Saturday, 30 September 2017

205 Live #44 Review - Enzo Amore addresses the Cruiserweight Division

On 26th September 2017, WWE aired the 44th episode of 205 Live, live on the WWE Network, from the Gina River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The show featured Enzo Amore addressing the Cruiserweight division, as well as appearances from Neville, The Brian Kendrick, TJP, Akira Tozawa and Rich Swann. But was it any good? Lets take a look. 

The show began with a recap of what happened on RAW the night before, featuring Neville attacking Enzo Amore during his Certified G Championship celebration, whilst the rest of the Cruiserweight division watched on the ramp. This after RAW General Manager Kurt Angle agreed to put a no-contact clause in place where anyone attacking Amore would not receive another Cruiserweight championship shot. 

A defiant Enzo Amore addressed the Cruiserweight Division (8:35)

Enzo Amore's heel turn over the last month or so is finally beginning to pay off and the Cruiserweight champion opening 205 Live this week provided us with a strong promo, that built on the stellar work done the previous night on RAW. Amore coming out tapped up and on crutches, as he hobbled to the ring, sold the beating he'd received, helped by Amore taking his time and milking the injuries for all it was worth. Enzo took his time with his promo as well, playing with some of his mannerisms that initially made him a popular babyface and telling a story about his mother being at ringside on Monday night and how hearing the crowd chant "You deserve it" made her feel. For a man who had previously had a strong connection with the crowd and used it to fuel his initial success, hearing Amore turn on them was particularly powerful as he delivered the promo with a viciousness that has rarely been from Muscles Marinara. The most interesting storyline note, however, is the idea that because of Kurt Angle creating a non-contact clause, all of the Cruiserweight division was now unable to get a shot at the Cruiserweight title. This opens up interesting storytelling possibilities with Amore claiming that he will die with the championship. Perhaps we'll see someone like Hideo Itami, Johnny Gargano or Oney Lorcan get the call-up to challenge Amore at Tables, Ladders and Chairs next month? Either way, I'm actually actively interested in this purple brand story!

Akira Tozawa def. Tony Nese (8:00)

A good opener here with Drew Gulak on commentary helping things along also. Nese has a number of entertaining moves, that work with his gimmick when in control, like the crunch kicks with Tozawa in the tree of woe, whilst Tozawa has proven ability as a scrappy babyface. The Glendale crowd seemed the least up for Tozawa's "Ah" chants, which dented the matches energy a little, but that didn't stop Nese and Tozawa putting on some really good wrestling inside their two minute window. Whilst The Stamina Monster's comeback of running rana and Saito suplex was decent, the gear change as the two exchanged strikes was a brilliant piece of work with the two going back and forth with hard strikes, before launching into a series of reversals that concluded with Nese flipping out off a back suplex to get a two count with a roll-up. Tozawa racked up his third victory in a row with a spinning roundhouse kick, followed up with his Drop Zone diving senton. This wasn't worth going out of your way for, but a pleasant match with one thrilling sequence.

Post-match, Drew Gulak treated us to more of his powerpoint presentation, introducing his idea of Drewtopia and attempting to ban celebrating. This resulted in a spinning roundhouse kick from Tozawa. 

Enzo Amore and Ariya Daivari were part of a lengthy backstage conversation, that essentially boiled down to Daivari blaming Monday's attack on "mob mentality" and asking Amore to be in his corner against Neville later on. 

Before TJP's match with Lince Dorado could begin, Rich Swann legged it down the ramp to scrap with TJP, who then legged it through the crowd to escape. 

Backstage, Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick cut a promo ahead of Gallagher's match with Cedric Alexander next week, bringing up ideas of cruelty and seasons and things. 

Neville cut a brilliantly performed promo about last night being the best night of his life..."Keep one eye open buddy, because you never know where this creature will be lurking" 

Neville def. Ariya Daivari (5:18)

A pretty basic match here to close the show, but one that did a decent job of introducing the potential that the King of the Cruiserweights has as a babyface. Neville took an absolute beating from Daivari with Byron Saxton and Vic Joseph putting over the idea that he had been thrown by the loss to Enzo and the fact that Amore was at ringside. The former champion got chucked into the barricades on multiple occasions, took an rope-hung reverse DDT, a knee strikes and a forearm and sold well, making a man who hasn't won in his last seven look like a world-beater at points. Neville's offence was limited to a couple of kicks and it seemed like Enzo Amore being at ringside would end up costing him, only for the Geordie to duck Daivari's hammerlock lariat, hit an armdrag and lock in the Rings of Saturn for the submission victory in a crisp flash finish. Whilst it would have been nice to see Neville crack out the Red Arrow for the victory, but the submission victory arguably put over his mindset better. This isn't going to be the happy-go-lucky babyface "Man that Gravity Forgot" that we saw in 2015/16, but a much more focused and violent Neville, an extension of the King of the Cruiserweights character that has blossomed as a villain, except now he's beating the shit into guys like Enzo Amore and Ariya Daivari.

After the match, Enzo Amore almost immediately clobbered Neville with a crutch to the back, before laying in some forearms whilst the referees attempted to remove him.

A solid episode of 205 Live this week, with Enzo Amore's change of character providing an entertaining opening monologue and closing the show with punch and impact. Akira Tozawa vs. Tony Nese was the better of the two matches, but Neville's victory over Ariya Daivari gets the former a chance to put together how his King of the Cruiserweights character is going to work as a fan favourite. This feels like the most exciting time for 205 Live since it's inception with lots of potential for storylines and in-ring clashes, but the show will always suffer for as long as it comes after SmackDown airs live.

Review by James Marston

SmackDown #945 Review - Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

On 26th September 2017, WWE aired the 945th episode of SmackDown live on the USA Network from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The show featured Kevin Owens taking on long-term rival Sami Zayn and Randy Orton interrupting a celebration held for Rusev day, as well as appearances from United States Champion AJ Styles, General Manager Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Tag Team Champions The New Day and Shinsuke Nakamura. But was it any good? Let's take a look.

The show began with a recap of the Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon feud, showing the footage of Owens beating up Mr. McMahon two weeks ago and both men's promos from last week as this feud really begins the hard sell with Hell in a Cell in just 12 days.

Kevin Owens Kicked Off SmackDown (7:58)

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Kevin Owens currently has the WWE Championship around his waist, because over the last few weeks (and perhaps beyond that), he has been the undoubted star of the blue brand, getting segments with Mr. McMahon and producing some of the best microphone work across WWE's product. This week we saw Owens return to his feud with Sami Zayn, shining new light on the pairs rivalry and creating a particularly strong opening segment, that touched on a number of themes beyond wrestling. Zayn would interrupt a rant from Owens about Shane McMahon not being present at the start of the show, questioning Owens' actions and claiming that he had snapped. It was a nice way to put over the severity of Owens recent shift towards the maniacal, as anyone who had been watching during the WWE version of the Owens v Zayn feud will know how personal and heated that became. I got a real kick out of the morality play elements here, with Owens talking up his accomplishments, despite signing to WWE to years after his former friend, with Zayn firing back with two hard-hitting lines of dialogue. Firstly the "I will do it my way, I will do it the right way" is exactly how the Zayn character should be positioned, whilst the exclamation point came with "When I look myself in the mirror, I don't see a giant piece of trash looking back at me". Whilst the "piece of trash" bit took away slightly from the impact, the sentiment was right and stirred up a good crowd reaction. It segment ended slightly anti-climatically as after both men dropped their microphones, General Manager Daniel Bryan came out and booked a match for the main event, when everyone just wanted to see the pair brawl and beat each other up!   

Before the next match Tye Dillinger used a distraction from United States Champion AJ Styles to send Baron Corbin out of the ring to the floor. 

Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger via Countout (6:10)

The opening of this one played out on a split-screen with the advert break, which is a strange habit that SmackDown has adopted since going live. It makes it difficult to keep track of anything going on in the match, so I just assumed that nothing of any note happened during that period. Once the bout came back from the break, it wasn't much cop either, as the worked through a series of sloppy sequences that some how managed to be both over and under thought. Dillinger's selling of his back was probably the strongest part of the contest and lead to the best moment of the contest when Corbin managed to escape a Tye Breaker attempt, after the Perfect Ten's back gave out. As usual the commentary team completely missed it. The finish was a little contrived as Corbin splashed water at AJ Styles on commentary, before lobbing Dillinger into Styles, sending the pair over the announce table to take the countout victory. I'm down with a character like Corbin revelling in a cheap countout win, but the whole set-up was overly scripted and a little wooden it's execution.  

After the match, Corbin knocked Dillinger to the floor, before being chased off by Styles and then challenging Styles to a United States Championship match at Hell in a Cell. 

Shinsuke Nakamura finally had enough of Jinder Mahal's rhetoric

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal continued to show pictures of Shinsuke Nakamura on the screen, only for one to come to life in a moment that should have happened at least a week ago. It was certainly less offensive than in recent weeks and Nakamura finally coming out to get some revenge produced a great reaction and a cool moment for the King of Strong Style.

The Usos def. The Hype Bros (2:19)

Swift tag bout, with nothing much to talk about beyond the fact that Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley continue to bicker as a team and the Usos won with a superkick, followed with a superfly splash.

Post-match, The Usos confronted The New Day at ringside, with the Tag Team Champions throwing out a challenge for a match inside Hell in a Cell. Yes daddy! 

Rusev Held the Pride of Bulgaria Celebration (7:50)

I can imagine that this Pride of Bulgaria celebration wasn't for everyone, but I ended up getting quite a lot of enjoyment from it for a number of reason. Firstly, I thought it was cool to bring Aiden English in to sing the Bulgarian national anthem as Rusev walked to the ring. It made perfect sense for that character to be involved and it allowed English a chance to take part in a segment that he perhaps wouldn't experience on his own, whilst also allowed him to create more heat for himself as well as Rusev. The segment with the "Major of Plovdiv" presenting Rusev with the key to his home city was perhaps a little dated, but it seemed to know that, revelling in it's hokey elements and using them to entertain, as well as garner heat. As opposed to what we've seen with Jinder Mahal, it felt like it was aiming to garner heat from the ridiculous situation of Rusev getting his own day for a cheap win over Randy Orton, rather than solely the fact he was from a different country. The build to Orton's appearance was timed well, so by the time the Viper appeared to RKO English, you knew exactly what was coming and were waiting to see the Viper strike. Rusev took one two and we'd find out later they'd be facing off at Hell in a Cell, here's hoping the pair get the chance to scrub their SummerSlam fiasco from the record books.

Backstage, Sami Zayn asked Daniel Bryan to make sure that Shane McMahon didn't get involved in Zayn's match with Kevin Owens later in the night. 

Randy Orton asked Renee Young to tell Rusev that they were going to have a match at Hell in a Cell, before wishing her a Happy Rusev Day.

Charlotte Flair def. Carmella (6:54)

Another match that was split screened with the adverts, meaning that the time listed is a bit skewed (I only ever list screen time) and that I didn't actually see about half of the in-ring action, because ads are shiny and distracting. What I did see was mostly enjoyable action with Flair looking competent as she helped the less-experienced performer to create a couple of nice spots. The match was mostly Carmella, who controlled after some helpful interference from James Ellsworth, as the Money in the Bank holder got a chance to run through some of her offence, including a bronco buster and a tilt-a-whirl headscissors takedown. The only sloppy moment was a transition into a reverse DDT, where the pair seemed to have a moment of miscommunication. The out of nowhere victory for Flair, with a big boot (shit finisher) made her look like a threat to Natalya at any point in their match at Hell in a Cell, whilst also allowed Carmella plenty of opportunity to get herself over ahead of the potential run as Women's Champion that the Money in the Bank briefcase offers. 

After the match, Women's Champion Natalya came out told Flair that she was glad her father, Ric Flair, had recovered for illness, because she wanted him to see Natalya beat Flair at Hell in a Cell. 

Dolph Ziggler's absurd entrances were halted by Bobby Roode

Dolph Ziggler came out dressed as The Undertaker and got a great amount of heat for it as the gimmick finally seemed to click with the audience. This resulted in Bobby Roode finally confronting Ziggler and a match being booked for Hell in a Cell in a fun segment.

Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn via referee stoppage (6:12)

Can you go wrong with Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn? The answer is no. Whilst the 11th televised encounter between the two probably won't be remembered as much as their clashes at Battleground or Payback last year, it played a vital role in the feud between Owens and Shane McMahon, with Zayn offering up a nice storyline comparison with which to drive that feud. Most of the in-ring action was classic Owens/Zayn, brawling early doors, fighting from underneath like no other from The Underdog from the Underground and slick reversals. For some reason they decided to do a brainbuster on the apron during the commercial break, but we'll forgive these two that little error. The sequence that stands out in particular saw Owens block a Helluva Kick with a superkick, before Zayn escaped a Pop-Up Powerbomb and countered with a Blue Thunder Bomb, with the action coming at a great pace and elevating the potential threat of the pairs finishing manoeuvres. Also Zayn hit one of the most beautiful and impactful tope con giros that I have ever seen. It was, of course, disappointing to see the bout end by referee stoppage after Owens hit a beasty apron powerbomb, but as part of the ongoing storyline with Shane McMahon, it made perfect sense. It leaves Owens with seven victories of Zayn in WWE and puts to bed the loss Owens suffered to Zayn on RAW in March. I'm interested to see if Zayn is given anymore to do next week in this feud, but am also hoping he can begin to start some stories of his own on the brand and begin to step out of the spot he's occupied since December 2014, Kevin Owens' shadow.

After the referee stoppage, Kevin Owens continued to attack Sami Zayn, wrapping a steel chair around his neck. This brought Shane McMahon out, only for Owens to throw Zayn into McMahon (with the chair still around his head) before legging it up through the crowd.

A good episode of SmackDown this week, as we finally got rid of the albatross that was Jinder Mahal's awful promos, whilst the rivalries that had kept the show ticking recently were picked up also. Each storyline seems to be hitting it's stride at the right time with only one episode to go until Hell in a Cell, with stuff like Rusev's celebration providing lots of little entertaining moments and Shane McMahon's issues with Kevin Owens providing some over-arching drive to each episode. The only thing that isn't working for me right now is the Baron Corbin v AJ Styles feud, mainly because it's been awkwardly slammed together and Tye Dillinger has ended up being the real star of the piece. 

Review by James Marston

Thursday, 28 September 2017

RAW #1270 Review - The Entire Cruiserweight Division Confronts Enzo Amore

On 25th September 2017, WWE aired the 1270th episode of RAW live on the USA Network, from the Citzen's Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. The show featured Neville and the Cruiserweight division crashing Enzo Amore's hosting a Certified G Championship celebration, Roman Reigns facing Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Matt Hardy teaming with Jason Jordan to face the Miztourage, as well as appearances from Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose, Sheamus, Goldust & Finn Balor. But was it any good? Let's take a look! 

Roman Reigns appeared on Miz TV (10:08)

A paint by number edition of Miz TV here, with The Miz insulting his guest, Roman Reigns, followed up by General Manager Kurt Angle booking a match between the two (as well as The Miztourage vs. Matt Hardy and Jason Jordan). Reigns quickly moved past beating John Cena the previous night with talk of respect, then called Miz an idiot and things got a little more interesting. A motivated Miz is an entertaining Miz and he got a chance to rip into Reigns, ripping into Reigns for choking at important moments, bringing up Reigns record inbetween WrestleMania and No Mercy, whilst Curtis Axel seemed to be having an absolute ball in the background. The highlight was, of course, Miz suggested "if the Miztourage was around five years ago, nobody would remember The Shield". It's a great heel line, because we all know that's not true, but the Miz character clearly believes that he, Axel and Dallas are unstoppable. There was, of course, time for Reigns to put over Jason Jordan, calling him a "thoroughbred", which will do little to help Jordan amongst the audience that he is struggling to win over. 

Matt Hardy & Jason Jordan def. The Miztourage (7:09)

I think the highlight of this was Booker T going off on one on commentary about Jason Jordan "wanting to get all of his stuff in". It didn't make much sense, kayfabe or otherwise, but it made me laugh. The match was your pretty standard tag team match, with the majority of Dallas and Axel's heat coming during the commercial break. Hardy got the hot tag and it was pretty much over from there, as Hardy pulled out a series of his greatest hits, including a bulldog and a side effect. The finish came when Jordan took out an interfering Axel with an overhead belly to belly, allowing a Twist of Fate to get the pin on Dallas.  There was enough going on that things remained watchable and Hardy looked better in there than he has done of the last couple of months, but equally so there was very little to get excited about. Jeff Hardy is supposedly injured (he was at ringside) according to commentary, so it will be interesting to see what WWE does with Matt in the meantime or whether this will play into the Broken Universe finally coming up north.

Highlights of Brock Lesnar retaining the Universal Championship against Braun Strowman the previous night at No Mercy.

Before his match, Elias treated us to another of his hipster ditties, about how Ontario is a shithole and Crews is a loser. 

Elias def. Apollo Crews (2:40)

A short match, that was pretty much all Apollo Crews until the finish, that saw Elias kick out at Titus O'Neil, before taking advantage of the distraction to hit Drift Away and remain undefeated since 24th July.
After the match, Elias went to attack Titus O'Neil, only for the Titus Worldwide leader to turn the tables and send Elias packing.

Charly Caruso interviewed Finn Balor with the Irishman seemingly done with Bray Wyatt and saying he's now got his eyes on the Universal Championship. 

After issuing an open challenge, Curt Hawkins quickly bailed when Braun Strowman answered, leading to Strowman chasing him down, chokeslamming him through a table and then powerslamming Hawkins through the set. Strowman would then get on the mic and issue an open challenge of his own...

Braun Strowman def. Dean Ambrose (6:31)

Well, this was a lot of fun and by the end I was a little disappointed we didn't get to see a little more. It was mostly Braun Strowman lobbing Dean Ambrose around, clobbering him a bit and Ambrose scrapping and fighting from underneath, whilst selling for his life. Whilst occasionally Ambrose's selling verged into the comedic region, it bought something different to the regular fighting from underneath cliché and got some good reactions out of the live crowd. I could give or take it personally, but I don't think it detracted from how powerful Strowman looked in dominating a former WWE Champion. The two characters slotted well together, with their strengths creating an entertaining contrast, as Ambrose did everything he could to remain in the match, including a tornado DDT on the floor. The finish ended up feeling a little abrupt with Ambrose going for a diving elbow drop, only for Strowman to turn the move straight into a running powerslam for the pinfall victory. Just under seven minutes wasn't long enough to satisfyingly tell the story between the pair and whilst a punchy victory over a top star helps with Strowman's recover after his loss to Lesnar and extra five minutes or so would have produced a more gratifying bout.

Enzo Amore asked Kurt Angle if he could have a championship celebration later and then refused to listen to some advice from Kurt, it would seem that Enzo has completed his turn now.

Seth Rollins brought Dean Ambrose some ice in the lockeroom and told Ambrose to think more with Ambrose replying that maybe Rollins needed to think was also revealed that Rollins had a match with Sheamus later and would be facing Braun Strowman next week. 

Mickie James Confronted Alexa Bliss (6:43)

When a feud between Alexa Bliss and Mickie James was teased on RAW Talk after No Mercy, I can't say that I was particularly excited about it. James' work hasn't particularly impressed since her return with a lot of matches coming across as sloppy or rushed, whilst she's also faced Bliss three times on TV this year (with Bliss winning the last two bouts on RAW). Therefore, this clash of words ended up being the sleeper segment of the show, because quite frankly it was brilliant and one of the best female talking segments in recent memory. Both ladies brought the fire with James coming out to confront Bliss for calling her an "old lady" a night previously. The tension between the two came through the screen, with Bliss initially throwing barbs like "I think you were even in my top 8 on Myspace, back when Myspace and Mickie James were relevant" with that trademark Bliss snarkiness. James bringing her bitchy side back and talking about breaking down barriers before Bliss was wearing a training bra got a nice reaction, before the exclamination point of "which is obviously still working out for you!" put a nice cap on things. Bliss eventually called James an old lady again and a few slaps and Mick Kick later and we had an interesting feud on our hands heading in Tables, Ladders and Chairs.

Seth Rollins def. Sheamus (4:09)

I've got a lot of time for what Seth Rollins and Sheamus have been doing lately and they both proved their worth here, creating an exciting match within the confines of four minutes. Sheamus spent a lot of times working over Rollins' back and knee, including three irish curse backbreakers, a powerbomb and a cloverleaf, before a pacy finishing sequences saw Rollins dodge a Brogue Kick, block a dive with a superkick of his own before sealing the victory with the Kingslayer knee to bring to a close an action-packed encounter and seemingly the rivalry between the Tag Team Champions and Sheamus & Cesaro.

Finn Balor bumped into Goldust with Goldie seemingly shifting back to a heel, telling Balor he wasn't a victim and didn't need his help, before attacking him and sending Balor into various items backstage..."Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer...The Godfather 2 (1974)"

Highlights of Roman Reigns beating John Cena the previous night at No Mercy, including clips from RAW Talk with Cena putting over Reigns as a "better man". After Jerry "The King" Lawler asked if Cena was done with WWE, Big Match John revealed he wasn't done but perhaps couldn't go at the same pace anymore. 

Roman Reigns def. The Miz (8:47)

For me, this was a better match than the one Reigns had with John Cena the night earlier, as it told a much more interesting story. The main bulk of the contest was the Miztourage providing distractions at ringside and Miz working over the back and it provided a great platform for Reigns to showcase his selling. The Big Dog sold like a beast throughout, with the idea being that the four Attitude Adjustments he took from Cena the night previous, whilst Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel alternated on being a dick at ringside. Corey Graves chatting about sciatica at ringside was a great little touch that got over the pain that Reigns was playing on his face and body. Whilst I was never made to think that Miz could potentially take the victory (a snap DDT was probably the best near fall) as a TV match there was a lot to enjoy here, with the bout being kept snappy and a feeling of constant movement that drove a simple, but well-told story that concluded with Reigns escaping a Skull Crushing Finale and nailing a spear for the victory.

Post-match, The Miztourage jumped Reigns from behind and when it seemed like Reigns would be able to fight back, they produced a pair of steel stairs, took multiple shots at Reigns, before throwing Reigns to Miz for a Skull Crushing Finale. After initially leaving, Miz and The Miztourage returned to the ring, delivering another Skull Crushing Finale on the chair and a con-chair-to, before doing the traditional Shield fist-bump pose.

Finn Balor def. Goldust (4:20)

Another brief, yet entertaining contest here with the attack earlier in the night and Balor's rib injury suffered the night earlier being the two main elements as the two brawled for most the match on the outside. Balor sold well and we got a nice spot of Finn not being able to hit 1916 because of the injury, but eventually the Irishman picked up a head of steam and finished things off with a slingblade, running front dropkick into the buckles and a Coup de Grace.

Post-match, Bray Wyatt's visual gimmick flashed across the screen and then a creepy childlike voice sang "He's got the Whole World in his Hands"

Backstage, there appeared to be issues with Bayley and Sasha Banks following the Women's Championship Five-Way match at No Mercy, but both vowed to forget about it ahead of their tag team match with Nia Jax and Emma.

Enzo Amore bugged Kurt Angle again backstage, asking for a non-contact clause to be added to his Championship celebration later on, because he was getting serious jealousy vibes from the Cruiserweight lockeroom...he's surely a heel now? 

Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Nia Jax & Emma (5:21)

Whilst the match wasn't much to get excited about, it was nice to see the Women's division get two decent length segments on the show and multiple storylines begin to develop. With Mickie James stepping into the Women's Championship picture, there's room to tell stories with these four women and that's what we got here. Jax continues to look like a potential breakout star for the division, in the same vein as Braun Strowman and she looked like a beast for most of the match as she chucked Bayley about the place. It also looks like WWE is finally looking to pull the trigger on a feud between Bayley and Sasha Banks with some interesting exchanges where Banks was having to save the Hugger, including a spot on the outside where Banks was able to hit Jax with a crossbody off the apron after Bayley failed to do so. Like most of the last few months, Emma suffered from a lack of direction and eventually fell to a Bayley-to-Belly when the match got a little itself after Jax had collided with the ringpost. There's still a long way to go with the Women's division that hasn't found its feet since the brand split, but this was a step in the right direction.

The Entire Cruiserweight Division Confronts Enzo Amore (13:27)

Holy shit, RAW closed with a Cruiserweight segment. Enzo Amore's Certified G Championship celebration was arguably the best RAW segment for the Cruiserweight's since they became part of the show as Enzo Amore and Neville both put in great performances on the microphone as their characters naturally shifted. Amore talked about sleeping with a the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, brought up having more "haters" recently and compared himself to John Cena, Batista and The Rock, before claiming to have made 205 Live relevant. It wasn't just the content that was different here, Amore exaggerated parts of his character that had been there before but perhaps been understated and made it even easier to hate him than it had been when he was an annoying caricature babyface. After the Cruiserweight division took some verbal abuse from Enzo, Neville's coming out was played pretty much perfectly. The Geordie has been magic on the mic recently, taking his time and delivering his lines with punch, so when he went off on one here it was a wonderful slice of wrestling television. "Now Enzo Amore...on behalf of the whole Cruiserweight division, I am here to end you" gave me a little shiver, if I'm honest. When the King of the Cruiserweights finally went after the man who holds the crown, it wasn't the attack that was interesting but the non-contact clause that Kurt Angle had put in place earlier. The idea that Neville was so angry he was willing to give up his title shot was a powerful idea that added depth to the attack and opened up a question for 205 Live. For perhaps the first time, RAW provided a reason for people to tune in to Tuesday night's Cruiserweight showcase! And as much as I hate to say it, Enzo Amore is right, him coming to the purple brand has provided it with a much-needed dose of intrigue and excitement, that has the potential to give the platform for superior in-ring performers like Akira Tozawa, Gran Metalik and Jack Gallagher to shine.

Heading out of No Mercy, this was a strong effort from the RAW crew, that opened a number of different narrative avenues. A number of stories that had been running since before SummerSlam seemed to be replaced with fresh direction as the Cruiserweight and Women's divisions both give time to tell or set-up better stories. The second two hours of the show in particular featured a good mix of fun in-ring action and well-produced talking segments. Strowman vs. Ambrose and Reigns vs. Miz both provided good television matches, whilst the segment with Enzo Amore and Neville at the end of the show featured great character work and deliver, opened questions about the future of the division and felt different to anything on the rest of the show

Review by James Marston

NXT #267 Review - Adam Cole vs Eric Young

On 28th September 2017, WWE aired its 267th episode of NXT, taped at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida on 14th September. This week's main event had the competition debut of the Baybay of wrestling, Adam Cole against current NXT Tag Team Champion, Eric Young. A thoroughly packed undercard featured another debut as the CWC's Fabian Aichner took on Kassius Ohno, Liv Morgan faced Vanessa Borne while Oney Lorcan, Lars Sullivan and Heavy Machinery were also in action. With all this taken into consideration, was it any good?

We get a backstage cold open as William Regal tells us that there will be a fatal four-way at TakeOver: Houston to determine the holder of the vacant NXT Women's Title with a guaranteed spot Mae Young Classic winner, Kairi Sane. In two weeks, they'll start matches to determine the other three.

SaNItY hit the ring. Eric Young talks about making a mark, that SanITy wrote the book on making the mark, between this and Authors of the Books of Pain and Domination, the NXT library is getting stocked up. In this universe time and space doesn't exist or matter, what matters is chaos, the only thing that's certain is change and tonight Eric Young is going to take Adam Cole to the edge of sanity.

Lars Sullivan def. Oney Lorcan 

Before making his entrance, Lorcan is backstage, he says he didn't like Lars and how he pushes people around so he's going to teach him a lesson. They feel each other out to begin as Lorcan goes straight into a side headlock, he's bounced off the ropes and into a shoulder tackle, Sullivan deadlifts Lorcan who escapes with his elbows and lands a dropkick but Sullivan the big lad no sell rule and throws Oney out of the ring, he goes out to get him but Oney kicks him in the face to escape and then elbows Sullivan off the apron, Lorcan goes for a tope but is caught perfectly and dropped onto the apron before being gorilla pressed into the ring, back in and Lorcan hits European uppercuts and palm slaps to try and level Mr. Sullivan but he can't quite take him down till he himself is levelled by a large lariat from Lars and Sullivan slams him with the Side Spinebuster for the pin. This was a lovely, little violent spectacle. It made Lars look incredible but as always, Oney Lorcan still looks like the real fucking deal even in defeat. When they eventually let him escape from the sub-five minute match position, it's going to be beautiful.

Post-match, Lars goes to do a murder but Burch comes to Lorcan's rescue, giving Sullivan a bit of "come on then if you think you're 'ard enough". Friendship is alive again in NXT.

Kayla Braxton is backstage with Ruby Riot, the Iconic Duo have requested a rematch with Riot and 'her friend, Nikki Cross', Riot corrects Kayla, Cross is not her friend, she doesn't know what Cross is doing but if the Duo want a fight, she'll give them one and if Cross turns up, she'd better not get in her way.

Heavy Machinery def. Demetrius Bronson & Patrick Scott

Quick squash m8. Tucker and Patrick to start, Tucker quickly overpowers the tiny man with some wrasslin, Scott slaps Knights chest and immediately regrest it after, suplex to his corner and tag to Demetrius Bronson who is immediately taken out by Knight, tag to Dosevic for a double shoulder barge and a double diving headbutt, Bronson to the corner and jump into a sleeper on Dosevic, Bronson tries to take out Dosevic from the second rope but is caught into another suplex, tag to Scott who is run down by Dosevic and crushed with an elbow drop, Scott in the ring but he's corner splashed to death, tag to Knight and they hit the Compactor splash on both opponents for the pin. By Heavy Machinery match standards, this didn't annoy me too much but it really didn't do much to further any storytelling as Machinery aren't doing anything at the moment.

William Regal is being interviewed by some floating hands with microphones about Houston outside the PC, Johnny Gargano is leaving the PC and Regal tells him that he's going to give Gargano the rematch he wanted against Andrade Almas. Lads.

Inside the PC, Christy St. Cloud is with Roderick Strong, he's training like this could be his last chance, he's doing this for his family but also for himself, Drew McIntyre talks about knocking him out but Strong is the guy that always gets back up, he's got close to the title before but this time will be different because he knows he's indestructible and he wants Drew to know this might just be business but to Roddy, business is personal and he won't stop till he hears "...and new, NXT Champion Roderick Strong".

Liv Morgan def. Vanessa Borne 

Hey everyone, Liv Morgan's still alive having not been in a televised match since NXT #246 back in April when she was in a battle royal for the Women's Title number 1 contendership, her opponent, Vanessa Borne, is another MYC competitor who lost in the first round to Serena Deeb. They lock-up to start as the two women try to power into a bodyslam but neither can hit it, they trade pinfall attempts, Borne hits a reverse elbow and goes to hit a second but Morgan dodges underneath, takes down Brone and hits a leg drop for a 1 count, Borne powers back htting forearms and a snap suplex to ground Morgan before slamming her head into the mat and a low boot, in the corner and Morgan dodges again spearing Borne into a schoolboy pin for a 2, Borne retaliates with a lariat for a 2 of her own but Morgan hits a drop toe hold into an O'Connor Roll for a 2 before hitting running facebusters and an enziguri into a kip-up, a corner stomp, a running bulldog and a Jumping Double Knee smash get Morgan the pin. These two worked a good match showing enough fire to propel them through the limited time sprint they had with Morgan looking possibly the best she's ever been. It lacked a little bit in dramatic tension but that can be pinned down to lacking the time to really let the story develop any structure.

We see a re-cap of Velveteen Dream crashing Aleister's Black Mass. Cut to: footage from the PC of Aleister Black kickboxing, he gets out of the ring and into an interview about the Dream. Black says that in this age of individuality, there is always one who thinks they're more unique, more special and left to their own devices, they have nothing left but to antagonise the hoard to get attention. Aleister Black refuses to acknowledge a child who holds their breath to get want they want, that throws a tantrum for attention and that if by being bizarre, Patrick (Velveteen Dream' Clark) thinks he has Black's attention, he's wrong. Savage

We get a hype-up promo package for recent NXT signee Fabian Aichner who lost to Jack Gallagher in the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic having done some great work in the past year on the independents (check out his matches at PROGRESS Chapters 37 & 41). He also had an interview earlier in the day on the YouTubes...

Kassius Ohno def. Fabian Aichner

If you were guessing lock-up to start, you guessed correctly, Ohno takes control into a headlock, Aichner tries to escape but Ohno adjusts into a cravate hold, Aichner escapes with a snapmare takedown into a standing armbar, breakout by Ohno into an uppercut from Aichner who goes for a boot but Ohno catches and hits a bigger one, knocking Aichner out of the ring, Ohno goes to follow but Aichner slides back in so Ohno does a flip on  the ropes, Aichner runs into a big boot Ohno and back in the ring Ohno runs into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Ohno rolls out of the ring and Aichner follows with a springboard crossbody to the outside on Ohno that only just avoids him headbutting the floor, back in the ring and Aichner with a delayed vertical suplex for a 2 count, he clubs Kassius' back with forearms and tries to go for a powerbomb but Ohno rolls him into a small package for a 2, a Euro uppercut by Aichner who runs the ropes, Ohno jumps for a Lou Thesz press but is caught into a fallaway slam, Aichner goes for a triangle springboard moonsault but Ohno dodges, hitting an elbow to the back of the neck, a shotgun kick, knees to the head, a cravate suplex and a Cyclone Kick for the pin. This was everything it needed to be, making Aichner's low-key re-debut at Full Sail as competitive a match as you were going to get in such a short time, displaying both his power game and his ability to the flips that Florida love. Ohno is picking up some steam again after a great TV feud with Itami and is looking like a strong contender to be contesting for some kind of title again soon.

A man is interviewing Drew McIntyre about his match with Roderick Strong, anyone who wants a match, all they have to do is ask and Strong has earnt his match but that he needs to give Drew his full attention, Drew believes Roddy could beat him but that next week is his first televised NXT title defence but it will not be his last.

Hype-up package for Kairi Sane. Nothing you haven't seen before if you watched the MYC.

Adam Cole comes out to the most generic entrance music I've heard in a while (bay. bay). Before the match, Cole gives a promo asking how NXT ever made it without The Undisputed ERA, that there's something new in the air, he asks the audience to take in the moment and how they feel change, a shock to the system and that are untouchable, unstoppable, undisputable, systematic, hydro-matic, ultro-matic, why, they're greased lightning!

Adam Cole def. Eric Young

Eric Young is out with his gang, Adam Cole is out with his, Young tries to psyche out Cole by not doing shit while Cole screams 'fight me', Cole goes for a clothesline but Young dodges and hits a double leg takedown before wailing on Cole, he powers him to the corner but the ref breaks things up, giving Cole a chance to cheap shot Young, he does the 'bay bay' shtick which is far too over for a heel, boo the heels Full Sail, fuck sake, back to the match and the two of them run the ropes and flip over each other till Young hits a running neckbreaker, a brawl looking to break out between the two gangs creates distraction for Cole to hit Young from being, work him over in the corner and hit him out of the ring with a leaping roundhouse kick, landing between the two warring factions, Cole rolls out and rolls Young back in for a 2, straight with the knees to the back , Cole works a grounded chinlock, Young escapes this but ends up back in a standing sleeper which he escapes as well with a belly-to-back suplex, both on their feet again and Young hits a reverse elbow, a big boot, running discuss strikes and a neckbreaker to ground Cole, he goes up top, Cole follow but is quickly knocked back down, ReDragon get back on the apron to distract Young from hitting an elbow drop but they are pulled down by the rest of SaNItY, Young decides to join the chaos and hits a crossbody to ReDragon on the outside, back in the ring and Cole hits a Standing Shining Wizard (not the shiniest though. We miss you, Nixon) for the pin. What could have been a lovely match resulted in probably one of the most ignominious debuts on NXT since Solomon Crowe. Cole was given nothing special to do and showed off no reason why he should be immediately pushed to the top of the deck, if I didn't know of some of the corkers he'd performed before coming to WWE, I can't imagine what I'd think of him. Young in the low-key face role, however, is shining and really can get the crowd behind him. Overall, not great.

On The YouTubes:

Kassius is hoping to keep this momentum going and beat some more people.

Some good, some bad but frankly, an overstuffed edition of NXT. 5 matches over the hour, which between them took up less than 25 minutes of screen time and a lot of heavy-lifting promo work made the entire affair feel a tad rushed. Perhaps if the undercard had been split over two weeks and given more time to actually let things have some impact, it could have been improved. Lorcan v Sullivan & Ohno v Aichner are both good fun if you have the time but otherwise, nothing much worth your time here.

Article by Jozef Raczka (@NotJozefRaczka)

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

No Mercy 2017 Review - John Cena vs. Roman Reigns

On 24th September 2017, WWE's RAW brand aired No Mercy 2017 live on the WWE Network, from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The show featured John Cena battling Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins putting the Tag Team Championship on the line against Cesaro & Sheamus and Finn Balor going up against Bray Wyatt "man to man", as well as action featuring Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, Sasha Banks, Cruiserweight Champion Neville and Bayley. But was it any good? Lets take a look! 

The opening package was your typically well-produced WWE open, focusing on John Cena vs. Roman Reigns, the Women's Championship five-way and Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman..."on this night, there will be no restraint, there will be no holding back and there will be...No Mercy" 

The Miz (C) (with The Miztourage) def. Jason Jordan to retain the Intercontinental Championship (10:15)

After a build that I struggled to get behind, I felt like Miz and Jason Jordan delivered here, putting together a solid opening match that grabbed the crowd and warmed them up well for the rest of the evening. Was it the crispest of bouts? No, not all, there were a couple of moments of sloppiness or miscommunication like Miz throwing Jordan back in the ring and a weird looking kitchen sink from the champ. But it also featured some really well-worked sequences that showed the potential that Jordan possesses well, with Miz playing the foil well. The It kicks being reversed into a T-Bone suplex, as well as the work that went down on the outside, leading into Jordan hitting an overhead belly to belly on Dallas that sent him into both Miz and Axel. The finishing sequence was one of the strongest on the whole show with the Miztourage running interference just as Jordan got rolling and after Jordan had swatted Dallas off the top rope, there was Axel with a cheapshot, which allowed Miz to hit a Skull Crushing Finale to retain his title. It was the first legit obstacle we'd seen put in Jordan's way and he was unable to overcome it, that's how you build a babyface and his performance in this match shows that if WWE can handle him correctly and use just the right amount of the Kurt Angle stuff, then there's a star in their somewhere.

Post-match, Jason Jordan gave an awkward promo to Renee Young, saying he still doesn't respect The Miz and that he feels Miz sucks.

Before the next match could begin Bray Wyatt attacked Finn Balor, throwing him into the barricade and hitting a uranage slam onto the announce table. With Balor being lead away by referees, Wyatt would get on the microphone and goad Balor into getting back in the ring claiming "You ain't no demon, you ain't even a man, you're a coward"...

Finn Balor def. Bray Wyatt (11:32)

Oh man, this match was going so well until the finish. With Wyatt attacking Balor before the match and having lost to the Demon at SummerSlam, it felt like the logical step for the rivalry was for Wyatt to beat Balor here or perhaps at least have an out for his loss, but an enziguiri, two corner drop kicks and a coup de grat is pretty conclusive victory for the Irishman. The body of the match was head and shoulder above their mediocre SummerSlam effort as the pair told a strong story with Balor injuring his ribs before the match started and having to fight from underneath against the larger, dominant Wyatt. Balor's selling throughout the match was superb as he produced what is arguably his strongest performance since his Universal title win last August. There was not a single moment where I forgot the Balor was carrying an injury because he was constantly grabbing at it, grimacing and appearing to struggle for breath. We'd see this play into the match on numerous occasions with Wyatt focusing in on the area and Balor often struggling to climb to the top rope to hit Coup de Grat, leading to Wyatt to catch him on the top or at one point Wyatt to get up and Balor hit a version of his finish to his opponents neck. The win is great for Balor, he looked like a valiant fighter and the result gets over his heart, determination as cements him as a threat with or without the demon, but there was so much potential for Wyatt to flourish here, with his performance on the microphone and when hitting multiple drop suplexes being some of his best work also. I'm interested to see where both goes are heading as it feels like Balor will be getting a push heading towards Survivor Series in November, whilst we may see Wyatt look to rebuild a family to protect him going forward.

Charly Caruso asked Cesaro & Sheamus what adjustments they'd made since SummerSlam, with the Swiss Superman and the Celtic Warrior replying that they don't adjust to the world, the world adjusts to them. 

The parade of foreign announce teams came here.

Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose def. Sheamus & Cesaro to retain Tag Team Championships (15:55)

These two teams are absolute gold together and somehow managed to up the quality from their great SummerSlam effort and steal the show at No Mercy. There were a tonne of different elements weaved into the contest, some of them intentional and one of them a complete mistake, but they all came together to produce one of the best tag team matches in the last decade. Lets talk about that accidental element first, that would be Cesaro knocking some teeth out after hitting the top of the ring post and pissing blood from his mouth. It was a brutal and painful looking injury, but allowed for one of the coolest visuals in WWE history as Seth Rollins hit the Avada Kedavra and sent blood splattering across the Swiss Superman's face and all over the place. On the other side of the coin was Dean Ambrose kayfabe shoulder injury after he took a Cesaro swing into the steel steps on the outside. I've always felt that Ambrose has worked best when fighting from the bottom and with a body part to sell and it was once again effective here. Little touches like banging the shoulder into the wall in an attempt to pop it back into place following a suicide dive meant that the Lunatic Fringe shone here. The match built around Ambrose's injury effectively, firstly having him as the face in peril, before he was later unable to make the tag back in, partly because of the injury and partly because of clever tag work from Cesaro & Sheamus. 

Whilst most of the elements that made their SummerSlam clash so enjoyable were on display here again, like Rollins hot tag, big bruising tag work from Cesaro & Sheamus and a crowd that was behind the babyfaces, but what made this match a step above was the final third as it was packed with near falls and convincing false finishes as the two teams pulled out all the stops and stole the show in the process. A sharpshooter and then a crossface from Cesaro on Ambrose, followed by a double crucifix powerbomb to the Lunatic Fringe from both opponents and then the best moment of the entire match came. The Bar went to go for their assisted White Noise on Ambrose, only for Rollins to leap from the apron to the top rope, attempting to rana Cesaro to the mat, but Cesaro held on, Sheamus hit White Noise and Cesaro leap off the top turnbuckle with an avalanche powerbomb to Rollins onto Ambrose. The sequence was near perfect and the reaction for Ambrose kicking out of it the resulting pinfall was big. Moments later after Ambrose feinted out of a Brogue Kick attempt, Sheamus would accidentally connect with Cesaro, allowing a Ripcord knee from the Man and a Dirty Deeds from Ambrose to get the win. The heel miscommunication was a nice call back to how the feud has been based around the idea that Ambrose and Rollins would struggle to remain a team when the pressure was on, with the roles being reversed and the babyface duo ending up on top and still on the same page, despite the battering that both received. Give me a TLC match with these teams next month and I'll be a happy chappy.

Alexa Bliss def. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax and Emma to retain the Women's Championship (9:54)

Considering the women were given less than ten minutes of a three hour show, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax and Emma worked their arses off putting on an action-pack, story-driven five way that over-delivered, despite the time constraints. There was a lot of different relationships and narratives going on here, that perhaps meant that the end of the bout felt a little flat, but made for a rich beginning and middle portion. Nia's dominance, Bayley and Banks' friendship, Emma attempting to make the most of her opportunity and Bliss desperate and willing to do anything to hold onto her title all provided the match with avenues to explore and the chance to weave the ideas together. Jax being powerbomb from the apron after all four opponents combined and then later returning got the biggest reactions from the crowd as she continues to develop into a potential major star for the division if she's handled correctly. With Bliss pinning Bayley following a Snap DDT, the contest needed longer to produce a satisfying well-rounded bout that allowed it's ideas to grow and feel organic, there was still enough to make the five-way enjoyable whilst it lasted.

Highlights of Batista defeating Eddie Guerrero to retain the World Heavyweight Championship at No Mercy 2005, for some reason.

Roman Reigns def. John Cena (22:09)

This was the match I was most looking forward to and the build-up that I had most enjoyed and to a degree it delivered. This was a big match, full of big moments, big reversals, classic spots, which played out in front of a lively crowd that wanted both men to know how they felt about them. It wasn't a particularly creative effort, pulling elements of John Cena's recent successes with the likes of AJ Styles, but it was still entertaining to see Cena's classic comeback sequence cut off at various stages as Reigns dominated and controlled the crowd. Perhaps, my favourite moment of the contest was Cena catching a Superman punch and turning it into an STF, locking in the move again once Reigns got close to the ropes, with the Big Dog eventually escaping with a powerful sitout powerbomb. I think, if the move had come later in the match it would have been a much more convincing near fall and perhaps would have upped the drama just a little bit more. A big shout out for the spot on the announce table as well with Reigns reversing an AA into a spear and almost shattering his own skull in the process. 

However, the conclusion was unsatisfying. Reigns would kick out of one Attitude Adjustment, then after missing a spear he kicked out of an Avalanche AA, then Cena hit another AA and rolled over like a beefed up Mark Haskins and hit another one and then Reigns kicked out. An utterly ridiculous amount of kick out from the same move. They all got good reactions, as people believed Cena had put Reigns away, but I'm not sure if Reigns lasting a nuclear-bomb like assault is the way to showcase him to an audience that has already been reluctant to accept him as a top guy. Cena had a similar problem and has ended up respected by most, Reigns has potential for that same spot, but WWE seems to be missing the mark on his presentation. Perhaps had Reigns not gone on to win clean with a superman punch and a spear, then those kick outs would have felt less silly, but by giving Reigns too much, WWE could end up shooting themselves in the foot. This was a good to very good match between two superlative workers, but the booking and presentation often let them down and an overall feeling of lack of creativity and recycling left the contest feeling overly clinical. 

After the match, John Cena raised Roman Reigns hand as the big left the ring to Cena. Cena bowed, waived and looked around emotionally at the arena as the crowd chanted "Thank you, Cena". 

The advert for WWE 2K18 with Snoop Dogg is magnificent.

The Miz interrupted Kurt Angle in his office, asking for an exclusive interview with Roman Reigns on RAW with Angle agreeing that it was a good idea and scheduling Miz TV for tomorrow night.

Before the Cruiserweight Championship match, Enzo Amore said some words about Neville's appearance and cookie dough, whilst Neville just looked at him like he wanted to kick him in the head. 

Enzo Amore def. Neville to win the Cruiserweight Championship (10:36)

Enzo Amore won the Cruiserweight Championship. I'm not quite sure what else I can say. Neville dominated throughout, blocking an early DDG attempt, throwing his opponent in the barricade, shouting "No one cares Enzo, no one cares" whilst locking in a headlock, smacking him in the face with a superkick after Enzo skinned the cat and killed the New Jerseyan with a series of big kicks and for quite a while it was great entertainment. I mean, probably not for the reasons it should have been, but great entertainment non the less, watching a man whose fall from fan favourite has been spectacular get his arse handed to him by someone who has worked hard to become one of the most entertaining characters on RAW. Then Enzo won. He grabbed the championship belt, used it as a distraction for the ref, kicked Neville in the dick again and walked out with the purple strap held high. Amore needs to turn heel and if this move was a heel turn I'm 100% okay with it, however if WWE is pushing Enzo as someone the crowd is supposed to get behind it's an arse-backward move. There's a slim chance this could be used to enhance the division and get eyes on the underrated 205 Live, but there's also a bigger chance that it could kill the division stone dead. 

Brock Lesnar def. Braun Strowman to retain Universal Championship (8:52)

Ah. Damn. After such a strong build up, that had myself and many desperate to see Brock v Braun, this match ended up being a major disappointment. Terribly short for a show closer, the two had a match. There was some lovely work in here, like Strowman's early domination and Booker T quipping "Guys, we're about one minute in and Brock Lesnar is on plan C", with this later being followed up by Lesnar locking Strowman in the Kimura for a lengthy period, but past that and the match didn't develop. Braun sold well at points, although him not being able to make the cover after a running powerslam could have looked better, but we didn't see Lesnar go back after the clearly injured body part and the match stuttered from there. German suplexes to big guys are fun, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. Then the finish ended up leaving me feeling a little deflated as Lesnar finally managed to hit an F5 and walked out as champion. We saw a similar finish to Lesnar's match with Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire and whilst it was marginally effective then, it was less so here, after how hard Strowman had been pushed and even more so after we saw Roman Reigns kick out of Attitude Adjustment after Attitude Adjustment earlier in the night. Overall, the match was fun whilst it lasted, but couldn't live up to the hype, perhaps because Braun wasn't ready for such a spot and perhaps because Lesnar doesn't want to put in the effort needed to have a blowaway singles match anymore. 

No Mercy was a good PPV in which the undercard over-performed and the two main event matches fell short, whilst a handful of the booking decisions ended up being questionable. The Tag Team Championship match was easily the match of the night, with both teams putting in a tremendous effort that topped their SummerSlam classic, whilst despite it's drawbacks I'd probably put Cena vs. Reigns in at #2. The main event didn't live up to expectations and wins for Finn Balor and Enzo Amore felt like they either came at the wrong time for their feuds or opponents, despite some entertaining action. The Women's Five-Way proved that RAW's ladies deserve more time, both on TV and on PPV in order to expand on the good wrestling and compelling ideas that they are capable of producing. 

The PPV will be remember for two matches that were advertised as WrestleMania worthy not delivering on their potential, but will provide a pleasant surprise when rewatched in future years thanks to the great tag team match and a good undercard.