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The verdict is in on NXT No Mercy

A straightforward review of NXT’s fall brawl blockbuster.

Not a day goes by when I don’t send out fervent prayers to the wrestling gods, pleading for WWE to produce a worthy spiritual successor to No Mercy, the iconic late ‘90s wrestling video game for the Nintendo 64.

Yet, in response, I’m gifted an NXT spectacle bearing the name of the game that has held my heart for years. So, was NXT’s brand of No Mercy able to have the same effect on me? Read on to find out.

Bron Breakker vs. Baron Corbin

Verdict: I liked it

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a heel-versus-heel match as much as this one. My favorite part was after Baron Corbin put Bron Breakker through the announcers’ table. As Breakker no-sold it and sat up like the Undertaker, the look of dread on Corbin’s face was something out of a horror movie.

Though they threatened to steal some heat from the main event by brawling through the crowd, and despite the cheap finish, this was a fun car crash between bad guys that brought back memories of Randy Savage-Jake Roberts on Saturday Night’s Main Event in 1986.

Dominik Mysterio (c) vs. Trick Williams - NXT North American Championship

Verdict: I liked it

I recommend this match to anyone interested in seeing how much Dominik Mysterio has improved.

From the moment he entered the ring, Mysterio played his role as a heel well. It began by dropping his title belt on the mat twice, forcing special referee Dragon Lee to pick it up, and using nefarious means, such as kicking the middle rope into Williams’ groin as Trick entered the ring, to maintain control.

While this was the best match I’ve seen Williams have, this was Mysterio’s finest work since WrestleMania, as he looked like the young veteran Booker T described him as.

The Family (c) vs. The Creeds vs. Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo vs. Bronco Nima & Lucien Price - NXT Tag Team titles

Verdict: Indifferent

This match lost its spunk when Tony D’Angelo went down with an injury after his leg buckled while attempting to lift both Garza and Carrillo. But the pace picked up with his return later on. The highlight saw all four teams hit a quadruple superplex at once. It was visually impressive but overly stagy. Unless one is into multi-person highspots, it’s skippable.

Noam Dar (c) vs. Butch - NXT Heritage Cup

Verdict: I didn’t like it

I don’t like the British Rounds Rules concept, as the breaks in between rounds kill the flow of the action, and this was no exception. To their credit, Noam Dar and Butch did their best to tell a story, with Butch falling behind early.

But when Butch put Dar to sleep at the end of round four, Dar should’ve backpedaled at the start of round five. Instead, he went toe-to-toe with Butch after the 20-second rest, which made Dar look great. Butch? Not so much.

Carmelo Hayes (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov - NXT Championship

Verdict: I liked it

This was one of the best title matches I’ve seen this year. What I loved most besides the outcome was how Dragunov and Hayes built to a crescendo. Rather than sprint to the finish line, they inched and crawled to the end of a violent marathon, selling the punishment they endured throughout.

The finish created high drama as Dragunov slowly pulled himself to the top rope to deliver a super H-Bomb. Would Hayes move? Would Dragunov finally put away a determined champion? For me, the outcome was in question the entire time and was pro wrestling done right: a physical thriller with a clean finish and a new champion. If not for GUNTHER and his record-breaking year, I’d gladly vote for Ilja Dragunov as the wrestler of the year after this.

Becky Lynch (c) vs. Tiffany Stratton - Extreme Rules Match for the NXT Women’s Championship

Verdict: I didn’t like it

I loved the start of this match as it reminded me of the wild days of WCW, with Becky Lynch charging at Tiffany Stratton, battering her with a chair, a trash can lid, and a kendo stick. As they battled through the crowd, memories of the wars between Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit danced in my head. At one point, I swear I heard the voice of Dusty Rhodes yelling, “She’s got some plunder! She’s got some plunder!”

But the middle of the match lost me as Stratton beat Lynch with a wrench and a crowbar, which should’ve been enough to stop a heavyweight, much less a bantamweight. Their inclusion of a barbed wire bat and the use of Barbie dolls in the place of thumbtacks was the kind of silliness that turns me off to modern wrestling.

All that said, Lynch and Stratton worked hard and beat the hell out of each other. I admire their effort, and that opening salvo by Lynch was fire. But I found myself checked out by the end.

Final Verdict on NXT No Mercy:

I enjoyed No Mercy. It didn’t capture my heart like the old video game, but watching the cold open that paid home to the N64 classic made me go fanboy in front of my wife.

I could’ve done without the tag title match and the Heritage Cup, but beyond that, it was a fine show with great physicality. I’m happy to see Ilja Dragunov at the top of NXT, and I was really blown away by how good Dominik Mysterio looked.

As for the main event, which is bound to raise some eyebrows, it, like all of my evaluations, is based on my tastes in wrestling. Remove the Barbies and the barbed wire, and I’d rank it as one of the top championship matches of the year.

Now it’s your turn, Cagesiders. Did you enjoy NXT No Mercy? Did you also get a warm fuzzy feeling thinking about the N64’s No Mercy? Let me know what you thought in the comments section.

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