A Movie Out Of Order
Smackdown live presented their second solo PPV of the New Era Sunday with No Mercy, and in doing so attempted their first ever WWE version of a Tarantino flick. Due to Sunday Night NFL Football and the second round of presidential debates, WWE found itself in strange position. Either stay the course on what was sure to be a divided TV night, or adapt in order to give their product the best chance possible for success. They chose the latter and wound up with a solid, but oddly sequenced PPV that had the “main event” opening the show.
I almost don’t want to start with the WWE World Championship match since it lacked the emotional build or resonance that made the IC Title match so great, but if it’s good enough for the billionaire team back in Stamford, damnit, it’s good enough for me. Hell, i’m from Connecticut too, and we do what we want!
Anyway, the Triple Threat for Smackdown Live’s WWE World Title opened the show, between current champion, AJ Styles, John Cena and Dean Ambrose. Tasked with getting as many eyes on the WWE Network before the barge fire that was the presidential debate, the three men threw everything at one another in a symphony of wrasslin’ violence. Two things I took from the match as the final bell rang; 1) I hate a good chunk of John Cena’s move-set and 2) The double submission may be my top 3 favorite dumb wrasslin’ thing. Right behind the concept of the Irish Whip and a forearm to the back being the most devastating move in the world if you’re not looking.
Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that John Cena can’t wrassle, quite the opposite if smarks kept it half as real as Brenda Johnson, but after the barrage of offense Styles throws out and the brawling of Dean Ambrose, watching Cena go into his Moves of Doom takes you out of the match a bit. He serves his purpose, but there is a clear difference between what some of the (slightly) younger, more agile guys can pull off/put together. It almost reminds me of when guys like Michaels and Hart were stringing together more athletic matches during that NEW Generation Era of WWE.
Moving on to the end of the match, which i’ve seen much boo-hooing about, it was fine. Somewhat clumsy, but fine. The double submission accomplishes two things. It creates enough calamity for the feud to continue, while also taking the person who actually tapped out of the equation for a bit. Now, the fight is mostly between Ambrose and Cena for who deserves a solo shot at the champ since they both “beat” him. Saving Cena’s inevitable title win for a much larger stage.
The Real Climax
We knew Luke Skywalker would defeat Darth Vader. No one is caught off guard when Captain America comes out (mostly) on top at the end of one of his movies, so there was no real surprise to Dolph Ziggler finally besting Miz for the IC Title. The draw was the story. For several weeks leading up to No Mercy , WWE put Zigglers shortcomings on full display. Acknowledging what fans had begrudgingly come to accept over the years; he’s our favorite loser. He only wins when they guys they really want to do so are injured or in the doghouse. Yo Roman, what’s good?
So the story going into the night was all about how Dolph would try his damndest but come up just shy yet again, with that loss meaning he has to do something else with his life, that isn’t hurling his mostly naked, and highly spritzed body at other scantily clad men. I would like to note that WWE doesn’t really do themselves any favors with they way they talk about life after pro-wrasslin’. Apparently every person on the roster is one missed check from selling their children into iPod manufacturing.
In the end, Ziggler didn’t end up doing unironic Brazzers shoots, and superkicked his way past, The Spirit Squad, Maryse, and The Miz to win the title, and the IC Title. The good guy defied the odds, and the crowd went home hap…Ah damnit.
Admit It, Butch’s Story Kinda Drags
Just to be clear, i’m happy that Bray Wyatt got a win over a big name. They tried their damndest to sell us on how destructive Bray has been over the years, but his career to this point has a strange parallel to Dolph Ziggler’s. He does a lot of talking, and trying, but nothing to really show for it. Bray and Randy put on the match I think we all saw coming. Slow pace, but intentionally brutal at times. The only real problem being this entire feud had been sold on the mind games between a backwoods evangelist and borderline schizo that listens to too much Hatebreed. None of that came through in the match until the end, Luke Harper made his dirty shirted return.
It was an odd way to end the show. The workers involved aren’t high spot guys, and can put on a great match, but there was no bite to this one. No stipulation or stakes. Just two guys that have been yelling at each other through funhouse mirrors for a month and a half. I don’t even know where this goes from here.
It leaked that Becky Lynch suffered a non-serious injury prior to her first title defense. WWE wouldn’t commit to any further announcements before the show, so we were left to wonder if Lynch would even compete. She didn’t. Instead Alexa Bliss had a non-title match with Naomi, which she lost. Now, Bliss more than likely was going to lose her match against Becky, but to have her take the pin from Naomi doesn’t make much sense. Not unless the timetable for Becky Lynch is longer than they’d like to admit, and these keeps her inactive while the rest of the roster battles out. Whatever the case, here’s hoping the Lass-Kicker gets better soon.
As for everything else on the card, it was well done. The sequencing on this card was just off. As if they someone in the background never learned how to make a proper mixtape. Just because you start off with the banger, doesn’t mean you have to go out on the slow jam. Take us on the journey, but end on the good foot. This show just threw in all the black and white scenes from Momento right in the center.