WWE SmackDown is invading the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, and you can be sure there will be No Mercy between opponents. Announced before the show, the first match of the night will be a triple threat for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship when AJ Styles defends his title against SmackDown’s lunatic, and the former champion, Dean Ambrose and the 15-time world champ, John Cena. Following the beating he received on SmackDownLive, Ambrose will be out for blood, and one more win for Cena will tie him with the Legendary Ric Flair, so you can be assured Styles will do whatever he can to retain his championship. Also not to be missed is a title versus career match between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler; if Ziggler can’t get the win, then he is out of the WWE for good. With Miz’s wife Maryse at ringside, it is going to be an uphill climb for Dolph Ziggler against the wily Intercontiental Champion. Also on the card is the match which was supposed to happen a month ago, between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton, as well as a real grudge match between the Princess of Stanton Island, Carmella, and the returned former champion, Nikki Bella.
+ The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Dolph Ziggler (Title vs. Career Match) (Intercontinental Championship): simply incredible. Match of the night on a night of good matches. This had everything you could want for in a big match, and will have repercussions in many ways for a long time
+ AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena (WWE World Championship Match): this match was first on the show, and hot damn, what an incredible way to get things started. The action was fast, furious and overall intense, and despite a slightly confusing mid-point, this was everything it promised to be
+ Nikki Bella vs. Carmella: she’s not the best in the ring, but Carmella as a character is insanely good. The crowd absolutely HATED her, which made this match a thrill from start to finish. Nikki, similarly, is such a good underdog (despite her title history) that the crowd was behind her from the beginning
+ Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships): who would have thought, not even a year ago, that Heath Slater sould be one of the most beloved champions in the WWE? Not I, that’s for sure. The Usos recent turn from fan favourites to despised antagonists has done them a world of god, and this match benefited greatly from the different dispositions
+ American Alpha/The Hype Bros vs. The Ascension/The Vaudvillains: as far as pre-show matches go, this was about as you’d expect. The crowd was surprisingly alive for this first match of the show, but it was still nothing more than a few minute tag match
– Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt: putting this match on last killed the crowd, which meant nothing done seemed to mean much to the live audience. It was hard to believe this would follow either of the main title matches, and unfortunately the match itself showed why this was a risk. This was as by the numbers as it can get, even down to the incredibly predictable ending. Hopefully there is meaning behind this madness
– Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi: this was Bliss’ ‘replacement’ match, as Becky was out injured. This was slow, plodding and not particularly good, with an frustrating ending
– Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger: originally scheduled as a kickoff match, this more or less took the place of the cancelled Becky Lynch/Alexa Bliss match-up. As far as two lower-card performers go, this was about average, but it is the story being told which keeps my interest. You can be sure there will be more between these two, but I just hope they are a bit more exciting
– Curt Hawkins makes his in-ring debut: holy shit, he came out as the first thing on the pre-show and he got the name of the town he was in wrong. Say it with me: DEAD. ON. ARRIVAL.
> due to an injury, Becky Lynch was unable to defend her title against Alexa Bliss. It’s a shame, since that match had lots of potential, but it will instead take place early next month instead
> the theme song for this event was the fantastic No Mercy by KIT. Do yourself a favour and give it a listen
Should you watch this event: An overall strong PPV, this was marred with some strange match endings (or winners) as well as almost unbelievably silly match orders. The matches themselves were good, though, so give the triple threat and the IC title match at least a single viewing.