What a brave new world we’re in, with WWE dishing out pay per view style events at a rate well over once a month. It seems like Clash Of Champions just happened, and now we get NO MERCY. Having lent its name to one of my favorite video games of all time, this event holds a special place with me, so I wanted to provide a preview for the event, letting you know what I think about each match, its implications, who I expect to win and who should win.
Intercontinental Title vs Career Match
Dolph Ziggler (career) vs The Miz (c)
While it would seem that the stakes are huge in this one, to this point the WWE and Dolph Ziggler haven’t done anything to convince me that Ziggler will actually lose this match. Could he be leaving? I suppose he might want to delve into other projects in Hollywood, but I doubt he’s going to pursue any of them. I would be very, very surprised if he was leaving WWE for other opportunities in the world of wrestling, as comparable pay days are few and far between, aside from going to Japan. Perhaps New Japan wants to pay him to join (or oppose) The Bullet Club, but if that were the case, we likely would’ve heard more about his contract situation running out.
In all likelihood, we will be seeing Dolph Ziggler win the Intercontinental Championship. Although The Miz is doing great work as the second-ranking singles champion on Smackdown (perhaps some of the best work of his career), Ziggler NEEDS this title victory, and he needs a significant reign with it. The storyline has established him as being desperate, and I hope it plays out that he’s doing anything and everything to win. Before Ziggler’s inevitable Intercontinental Championship reign is over, he needs to go heel OR he needs to get far more dynamic on the mic as a face, because at this point he’s bordering on BORING, and as a heel he’s quite dynamic. That should come as no surprise, because he’s clearly more comfortable in the bad guy role, even incorporating it into his @HEELZiggler Twitter handle.
Curt Hawkins’ Re-Debut
Although his hype videos have been eye-roll inducing, I’m looking forward to seeing the re-debut of Curt Hawkins. After his split from Edge’s tag team with Zack Ryder, the WWE never found anything interesting for Hawkins to do. Curt is a talented wrestler, being utilized to help The Rock prepare off-camera for his return matches a couple years ago. I don’t expect he’ll ever make it to the main event scene, but whatever we get from him in the mid-card should provide some good matches.
It doesn’t even really matter who they’re bringing out at No Mercy to face Curt Hawkins. There’s a small chance he might re-debut against someone and lose, but I highly doubt it. I expect the match to last about 2 minutes, with the introduction to the match lasting longer. His “match” should be nothing more than just a glorified promo.
Nikki Bella vs Carmella
Prior to her serious neck injury, Nikki Bella had a historically long championship reign. By all accounts, she should be one of the top female wrestlers on Smackdown, but I don’t expect her to defeat Carmella on Sunday, and to do what’s best for Smackdown’s Women’s Division, she shouldn’t defeat Carmella. At this point, Carmella needs more credibility and more visibility. By defeating Nikki Bella in a crafty manner at No Mercy, a feud between her and Nikki Bella could get kicked up a notch and significantly benefit both women. It would also benefit the division as a whole, as it adds another decent heel challenger to Becky Lynch and it puts a little extra distance between Becky Lynch and the other top name in the division, Nikki Bella.
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch (c)
For all of the beatings and losses Becky Lynch took prior to the WWE Draft, she needs a significant run with this championship to validate how high she was selected in the draft. Smackdown made her their top female competitor with their selection choice, so they need to have this first title reign validate that. She needs to beat upstarts like Alexa Bliss, who gets great visibility and credibility boost by just being in the match. She needs to beat her long-time rival, Natalya, and then probably another upstart. This reign needs to last into December at least. I’ve heard that Triple H has always been very complimentary about the abilities Alexa Bliss displays in-ring and on the microphone, and it’s well warranted. Even still, she gets better every week, and I expect that a year from now she will have a title reign on her resume. Now is the wrong time to start it, though, and I would think WWE would see that. If she did win the belt, she would either lose it back to Lynch, or the other top female face on Smackdown, Nikki Bella. Neither of those possibilities helps the division much at all, so don’t expect either to occur.
Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin
Though Jack Swagger has seen a resurgence lately, he’s nothing more than a midcarder at this point in his career, having flamed out a bit with failed attempts at having him in the main event. Baron Corbin is the opposite, a guy with tons of potential, on his way up, but having hit a bit of a lull since the WWE Draft. I expect this match will help put him back on track to rise up the card, so this one will go in Baron Corbin’s favor, especially after he lost to Swagger this week on Smackdown. If this goes in any other direction, I’ll be shocked.
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
This is the hardest prediction to make on the card, but that’s only because I hold Bray Wyatt in significantly higher regard than WWE. I would like to think that Bray Wyatt deserves a victory here to give him a leg-up in the feud. But Orton helped put over Lesnar, taking some serious damage to his skull in the process. Wyatt is a guy who the WWE loves to use to put over the guys in the main event, so this one will likely go Orton’s way.
World Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos vs Slater & Rhyno (c)
The Smackdown Tag Team division is very enticing, and the new attitude Usos are the veteran cornerstone to carry it. The past couple years I was getting very bored with their stale characters, and their heel turn has been very refreshing and provides exactly what the division needs. I fully expect to see a huge championship match between them and American Alpha occur at one of the high profile pay per view events in the near future, so The Usos reign should start now. Heath Slater has been very entertaining since the WWE Draft, and losing the belts actually opens up many more opportunities for him than keeping them. I don’t see any reason why the WWE would go in another direction here.
World Championship Triple Threat
Cena vs Ambrose vs Styles (c)
AJ Styles is one of the most well-respected wrestlers of our generation, and having him as the World Champion both validates the championship and gives Styles the credibility to the mainstream United States audience. The idea of giving Styles multiple reigns with the championship is enticing, so Styles shouldn’t hold the belt too long, but taking the belt away from him less than a month after he won it takes away some of the power behind the reign. At some point, John Cena getting the historic title reign would be appropriate, because what AJ Styles said about Cena not belonging in the same conversation as Ric Flair is a farce. Cena is a cornerstone of the 2000s and deserved those reigns. The wild card in this match involves who should take the pinfall, and I’m going to recommend that it be Cena. While his credibility has certainly been elevated, Dean Ambrose still seems a bit of a fringe main eventer at this point and deserves to not be the one to get pinned. I’m expecting that WWE will agree with me on both points and execute accordingly.