It’s been five weeks since SummerSlam and though it seems ages in comparison to the recent scheduling of pay-per-views, this could very well be a good thing. Heading into the Raw exclusive event, we are given a rather mixed match card. Despite having a few impressive bookings, John Cena vs. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman, there are some questionable decisions.
WARNING! There will be spoilers beyond this point.
The kick-off show saw Elias square off against Apollo Crews (w/Titus O’Neil), in one of the more random pre-show bookings in recent months. Though it isn’t unusual to see such a lacklustre match fill this spot, I doubt anyone was interested in this contest. What we get from the two superstars only goes to prove this, as despite there being a few impressive spots, the match as a whole was pure filler. When all was said and done, it was Elias picking up the win, pinning Crews after Drift Away.
(5 / 10)
The first match on the main card saw Jason Jordan challenge The Miz (w/The Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)) for his Intercontinental Championship. Now despite the talent of both superstars, I have to admit that this isn’t a match I was looking forward to. What we got only goes to vindicate this, with the stop/start flow and interference of The Miztourage really hindering the bout. When all was said and done, it was The Miz picking up the win, pinning Jordan following a Skull Crushing Finale after interference from both Axel and Dallas.
(6 / 10)
Next up we saw Bray Wyatt taking on Finn Bálor and despite being a fan of both, this was a match that I honestly didn’t have much interest in. Attacking Bálor before the match even began, it was Wyatt that initially got the upper hand. The Demon King was eventually able to turn the tide, gaining some steady momentum throughout the contest. Despite this, there was still a few tricks left up Wyatt‘s sleeves, with his spider walk during a Coup de Grace attempt freaking Bálor out. Nevertheless it was Bálor picking up the win, pinning The Eater of Worlds following a successful Coup de Grace.
(6.5 / 10)
Another SummerSlam rematch followed this, as Sheamus and Cesaro looked to regain the Raw Tag Team Championship from Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Having given us a spectacular performance at “the biggest party of the summer,” I was eager to see what these teams would deliver here. Not disappointing, we were given a magnificent display with Cesaro even losing teeth during the process. Playing to the strengths of both teams, this was certainly one of the most gripping back and forth contests I’ve seen in awhile. Gaining the momentum for the majority of the match, Sheamus and Cesaro continue to prove how much they’ve grown as a team, with there being plenty of near falls. Despite this, there were some big moments from Rollins and Ambrose with Ripcord Knee and Dirty Deeds combination being enough to pin Sheamus.
(9 / 10)
The third title match of the night was probably the hardest to predict, in my opinion, with Alexa Bliss putting her Raw Women’s Championship on the line against Nia Jax, Bayley, Emma and Sasha Banks. Unsurprisingly it was Jax dominating the early portion of this fatal five-way, eliminating everyone in her path. It took all four women to take her down, as Emma and Bayley hit a double powerbomb off the ring apron, aided by Bliss and Banks. This would allow the momentum to shift between the remaining four women, with Bayley and Banks working together at several points. Despite Jax eventually getting back into the contest it was Bliss picking up the win, pinning Bayley after a DDT.
(6.5 / 10)
The first of our two main events came next, with Roman Reigns and John Cena squaring off for the first time. Given the disrespect that both men have shown over the last month, as well as the polarising response they receive from the crowd, it was interesting to see how this match would unfold. Teasing a walk out early on, Cena would quickly be at the mercy of Reigns overselling more than a few punches. As the match progressed, Cena was able to turn the momentum in his favour, hitting The Big Dog with four Attitude Adjustments in total (one off the middle rope). Despite this, Reigns got more than enough big shots in, including spearing Cena through a table. When all was said and done, it was Reigns picking up the win, pinning Cena following a third spear (in total).
(7.5 / 10)
The penultimate match on the card saw Enzo Amore challenge Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship and to say that this was a joke would be an understatement. Despite the fact that Enzo is simply a poor wrestler, his mic skills also are starting to take a massive nosedive. As for the match itself, Neville did most of the heavy lifting, doing a brilliant job of selling some of Enzo‘s more explosive moves. The King of the Cruiserweights did get a little too overconfident, however, which gave Enzo time to distract the ref with the title, hitting a low blow to gain the win.
(5 / 10)
The main event saw Braun Strowman challenge Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) for the Universal Championship. Given the way that The Monster Amongst Men has dominated Lesnar at both SummerSlam and the lead-up to this bout, I honestly couldn’t see how they could work this into a win for The Beast. This ultimately reflected into the flow of this match, with the offense from Lesnar latter in the battle not looking as impactful as usual. On the flip side, Strowman was as impressive as ever, hitting three Running Powerslams as well as a chokeslam at one point. Despite this, it was Lesnar leaving with the title, weakening Strowman with a Kimura Lock (despite Strowman getting the the ropes early on), and eventually hitting an F-5.
(7 / 10)
No Mercy may have had the potential to go down as one of the better pay-per-views this year, but it will ultimately be remembered as one of the worst. Despite the talent delivering some impressive action, poor booking and ill conceived finishes prevent it from reaching it’s potential. The fact that Reigns was able to kick out off so many Attitude Adjustments and Strowman was pinned following only one F-5 also won’t go down well with fans, with Enzo winning the Cruiserweight title also being something we’ll all want to forget.