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Predicting the match order at WWE No Mercy 2016

It's one thing to predict the winners and losers at WWE's No Mercy 2016, but how about taking a guess at the match order on that card?

WWE has announced 7 different matches for No Mercy 2016, excluding the pre-show match of Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin.

Here is my subjective view of how important each of these 7 segments rank on the No Mercy 2016 card, ordered from most important to least important.

  1. Styles vs Cena vs Ambrose
  2. The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler
  3. Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
  4. Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss
  5. Slater and Rhyno vs The Usos
  6. Nikki Bella vs Carmella
  7. Curt Hawkins vs ???

It is important to come up with a list like this to get an idea of which matches are going to be placed in the key spots on the card or take up the most time, and which matches might end up in the cool-down spots or be given the least amount of time.

The main event of this card is obvious. After that, I think Ziggler’s match can be safely put in the second most important slot due to Dolph’s career being on the line.

I’m giving Orton and Wyatt the edge over Becky and Alexa due to Orton’s previously established status as a main event superstar. In addition to that, I think there is a very high probability that Orton’s match will be given more time than Becky’s match.

I’m tempted to put Nikki and Carmella over Slater and Rhyno but ultimately I can’t pull the trigger on that move.

It’s time to face the facts; there is giant gap in importance between Nikki’s match and whatever Hawkins is doing on this card. This is really the only surefire cool-down match of the bunch.

Segment Timing

I have looked at the timing of 7-segment WWE events from the last few years, and segments 4 and 5 seem to get the most time (after the main event, of course), while segments 2 and 6 generally receive the least amount of time. I am not going to pretend like I have a ton of data backing this up though, so there is going to be a significant amount of guesswork and uncertainty involved in these predictions.

It’s also worth noting that last month’s Clash of Champions consisted of 7 segments, and there was no cool-down match placed in segment 6. That card lined up its 3 biggest matches of the night back-to-back-to-back to close out the event.

Opening match

The opening match of the night is usually one of the high work rate medium-level attractions of the show that will not get a dedicated video package beforehand to hype it up. There are 3 possible matches that I think could start this show: Becky, Nikki, or Slater. I am not giving much consideration to Orton and Wyatt (though I wouldn’t say they have a zero percent chance to open the card) because their feud seems to lend itself very well to a dedicated video package prior to entrances.

I don’t think any of the three matches under consideration (Becky, Nikki, Slater) require a dedicated video package prior to entrances, but Becky probably has the best chance of receiving one. And it would seem odd to start the show with a one-on-one women’s championship match and then follow it up later in the night with a less important one-on-one women’s match that has no championship at stake. So I am going to rule out Becky for the opening spot.

That makes it a choice between Nikki/Carmella or Slater/Rhyno/Usos for the opening match. This is essentially a coin flip decision.

WWE has started 3 different PPVs this year with women’s matches, so it is definitely possible that Nikki could get the call. However, none of those 3 matches were of the one-on-one variety, and I can’t really find any PPV in WWE history that did begin with a one-on-one women’s match.

The Usos are probably the safer play from a work rate perspective, and WWE has kicked off several PPVs in the past with them. So I’m going to play it safe and stick with the tag teams right now, though I may change my mind as I deal with the rest of the card.

Keeping the women apart

I have looked at every WWE PPV since the start of 2013 and it is really difficult to find one where two women’s matches are placed in very close proximity to each other.

The closest instances I can find come from Fastlane 2016 (Segments 1 and 4) and Survivor Series 2014 (Segments 3 and 6), where the women’s matches were three segments apart (which means there were two matches placed in between).

SummerSlam 2013 did feature women in matches that were just two segments apart (Segments 4 and 6), however one of those matches was a mixed tag team match that also included Ziggler and Big E, so it wasn’t a match that was exclusive to women.

Of course this is all very small sample size information here, as there just aren’t that many PPVs that even include two women’s matches to begin with. But until WWE proves otherwise, I am going to assume that there will be at least two matches placed between the women’s matches at No Mercy.

Segments 2 and 6

I think Nikki’s match should take place before Becky’s match, and because Nikki’s match is not all that important to the card, Segment 2 seems like a good spot for it.

Segment 6 is trickier, because it is not a given that a cool-down spot will be used before the main event. But considering the emotional stakes of Ziggler’s match, I’m thinking that WWE will opt for a cool-down match late in the card. Curt Hawkins, come on down.

This gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Slater and Rhyno vs The Usos
Segment 2: Nikki Bella vs Carmella
Segment 3:
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6: Curt Hawkins vs ???
Segment 7: Styles vs Cena vs Ambrose

Everything else

If I am really sticking with the idea that at least two matches will be placed between the women’s matches, then I have to put Becky in Segment 5. Otherwise I need to swap Nikki with the Usos, or remove Hawkins from Segment 6. Of those 3 possibilities, I am most comfortable slotting Becky into Segment 5.

That leaves Ziggler and Orton for Segments 3 and 4. Becky’s match will have a tall order to directly follow the emotions of Miz and Ziggler, but I think Becky’s bubbly personality is better suited for the job than the dour atmosphere of Orton and Wyatt. That means Orton goes in Segment 3 and Ziggler goes in Segment 4.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Slater and Rhyno vs The Usos
Segment 2: Nikki Bella vs Carmella
Segment 3: Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
Segment 4: The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler
Segment 5: Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss
Segment 6: Curt Hawkins vs ???
Segment 7: Styles vs Cena vs Ambrose

I’m looking this card over and I’m not too happy with the match order I have here. The more I think about it, the cool-down match really needs to go directly after Ziggler’s match. So while the segment immediately prior to the main event is usually considered the death spot, I think for this specific event that the true death slot is the one right after Ziggler’s match. It would be a shame for Becky’s match to end up in that spot, and so I am going to swap her with Hawkins.

Alternatively I could put Becky earlier in the show and end the show with Miz-Hawkins-Styles in segments 5 through 7. I’m not thrilled with this option because I expect both Miz and Styles to win, and I think WWE needs to throw a babyface win somewhere between those two major heel victories. Becky can serve that purpose in Segment 6, while Hawkins can be fed to the sharks in Segment 5.

Finalized card

So here is my final prediction for the match order at No Mercy 2016, along with guesses on the bell-to-bell match times.

Segment 1: Slater and Rhyno vs The Usos (10 minutes)
Segment 2: Nikki Bella vs Carmella (8)
Segment 3: Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt (16)
Segment 4: The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler (20)
Segment 5: Curt Hawkins vs ??? (5)
Segment 6: Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss (11)
Segment 7: Styles vs Cena vs Ambrose (23)

That's my prediction for the match order at No Mercy 2016. What's yours?

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