We’ve already taken care of the superstars missing from No Mercy 2017, but who are the lucky few who will not only perform, but likely steal the show in some capacity?
Whether it’s in a scripted or non-kayfabe sense by factoring in everything from wins and losses, how much of an emphasis they’re given on the show, their momentum for the next TV episode, match performances and everything between, here’s my shortlist for who I think will be stealing the show at No Mercy.
Shared Glory: John Cena and Roman Reigns
Let’s get one thing straight: no matter who wins this match, it isn’t for the benefit of John Cena. This is entirely about Roman Reigns, come win, lose or draw.
However, there seems to be the same disconnect going on in WWE that has been happening for years at this point, where there’s a philosophy that Reigns can be booked to be somewhat of a heel but not really a heel, and somehow, that is going to turn him into the biggest babyface on the roster.
It isn’t working, and this isn’t going to be the turning point that makes people start cheering him, setting up the next few months where he’ll build up steam to end up getting rousing support from the WWE Universe to be the chosen guy to dethrone Brock Lesnar.
Whether there’s some kind of interference that screws with this match (to protect both of them from taking a loss), or Reigns straight up wins (to assert his dominance in an attempt to get Cena fans to favor him and boost the cheers because he’s totes the cooler guy), or Reigns straight up loses (with the goal in mind to soften him up to prove that he doesn’t always win so maybe we’ll cut him some slack)…this isn’t going to turn out with the goals being accomplished.
This match will be about Reigns, but it’s Cena who will get more of a rub from the audience, so they’ll split the difference and neither one will outshine the other.
I could almost copy and paste a good portion of the above section and apply it here, but the circumstances are different, even though it boils down to “WWE is going to try to make sure both guys look good in the end, but it won’t quite turn out that way 100%, and they’ll reiterate the point enough on Monday Night Raw to convince everyone that that’s the story they just told so we buy into it.”
Translation: this is the same match that Samoa Joe had with Brock Lesnar, wherein the challenger was made to look really strong going into it, but when push comes to shove, he won’t get the job done.
Strowman has been dominant for months and every time he’s close to being the top guy, he fails. The same thing is going to happen here, where he’ll throw Lesnar around a bit until Lesnar fights back, hits an F5 and wins.
Everyone will talk about how it was a brutal match and Strowman almost had Lesnar’s number, but Lesnar still will walk away with the title in his possession, and likely will take off the next few months.
The real questions aren’t whether Lesnar or Strowman will win this, but when will we see Lesnar again (December’s Clash of Champions event?) and what steps will WWE take, if any, to ensure Strowman doesn’t fall too far down the ladder with this loss.
Shared Glory: Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax
Sasha Banks can be ruled out of the running because there would be no point in her winning the title just to drop it back, just to win it again. If she were the woman WWE wanted to hold the title going forward, she’d have kept the belt.
Emma can be written off as well. She’s Emma. She’s there to take the pin or to submit.
The addition of Bayley is a little surprising and could throw my predictions for a loop, but I don’t necessarily think so. I think more than anything, she’ll be there just to help make the match better, but not play a big part in the events, unless she’s part of the reason why Sasha Banks doesn’t succeed (possibly leading to a heel turn between one of the two).
It seems as though the next logical step in the women’s division as far as the title is concerned is for Alexa Bliss to face Nia Jax, assuming Asuka doesn’t go straight into the title hunt, which is certainly a possibility.
If Asuka is meant to take that belt sometime in October or November, Alexa Bliss retains and drops it to her at TLC or Survivor Series. If Asuka is going to be facing Emma or starting a feud with someone else in the meantime that has no title implications, we’ll see Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss and the latter will be the champion.
There’s more money in Alexa Bliss facing Nia Jax while still holding the title than there is in her dropping the belt to Nia and having her rematch, as she’ll already be fighting against the odds, so the title being on Nia’s shoulders is overkill, to an extent.
My guess is we see Jax dominating the match and setting herself up for a win, but Bliss manages to score the pin on Emma and steal it away or something along those lines.
Afterward, it will be obvious that Jax was the clear-cut favorite, but Bliss is still technically the champion…for now. Then, it’s just a matter of whether or not WWE wants to put the belt on Jax and for Asuka to dethrone her, or for Asuka to get the belt and for Jax’s time to be further down the line (or on SmackDown after the next draft).
I keep going back and forth on my prediction of who will walk out of No Mercy with the Intercontinental Championship, as one hour, I might be leaning toward Jason Jordan for the storyline progression while another hour, I might be thinking about how The Miz still has Finn Balor waiting in the wings to feud with, and how Balor might make more sense to be the next champion than Jordan.
However, I feel like The Miz retaining won’t be so much about The Miz winning, as opposed to “Jason Jordan losing” wherein everything will still revolve around him, win or lose.
Essentially, there’s a very, very good chance Jordan wins the title and then, there’s no question he’s one of the biggest stars of the evening. Alternatively, he could come up short, but the story could be about how he was this close to getting the title and The Miz only retained through nefarious means or chicanery, making the whole segment a promotional tactic for Jordan using The Miz as a prop to get that point across.