The art of professional wrestling is one of the most socially active mediums of entertainment across the world. Millions watch men and women grapple for championships, financial success, accolades, celebrity status, and supposed immortality within the squared circle. The Hype Train provides a glancing review of WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night RAW, and its latest pay-per-view offering No Mercy, which was headlined by Universal Champion Brock Lesner defending the red strap against Braun Strowman. All aboard.
WWE No Mercy 2017: Predictions and Thoughts
This is the first WWE pay-per-view since SummerSlam and we've been glad that we've all been given a month to relax after non-stop PPV events were shoved down our throats every two weeks.
No Mercy's card looks like it could offer some gems, with the main event between Universal Champion Brock Lesner, and challenger Braun Strowman, likely to be an explosive and entertaining collision, especially in light of the brilliant main event from SummerSlam, which also featured Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe.
Expectations for this event are higher than usual, with some potentially show-stealing matches on the cards, but we're not going to get carried away with our predictions that this could be one of the pay-per-view events of the year. After all No Mercy is considered a 'B' show, behind the likes of Survivors Series, and the Royal Rumble, so we don't anticipate the full works tonight as RAW will want a big blow out at Survivor Series in a few months.
Also, just a note on John Cena and Roman Reigns. Yes, we're talking about it, but we've not really enjoyed the feud. Regardless of the good promos between the two, the entire angle feels incredibly forced and this is apparent due to the feud starting over social goddamn media of all things.
WWE No Mercy Review: 24/09/2017
With No Mercy, we'll be doing a quick one or two paragraph summation of what we thought about each match, with relevance to the match itself and the the storyline that was being told.
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Jason Jordan
The event opened with The Miz and his Intercontinental Championship defence against Jason Jordan, with the story-line angle of being Kurt Angle's son being the main talking point heading into the match. Jordan's entrance, a massive chorus of boos, once again highlighted that this feud, which has been forced and booked terribly from the get-go. The Miz, who is welcoming a first child to their family with Maryse, rallied the feud around the idea that RAW's GM, Kurt Angle, has been a terrible father, and that Jason Jordan doesn't deserve a title shot due to his father being in a position of power.
This was Jordan's first singles matches for a championship in WWE, and he began the match with the athleticism that is his saving grace right now, hitting the Miz with a series of suplexes to demonstrate his in-ring skills. The Miz eventually rallied back with a DDT, that got a big pop, but the commentary team were the ones who dominated the opening half of the match, doing an awkward back and forth arguing about whether of not Jason Jordan deserved to be in the match, with Corey Graves continuously stating that Jordan will either sink or swim in the WWE.
As the match wore on the popularity of The Miz over Jordan was shown when Jordan applied a Crossface on Miz, which is still an incredibly surreal move to use knowing that it was the finishing move of Chris Beniot. Breaking the hold to a massive cheer from the Los Angeles crowd, chants of 'this is awesome was heard' and then came to a conclusion when The Miztourage interfered, costing Jordan the championship, with The Miz winning in Hollywood with the Skull Crushing Finale. Once again the crowd cheered Miz, and continued to resist the idea and the story involving Jason Jordan and his father, Kurt Angle.
After the match, Jordan had a talking segment in the ring, stating that he doesn't respect The Miz, and that he wants a rematch. Jordan then said that The Miz sucks, and then leaves, once again to a chorus of boos.
Overall, this angle with Jordan needs serious work, or scrapping altogether, as it overshadowed an otherwise good match to open the show.
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
Before this match even began, how many of you thought what we thought? The rumblings of 'oh god, not this again' rang throughout our ears and our brains, and throughout our bodies.
Bray and Finn's angle is all about fear, and overcoming that. Oh yeah, and a lot about face-paint. Goldust has his paint wiped from his face, which continued the feud between the two. What followed was a series of nonsensical promos between the two that ended with Wyatt doing the whole 'RUN' thing. The promo package affirmed what we hate about Wyatt, and even Finn to an extent. Wyatt just has something about him that makes you switch off, and it happened here again, which all equates to a frustrating viewing experience.
This makes it incredibly hard to get into any of Wyatt's matches, and this was evident again here tonight, especially since they haven't booked Finn Balor well since his return from injury.
Balor entered tonight without his face point, which brought the feud back to square one, with the two facing each other for no reason. Before the match had even started Wyatt attacked Balor, and then took to the microphone to state that he had demolished the little hero, Finn Balor. Then he kept saying 'please run away' and that Balor was facing a god. From the top of the ramp, Balor got angry whilst being attended to by referees, all to get heat on Wyatt and get Balor over as a face.
With the bell ringing the pair immediately went to hit their finishers on one another, which got a good pop from the crowd, which was then followed up by Wyatt dominating the match up, and talking lots in the ring. The match was then a series of punches from Wyatt and stomps from Balor.
The match, which went way longer than it should have done, finally met its end when Balor hit the Coup de Grace from the top rope, and defeated Bray Wyatt. Nothing new there, right?
We're not going to say anymore about both, as we just struggle caring one bit about Wyatt, his matches, or his opponents.
RAW Tag Team Championship's: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro
Next up, is one of the matches that was heavily anticipated after a grand first match at SummerSlam. In the return bout, which sees Sheamus and Cesaro get their RAW Tag Team Championship rematch against the reunited Shield members, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins, who won the gold on their return as a team.
After the lengthy introduction of the international commentary teams, this match finally got underway. The challengers took the early advantage when Cesaro threw Ambrose out to the outside, and then swung him around, with Ambrose hitting the steel steps, and then letting out the most delayed reaction you'll ever see. It took him three seconds after hitting the steel steps before reacting as if he'd been hit.
The heels kept Ambrose in the ring for a large period of the match, with Sheamus and Cesaro taking their time to work over Ambrose with holds, kicks and punches, with a lot of mat work keeping the match in the favour of the challengers. Rollins eventually for the hot tag before we went back to the challengers dominating the champions.
Cesaro then took a massive hit to the mouth, with blood covering his mouth and arm. His teeth went flailing from his mouth, which is a throwback to a recent pay-per-view when Jeff Hardy had his teeth knocked out.
The match then really started to hot up, with the crowd going razy for the four brawling on the outside, before a near-fall attempt got everyone off their feet. Sheamus hit the White Noise onto Ambrose, with Cesaro then power-bombing Rollins into Ambrose on the canvas. Cesaro's pin was broken by Ambrose and then arena went electric.
Back to the basics, with Sheamus and Cesaro dominating, before Sheamus kicked Cesaro in the already-bloodied mouth, which set up Rollins to hit his knees to Sheamus, before Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds DDT for the victory.
Two title matches, two champions retaining. Another good championship match that had the fans eating out of the competitors in the ring. The only down-side was Cesaro losing his front-teeth. WWE really need to look into protecting these guys more, as this has happened in too many pay-per-views this year.
RAW Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bailey
The promo package for this match pegged Nia Jax as the one to watch, as she dominated all opposition, building momentum by crushing everyone. Then we remembered Bailey returned, and kind of put a big dampener on the last-minute proceedings to this match. RAW has taken a page out of SmackDown's book by booking a multi-person match for their Women's Championship.
Bailey returned where she left off, getting booed by the audience, who haven't forgotten that she's been used horribly in recent months, becoming a shadow of herself from NXT. Of the five entrants, Alexa Bliss received the biggest cheer when being introduced, and the match finally started after the lengthy introductions.
A scramble quickly happened with every woman fighting one another, before Nia Jax was treated like the big-match jobber that she has become, when all four women drop-kicked Jax out of the ring. They then really tried to sell the friendship angle between Sasha Banks and Bailey, over and over, before Nia Jax entered the fray again, with Jax then hitting a Samoan Drop onto both Banks and Bliss.
As the match boiled down to individual spots in the ring, with two or three women on the outside at all times, before they did the first big spot of the match, with Emma and Bailey holding Nia Jax's legs whilst on the ring apron, with Sasha and Alexa then kicking Jax, who landed on the back of her neck on concrete.
One by one the women eliminated each other, until Alexa Bliss pinned Bailey, whose return continues where the creative team left off with her - having absolutely no idea what to do with Bailey.
Overall, we knew what we were getting out of this match. Nia wasn't going to win, but looked good in the ring. Emma would be an afterthought, and Banks and Bailey would b in a grey area. Alexa was the right person to retain in another good championship bout.
Alexa Bliss then took to the microphone, just to say she was a goddess. Goddess vs. Asuka in the near future?
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
A comparison piece opened up between both John Cena and Roman Reigns. Both were US Champions. Both won the Royal Rumble. Both have won the WWE Championship. Both have done a great feat in their time (Cena reaching 16 world titles, and Reigns beating the Undertaker at Wrestlemania). The promo package then highlighted the back and forth between between the pair.
To the despair of our ears, John Cena's must hit and there was a lot of cheering from the Los Angeles crowd. Roman Reigns, not so much. The match started with a feeling-up process, to build heat in the match. What this allowed was the audience chanting 'YOU BOTH SUCK' over and over, voicing their obvious frustrations about both men, even getting to the point when Cena feigns leaving the arena.
The pair did a back and forth of punches in the ring, with a repeatedly quoted 'physical' match up happening, until Cena tossed Reigns out of the ring and then forced Reigns into the steel-steps, with Cena then going into the adjacent stairs a minute later.
Back in the ring the pair began hitting their 'five moves of doom', with near-falls after power-bomb sequences. Earning respect became the commentary team's to go, repeatedly stating that both men were earning each other's respect. Both men then went through the commentary table, with Reigns hitting the spear on Cena. The match's pace at this point was grinding to a halt, allowing both men to catch their breath and energy for the final part of the match.
Roman Reigns kicked out a 4th Attitude Adjustment, then hit a Superman Punch, followed by another Spear, before pinning Cena.
The match, which was a physical and entertaining affair for the most part, ended with Cena raising the hand of Roman Reigns, once again solidifying what we believed this match to be: another way to try and engineer Roman Reigns as the top guy in the company. We're not sure this match has made Reigns cross that line, or if anything will. We're just not so sure that this match was as special as it was supposed to be, feeling like just another match of the pay-per-view.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. Enzo Amore
We genuinely thought that this match was going to be on the Kickoff show, which is why we were incredibly surprised to see Neville enter the ring, which was then followed by Enzo Amore, who arrived with a lukewarm response, and then ran his mouth for several minutes, trying to do cheap Lord of the Rings style humour. This match, positioned just behind the main event, is in the toilet-break position, so it is probably fair that Enzo startsthis encounter off with some toilet-humour.
We'll keep this review section short and sweet, because Neville dominated a dull encounter, with Enzo Amore barely able to get in any offence. We believe that this was done deliberately, to have Enzo do literally nothing in the match. Enzo was being rag-dolled in the ring for six to seven minutes before the ending to this match.
Enzo distracted the referee, kicked Neville with a low-blow, and rolled up the Cruiserweight Champion, to become the new champ. They might have just done a double turn, with Enzo's actions that of a heel, and Neville the face.
The storyline is probably going to be that they have somebody who is Cruiserweight Champion who doesn't fit the bill as one of their 'style' wrestlers, like a Neville, which they'll push, putting Amore in a seat of power from a booking stance.
Do we like what's happened? No. There is the potential there though for an interesting few weeks with Enzo as champion, and stirring the pot on 205 Live, which has been needed now since its inception.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesner (c) vs. Braun Strowman
No more waiting. No more waiting. Those were Strowman's words before the title match tonight, and thank god we can rid our thoughts of the Cruiserweight division.
Strowman arrived to a massive reception, having become a fan favourite the past year, mostly due to being booked against Roman Reigns for the better part of 2017. Lesner then came down to the ring with intent, and the duo began where SummerSlam left off, with a huge encounter and a big-fight feel.
Right off the bat they went with the 'what will Brock do' angle, after Strowman reversed a series of Brock's move. A quick sequence then happened, with a German Suplex from Lesner, with Strowman getting right back up, hitting Lesner with a choke-slam, before hitting his running power-slam finisher, with Lesner kicking out. Each time Lesner has hit back against the canvas, the crowd erupts, believing Strowman is going to win the Universal Championship.
The match then slowed, and understandably so after a quick start, with Lesner eventually taking Strowman to Suplex City, hitting a series of them to Strowman, but wearing out Lesner in the process.
Then, out of the blue, Brock Lesner picked Strowman up, hit him with the F5, and pinned Strowman. It was an identical finish that had Samoa Joe, another wrestler who apparently had Lesner's number, lose a few months prior.
Overall, this match didn't have the same excitement as the previous incarnations of Universal Championship matches, but nevertheless it was a good match. The ending, which saw a slow F5 probably didn't help matters, because if Strowman was able to kick out of everything prior, the F5 had to be a commanding finish, and it just wasn't. This match didn't live up to the expectations of events prior
No Mercy 2017: Overall Thoughts
Now that the dust has settled from the event, we go back to what we thought before the event:
'Expectations for this event are higher than usual, with some potentially show-stealing matches on the cards, but we're not going to get carried away with our predictions that this could be one of the pay-per-view events of the year. After all No Mercy is considered a 'B' show, behind the likes of Survivors Series, and the Royal Rumble, so we don't anticipate the full works tonight as RAW will want a big blow out at Survivor Series in a few months.'
No Mercy essentially lived up to its billing as a 'B' pay-per-view, with the event underwhelming from the original expectations set.
The event started strongly, and featured yet another show-stealing match in the Tag Title division, with Sheamus and Cesaro's match against Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose the highlight of No Mercy. The tag division for both brands has once again been on fire recently.
Last month as SummerSlam we said that the show started slowly, and finished strong, but somehow for No Mercy have they flipped the formula. No Mercy started strong, and ended slowly. The two main events, and the god-awful Cruiserweight title match, were below the bar of expectations, that left us feeling like No Mercy could have been much more, but ultimately feeling like a lot of this event will fall to the waste-side in history.
But yet, this is one of RAW's better PPV's since the draft split, and that's saying something (but the bar hasn't been high at all). There's still a lot of work to do, especially as they need to build the main-event scene up again to make another credible challenger for Lesner. That's where are fears, and our disappointment begins to show, as No Mercy has laid the foundation for exactly that.
Roman Reigns's victory over John Cena is the latest victory in a run which will eventually see Reigns challenged Lesner at Wrestlemania for the Universal Championship. Nobody wants to see that happen, and now that the writing is on the wall, it might be a long six months for wrestling fans who want to see something else in the main event scene.
RAW No Mercy Results: 24/09/2017
WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) def. Jason Jordan
Finn Balor def. Bray Wyatt
RAW Tag Team Championships: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (c) def. Sheamus and Cesaro
RAW Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss (c) def. Nia Jax, Emma, Sasha Banks, and Bailey - with Bliss pinning Bailey
Roman Reigns def. John Cena
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Enzo Amore def. Neville (c) to become Cruiserweight Champion
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesner (c) def. Braun Strowman
Who is on the RAW Hype Train?
The Miz: Continued his great run in WWE with a victory over Jordan, and once again solidifies the IC Champ as a staple on RAW, who since moving from SmackDown Live has been the main workhorse on the red brand.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins: The champs looked good again against Sheamus and Cesaro and we're looking forward to who they'll be facing next for the titles.
Alexa Bliss: The third champion on RAW to board is Alexa Bliss, who retained her Women's Championship against four women. Bliss is the right woman to bank on right now as champion, and hopefully we get a proper feud with Nia Jax next.
Brock Lesner: His match with Strowman wasn't stellar, he's still on the top of the pile, and hugely entertaining.
Stray Observations: No Mercy
A SmackDown promo for Hell in a Cell aired, featuring the storyline between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens... Why do PPV's have to have theme songs that have the title in them, like 'NO MERCY'.
An Asuka promo aired after the Wyatt/Balor match. Why didn't they just make it a surprise, instead of saying that she would be making her debut at TLC, which is the next RAW PPV?
Sheamus stated that he was an alpha-male. Of course he did. Also, are their tag team going to be called The Bar?
Michael Cole made a very good point in the Tag Team Championship match. Three of the four combatants were previous Money in the Bank winners.
Jeff Hardy lost his teeth to a kick by Sheamus. Now Cesaro lost his teeth in another Tag Team Championship match. What goes around, comes around.
Bailey is booed, yet again, only two matches into her return. Fans, especially paying ones, don't forget how horrible her presence has been on TV in the last few months.
The Miz and the Miztourage had a backstage segment with Kurt Angle, inviting Roman Reigns onto Miz TV.
Strowman's defeat to Lesner is only his second clean defeat in WWE, after losing to Roman Reigns at Fastlane.
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