Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz should have been the main event
By Joe Smeltzer
WWE No Mercy was last Sunday, and it was exciting at times with other events turning out to be duds. Here are grades for every event for the pay-per-view event.
AJ Styles over Dean Ambrose and John Cena: B
Picture this. King of the Ring, 1995. Bret Hart is the WWF Champion and both Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels want the belt. So a triple-threat title match is arranged for the PPV. Fans are understandably excited about all this, assuming it will main event or at least be near the end of the card. Instead, this title match is the very first match of the night.
While the analogy above is not perfect (Dean Ambrose is no HBK), the point of it was to show that when you have three of your top guys fighting it out for one of the biggest titles in your company, you don’t put it at the head of the card.
While this was an excellent match with the right guy coming out on top, I am more bothered by the placement of this match on the card than I am of the quality of this match in the ring.
Heath Slater and Rhyno over the Usos: B+
As much as I dislike the Usos, I can’t deny they can put on a good match, and they did that here. This was a fun title match, and the right guys won.
I am a big fan of the random team of Heath Slater and Rhyno and did not expect them to retain their tag team title belts. So I was pleasantly surprised with the result, and we will see if American Alpha is next in line for a title run
Jack Swagger def. Baron Corbin: C-
This same match happened on the pre-show. Baron Corbin is falling fast. I used to think that Corbin can be a main-event wrestler one day, or at least a perennial IC Title Contender, but the man keeps losing matches.
I’m not necessarily complaining about this, but it’s always a little disheartening to see a guy who looks like he could be getting a push fall back. This may or may not be happening with Corbin, but either way, losing to Jack Swagger in 2016 is not a good look.
Naomi over Alexa Bliss: F
The match stunk, the wrong person won and it reminded us of the fact that we never got the title match we should have. The persona who could have been named the No. 1 contender for the SmackDown women’s title ended up jobbing to the botching machine that is Naomi
Nikki Bella over Carmella: C
Not a lot to say, just a decent women’s match. Could have been better, but it could have certainly been a lot worse.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz: A+
It’s more rare than ever these days to see a match with great in-ring quality, while at the same time telling a great story in the ring. This match did both of those things.
In one corner, you have the heel that frustrates everybody around him, like the high school jock who always wears his varsity jacket and shoves the science nerd into his locker. On the other side, you have the guy who can never seem to get his way no matter how much his friends encourage him and cheer him on.
Say what you will about The Miz, but there aren’t a lot of heels these days who can get heat the way he can. As for Ziggler, there some folks speculated that Dolph was no longer over and that the fans had pretty much given up on him, or at least the company’s handling of his character. Well, this match proved that Ziggler is still over with the fans and, hopefully, the powers that be start to take notice.
As the match progressed, I feared The Miz would get a victory via some screwy finish, and to their credit, the WWE teased that multiple times. Ziggler kicked out of not one, but two ”skull-crushing finales,” while the Miz was able to kick out of the Zig Zag. With his career on the line, and exhausted from his encounter with the figure-four leglock (yes, I know it’s scripted), Ziggler was able to nail the Miz with a superkick from hell. Ziggler won the title and kept his career alive kayfabe wise.
My only gripe with this match was that it was not the main event. Of all of the bouts on the card, including the WWE Title match, this had the most buildup and was the one that fans cared about the most, and WWE failed to capitalize on this. Instead, we got:
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt: C
The two important things to note about this match are:
It was dull and Luke Harper returned
I get that the WWE loves Randy Orton and looks at him as a main event player, and I am happy to see Wyatt go over. But, especially when following the Ziggler-Miz match, this match was subdued. Things picked up at the end, with Luke Harper returning, distracting Orton long enough for Wyatt to hit him with a Sister Abigail and get the win.
Overall PPV Grade: B
So, in ring wise, No Mercy was a pretty good show, and it further establishes SmackDown as the superior brand to Raw from a pure wrestling standpoint. However, card structure is a vastly underrated part of what makes a successful PPV.
If Miz-Ziggler had been the main event, and if the WWE Title Triple Threat had been further down the card, my feelings about this PPV would be a lot more positive. Nonetheless, No Mercy gave us some good stuff to look for and shows that brand exclusive PPV’s have the potential to be a success.