Welcome to the second edition of WWE Heat Index, where we discuss our interest in the various feuds heading into the pay-per-view events with this post obviously being dedicated to No Mercy 2017 coming this Sunday night.
The way this works is a pretty simple three-way breakdown of Hot, Lukewarm and Cold. If you like something and you’re very interested in how WWE is setting up the program, it’s Hot (aka Good). If you’re a bit on the fence about it and see some problems, but it’s not awful, then it’s just Okay or Lukewarm. The ones that are the most problematic that you have no interest in are Cold (aka Bad).
Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section to let everyone know what your thermometer reads for each feud as I tell you what my thoughts are below!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Pre-Show Kickoff Matches and Missing Elements = Cold
….we still don’t have a pre-show match announced, so of course this is Cold. Why has this been a trend lately? It’s Friday morning and there’s no information as of the time I’m writing this, which is pretty nuts considering how easy it is to just announce The Hardy Boyz vs. The Good Brothers and be done with it.
Elias is also missing from the card, so I wouldn’t mind having him make an appearance to eat up some time that would otherwise just be the panel saying “Wrestler X might win, but Wrestler Y might ALSO win…hm…”
Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman = Hot
On one level, I’m super frustrated that this is clearly going to end with Brock Lesnar retaining the title.
However, Braun Strowman has been kicking so much ass that I have to shut off my brain and just admit that I’m into this and I want to see the two behemoths go at it, regardless of how annoyed I’ll be at the outcome.
Granted, there’s also still a possibility we see Strowman take the title, even though I think that’s only a 10% chance at most, but that’s something else I’m clinging on to as it would make it even better.
I enjoyed the hell out of Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar and this has a similar vibe to it (complete with the disappointment of Joe losing), so despite my hesitations to trust that this will all work out in the end, I have to judge this as Hot because it’s a two-match card and this one is definitely holding up its end of the bargain for being a main event.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs. Enzo Amore = Lukewarm
This is one of those scenarios where I don’t really care what’s going on, but at the same time, it holds enough intrigue to me that I can’t crap all over it, as there isn’t much to really complain about, either.
Moving Enzo Amore to 205 Live was a smart move and I commend WWE for actually doing that, instead of trying to test him out as a legitimate midcarder in some feud with The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship, where he’d fall short, for sure.
The sad part is that Enzo should be doing the same thing when it comes to his match against Neville, but at least he’ll be in a better position afterward.
Challenging for the Cruiserweight Championship makes sense as it allows him to capitalize on the momentum he has coming off his feud with Big Cass and being a fresh face to the environment.
Once he loses, he can start a feud with Ariya Daivari, Noam Dar, Brian Kendrick or any other member of the roster, while someone like Cedric Alexander can move up the ladder to challenge (and hopefully dethrone) Neville.
This particular feud between the King of the Cruiserweights and the Certified G isn’t lighting the world on fire, but I’m curious to see how Enzo pairs with Neville in the ring.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Emma vs. Nia Jax vs. Bayley = Hot / Lukewarm
In a way, something that actually hurt this match to me is the announcement that Asuka would be coming soon in October, as now I’m more focused on who she’ll be feuding with and what WWE will do with her than I am about the title situation…kind of.
Emma’s involvement here is okay, but I really don’t care. She’s a sacrificial lamb who hasn’t had a good character in the entirety of her WWE career.
Sasha Banks is just here to be the babyface, and that’s okay with me. I’m kind of not feeling the vibe from her at the moment and she isn’t super interesting, but just like Emma, she’s a quality performer in the ring and she’ll help make the match itself good.
Unless, of course, there’s a reason Bayley was added to the match, and that’s to set up a heel turn either for herself or for Sasha. I can definitely see a scenario going down where Bayley prevents Sasha from getting the victory and they argue on Raw about how they got in each other’s way and weren’t supportive enough, leading to their friendship crumbling. Very interesting. (Or, they can just be two babyfaces taking some punches and nothing happens, in which case, lame.)
Now that we’ve seen Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss to a certain extent, the intrigue isn’t as much there for me anymore. However, which one of those two will walk out with the title? Will they give it to Jax and then have Asuka be the one to dethrone her to set her up really strong a few months from now (after going through Emma and company first) or will Asuka go straight into the title hunt, beat Alexa, and in the meantime, Nia will be pushed aside or even sent over to SmackDown?
The title implications and the future of Asuka and balancing the roster is very, very intriguing to me.
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt = Cold
The best part of this feud recently has been not Finn Balor, nor Bray Wyatt, but Goldust.
Let me get this straight: you do a match between the two just a few days before an event so it can be changed up to “The Demon” vs. Bray Wyatt, and then your follow-up is to try to figure out a justification for not having the face paint which means nothing to begin with outside of a slightly altered appearance during the exact same entrance he always does?
It’s being billed as “Man vs. Man”—so much different, of course, than Neville vs. Enzo Amore or Cena vs. Reigns or any other man versus man matches.
This is one of those feuds that was a go-to program that HAD to be done, but Balor’s lack of charisma on the mic and Wyatt’s multiple years of doing the same shtick with no tweaks has just hindered it too much for me to give a shit, and if you’re someone who considers this Hot or Lukewarm, I’m jealous, because I won’t find much fun in it.
I hope I’m proven wrong and they have an amazing match rather than being something I feel like I can skip over and not miss anything.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus = Hot / Lukewarm
I can’t quite decide which one of these to classify it, as I’m on the fence between the two options.
I had a ton of issues with how SummerSlam went down and one of the few things I actually liked was the match between these two teams, so right off the bat, they’re working with some points.
However, it is a rematch, and the storyline has basically just been “those two teams continue to fight” and nothing much more than that, which is rather blah, so I can’t say I’m super pumped and excited to see the next chapter in this feud.
More so, it’s just that I feel like this match will deliver and we’ll move on to something new for TLC—possibly a Fatal 4-Way that includes these two teams, The Hardy Boyz and The Good Brothers, but we’ll see about that.
All in all, I’m excited for the match, but not too into the feud itself, so it’s a mixed bag temperature range that is still more on the positive side of things than the negative, that’s for sure.
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns = Hot
Of course this is Hot. Come on. This is the match that should have been the main event of WrestleMania 34 and it’s the two biggest faces of the company that have polarizing crowd responses.
While it could be a big mess as far as booking is concerned and there’s certainly a good chance this all backfires in WWE’s face with nothing being accomplished, we’re talking about the build and the concept in general, and you can’t get much bigger than this in the current climate of WWE.
’nuff said. Bring on the boo/boo punch chant!
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs. Jason Jordan = Lukewarm
Jordan’s trying, but he’s not there yet. The Miz is trying to hold everything together, but some of it just hasn’t clicked.
I’m interested to see if there’s a future where Jordan can hold the title and defend it enough to get over with the audience, whether as a clean-cut babyface who earns respect or as a spoiled heel who lets the title get to his head, but I also don’t know if I’m willing to give up The Miz as champion.
There’s potential here for sure, and they could have a solid match on top of it, but I’m not quite there yet. We’ll see how I feel after No Mercy.
Those are my thoughts, but how do you feel about these particular feuds? What’s hot and what’s cold in your mind?
Fill us in on your point of view in the comments below!