WWE presents one of their biggest brand-only PPVs of all time this Sunday night, with a double main event that easily could have carried the top of the card at WrestleMania in April.
John Cena takes on Roman Reigns in a dream match scenario, and Braun Strowman challenges WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal title. Reigns
To preview No Mercy, we have put together our two WWE staff writers here at Pop Culture (Jack Snodgrass and Ryan Droste) to give you our unique take on the PPV. We present to you the answers to some of the most burning questions heading into Sunday's show.
Ryan: This is a really tough question. Yes, I picked Jason Jordan as a possible upset, but I still see that as a long shot. On the other hand, the WWE RAW women's title tends to move around a lot more than the WWE Intercontinental title. If I'm making the odds, Miz is more likely to retain than Bliss. The fact that Bliss has to defend her belt against four other women also adds to my rationale.
Jack Snodgrass: I think the Miz keeps his Intercontinental Championship. While Jason Jordan is improving, giving him a win over WWE's best heel would be quite the statement by WWE. I don't think they're sure what to do with him yet, and will give the Miz a screwy win tonight.
I also think Alexa wins, but the Miz is the better bet.
Ryan: If I had to go out on a limb and choose one person who could have an outside chance of defying the odds, I'd have to go with Jason Jordan. He's been given a chance to shine and a surprise victory for the Intercontinental title would surely give him a shot in the arm.
Another reason behind this pick is that Miz could make for an interesting challenger for the Universal title (especially if Strowman wins and they need a heel challenger). Miz has gotten lots of compliments of late on air, most notably from John Cena, so a move toward the main event scene for a guy who has been one of the company's best performers over the last year makes sense.
Jack: Bray Wyatt. Admittedly, I thought Wyatt had an inside chance at SummerSlam too, but now, Balor is his (very) mortal self. Bray losing to the powerless Balor officially makes him insignificant. While this sentiment is already out there, a loss here would be a new low for the Eater of Worlds.
WWE may be aware of this and chose to protect their investment in Wyatt.
Ryan: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins retain the tag team titles. It's simply too early to take the belts off this pair. We're obviously working toward an eventual heel turn from one team member (hopefully Ambrose) and ensuing feud, but they deserve to get some more burn with the tag team championships first. Plus, if there's any chance of a Shield reunion at Survivor Series, we need for them to remain champions a little while longer.
Jack: Ambrose and Rollins are the only responsible guarantee I can make, too. However, I'm willing to vow that Enzo Amore vs. Neville will be a lot of fun.
Ryan: If Vince McMahon comes to his senses and realizes Lesnar is not a good champion? There's nothing more off-putting than thinking that Lesnar could hold this belt all the way until April 8 (WrestleMania 34). Snore.
If I'm a betting man, Lesnar is retaining the title. But I would love, LOVE, to see Strowman walk out champion. Having the Universal championship be basically an afterthought on RAW has been a travesty. When you have a brand new championship belt that needs to earn some legitimacy, putting it on a guy who rarely defends it is a bad move. A three-hour television show needs a top title.
Jack: If WWE thinks it needs the Universal Championship on RAW every week to fight the NFL, then Strowman will be winning.
Does WWE actually want to compete against Monday Night Football with no top belt and no John Cena? It'd be quite the gamble to voluntarily handcuff themselves like that.
Wait, is Strowman actually about to win??
Ryan: The only disappointment I have in the feud is that it wasn't for WrestleMania, though I'm not going to complain as a fan for getting it earlier. I'd have a hard time calling it a disappointment given that their segments on RAW over the last four weeks have easily been the highlight of every show.
I think we've really seen Reigns come into his own over the last month as this match has been built. He was surely the still kind of unsure about himself on the microphone when the program began, but every week there has been some more confidence emanating from him. He's definitely learned a lot from working with Cena, and that can only be a good thing for the future of WWE as Reigns is still pegged to be the next big star.
Jack: I'm piggybacking Ryan's sentiments. It's possible that WWE wasn't sure if Reigns could carry his weight in a WrestleMania feud. While he's certainly improved, he did plainly forget his lines once.
Now WWE can set up a trilogy between Cena/Reigns that can culminate at a future WrestleMania. In the short run, yeah it may be a little disappointing, but if WWE plays this out over the next year then consider this the first installment of Lord of the Rings.
Ryan: No. The Undertaker may very well wrestle at next year's WrestleMania. It seems more likely with each and every passing month. However, I don't think a "B" PPV show is where he would make a surprise appearance to begin that return.
Jack: It's possible. I mean, how hard is it to imagine the ominous GONG right as Cena attempts his 2nd consecutive AA on Reigns?
But I think Undertaker is staying out of this. WWE may have him on an emergency contingency plan (like they did Shane McMahon for WrestleMania 32), so barring poorly timed injuries Taker is in fact, resting in peace.