WWE No Mercy 2017
September 24, 2017
Staples Center
Los Angeles, California

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our reviewers

Warren Taylor: The veteran of many VOW WWE group reviews, Warren returns after a few months off, and hopes he did not make a terrible, terrible mistake reviewing this show. Follow him on Twitter @WarrenETaylor for links to his work for Cats Illustrated, the Rivals.com section dedicated to University of Kentucky athletics.

Kelly Harrass: If you’ve ever wanted to throw all your technology out the window due to frustration, you know how Kelly feels right now. You can find Kelly reviewing pretty much every WWE pay per view and these problems happen more often than they should. Follow Kelly on Twitter at @comicgeekelly.

Sean Sedor: A jack-of-all-trades on the VOW staff, Sean is still riding on an emotional high after Penn State’s incredible victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday Night (Suck it, Big E!). Will this PPV from the lackluster 2017 WWE main roster bring him crashing back down to Earth? Time will tell. You can follow Sean on Twitter @SASedor2994, and you can check out his wrestling reviews blog at http://dxvsnwo1994.blogspot.com.

Elias def. Apollo Crews

Warren Taylor: Corey Graves acting like a stuck-up punk fan on commentary while he hated on Elias was a great character touch, which is something that Elias has and Crews does not, but y’all knew that already. Crews brought the energy early, the Drifter slapped on a rest hold, and nothing else of any consequence happened until the final pin. *3/4

Sean Sedor: So I’m curious. Now that the artist formerly known as “The Drifter” Elias Sampson is just being called “Elias”, does this mean his name needs to be in all caps, like KUSHIDA, or SANADA, or EVIL? Anyway, Elias did his usual shtick in the ring before Crews comes out with Titus O’Neil. This was relatively average pre-show match which saw Elias get the win with his “Drift Away” Neckbreaker. Nothing much else to say about that one. As far as Apollo Crews goes, part of me wishes he can just go back to the independents. He’s done absolutely nothing on the main roster since his debut, and he’s going nowhere fast. What’s even the point of him staying (for the money, obviously, but still)? **

WWE Intercontinental Title
The Miz (with The Miztourage) (c) def. Jason Jordan

Warren Taylor: Jason Jordan deserves so much better than the awful gimmick WWE creative saddled him with out of the gate. The former NXT and Smackdown Tag Champion has a great look and fantastic suplexes. The Miz has always deserved better, but y’all know that already. Imagine this match as a hot prospect opposite the heel desperate to keep his title instead of Kurt Angle’s bastard fighting legitimate charges of storyline nepotism, because of the structure of the contest better suited that story. Jason Jordan battled valiantly and couldn’t overcome the odds. The fans should have been cheering him, not the Miz when Bo Dallas interfered on the champion’s behalf, but eh I’m fan and not creative, so what do I know? ***

Kelly Harrass: I spent most of my time during this match thinking about how badly I had to pee, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Jason Jordan has been in the WWE system since 2011 and his first major time in the spotlight came when he was placed in the role of Kurt Angle’s son. Predictably, this didn’t do much for him or his character as the fans have still not embraced him. This match with the Miz was fine from an in-ring perspective, but was ultimately a failure. I say it was a failure because the fans were solidly behind Miz, who is one of the very few men on the roster capable of drawing real heat from the fans. To have him getting cheers shows just how much the fans aren’t behind Jordan and is a pretty big condemnation of the current gimmick that he’s been saddled with. It’s a damn shame too. Jason Jordan is very talented, but if this keeps up, it could sink him. **

Sean Sedor: I really wish American Alpha was still together, and I really REALLY wish they were used better when they were on SmackDown, but oh well. You can’t always get what you want in life. This was a perfectly fine opening contest that was marred by predictable interference at the end of the bout by Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel. It’s sad, because as soon as you saw them out there, you knew they were going to get involved in the finish, and that’s exactly what happened. By the way, it says A LOT that the fans in the Staples Center were solidly behind The Miz in this one. Jason Jordan didn’t get booed out of the building, but he was booed. His post-match promo was interesting, as it seems like they’re doing a storyline where Jordan is expecting preferential treatment because he’s the son of a General Manager. The fans aren’t into him that much already, so a heel turn by Jordan would only help him right now. ***

Finn Balor def. Bray Wyatt

Warren Taylor: Some wrestlers just don’t have any chemistry, and the previous encounters of Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt proved they have none. Couple that with a story that was not all that intriguing and not even the uber talented “Demon King” could salvage this one. The right guy won an average, slightly dull bout. Hopefully, Balor is on his way to a program worthy of his talent. **

Kelly Harrass: If you thought the Man vs. Man Title was stupid, just wait for the fake injury angle to open up the match. This is just a cornucopia of things I dislike. At this point, I don’t think there is a single wrestler that I find less credible than Bray Wyatt. Maybe it’s his terrible promos or how he always loses. It could also be that his most effective offense is doing a bridge. And then there’s that time earlier this year when he was gassed after sitting in a car for twenty minutes. Combine all those together and Bray comes off as less dangerous than the twelve year old trainees that work in Stardom. At this point I can’t take any match that he’s in seriously in any regard. Any wrestler that gets stuck with him is sucked into a black hole of apathy. I like Finn and I enjoy his work in the ring, but he wasn’t able to save this one. He fought against the negatives of Wyatt and gave us a completely average match. Good on you, Finn. You handled it better than Orton did. **

Sean Sedor: Remind me again why Finn Balor is wrestling Bray Wyatt again? Didn’t he beat him already at SummerSlam? Oh yeah, I forgot. This is a “man vs. man” match, because Wyatt thinks Balor can’t beat him without the paint. Wyatt ambushes Balor during his entrance, and beats him up on a floor. Referees tend to the injured Balor as Wyatt taunts him. Of course, Balor gets back in and the match is on anyway, but with the focus being on the injured mid-section of Balor. The match itself ended up being relatively solid, and in the end, Finn Balor actually won! I was convinced that Wyatt was going to win (especially with TLC coming up on the RAW side of things), but Balor getting the win here was great. He’s definitively beaten Wyatt twice in a row on PPV, both in the demon paint and as regular Finn Balor. Hopefully this means the feud is officially over, and Balor can move on to better things. Again, I thought the match was perfectly fine for it’s spot in the card. There was decent action throughout, and it was completely inoffensive. ***

WWE RAW Tag Team Titles
Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose © def. Cesaro & Sheamus

Warren Taylor: After Wyatt/Balor, I didn’t want a great match or a classic match, one with just an iota of fun was all I desired. So did I get what I wanted? Well, there was the fantastic goon combination of Cesaro and Sheamus bullying the champs, so check. Seth Rollins unleashed his e-fed move set in the appropriate doses, so another check. Just those two elements were fine, but THEN the White Noise/top rope powerbomb spot happened, and I lost my mind. I dug the miscue costing the challengers the fight, and the knee into the Dirty Deeds sequence was wicked stuff. This one was exactly what the doctor ordered and turned out to be a great watch. ***3/4

Kelly Harrass: First of all, Cesaro is a goddamn warrior for sticking through that match after busting his mouth up on the ring post. The dedication of Cesaro to stick through the pain was legitimately awe inspiring. This match was tremendous. These two teams work incredibly well together and that led to an action packed tag match. It started off as a traditional southern style tag with Cesaro and Sheamus dominating Ambrose. Once Cesaro busted his mouth and we got the accidental bloodletting, things really picked up. The story of this match was what The Bar was probably the better team, but Ambrose’s threshold for punishment and the explosive offense of Rollins, along with a miscommunication from The Bar led to the shattered Shield picking up the victory. What a fun tag match this was! (Maybe not for Cesaro though) ****

Sean Sedor: Well this was a very eventful match. First, we had one of the funniest spots in recent memory, as Dean Ambrose had a delayed reaction after getting hit with a giant swing into the steel steps. He hit the stairs, laid on the ground for a good two seconds, and then sold being tossed into the steps. It was seriously hilarious!! Then, things took a bloody turn when Cesaro appeared to lose several teeth after getting launched by Ambrose with a slingshot into the post. There was an audible noise when contact was made, and the blood started flowing. A ton of credit goes to Cesaro though, as he gutted through the rest of the match despite his nasty injury. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like a lot of people have gotten teeth knocked out in WWE over the last several years. As for the match itself, it wasn’t quite as good as their first bout at SummerSlam, but this was still a very strong title match. The final few minutes were very good, and the spot towards the end where Cesaro powerbombed Rollins off the second rope onto Ambrose on the mat was awesome. Ambrose & Rollins end up retaining the titles after some miscommunication between Cesaro & Sheamus. I’m guessing we might get either a Ladder Match or a TLC Match involving these two teams at the TLC PPV? We’ll see what happens, but at the moment, I hope Cesaro has an excellent dentist. ***3/4

WWE RAW Women’s Title – Fatal Five-Way Match
Alexa Bliss © def. Bayley, Emma, Nia Jax, & Sasha Banks

Warren Taylor: Nia Jax put on the performance of her career here, and I’m not just talking about how she rag-dolled the other women in the match. She bumped her tuckus off. The powerbomb spot (which came off incredibly well) and one where she ate the turnbuckle proved she is one tough lady. Kudos to the other wrestlers for selling well for her and treating her like the biggest threat in the match. Alexa Bliss was at her conniving best. Seeing her steal the pin from Emma made me snort. It is amazing to think, but Bliss and Jax made established stars Bayley and Sasha Banks seem like afterthoughts, which is a testament to how they’ve grown as performers. Maybe I’m overstepping logic, but it feels like the mantle is quickly moving to a new guard in the women’s division, especially with the arrival of a certain empress on the horizon. ***1/2

Kelly Harrass: This is one of those rare matches that I really liked, but have virtually nothing to say about it. I’m normally not the biggest fan of five way matches like this, but these women killed it. Nia Jax was far and away the star of the match for me, dealing out the most damage and taking the sickest bump of the match with the powerbomb to the floor. Jax is finally wrestling like the monster that she should be and I’m really looking forward to a match between her and Asuka in the future. Alexa Bliss retained the title in what I think was the right move. Bayley took the pin, showing that the ship has probably sailed on her. ***½

Sean Sedor: I feel like all of these multi-women matches we’ve seen since the brand split are a lot like the three-way and four-way tag team matches over the last few years in New Japan’s different tag team divisions. We always complain when these get announced, as normal one-on-one encounter would be the preferable option, but most of the time (but not every time), it usually ends up being pretty good. That was the case with this match. The first two minutes or so were a little “eh”, but from there, I found this to be very entertaining to watch from start to finish. Even though she ultimately didn’t win, Nia Jax was presented as the star of this one, both dishing out a ton of punishment, and even taking some herself (that powerbomb to the floor looked brutal). Everyone else appeared to work hard as well, and made for a match that was so much fun to watch. A lot of action with very little filler. The only negative is that it ended with Alexa Bliss retaining when she pinned….Bayley. Yes, you read that right. Bayley returns last Monday Night after being on the shelf for several weeks with an injury….and immediately gets beaten by Alexa Bliss….again. She comes off like an absolute loser, and it’s really sad to see what they’ve done to her, from a creative standpoint. The match was good, but the finish was truly a #LOLWWE moment. ***1/2

Roman Reigns def. John Cena

Warren Taylor: I remember watching “Once in a Lifetime” in 2012 and thinking that it was, “Hey, that happened.” I had that same reaction viewing Cena/Reigns. WWE wanted this to be a marquee moment. They busted out the scripted fourth wall-breaking promos etc. The agent in charge laid the match out, so Cena looked old and tired–like the Undertaker at Mania’. Cena gets his second wind, breaks out his trusted old weapons and they do zilch for me. I bet that script would work with another wrestler, but Roman Reigns can’t control a match to save his life. Reigns is capable when someone leads him, but he has terrible instincts and gets lost easily once his opponent lets go of his hand. That is why one “Big Dog” vs. “Big Match John” is a match that happened. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the last few minutes. ***

Kelly Harrass: So this was pretty boring, right? Thinking about it now, I’m not really surprised that this wasn’t very good. Cena and Roman are both guys that work up to the ability of their opponents and have shown to have terrible chemistry with other guys similar to their style (see any of Cena’s matches with Randy Orton for a prime example of this). It makes sense that this was on a random pay per view instead of one of the big shows because there was no way that it would ever live up to the expectations that a match between generational stars like this would have. Seeing how Cena destroyed Roman in the promos leading up to this match, it was pretty clear that Roman was going to pick up the win here. What I didn’t expect was that it appears as it Cena is going to hang it up. I could be wrong, but John sure spent quite a bit of time lingering in the ring and soaking in the adulation of the fans. If that’s the case, we have our second legend retired this year by Roman in a lackluster match. There were exciting moments here, but I was bored overall. Roman survived AA after AA from Cena and it didn’t feel like an important moment, it felt like Roman was kicking out of any other move. Matches like this are where spamming finishers and kicking out of them all the time really start to hurt the in-ring product. I was hoping that this match would be something memorable, instead it’s something that I’ll probably forget about in a month. ***1/4

Sean Sedor: The first portion of this one (where Roman Reigns was in control, just dominating Cena) was actually pretty boring, to the point where I started to doze off a bit. The action did picked up in the second half, and I actually enjoyed that section of the match, to a degree. Of course, it typified the current formula for big WWE matches, particularly those involving John Cena, with a ton of finishers kickouts (in this case, most of them involved Reigns kicking out of multiple Attitude Adjustments). As a whole, I thought the match was pretty good, but this just….didn’t feel like a match that lived up to expectations considering all of the hype and buildup it got going into it. The crowd really reacted to all of the nearfalls towards the end, and a few things they did were interesting (like how Reigns became the first person to kick out of the roll-through Attitude Adjustments that Cena’s used over the last year) but it never got to that level of being a great match. I didn’t hate this by any means, but there were matches on this card that were just as good, if not better. The finish of this one seemed to come out of nowhere as well, which hurt it a bit as well. Come the end of the year, nobody will remember that this match even happened. Of course, as we all expected, Cena raised Roman’s hand after the fact to a chorus of boos, and we actually got what appeared to be a Cena send-off, where he bowed to the crowd as they chanted “Thank You Cena”. I’m sure that he’s not done yet, but it was certainly presented like it could be the end for him, at least, in WWE canon anyway. ***1/2

WWE Cruiserweight Title
Enzo Amore def. Neville (C)

Warren Taylor: Neville deserves better. DUD.

Kelly Harrass: I hate this company. Enzo is barely a passable wrestler and to have him beat Neville shows that they truly don’t care about this division in any way. What’s even worse was that Enzo cheated to win. There was no overcoming the dominant heel champion, there was just a kick in the balls. I guess I should be thankful that Enzo didn’t kick out of the Red Arrow. Poor Neville deserves better than this. We deserve better than this. *

Sean Sedor: I actually thought they told a decent story for the first 75% of the match, where Enzo got a few hope spots in, but was mostly destroyed by Neville. Then, the finish happened, which saw Enzo cheap shot Neville with a low blow while the referee was distracted, in a complete heel move, before rolling him up to win the title. I knew there was a chance that WWE would put the Cruiserweight Title on Enzo, but I don’t think anyone thought they would actually go through with it. Neville, and honestly every single Cruiserweight on the roster, deserves so much better than this garbage. RIP The Cruiserweight Division: 2016-2017. We hardly knew you. I wonder what Triple H thinks about all of this. *

WWE Universal Title
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman

Warren Taylor: I’m sure I speak for a large segment of the VOW bubble when I write this: we wanted to see Braun maul Brock like an angry bear. When that happened in the first few minutes, when Brock was flying around like an overcaffeinated kid, the main event was gold. It was exactly what we wanted. The kimura spot was what we wanted. The Beast showed vulnerability and went deep into his bag of tricks. It did enough damage to keep Braun from finishing the job. Pretty logical and enjoyable. Then the one F5, ONE F5 ended the fight. C’mon WWE, have Brock roll him up or give him a fluke knockout knee. That protects both guys and not just Roman Reigns’ Mania’ moment. ***1/2

Kelly Harrass: Oh good, this was just every other Brock Lesnar match. It’s not like I was excited about this match or anything. It’s not like they had the chance to have Brock finally put someone that wasn’t Goldberg over. I’m mad, I’m actually upset about this result. Every Lesnar match is the same lackluster affair and I’m tired of it. There was no urgency to the match. There was no story to the match. This was a plodding, incredibly disappointing match. Lesnar continues down the road to his eventual loss to Roman and I couldn’t be less thrilled. *1/2

Sean Sedor: I’m….not sure what to think about this one. Strowman dominated Lesnar early, but Lesnar stayed in it after he had Strowman in the Kimura for an extended period of time. This ended up being the deciding factor, as despite hitting multiple running powerslams, Strowman couldn’t pin Lesnar. Then, just like we saw with Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe, it took just one F5 to finish the job. Much like that aforementioned Samoa Joe title defense from Great Balls Of Fire, this one also lasted less than ten minutes. This was…..pretty good (I think?), but it honestly didn’t feel like anything special. Plus, it seemed like the crowd was dead after the first two or three minutes. I was fully expecting an all-out war, with these two throwing bombs at each other, but that’s not what we got. It felt more slow and methodical, which is not what I was expecting at all. Dare I say this match was disappointing? These two could’ve done something great, but they worked this match all wrong. This should’ve been Godzilla vs. King Kong (the new King Kong, to be clear), but what we got instead was…..um…..a match that happened. When the dust settled, this didn’t meet my expectations at all. Could this be one of the most disappointing matches of the year, considering what it could’ve been? I think it’s a strong contender. ***1/4