The Miz opens the show this week with his patented whiney act and to lay the groundwork for the fourteen-man over-the-top battle royale to determine the number one contender to his Intercontinental Championship at No Mercy. The smart money here is on Jason Jordan, obviously, but the likes of Finn Balor and Elias help to spice things up a bit. There’s a great little tease when Balor helps Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson dump the Big Show, though why Goldust and R-Truth never interact is beyond me. In the end, Bray Wyatt pops out to throw out Balor and, right as Jordan is about to win, the match abruptly ends with Jeff Hardy as the winner. That was…unexpected and I’m not entirely sure if it was a good thing. Considering Jeff’s previous issues, it might be better if he stayed tagging with Matt to help keep the tag division on life support. However, maybe it’s a way of upping Jordan’s mean streak by having him dispute Jeff’s win and gain some much-needed traction by taking out the former WWE/World Champion.
Enzo Amore ten makes his in-ring debut as a cruiserweight by beating Noam Dar. Okay, well, good for him, I guess? I actually would’ve preferred it if Brock Lesnar, who popped out to talk smack about Braun Strowman right after the match, had just kicked the shit out of both men.
Cesaro then took on, and defeated, Seth Rollins after a bit of cheeky interference from Sheamus. I vaguely seem to remember Cesaro losing a single match to Dean Ambrose a few weeks ago so I’m glad to see Cesaro get the win here, even if it was tainted. While this did serve to show that Sheamus and Cesaro are underhanded heels and that those tactics can steal them victories, it was somewhat negated in the match immediately following it when Dean Ambrose pinned Sheamus. The plus side, though, was that Rollins was the one who got involved to help Ambrose get the win, proving that the champions can give as good as they get.
Emma then defeated Mickie James, meaning that Emma could force Mickie to send out a tweet of her own design. The only thing to take away from this was that Emma actually won a match for the first time in…a year?
The biggest bombshell of the week followed as Roman Reigns and John Cena came out to sign the contract to make their No Mercy match official. Before I start, I really feel like it’s way, way too soon for this match; I guess we’re going to see three matches between them on the build-up to WrestleMania, or something? Similar to last week, Reigns ran down Cena, criticising him for being a part-timer and pointing out the fans hate him and all that. Cena, however, fired right back, taking a shot at Roman’s promo skills and inability to step up and properly fill the void Cena has left since moving on to non-wrestling things. As I mentioned last week, the annoying thing about all this is that Reigns is talking complete truths and saying all the stuff that a lot of fans think and that is true but Cena just shrugs it off and laughs at Reigns for saying the same stuff loads of people have had a go at him about before. Cena’s rant was just as cutting and true as Reigns; Reigns has failed to step up and be the top babyface but Cena really needs to stop deflecting insults back by saying the same things to his opponent and start bringing some fire. If Reigns says he’s a bitch, get mad, man! Don’t blow your own trumpet, get in his face and say look, guy, I set the bar so either shut up and fight or go cry in a corner. Their match will be super weird as the fans are just going to hijack it with all their stupid duel chanting and nonsense!
Anyway, Anderson and Gallows randomly came out near the end of all this tasty meta-talk and force a tag team match which, despite all the venom and hatred Reigns and Cena just threw at each other, they lost! So, the Club, once one of the hottest tag teams in Japan and a part of perhaps the hottest stable in recent memory, are officially complete jokers on about the same level as the Ascension. Reigns should have just left Cena hanging and walked away while watching the Club beat Cena to a pulp. Instead, they seemingly forgot all of the animosity they’d just built up moments before.
If that wasn’t bad enough, as if I couldn’t find something else to be annoyed about, Alexa Bliss then regained the Raw Women’s Championship, clean as a whistle, by pinning Sasha Banks. Why the hell did they bother having Alexa lose the belt at Summerslam is Sasha was just going to fail to retain it, again, barely two weeks later? The only plus side was that, afterwards, Nia Jax turned on Alexa and posed with the belt, the official indicator that she is next in line for the shot but….as much as I am fed up of Sasha, why not have Sasha retain the belt and then have Nia turn go into business for herself and fight Sasha for the title?
For a change of pace, the show opens with Jinder Mahal, who goes on his usual spiel about how we’re all bigots and xenophobes and runs through the Foreign Heel 1010 textbook, once again. Shinsuke Nakamura comes out to get into a brawl, only to get overwhelmed when Rusev joins Mahal and the Singh Brothers in kicking his ass. If Rusev is there then that can only mean one thing: cross-pollination! And, sure enough, Randy Orton runs out the even the odds…except, plot twist!, Rusev kicks his teeth down his throat and all the heels stand tall. Good effort at trying to make Mahal look strong; I’d like to see Mahal and Rusev put aside their issues and realign as a team/stable at some point as it would help bring some life to the tag team division if/when Mahal loses the WWE Championship.
Next up, American Alpha reforms as Chad gable teams up with the returning Shelton Benjamin to beat the Ascension. Great to see Shelton back; here was a that had a bright future in the WWE back in the day and totally should’ve been pushed towards the main event, and be established as a main event/former World Champion by now, but the WWE let him slip through their fingers. I’d love to see them make up for that with this new run but I’d also rather it didn’t come at the expense of the Ascension, especially when the Colons are on SmackDown! Live.
AJ Styles comes out to once again reopen the United States Championship Open Challenge and who should answer but Tye Dillinger! Remember him!? Well, you sure as hell won’t after this dud of a match; Tye goes for the attack but instantly gets locked into the Calf Crusher and taps out within a minute, Sorry, Tye, I guess you’re getting the Tyler Breeze treatment on the main roster.
Bobby Roode then makes short work of Mike Kanellis. Am I watching Impact Wrestling circa 2016? Similar to Tye this sucks for Kanellis, who has now lost all the potential and fanfare of his “big debut” and is now just another heel jobber with no traction and no momentum.
Kevin Owens then goes on an in-ring rant against Shane McMahon and complaining about being screwed out of the United States Championship time and time again by bad officiating and Shane’s bias. Shane then shuts him down and sticks Aiden English in a match with Sami Zayn, which English wins after Owens gets involved and hits Zayn with the Pop-Up Powerbomb to stick it to Shane. It sucks that they’re serious about putting on a Owens/Shane match, it sucks that it comes at the expense of Owens’ United States and WWE Championship aspirations, and it sucks even more that it’s somehow spilled over to mean Sami Zayn loses to Aiden English…again! Yeah, I really care about Zayn’s underdog story when he’s losing to nobody jobbers like Aiden English!
The Usos then defeated the new Day, allowing them to name the stipulation of their rematch for the SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championships, which I guess they’ll announce next week. Maybe they’ll substitute themselves for a different team so that someone else can get a shot at the belts? Most likely it’ll be a cage match though. Or maybe, maybe Xavier Woods or someone will be suspended above the ring! Oh…shit…I just said it out loud, now it’ll happen!
Tamina, who has had a minor makeover by Lana, squashed some jobber before Nakamura and Orton teamed up against Mahal and Rusev in the main event (which weirdly saw everyone’s entrance missed out but Orton’s, who I guess is the only competitor worth showcasing?). This wasn’t much of a match; it was all about retribution for the faces as Nakamura got a pin over the champion, proving that he could potentially defeat Mahal for the belt (if he has a tag team partner to even the odds). Unlike Cena and Reigns, Orton and Nakamura aren’t all instantly buddy-buddy as, during their victory, Orton plants Nakamura with an RKO to show that he is interested in facing Mahal for the belt again after all.