A.J. Styles retains WWE title at No Mercy

wweThis is no spoiler: WWE moved the main event of No Mercy to the opening match of the show, and A.J. Styles retained his WWE title in a triple threat match with John Cena and Dean Ambrose.

Smart move by WWE, anticipating another Super Bowl-like audience for tonight’s presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, roughly 48 hours after the White House race turned on its head with revelations that Trump bragged about sexual assault on a tape dating to 2005.

To the match: wow, so WWE is all-in with A.J. Styles as the WWE champion? You kind of had that sense, given all the talk ahead of the match about how Cena was on the verge of making history with a 16th world title reign.

Ambrose, the most recent former champ, was almost an afterthought going in, even with the effort by creative to build a rivalry between Ambrose and Cena, largely on the mic, with some good, disciplined mic work by Ambrose criticizing Cena for being a part-timer.

The outcome was destined to come down to Styles and Cena, though we were treated to a nice swerve when Ambrose locked Cena in a calf crusher and seemed to have him ready to tap, then Cena intervened and also locked on an STFU, eventually forcing the tap out of the champ.

You can say Dusty Finish. This was something WWE actually used in NXT several months ago, and it ended in the restart that gave Styles the opportunity to re-enter the match and eventually gain the fall.

The match ended about 20 minutes before the debate, meaning Vince McMahon can leave Gorilla position to watch the debate with his old friend locked in his own calf crusher, and seemingly no way out.

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