “knows things”. They seem to have dropped that, however.
2. Got Wrong: Slaying Braun Strowman
No! Why would they do this? They could have turned Braun Strowman into a newer, bigger, and considerably less expensive Brock Lesnar.
Nobody has gotten over as well in a monster role as Braun Strowman since, well, Brock Lesnar. It was pretty surprising to a lot of people that they would have Strowman lose so cleanly to Brock.
They did everything to make it seem as though Brock had finally met his match. That Strowman was simply too big and strong for Lesnar to conquer. Then Strowman could go on a massive winning streak until you have another Goldberg on your hands. Instead, one F-5 and Strowman was done.
1. Got Right: Big Match Feel
Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman felt like a big match main event. It felt like a Mike Tyson fight back in the day or a Conor McGregor fight these days. It felt important, and as though it would have drastic impacts on the pro wrestling world moving forward.
That WWE has been able to create that kind of feeling for Brock Lesnar matches is probably their biggest achievement in many years.
Brock Lesnar is over 40 and has expressed interest in returning to the UFC, however. One has to wonder if it was a great idea to have him appear superior to a guy who is only 34 and doesn’t cost nearly as much. Lesnar is a proven draw, however, and WWE doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that.
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