We’ve reached our third pay-per-view in a five-Sunday span, as the brand extension is in full bloom right now. The first go-round, I think popular opinionisthatSmackDown won the battle of the brands, showing some steady storytelling to buildupaPPV that ended with a genuinemomentinAJ StyleswinningtheWWE title. SowhatdoesSmackDown have in store for us this time?
Well, it’s a pretty strong card, including a triple-threat for the title between three great competitors, and arguably the most compelling storyline in wrestling right now with The Miz and Dolph Ziggler. Filling out the card is a couple of solid women’s matches, a logical tag title match, plus an intriguing singles match that could determine the next major contender for the WWE title.
Here are my predictions for No Mercy:
WWE Title: AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose
I still question Cena’s involvement in this, but there is one way it makes sense. This build has been more about Cena and Ambrose than Styles, so if you wanted to tell me that Cena and Ambrose broke off after this, I could certainly buy that. Maybe Ambrose even fully turns heel during this match. However, I don’t think they need the belt to break off, and with AJ having just won it, it’s hard to see him dropping the belt. It does almost feel right for Cena, and if Ambrose still had the belt, I’d probably pick Cena here. But they’re not hot-shotting the belt after putting it on AJ.
Winner: AJ Styles
Women’s Title: Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss
They’ve done a great job of building up Alexa Bliss over the past month. I had been concerned that she was going to fade away, but she now is arguably the most interesting woman in the company. However, this isn’t her time. Once again, Becky didn't finally win the title after chasing for basically the entire year only to drop it it quickly. Maybe it will be a DQ finish to let the feud continue?
Winner: Becky Lynch
Tag Team Titles: Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Usos
The tag tournament did what it was needed to, which was allow Heath to get a contract and end on a fun moment. However, and I can't believe I'm saying this, The Usos have suddenly become one of the most compelling tag teams on either brand. They’ve done everything they needed to in order to make sure that they got rid of everything that made them a face. It’s been perfectly done, from the entrance, to the clothing, to the move-set. The real feud on SmackDown right now is between The Usos and American Alpha, so The Usos need to win it here, and the feud can now be for the titles.
Winners: The Usos
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the IC Title or Ziggler’s career
This is going to be the match of the night, which is fitting because this feud has been great. You can argue that Dolph Ziggler has been doing the best work of his career over the past few weeks. I think that the career stipulation is at least somewhat legitimate, and Ziggler does want to step away for a bit. I don't think it'll be a multiyear thing, but if you tell me that Ziggler is gone until next summer, I could buy it. It could even be a good thing for him, to get a reset. It would also do even more to increase The Miz’s profile as a heel, and would be huge for him to be able to brag about that for the next couple of months.
Winner: The Miz
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
This feud has been interesting, even for a Wyatt feud. They’ve done more with the Wyatt head games than they have in a while. Yet, I feel like we’re doing the same thing over and over with him. Every big feud we think he looks good, and then he almost always ends up losing the feud. How are we supposed to take a guy seriously when he loses to Kane on a PPV? The biggest thing though is that if, like I think, Cena and Ambrose are going to break away from the title to have their own feud, then someone needs to step up to face AJ. The natural fit is Orton, so he needs the win here.
Winner: Randy Orton
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
This one could go either way. I do expect Alexa to get at least one more shot at the title, so this isn’t necessarily a default No. 1 contender match. Carmella has gotten the better of Nikki for this entire feud though. A Nikki win feels right, especially since they haven't really hyped the fact that it's remarkable that she's even wrestling right now. Also, Total Bellas just started. Are they really going to make her lose in her first match after the premiere?
Winner: Nikki Bella
Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout