WWE No Mercy Preview: Thoughts on Cena-Reigns, Lesnar-Strowman

WWE loaded up the card for No Mercy, a September Raw brand pay-per-view with two WrestleMania main event-quality matches.

wweYou get Braun Strowman-Brock Lesnar for the Universal title, after getting a decent taste of the two going at it last month at SummerSlam in the Fatal Four-Way with Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe.

You also get John Cena-Roman Reigns, which, wow. WWE’s two most beloved and hated superstars, in the flesh, somebody has to win, somebody, ostensibly, has to job.

Forget the rest of the card, and fast forward to 10 p.m. Eastern, right?

Actually, we probably get one of them around 9:30, because no way do you want to follow whichever ends up going first with the other one, at the risk of inciting fan fatigue.

The perfect comedown match would be the Intercontinental title match between The Miz and Jason Jordan, who was given a nice push in recent weeks with prominent Raw matches with Cena and Reigns both, and took both to the limit before losing by clean falls.

Miz has continued his second wind late-career comeback, with great mic work drawing continued heat, and Jordan, in his showings with Cena and Reigns, is clearly a main-eventer in training, in spite of the dumb story arc having him as the kayfabe long lost son of Raw GM Kurt Angle.

Back to the dual main events, and I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll go with Cena-Reigns, just because there’s no formal championship on the line there.

The promos the last few weeks featuring the two have been as good as anything that WWE has done since the height of the C.M. Punk Pipe Bomb era. Fans like it when the performers break the fourth wall, and we’ve been getting plenty of that of late.

The plot with these two has Cena taunting Reigns that he had to even come back to Raw after a year starring on Smackdown, the message to fans with his return being that Reigns, slotted to be Raw’s top star, hasn’t been able to do the job.

Funny thing, but whether it’s the booking or just the way it’s working out, Reigns hasn’t been able to live up to his side of this feud, basically letting Cena run laps around him on the mic, adding intrigue to how WWE will book this one for Sunday night when we get actual action in the ring.

And then, to Lesnar-Strowman. The taste we got at SummerSlam was more than enough to get us all licking our chops for a one-on-one. The image of Strowman rag-dolling Lesnar, throwing him through two ringside announce tables, then dumping a third announce table on his head, was enough to get me off the couch yelling at the TV watching it live.

My fear is that we may have already seen the best that we can expect from these two. Lesnar, in particular, is several years past his sports entertainment prime, in terms of being able to produce anything resembling a pro wrestling match.

What you get from Lesnar is a half-assed approximation of actual MMA, and whatever his dance partner is able to contribute.

If you’re talking Seth Rollins, that’s one thing. Strowman is similarly a one-trick pony, able to get his share of oohs and ahhs with impactful power moves, but otherwise not giving you much to get too excited about.

If the booking here emphasizes the power, and doesn’t get us too far past the 10-minute mark, this one can have a chance to live up to the hype, and I expect it will.

I don’t expect it to be a five-star match, and I think we can say the same for Cena-Reigns, but I don’t think any of us even wants that out of either match.

The fun thing going in is that it’s not immediately obvious how either match should play out to the finish. That, plus a few highspots, will have me tuning in with great interest.

Preview by Chris Graham



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