Posted September 23rd, 2017 by 1Wrestling News Team

By Don “The Predictor” Murphy

Before I begin, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the greatest manager in the history of professional wrestling, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, who passed away last weekend. Given his long battle with throat cancer, the news was not unexpected, but was extremely difficult and sad nonetheless. Growing up, Randy Savage was the wrestler that hooked me as a fan, but it was Bobby that kept me there – from the great storylines involving members of the Heenan Family, to his unmatched chemistry with Gorilla Monsoon every weekend on Wrestling Challenge and every Monday night on Prime Time Wrestling. Around the time of his Hall of Fame induction in 2004, I had the honor of meeting him at a fan convention. I was really nervous to meet one of my all-time favorites and the words were not coming out. Luckily, my wife broke the ice, and I had the chance to thank him for the years of entertainment that he had given me and told him that to this day, when I need a good laugh, all it takes is an episode of Prime Time. He was glad to know that people enjoyed him on that particular show as much as he enjoyed doing it, as he told me it was his favorite time in the business. Rest warm Bobby. Heaven just got that much better.

When I look out the window, I see the changing colors of the leaves. The weather is still warm, but that will change soon. Football is on TV and I’m already seeing the beginnings of the Christmas countdown. But, when I look at the two big matches headlining tomorrow night’s “No Mercy” show, presented by the WWE Raw brand from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, it has that “WrestleMania” feel to it. I’m puzzled and intrigued at the same time, as to why they would go with matches of this caliber, rather than putting them on the big stage in April. Maybe this is only the first chapter and we’ll see these feuds re-surface. Maybe it isn’t. Nevertheless, this is probably one of the more highly anticipated shows, outside of the big four. It’s clearly built around two matches, though there’s some intrigue sprinkled throughout the undercard as well. Let’s run down the card!

Main Event/WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar defends the WWE Universal Championship against Braun Strowman

Analysis: In this day and age, big man matches are tough to pull off, particularly in the main event spot. They’re generally not very long and consist of several big spots, without the slow build that many fans have grown accustomed to and enjoy. But, if this match is performed anywhere near the level of their brief encounter at SummerSlam, it may still be short, but it will be highly entertaining. The creative team took a similar approach to building this match, as they did when Lesnar faced Samoa Joe. Brock is still the beast, but he’s vulnerable, and Braun has been getting the better of him the last several weeks. The difference here is that I don’t think we’re going to see this result in a clean victory for Lesnar. Strowman has the potential to be the main attraction over the next year and if he continues on the path he’s going, I’d make an argument for him being in one of the top two matches at WrestleMania. I know Roman Reigns is the act that the WWE is rallying behind, but the crowd is really starting to gravitate to Strowman, which may force their hand, similar to what happened with Daniel Bryan a few years ago. So, I expect a short, hard-hitting match, with several spots involving announce tables and ringside barricades. And, I actually don’t see a winner here. I don’t think they’re ready to take the title off of Lesnar yet, and I don’t think they want to put Strowman in a situation where he loses momentum.

“The Predictor” Predicts: No Contest

Singles Match: John Cena meets Roman Reigns

Analysis: This match has been built around all of the complaints anti-Roman and anti-Cena fans have against the respective talents. The match itself should be fine, as Roman is better than average and Cena can pull out a great match in a big spot. I’m just not sure what the end game is. I still believe that the plan is to have Reigns face Lesnar at WrestleMania. Based on that, one would think that they’re going to start giving Reigns some big wins over the next several months. But, I’m not sure how they’re going to pay off all the slings and arrows both have been firing at each other. If Vince and the creative team thinks that having Cena “pass the torch” to Reigns will get him over, that won’t work out very well. They may go with a full-fledged Reigns heel turn, but I really don’t think that’s a path they’re interested in right now. I think we’ll see some kind of interference, by either a returning Samoa Joe or perhaps the Undertaker, to cost Cena the match. The reason I mention the Undertaker is because of Cena’s mention of him in a promo a couple of weeks back.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Roman Reigns defeats John Cena

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose defend the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against Sheamus and Cesaro

Analysis: The one good thing that has come out of the build to this match, is that it has given Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson an opportunity to stay somewhat relevant. I’m not sure how they factor into the outcome of this match, but I suspect some level of interference leading to a triple threat championship match on a future Raw or pay-per-view. In terms of the match, it will be solid, as most of their encounters have been. I am more interested to see where we go from here, once this feud is done, as there’s a bit of a drought in the Raw tag team division, particularly while the Revival is still on the shelf.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz defends the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Jason Jordan

Analysis: Last year, American Alpha was one of the most highly regarded acts in WWE and there was a lot of anticipation when they joined Smackdown. Jason Jordan as a singles act has fallen flat, even with a storyline association with Kurt Angle. That being said, Jordan’s in-ring skills matched up with the Miz character will make this a highly entertaining match. I don’t see this resulting in a championship win for Jordan, as I think we’ll get more from these two. I suspect that we’ll see interference from Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas to keep the title on Miz for now. The challenge here will be to somehow start to buy into Jordan as a babyface they actually want to see.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Miz retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match/Fatal Five-Way: Alexa Bliss defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Bayley, Nia Jax, Emma, and Sasha Banks

Analysis: The WWE had been doing a great job in booking multi-person matches over the past several months. This isn’t one of those times. I suppose you could highlight the interaction between Bliss and Jax as a selling point, but the last-minute addition of Bayley felt rushed and as a result, adds nothing to the match. In the end, I see Bliss finding a way to retain the title and we’ll start to get a tease toward a Sasha Banks heel turn, likely leading to a showdown with Bayley. It will also be interesting to see how Asuka eventually factors into the roster.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Alexa Bliss retains the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

Singles Match: Finn Balor meets Bray Wyatt

Analysis: There’s really not much to say here as there’s really not much of a story. Wyatt cost Balor a chance at the Intercontinental Championship and Balor wants revenge. They rushed to incorporate Balor’s demon persona at SummerSlam, so I feel like they are working out of order here. Perhaps they incorporate Goldust into the story, as he’s been featured against Wyatt the last two weeks, but overall, I think this will be a fairly standard match, with Balor going over to end the feud.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Finn Balor defeats Bray Wyatt

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville defends the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Enzo Amore

Analysis: There was a small hope that Enzo moving over to 205 Live would breathe some life into the brand. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case and the presentation of Enzo as the babyface that cheats to win, hasn’t helped him either. It’s going to take a lot for Neville, who has been the one bright spot on 205 Live, to pull a good match out of Enzo. I don’t want to believe they’ll go with a title change here, so I’m saying that Neville retains.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Neville retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Pre-Show Match: Apollo Crews meets Elias

Analysis: This isn’t the greatest pre-show match as Apollo is in sore need of a makeover. I do like Elias and am encouraged that his act has gotten a little traction, as opposed to how it was received in NXT. My hope is that they continue to work to get Elias over, perhaps with a win here. In the loss, I’m hoping they start trying to re-package Crews, with the first step being moving him away from Titus O’Neil.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Elias defeats Apollo Crews
Follow me on Twitter: @don424

Category: Wrestling.

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