Don’t expect a great buyrate from tonight’s show. No Mercy is coming off of the heavily hyped debut of Smackdown on MyNetworkTV this past Friday night, which carried enough “champion versus champion” matches to head up a pay-per-view of its own. In fact, one could argue that TNA did a better job hyping No Mercy on its Impact show this past Thursday night than WWE has on its five hours of first run shows.
Here in the States, No Mercy will air against a baseball playoff between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels, the Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL action and “The Amazing Race”. WWE will have plenty of excuses ready.
Rey Mysterio vs. Kane: Vince McMahon is reportedly telling people that the current WWE ratings malaise is due to the poor acting by his sports entertainers on the weekly shows. You can tell McMahon is getting confused as he ages. “Poor acting” is why WWE Films isn’t doing well, not why WWE Raw isn’t doing well. Projection? Mysterio wins with a flash pin off of an inside cradle. Rey Rey is at the point in his career where he actually can’t afford the loss to the Big Red Machine.
Beth Phoenix vs. Candice Michelle (WWE Women’s Title): Over the past few weeks, I’ve have seen and heard more about Candice Michelle Beckman’s adult modeling and video work prior to entering World Wrestling Entertainment. Let’s just say she probably won’t have a problem putting over Beth Phoenix. Projection? Beth retains after a Glam Slam, possibly with an assist from Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella.
Undertaker vs. The Big Show: WWE has done a fine job of keeping Undertaker and The Show from touching before their big pay-per-view battle. Undertaker has been working through injuries and will probably go into this match at less than a hundred percent. Projection? Undertaker can probably afford the loss, and Big Show really needs the win. Show stays on the defensive, but finally is able to knock out the Dead Man with a right hand and escape with the victory.
Dave Batista vs. John B. Layfield: You’d think that a power wrestler like Batsista and a big physical guy like Layfield would mesh well, but in several previous meetings between the two, we haven’t seen any evidence of the two men putting together a great match. Time for Plan B. Projection? Batista has JBL in trouble, but Bradshaw clotheslines the ref and knocks him out. More referees try to keep the peace, but they get to take bumps for Batista and JBL until the match is declared a no contest.
Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry (ECW Heavyweight Title): It doesn’t matter how secondary the ECW championship is, it is still too soon for Matt Hardy to lose the belt back to Mark Henry. Projection? Hardy pins Henry with the Twist of Fate after interference by Tony Atlas backfires.
Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy (WWE Championship): Boy, those fans in Wisconsin were sure upset when Jeff Hardy beat up popular WWE champion Triple H, weren’t they? Okay, maybe not. The best part of having Triple H and the WWE title on Smackdown is that now the two main WWE television programs are getting equal treatment. Projection? Vladimir Kozlov comes down to ringside about five minutes in and has to get hauled off by security and undercard wrestlers. Triple H eventually pins Jeff with the Pedigree.
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (Raw World Heavyweight Title – Ladder Match): Former champion Shawn Michaels managed to get Chris Jericho in one of his specialties, a ladder match. However, longtime WWE followers know that Michaels’ record in ladder matches isn’t all that great, including big losses to Bret Hart and Razor Ramon. Projection? Many armchair prognosticators have already guessed that Lance Cade will interfere to cost Michaels the match. You know what? That’s probably the right finish? Jericho gets the title, and Michaels gets a lengthy feud with his former student.
Aftermath: Cyber Sunday is up next, and that’s an easy pay-per-view to book. Let’s go with Triple H vs. Kozlov vs. Jeff Hardy for the WWE title, Chris Jericho vs. C.M. Punk, Batista vs. JBL in a Last Man Standing match, and Undertaker vs. Big Show in a casket match.