A pretty decent card for No Mercy – very good in fact. Made all the more impressive by the fact that the PPV event opened with the main event – a triple threat match between Dean Ambrose, John Cena and AJ Styles. A big call – but the three athletes delivered. No way was this the all too typical triple threat where one person hides from the ring while the other two go at it in essentially singles competition and then rinse, repeat, rotate. No – all three hit into this hard with attempted finishers from the get-go and a near-relentless pace. Kudos too to the WWE crew for what felt – to me at least – like a few new (and improved) camera angles. Close-ups gave this an even more claustrophobic feel. Styles never seemed like he was gonna lose in an obvious beat-down, nor did he feel like the clear winner. That he retained was not only the right move – it set up a great event with a huge opening match.
Nikki Bella’s return to the ring was market with a short match against Carmella, a decent wee bout this – never a classic but not at all embarrassing. It kept things moving. Bella with the win.
We get a bit bogged down in the Tag Title match – our champs Heath Slater and Rhyno retaining against The Usos. It wasn’t in any way bad – but the tag division feel uninteresting.
Baron Corbin took on Jack Swagger next in singles competition – a better match, strong, swift storytelling here. The Baron took the victory.
Dolph Ziggler’s career was on the line against The Miz – and he faced an uphill battle. Maryse interfering as usual, she even called to old Spirit Squad members (Mikey and Kenny) to interrupt. The Miz and Ziggler have both worked hard to nail this series of matches; this feud. Both have great characters, which they own – every step of the way. And this might have been their very best match. Not just their best match against each other but each man’s best effort in the ring. That’s how much they cared – this could have opened the match and it would have been as exciting as a Wrestlemania Ladder Match – oddly, as it was, top of the mid-card it felt somewhat buried. It wouldn’t stay buried for long though – not with the in-ring efforts of these two. Ziggler’s still here – he’s the new Intercontinental Champ and it was a close-to-perfect-match. A classic. One for the best of the year polls. Easily.
Alexa Bliss was due to battle the champ, Becky Lynch but with Lynch out of action (injury) they had to try to pull something. As it was Naomi entered the ring and defeated Bliss – this penultimate match was a bit of a throwaway. A shame, but not sure what else they could have done. Bliss winning was the obvious thing – and it’s weird that she was crushed in the build of a feud between here and Lynch. Oh well.
Our end of the night match – the closer, the main-event-by-default was Bray Wyatt against Randy Orton. Orton’s injury postponed this from the previous PPV event. Stodgy storytelling here had this crawling towards its finish. Cue lights out and the return of Luke Harper – okay, so it was kinda a big finish and kinda lame. 50/50. Wyatt snatched the victory, the real tragedy here was in the way this lurched and stumbled and crawled towards a quarter-of-an-hour, feeling double that length.
No Mercy is good though – mostly solid, solid matches. Two very good matches, one an absolute classic. And only one total dud, filler. Over quickly too – so no huge embarrassment.
One of the best WWE PPV events of 2016 – plenty of highlight-reel moments to watch over and again.
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