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WWE No Mercy 2016 results: AJ Styles uses a steel chair to retain WWE title in PPV opener against Dean Ambrose & John Cena

No Mercy, the second SmackDown-only pay-per-view (PPV) of the “new” era, was noteworthy before it started. Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan announced earlier in the day the main event - a Triple Threat for the WWE World title - would start the show rather than close it.

AJ Styles defense against John Cena and Dean Ambrose retained all the trappings. Full entrances for each, Mike Chioda showing each man the belt while the ring announcer introduced all three men and jaw-jacking between the rivals which conveyed how personal the rivalry has become.

Cena, striving to tie Ric Flair’s official WWE record with his 16th World title win, showed off his legendary strength in a couple big spots early on - one where he caught Ambrose on a dive to the floor and slammed him back first into the ring post, and another where he delivered a German suplex to both competitors. It wasn’t enough to put either man away, however.

Though one man invariably rested at times, the trio did avoid relying too heavily on the Triple Threat trope of eliminating one of the players for long stretches - at least until a scary sounding bump when Styles sent Ambrose over the top rope and the lunatic fringe caught the ring steps upon landing.

The Lunatic Fringe returned for a series of sleeper holds from each man, which kicked off a second act full of nearfalls. At one point, after AJ & Dean pushed each other to the limit, Cena was able to hit a ten knuckle shuffle and Attitude Adjustments on both other competitors, but it still wasn’t enough to claim the title.

Styles had his moment next - taking Cena out with a suplex on the apron and then a springboard 450 onto Ambrose which was a heartbeat away from a three count.

Submissions played a role, as Dean broke up a STF on AJ and a calf-cutter to Cena. Then Ambrose reverse Styles’ signature hold while John also reapplied his sub finishe - and the champ tapped!

But Chioda ruled that without a clear winner, the match had to continue. Cena and Ambrose turned their frustration on one another which gave AJ time to introduce another element - a steel chair. The champ flattened his opponents with the chair, then pinned Cena... his third time doing so this year.

Other than ensuring the same champ runs the camp, this probably doesn’t settle anything. Both Ambrose & Cena still have legitimate arguments for a title shot, and more reasons to dislike each other.

For complete No Mercy results and coverage of every match on the card click here.

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