The first pay-per-view since SummerSlam, No Mercy, features a stacked card complete with five title matches. As the night rolls on in Los Angeles, Tim Fiorvanti and Matt Wilansky will provide recaps of the action match-by-match in real time. ESPN Stats & Information’s Sean Coyle will provide in-depth ratings for each contest on a one-to-five scale.
Brock Lesnar (c) def. Braun Strowman to retain the Universal Championship
A complete recap of this match can be found here.
Enzo Amore def. Neville (c) to win the Cruiserweight championship
Since he defeated Rich Swann for the cruiserweight title at the Royal Rumble back in January, Neville has carried 205 and the division at large on his shoulders. There was a thrilling series of matches against Austin Aries, a return match against Swann and a brief trading of the title with Akira Tozawa, but it’s safe to say that the cruiserweight division would be far worse off without Neville at the helm.
If it hasn’t been clear over the past month or so, with the addition of Enzo Amore to the cruiserweight division, the WWE is taking things in a decidedly different direction, which became even more crystal clear Sunday night at No Mercy as Amore weathered an intense physical storm and defeated Neville for the cruiserweight championship in a finish that is likely best forgotten as soon as is theoretically possible.
Amore, dressed up like Beetlejuice, took a few minutes to run Neville down verbally in a way he could never hope to in the ring. In trying to position himself as “Mr. Steal-your-girl” (with apologies to Trey Songz), with the girl in question the cruiserweight title, Amore’s challenge seemed to ring a bit hollow in the moment.
Little about the match that followed seemed to change that feeling. Neville took a moment to circle Amore, toying with him and blatantly disrespecting him in the process, and then got down to business with an embarrassment of attacks. With so many tools in the chest, Neville chose to physically impose his will and embarrass Amore with wristlocks and facelocks galore.
Kicks, punches, ragdolling Amore all over the ring and the outside. It didn’t seem to matter what Amore did, even when he was able to drive Neville head-first into the mat with his foot — Neville had complete physical control of everything that was going on
Amore tried to jump from the top rope? He got a mudhole stomped in him in the corner. Amore skinned the cat? He ate a superkick for his troubles.
Neville hit all the kicks Amore could eat, and then some. As he finally tired of the charade, Neville set up for the Red Arrow, but took far too much time. He even changed his mind mid-stream, turned around, tried for the Phoenix Splash from the second rope instead, and missed as Amore rolled out of the way.
Amore’s best chance, or so it seemed, came when he hit a flying DDT from the top rope, though Neville kicked out just before three. Even as Amore went for a suicide dive, he ate another kick, which Neville followed by sending Amore crashing into the timekeeper’s area.
The ending of this match began when Amore grabbed the cruiserweight title and distracted both Neville and the referee, who for some unknown reason stopped counting Amore out despite having nearly reached 10 at that point. Amore taunted Neville, ran around the ring and then, with both men staring each other down mid-ring, all but threatened to nail Neville with the belt.
The referee grabbed the title and walked away, allowing Amore to hit a low blow and a deep roll-up, earning the unlikeliest of victories via pinfall.
With Neville as champion, it’s hard to see how he could continue to be positioned as a “good guy” for very long, especially considering his tactics. How he could defeat Neville in the rematch, or any of the other top contenders, remains to be seen. But as the cruiserweight division strives to avoid complete irrelevance, the move to make Amore champion will either be the shot in the arm that brings it back from the brink, or the final death knell that is ultimately its final undoing
Roman Reigns def. John Cena
A full recap of this match can be found here.
Alexa Bliss (c) def. Bayley, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks and Emma to retain the Raw women’s championship
After three increasingly intense matches to open up No Mercy, including a Raw tag team championship match immediately preceding it, the five women competing for the Raw women’s title had the unenviable task of bringing the energy back. They took up the challenge and undeniably gave everything they had, on the way to yet another memorable match at No Mercy that brought some unlikely stability to the Raw women’s division ahead of Asuka’s impending Raw debut.
It was nice to see that each individual woman got the championship introduction treatment, and before the match had ever began it was clear that Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax were going to be the crowd favorites as things got underway.
The chaos in the early stages of a multi-way match is often hard to manage, and in this particular match, it was about getting Bliss and then Jax out of the ring, setting up a three-headed showdown between Bayley, Emma and Sasha Banks. For the first of many occasions in this match, the tease of Bayley versus. Sasha Banks became a momentary focal point, but never got to be fully explored.
Bodies kept flying around throughout the match, with all five women leaving every bit of themselves out there. Jax was the center of attention for the bulk of the proceedings, and featured in all but the very last moments of this match’s highlight reel. She power bombed Emma, turned a float over DDT attempt by Bliss into a power slam and then faced downed Bliss before pulling off one of the most memorable moments of her young career.
As Bliss screamed “You are nothing without me,” into Jax’s face, Jax lifted Bliss kicking and screaming onto her shoulders, but she wasn’t done. Banks had climbed to the top rope in one corner, but Jax neutralized her too and stacked her on top of Bliss on her shoulders. She walked out to the middle of the ring, did a full squat for good measure, and then hit the double Samoan drop
It took multiple women to neutralize Jax, even temporarily, and it became the story of brief alliances that couldn’t possibly hope to stay together. Bliss and Emma worked together to take down Bayley and Banks, but Bliss stabbed Emma in the back and got a low single-leg dropkick to the face for her troubles.
Jax soon found herself on the other end of a highlight reel moment. Emma slid beneath the bottom rope and attempted a sunset flip power bomb, but obviously lacked the strength to do it by herself. Bayley slid out to help, but it took tandem kicks from Banks and Bliss to send Jax crashing to the mat violently, on the back of her neck.
Chaos reigned with a flurry of near-falls to follow, none of which looked like they’d be enough to finish the job. Banks finally hit Bliss with a backstabber into a Banks Statement, and it was in this moment that the breadcrumbs that should ultimately lead to a Banks versus Bayley rivalry came into play. Bayley slid into the ring to break up the pinfall, and got a two-count on Bliss. She then hit a Bayley-to-Belly, only for Banks to break it up and get a two-count of her own.
Jax came back into the ring with a vengeance and hit a leg drop on Banks, but Emma dove halfway across the ring and barely got there in time, starting a fracas that sent everyone but Bliss and Bayley out of the ring.
As quick as a flash, Bliss DDT’d Bayley and got the pinfall win, earning the first defense of the championship since Banks won it back at SummerSlam. Whether Asuka jumps right into the title picture at TLC, or has to earn her way up, the long-term health of the Raw women’s division is finally looking up.
Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (c) def. Sheamus & Cesaro to retain Raw tag team championship
With the dwindling tag-team star power on Raw, these are the two preeminent teams on the show by far. So the pressure for Ambrose and Rollins and Cesaro and Sheamus to perform well and keep their feud, which has lingered on since SummerSlam, alive was greater than it would be under normal circumstances.
For Ambrose and Rollins, they have been a well-oiled machine since reuniting last past month, but the question still lingered: Could they continue to thrive given their history?
The match started with Sheamus dominating Ambrose, driving him out of the ring and then pummeling him back in it. Cesaro entered the match a few minutes later and continued the lopsided affair with a devastating boot to the face.
But that was just the beginning. Rollins hit a slingshot on Cesaro with so much force that it sent him into the ring post. When Cesaro bounced off of the post, he instinctively grabbed his mouth and discovered that his front teeth were no longer there.
As Cesaro headed outside for a quick look by the ringside doctor, Sheamus delivered a DDT to Ambrose, while Rollins pleaded for Ambrose to muster enough strength to make the tag.
Finally, Rollins got his turn and converted a top-rope forearm smash to Cesaro, but his momentum was short-lived once Sheamus re-entered the ring.
The challengers grew frustrated as they thought they had Rolling pinned. Rollins eventually flung Cesaro over the top rope, giving him the opening to tag back in Ambrose, who flew through the second rope to take out both opponents.
But this topsy-turvy match was far from over. Cesaro, with blood spewing from his face, nearly made Ambrose tap out with a cross-face. He then delivered an incredible super plex off the top rope which sent Rollins on top of Ambrose, and Ambrose impossibly kicked out.
Total mayhem ensued with all four competitors bailing their partners out. But it was the savvy Ambrose, who stood alone in the ring and caught Sheamus with Dirty Deeds to end it and retain the titles.
But the story of this match is going to be Cesaro and his inevitable dental work. This bout was as brutal. Plain and simple. And there’s likely going to be more between these four coming up.
Finn Balor def. Bray Wyatt via pinfall
The crowd was hot for this match from the very first moment Bray Wyatt’s music hit and the lights went out. The fireflies were out in force as nearly everyone inside of the Staples Center had their cellphones out, but they also raised their arms to the sky in time with Finn Balor as he made his way to ringside.
While we knew Balor wouldn’t be wearing his demon paint for this match, it was interesting to see him embrace a lighter color palette for his gear this time around. Even when he’d left the demon behind previously, it had been all-black, which he traded in for light-grey trunks and a grey jacket — likely about embracing the light over the dark this time around.
Wyatt blindsided Balor before the match started, setting himself up as the clear bad guy among two guys the crowd tends to support almost equally. Balor was tossed around ringside and Wyatt went directly after his ribs, sending him into the commentary table. As referees and medical staff carried Balor up the ramp, Wyatt crowed and taunted his fallen foe.
“Hey Los Angeles, look what I did to your mighty little hero? Run away little coward. Please run away… You ain’t no demon — you’re not even a man. You’re a coward.”
Balor tore down the ramp and into the ring, running with full steam at Wyatt. After ducking Wyatt’s attacks, he landed a flying baseball slide through the middle rope followed by a basement dropkick into the barricade. As they went back into the ring, Wyatt retook control and landed a super plex and a headbutt to the ribs, where he’d keep the focus for much of the match.
The pace of the match occasionally slowed down, but neither man gave the other much room to maneuver throughout, keeping the level of intensity high. Wyatt’s mouth got busted open, and Balor’s nose appeared to be bloodied — showing just how physical each man was.
Wyatt reclaimed control time and time again, and Balor never really defined the pace until he was able to trap Wyatt between the apron and the ring skirt. He took a moment to recover and catch his breath, followed by a running penalty kick straight to Wyatt’s chin.
Balor tossed Wyatt into the middle of the ring, making his first attempt at a his finisher, the Coup de Grace. He took too much time though, and as he stared down from the top rope, Wyatt sprung up into his upside-down crawling motion and froze Balor in place. Balor still was was able to jump over Wyatt and hit a Slingblade, but Wyatt turned it right back around with a Uranage.
They kept trading back-and-forth and neither could the advantage. Balor hit a forearm, only to get punched by Wyatt, only for Balor to hit a Pele kick in response. A running dropkick into the corner set up a second Coup de Grace attempt, but again, his ribs and his fatigue slowed him down.
Instead of a Coup de Grace, Balor hit a double stomp to Wyatt’s head that frankly looked more impressive than his typical finisher, though it only earned a two-count. Balor went for a 1916, his reverse DDT that could also be a devastating finisher, but hasn’t even been attempted on TV since Balor returned from injury, but Wyatt wriggled out and hit a massive clothesline.
Wyatt’s demeanor changed, and he ragdolled Balor from one side of the ring to the other twice, lifting Balor up in a vertical suplex position for tossing him around.
It was then Wyatt’s turn to climb too slowly to the top rope, as Balor hit a low flying kick to Wyatt’s head, followed by a double dose of his typical basement dropkick that sent Wyatt flying into two different corners. Balor finally climbed for a third time and hit the Coup de Grace and earned a three-count in this hard-fought match.
Wyatt seemingly has very little to challenge Balor over anymore, but that hasn’t always kept rivalries from carrying on. It could be a matter of putting things on ice and potentially revisiting this feud around Survivor Series, although only time will tell.
After a strong opening match, Balor and Wyatt continued to carry on the momentum.
The Miz (c) def Jason Jordan to retain Intercontinental championship
No Mercy got off to a huge start at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as The Miz received a “hometown”-level pop as the first man out of the curtain on the pay-per-view. Jason Jordan got a considerably cooler reaction from the crowd, setting the stage for a match-turned on its head before the first bell ever rang.
Jordan doing some of the things that could serve in getting him over in the long-term. It started in the first two minutes, with a dead-lift vertical suplex that started when both guys were almost crouching on the mat.
Any advantage Jordan got — the bulk of which happened while the crowd rolled into a half-hearted “Jordan sucks” chant — ended when The Miztourage provided a distraction to turn the tide.
Whereas Miz usually swings and misses on the final swing of his Daniel Bryan-inspired kicks, Jordan caught the leg and hit a modified overhead suplex the likes of which I’d never really seen before. Add in several overhead belly-to-bellys, including one that sent Bo Dallas crashing into the Miz and the rest of the Miztourage, and the chained back-to-back Northern Light suplexes that have been his calling card, Jordan dominated much of the match. A cross-face attempt in the middle of the ring nearly finished Miz off, and by the time Miz got out and Jordan missed a spear attempt, the chants had turned to “this is awesome” instead.
One additional overhead belly-to-belly and a spear later, and Jordan seemingly had the match locked up. But with both members of the Miztourage sliding in to ruin the fun, a distraction and big Dallas bump allowed Curtis Axel to trip Jordan up, leading directly into a skull-crushing finale and a Miz victory.
For two guys that hadn’t had more than a couple of minutes in the ring together, in a pair of six-man tag team matches, Jordan and Miz had a strong first one-on-one showing. It’s clear this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Jordan vs. Miz, and for the first time in this rivalry, Sunday proved there could be some legs to this feud going forward.