Warning: This article contains spoilers of WWE No Mercy 2016. Consider this mercy.
As WWE's new era continues to thrive, yet another vintage PPV has been revived for SmackDown LIVE, and this time, it's the aptly titled No Mercy. After SmackDown's round one victory over RAW with Backlash, hopes were high for this one, especially with all the hype surrounding both the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and Intercontinental Championship matches.
And no rivalry was more fitting of the PPV's title than the one that has been brewing between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt over the past couple of months. With all that taking place, and much more, No Mercy was understandably a hotly anticipated event. But did it live up to it? Well, if you missed the PPV don't worry because we're catching you up on the best and worst of the event.
AJ Styles Vs. Dean Ambrose Vs. John Cena — WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Result: AJ Styles defeated John Cena and Dean Ambrose to retain the WWE World Championship.
The Good: The decision to have the main event open the show really intrigued me. I thought maybe they didn't have enough faith in the match or something, but man was I wrong. What an opener! All three of them really clicked well together and delivered some show-stopping action. A healthy amount of dives, rollups, kick outs and finishers that really had the crowd loving it. Styles' suplex to Cena on the ring apron made me cringe while his 450 splash onto Ambrose was beautiful. Furthermore, the double German suplex that all three men were involved in was just too amazing. AJ pinning John Cena for the third time in a row has really solidified the fact that we're in a new era. The AJ Styles era.
The Bad: AJ tapping out to both superstars at the same time was completely unnecessary. Of course, logic then escaped both Ambrose and Cena who claimed they were the true winner. I was so happy to see the match restarted. Furthermore, there were times it kind of felt like Dean Ambrose was just a battering ram here. He had so many signature moves performed on him, I lost count. I was almost certain that he would end up taking the fall, I'm so glad I was wrong.
What's Next: Styles' decisive but interfering victory has me feeling that this isn't over yet. Especially with those upset closeups of John Cena. Expect to see some variation of this continue. Also remember that Dean Ambrose never got a solo PPV rematch — yes, he got it on SmackDown — but based on the fact that he didn't take the fall, we might actually see that happen next.
Nikki Bella Vs. Carmella
Result: Nikki Bella defeated Carmella.
The Good: It's great to see Nikki Bella back in action. With Becky Lynch's absence due to injury, Nikki will undoubtedly be the premier woman on SmackDown. She has also really improved in recent years and this match proved that, as she hung in there with the young upstart Carmella. No Mercy was the perfect place for the culmination this rivalry. It's also really great to see two women's matches featured on the card — because the women superstars can actually fight about something other than the title, you know?
The Bad: While I'm happy that Nikki won, it seems that Carmella consistently finds herself on the losing end — this is a problem with many of WWE's young stars.
What's Next: I could be wrong, but based on Carmella's aggression, I have a feeling this might continue. That wouldn't be bad, just completely unnecessary.
Heath Slater & Rhyno Vs. The Usos — WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Result: Rhyno and Heath Slater defeated the Usos.
The Good: Heath and Rhyno are still the champs BAYBAY! It was also great to see Rhyno responsible for the victory with gore, interference and Gore. Another very entertaining outing for these two. I really do love seeing this odd couple as Tag Team Champions.
The Bad: Ever since their attitude change, the Usos have really reinvigorated my interest in them, and I'd really like to see them dominate the tag team division. So this loss didn't do them any favors.
What's Next: The tag team division isn't as strong as the others, so it needs some strong rivalries and more teams that fans will show an interest in. The Usos need to dominate. As for the Tag Champs, we could always see them going up against American Alpha — it's the only real legitimate option for them outside of another rematch with the Usos.
Baron Corbin Vs. Jack Swagger
Result: Baron Corbin defeated Jack Swagger.
The Good: Corbin came out of this looking very strong. Not only was he the victor, he was dominant throughout and kept on top of Swagger for the majority of the match. It was good to see his matches promoted to main card instead of being featured on the pre-show.
The Bad: The crowd wasn't really into this, and I think at one point a few of them starting chanting "boring" — how do the fans ever expect to be invested in future stars if they won't give their matches a chance? The match may have been a little too short and one-sided, given that Swagger just returned to prominence.
What's Next: During his feud with Swagger, Corbin also ended up getting on Kane's wrong side, attacking him with a steel chair on Main Event. The angry Demon never did exact revenge, so it's possible that we could see these two monsters clash in the future — and that would definitely be a good thing.
If you're a fan of WWE, check these out:
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The Miz Vs. Dolph Ziggler — Title vs. Career Match For The Intercontinental Championship
Result: Dolph Ziggler defeated the Miz to win the Intercontinental Championship and save his career.
The Good: What a match! Without a doubt this completely stole the show. Going into this, I didn't want either superstar to lose. I obviously didn't want Ziggler's career to end but the Miz has been on such a roll lately. I must say this was the most exciting buildup for an Intercontinental Championship match in years. Even the crowd was more into it with the split chants for both Miz and Ziggler.
The sheer storytelling in this was off the chain, with Miz coming so close to ending Dolph's career quite a few times. The crowd really got into it in the second half which just added to the emotion. Dolph overcame everything from Miz to Maryse and the Spirit Squad to everyones' doubts. The crowd exploded when he won the belt and voiced their approval and appreciation of the exceptional match. I said back at SummerSlam that WWE needed to go back to the drawing board and make Ziggler a legitimate threat. Congratulations WWE, mission accomplished. Welcome back Dolph!
The Bad: Why wasn't this the main event? This was everything it should have been, and so much more, and really deserved to close the show.
What's Next: With the all the emotion heading into this and the passion that was left in the ring — not to mention the interference from the Spirit Squad — this is far from over. I only wonder how they can possibly top this match, because this was brilliant.
Alexa Bliss Vs. Naomi
Due to Becky Lynch's injury, the scheduled Women's Championship match did not take place. Naomi replaced her and took on Number 1 Contender Alexa Bliss.
Result: Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss.
The Good: I was glad to see that Alexa Bliss fans would still be satisfied by her appearance on the card. There was some great, high flying action in here and Naomi proved that she's one of the most underrated women on the roster. Bliss also went a little psycho at times — like Harley Quinn. That was kind of cool too.
The Bad: Why on earth did Noami defeat the Number 1 contender? This booking would have made sense had Becky Lynch cost Bliss the match, but a clean pin over the contender is just puzzling. Becky Lynch's absence really hurt the event, but I wish her a speedy recovery.
What's Next: Obviously we can expect Bliss getting her match against Lynch for the Women's Championship, but with the unusual booking here, we might see Naomi inserted into the match. It's the only possible reason I can think of for this bizarre unnecessary match.
Bray Wyatt Vs. Randy Orton
Result: Bray Wyatt defeated Randy Orton.
The Good: Bray Wyatt got a much-needed PPV victory here, and that's instantly made even better by the fact it was the main event. Luke Harper's return was a surprise bonus, also. Wyatt doesn't go too long without a family member showing up, and Harper is definitely the fan's favorite Wyatt family sidekick.
The Bad: Heading into the event, this match was definitely the only one that really felt worthy of the PPV's title, and for that reason, I applauded the fact that it was made the main event. Looking back, I'm sure they regret that decision because the match itself was so disappointing. It started off sluggish and eventually began to flow much better, when all of a sudden it was over.
Midway through I found myself hoping for something to happen because I couldn't think of any legitimate reason as to why this was made the main event. In fact, Wyatt's impromptu No Holds Barred match with Kane at Backlash last month was far more entertaining than this. Orton and Wyatt are two phenomenal performers, but for some reason they just didn't gel here tonight. The match was decent — worthy of a SmackDown main event — but out of the three main events, this was definitely the worst.
What's Next: Luke Harper is back and he cost Orton the match. Orton has to deal with two members of the Wyatt Family now. Either he will take them on his own, or perhaps he'll find a partner — Kane has been involved in this rivalry a lot, could he end up lending Orton a big red hand?
Check out Luke Harper's shocking return below:
So with SmackDown LIVE's second solo PPV in the books, we can now judge if the blue brand can hold its own against RAW. And the answer is — yes. No Mercy was another very entertaining outing from SmackDown and once again felt fresh. However, the placement of certain matches really hurt the show. While the main event surprisingly opened the show and set the bar very high, Zigger vs. Miz exceeded that and the two put on an even more outstanding bout. But it was the main event of Wyatt vs. Orton that really dragged things down. I'm sure if WWE had stuck with the original match order, we would be looking at No Mercy in a much more positive light.
As WWE's new era continues to thrive, SmackDown LIVE's No Mercy didn't quite reach the heights of last month's Backlash but it did manage to outdo RAW's controversial Clash Of Champions.
Did you enjoy WWE No Mercy 2016? Let us know in the comments!