The SmarK Rant for WWE No Mercy 2017
Live from Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Corey Graves
Intercontinental title: The Miz v. Jason Jordan
There’s a trope in fiction called “The Mary Sue”, which is where a previously-unmentioned character suddenly becomes a major protagonist with no obvious character flaws and makes everyone else look dumb. Jordan is wrestling’s Mary Sue. They’re just not gonna give up on this one, are they? Also, they’re trying to make “gold blooded” a thing, and that’s gonna about as well as Jordan’s push, I’m betting. Jordan takes Miz down a couple of times and Miz bails to the apron, but gets suplexed back in for two. Northern lights suplex gets two and Miz bails to escape, but catches Jordan with a baseball slide thanks to the Miztourage. Miz chases him outside and gains the advantage out there, and then back in for the Miz Kicks which get an un-ironic babyface reaction from the crowd, but Jordan makes the comeback and the crowd shits all over him. Belly to belly gets two. Jordan reverses the Skull Crushing Finale for two and gets a rolling Northern lights suplex for two. Jordan’s got some neat stuff in the ring but they’re just wrecking him with this push. Jordan lays out the entire Miz crew by himself outside and crossfaces Miz in the ring, but Miz makes the ropes to a big pop. Blind charge hits the post as the crowd chants “Miz is Awesome”, but Jordan fights back with a belly to belly and rolls up Miz behind the ref’s back. He goes after Axel like a moron, however, and the Skull Crushing Finale finishes him at 10:13. Good match, but they do a completely tone-deaf interview with him afterwards, where he’s supposed to be getting the crowd fired up for a rematch and instead they boo him and it falls totally flat. **3/4
Bray Wyatt v. Finn Balor
The video package for this is completely non-sensical, even by Bray’s standards of gobbledygook. Apparently this is a deep psychological examination of men creating demons or some bullshit. This is “man v. man”, so I guess if anyone unleashes a demon he’ll be disqualified. What about a general spirit? Like, what if one of the competitors is haunted by a dead relative or something? Would Sister Abigail count? Hopefully the legal department accounted for that. Bray attacks to start and slams him on the announce table, and multiple referees are all “Welp, he’s done, let’s get him back to the dressing room” while Finn heads to the back clutching his ribs dramatically. But then Bray unleashes a chicken challenge on him and Bray decides to fight on anyway and heads back to start the match. They immediately fight on the floor and Finn dropkicks him into the railing to take over, but goes up and gets caught coming in. Superplex and they slug it out on the apron, with Bray getting the DDT out there to work on the shoulder. Back in, Bray goes to a neck vice, but Finn makes the comeback until Bray cuts him off and tosses him. Finn traps Wyatt in the apron and stomps away on him. Back in, Finn goes up, but Bray does his goofy crabwalk and Finn does a wide-mouthed sell as if we haven’t seen it a million times before. JUST HIT HIM, dummy. Bray gets the uranage for two off that distraction, but Finn takes him down with a double stomp for two. They head up and Finn puts him down and gets a double stomp to the back to the head, for two. You’d think that would be more devastating than the normal version. Bray puts him down with a forearm for two. He follows with a pair of drop suplexes, but Balor dropkicks him into the corner and finishes with the Coup De Gras at 11:31. So I guess that argument has been settled. I think the finish should have been Bray doing his stupid bridge and then Finn hitting him with the move anyway. Match was fine, but these two just don’t have any serious chemistry together. It was competent, Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. **1/2
RAW tag team titles: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins v. Cesaro & Sheamus
Hopefully no one brought a beach ball tonight. Do they have beaches in LA? Dean clears the ring to start but chases Cesaro and gets jumped by Sheamus because he’s kind of dumb. Cesaro swings him into the stairs in a great spot, and that gets two. They work Ambrose over in the corner and we get a weird spot where the ref wants to check on Dean’s shoulder and Cesaro tries to cover him instead. Why would you break up a pin attempt? If he’s hurt, count the pin! Cesaro gets a big boot for two and Corey thinks Dean is too busy wondering “why Goofy talks and Pluto doesn’t” due to getting his bell rung. Greater minds than his have contemplated that one. The challengers work over the shoulder, but Dean reverses Cesaro into a catapult, and makes the tag to Seth. And holy shit, Cesaro has TEETH knocked out off that one! That’s insane. Blockbuster for Cesaro and tope for Sheamus, and the standing side kick gets two. They collide and Sheamus gets a cheapshot from behind to take over. Sheamus with the backbreakers, as three of those get two. Sheamus backdrops Seth into a Cesaro forearm for two. Sheamus gets all upset with the refereeing job and misses a blind charge as a result, and Rollins backdrops Cesaro out of the ring and makes the hot tag to Ambrose. He clotheslines Sheamus to the floor and follows with a dive into both heels, and we get a nice little moment where Ambrose is ramming his own shoulder into the railing to try to pop it back in place like Martin Riggs. Back in, the flying elbow gets two, but the challengers cut him off again and dominate with the sweet double-team goodness. Sharpshooter with Rollins on the floor and Cesaro turns it into a crossface while still bleeding from the mouth in a great visual. They keep coming with a double crucifix drop for two. I love that they keep coming up with wacky new double-teams. Cesaro slugs it out with Ambrose, who comes back with the wacky lariat, only to have Sheamus cut him off with White Noise. Rollins tries a top rope rana on Cesaro, but he cuts him off and POWERBOMBS HIM ONTO AMBROSE. And that only gets two?!? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? The heels take out Rollins again and Cesaro makes him watch Sheamus try the Brogue Kick, but Ambrose rolls him up for two. Heel miscommunication puts Cesaro on the floor, and Dirty Deeds finishes Sheamus at 16:00 to retain. Cesaro was ROBBED. Of the titles and his teeth. This was fantabulous. ****1/4
RAW Women’s title: Alexa Bliss v. Sasha Banks v. Nia Jax v. Bayley v. Emma
This is another one where the storyline makes no sense and the motivations are all screwed up. And why does Bayley just get stuck in the match but Emma and Nia Jax had to win that tag match? The reaction for Bayley’s entrance is scary dead now as they’ve pretty much destroyed her. Cole notes that although Emma claims to have started the “women’s revolution”, we can’t forget about Stephanie McMahon. Can we go ONE MATCH without giving her credit for inventing women’s wrestling? Nia immediately lays out Bliss and then the other girls dump her, leaving Bayley and Sasha. Nia gets rid of Sasha and beats on Bayley, then hits Emma with a spinebuster. Alexa saves the pin and Nia throws her around and manages to hit Alexa and Sasha with a double samoan drop for two. Bryan Alvarez’s theory about doing moves to two people at once holds true: It always gets over. Bayley tries a guillotine on Nia, and the girls all dump Nia out like it’s a battle royal. Emma and Alexa slug it out over who gets to pin Sasha, and Emma gets two off of that. Emma and Bayley team up to give Nia a powerbomb off the apron in a spot they probably didn’t need to be doing. Back in, Emma rolls up Alexa for two, and Bayley cuts off the double-knee moonsault and suplexes Alex into the corner. Emma splashes Bayley in the corner for two and Sasha bulldogs Emma for two. Sasha with the Bank Statement on Alexa, but Bayley saves and gets two on Alexa. Belly to belly on Alexa gets two, but Nia returns to clean house. Legdrop on Sasha gets two, but Emma saves. Nia charges Alexa and misses, landing on the floor again, and Alexa DDTs Bayley to retain at 9:55. So they brought her back just to do the job again? Anyway, this WAY overdelivered. ***1/2
Meanwhile, we take a weird trip back to No Mercy 2005, with Batista beating Eddie Guerrero to retain the WWE title. Eddie would be dead shortly after that match, in fact.
John Cena v. Roman Reigns
The video package makes the case for them having “parallel careers”, but the timelines are completely different. Like, they try to make the case that the US title was their first stepping stone, which it was for Cena, while Reigns just won it last year! The crowd decides to be diplomatic and just chants “You both suck” instead of choosing sides. So Cena decides to leave, which the crowd loves, and Reigns chases him back in again. Back in, Roman slugs away and hits the move that WWE Champions calls “Moment of Silence” for two. That’s the first time I’ve ever actually seen him do that outside of a video game. Reigns tosses him, but Cena whips him into the stairs and then Reigns gives him a taste of own medicine. And the medicine tastes like COLD HARD STEEL, as JR would say. Drive By gets two. Reigns slugs him down again and some fan yells “Give him some Ben Gay!” That’s just hurtful. Roman with the chinlock and he no-sells Cena’s shoulderblocks. Cena ducks the superman punch and comes back with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Reigns counters into the samoan drop for two. Cena hits another attempt at the Shuffle, but Reigns boots him down again, only to have Cena reverse the superman punch into the STF. Roman escapes with a powerbomb for two. Cena counters another superman punch into the AA for two, but he goes up and lands into a powerbomb for two. Roman finally hits that damn superman punch and that gets two. Another try and Reigns hits the post instead, and Cena brings him off the top with an Adjustment for two. The crowd wants “one more time” but Cena waves them off and preps the table instead. Sadly, Reigns spears him through the table to mess up his plan. Back in, that gets two. Cena fires up again, however, hits another AA, then rolls into a second one for two. Cena gets all flustered and Reigns him with the superman punch and spear for the pin at 22:11. Cole’s like “It’s the biggest win of Reigns’ career!” Yeah, you guys keep saying that for every damn match he wins. And it still hasn’t worked yet. Thankfully, the match delivered all the drama and heat it promised, although the start was a bit slow. **** Cena endorses him after the match and the crowd still boos both guys anyway. The death march to Brock v. Roman II continues.
Cruiserweight title: Neville v. Enzo Amore
We actually change to the 205 Live announce team for this one, which makes it look even more low-rent and unworthy of being on a PPV. Enzo altering his schtick for a singles career is about as sad as when the New Age Outlaws broke up and Road Dogg had to find new stuff to say before every match. THANK GOD they leave the ropes alone for this one. Neville quickly works the arm while the announcers pretty much tell us outright that Tozawa’s six day title reign didn’t count and Neville has actually been champion since January. Enzo tries a tornado DDT and gets caught and beat up in the corner instead. Neville takes him to the floor and beats on him out there, and Enzo squeaks back in at 9. And the crowd boos him for that. Neville with a chinlock as this continues to die before our eyes. Enzo gets tossed and skins the cat back in, but Neville superkicks him for two. Crowd chants “This is boring” while Neville kicks the crap out of Enzo, and the Red Arrow looks to finish, but Neville denies the crowd and chooses a Phoenix splash instead. That misses and Enzo goes up with a flying DDT for two. Enzo sets up for a dive and Neville casually kicks him in the face and throws him into the crowd, where Enzo steals the belt to interrupt the count. Back in, Enzo gives the belt back, but kicks Neville in the nuts and pins him to win the title at 10:36. Well that was some bullshit. Neville did what he could, but Enzo doesn’t have much to bring. *1/2
WWE Universal title: Brock Lesnar v. Braun Strowman
Given ring introductions don’t even start until 2:45 of a 3 hour PPV, this obviously isn’t going long. Brock is unable take the big man down, but he throws a suplex, which Braun no-sells and follows with the powerslam for two. Braun works him over in the corner, but Brock tries the F5 and Braun tosses him out to counter. Back in, Braun misses a charge and Brock tries the kimura and manages to get Braun to the mat with it, but Braun makes the ropes. Braun with a spinebuster for two, but Brock throws suplexes until Braun counters with the powerslam and both guys are down. Another powerslam gets two. Brock comes back with the F5 and Braun is done at 8:53. Well that was a giant crushing disappointment on several levels. *1/2 Everyone was ready for more crazy mayhem and stuff getting smashed and they just kind of had a match where Braun did a clean job.
An easy and strong thumbs up based on the undercard, but the main even was yet another lazy Brock Lesnar match when they could have made Braun into a superstar. It was on trend to be best show of the year after Reigns v. Cena, but couldn’t sustain the momentum, unfortunately.
Tags: Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, No Mercy 2017, SmarK Rants