by Scott Saffran
Here it is, ladies and gents — No Mercy. SmackDown’s second exclusive pay-per-view. Will it top Backlash? Probably not. But we’re just going to try our best to enjoy ourselves and not mumble-groan at ridiculous pop culture reference they make Mauro say, aren’t we?
Lot of potential on this card, which does excite, but that always means there’s equal chance of absurdity. I’m pretty excited to see how the night unfolds; now let’s get on with the predictions!
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
No matter if you feel the ‘Women’s Revolution’ jargon has overstayed its welcome (it has), it’s impossible to admit that it did not take place. Just two years ago, this match could not have happened. The incredible heelwork put forth by Bliss would not have happened. The spectacular ring prowess of Lynch would have been swept under the rug.
But, here in 2016, we get to enjoy these two go at it for one of two Women’s Championships. I know I gush about stuff like this far too often, but for a guy that grew up right in the hotbed of ‘women as bimbos’ model of the WWE this is like waking up on Earth-11 (that’s the one were all the guys are girls and vice versa).
I love it. I love it so much. As far as this match goes, Becky is going to win. I would be absolutely floored if it went any other way. Floored, but not terribly disappointed. I’m excited to see what Miss Bliss has in store for us in the facial expression department.
PICK: Becky Lynch via submission
Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) vs. The Usos
for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Tag team wrestling has struck a bit of a, well not a renaissance, but definitely a…revival…at the hands of ex-NXT Head Writer, and current SmackDown writer Ryan Ward. This has been a much welcome change as since the days of London and Kendrick, MNM, Cade and Murdoch, and the Hardys, we have not been privy to such spectacular tag team action.
The Odd-Couple pairing of Slater and Rhyno has worked wonders for both the wrestling and promo aspects of the division, and the turn of the Usos has made vast improvements in their characters and in-ring work. The SD team ought to be wary of wearing out this feud too fast and keeping the wonderful American Alpha out of the picture, but I’m no less than certain that this match will be especially entertaining. I simply cannot see S&R losing so fast, even if it could better the overall feud and story.
PICK: Slater and Rhyno via pinfall.
The Miz (c) (with Maryse) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Title vs. Career match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Yowza…these two have been setting SmackDown on fire for the last month or so. The raw wrestling talent that we fans are permitted to witness on display is only equaled by the pair’s chemistry as the last two contests have been nothing short of exceptional. The chosen stipulation is interesting to say the very least and has inspired no less than two different bouts of panic for the future of a longtime WWE mainstay. Certain rumor rumblings have only stoked this fire and I have reached a place of genuine concern for the future of Dolph Ziggler.
The trajectory of this feud points to some form of conclusion within this month, or next, as well as the continued reign of the Miz as champion. I can’t let myself say that Dolph is going to lose and retire, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…then what choice do I really have? I’ll send out a Shenanigans Warning, but that’s the best I can do for my old buddy Dolph.
PICK: Miz via DQ
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Hey! How about Round 2? I don’t want to retread my last preview, as it mostly holds over from Backlash. The feud is sort of drudging along now and I wish with all my heart that the SD team gives it a bit of urgency to make it must-see. This No Mercy match really needs to be good. No ridiculous shenanigans, no interference, no Kane for the love of God. Bray still has to get the win, but I have an awful feeling something isn’t going to go smoothly.
PICK: Bray Wyatt via pinfall
Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin
The decision to move Jack over to the Blue Brand has already paid off in spades, as he actually gets TV time now and a reasonable shot at success within the squared circle. I’ver never been much of a Swagger fan, but he does have talent and is a great pair for the still-learning Baron Corbin.
This match certainly won’t be a barn burner, but with what they demonstrated on SD in the past week or so, they have the capacity to entertain in a very physical style, which is always appreciated on WWE television. I’m not really certain as for which man will be going over, but the most likely choice feels like Baron Corbin. The kid has talent, and a good look, but needs a mainline of some serious strength against a credible opponent. While not an aged vet as of yet, Swagger has hit some impressive highs and would do well to work on helping rising stars get over.
PICK: Baron Corbin via pinfall
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
Props to SD and the writing staff for developing a somewhat compelling women’s feud that isn’t focused on the brand championship. Carmella is a rising talent with decent presence and ever-evolving ringwork, so pairing her up with an established and very successful star in Nikki should be a massive boon for Carmella and could produce a decent contest.
I’m excited to see how this plays out and develops the feud, which is something I haven’t said about a non-title women’s match in some time. As for a victor, I’d see it best to have Carmella take the victory here. Right now, though there’s a clear heel vs. face feel, neither has a fully defined character within the storyline. I would encourage the writing staff to work the feud into a more long-tenured affair with Carmella as the cocky heel. Special warning for shenanigans in this match.
PICK: Carmella via pinfall
Curt Hawkins vs. TBD
I really enjoy Curt Hawkins, always have and probably always will. He revels in the ridiculous, a sort of throwback goofy-serious character that would have ruled the roost in late 90’s WCW. His vignettes have been hilariously bad and I really hope this continues. He will, of course, have to lose to keep the character fun, so I think I’ll double down and make a prediction on his No Mercy opponent.
Who needs a good, clean win on this SD roster? Who really needs to look strong, but not at the expense of a growing talent? Who? Who? Who? No, it’s not the New Day, but I would pay to see a three-on-one match against Curt. It’s Apollo Crews! It’s gonna be him. I’m pretty darn sure on this one. Dark horse pick is James Ellsworth, which could be even more entertaining.
PICK: Apollo Crews via pinfall
AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena
for the WWE World Championship
The three top stars of SmackDown come face-to-face-to-face at No Mercy. Strap yourselves in, folks. This is gonna be a thrill ride and a half. Triple threats often don’t pan out too well, though our current WWE World Champion was one-third of the only triple threat match to ever earn a Meltzer 5 Star rating, so the foundation is there. I expect to be blown away, which is a bit too high a standard than I probably should have, but these three have each shown fantastic work over the past couple months so I feel somewhat safe.
AJ is cruising on just a one-month reign in his first championship run, so a loss isn’t highly likely. That said, if there was ever a person to be screwed out of a title by the WWE, it’s AJ Styles. I desperately want Cena to feel comfortable enough in his fame to resist another grab at the title and let Flair keep the record, but we all know that’s a deluded dream.
Dean has cemented himself as a star, so I do not feel like he needs the title back so soon. He’s become a hot commodity in his own right. If the WWE wants to continue the hot heel Styles gimmick, AJ is going to have to retain at least twice more for an emotional victory by either contender in a month or two. The real story of the match seems to be Cena/Ambrose, which is a fantastic culture clash that has already made for seriously entertaining TV. Above all, this is some can’t-miss action that will likely only disappoint a little bit.
PICK: AJ Styles via submission
Photo Credit: WWE.com