The WWE has made it very clear that they are trying to make all their Pay-Per-View events must-see TV. Having to follow up to SummerSlam, the biggest event of the summer calendar for the company, No Mercy definitely had its work cut out for it. At least there was no NXT takeover event to overshadow the actual pay-per-view!
Heading into No Mercy the WWE has managed to build up an impressive card. The main event, which will see a one-on-one fight between Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, promises to be an exciting and important match with WrestleMania implications regardless of the outcome.
Accompanying this match atop the card is a Fatal 5-Way match that will see fan favourite Alexa Bliss defend her Raw Women's Championship against Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Emma and Bayley. The addition of Bayley has angered some fans as she JUST returned, but with all these marquee wrestlers competing we can hope it will be a good fight.
Also worth noting is the highly anticipated match between Roman Reigns and John Cena. The hype building up to this fight has been incredible, with Cena dropping some of his best promos in recent memory. With Rumours circulating that Undertaker may return for one more match, it will be interesting to see who comes out of this fight on top and what that means for Survivor Series and WrestleMania.
The rest of the card includes matches between Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt, The Miz and Jason Jordan, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus & Cesaro for the Tag Team Championship, Neville and Enzo Amore in the Cruiserweight division and to open the show, Elias vs. Apollo Crews (with Titus O'neil). While that sounds like a pretty good card on paper going in, here's what actually happened and what it all means on the road to Survivor Series and WrestleMania.
15. Looking For A W... Picked Up The L-ias
The pre-show saw Elias take on Apollo Crews accompanied at ring side by Titus O'neil. The crowd seemed genuinely engaged in the fight, which was reassuring for a relatively irrelevant match. The Staples Center was already full when the match started, and the crowd was loud from the beginning.
While the fight was fairly evenly matched throughout, the final result was an Elias victory. After continuing his tradition of making fun of the home crowd with a classic blues song, he took care of business against the athletic Crews. While Apollo certainly has a bright future in WWE with his high flying moves and incredible athleticism, it appears Elias may be earning his way up to a larger role on Raw in the near future. He is certainly a hit with the fans.
14. The Miz Is Absolute Gold
Heading into this match, The Miz was quick to remind everyone of his accomplishments as Intercontinental Champion. In his match against Jason Jordan he proved that he is a legitimate champion, although he did need a lot of help from The Miztourage.
The home crowd seemed to be behind The Miz when he made his entrance, but the tide quickly turned when it was clear that Jason Jordan was putting on the fight of his life. It appears as though there will be a rematch sometime in the near future, and with the push Jason Jordan has been (deservedly) getting, it will be interesting to see if the Intercontinental Championship finds a new owner at an upcoming raw or PPV event.
13. Jason Jordan Is The Real Deal
As previously mentioned, this may have been the biggest match of Jason Jordan's career. Many believed the Kurt Angle father storyline felt rushed and was a huge stretch, but it appears to have been carried out for a very good reason: Jason Jordan is the real deal.
Showcasing his incredible strength and in ring ability, the WWE managed to make the fans come onto his side. While he lost because of interference from The Miztourage, it is clear that his future in the WWE is very bright. On top of his great performance, he followed it up with a good promo in which he told The Miz "You really do suck!". It will be interesting to see where this feud goes...
12. Finn Balor Wins Man vs. Man
While this match ended up being fairly entertaining, the fans were bitterly disappointed before it started. It was being touted a "man vs, man" match (isn't that a singles match?), which meant the fans in Los Angeles would not get to experience Finn Balor's famous Demon entrance.
Balor did manage to get the win over Bray Wyatt, despite being attacked before the starting bell. Wyatt continues to run his mouth and suffer the consequences. Now that Balor is back in fine form, perhaps it will soon be time for him to re-enter the championship conversation and he may reclaim his Universal Championship.
11. Bray Wyatt Loses... Again
This is hardly surprising, given his win percentage in WWE is roughly 30%. The Eater of Worlds has eaten his fair share of heartache. His frustrations showed early in the match when he attacked Balor before the starting bell, appearing to injure Balor's ribs in the process.
Despite the apparently severe injury, Balor persevered and beat Wyatt after a hard fought battle. While the fans were disappointed they missed Balor's great entrance, they were treated to an exciting fight that had many momentum swings. It is clear that Wyatt is nowhere near the championship conversation, and the creative team have all but given up on making him a legitimate competitor for the future.
10. Cesaro Gets Even More Over
If the WWE Universe wasn't already completely sold on Cesaro, then No Mercy should have done the trick. Tag teaming with Sheamus, Cesaro suffered a strong kick from Seth Rollins that sent him into a turnbuckle and ended with him losing some teeth. This also lead to Cesaro bleeding profusely from his mouth.
While he did step out of the ring for a moment, Cesaro got right back into the action. He and Sheamus delivered an incredible spot that saw Sheamus give White Noise to Ambrose while Cesaro power-bombed Seth Rollins into the lunatic fringe. While Cesaro and Sheamus would lose the match, they will definitely be a strong tag team going into the near future as they are totally over with the fans. 10/10 for this match!
9. Rollins And Ambrose Continue To Win
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose have been fan favourites for many years now. Since reuniting, many fans are happy to see the former Shield brothers find success as an electrifying tag team duo. Their feud with Cesaro and Sheamus has made for some great matches, and No Mercy was no exception.
Early in the match Rollins delivered a quick that would result in Cesaro losing some teeth. The ensuing blood made for a tense few moments, but that quickly gave way to some incredible spots. On top of the incredible power-bomb from the enemy mentioned above, Ambrose played with Sheamus's mind by falling limp before he could deliver a Brogue Kick. This caused Sheamus to hesitate, and Ambrose rolled him over to grab the win for the team. It looks as though Ambrose and Rollins will continue to fight as a tag team for a long time. The WWE would be wise to keep a dentist on hand!
8. The Women's Division Delivers
While the addition of Bayley made this Fatal Five-Way seem a little bit rushed together, each member made this a very fun fight to watch. While Emma and Bayley were mostly peripheral, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax put on a memorable performance. One of the more notable moments was watching Nia Jax lift both Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks onto her shoulders.
This match ended with Alexa Bliss predictably defending her Raw Women's Championship, but it definitely showcased Nia Jax as a serious contender to challenge The Goddess. It will be interesting how WWE uses Jax going forward as the Raw Women's Division is so stacked with talent.
7. Alexa Bliss Is The One To Beat
As many predicted, the Women's Fatal Five-Way match started with a gang-up on Nia Jax by Sasha Banks and Bayley. Alexa Bliss had her hands full enough throughout the night, but it was clear Nia Jax never had a clear shot at her. If anyone is going to challenge Bliss in the future, it may well be Nia Jax, who showed that she has incredible agility and strength to go with her impressive frame.
Either way, the Women of Raw have their work cut out for them, as it is clear that Alexa Bliss is both beloved by the fans and the company. While this Fatal Five-Way turned out to be a very good match, it will be interesting to see how Alexa Bliss defends her championship going forward.
6. It's Roman's Yard
This match was being billed as a WrestleMania caliber match for weeks now, as Reigns and John Cena have been trading blows in a war of words on Raw. What we actually got was a match that started very awkwardly for both men, but would finish in exciting fashion.
That is, until the result sunk in. John Cena delivered an incredible back-to-back AA to Roman Reigns, but Reigns managed to again tap out at two. Reigns finished off the match with a Superman Punch and his second Spear (the first put Cena through the announce table) to defeat the 16-time World Champion. It is clearer now than ever before that Reigns is "The Guy".
5. John Cena Gets An Ovation
With Cena scheduled to take some time away from WWE, it seemed logical he would lose this match. After the bell rang, Cena raised Roman's arm (much like The Rock did) to a thunderous and sustained boo from the LA crowd. Reigns left the ring first, leaving Cena to reflect on his defeat.
While the Staples Center crowd was disappointed with the result, they could not help but show their appreciation and respect for John Cena by giving him a loud standing ovation. While Cena did not win this battle, he clearly won the war. There is no question he is the WWE's most respected star and it will be interesting to see who he feuds with upon his return.
4. Enzo Amore Lays The SmackTalk Down
In typical Enzo Amore fashion, he came to the ring ready to have his mouth write a bunch of cheques his body would have to cash. Walking into the ring to face the king of the cruiserweights, Neville didn't seem too happy about being called a "keebler elf looking" child of Gollum and Frodo from Lord of the Rings.
The crowd seemed to get behind Enzo, as he continues to be a bit of a circus act. While he is rumoured to have some serious heat backstage, the booking of this match is proof that the creative team knows that Enzo is a draw, especially in the struggling cruiserweight division.
3. Enzo Backs Up The Talk... Sort Of
In a bit of deja vu, Enzo used a cheap-shot low blow to beat Neville. The Smacktalker Skywalker left the ring only to steal the cruiserweight belt in an effort to taunt Neville. The referee threatened to end the match unless Enzo returned the belt, which he did. However, while the referee's back was turned, Enzo delivered a blow below the belt. Because the referee didn't see it he gave Enzo the victory and in turn the Cruiserweight Championship.
It will be very interesting to see where this goes. There is no denying that Enzo is the most exciting member of the cruiserweight division, but Neville will definitely see a rematch for the belt. Will Enzo stay Champion for a significant amount of time despite his backstage heat? We are sure to find out on the road to Survivor Series.
2. Goliath Vs. Goliath
Undoubtedly the most anticipated match of the night with the biggest prize on the line, Braun Strowman challenged Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. The winner of this match would clearly be in talks for the main event of WrestleMania, and with the way Strowman was looking going into the fight, the result was anything but predictable.
As the match went underway, it was clear that both men would leave this match as the undisputed strong men of the company. While Strowman started out very strong, Brock held on and managed to show some of Strowman's vulnerabilities. Braun even shed a little blood. Lesnar held on for the win, but it is clear that Strowman will be in the main even picture in the very near future, again contending for the Universal Championship.
1. The Beast Slays The Monster
That's right, the Universal Championship still belongs to a part timer. While many fans would have loved to see Strowman defy all odds and knock down the beast incarnate, we had to settle for more of the same... at least for now.
It is clear that Lesnar will continue to be a force in the WWE, but this match clearly shows that a changing of the guard may be on the horizon. It will be interesting to see if this turns into a regular feud or if Strowman turns his sights on a new target. Either way, this Pay-Per-View was very entertaining from start to finish.