It’s felt like forever since SummerSlam last month, and it actually has, as the WWE pay-per-view event calendar has decided it was a good time for a month’s breather before they head back into the twice-a-month setup.
As a result, we’ve gotten a nice stretch where nothing is being rushed and other stars get some development time. One of them is the aforementioned Braun Strowman, one of the contenders in SummerSlam’s Universal Championship Fatal Four-Way—and one of the guys who came out of that match looking really, really good. So good, in fact, that he sent Big Show to what seems to be retirement and is the only guy who could withstand a trip to Suplex City.
The other pseudo-main event storyline going on is the WrestleMania-worthy angle between John Cena and Roman Reigns, which I’ve already discussed at length. I still believe, especially after this week’s episode of RAW, that this is a vehicle for a Roman Reigns heel turn. Considering Cena is still the more popular choice among his target audience of women and children, trashing him would be the best way to really cement that bad-guy status. Reigns has naturally fallen into the role of the aggressor, anyway, and he’s thriving in it much better than his usual babyface work.
Other than that and the RAW Tag Team Championship scene, the brand has been struggling a bit to really flesh out its midcard and what they want to do with it. It feels like they’ve been doing a slow-burn for most of these things, but the show is just not as tight as SmackDown, which needs even more time for its deep roster. No Mercy is stacked around the top, but it needs everyone else to really pull through and do well for the rest of the show.
Apollo Crews (with Titus O’Neil) vs Elias in a kickoff match
A matchup that came out of nowhere but could be solid given some decent minutes, there’s no other way to go for this but to give Elias the win and continue his momentum. Titus Worldwide has stalled since Akira Tozawa lost the Cruiserweight Championship at SummerSlam for some reason, and a Crews loss here could start a little introspective storyline.
Jason Jordan vs The Miz (with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) (c) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
It takes the Miz being completely self-aware of the Intercontinental Championship’s sparse booking for this feud to eventually get off the ground, but everything plays in well for Miz’s current feud against the authority figure, which RAW is doing everything in its power to avoid looking like Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon. Thankfully, Kurt Angle has a proxy in the form of his kayfabe son Jason Jordan, who’s still trying to find his footing as a blue-chipper on RAW. Miz isn’t a bad choice at all to be the guy to guide Jordan, which is why he won’t be losing the title just yet.
If he does, though, then it might mean RAW has already given up on Jordan as a babyface and could be on the way to a Rocky Maivia push. Or a Roman Reigns push where he gets shoved down our throats while we protest.
Winner: The Miz
Enzo Amore vs Neville (c) for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
This feud exists solely because Enzo Amore is the biggest star after Neville and Austin Aries to be a part of 205 Live, therefore they had to give him the perfunctory title shot against their better judgment. So now we’re stuck in a feud where everyone knows Amore isn’t good enough to hang with the rest of the cruiserweight division, and that this match will be nothing but Neville destroying him. They’re booking him to be despicable to get the crowd to turn on him, which is a waste of our time.
Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt
This feud finally gets into the exposition part of the story—but at a time when both men should just be beating the crap out of each other out of hatred. Every little explanation about men and demons and powers and face paint should’ve happened way early on, even before SummerSlam. The fact that they’ve only thought of this now means they’re not quite sure what they’re doing, and they don’t have anything else for either man. But a Bray Wyatt win might be a good surprise.
Winner: Finn Balor
Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Nia Jax vs Emma vs. Alexa Bliss (c) in a Fatal Five-Way for the RAW Women’s Championship
Showing just how shallow the RAW women’s division is because they’ve thrown everyone in except for Alicia Fox and (important ring veteran) Mickie James just for ratings, this title match is at least a good recipe for a title change that doesn’t make the champion look weak. The division does need a reboot, and now’s the best time to do it if you want to make a new star. It seems like this is really Nia Jax’s to win.
Winner: Nia Jax (new RAW Women’s Champion)
Cesaro and Sheamus vs Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (c) for the RAW Tag Team Championship
Don’t have any ideas for your big singles guys? Stick them in a tag match and watch the division—and the entire show, for that matter—get better. I’m honestly surprised at how much this idea isn’t used nowadays, when it worked so well in the last decade. This match should be the swan song for the Sheasaro championship pursuit right now, as we could use a different feud. I’m willing to buy into another Hardy Boyz title chase or a Gallows and Anderson feud with these two.
Winner: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
John Cena vs Roman Reigns
The winner of this match depends entirely on whose angle this really is. If it’s Cena’s and about how he’s starting to ride off into the Hollywood sunset—and it shouldn’t be, not yet—then Reigns should win first. If we’re going the more necessary route in being Reigns’s story, then Cena should beat him at No Mercy to cast some inner doubt on him and pull out an even hotter fiery rage for TLC and Survivor Series, and maybe WrestleMania.
Winner: John Cena
Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) (c) for the WWE Universal Championship
It boils down to what you believe will and should happen: does Lesnar win, but he won’t be seen again until the Royal Rumble, or does Strowman bring the championship back full-time to RAW? I feel like if the plans in the stars absolutely have to have Lesnar vs. Reigns for the title at WrestleMania, you can easily give Strowman that coveted first championship reign and have Lesnar cash in the rematch at Royal Rumble. Why does he have to wait months for it, you ask? Simply because the Monster Among Men may be too much for the Beast Incarnate. Why not?
Winner: Braun Strowman (new Universal Champion)
What do you think is happening at No Mercy? Send in your thoughts in the comments!
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