Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE No Mercy: Luke Harper returned to confront Randy Orton and help Bray Wyatt win, finally helping him break though that glass ceiling and become an important part of Smackdown’s main event scene. [cough] Dig dig diggity, dig diggity dog.
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE No Mercy for September 24, 2017.
Best: Every Crowd Should Be A Partisan Miz Crowd
Last night’s live crowd was all the good and bad of being a fan who thinks they’re observant and knows what’s going on, or are at least trying to make sense of it. On the bad side, we had the crowd for Reigns vs. Cena, which couldn’t have had a good crowd if they’d personally handed everyone in the arena $100. On the plus side, at least from my jerky Internet point of view, we had a crowd cheering Alexa Bliss over Sasha and Bayley and, more importantly, glorious praise of The Miz.
If you haven’t been paying attention, Miz has been the MVP of the company for … what, the last year? The last two? He’s not out here having five star matches every week, but he’s the best in the world at mining something entertaining out of absolute garbage. Whatever he lost bashing his head into the floor and/or being beaten into social oblivion by Cena and The Rock at WrestleMania 27 is back, and once again he’s so damn good at his job in and out of and around the ring that unless you’re a kid or an idiot or both, you can see it.
God bless poor Jason Jordan, but the Kurt Angle son story isn’t doing him any favors. I mean, it’s doing him the favor of getting him on television and getting him pay-per-view matches, but it’s not making ANYONE like him, it seems. It might be by design, because they do that sometimes, but man, listen to his post-match promo. How do you spend the entire match getting booed while a crowd raucously cheers one of the biggest heels on the show and two heel cronies that like, only I and y’all cheer for, lose via distraction while everyone THUNDEROUSLY APPLAUDS AND COUNTS THE PIN, then cut a promo hamfistedly jamming Kurt Angle’s catchphrase into a “burn?” Jordan’s “Miz, you suck” was right up there with Jerry Lawler’s “HEY PUNK … I’ll THINK ABOUT IT” on the list of confident snaps.
So, like always, Jordan does good work but nobody likes it because of how it’s packaged, and Miz does good work you’re not supposed to like but everybody does because of how it’s packaged. I hope they don’t waste a Shield reunion on the Miztourage, especially given the endless Miz and Dean Ambrose feud we just go out of, but I could be pretty into him vocally ethering them every week for a month.
Worst: Crab Rangoon, Things Of That Nature
Corniest moment of the show, non-John Cena division, has to go to Finn Bálor acting scared of Bray Wyatt’s spooky crab walk. Still.
If you’ve ever, ever wrestled Bray Wyatt, especially in multiple matches over the past few weeks, ESPECIALLY if wearing body paint made you impervious to it a month ago, you should know the spooky crab walk is coming. Right? Finn’s response should’ve been to jump off the top and double-stomp the shit out of him and pin him. That would’ve popped everyone on the planet.
As it stands, MAN VERSUS MAN is just another in a Black Friday-ass line of Bray Wyatt saying he’s going to win, then embarrassing himself. You’ve seen the tweet. Bray is never going to be a legitimate threat to ANYONE in the eyes of ANYONE but stupid babies who need the most attention until he can win ANYTHING EVER without someone helping him. And doing so when it matters. Ever.
Last month, Bray pinned Finn on Raw. Before that win could even sink in, he dumped a bucket of barbecue sauce on him. That set up a rematch on an important show, SummerSlam, which Finn easily won. Which set up the same match that set IT up, a “man versus man” match where Bray openly admits that he can’t beat the Demon, so he wants to beat The Man. For the second time? And then he attacks him and injures him before the match here, on pay-per-view, and still loses, clean. Can Bray just take a year-long vacation and come back looking slightly different and doing and saying NONE OF THIS?
Best: Cesaro, Forever
Like most WWE (and NXT) pay-per-views this year, the tag team match was the best part. WWE’s apparently really figured out how to meld classic tag team wrestling with WWE style, and it works brilliantly. And while I don’t like the lazy susan booking of finding two good teams and booking them against each other over and over, it at least produces good-to-great matches.
I thought this was the best match these two teams have had, mostly thanks to Cesaro accidentally knocking out his front teeth trying to make Ambrose’s garbage offense look good. Dude absolutely wrecks himself on the ring post and NEVER MISSES A BEAT. He never slows down. He uses it, and the intensity adds gravitas and grit to what’s going on. So a good, by-the-numbers tag match becomes GREAT, and the injury adds a sense of urgency to it. It’s what happened when Cena got his nose broken on Raw. It’s why people spent the entirety of the 70s and 80s and most of the 90s cutting themselves to bleed everywhere. When you’re supposed to be fighting for real, injuries happen, and controlled blood was how to simulate that without, like, curb-stomping yourself into a post. I don’t want these guys to get injured, but holy shit did it make Cesaro look gutsy. I hope someone notices.
One complaint, though:
Worst: Ambrose Kicking Out Of Having Seth Rollins Powerbombed Onto Him Was Bullshit
Just a big ol’ horse’s shit. Guys on the ROH pre-show kicking out of rolling northern lights suplexes watched that like, “LOL.”
Best: The Women’s Five-Way
I thought the women’s match was outstanding as well. They kept up a brisk pace, never let the match linger, and each got a real moment to shine. Except for Bayley, I guess, who somehow managed to return early and insert herself into a title match just to take the pin. In a match with Emma in it! I swear, if Sasha Banks doesn’t take her to the woodshed on Monday for pulling that, I’m giving up hope on her EVER turning. Bay deserves an absolute brow-beating.
But yeah, I dug the match. Nia Jax was clearly the star to me, even if her new gear makes her look like she accidentally sat in a wedding cake, and while I fantasy booked Emma winning the title to be the appropriate person to feed it to Asuka, Bliss could also fill that role nicely. Just don’t do the Dolph Ziggler/Shinsuke Nakamura thing where you’re a little overconfident in someone’s mic skills and have them spend the build making a bunch of bad jokes because you don’t trust the audience to cheer for the Japanese person.
Real quick though, can we stop giving Emma new music and go back to the great heel theme she had that synced with her damn entrance? Whoever’s in charge of the music these days needs to be fired, from the terrible Emma themes, Jason Jordan’s abomination and the four Big Cass attempts.
Worst: Superman V Superman
I’m not sure I’ve got the emotional currency to explain everything that turned me off about this match, but here’s a list. It featured:
- a crowd that didn’t like either guy, with one of those guys (Cena) trying to clown the other with “at least I’m not YOU” heat
- Cena clowning in general. This has been a weird run for John, who is so unbelievably checked out but still trying to do good work, I guess, so he gets these epic singles matches that he loses but he doesn’t seem to give a shit, so it’s hard for any of us to
- a 23-minute run-time, continuing Roman Reigns’ weird trend of thinking longer = better or more important. The Undertaker match was way too long, the Triple H match at WrestleMania was WAY too long, and this was way too long, especially since they spent the first 10 minutes dicking around and not really doing anything. If this had gone 12 minutes, it might’ve been really good
- Finisher spam overkill, which Cena is occasionally worse at than anyone in the world. It’s like they didn’t just reference those Rock WrestleMania matches, they tried to do one of them. Roman kicked out of an AA, an AA off the ropes AND the rolling AAs. And then …
- … won with a Superman Punch Cena sold like a Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! character and a spear
- which set up an absolutely bizarre post-match “goodbye” bit where Cena like, sat around milking the crowd reaction and bowing to everyone and doing the Undertaker goodbye on the stage. Goodbye until when, January? Even YOU didn’t believe that Hogan-ass goodbye like 40 minutes after you did it
So what now? Cena goes off to film his movies (and hopefully get a haircut), and only pops back in to do Royal Rumble guest spots and WrestleMania/SummerSlam matches. Roman Reigns gets … what from this, exactly? Did this make anyone who hated Roman Reigns before like Roman Reigns? Did it make anyone who hated him hate him MORE? It’s just so average and checked-out. I don’t even know what to make of it.
Enzo Amore spends several years in a tag team built around how he can’t beat any wrestlers, he just runs his mouth a lot and has his 7-foot tall friend beat them up. Eventually even that guy gets tired of him and kicks his ass. Then kicks his ass for a few months. And Enzo spends nearly every second of his time on the main roster getting destroyed by EVERYONE. Almost zero offense. At SummerSlam he was stripping himself naked and shimmying out of shark cages just to get knocked out and lose. That was a month ago. Then he gets added to the cruiserweight division, is instantly able to beat everyone in it, cheats all he wants with no punishment or comeuppance, and pins Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship with a kick to the dick after stopping a 20-count count-out by holding up the belt.
This is what the Cruiserweight Classic got us, everyone. Congratulations.
Worst: Aw Man
When this match was about to start, everyone in the building was buzzing. People around me were talking about how they were getting goosebumps. They were HYPED. It was the most insurmountable inevitability of a freakish star against the new hotness, arguably the first new singles star since CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to feel like he’s actually connecting and doing cool shit on the regular. The guy who has been having great matches all year with Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, Big Show and even Brock Lesnar. Win or lose, no matter what, we were expecting madness and chaos and everything great about hoss-ass pro wrestling.
How the hell was this FLAT?
That’s what it was. It started off hot, and then Strowman just kinda fell into Brock Lesnar’s match, and that was it. Strowman should’ve at LEAST gotten the Samoa Joe treatment, where he beats the dog-shit out of the dude and Brock gets lucky, or maybe they do an inconclusive finish with some destruction to put over the competitors without clearly stating who was important and who wasn’t. Who was better. Instead, we got a cool first minute or two, then a bunch of flat stalling with a referee who didn’t seem to know to call rope breaks or count double-downs, and Brock kicking out of MULTIPLE powerslams just to finish off Braun with one (1) F-5.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
Lesnar is bright red. He’s a Brock Lobster.
The Battle of Hoss Angeles
A kick in the dick pretty much sums up the crusierweight booking.
“Nice outfit, did someone say ‘Shithead’ 3 times in a row?”
John Cena’s voicemail:
“Hey John, it’s Mark Henry. Listen, if you’re going to keep doing this every few months, at least borrow my Salmon Jacket. I have a great tailor. Ok, Love you bye.”
The passing of the jorts here.
I haven’t seen someone this resistant to AA since Lucille Bluth.
Beige Lunatics, King of String Style
CENA: Is this what I’ve been doing to people all these years? Am I…am I an ASSHOLE?
I just realized that Cena’s hair looks just like the wig Kurt Angle wore after he lost his hair.
Loses to a Demon
Loses to a man
Next week, Bray challenges Heath Slater to claiming he can defeat a babaaay
That’s it for No Mercy.
You can review the entire show with a GIF of this one kid:
It starts off really exciting, then it disappoints you and makes you mad, and by the end you just don’t understand what’s happening.