It was announced earlier today that on October 9th, SmackDown will be having another brand-exclusive event utilizing the No Mercy title, which ran from 1999 to 2008 before being taken off the pay-per-view calendar. This will be following the re-addition of Backlash to the lineup to coincide with Raw’s change from Night of Champions to Clash of Champions.
Clearly, WWE is etching out a plan to have two events per month save for what we can assume would only be the “big four” of Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series—although Money in the Bank may follow suit as well. It doesn’t seem to make much sense why Clash of Champions isn’t going to feature all of the champions on the two brands, but that’s another argument for another day. There also seems to be a somewhat lazy effort to not think of new concepts, but to just bring back older events that haven’t been used over the past few years.
Taking all that into consideration, there are still a few more months throughout the year that don’t currently have a secondary event revealed to us yet, meaning we can officially start speculating as to what names could be used for the rest of the open slots.
February = Fastlane + Roadblock
This year, we had Fastlane in February, Roadblock in March, and then a double-header of NXT TakeOver: Dallas and WrestleMania at the start of April. I would assume next year, another NXT TakeOver will take place before WrestleMania similar to how WWE continued the double Brooklyn shows for SummerSlam, and if WrestleMania is going to take place April 2nd, that means there’s room to do two events in February or one at the very beginning of March yet again.
Since Fastlane and Roadblock both have similar connotations about The Road to WrestleMania, why not just keep those two names? They can work parallel to each other better than any other combination save for Payback and Backlash, although those two events are at different times of the year. More on that later.
For extra measure, I think WWE shouldn’t ignore the previous title for Roadblock, which was “March to WrestleMania”. That wouldn’t work for a regular pay-per-view event, but it was catchy enough that I think they should use that to describe the home stretch of Raw and SmackDown episodes after Fastlane and Roadblock have concluded.
May = Extreme Rules + (Payback?)
Again, this is what we had this year, which is convenient for WWE to just copy and paste. While I think it makes no sense for a singular brand to have shows like Clash of Champions, Hell in a Cell, and Extreme Rules, I wouldn’t be shocked if WWE just carried over the name and gimmick and hoped we all didn’t care or notice that there was special treatment given to one brand over the other. Alternately, since Payback has a forceful meaning, they might just apply the gimmick to both shows and hope nobody calls into question why they both aren’t called Extreme Rules.
For my money, I’d rather see Payback move in 2017 to the same month as Backlash and for Clash of Champions to become some sort of cross-branded special event instead. The same would apply to King of the Ring, which I want to see return in a WWE Network capacity. If they would try to go with two shows that could give off the impression of violent gimmick matches, the best one to come back to coincide with Extreme Rules would definitely be Breaking Point—a vastly underrated name that allows for flexibility instead of pigeonholing certain gimmicks like Fatal 4-Way. Then again, No Holds Barred is on the table, right? If that’s the case and there’s nothing holding that up with rights issues, that could be another great option.
July = Battleground + ???
Assuming Battleground stays where it is, another event needs to be added to July’s lineup, and considering the time of the year, what better option is there than The Great American Bash? I’ve even been throwing the suggestion out there that WWE should combine that with Bash at the Beach to effectively become The Great American Bash at the Beach (a title way too long to go with, I’ll admit) and to have the event outdoors with the beach vibe that used to happen with WCW’s show. Battleground can come later on in the month to allow for The Great American Bash to be centered closer to July 4th.
October = No Mercy + ???
Ever since Hell in a Cell became a pay-per-view, the match stipulation has lost a lot of its luster. While the Elimination Chamber made sense for a long time to be booked every year between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, that at least had implications that would lead into WrestleMania. Hell in a Cell was a match that was supposed to end feuds that went on long enough to justify something special being added into the mix, not just another event that came around every October. There used to be a feel that feuds were built up to a fever pitch before getting into the cage instead of having this gimmick attached to feuds that just started but happened to include titles being on the line.
I would hope WWE would get rid of Hell in a Cell and replace it with another name that doesn’t necessarily have to include a particular match style, so any of them for the most part could fit this spot. I’m particular to making No Way Out a cage-themed event, so it might make sense to not put that here, but if WWE would want to have similar names, that obviously is closest to No Mercy. If that’s too confusing and we’re sticking to just the old names instead of creating new ones, I would like to see Halloween Havoc or Fall Brawl come back to fit the time frame, although those are WCW names that might not be on the table.
December = TLC + ???
I honestly hope the Tables, Ladders and Chairs event is scrapped entirely and we get two different shows for the end of the year, but judging by the track record of Hell in a Cell sticking around and such, I’m not going to hold my breath. Given the choice of two, I’d lean towards Fully Loaded and possibly Over the Limit, with the latter getting the edge if only one can be chosen. Both of those have less of an obvious “people are going to fight” theme to them, which is a somewhat refreshing change of pace compared to an onslaught of things like No Mercy, Backlash, Survivor Series and so forth. Starrcade was normally in December, so that would be another option, though I can’t help but feel WWE would back away from using that WCW name because of how important that show was, as that was their WrestleMania.
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