The WWE made an interesting decision Sunday night when they announced that the WWE World Championship match, the original main event, would open the No Mercy pay-per-view instead of closing the show. The competition was fiercer than normal due to the NFL match-up between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, and of course, the second Presidential Debate with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Since No Mercy kicked off at 8 p.m. EST, the WWE had an hour heads start on the debate and half of that on the football game. So WWE officials decided the best move was to put AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and John Cena on first as a way to keep viewers locked in for the duration of the pay-per-view, assuming the triple threat was worth the price of admission.
Styles, of course, retained his title, but much of the wrestling discussion over the next two hours focused around who would main event No Mercy. There were really only two matches that posed a legitimate argument to close out the show. Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt have been entrenched in a feud since August, but were set to square off one-on-one for the first time since a concussion prevented Orton from competing in their scheduled match at Backlash.
The other, of course, would have been Dolph Ziggler and The Miz in a Career vs Title match in what has arguably been the most compelling storyline in all of WWE. Ziggler upped the ante by putting his entire career on the line at No Mercy against The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship.
As everyone soon found out, Ziggler and The Miz went fifth on the main card, with Orton and Wyatt having the honors of main eventing No Mercy. And according to Ringside News, the WWE had two main reasons for making that call.
The first is that WWE officials felt that Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt are currently bigger stars than The Miz and Dolph Ziggler with more main event experience on their resumes. The latter part of that, thanks in large part to Orton, is mostly true, though The Miz has certainly headlined his fair share of shows and Ziggler wrestled for the WWE World Championship as recently as SummerSlam.
It’s just hard to argue that the Orton and Wyatt storyline has been on the same level of Ziggler and The Miz, purely from a reality standpoint. Add in the fact that most people were under the impression that Ziggler was going to lose at No Mercy and actually hang up his wrestling boots, and the win made it all the more special.
The outcome of the match was the second reason WWE officials went with Orton and Wyatt over Ziggler and The Miz. The backstage assumption was that if they let Dolph and The Miz close out No Mercy, then they were giving away the “feel-good” finish to the match. The reality was, however, that it probably would have added to the drama of a career potentially ending, because, as noted, most were expecting No Mercy to be Ziggler’s final show.
Ziggler did appear on Talking Smack immediately following No Mercy, and when SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan asked him about any contract demands he may have now as the new IC champ, he simply requested the opportunity to main event more shows. Though directed at Bryan, it could have served as a veiled shot at management for not actually putting him at the end when it was certainly justified.
The Orton-Wyatt match had to incorporate something extra, and Luke Harper’s return and subsequent involvement certainly qualifies. Otherwise, it could have been viewed as a failure considering the majority of the match leading up to the finish was viewed as dull and flat.
Most argued that the IC championship bout was the match of the night at No Mercy, as Ziggler and The Miz were given nearly 20 minutes to tell their story. And though Dolph did not main event this week’s episode of SmackDown, he opened the show, which carries a significant cache as well.
[Featured Image By WWE]