The SmarK Rant for WWE No Mercy 2016
Straight talk here, I’m watching this after the butt-clenching adrenaline of the Blue Jays game tonight, so this is probably gonna be a letdown because I only really know two of the matches. But did I mention BLUE JAYS WIN? (I’m much more pumped about this year’s No Mercy because there’s actual matches with stakes that I have investment in as a fan. How about that, huh?)
Because they totally did. (Man, I sure wasn’t saying that much THIS year!)
Live from Sacramento, CA
Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga & JBL
WWE World title: AJ Styles v. John Cena v. Dean Ambrose
I feel like this is an incredibly bad idea that’s going to kill the rest of the show and all the poor midcard geeks that have to follow it. (Yeah, that one got written off as “failed experiment” right away.) Really weird production on it, as they do the ring entrances, then stop for a LENGTHY video package about the match, then go back to the ring to actually do introductions. Everyone tries for the finisher early and they all collide, so Ambrose beats on the other two and tosses AJ for a brawl on the floor. Cena runs him into the post to get rid of him, but AJ follows with a slingshot forearm onto Cena. Back in, they do a wacky german suplex with all three guys going up and over. That’s pretty clever. Dean gets tossed and Cena tries the FU on AJ, but he counters with the Pele kick. JBL notes “He was nicknamed Big Match John…by me.” Yeah, thanks for that. AJ gets the springboard DDT on Ambrose, but catches Cena in mid-move and DDTs both guys at the same time! Ambrose gets tossed out for the third time, basically playing a ragdoll physics model thus far, and Cena hits the Code Red on Styles for two. Cena takes AJ to the top, but it’s reversed to a powerbomb out of a backbreaker for two. AJ with a sleeper, but Cena reverses, and then Ambrose jumps in with his own sleeper on Cena. There’s lots of inventive spots thus far and it’s really cool. Cena comes back on Dean with the usual, but AJ cuts him off with the german suplex for two. And then Ambrose hits AJ with the facebuster for two. And then he gets dumped out again, but flies in with the elbow on Cena for two. AJ escapes Dirty Deeds and hits a rana from the top, but Dean rolls through into a sunset flip for two. AJ rolls him up for two, and they collide for the KO, but Dean lands on top for two. Cena gives a Five Knuckle Shuffle on both in a dumb spot, then follows with the FU on Ambrose for two. STF , but AJ saves and suplexes Cena on the apron, then springboards back in with the 450 on Ambrose for two. Styles Clash, but Cena breaks it up with an STF on Styles, and Ambrose prevents AJ from tapping to make the save. Another clever spot. Everyone collides in the corner and Cena puts both guys on his back, but AJ escapes and hits the Pele, only to have Ambrose hit the rebound lariat on him. To the top, where Cena cuts off Ambrose with a powerbomb and then rolls through a high cross from Styles, only to have Styles roll through into the calf crusher. Dean makes the save with a flying elbow, and then gets his own calf crusher on Styles, followed by Cena hooking the STF, and AJ taps at 19:27. However, since both guys were doing moves, neither one can win. So Cena puts Ambrose down with a clothesline, and Dean gets Dirty Deeds for two, but Styles pulls out the ref to save. Ambrose sends him into the table and heads back in, but Cena catches him with the top rope FU. And then AJ just hits Cena with a chair and pins him to retain at 21:40. Now that was an awesome finish, because they had built up all these clever spots and scientific exchanges, only for AJ to just cut the Gordian Knot and hit Cena with a chair. ****1/2
Carmella v. Nikki Bella
Nikki throws her around the ring to start, but charges outside the ring and hits the railing. Back in, Carmella gets two and goes to a chinlock. Broncobuster gets two. And we’re back to the chinlock again as they’re already killing off the crowd. Another broncobuster attempt is cut off with a sloppy spear and Nikki makes the comeback with a springboard kick out of the corner that misses by a foot. Carpet muncher gets two. Carmella comes back with a superkick that also misses by a mile and that gets two. Small package gets two, but Carmella hooks the Code of Silence and Nikki makes the ropes. Nikki finishes her with the TKO at 8:08, however. Just a match. *
Meanwhile, the Miz hassles Shane and Daniel backstage.
Smackdown tag titles: Rhyno & Heath Slater v. The Usos
Jimmy gets beat up in the babyface corner for a bit, and then Jey slams Slater while the crowd chants “He’s got kids” to rally him. Jimmy with the chinlock, but Heath makes a hot tag to Rhyno and he cleans house. But then the Usos cut him off and get the heat on him for more punches and kicks. Back to Slater as the announcers say “chomping at the bit” a million times, and he makes his comeback on the Usos. Neckbreaker on Jey gets two. Rollup gets two. Jey with some kind of DDT thing for two. Jimmy gets rid of Rhyno and goes up, but Slater powerslams him off the top for two. But then Jimmy just superkicks him and Jey takes out the knee and goes to the half-crab. Rhyno saves with a clothesline as this kind of drags on, and the GOAR finishes Jey at 10:21. The Uso heel turn has somehow managed to flatten them out even more, but at least they didn’t win. *1/2 (Thankfully, the Usos figured out whatever it was that was missing from the heel act and are now super-effective at it.)
Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt is being all creepy somewhere else. Are they seriously going to close the show with that stupid match? (Ho ho, it gets WORSE, 2016 Scott! Soon we’d begging, BEGGING I tells ya, for the sanity of Bray doing a normal main event match.)
Jack Swagger v. Baron Corbin
They quickly brawl to the floor and Corbin kicks the stairs into Swagger’s hand to take over and stomps on it a lot. The crowd already turns on the match as Corbin gets the “heat” and slowly works Swagger over. Swagger manages to backdrop him into the corner in embarrassing fashion. The crowd likes to chant “We the people” with Swagger but he’s got no connection with them otherwise. Swaggerbomb gets two, but Corbin kicks the hand again and hits the powerbomb for two. The announcers keep calling Swagger “double tough” as though it’s something positive. That’s what JR used to call jobbers to give them a talking point. Swagger gets the anklelock, but Corbin makes the ropes and finishes with End of Days at 7:28. That’s three matches in a row where the finish is someone escaping from a submission move and then just hitting their finisher with no buildup. DUD
Intercontinental title v. career: The Miz v. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph attacks to start and gets a series of near-falls, but Miz dumps him and runs him into the turnbuckles to take over. Interesting crowd reaction, as the women chant for Ziggler and the men chant for Miz. Obviously Sacramento has some mentally deficient people at these shows. Miz stomps away on the apron and catapults Dolph under the ropes, then stops to mock Daniel Bryan before going back to working Dolph over. Miz with a neckbreaker for two while JBL once again manages to make the match about himself. Dolph comes back with a dropkick out of the corner and makes the comeback with his usual clotheslines and elbow for two. Miz tries the slingshot powerbomb, but Ziggler rolls him into a sunset flip for two, and Miz reverses for two. They trade rollups and Miz clips the knee and hits a DDT for two. Miz works on the knee, but Dolph blocks the figure-four with a small package for two. Miz goes up and Dolph brings him down, so Miz rolls into the figure-four and pulls him into the middle. Dolph gets the ropes as the announcers are basically like “Man, what a loser he’d be if he tapped to end his career!” Miz exposes a turnbuckle, but Ziggler gets a Rough Rider for two. Miz dodges him into the turnbuckle and hits the slingshot powerbomb for two. Miz throws the Yes Kicks, but Dolph gets the Zig Zag for two. Skull Crushing Finale is reversed to a rollup for two. Dolph with a sleeper, but Miz makes the ropes, so Maryse sprays him in the face and Miz gets the Finale for two, as Dolph’s foot is on the ropes. Miz pulls off Dolph’s boot, so Dolph superkicks him and we actually gets a Spirit Squad run-in, which leads to another Finale, for another two. Dolph with another superkick, and that ends it at 19:40 to make him slightly less of a loser. Really good for the most part, but too long and needlessly overbooked, with the “finisher-kickout-finisher-kickout” stuff not really adding anything to it. ***1/2 (Whatever momentum Ziggler got off this was immediately flushed down the toilet and he’s somehow in an even worse position today.)
Meanwhile, Randy Orton is apparently doing LSD in the locker room and trips out when he looks in the mirror. Maybe it was just an Instagram filter gone REALLY wrong? And what a great way to negate any real emotion in the Ziggler win, by immediately going to a stupid angle where a guy’s face is distorted in a mirror.
Alexa Bliss v. Naomi
Naomi puts her down with kicks and gets a moonsault for two, but she bails to the apron and Bliss rams her head into the apron to take over. Bliss works the arm as the announcers stress that Becky’s injury had nothing to do with Bliss. And then Bray Wyatt’s magic causes the camera to freak out with an infinite recursion on the Titantron. I’M FREAKING OUT. This drags on as Naomi comes back with the Rear View and doesn’t come within two feet of hitting it, and Bliss suddenly gets the armbreaker and Naomi rolls her over and pins her at 5:30. What a mess. DUD
Bray Wyatt v. Randy Orton
So yeah, this is the main event, I guess. And then they play the SAME GODDAMN VIDEO PACKAGE they already showed earlier in the night! I know they’re trying to stretch this out to 2:40, but come on. Orton wins a slugfest to start and gives him the Garvin Stomp, then escapes Sister Abigail and they head to the floor. Once again the weakness of the terrible, terrible announcing from Otunga is revealed when they’re talking about the stupid mindgames b------- and Otunga is like “Oh, don’t forget Orton has been known to go to a dark place” as though he’s reading a stat from a baseball game or something. “Well Bob, he’s got a .250 batting average against lefties, but he’s been known to go to a dark place, so that might give him an edge against the Braves closer.” Wyatt runs Orton into the railing as the man is literally able to manipulate the laws of physics like Mirror Master and yet he just goes out and has a match like just another fella. Why isn’t he robbing banks or causing trouble for the Flash with these amazing powers? Of course tonight his most impressive power is putting 15,000 people to sleep at the same time. They slug it out on the apron and Bray does an incredibly half-assed DDT on the apron for two. Must have been his SCARY MAGIC POWERS that made Orton sell. Back in, clothesline gets two. They slug it out as the crowd sits on their hands waiting for the RKO finish, and Orton gets the powerslam for two. Wyatt puts him down again with a forearm and the crowd is just scary dead silent for this. Orton counters Sister Abigail with a rollup for two, but Bray hits the uranage for two. To the floor again, where Wyatt misses a senton and hits the stairs, and Orton makes his comeback. Mauro’s over the top hyperbole here isn’t helping. Back in for the draping DDT, and it’s time for the run-in from Luke Harper, allowing Bray to hit Sister Abigail at 15:40. The announcers are all “What the hell is Luke Harper doing here?” as though Wyatt’s longtime associate and partner appearing to help him is some shocking occurrence. And he didn’t even do anything! He just stood there and Orton stupidly walked into the finisher. **1/4 (And again, Harper’s return went nowhere and led to nothing.)
Watch the first match, and then turn off the show and go do something else instead. Worst show of the year by FAR and I have no idea what the thought process behind moving the main event to the opening spot was, because it killed the show.
Thumbs way down.