We’ve already taken care of the superstars missing from No Mercy 2016, but who are the lucky few who will not just perform, but will steal the show either in a scripted or non-kayfabe way?
Factoring everything from wins/losses, how much of an emphasis WWE puts on that superstar in particular, their momentum heading into the next edition of SmackDown, match performance and everything between, here’s the shortlist who I think will be stealing the spotlight the most:
It seems like quite a few people are expecting a new champion, but I’m not sold. John Cena will get his 16th championship somewhere down the line, guaranteed, although now isn’t the right time. If you believe the reports that have been circulating for months now, Cena will be leaving sometime in October to spend the remainder of the year filming for American Grit. That would bring him back prime for the Royal Rumble, which could lead to a rematch against AJ Styles at WrestleMania, if that’s the big match WWE thinks the blue brand has to offer.
Dean Ambrose is still very popular and deserving of the main event, but there’s been criticism that he may not be championship material for a little while longer. His title reign fizzled out and he definitely feels like the guy who is better off chasing the belt than holding it. Plus, why take the title off him just to give it back? AJ Styles just won his first title in WWE and if I had to bet my house on anything, it would be that he keeps it around his waist for a very, very long time.
There’s no way Becky Lynch is losing the SmackDown Women’s Championship this soon—absolutely no way. If the plan was to have Alexa Bliss holding the belt, she would have been scheduled to win at Backlash instead.
Unlike the situation with the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, which has a comedic duo holding the titles, Becky is meant to be taken much more seriously. As much as Bliss could use the bump in her credibility, she’s still new enough that losing here won’t ruffle any feathers, but if Becky were to be dethroned, it would definitely damage her status. After spending so much time not winning the championship in NXT or the main roster, being defeated in her first title defense paints a terrible portrait of her potential.
Becky may not school Alexa by any means, but she’s definitely going to be leaving on top of the division.
As mentioned above, Heath Slater and Rhyno are jokes. That’s not to say that they aren’t entertaining, as they definitely are, but the likelihood that they walk out of No Mercy with the belts is almost not even there. The two main reasons they were successful in winning was for shock value and to finish the story of Heath Slater not having a contract. On top of that, there was a built-in reasoning for how they barely were able to defeat The Usos, which was because Jimmy and Jey had already wrestled earlier that night.
Now that it will be an even contest and Slater no longer has the contract issues on the line, The Usos will take the momentum following their recent heel turn and take their rightful place as champions…until American Alpha beats them, of course.
This one is tough, as I don’t feel super confident predicting Dolph Ziggler as the winner of the Intercontinental Championship match. It could really go either way, considering how having your career on the line in WWE typically translates to a few months off to go do something else or heal up from an injury, rather than actually never wrestling in the company again.
Can SmackDown afford to lose Ziggler, though? Possibly, but if I had to make a call, I would lean towards The Showoff winning the belt and sticking around. But this all comes down mostly to semantics as whether he wins or loses, the bigger story is going to be revolving around Ziggler more so than The Miz.
Sure, if The Miz wins, he’ll still be on the roster as the champion and he’ll gloat, but it’s more important that Ziggler will be gone. On the other hand, if Ziggler wins, then he’s suddenly the new champion, which thrusts him above The Miz on the hierarchy. By default, he’s the driving force, so he’s the top star.
Those are my picks with a noticeably absent Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton, but who do you think will end up being the primary focal points? Drop your predictions in the comments below!