Monday Night Raw finally returns to pay-per-view tonight with a pair of massive main events that have been constantly called “WrestleMania-caliber.” While WWE likes to exaggerate, the statement rings true for the two biggest matches of the night. On top of that, every championship on Raw will be defended in this surprisingly stacked lineup. Who will make their mark tonight at No Mercy?
Kickoff Match: Apollo Crews vs Elias
Unlike the massive two-hour affair we got before SummerSlam, tonight features a relatively reasonable Kickoff Show that has only one scheduled match. On top of that, it actually feels like a fair choice to place on the pre-show.
Elias has been on a roll in recent weeks, even in some losing efforts. Meanwhile, Titus Worldwide’s Apollo Crews picked up a win over Curt Hawkins this week on Raw. Which young talent will pick up some momentum heading forward?
Predictions: Elias (Patches, Craig, Ed, Ash, Jayke, Jaime), Apollo Crews (Kyle)
Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt
These two competitors squared off at SummerSlam when “The Demon” Finn Balor came out on top. Following the contest, Wyatt has claimed that Finn can’t defeat him with the assistance of his colorful alter ego.
In this rematch, it’ll be “man vs man” according to Wyatt, of course ignoring the fact that Bray believes himself to be a god. Without a win here, some may begin to question whether or not Balor’s skill is linked to the mind games of “The Demon.”
Predictions: Finn Balor (Patches, Gur, Andrew, Ash), Bray Wyatt (Jonathan, Ed, Kyle, Jayke, Jaime)
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs Enzo Amore
Whether you like it or not, Enzo Amore has been on a roll since entering the cruiserweight division. With less than reputable tactics always an option, Enzo has had a string of wins that culminated in earning a shot at Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship tonight at No Mercy.
While Enzo has shown some improvement, tonight is the biggest test of his career as he goes one on one with the King of the Cruiserweights. Neville could be shocked if he underestimates Enzo, but he’s still the clear favorite going into No Mercy.
Predictions: Neville (Patches, Gur, Craig, Andrew, Ash, Jayke), Enzo Amore (Jonathan, Ed, Kyle, Jaime)
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs Jason Jordan
It first looked like Jordan would be thrust into the Intercontinental Championship picture back when he was revealed as Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son, but the slow build WWE chose to use has actually helped this path to a title shot. Rather than rushing and having the match at SummerSlam, we’ve gotten to see Jordan prove himself in high-quality matches against the likes of John Cena and Roman Reigns.
Despite coming up short in the contests, Jordan was able to exhibit the skills that eventually helped him earn this shot at The Miz. Unfortunately, it was The Miz (along with The Miztourage and Maryse) that got the last laugh on Raw and left Jordan laying flat on the mat. Will the numbers game be too much for Jordan to capture his first singles championship?
Predictions: The Miz (Patches, Craig, Jonathan, Andrew, Ed, Kyle, Jayke), Jason Jordan (Jaime, Ash, Gur)
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose (c) vs Cesaro & Sheamus
According to Cesaro & Sheamus, the nostalgia act is over. Of course, they ended the nostalgic championship return of The Hardy Boyz, so the team that refers to themselves as “The Bar” has a fair claim. Despite this, Rollins & Ambrose have legitimately felt like a cohesive unit in recent weeks.
Some may even argue that seem to work better now than they did when they were in The Shield, aided by years of experience and less of a chip on their shoulders to be the standout of the group. These two teams have given us great matches at every turn, and tonight should be no different, but “Ambrollins” looks like the favorite tonight. Of course, Cesaro & Sheamus would argue against that.
Predictions: Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose (Patches, Gur, Craig, Jonathan, Andrew, Kyle, Ash, Jayke, Jaime), Cesaro & Sheamus (Ed)
John Cena vs Roman Reigns
It’s like a WrestleMania main event, as we’ve been told every single week since this match looked like a possibility. Despite WWE shoving that hype down everyone’s throat, this is a legitimately exciting matchup. Cena and Reigns simply haven’t crossed paths since reaching this level in their respective careers. While Reigns is slowly coming into his own as a character, Cena seems to be in an entirely different league when a microphone is being used.
The veteran has gotten the better of their verbal exchanges, but Reigns is as resilient as any in-ring competitor we’ve seen in the WWE. Like him or not, he’s held his own (and defeated) some of the best the industry has to offer. The younger Reigns looks like the favorite, but it’s not quite as clear-cut as some other matches tonight. Regardless of what outcome you’re looking for, this is going to be something special that will be important to both men’s careers, and the history of the WWE in general, moving forward. You don’t want to miss it.
Predictions: Roman Reigns (Patches, Gur, Craig, Jonathan, Andrew, Kyle, Ash, Jaime), John Cena (Ed, Jayke)
Raw Women’s Championship Fatal 5-Way Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Nia Jax vs Emma
If there’s any match that’s a definite toss-up, this is it. Every single competitor has been predicted as a winner by at least one of RealSport’s wrestling writers. Alexa has the slight edge, which is fitting as she is the defending champion, but this will be a chaotic affair that could end in a number of ways. Bayley has momentum after returning from injury on Raw, but Nia Jax has been on the warpath in recent weeks.
Since ending her friendship with Alexa, she’s been focused on becoming champion. Meanwhile, Sasha Banks has been edged out of the discussion in what was initially looking like a singles match. Finally, Emma can’t seem to stop talking about her role in the “Diva’s Revolution.” Along the way, she’s managed to pick up some decisive victories and earn herself a title shot for the first time in months. Every competitor in this match has a shot, but it’ll all come down to timing, and a bit of luck, in this chaotic affair.
Predictions: Bayley (Patches, Ash), Alexa Bliss (Jonathan, Andrew, Jayke), Emma (Jaime, Craig), Nia Jax (Gur, Kyle), Sasha Banks (Ed)
Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Braun Strowman
Rarely does a main event alone warrant watching an entire show. Even for WrestleMania, there have been years where the main event didn’t necessarily scream “must-see.” That’s why this is also being called a “WrestleMania-caliber” match, and the sheer size of it seems to lend credence to the argument. Since his return to the WWE in 2012, Brock Lesnar has been an almost unstoppable force. Even in his losing efforts, it’s taken a spectacular assault to bring him down. The exception to that would be his sudden and quick loss to Goldberg, but that can easily be attributed to severely underestimating a returning veteran. However, Lesnar can’t underestimate Braun Strowman.
That’s because, on more than one occasion, Strowman has “monster-handled” the current Universal Champion. Like picking up a sack of potatoes, Strowman has thrown Lesnar around with ease and powered through his best shots like it doesn’t even affect him. Strowman is on an unprecedented roll, and he looks like the biggest threat to Lesnar’s continued dominance we’ve ever seen. Of course, Brock Lesnar is no pushover. The Beast Incarnate will certainly have a strategy going into tonight’s main event, no doubt aided by his advocate Paul Heyman. He’s felt the power of Strowman, and he knows what to watch for. Perhaps more than ever before, this is an unstoppable force facing off against an immovable object. Lesnar is the slight favorite to retain, but I honestly have no idea what will happen when the bell rings and these two behemoths collide. This could be a collision fans are talking about for years to come.
Predictions: Brock Lesnar (Gur, Jonathan, Andrew, Ed, Jayke, Jaime), Braun Strowman (Patches, Craig, Kyle)
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