Going into No Mercy, many fans noted that the card seemed Wrestlemania-worthy. As the dust settled Sunday night, one thing became clear: While these matches seemed like they belonged on Wrestlemania, the winners are likely on a path to tangle in New Orleans.
Brock Lesnar successfully retained his title Sunday night, beating Braun Strowman. This wasn’t a surprise. What was a bit of a surprise is that he did it pretty cleanly and decisively. Yes, Strowman got in a lot of offense, it wasn’t a squash match. However, all it took was one F5 to put the Monster Amongst Men away. No antics, nothing to make Strowman look like a god before falling to Lesnar, just an F5, leaving some fans disappointed that they didn’t really see an epic clash of the titans.
In the other main match of the night, Roman Reigns beat John Cena in what turned out to be a real passing-of-the-torch match. The two put on a great match. Cena threw everything he had at Reigns, including a Super AA and the rolling AAs he used to put away AJ Styles at Royal Rumble. However, Reigns kicked out of everything, to Cena’s great dismay. Eventually, Reigns hit a Superman Punch and a Spear, and that was it. To cement Reigns becoming “the man,” Cena raised his hand after the match, and the two exchanged nods. Cena stayed in the ring for a while, as the crowd chanted for him.
To put the last part aside, no, I do not think that Cena is retiring, or anything close to it. This is the same scene we saw at last year’s Summerslam, as he left his armband in the ring after losing to AJ Styles. I do think that Cena is taking his annual fall sabbatical, likely to go shoot “Transformers,” and he will pop up again around Rumble season. That being said, what he did was notable. Cena has fallen into a pattern where after he wins, he will not put over the guy who just beat him. If you look at the feuds with Kevin Owens and AJ Styles, Cena pretended the losses didn’t happen, and it wasn’t until Cena went over that he finally gave his opponent credit. Reigns is different, for a number of reasons. Cena put Reigns over as much as he could, even on Raw Talk after the show. Why did he do this? Well, obviously because Reigns is different from everyone else. But more importantly, it now leaves one thing left on Reigns’ list: winning the Universal title.
To me, it’s clear that Reigns and Lesnar are on a path toward each other. Both of them have now cleared their plate. Lesnar will probably disappear for a few months again, likely popping back up to defend at the Rumble. Meanwhile, Reigns beat The Undertaker, he beat John Cena. There’s not much left for him to do besides face Lesnar. While the title is gone, he’ll get involved in other smaller feuds, possibly involving a Shield reunion as Miz teased on Sunday’s show. But once we get to 2018, both will have nothing left besides each other. The question remains on how the crowd will react to that, but after Sunday night, I will be surprised if that’s not the main event at the Superdome.
The rest of No Mercy
-In a bit of a surprise, the Cruiserweight title changed hands. Enzo Amore, after being dominated most of the match, hit a low blow on Neville as the ref’s back was turned, and won the title. What they’re doing with Enzo is still confusing, but him winning a singles title just three months after the breakup with Cass is surprising and a good sign for him, despite whatever heat he may be facing in the back.
-While Reigns/Cena was great, the match of the night was probably the tag title match, as Ambrose and Rollins successfully defended the tag titles against Sheamus and Cesaro. The match will certainly be remembered for something unintentional. As Cesaro went for a splash in the corner, he accidentally got too much air, and his face ended up hitting the ringpost. He ended up losing two of his teeth, which created a great visual during the match. Eventually, despite hitting a fantastic double team maneuver, Sheamus and Cesaro would fall to Ambrose/Rollins.
-Alexa Bliss won the Fatal Fiveway to retain her title. There was a great job of storytelling, as Nia Jax looked dominant, and the other four had to put aside their differences to put her down before they could look toward winning. Alexa ended up pinning Bayley to retain the title. However, the real news in the women’s division happened in a vignette, as it was announced that Asuka would debut on the Raw brand on Oct. 22 at TLC.
-Finn Balor beat Bray Wyatt, though Wyatt did look good in the match. This was an important win for Balor, as if he lost once again on PPV wrestling simply as “the man” instead of “the demon,” things could have started to go south for the character.
-The Miz beat Jason Jordan to retain the IC title after heavy interference from The Miztourage.
-Elias beat Apollo Crews on the preshow.
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