Monday, October 17, 2016

WWE No Mercy 2016

A week later and I've got some semblance of content going for the next couple months, at least. However, don't be surprised if there's another week-long interruption around that time as well. This whole "daily post" thing is still a work in progress and withIn any event, last week had a Smackdown PPV called No Mercy. And while one would be best served playing the Nintendo 64 game of the same name, the show itself has a couple worthwhile matches. In fact, let's start the show with one of them right now and NOT main event with the other.

WWE World champion AJ Styles defeated John Cena and Dean Ambrose to retain the title, with the finish being that after some near falls which included a neat double submission false finish (Ambrose and Cena had submissions applied to Styles, who promptly tapped because who could blame him?) and the usual near-fall stuff, Styles just whacks Cena with a chair and went for the pin. Your mileage may vary on whether that was a good finish or not, but I was perfectly fine with it. They trade finishes and near-falls and then AJ goes "Fuck it" (or whatever the Christian equivalent happens to be) and hits Cena with a chair for the win. Now that's a dirty deed, indeed. I honestly liked this match; it had action, it had moments, and it almost felt believable in a way. This would've been a worthy way to end a PPV event.

But this is the opening contest... there's still a chunk of show to go.

So for those who need context, this show was airing around the same time as the second set of Presidential Debates or whatever the case may be and for some strange reason, Vince or somebody decided to have the title match first for fear that nobody would be watching. It just goes to show how ass-backwards this company is, as it doesn't occur to them that if they miss it live, they could always re-watch it on-demand or on a repeat of the live stream or whatever it's called. Having a World title match open the card is fine if you have something later on that feels bigger, but this is more of a Saturday Night's Main Even sort of deal; have the big match first while everyone's awake and then fill the rest with lesser stuff that nobody is going to watch or even care about.

Case in point... Nikki Bella defeated Carmella in a match that just happened. Because... sure, whatever. It's a thing that happened... I don't need to say that this match wasn't particularly great or anything and I had no real interest in it; it's just a thing that happened. Let's just leave it at that.

Smackdown Tag-Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno defeated the Usos to retain the titles in a match that I expected the Usos to win, but was pleasantly surprised to see them not win. I like that when Slater is getting beat up, the crowd is chanting "He's Got Kids." Indeed, he does. Anyway, match wasn't anything special, but I'm happy to see Slater and Rhyno keep the titles, even if it's for only a little while longer.

Baron Corbin defeated Jack Swagger... nobody gives a shit.

Dolph Ziggler defeated Intercontinental champion the Miz to win the title and continue a career, as this was a Title Versus Career match... while the concluding moments of the match was dripping with drama - what with Miz's turnbuckle undressing, Maryse raiding Rick Martel's bottle of Arrogance, and half the Spirit Squad showing up - all of it is negated by the fact that this is Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz, a match that I've seen many, many times over. And I will admit it; this was a fine match, both guys busted their asses off, it almost felt like something was at stake here, the crowd was alive for the most part, and there was a moment when I was actually into it enough to wonder if they were really going to put an end to Ziggler... but then Ziggler won... with a superkick... and I'm like "Oh..."

And then Randy Orton looks at a mirror and it warps for a bit. Seriously... what the hell?

Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss with a roll-up during a submission. Becky Lynch was supposed to be defending her Smackdown title, but she's out at the moment, so they give Bliss Naomi and we get this match instead. And... well, it was a thing that happened.

Bray Wyatt defeated Randy Orton with a timely distraction from the returning Luke Harper, who apparently decided he'd rather be back with the Family rather than do his own thing. I think he does this every single time he comes back and everyone is shocked for some reason. Nice to see Bray win a match for once, but I don't care about this feud in the slightest and that's a sad way to end the show, actually.

Outside of the WWE and IC title matches, there was not a single thing here that came off as memorable or anything of the sort. It was a bunch of matches you could've had on Smackdown, but we have three hours to fill, so let's put some random shit on the show. And that's another thing; these Smackdown shows run a little over 2h30... maybe 2h40. While I appreciate the shorter run time (I kinda wish they did the same with the RAW shows), when you barely have enough material to fill THAT meager time slot - there's one particular video package that they played TWICE on the show - you have to wonder how strong your show really is. No Mercy is merely adequate in that it had a couple big matches deliver the goods, but the rest is a case of "take it or leave it." One could argue that the World title match is the only thing worth watching, but I daresay that even Ziggler vs. Miz has its moments. The rest of it, however, can be best left forgotten.

In other words, just stick with the video game.

I'll say this much however; Smackdown has given me two perfectly adequate PPVs thus far, even if they each only feature one or two matches worth a damn with a whole bunch of filler. And for what it's worth, the Smackdown show is actually pretty decent these days, benefiting from a shorter runtime and also some semblance of logical storytelling that I can follow and get into, even if I don't care all that much. Hopefully, their next solo PPV outing will be a little better, but that will have to wait because November is Survivor Series month and I'm expecting a Toronto Screwjob to take place.

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