Not only is the Nintendo 64 version of No Mercy one of the greatest wrestling video games of all time, but it’s shaping up to be this year’s best pay-per-view card. For a minor event, it’s loaded with two WrestleMania caliber matches: John Cena vs. Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar. Two matches where older top guys are battling younger versions of themselves. Why aren’t they doing this at WrestleMania? Well, probably just because that’s a long time to sit on a feud. Regardless, we will happily take it at No Mercy. Last night I was asked the question:
“But what are the other matches?”
It took me a moment to remember, but once I did, I began thinking of how much the lower card will have to try to get noticed on this show. So, expect some surprisingly good performances before what’s basically a double main event. Here are some of the OTHER matches on tonight’s No Mercy.
The Mad King vs. The Bona Fide Stud
Not that it’s going to be a great competitive bout, but Enzo Amore fighting Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship should just be a fun, silly match. For those who haven’t kept up with 205 Live, there have been some distinct improvements. Developing its characters and building some decent storylines are two of those improvements. Acquiring Enzo after Big Cass’ injury put a kibosh on their feud gave 205 the charismatic bump in the right direction that it needed. Neville has been taking his now Mad King of the Cruiserweights to the next Neville level, and his promo with Enzo last Tuesday night was definitely worth watching. Love him or hate him, Enzo is simply not a skilled in-ring performer. So, in order for this to be believable, expect Enzo to get punished by the more accomplished Neville with some good trash talking sprinkled throughout.
The Eater of Worlds vs. Nice Guy Finn
The feud between Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt is an interesting one, but I’m not sure if it’s in a good way. Their inclusion of Goldust, or should I say Dustin, without his face paint felt like they bailed on his new/old “Golden Age” persona before they even did anything with it. And while it’s different, I’m not sure how engaging the whole no-face paint stipulation really is. Balor’s mic skills aren’t fantastic and one of the only things that he has in his arsenal as a character is that “Demon King” gimmick. So, Bray claims that Finn can’t win without the Demon. The question is, can he get over without the Demon? And perhaps, this is an attempt to ditch the demon schtick altogether. Before coming to WWE, Prince Devitt made a name for himself with his different elaborate entrances and a variety of costumes. Either they feel the WWE universe has had their fill of the Demon King garb, or Finn himself has grown bored with it. It will be interesting to see how Balor utilizes his special entrances going forward.
Little Miss Bliss vs. The Women’s Locker Room
Once again, the women’s revolution is relegated to a Fatal (insert number here) match. In tonight’s Fatal 5-way for Alexa Bliss’ Championship, she will try to defend against Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Bayley, and Emma. While these matches are always solid, it would be nice to see the women get more than one spot on the card and not just clustered together to save time. I mean, Raw is a three hour show. They really don’t have time for more than one storyline with them. Perhaps it’s the fault of the brand split and the thinning out of talent, but hopefully the long awaited Asuka will change all of that.
The Empress of Tomorrow, Tonight?
We’ve been teased with the Raw debut of The Empress of Tomorrow for the last couple of weeks, and No Mercy seems like a good venue to at least welcome her. As much as I would rather see it be more of a surprise, I think the Raw women’s division needs to utilize her as soon as possible. Of course, she’s also recovering from a collarbone injury and there’s no telling how long she will take to recover. Meanwhile, she can still talk. Despite her broken English, Asuka’s mic work is endearing, and I wouldn’t mind an interview or a quick promo with her tonight. Since Asuka’s undefeated streak on NXT surpassed that of Goldberg’s, this is bad news for the women of RAW, considering they’ll be looking to keep it going. The Fatal 5-way will be solid, but with Asuka’s impending debut, it’s mostly just setting up her next victim. If Alexa retains, she’ll make a great heel to play off of Asuka when she comes in.
While the main focus of No Mercy is on Reigns/Cena and Strowman/Lesnar, let’s not forget the other matches on the card. We also have The Miz vs. Jason Jordan for the Intercontinental Championship, and Cesaro and Sheamus’ Tag Team Championships will be on the line against Rollins and Ambrose. Hopefully, the big fights will live up to their hype and it will be a top-to-bottom great event.
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke