WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Sept. 24, 2017) live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California with its No Mercy event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.
Set for the card: Brock Lesnar battles Braun Strowman for the Universal championship, the long awaited John Cena vs. Roman Reigns one-on-one match, and more!
Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.
Let's get to it.
No Mercy predictions
Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman
Geno Mrosko: He’s leaving after this and who is hotter than BRAUN right now? I can’t think of a single compelling reason not to do a title change here. Pick: Braun Strowman.
Sean Rueter: Is it time to cement Strowman as a top star with championship? Probably. But I actually feel like WWE is telling a longer story with Brock - one that might be his WWE swan song. Starting with the Goldberg losses, Lesnar has shown increasing amounts of metaphorical ass. Surviving this program with The Monster will be part of what eventually breaks him down for the end of a long title reign. Many fans won’t like that the guy who takes him down next Spring is Roman, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good story. Pick: Brock Lesnar
Cain A. Knight: Strowman has kicked Brock's ass at every turn so it seems probable that No Mercy will be Brock's time to finally stand tall. But much to my dismay, Strowman has been pushed harder than anybody in recent memory, and I am dreading that Vince might take the title off Brock so that it is on TV each week. Nobody is rooting harder for Brock Lesnar than I am this weekend. Pick: Brock Lesnar
Reverend Kain: Look, Braun’s not just a monster. He’s not just among men. He’s a monster among men that has destroyed the Beast at every turn. You can keep your momentum theories, I’m picking the unstoppable force. Pick: Braun Strowman.
Stephanie Hatala: It would make sense to go with Braun: he’s been destroying Lesnar since Summer Slam and is so beyond over with the crowd. But when it comes to PPV matches, Brock tends to F5 logic right out the window, and it makes sense that WWE wants Reigns to be the one to beat Lesnar, even if fans don’t. Pick: Brock Lesnar
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
Geno Mrosko: Strip away all the insults and one thing is clear — Roman Reigns is the future, John Cena is the past. You could argue Cena going over here if they build to a bigger match at, say, Survivor Series but his part-time schedule may dictate that isn’t possible. That makes this outcome clear. Pick: Roman Reigns
Sean Rueter: Finally! I am beyond ready to see these dudes throw down. Part of the reason why I’ve grown so weary from their weeks of talking is I don’t know that any amount of “shooting” changes anything about their positions within the company. Cena’s still on his way out. Roman is still an imperfect-yet-logical option to fill his spot. Honestly, the outcome of this match doesn’t change those facts either, so they should go with the guy who’s not winding down his career. At least it should be a good fight. Pick: Roman Reigns
Cain A. Knight: I am a sucker for worked shoot promos so I have been fascinated by this feud from the start and am excited to see the live audience reaction to this match. Roman Reigns has not won a match on PPV since he seemingly retired the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, so my guess is that Reigns will win this one. But I think the more interesting route is to have Cena win, possibly leaving Reigns to wonder who the "fake ass little bitch" really is in this feud. Pick: Roman Reigns
Reverend Kain: Your time is up, his time is now. These words mean something, even when they run in opposition to what mortal men think of as chronological order. No matter what he says, WWE’s ace has a lot of gas left in his tank, and I’d be blown away if they run this as a straight one-off, so... hit the trumpets. Pick: John Cena
Stephanie Hatala: Cena’s been dominating Reigns in the promos leading up to this (although Reigns has been holding his own more than I thought he would) so I think it would only be fair for Reigns to prove that, while he may not be the strongest on the mic, he’s pretty damn good in the ring. Cena’s time appears to be limited, so I’m going with Roman. Pick: Roman Reigns
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma
Geno Mrosko: There is no division that uses the title as a hot potato quite like the women’s division, especially on Monday Night Raw. I bet they go with a surprise here, though, especially considering Banks and Bayley are sticking together so they can go do that Four Horsewomen thing soon enough. Pick: Nia Jax
Sean Rueter: For all her skills, the division feels more stagnant than ever since Bliss won the belt. It’s time for a change, and with the most meaningful one on the way to Monday nights in the form of Asuka, a transitional champ is in order. What better way to solidify a certain #DivasRevolutionStarting Aussie in an ultimately meaningless way? Pick: Emma
Cain A. Knight: I don't really know what the hell is going on in the Raw women's division, but I'm pretty confident that Alexa is walking out of this match still the champ. It looks like Emma is here just to take the fall. Pick: Alexa Bliss
Reverend Kain: Whoever wins gets destroyed by Asuka. Asuka loves playing the moral grey area champ who will kick anyone’s ass. I am making my picks last and want to be contrarian where I feel like it makes any kind of sense, so... Bayley has a target on her arm and that Asuka Lock sure is deadly. Why not? Pick: Bayley
Stephanie Hatala: I feel like there’s some good stuff here... but this is still kind of WWE’s way of accidentally admitting they’re not so sure how to write coherent storylines for the women’s division. My gut instinct was Bayley, but seeing as Asuka’s call up is being teased, they’re going to need a heel for her to challenge. So I’m going with Alexa retaining. Pick: Alexa Bliss
Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Geno Mrosko: There isn’t really anything to indicate they’re even thinking of doing a change here and, really, they don’t have a good reason to. Pick: Ambrose & Rollins
Sean Rueter: Does it seem to anyone else like they didn’t really have a plan for Ambrollins after the reunion? This is probably just wishful thinking, but since their story won’t get interesting again until they lose the straps (and because I’m a card-carrying Swiss Superman mark)... Pick: Cesaro & Sheamus
Cain A. Knight: This feud has really lost its luster over the last month because nothing new has happened. They have just been biding time waiting to get to this rematch where there is very little reason to expect Ambrose and Rollins will drop the titles. The match should be a lot of fun though, especially if Cesaro happens to run into any more beach balls. Pick: Ambrose & Rollins
Reverend Kain: No matter what it feels like the next step is more multi-team tag madness, so cut the knot, keep it simple, champions retain. Next? Pick: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins
Stephanie Hatala: Ambrose and Rollins are doing really well as babyfaces, and I think it’s helping them both through weaker points in their careers (I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Ambrose out of the IC title picture). It would make sense for them to retain and hopefully go on to feud with The Club. Pick: Ambrose & Rollins
The Miz vs. Jason Jordan
Geno Mrosko: I could see WWE trying to freshen up the scene with a title switch but Jordan simply hasn’t caught on and using this particular title to make him seems ill-advised. He needs more time with Miz, but not as the babyface holding off the heel. Pick: The Miz
Sean Rueter: WWE really is in love with championship-related trivia these days, and Miz is the latest beneficiary. I expect his current reign to last until we’re actively counting the days before he reaches Don Muraco and Pedro Morales. Also, whatever gets us closer to JJ snapping and beating up Kurt Angle is preferable. Pick: The Miz
Cain A. Knight: I really wish WWE would stop attaching the IC title to the Miz so closely; it feels like this has been going on for years and it's a stale idea at this point. After seeing Jordan take the fight so gallantly towards both Reigns and Cena in recent weeks, he should be able to easily wipe the floor with Miz. Jordan will never get over with this gimmick, and giving him the title might speed up the timetable for his eventual heel turn. Pick: Jason Jordan
Reverend Kain: Potentially controversial stance, but I’m pretty sure Miz’s dad can beat up Jordan’s dad. Something something adversity something something no handouts something something Miztourage something something try again later. Pick: The Miz
Stephanie Hatala: If the Miz has an IC title match and retains and no one’s around to hear it, does it really make a difference? There’s no way they’re giving Jordan this massive push for it to lead nowhere. Pick: Jason Jordan
Neville vs. Enzo Amore
Geno Mrosko: Nope. Pick: Neville
Sean Rueter: Really got no idea, which is pretty cool. My favorite option - Zo gets squashed - probably isn’t happening (even if I think there are still good story possibilities stemming from that outcome), so that should leave disqualification or other non-finish and Amore steals another win. Hmmm... Pick: Neville
Cain A. Knight: Neville is one of the most talented performers in the company and it feels wrong to have him drop the title to Enzo. But Enzo has breathed some new life into the cruiserweight division, and it's probably the right time to capitalize on that and give him the title. Pick: Enzo Amore
Reverend Kain: Like, the whole story is that Enzo can’t hang with the lads and is willing to make up the difference by cheating. So, by disqualification... Pick: Enzo Amore
Stephanie Hatala: I still can’t believe this is a real match that I’m going to really watch with my real eyes. There is no way, shape, or form in which Enzo is going to believably beat Neville, but the King has also been reigning for so long it makes me a little wary. I’m honestly just happy to see a cruiserweight match escape the pre-show. Pick: Neville
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
Geno Mrosko: I’m not sure which way they go here, namely because they put over that it’s Finn Balor the man wrestling and if he wins, that sort of buries The Demon but if he loses, that sort of buries Balor. It’s a weird little corner they’ve backed themselves into. What am I saying? It’s Bray Wyatt! Pick: Finn Balor
Sean Rueter: This feud’s taken some really interesting turns since SummerSlam. Sadly, I still can’t find a way to really care - especially since it’s likely continuing beyond this. Pick: Bray Wyatt
Cain A. Knight: Finn Balor's demon form is going to be super protected, so the lack of demon paint for this match probably means Balor is vulnerable to defeat. And Bray Wyatt is pretty good at winning matches like this one that really don't matter one bit. Pick: Bray Wyatt
Reverend Kain: Man vs. man. Dude vs. dude. Hombre contra hombre. Mann gegen Mann. Muchacho contra muchacho. Lad against lad. Just two hot, sweaty dudes, doin’ hot sweaty dude stuff. No paint necessary, my friends. No paint necessary. Pick: Finn Balor
Stephanie Hatala: It has to be Wyatt. Balor is so over no matter who he’s feuding with, and while I like this Spooky vs. Spooky angle, I feel like he’s doing Bray a favor. Since Balor won at Summer Slam, I’m going to give it to Bray. Pick: Bray Wyatt
Elias vs. Apollo Crews
Geno Mrosko: One of them has a guitar. One of them has the support of Titus Worldwide. This is easy. Pick: Apollo Crews
Sean Rueter: If I were Titus, I’d have put Tony Bourdain or Rampage (the Rams mascot, not the former TNA wrestler/A-Team star) in this spot. As it stands, I’ve got to walk with... Pick: Elias
Cain A. Knight: I really have no idea. Elias gets way more television time than Apollo, so I guess he's more likely to win. Pick: Elias
Reverend Kain: Apollo Crews has four names, poor Elias is down to one. Pick: Apollo Crews
Stephanie Hatala: I don’t know what the company’s obsession is with pushing Elias (no last name now), but I’m happy Crews is getting some airtime. I just have a really bad feeling it’s not going to end well for him. Pick: Elias
That’s how we see the card playing out.
How about you?