WWE No Mercy 2016
October 9, 2016
Golden 1 Center
Sacramento, California

Watch: WWE Network

Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin

Robin Reid (@TheRDouble): Baron Corbin is an interesting one for me. Ever since I started watching him I’ve felt that there’s something there with him, he has a level of aura and confidence that he carries himself around with that I’ve always felt is close to making him feel like a big deal. I wouldn’t say he’s a good in-ring wrestler, but again he feels like he’s only a few little tweaks away from being one. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I feel like he’s been half-way to being a Rusev level guy for quite a while but has never really put it all together. Well if he’s going to put it together at any point, this current Smackdown would seem to be the place; the show has done a spectacular job of getting the maximum out of every wrestler on the brand. I’ve always been a big Swagger fan too, so I have a level of interest in this one above your average pre-show match. I imagine Corbin wins here, potentially lead to a IC title shot down the line which feels like the direction they’ve been heading since the brand split. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Sean Sedor (@SASedor2994): I got to see this match at a SmackDown House Show a few weeks ago (not the first time I’ll say that in this preview), and it was actually a little better than I expected. Granted, I had absolutely no expectations going into that match, but all things considered, it was alright. I think there match here on the Kickoff Show will be more of the same. This won’t be a great match by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it’ll be fine and completely inoffensive. As for the result, I fully expect Corbin to win here. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Sean Flynn (@spiffie6123): What better way to kick off the show than with a proper hoss fight? Jack Swagger is what he is and at this point it seems unlikely he will ever be anything more. Big Banter Corbin however still has potential. He would definitely draw attention walking through an airport, and given the Smackdown roster having him assume the role of “big guy who is tired of all these minor league geeks” would be a pretty solid hook for his character. Expect some clubbering, a few suplexes, and a win for the guy who has a future. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella

Robin Reid: I’m conflicted on this one. On the one hand I’m delighted to see them doing multiple women’s feuds on the same show at once, rather than just having a title match and nothing else. It turns the blue team women from being a monthly PPV match into feeling like a division, and also gives you an easy next title contender. They also recently double turned both wrestlers in this feud, which was exactly the right move for both women at this point in time. However, on the other hand I think Carmella is an actively bad wrestler and, while Nikki has good matches when in there with good opponents, I don’t really see Bella as somebody with the capability to carry a sub-par opponent. As such, my level of care can only be so high. While I think Nikki is a vastly superior wrestler to Carmella, I foresee the latter going over here. For a start off she needs the win far more after just turning and not long before that debuting on the main roster, but also she’s the more obvious challenger to Becky Lynch from a face-heel dynamic. Prediction: Carmella

Sean Sedor: I’ve really enjoyed Carmella’s heel turn so far. In hindsight, it was really the right direction to go in. She obviously wasn’t over as a babyface, and if she’s going to be separate from Enzo & Cass, I think she needed to do something to separate herself from them. In turning heel, she decided to single out Nikki Bella, which has led us to this match. I’m a little disappointed that this isn’t a No DQ Match like (I believe) they’ve been hinting at over the last few weeks. The fact that it’s not, however, makes me think that this match won’t be the end of this feud, and because of that, I’m going with Carmella here. I have no idea how this is going to go, from a match quality perspective, but my expectations are low, so maybe they’ll surprise me. Prediction: Carmella

Sean Flynn: The return of Nikki Bella has given Smackdown the chance to build a feud around something other than the title. And the lead-up to this match has been solid storytelling. Carmella is not a natural face, and Bella is coming back from an injury layoff so she’s going to be the crowd favorite. I mention these obvious things because it is always a pleasant surprise when WWE gets something simple correct. The best hope for this match is to continue to keep things simple. Bella is best at being a powerhouse, and Carmella can counter with dirty tactics. If they don’t try to overcomplicate matters this could be a solid match. Prediction: Nikki Bella

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

Robin Reid: While I was somewhat anticipating this match at Backlash I’ve become somewhat ambivalent now. Whereas most people on the new Smackdown Live are feeling fresh and reinvigorated Bray Wyatt is doing the same thing he’s been doing over the last few years. I’m bored. That all said, this could end up being a really good match. While Wyatt’s matches have a low floor they also have a high ceiling, as shown by his matches with Bryan, Cena, six mans with the Shield and a few others. He’s inconsistent for sure, but every now and then he’ll hit it out of the park. Hopefully this will be one such occasion I guess. I imagine Orton goes over here to send him into a title program with AJ Styles. Oh and Wyatt never wins big matches too. Prediction: Randy Orton

Sean Sedor: So this feud has gotten really strange over the past few weeks. Wyatt had Orton go on some weird Hansel & Gretel inspired scavenger hunt to “find him”, which was hilariously bad. Then this past week, I saw that Wyatt was apparently trapped in some kind of storage container, but I was too busy watching the Season 3 premiere of The Flash to really notice (even though SmackDown is much better than RAW right now, choosing between The Flash & SmackDown is a no brainer). I don’t think this will be a bad match, but then again, I’m not sure it’ll be a good match either. It’ll probably be fine, and I fully expect that Bray Wyatt will be eating a RKO here. I’m actually kind of intrigued to see what happens with Wyatt going forward, since he’s basically on his own now with Erick Rowan going down with injury. Prediction: Randy Orton

Sean Flynn: It is hard for me to imagine a match I could be more ambivalent about. Years ago my roommates and I decided on the Three Doors Down model of music criticism. In this model, Three Doors Down serves as the perfect middle point against which all other music is compared, due to their overwhelming mediocrity. Orton vs. Wyatt is the Three Doors Down of matches. It won’t be a bad match. It won’t be Pitbull. But it won’t be the Beatles. It’s not even going to be any of their solo work. Maybe Orton wins so he can challenge Styles at some point. Maybe not. Either way in 2 months none of this will matter to either guy. Prediction: Randy Orton

Title vs. Career – WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Miz © vs. Dolph Ziggler

Robin Reid: I always got the feel that post-push Ziggler was a guy just trying to force things a little too hard. In his head he’s the best wrestler in the world and he was going out there trying to have epic matches in eight minute TV slots because that was his only outlet, and it just didn’t work and his in-ring suffered. Post brand split he’s been far more featured and it’s led to vastly improved performances. The Miz has also greatly benefitted from having more to sink his teeth into. Everything he’s done since the brand split has been tremendous; he’s absolutely been a consistent highlight of WWE TV. This feud has been booked brilliantly, the build has been great as has their previous matches. There’s very little more you can ask for going into their blowoff match. The only thing I’m slightly saddened by is that this will likely mark the end of Miz’s run with the belt; I really hope the level of focus he’s been getting doesn’t drop off at all. Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

Sean Sedor: The build to this match has been pretty awesome. The Miz in particular has been a great heel throughout this whole thing. When I went to a SmackDown House Show a few weeks ago, one of the things that really struck me was just how good of a heel The Miz is. He just plays that role so well, whether that be on a live event, or in the various matches and segments he’s had with Dolph Ziggler, who’s been pretty good in his role as well, over the past few weeks (which included the return of The Spirit Squad this past week). The big question now is, can Ziggler finally break through, or will his career be over? As much as I would like to see The Miz continue as Intercontinental Champion, I think the safe pick has to be Dolph Ziggler. I wouldn’t worry too much thought, as The Miz will probably have the title back before Christmas, because that’s just how these things usually go. Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

Sean Flynn: Miz is the MVP of this company. I will accept no argument on this point. And in Ziggler Miz has a perfect person to antagonize and annoy. Hell, he’s annoyed Ziggler so much that he’s putting his career on the line just to get another shot at Miz. I’m going to say that we are seeing the beginning of a huge angle that shows how deep WWE’s tentacles are into the independent wrestling scene. I say Miz wins in absurdly unfair fashion, and ZIggler goes off to “shoot” on WWE and work in some much smaller buildings than he’s used to. The world is changing, and this is the bell chime telling it is high noon, and a new wrestling world is upon us. Prediction: The Miz

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Heath Slater & Rhyno © vs. The Usos

Robin Reid: Slater & Rhyno were a fun little story with some good comedy to start that in typical WWE fashion fell off a cliff after a week or two. They had to win the titles because you had to get Heath onto Smackdown, and it was logical too given that the final was the Usos’ second match of the night. However, it’s pretty clear now that the money match in this division is a newly creatively reinvigorated Usos going up against American Alpha for the titles. For that to happen the Usos should be winning the belts here. I’ve loved their new swagger that they’ve brough since the turn, and while the heel in-ring hasn’t quite clicked just yet they seem to be getting closer every match. Prediction: The Usos

Sean Sedor: I’m honestly baffled as to why American Alpha isn’t in this match, or on the card in some form or fashion. They were the big NXT pick that SmackDown got out of the draft, yet they haven’t even made an appearance on a SmackDown-exclusive PPV. I can understand them not being on Backlash, with the Heath Slater storyline going on, but this time is really inexcusable. Anyway, I’m picking The Usos to take the titles here. Their heel turn was a breath of fresh air, and I think it’s pretty obvious that a program between American Alpha & The Usos over these titles is imminent. As entertaining as their storyline is, I think time is running out for Heath Slater & Rhyno as champions. To be truthful, the story was on it’s last legs once Slater won these titles with Rhyno and finally got his contract. What made the Slater storyline so fun was his attempt to get a contract, but now that he has it, the fun is starting to fade. Prediction: The Usos

Sean Flynn: Well, we all had a fine bit of fun watching Heath Slater and his extreme pal win the titles and make sure all of #HeathsKids are provided for. But there’s a time for fun, and a time for not having wacky partners holding tag titles. Now it is time for the Usos to become serious heels with the tag belts in hand. I would think this should lead to an eventual Usos vs. American Alpha matchup, but at this point I have no idea what WWE is thinking about them. Either way, this match really should end with the Usos on top. Prediction: The Usos

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch © vs. Alexa Bliss

Robin Reid: After the draft when I looked at the blue women’s division this was the match I most wanted to see. Alexa Bliss is great in the way she carries herself as a heel and Becky Lynch may well be the best natural babyface in the WWE right now. While Bliss isn’t the most experienced in-ring there’s definitely talent there, and there’s nobody on the women’s roster I have more faith in to lead her to a great title match than Becky at the moment. I’m really excited for this; it’s going to be great. I expect Becky retains here, I’m hoping for a fairly long reign to cement the new title’s prestige, but hopefully we get a strong showing from Bliss that leaves the door open for a potential rematch down the line (maybe after she drops down and picks up a few wins against the other women on the roster). Prediction: Becky Lynch

Sean Sedor: I’m actually pretty excited for this one. Even though the outcome of this match really isn’t in question (since this is Becky Lynch’s first title defense), I’m really intrigued to see how Alexa Bliss does here. I enjoyed her heel run in NXT, and so far, I believe she’s done a good job on the main roster, especially in some of the build for this match. This is clearly one of the biggest matches (if not the biggest match) in her career, and I think she’ll definitely be looking to impress. This will probably end up being the better of the two women’s matches on the show, and as I said earlier, I don’t think there’s any doubt about outcome of this match. Prediction: Becky Lynch

Sean Flynn: Alexa Bliss is a really good heel, Becky is the purest face in the company, and I am really excited to see this match. After the Sasha Banks v. Charlotte match on Raw both women have to be feeling the pressure to put on a match as good. Hopefully that doesn’t lead to overreaching and trying to do more than they are capable of, especially Bliss. I have faith that they can put on a really solid match if they can avoid that trap. Lynch is the foundation of the Smackdown division, and it seems hard to imagine that the end game isn’t her facing Nikki Bella at WrestleMania. Prediction: Becky Lynch

WWE World Championship
AJ Styles © vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena

Robin Reid: In general I’m not much of an Ambrose fan, but recently he’s been doing a lot better on the mic by staying away from the goofy parts of his character that frequently ruin whatever he’s doing for me, and the in-ring has stepped up a notch too. While I thought it started slow, the match where Styles beat Ambrose for the title was really good and the rematch on TV was even better for my money. Now throw in John Cena who is having a hell of a few years in-ring wise and is one of the best triple threat workers in the world and I think you have yourself a recipe for success. I think Styles retains here, and they spin off Ambrose and Cena to feud while Styles pads out his title reign a little with defenses against the like of Orton before returning to the Cena-Styles well down the line (possibly Mania?). Prediction: AJ Styles

Sean Sedor: I actually got to see a “bare bones” version of this match a few weeks ago at a SmackDown House Show. Obviously, I think the PPV version of the match will be much better than what I saw live, as I fully expect this to be the best match on the show. Styles has been (no pun intended) phenomenal this year, and his last two PPV singles match against Cena & Ambrose (respectively) were fantastic. The fact that he’s the WWE World Heavyweight Champion is still amazing to me. The build to this match has actually been pretty solid as well. You, of course, already have the issues with Styles/Ambrose & Styles/Cena, but they’ve done a really good job building up the beef between Ambrose and Cena with some of the promo work they’ve been doing over the past few weeks. As for the result, I think AJ Styles has to retain here. I doubt they’re putting the title back on Ambrose, and while Cena is probably going to win a 16th World Title at some point, I don’t see it happening on a show like this. I’m actually wondering if we might get an Ambrose/Cena program after this match, which I think could be really good, if their promos have been any indication. Regardless, I’m going with Styles. Prediction: AJ Styles

Sean Flynn: The two best big match wrestlers in America are involved in this match. Dean Ambrose is there as well. I kid about Dean, but Styles and Cena are working on a level no one else in the company can touch. I’m expecting something suitably epic from this match. Everybody in this match has good reason to hate everybody else. If/when Styles and Ambrose work together I expect someone to create a Bullet Shield shirt. I have to believe that with the amount of emphasis that has been placed on Cena winning his 16th title that the event will be built up for a major event, most likely Wrestlemania. Cena vs. Ambrose would be a natural progression from here, and Styles has multiple potential opponents in wait. Prediction: AJ Styles