WKPWP - Mailbag - Keller & Fann talk WrestleMania line-up
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
KELLER’S WWE NO MERCY PPV REPORT
OCTOBER 9, 2016
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
-The pre-show panel, consisting of Renee Young, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, and Lita, discussed the event and threw to various video packages.
-Curt Hawkins came out with narration by him talking about himself such as “When Curt Hawkins takes a day off, it stays off.” He entered the ring to boos. He entered the ring and spoke on the house mic and said he did it just like he said he would. He said he has” stepped foot in the ring at No Mercy.” Then he said, “Thank you and good night!” His music played and began to leave. He then stopped short of leaving and said he’d leave them with a Curt Hawkins Announcement. Sirens began blaring and he said this Tuesday night on Smackdown Live, he’ll be having his very first match.
-A sitdown interview with the Usos conducted by Tom Phillips aired.
-Nikki Bella joined the panel to talk up her match.
-They went to Mauro Ranallo and JBL talking about how the World Hvt. Title match would kick off the main card at 8 ET. This is almost assuredly in acknowledgment of the fact that so many people are interested in tonight’s Hillary Clinton vs. Domald Trump debate, so sneaking the main event in first give WWE fans a chance to the marquee match without having to choose between it and the live debate. It’s a smart move by WWE, if that’s the case.
(A) AMERICAN ALPHA (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) & HYPE BROS. (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) vs. THE VAUDVILLAINS & THE ASCENSION
WINNERS: Alpha & Hype Bros. when Jordan pinned Aiden English.
-Pyro blasted and the camera panned the crowd as Mauro Ranallo, alongside JBL and David Otunga, introduced the show.
(1) A.J. STYLES vs. JOHN CENA vs. DEAN AMBROSE
Cena made his ring entrance. Then Ambrose. And finally the champ. The bell finally rang 13 minutes into the hour. Ambrose and Styles mouthed off to each other as Cena watched. Ambrose turned to Cena, soft-slapped him insultingly, and then the fight was on. Cena took both guys down with a double clothesline. Cena sold it like he hurt his arm and all three were slow to get up. A “Let’s Go Cena! / Cena Sucks!” battle chant broke out. Ambrose took Styles to the floor with a running basement dropkick, then took the attack to him at ringside. When Cena approached, Ambrose threw him hard into the ringside barrier. Cena caught Ambrose in mid-air and rammed him back-first into the ringpost. Styles then sling-shot himself over the top rope with a Phenomenal Forearm to Cena at ringside.
Back in the ring Styles struggled to German suplex Ambrose. Cena came up behind then and gave a German suplex to both. That drew a signature “Mama mia!” from Ranallo. Otunga said Cena’s strength will be the difference in this match. Styles used a forearm to knock Ambrose hard t the floor, then turned to Cena. Cena went for an Attitude Adjustment on Styles a minute later, but Styles escaped and delivered a flip enzuigiri. Ambrose re-entered and sunset flipped Styles for a near fall. Styles then gave both Ambrose and Cena dual DDTs at once. He covered Ambrose for a two, then Cena for a two. Styles backdropped Ambrose over the top rope and Ambrose hit his head on the ringside steps. That got Ambrose out of the picture for a while, literally, so Cena and Styles would wrestle for a while.
Cena hit Code Red for a near fall. Both were slow to get up. Styles gave Cena a powerbomb into a jackknife cover for a near fall. Ambrose finally returned to the ring and put a sleeper on Cena. Cena made a comeback and celebrated. Styles went after Cena from behind and scored a two count. Ambrose came up behind Styles and face planted him for a near fall at 10:00.
Cena went into his finishing routine, but Ambrose cut him off before the Five Knuckle Shuffle with a flying clothesline off the second rope. Styles then knocked Cena out of the ring. Amrbose set up a Dirty Deeds on Styles. Styles went for a Frankensteiner, but Styles countered and scored a two count. Styles rolled up Ambrose again for a two. They both collided mid-ring and Ambrose’s head was on Styles’s chest. The ref counted, and Styles lifted his shoulder. Cena crawled back into the ring, looking groggy. He smiled. Then he waves his hands and did a double Five Knuckle Shuffle on both Styles and Ambrose. He gave Styles an AA. Styles rolled out of the ring. Ambrose went for a Dirty Deeds, but Cena countered with an AA for a believable near fall as the announcers began to celebrate Cena becoming a 16-time champion.
Cena locked on a chinlock. Ambrose struggled and made faces. Styles broke it up. A minute later Styles suplexed Cena on the ring apron, then hit a slingshot springboard 450 splash from the ring apron onto Ambrose for a near fall. Great series. Styles used an eye rake to counter an Ambrose comeback. He hit the Styles Clash. Cena yanked Styles off and applied the STF. Ambrose held Styles’s hand up to prevent a tap, then attacked Cena. A minute later Cena attempted a double-AA, but couldn’t finish. Styles gave Cena an enzuigiri. Ambrose gave Styles a Lunatic Clothesline. Everyone was slow to get up.
Ambrose set Styles on the top rope. Cena intervened and powerbombed Ambrose for a near fall. Styles leaped off the top rope onto Cena. Cena rolled through and stood and then lifted Stles onto his shoulder. Styles broke free and rolled onto Cena and applied a leglock. Ambrose broke it up, then applied his own leglock mid-ring. Styles crawled toward the bottom rope. Cena came in and applied an STF on Styles even as Ambrose held the leglock on Styles’s other leg. Styles tapped out. The crowd booed. The ref waved off the finish, though, and said only one man can win. He told them to keep fighting.
Ambrose gave Cena a Dirty Deeds, but Styles yanked the ref out of the ring before he could count the pin. Ambrose dove through the ropes and barely grazed Styles at ringside. He threw Styles over the German broadcast table. Back in the ring, Ambrose climbed to the top rope. Cena went at him and set up an AA off the second rope. He delivered. Styles entered and bashed Cena with a chair. Otunga said, “No DQ!” Then Styles covered Cena and got the pin. Mauro said he remains the Face that Runs the Place and said it was a thrilling match.
WINNER: Styles in 22:00 to retain the WWE World Hvt. Title. (****1/4)
Keller’s Analysis: This is where Mauro’s announcing is just way off. At the end of the match, he shouldn’t be selling how thrilling the match was. It either was or wasn’t, and the fans will recognize that. His job is to put heat on Styles, and really the ludicrous rules that allowed it to happen legally. He should be shaming Styles for retaining his title that way and he should be saying it spoiled an otherwise highly competitive, hard-fought match. How is that fundamental of putting heat on heels totally lost in a situation like this? Announcing aside, the finish was awful in that it just made a mockery of the previous 22 minutes. Why have skills when you can just use a chair to retain your title? I’ll just say it’s a Highly Stupid finish and deflating. The match itself up to that point was tremendous.
-They went to the announcers at ringside where all three were all smiles and Mauro again called it a “thrilling” match. Then they pivoted to a video package on Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt.
-Back to the announcers, Mauro said Shane McMahon announced that Becky Lynch wouldn’t be able to defend the title tonight due to circumstances outside of in-ring activity. (I’m hearing tonight from a backstage source it’s just a minor health issue and she’ll be back very soon. Not sure if it’s just the flu or a minor bodily injury.)
(2) CARMELLA vs. NIKKI BELLA
The second match began 44 minutes into the hour. Otunga said there’s a way to make name for yourself – hard work and winning. Where was that comment on Styles after the previous match ended? Carmella dominated early and applied a chinlock. JBL said she’s smart to go after the perceived weakness on Bella – her neck. She hit a Bronco Buster in the corner and scored a two count. Nikki made a comeback and dropkicked Carmella. It didn’t land, but Carmella sold it. Nikki hit a corner clothesline and then a springboard roundhouse kick for a two count at 5:00. Nikki followed with a Bella Buster for a two count. Carmella came back a minute later with a head scissors on Nikki’s neck. Nikki escaped and hit a hard forearm. Carmella countered into another headlock and then torqued backward into the Code of Silence. Nikki reached for the bottom rope and eventually reached it. Carmella trash-talked Nikki. Nikki came back and gave her the Rack Attack 2.0 for the win out of nowhere.
WINNER: Bella in 8:00. (*1/4)
Keller’s Analysis: It was fine for its place on the card. They worked hard to sell the mat holds. There were a few loose spots that showed light, though.
-Backstage Shane McMahon talked with Daniel Bryan about the match they just watched. After an awkward extra second of the camera just looming on Shane, in walked Miz and Maryse. He said this will be a great night because he’ll be retiring Dolph Ziggler later. Miz took a dig at Bryan, saying he and Ziggler will have a lot in common after tonight with premature ends to their careers. Miz said he wants to renegotiate his contract again because they’ll have freed up funds after Ziggler is off payroll. Shane turned to Bryan said he has a hunch whom he is rooting for.
(3) HEATH SLATER & RHYNO vs. THE USOS – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title match
I think Rhyno officially became wider than he is tall today. After ring entrances, they had a couple other announce teams do on camera comments to their audience. Then Mauro plugged Hulu’s offering of WWE TV shows. This match began 58 minutes into the first hour, so right before the debate began. The Usos dominated for the first five minutes, first against Slater and then against Rhyno.
Rhyno hit a belly-to-belly and then crawled over and hot-tagged Slater. Slater went to work on Jey who also tagged in. He showed great fire and fended off Jimmy also. The crowd popped. He delivered a neckbreaker to Jey. He rolled up Jey with schoolboy for a two count. Jey surprised Slater with a lift-and-drop Samoan Drop for a two count at 10:00. Rhyno yanked Jey out of the ring by his leg when the Usos were about to double-team Slater. Jimmy slidekicked Rhyno. When he climbed to the top rope, Slater ran at him and powerslammed him off the top rope and scored a two count. Jimmy popped up and superkicked Slater, then tagged in Jey. Jey kicked the back of Slater’s leg. Rhyno speared Jimmy at ringside as Jey applied a leglock in the ring. Rhyno charged at Jey with a clothesline to break it up, then went back to his corner and called for the tag. Slater couldn’t stand, but he dragged himself to Rhyno and hot-tagged him in. He then gave Jey a Gore to score the pin.
WINNERS: Rhyno & Slater in 13:00 to retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles. (**1/4)
Keller’s Analysis: Pretty formula, but it worked well enough. Slater and Rhyno are over with the crowd, and I’m glad they kept the belts on them.
-The showed Bray Wyatt backstage rocking in his chair and laughing uproariously. Then he began humming “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
-The announcers set the stage for Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin.
(4) JACK SWAGGER vs. BARON CORBIN
After ring entrances, they showed more of the non-English announce teams. Corbin attacked Swagger at the bell. Swagger came back with a big shoulder tackle and then a clothesline over the top rope. He threw Corbin hard into the ringside barrier. Corbin came back with a kick to Swagger’s knee at ringside. Then he kicked his hand into the ringpost and clotheslined Swagger. Corbin continued to attack Swagger’s hand in the ring. Swagger at 5:00 made a comeback. He sidewalk slammed Corbin and then pounded his chest. He put his hand on his chest and then gave Corbin a swing splash in the corner for a two count. He continued to favor his hand, though.
Corbin came back with a turning side slam and scored a two count at 7:00. Corbin yelled at the ref for not counting faster. He then went back on the attack. Swagger applied an anklelock mid-ring. Corbin grabbed the ring apron. Swagger broke. Corbin then poked Swagger in the eyes and then hit the End of Days for the win.
WINNER: Corbin in 9:00. (*1/4)
Keller’s Analysis: This was solid for what it aimed to accomplish – create a competitive match that in the end put Corbin over without burying Swagger, and the eye poke at the end protected Swagger a bit while also keeping Corbin heel by having to resort to such tactics.
-A commercial aired for “Total Bellas.”
-A video package aired on the The Miz and Dolph Ziggler saga.
(5) THE MIZ (w/Maryse) vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – Intercontinental Title match
Ziggler gave Miz a stern stare during formal ring introductions and looked very serious, showing the gravity of the match weighing on him. The bell rang to start the match 34 minutes into the second hour. Ziggler schoolboyed Miz after Miz ducked an early superkick. Miz came right back by catching Ziggler’s legs and catapulted him over the top rope. Ziggler came back and threw Miz into the ringside barrier. Miz kicked the middle rope into Ziggler’s crotch as he entered the ring. Ziggler came right back with a dropkick. Miz reverse-whipped Ziggler chest-first into the corner turnbuckles leading to a two count. A hot opening two minutes.
Miz dominated for the next few minutes including eventually two running hard dropkicks in the corner. He gloated for long enough that Ziggler recovered and dropkicked Miz when he turned to come after him again. They were both slow to get up. Ziggler got up first and rallied including a running flying elbowdrop. Miz caught Ziggler and bounced him back-first over the top rope, then tried to score a pin with his legs on the middle rope. The ref didn’t count and Miz complained. Miz charged Ziggler, but Ziggler avoided him and then rolled him up. Miz rolled through and yanked on his tights for a two count. Ziggler powered out and went for a DDT. Miz countered with a kick to the gut and DDT’d him. Both were slow to get up once again.
Miz kicked Ziggler’s inner thigh in the corner and then charged at him. He then set up a figure-four, but Miz countered into a small package. Miz then drove Ziggler’s head into the corner turnbuckle. Ziggler knocked Miz off the balance on the top rope. Ziggler then set up a top rope superplex. It was a struggle, and Miz won the battle and dropped Ziggler over the top rope and then countered a Ziggler victory roll attempt into a figure-four mid-ring. After a minute, Ziggler reached the bottom rope to force a break.
Maryse stood on the ring apron and distracted the ref as Miz removed the top turnbuckle. Ziggler lunged at Miz with a flying leg lariat. They were both slow to get up yet again. Ziggler clutched his knee. Miz sidestepped Ziggler, who flew into the exposed turnbuckle, and then delivered a nearly botched slingshot powerbomb for a believable near fall at 23:00. Miz stood and roundkicked a kneeling Ziggler in the chest and head over and over. Ziggler ducked a roundhouse kick and hit the Zig Zag for a believable near crowd that had a big crowd pop.
Ziggler began to show fire as he pulled himself to his feet. He went for his superkick, but Miz caught his leg. Miz countered with a roll-up. Ziggler escaped and rolled Miz into a sleeper. Miz reached the bottom rope to force a break. Maryse then sprayed Ziggler in the face. Miz then gave Ziggler a Skull Crushing Finale and scored a near fall, but Ziggler put his leg on the bottom rope. Maryse’s jaw dropped. Miz prematurely celebrated. Miz pounded away at Ziggler’s leg over and over, but the ref backed him away because he was in the ropes. Miz yanked on Ziggler’s leg, but his boot came off. Ziggler then superkicked Miz with his bare foot. He crawled over to Miz and made the cover. Maryse was yelling for help from the back. Out came the two Spirit Squad members to distract the ref. Ziggler knocked them off the ring apron. Miz then delivered the Skull Crushing Finale for a believable dramatic near fall. “Incredible heart!” declared Mauro. The ref tried to restore order and ordered Maryse and the Spirit Squad to the back. They threw a fit. Ziggler surprised Miz with a superkick and scored the three count. They showed Miz soaking up the loss while leaning on the bottom rope, looking exhausted and crushed. Ziggler celebrated to the back.
WINNER: Ziggler to capture the Intercontinental Title in 25:00. (****1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Great match that the crowd ate up. They played the near falls really well. Not sure this solves a lot of the issues with Ziggler’s character, but this is a step forward that he can build on.)
-They went to the panel to talk about what happened so far on the show.
-Alexa Bliss came out and claimed that Becky Lynch no-showed because she was going to lose her title to her tonight. She said no one has the guts to come out and face her. Naomi’s music kicked in. Mauro gave a plug for the Royal Rumble.
(6) ALEXA BLISS vs. NAOMI
As noted earlier in my report, word from backstage tonight is Becky has a minor personal health issue that won’t keep her out of action long at all. This match began five minutes into the third hour. Alexa delivered a barrage of rapid-fire kicks early in the match and then a split-legged moonsault she nearly overshot on. Naomi made a comeback and hit a Rear View for a near fall. Alexa came back with an armbar. Naomi twisted and leveraged Bliss’s shoulders down to win.
WINNER: Naomi in 6:00.
Keller’s Analysis: WWE’s long-running policy to whenever there’s a substitute wrestler in a match to soften fan disappointment in the scheduled wrestler not appearing by having the fill-in win. It’s usually a good idea at house shows, but on a nationally televised match, it should fit the plans for where you’re going with the two wrestlers. This didn’t really hurt Naomi much because she lost via a bit of a fluke leverage pin.
-A commercial aired for Hell in a Cell.
-They went back to the announcers at ringside. JBL said he’s never seen anything creepier than Bray. Otunga said Bray appears to be getting into Orton’s head.
-A video recap aired of the Orton-Bray saga.
(7) BRAY WYATT vs. RANDY ORTON
Bray came out first. He eyed Orton in the corner during his entire entrance routine. The bell rang to start this match 21 minutes into the third hour. Bray and Orton locked up. Bray hung upside down in the corner to psyche out Orton. Orton came back with an RKO attempt. Bray blocked it, bailed out, and laughed like a crazy man. Bray took over with punches, a knee to the gut, and an uppercut mid-ring. Orton came back seconds later with uppercut, punches in the corner, and a running elbow. Bray went on sustained offense for a stretch. He settled into a chinlock at 7:00. Orton tried a comeback on the ring apron. Bray dropped Orton face-first onto the ring apron. He settled into another chinlock center-ring a minute later. The match got pretty methodical if not lethargic, which is one of the drawbacks of both Bray and Orton’s ring style.
Orton made a comeback, but the crowd was pretty out of it at this point. Bray knocked Orton down to thwart his momentum and scored a two count. Both were slow to get up. Orton and Bray picked up the pace with a series of counters ending with Bray hitting a urinage for a two count at 12:00. Bray threw Orton to the floor and put Orton on the ringside steps. He went for a running senton, but Orton moved and Bray landed back-first on the steps. Orton rammed Bray’s head into the announce table at ringside, then rammed him back-first into the ringside barrier. Back in the ring Orton gave Bray hit DDT off the second rope.
Orton pounded the mat and waited for Bray to stand. The lights went out and Bray’s music played. When the lights came back on, Luke Harper was standing mid-ring. Bray then surprised Orton with a Sister Abigal for the win.
WINNER: Bray in 15:00. (**3/4)
Keller’s Analysis: A borderline three-star match, I suppose, a listless version of one fought like someone set the playback speed at 80 percent. The finish where lights go out is so corny. Who controls the lights in the arena? Why are they “in on it with Bray”? It’s a flat way to end a PPV because it solves nothing and it’s not “cool” or “spooky” enough to make up for it.
-Mauro signed off.
RIGHT NOW the PWTorch Livecast is LIVE with Greg Parks & Pat McNeill taking your calls and reviewing this show. CLICK HERE to listen or participate by calling 515-605-9345 and push “1” to participate.