WWE No Mercy 2017 Review feat. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman

Logo for WWE No Mercy 2017
Image Source: WWE
EventWWE No Mercy 2017
SeriesNo Mercy
DateSunday September 24 2017
VenueStaples Center
LocationLos Angeles, California, USA

WWE No Mercy 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017 could rightfully claim to have a double main event on par with WrestleMania. The first ever PPV singles clash between John Cena and Roman Reigns. The eagerly-anticipated Universal Title showdown between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman. Both suggest a memorable supercard to me. So, let’s check out how these two bouts, as well as the other matches on the night, went down.

Kick-Off Show

Elias vs. Apollo Crews

Elias has fast become one of my favourite characters in all of WWE. In some ways, his character is a homage to The Rock circa 2003. But whereas guitar-playing was a facet of Rock’s Hollywood heel persona, for The Drifter, it forms his entire existence. And his lyrical insults are hilarious to boot. If anything, Elias wrestling is almost like a necessary evil. Not that he’s poor in the ring, but I much prefer hearing him sing. Anyway, this match with Apollo Crews was basic pre-show filler. Apollo tried, bless him, but Elias easily dispatched of him with the Drift Away. Titus O’Neil halted a post-match assault, which could lead to Elias vs. Titus Worldwide becoming a storyline. We shall see. 


Main Show

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match

The Miz (C) vs. Jason Jordan

There’s three things to discuss for the opener. Firstly, the match itself was fairly good. Miz continued his roll that began last year on SmackDown, while Jordan demonstrated the faith WWE has in his in-ring ability. Both were able to rise to the occasion and deliver a strong start to No Mercy 2017. The second point is that I was surprised to see Jason taste the pinfall to a Skull-Crushing Finale. But maybe this defeat will sow the seeds for an eventual heel turn, perhaps directed towards his storyline father, the Raw General Manager, Kurt Angle.

And that brings me to my third point, the most annoying aspect of the match. The fans fully backed Miz here, and that’s fair enough with Los Angeles being a second hometown for the Intercontinental Champion. But the jeers and catcalls aimed towards Jordan were just brutal, and hard to endure (especially during his post-match speech). Even if fans suspect a heel turn, why spoil that moment months ahead of time for unaware viewers? And surely they cannot deem him a poor wrestler, because he’s damn good in the ring. If it’s a shot towards WWE for the storyline in general, why boo the guy playing it? Things like this leave me deeply frustrated with modern WWE fans. Anyway, a good opener in spite of the annoying audience.


Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

Next, we have a bit of a strange one. Finn Balor unleashed The Demon to defeat Bray Wyatt at SummerSlam. Fair enough. But for their (somewhat unnecessary) rematch, Wyatt instead on facing Balor the man, not Balor the Demon. Erm, shouldn’t Bray vs. Finn lead to Bray vs. Fiend? Or am I living in an alternate universe here? I kind of understand the logic, but why would Wyatt seemingly be afraid of the Demon? Surely, Bray is one of the few WWE characters that could stand toe-to-toe with the Demon.

Okay, I’ve said enough about the Demon, considering he wasn’t present here. This was a decent clash that fans were into, and it had what I would consider to be a surprising outcome. I had assumed Wyatt would win to prove his point, thus potentially bringing the Demon (dammit!) back for the rubber match. Instead, after a back-and-forth struggle, Finn cleanly pinned Bray with the Coup De Grace. So, Wyatt has lost to both versions of Balor (I’m not saying the “d-word” again). To say that Bray is in free fall would be an understatement. If nothing else, it appears their rivalry has now come to an end.


WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match

Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose (C) vs. The Bar

Before we get to this match, let’s mention the promo video right beforehand. Said montage announced that Asuka is coming to Raw from NXT, and she makes her main roster debut at TLC. This could be a huge moment for WWE women’s wrestling. Asuka has been a dominant force for two years on NXT and she remains undefeated in WWE. She has the potential to rule the women’s scene for a long time to come. And the inevitable dream matches against Sasha Banks and, eventually, Charlotte Flair could be something to behold. Either way, I can’t see anything other than Asuka becoming Raw Women’s Champion by WrestleMania 34 at the very latest.

Onto this bout now, which was a SummerSlam rematch. These two teams damn near stole the show at SummerSlam when Rollins and Ambrose captured the red-and-silver belts. And they had another awesome match here. But this won’t be remembered primarily for the action (or for any beachball-related shenanigans, thankfully). Instead, the lasting memory will still concern Cesaro, but for a different reason.

Early on, Cesaro took a slingshot into the corner, which is normally a harmless manoeuvre. Here, however, his face must have bounced off the circular tower surrounding the ring post. Within moments, his mouth was bleeding very heavily, and it wasn’t just from a busted lip. It turned out that his two front teeth had been knocked out. Damn. Being a tough guy and all, Cesaro continued, and he was still able to contribute to a very good doubles affair. Ambrose pinned Sheamus with Dirty Deeds to retain the belts, presumably bringing this tag team feud to a close. But as for Cesaro, that man deserves a medal (after medical treatment, obviously).


WWE Raw Women’s Championship Fatal Five Way Match

Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma

Though Asuka may rule 2018 for Raw’s female division, Alexa Bliss can definitely claim that honour for 2017. Besides an eight-day stretch from SummerSlam onwards, she has been Raw Women’s Champion ever since Backlash. And that was after a run as SmackDown Women’s Champion when the year began. At this point, though, Little Miss Bliss has become the primary target for Raw’s women. And that includes Nia Jax, who has been her storyline friend during her time on the red brand. Here, she faced almost all of her challengers at the same time, including Bayley (returning from injury) and Sasha, the former titleholder.

This was a fun match, at times a little sloppy, but with a fair few noteworthy spots that caught the fans’ attention. Due to the odds, it also seemed like the odds were against Alexa to retain. Which of course meant that she would, and she did when she pinned Bayley with her Bliss DDT. I’m not sure if Bayley (who was set to face Alexa at SummerSlam) will get another opportunity after this defeat. Presumably, we’re sticking with Alexa vs. Sasha for the time being. Either way, the continuing boos for Bayley are disheartening, especially since she’s done nothing wrong to warrant the abuse.


John Cena vs. Roman Reigns

Now we come to the match that I was most looking forward to. Cena and Roman first teased a confrontation the night after SummerSlam, and a match here at No Mercy 2017 was soon announced. From there, the two engaged in several strong promo battles akin to Cena and The Rock in 2012. But whereas John was the punching bag in 2012, here Cena was the one laying in the brutal zingers.

Lines like “that’s called a promo, learn how to cut one”, “I’m here because you can’t do your job” and “I can do this part-time better than you ever can full-time” were cutting to the point of being full-on brutal. Compelling, yes, but maybe too truthful for Roman’s own good. Especially with Cena remaining a babyface through all of this. Reigns had some memorable insults of his own, but he was easily outmatched by Cena on the mic. Which makes me wonder if Reigns has really benefitted from the storyline that should represent the passing of the torch.

Even if we look past the content of the promos (and they were gripping, but they only made it more likely for people to jeer Roman), let’s consider the timing. It’s refreshing for WWE to load up a B-PPV, especially in the usually uneventful autumn season. But this really is a potential WrestleMania main event. It’s one of the biggest matches WWE could present, if not the biggest not involving Rock or Brock Lesnar. And yet we get it here at No Mercy?

My only assumption is that Cena has other plans for Mania 34, or that he may not even stick around for WrestleMania due to his other commitments. That in itself is darkly comical in context when you consider Cena’s biggest gripe with Rock had been his Hollywood career. Either way, couldn’t WWE have saved this for Mania and then given us (the inevitable) Roman vs. Lesnar rematch at a later date?

Anyway, let’s discuss the match itself. It was a bit of a slow starter, but it soon evolved into something fairly special. Though the LA crowd tried their best to ruin it (what is wrong with wrestling fans in 2017?), they couldn’t succeed. Indeed, both of these big-time players went all-out to put on the best match possible here. Reigns hitting Cena with a Spear through an announcer’s table was the big highlight, and the turning point after Roman had endured two AA’s. Somehow, Reigns kicked out of two more Attitude Adjustments (?) before hitting another Spear for the victory. That Reigns survived four AA’s probably does more damage than good for his chances of receiving acceptance as The Guy. Still, the match itself was enjoyable, and it lived up to the hype.

Cena endorsed Roman afterwards, which was the only way that this truncated storyline could end. Meanwhile, Cena soaked up the applause from an audience that now suddenly appreciated him. “Thank you Cena!” is a chant that I never thought I would hear after hearing Cena be booed out of arenas for years on end. Maybe Bray Wyatt was right with his “anyone but you, Roman” line in 2015. Anyway, I am assuming that Cena will be back at some point, but the impression was that he might have actually been done here. If that’s true, maybe that explains why Roman vs. Cena wasn’t delayed for WrestleMania this year or next.


WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match

Neville (C) vs. Enzo Amore

Enzo Amore was moved to 205 Live after SummerSlam, and he immediately targeted Neville, the King Of The Cruiserweights. Though he won and lost the purple-and-silver belt in August, Neville is clearly the top dog for the cruiserweight division. But Enzo has attracted more eyeballs to the struggling brand since his move, hence this match making sense. It wasn’t very good, but that’s to be expected. I’m not an Enzo hater like so many others have become, but he’s definitely inferior to Neville’s previous challengers.

Mind you, aside from Akira Tozawa, he accomplished something that Neville’s fallen foes could not. Indeed, he pinned Neville to win the title, albeit after a low blow that went undetected by the referee. Against the odds, Enzo Amore is Cruiserweight Champion, though I expect Neville to triumph in a rematch (at TLC, I guess). Will Enzo as the Cruiser Champ make 205 Live seem like a more worthwhile venture? Only time will tell.


WWE Universal Championship Match

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Strowman

Now we come to our other main event match. It’s funny because, when Strowman first confronted Lesnar the night after WrestleMania 33, few were excited. Fast-forward six months, and not only were fans looking forward to these two battling, they were complaining about it not happening at WrestleMania 34. What? I know I made a Mania point earlier about Roman vs. Cena. But I can justify seeing this match taking place at No Mercy. Why? Because, let’s be honest, it won’t ever headline a WrestleMania. Strowman, with Reigns’ and WWE’s aid, has gotten over big-time, but that’s different to becoming a heavyweight champion at Mania. That’s not to say he isn’t a threat to Brock’s title, however, especially given that Braun is larger than Lesnar. Add to that Brock seemingly being unbeatable throughout his Universal Title reign, and you have a slobberknocker waiting to happen.

Or so we thought. For whatever reason, this long-awaited showdown didn’t deliver the goods. Instead, it was Lesnar’s weakest match of 2017 so far. It started off okay with Strowman hitting Brock with the Running Powerslam for a close two-count. After Lesnar took Strowman to Suplex City, Braun hit another Powerslam, but Brock kicked out again. And then Lesnar hit an F5 for the win. Okay, so Lesnar also had short matches with Goldberg and Samoa Joe. But the intensity was greater for those contests, and it seemed like Brock was in more jeopardy against those two. Here, it felt like we were awaiting the inevitable, especially after Brock survived a second Powerslam.

Unfortunately for Braun’s career prospects, this was a big let-down. And I have to assume now that Lesnar will hold onto the title for a good while. After all, who else is on Raw to credibly challenge him? And even if someone was there, will Brock even appear again before Royal Rumble 2018? So, this was a flat end to the night, and a body blow to the Monster Among Men, more for the booking than the outcome. Strowman losing is fine, but the way he lost basically undoes a lot of good work that WWE has performed with Braun this year. As for Lesnar, erm, I guess it’s time to go back hunting on his farm for a while.


WWE No Mercy 2017 had a double main event that sounded super-appetising beforehand, but while one major match delivered, the other headline attraction did not. But with the rest of the card offering some entertaining action, this was an above average PPV event overall. Check out Reigns vs. Cena if you can, but don’t go out of your way to watch Lesnar vs. Strowman.