WWE’s Raw-branded No Mercy event was held Sunday. While much of the hype leading into the event centered around two “WrestleMania-worthy” main events, it was actually the undercard that stole the show.
Let’s face it. Anyone with any experience watching WWE already knew that Roman Reigns was going to beat John Cena and Brock Lesnar would retain the WWE Universal Championship in his bout with Braun Strowman. The only thing in question was whether the matches would live up to their billing. Neither really did.
The Professor’s Merciless No Mercy Random Thoughts
The Main Event(s) Didn’t Deliver – Let me start by saying that neither of the big matches Sunday was bad. All four men worked hard and delivered good to very good performances. However, when something is billed as “WrestleMania-worthy,” good just isn’t good enough. The Cena/Reigns bout told a decent story, but the first part of the match was tarnished by Cena’s clowning around and his blatant overselling. I’m not one of the people who say that Cena buries young talent. I think, particularly over the past few years, that he’s done a very good job of helping WWE build credible stars (Reigns, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and others). In this match, he sold so enthusiastically that it almost came off as parody. The Lesnar/Strowman match was simply too short. Both men got in some offense, but it didn’t seem feasible that Strowman would be put away with a single F5 – just like every challenger before him.
Enzo Amore Shouldn’t EVER Hold a Singles Title – Having Amore steal Neville’s Cruiserweight Championship via a low blow was a bad decision. WWE considers Amore more of a mainstream star than the other cruiserweights, and put him at the top of the division to generate more audience. This will backfire. Most people who watch 205 Live and are into the cruisers are there for the in-ring action. That’s the one thing that Amore can’t deliver. The bright side is that Neville snapped and destroyed Enzo on Raw, despite Amore’s “No-contact” stipulation. This likely means that Neville is headed out of 205 Live and onto the main roster. Cross your fingers.
Roman Reigns Got Over – On Monday night, Reigns faced off with The Miz and his Miztourage in a couple of segments. For the first time in recent memory, The Big Dog was receiving cheers from the fans. Optimistic fans will say that this is because of his win over Cena at No Mercy. More realistic fans will say that Reigns got cheers almost by default, since he was paired up against Miz, who is the best heel on Raw. (And one of the best in the entire industry.) I say that the cheers for Reigns are because the crowd is hoping for a reunion of The Shield. If Miz and the Miztourage are the foes, Reigns will need two guys to help him out. Paging Mr. Rollins and Mr. Ambrose, you’re needed in the main event.
Contrary to Popular Opinion, We’re Ready for Asuka – The Empress of Tomorrow is set to make her Raw debut at the October 22 TLC PPV. Asuka might be arriving just in time to save the Raw women’s division. Alexa Bliss is a great champion and an outstanding heel. However, none of the other women on the roster have been presented as legitimate threats to her reign. Nia Jax is a dominant heel, but is never allowed to face Bliss one-on-one. Bayley and Sasha Banks have both had runs with the title, but haven’t had staying power. As good as Mickie James and Emma are, neither has been portrayed as a real contender. That all changes when Asuka arrives. She poses an immediate and serious threat to Bliss, and also raises the bar for everyone else in the division.
I Don’t Need to See Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor Fight Anymore – I’m a fan of both men, and think they are both legitimate top-of-the-card talent. I’m just tired of seeing them face off against each other. There’s nothing left in this feud for either man. Let Wyatt go and stalk another babyface – or even a heel. Balor should be taking aim at either the Intercontinental or Universal titles.
Even With Less Star Power, SmackDown is Better than Raw – Right now, the single best storyline in WWE involves Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon. The newly-sinister Owens is doing his best WWE work right now. He comes off as unhinged, dangerous, and smarter than the people around him. In McMahon, he’s got the perfect foil. The crowd loves Shane O’Mac, and he’s been known to do some death-defying stunts. It would be worth watching Hell in a Cell just to see the Owens-McMahon match. There are other great stories on Tuesday, too. The Usos and New Day have a good feud going for the SmackDown tag titles, and AJ Style, Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger are in a three-way struggle for the US Championship. Even Dolph Ziggler’s new feud with Bobby Roode is more intriguing than just about anything on the red brand right now.
Where’d Joe Go? – About a month ago, Samoa Joe was the hottest act in WWE. Then, he suffered some sort of knee injury at a house show late in August, and simply disappeared. There’s been no mention of Joe on Raw since SummerSlam, and his star has clearly declined in the interim. Even when he’s healthy, it might be better for Joe to move to SmackDown. Picture this – Shinsuke Nakamura manages to take the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal at HIAC. His mandatory championship celebration is set for the following Tuesday. Shinsuke comes out to his (best in history) entrance, and begins the celebration, only to be interrupted by Mahal. Mahal demands his rematch right then and there. Before Nakamura can react, Joe bursts out from behind the curtain and destroys Mahal, and any and all Singh Brothers who happen to be standing around. Joe picks up the mic and informs Shinsuke that he doesn’t need to worry about Jinder anymore. He needs to worry about the Samoan Submission Machine.
I’m allowed to dream, right? I’ll see you next week with a preview of Hell in a Cell.