WWE No Mercy 2016 Review feat. Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

Logo for WWE No Mercy 2016
Image Source: WWE
CompanyWWE
EventWWE No Mercy 2016
SeriesNo Mercy
Edition12
FormatPay-Per-View
DateSunday October 9 2016
VenueGolden 1 Center
LocationSacramento, California, USA
Attendance14,324

WWE No Mercy 2016

WWE No Mercy 2016 is the second SmackDown-only PPV since the latest brand extension. The best way to describe this event would be “upside-down”. After all, the main event would serve as the opener, while a typical grudge match would go on last. And arguably the most anticipated bout of the night ended up taking place around midway through. What the hell? Let’s take a closer look at this show, and we’re unusually beginning with the most important match of the night.

Kick-Off Show

American Alpha & The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains & The Ascension

Okay, maybe I jumped the gun. Because we had our Kick-Off Show first, and it’s safe to say this unadvertised eight-man match was not the reason why people flocked to the Golden 1 Center for this card. This bout served its purpose, though it’s odd to see American Alpha in this position after the storyline of them being denied a chance to become the first SmackDown Tag Team Champions by The Usos. At least AA got the win, as Jason Jordan scored the pin over Aiden English. Also on the somewhat eventful pre-show, Curt Hawkins announced a delay to his WWE comeback match, and we learned that SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch wasn’t medically cleared to defend her belt against Alexa Bliss. More on that later.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS TV SHOWS? READ OUR PRE-PPV REVIEWS OF RAW & SMACKDOWN!

Main Show

WWE Championship Triple Threat Match

AJ Styles (C) vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose

Why did WWE open No Mercy 2016 with a WWE Championship match? Presumably, it’s due to the Presidential Debate which was to take place later in the evening, and which was bound to draw a high viewership. So, during this Network era where streaming services can switch on and off instantly, perhaps WWE didn’t want to be trumped (pun completely intended). Either way, fans would consider this to be the true headline attraction, despite its placement. AJ Styles has been on fire as WWE Champion, and really for a few months prior to this show. His classic win over John Cena at SummerSlam and his WWE Title victory over Dean Ambrose at Backlash set up this contest. Meanwhile, tension has been building between Cena and Ambrose to the point of it reaching worked-shoot territory. So, this would seem to be a must-see match for SmackDown fans, so long as it could live up to the hype.

And it did. All three performers grafted to deliver an outstanding three-way clash. I’m not sure if it could be placed on the level of such triple threat classics as Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins at Royal Rumble 2015. But it’s definitely on the rung right below. Plenty of near-falls, chock-a-block with big moves, and all in front of a hot crowd. What more could you want? What’s more, Mauro Ranallo on commentary only adds to the drama of battles like this. Cena’s quest to become a 17-time Champion would prove to be fruitless, however, albeit not without minor controversy. Cena drilled Ambrose with an Attitude Adjustment off the ropes, only for a well-timed AJ chairshot to score the pin for the Phenomenal One. We’ll analyse how Super-Cena now loses to basic chairshots on another day. For now, AJ remains WWE Champion, though I feel his saga with Cena, and certainly his feud with Ambrose, will continue. Either way, though, awesome stuff, and a great way to open this particular show.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS EDITION? READ OUR WWE NO MERCY 2008 REVIEW!

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella

This bout has been set up rather nicely by Carmella’s heel turn on sudden babyface Nikki back in August. Carmella, formerly a colourless and annoying NXT cheerleader for Enzo Amore and Big Cass, has come into her own lately. Indeed, when she came to SmackDown in July, some wondered why. But she is justifying her spot on the main roster, as well as her spot in opposition to Nikki. It couldn’t garner her a victory here, though. After a decent back-and-forth scrap, Nikki struck Mella with the Rack Attack 2.0 for the pin. I’m not sure if their conflict will continue or not. But hopefully Carmella receives a chance to shine after the good work she has put in over the past seven weeks.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS PPV? READ OUR WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS 2016 REVIEW!

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match

Heath Slater & Rhyno (C) vs. The Usos

Heath Slater and Rhyno have been a surprise hit as the odd-couple SmackDown Tag Team Champions. But it still felt like this would be Jimmy and Jey Uso’s night. Their recent heel turn has revitalised their stale personas, and made them more threatening than ever before. Their serious nature would surely necessitate a victory over a near-comedy duo, right? Wrong! As it turned out, we would witness an upset here. Because, despite the expected dominance from The Usos, the decision was made to keep the belts on Slater and Rhyno. Indeed, a Gore by Rhyno to Jey Uso was enough for the champs to retain their titles. If The Usos had to lose here, I personally would have preferred to see American Alpha cost The Usos the belts as revenge for their previous assault. Nevertheless, Slater and Rhyno continue rolling with this unexpected burst of success. As for The Usos, two straight supercard losses makes me wonder if they can rebound, even with their return to heeldom.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FIRST EDITION? READ OUR WWF NO MERCY (UK) 1999 REVIEW!

Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger

Some people may hope for Baron Corbin to achieve Jack Swagger’s success. By that, I mean Swagger’s World Heavyweight Title reign back in 2010. Hopefully for Corbin, though, he avoids ending up in the spot that Swagger finds himself in right now. Because, despite Swagger recently jumping to SmackDown from Raw, it seems his best days are way behind him. Look at this bout, which was technically Jack’s first big match after a career restart. But instead it existed primarily to put over Corbin, and rightly so by the way. It’s just a sign of how far Swagger has fallen. If he can’t win his first big match back, he’s unlikely to do anything meaningful anymore. Corbin scored the pinfall with the End Of Days, albeit after an eye poke by the Lone Wolf.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE LAST EDITION? READ OUR WWE NO MERCY 2017 REVIEW!

WWE Intercontinental Championship vs. Career Match

The Miz (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Who would have guessed that The Miz and Dolph Ziggler would have the hottest feud in WWE? Their conflict initially seemed to be a lazy rehash of their previously-underwhelming 2014 rivalry. But both men have stepped up big-time to over-deliver with their current conflict. Miz has had a career year, but Dolph has also redeemed himself after two topsy-turvy years in the company. Here, the focus was on whether Ziggler would have to retire by virtue of a defeat. And that was significant because of the rumours about Dolph potentially leaving WWE. Therefore, this could have marked Ziggler’s big WWE farewell, thus giving Miz something else to brag about.

Ultimately, though, it was Ziggler’s night. Better still, the match was tremendous. This was Dolph’s best bout in a long, long time (maybe since 2011-2012?), as well as being one of Miz’s all-time great showings. They had the crowd in the palm of their hand from the start. And because Miz is so hateable, fans couldn’t help but rally behind Ziggler all the way. There were some very close calls, with Dolph surviving a Skull-Crushing Finale after Maryse had blinded him with pepper spray. Interference from Spirit Squad members Kenny and Mikey led to a second SCF, yet Dolph somehow kicked out again! The referee then finally ejected the interfering parties, and with Miz distracted himself, Dolph struck with the match- and title-winning superkick. Fans were ecstatic; Miz’s Intercontinental Championship reign is finally over, and Ziggler will remain in WWE. Fantastic stuff here, and though I loved the opener, this may have been the highlight of the night. In fact, it’s amongst the best matches of 2016. Go out of your way to check this one out..

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING PPV? READ OUR WWE HELL IN A CELL 2016 REVIEW!

Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss

Naomi was the replacement for Becky Lynch in what was suddenly a non-title bout against Alexa Bliss. One would think that Naomi would serve as collateral damage, allowing Bliss to get a simple victory. That win would then boost Alexa’s chances of defeating Becky when they clash on November 8 (in Glasgow, I believe). But strangely, WWE went full Vince Russo and gave us a swerve, bro. Indeed, Naomi reversed an Alexa armbar into a pinning predicament to score the victory. I like Naomi and her new Glow gimmick, but surely Alexa needed the win here, especially given that she is a relative newcomer to the main roster? Talk about odd booking.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING EDITION? READ OUR WWE NO MERCY 2017 REVIEW!

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

These two had been scheduled to meet at Backlash. But because Orton hadn’t recovered from the concussion he suffered via the Brock Lesnar mauling at SummerSlam (which still annoys me), plans changed. Thankfully, we were able to get the match here at No Mercy 2016. However, it was fairly uneventful, and it felt weirdly placed in the main event spot. Surely, if WWE weren’t going to close this card with the three-way clash, Miz vs. Ziggler should have headlined instead? I could understand if this was a hot feud or even a gimmick match. But since neither was applicable, it was a bizarre decision for the company to make. At least we got a memorable ending, though. Orton signalled to hit Wyatt with an RKO, only for the lights to go out. When they came back on, a returning Luke Harper was standing there. And before Orton could react, Bray struck him with the match-winning Sister Abigail. Orton’s feud with Wyatt and now Harper too will roll on. Even with Luke’s comeback, though, this was an anticlimactic way to end the night.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING TV SHOWS? READ OUR POST-PPV REVIEWS OF RAW & SMACKDOWN!

WWE No Mercy 2016 was definitely an enjoyable Pay-Per-View, but it’s probably better to watch this card in reverse. If you start with Orton vs. Wyatt and end with the WWE Title bout, it’s a superb show. Instead, it begins on a high, takes a dip, then reaches a new apex, before crumbling somewhat at the finish. I would definitely advise you to see the WWE Title and Intercontinental Title contests. The rest of this show is fairly missable, though.

RELIVE THIS SHOW NOW ON WWE NETWORK!