(WWE – Staples Center – Los Angeles, Calif. – September 24, 2017)
–Elias defeated Apollo Crews (w/ Titus O’Neil) by pinfall after hitting a “Drift Away.” Basic opener.
–Michael Cole is pushing the “WrestleMania feel” of the show. Just the other day I was listening to an episode of “Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard.” During the show, he and Conrad Thompson were talking about September being a traditionally bad month for wrestling because of the start of the school year. (Money isn’t as plentiful because of school-related expenses.) However, Prichard said that Vince McMahon wouldn’t accept that as an excuse to dog it. He felt that a strong attraction would draw. Is stacking this show a continuation of that thought process?
–The Miz (w/ Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) defeated Jason Jordan via pinfall to retain the Intercontinental Championship after Jordan was cheap-shotted by Axel and then caught in the “Skull Crushing Finale.”
Man, it is just so bloody hard to care about Jordan. He looks the part…but where is the charisma?
I’m not crazy about the “Miztourage” but they will have to do until—if—Maryse returns after having her child.
–Finn Balor defeated Bray Wyatt by pinfall following a “Coup de Grace.” Wyatt jumped Balor before the bell and injured his ribs. Balor was being escorted to the locker room by officials when Wyatt taunted him into returning to the ring to compete.
This was a nice, competitive bout. Balor did a good job selling the ribs. Wyatt’s toss-suplexes are gnarly.
–Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins defeated The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship. Rollins hit the “King’s Landing” on Sheamus, who then was caught in a “Dirty Deeds” by Ambrose and pinned.
Cesaro swung Ambrose into the steel ring steps. Holy shit.
Later, Cesaro knocked out his two front teeth after a slingshot in the corner by Ambrose. Cesaro is an incredibly tough individual. He continued performing at a high level for the entirety of the bout.
–Alexa Bliss retained the Raw Women’s Championship in a Fatal 5-Way match over Emma, Bayley, Nia Jax, and Sasha Banks when she DDT’d and pinned Bayley.
Jax simultaneously Samoan dropped Banks and Bliss. The office is finally figuring out how to present her as a monster. She is beginning to develop an aura.
–Roman Reigns defeated John Cena after catching him with a “Superman Punch” and spear.
This is a first-time, one-on-one match between the two. The pre-match package did an excellent job of correlating the major bullet point similarities between the two competitors.
The announcers point out that if Cena beats Reigns he will tie the Undertaker with most pay-per-view wins at 94. I like when the WWE folds statistics into the commentary. It goes a long way in making a bout feel like a legitimate athletic competition.
Audience: “You both suck!”
Michael Cole is pushing the notion that Cena is the “greatest of all time.”
Cena looks as if he has lost just the tiniest bit of mass. Somewhere around his chest or shoulders. That, coupled with slightly longer hair that highlights the thinning patch on top of his head, and this feels like an older Cena. For storytelling purposes, this look is perfect. He is 80% of the guy he used to be. It fits.
Reigns kicked out of four—FOUR–“Attitude Adjustments.” He outgunned Cena.
The match was good, not great. They left enough undone to allow for a pretty epic rematch.
Cena raised Reigns’ arm after the bell to pay tribute to his opponent. This was met with boos.
Reigns rolled from the ring and returned to the back.
Cena sat down in one corner, he looks tired. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. He soaked in the moment. He eventually got to his feet, bowed and waved.
I don’t think that we are going to see him again anytime soon.
Audience: “Thank you, Ce-na!”
Seriously? A huge chunk of the audience has shit on him for years and probably don’t even have a reason why. I’ve always said that he will be sorely missed when he is gone.
The camera followed him up the ramp to the entrance to the back and stopped just short of “Gorilla.”
This post-match curtain call certainly means something. Exactly what, I dunno. At the very least we are going to see far less of John Cena. I’m assuming he will be working a reduced schedule for a while before transitioning into a once or twice a year deal like Taker. I know that he has a major role in the next Transformers spin-off film, so that will dominate his time for the remainder of 2017. After that, who knows?
–Enzo Amore defeated Neville after a low-blow to win the Cruiserweight Championship.
This match wasn’t so hot. BUT, I love Amore so I’m glad he got the strap. While 205 Live is the “workrate” show, Amore is a welcome change who offers personality to an otherwise bland division.
There have been numerous reports recently that Amore has had nuclear heat with the office. Does this win mean that the storm has blown over?
–Brock Lesnar pinned Braun Strowman after an F5 to retain the Universal Championship.
Heyman’s into of Lesnar was hype. I loved it.
Booker T: “We’re about one-minute in and Brock Lesnar is on Plan C.”
As expected, this match was one power move after another. They wouldn’t have been able to keep up that level of violence for long.
The fact that Lesnar retained is rather perplexing. “No Mercy” seemed to be the proper time and scenario to finally anoint Strowman as “the guy.” Is this another case of WWE Creative swerving the fans just to swerve them? Or is something else at play?
Going in, I thought that this show was a two-match event designed to sow the seeds for WrestleMania XXXIV. And it sorta was. Reigns-Cena is just exactly the type of major attraction that Vince McMahon would save for his biggest event of the year. But he didn’t. He and Cena must have had a conversation that has motivated McMahon to book these tentpole matches with his longtime ace while he is still able to do so. Clearly, John Cena has had one foot out the door for a while now. This, however, feels different.
So that leaves the other half of the “No Mercy” double main event. Why didn’t the WWE pull the trigger on Strowman? With only a single loss to Reigns earlier in the year, why not put him over the barely-present Brock Lesnar? Not only do fans support him, they believe in him. Why slow down his momentum? Does this mean it will be Reigns v. Lesnar for the title at Mania? If so, where does that leave the white-hot Strowman?