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Roundtable: The road after No Mercy

no mercy
(Photo courtesy of WWE.com)

Fill in the blank: It was ________ (smart, wise, brilliant, dumb, questionable, etc.) to have Slater and Rhyno retain.

Joseph NardoneQuestionable. Not because Slhyno stinks or anything, but because what in the hell is awaiting the SmackDown Tag Team Champions now?

Save for a not-at-all interesting rematch with The Usos, who in the hell can the champs face? No heel tag team on the blue brand has won a match since almost forever, and it would be odd for a another face tag team to go after our beloved underdogs.

That’s the only reason I think it is questionable. Other than that, I am 100 percent for Slater getting a second double-wide.

Adam O’BrienUnderstandable. A lot of fans, myself included, had been counting their chickens before they hatched with regards to The Usos becoming SmackDown Tag Team Champions, and whether or not it was the plan from the beginning, I get why they decided to keep the belts with Slater and Rhyno. Aside from the finish being exceptional, proving that the champions’ buzz still hasn’t subsided, we want SmackDown to be unpredictable. With the Usos as champs, we could scope out pretty much everything that would happen between them and American Alpha going forward, so I am looking forward to seeing what “Beauty and the Man-Beast” can do next instead.

Ronnie RowlandsCompletely sensible! It wasn’t the greatest victory in the history of wrestling, nor would it have been an insurmountable catastrophe if Slater and Rhyno had lost. But Slater and Rhyno came onto the scene as part of what was essentially a comedy / human interest skit. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s promising to see that creative sees a little more mileage in the pair as a serious team. After all, wouldn’t it let down months of investment in Heath Slater, as well as cheapen your brand’s first ever Tag Team Champions, if they had been nothing more than placeholders?

Brandon Jackson: Questionable. They were a good, fun story when the team was first created, but now the problem is who do they face? American Alpha should probably be next in line, but a face-vs-face matchup between these teams probably will not garner enough heat for a good match. Slater and Rhyno are not a great wrestling tag team, so getting good matches out of them requires quality opponents. And besides the Uso’s again, there’s no one on the heel side of things that can really challenge them. 

Chris SchubertQuestionable. Those other descriptions assume that we as fans can figure out where they are going with this feud. And there are still a lot of questions surrounding it. Could it turn out to be a great decision? Absolutely. It seems a little odd, especially with American Alpha basically waiting in the wings to be SmackDown Tag Team Champions. A face-face feud between these two squads never really made sense. That is why this feud between Slater/Rhyno and The Usos may not be over, and a title change could happen soon. 

Ignoring the magnitude of the individual wins, are you happier that Bray Wyatt or Dolph Ziggler finally got a big win?

JNBray Wyatt. My good gawd, did that guy need to come out on top of something meaningful. This is why I love the way this question is phrased. On the surface, a human would want to say Ziggler, because no person wants another to “lose” their job. But that’s just silly scripted surface level thinking.

Below the surface, where Pennywise the Clown from It hangs out (we all float down here, by the way), Wyatt needed something to help (re)crediblize his character. Since he hasn’t won a Network Special in, well, maybe never, this was a good win for him. It made the insides of my bellies happy.

AOBray Wyatt. One victory isn’t going to redeem all the losses he’s suffered, but it is a good start. The fact that his match with Orton went on last is a nice touch too, serving to make Wyatt look great heading into SmackDown on Tuesday. Take nothing away from Ziggler – his win could be argued as the most monumental moment of his career to date, but on paper, he’s nowhere he hasn’t been before. Wyatt, on the other hand, has just beaten a twelve-time world champion, and theoretically, should be ready to start his journey to becoming the rightful top heel on SmackDown.

RRDolph Ziggler, obviously. There was more hinging on that match from an emotional standpoint than anything that Wyatt and Orton were offering. Which isn’t to denigrate and dismiss the pair by any means – their horror story run has been nice enough, and it was nice to see Luke Harper returning, but really Bray Wyatt is such a captivating figure that fans seem happy just to watch him do his stuff and interfering with people’s lives occasionally. Ziggler, on the other hand, had a victory that iced what has been a very, very good cake.

BJ:  Bray Wyatt. Dolph Ziggler has had bigger wins than this before. So has Wyatt, but Ziggler’s bigger wins have been much bigger. I am excited that Wyatt got this win, even though it was via distraction. In WWE, it probably means that Orton will win their next five matches together, but at least he got the win last night. The important with Wyatt is always the follow-up. We need to see what happens after this win to really get truly excited about this win for Bray Wyatt. 

CSBray Wyatt. No offense to Ziggler, because his win matters a lot, but Wyatt winning a pay-per-view match is world-ending-esque stuff. Add to that it being a premier feud, against Randy Orton. Also, let’s not forget that it closed the show (albeit for other reasons). Wyatt ended a pay-per-view on top. It’s a weird thing. Hopefully this is exactly what his character needs to thrive. Wyatt hasn’t been taken seriously. That could change with this match, but only if the WWE capitalizes on it and continues to build him up.

What’s the biggest question you have after No Mercy?

JNWhat happened with Randy Orton in the bathroom? Did he watch too much of the debate, and that’s why he saw his reflection like that?

Seriously. It is 2016. I get that Bray is spooky and scary and Halloween is kind of soon, but my good gawd, Batman! Get that rubbish CGI out of my wrestling programming.

I mean it, WWE. I beg of you. Let’s all pretend that never happened, move on, and ignore the fact you tried to act as though the live crowd we do anything other than it actually did during that segment, which was laugh really loudly.

How in the heck did you think that image was going to introduce horror to the WWE Universe?

AOWhat’s next for The Miz? Naturally, as the former champion, typical wrestling rules dictate that he’s in possession of a rematch clause, but after the crowning moment for Dolph Ziggler being so rewarding, and considering how long this feud has been running, I don’t know if it would be worth stretching out any further. That said, with AJ Styles standing strong as WWE World Champion, it essentially prevents Miz from moving up the ladder towards the Holy Grail of the company for the time being. He could always feud with Ambrose or Cena in the meantime, or jump into something more concrete with Daniel Bryan, but whatever he does, he needs to keep moving up.

RRWhere next for the WWE World Championship? When I heard that the main event was kicking off the show, I was convinced that some shenanigans were going to necessitate the three men reconvening at the end of the night. This was made ever more apparent by that bizarre submission spot. And yet more apparent when the final match ended with 20 minutes left on the three-hour run-time. Alas, little was made of it. WWE seldom does business like that unless it’s going to be picked up on later in the week. I await SmackDown with interest!

BJMy question is about the WWE Championship. Who’s the next challenger for the title after this Styles-Ambrose-Cena program is over? Who steps up? Is it Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton or someone else? They can’t keep rotating these guys in the main event forever, so someone is going to have to step up. Unfortunately, looking at the roster the person that steps up may end up being Baron Corbin, who isn’t ready for that spot. 

Bonus question: So how can Roman Reigns get Styles Clashed onto a steel chair and kick out, but Cena was pinned by one chair shot to the back?

CS:  Who’s next in line to challenge AJ Styles? They already gave Dean Ambrose his rematch, and he lost. It feels as though they are slow-burning to Styles/John Cena at WrestleMania 33 for the title, so that seems off the table. Take a look at the rest of the roster, and try to name a person that deserves a title shot. There really isn’t a whole lot there. Maybe they go to Wyatt, although with Luke Harper returning, he may not be done with Orton. Wyatt and Orton are the only two believable names to put in that spot. Do we get a debuting Samoa Joe to challenge Styles? The main event picture is very cloudy right now, and with a Big 4 PPV coming up, they’ll need to sort this out quickly. 

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