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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Heel Turns: No Mercy looks like mixed bag

Posted by Achilles Heel On October 8

Achilles HeelIn the young era of brand-specific “premier” events, the Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t believe that Smackdown’s “No Mercy” this Sunday can match RAW’s “Clash of Champions” two weeks ago.

It’s not that No Mercy is a bad card. The top three matches all have the potential to be excellent. But the bottom half of the card isn’t nearly as good as Clash of Champions.

The main event features A.J. Styles defending the WWE World Championship (WWE seems to have once again taken “heavyweight” out of the title) against John Cena and Dean Ambrose. In addition to the personal rivalries involved in this match, there is a storyline about Cena trying to tie Ric Flair’s record of winning 16 world titles.

Given that there are only six matches announced for the card, this trio should be given plenty of time to tell their story. Styles has been, if you’ll excuse the obvious adjective, phenomenal in recent months, turning in one terrific performance with another. Cena knows how to perform in the spotlight. Add Ambrose to the mix and you have the ingredients for a tremendous match. Achilles Heel predicts a Styles victory. Cena’s quest for his 16th world title will have to wait.

The match between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt is intriguing. The duo has been playing mind games recently during Smackdown. Now they have to translate that psychology to the ring. The feud with Orton is an opportunity to elevate Wyatt, making him more than an oddity. If this feud is to continue, Wyatt should win. Perhaps Luke Harper could make his return and interfere in the match. If Orton wins, Wyatt needs to look strong during the match.

Another intriguing match pits The Miz against Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship. If Ziggler loses, he must retire. Unless Ziggler is retiring – or taking an extended break from wrestling – there are two ways this can end. Either Ziggler wins the Intercontinental Championship or he wins by countout or disqualification. In the latter scenario, Ziggler wouldn’t have to retire because he won the match, yet Miz would keep the title. That could set up another match in which Ziggler finally captures the title. Expect a lot of near-falls to tease Ziggler’s career ending.

The rest of the card is fine, but it doesn’t seem to have the potential for a breakout performance, as Clash of Champions did with Cesaro vs. Sheamus or Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn. There are two women’s matches. Nikki Bella battles Carmella, and Becky Lynch defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss. It’s difficult to imagine Carmella putting together a good match that lasts more than 7-8 minutes. Neither matchup can enter the same stratosphere as the RAW matches involving Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Bayley. Nikki and Becky should win.

Jimmy and Jey Uso should eventually take the tag team titles from Heath Slater and Rhyno, setting up a championship feud with American Alpha. But the Greek God of Wrestling isn’t sure that’s going to happen this Sunday. The kickoff match pits Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin in what should be a physical encounter.

Achilles Heel recommends watching No Mercy for the top three matches. Anything above average from the undercard should be considered a bonus.

*****

ICONIC MATCHUP: The seeds are being sown for a colossal clash between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. On ESPN’s SportsCenter on Wednesday night, Goldberg said the person he would most like to face in a return to the ring would be Lesnar. Paul Heyman responded with a tweet saying that Goldberg, who has been added as a bonus character to WWE 2K17, shouldn’t “confuse the fantasy” of the WWE video game “with the reality that is” Brock Lesnar.

Reports indicate that the Goldberg-Lesnar match will take place during Survivor Series in Toronto. This will be a return match from WrestleMania XX. In that match, the crowd booed and directed negative chants at both men, both of whom were leaving WWE. The big cheer was when Steve Austin hit both Goldberg and Lesnar with Stone Cold stunners.

It wouldn’t make sense for Lesnar to lose to Goldberg, but the Greek God of Wrestling has an idea. If the Lesnar-Randy Orton match wasn’t a one-and-done feud, Orton could hit Lesnar with an RKO, causing him to lose to Goldberg. Orton and Lesnar, who are on separate brands, could cross paths again during the Royal Rumble, leading to a culmination of the feud at WrestleMania. If this happens, remember that you read it here first.

*****

HURRICANE IMPACT: Hurricane Andrew forced TNA to alter its television tapings for Impact Wrestling. TNA switched to an evening show on Saturday and afternoon and evening tapings on Sunday.

*****

NO GLORY: Maybe the uncertainty surrounding TNA’s future affected the wrestling or the planning, but Bound for Glory, hyped as TNA’s biggest event of the year, was a lackluster affair.

Aside from the X Division opener, with DJ Z retaining his title against Trevor Lee, there wasn’t one above-average match. Don’t give me Matt and Jeff Hardy winning the TNA Tag Team Championship by defeating Abyss and Crazzy Steve. Although the Greek God of Wrestling appreciates the attempts to be innovative, I’m getting tired of the videotaped matches, enhanced by special effects. This match featured a mix of in-ring action and video segments (when the wrestlers would go “backstage”).

Bobby Lashley successfully defending the TNA World Championship against Ethan Carter III, preceded by a big buildup, wasn’t anything special. Moose defeating Mike Bennett and Aron Rex (formerly Damien Sandow) beating Eddie Edwards to become the first TNA Grand champion weren’t better than average. Gail Kim’s victory over Maria Kanellis to win the Knockouts Champions – after Kim was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame – and the 10-man gauntlet match to earn a title shot (Eli Drake won) were bad.

TNA’s saving grace for many years was that it could generate good matches, particularly at the top of the card. That didn’t hold true at Bound for Glory.

*****

EDWARDS CAPTURES TITLE: Eddie Edwards defeated Bobby Lashley to win the TNA World Championship on Impact Wrestling. Achilles Heel is happy for Edwards, but is puzzled by the fact that Edwards lost and X Division title match to DJ Z and lost the Grand Champion tournament final to Aron Rex at Bound for Glory. What does it say about the world title when the champion lost to the X Division champ and in the Grand Champion finals in recent weeks? If you think it elevates DJ Z and Aron Rex, then I’m sorry. You’re wrong.

Perhaps TNA is setting up Edwards as a short-term transition champion to Cody Rhodes, who showed up at Bound for Glory. Even so, the booking of Edwards either demonstrates that TNA is booking by the seat of its pants or that nobody in charge has any idea of how to book matches and tell stories.

*****

DOUBLE SHOT OF COMBAT: Combat Zone Wrestling is hosting two shows today (Oct. 8) at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. There will be a free television taping at 2 p.m. The main event will be Tangled Web 9 (8 p.m.).

Jonathan Gresham, the new CZW World champion, will defend the title against Homicide. The Tangled Web match features Alex Colon, Tim Donst, Danny Havoc and Rickey Shane Page. Joey Janela will defend the CZW Wired Championship against Tony Deppen, tag team champions Da Hit Squad have issued an open challenge, and former CZW world champion Matt Tremont will seek revenge on Reed Bentley.

Among the matches announced for CZW’s free television taping. Are Lucky 13 facing Janela, and Dave Crist will battling Trey Miguel.

*****

DEL RIO STABBED: For the second straight week, Heel Turns contains a report of a real-life stabbing. Last week, Achilles Heel extended best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery to Jamie Noble, who was stabbed twice in the back near his West Virginia home. This week there are reports about the former Alberto Del Rio being stabbed in San Antonio, causing him to miss a show in Mexico.

Judging by the photos, it’s difficult to deny that Del Rio was stabbed. All of the other details seem unclear. There are reports that the incident happened after a traffic incident. Del Rio subsequently said that Paige, his real-life girlfriend, was present for the attack. But Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer reports than San Antonio police do not have a report of a stabbing involving Del Rio. Furthermore, reports state that Del Rio did not call the Mexican promoter to let him know that he couldn’t perform due to being stabbed.

*****

CLASSIC RESULTS: The second Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic got under way Wednesday on NXT. In the opening match of the tournament, Paul Ellering’s Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) dominated the Bollywood Boys (brothers Harv and Gurv Sihra from the Cruiserweight Classic). They will face the winner of the match between the team of No Way Jose and Rich Swann and the team of Tony Nese and Drew Gulak. It makes sense for Jose and Swann to advance, particularly because Authors of Pain are the next opponents, but Achilles Heel likes the Gulak-Nese pairing.

In Wednesday’s other match, the Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), the NXT tag team champions, defeated Cedric Alexander and Andrade “Cien” Almas. After the match Almas turned on Alexander.

The next opponents for the Revival will likely be Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, who will face newly signed Chinese wrestling Bin Wang and HoHo Lun, who participated in the Cruiserweight Classic.

Other matches TM-61 (Shane Thorne and Nick Miller) vs. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss, with the winner to face the winner of a match pitting Niko Bogjevic and Tucker Knights against Austin Aries and a surprise partner, rumored to be Roderick Strong. The Japanese dream team of Kota Ibushi and Hideo Itami will face Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali, with the winner to face the match between Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger and the mystery team of Sanity.

The tournament will conclude at Takeover: Toronto on Nov. 19, one night before Survivor Series in the same city.

*****

MASS HYSTERIA: CHIKARA will be in Haverhill, Mass., for a pair of events next Saturday (Oct. 8). At “Cruise Control” (2 p.m.), Silver Ant battles Icarus, Jigsaw squares off with Missile Assault Man, and the Osirian Portal clashes with The Batiri.

At “Judgment Day” later that night, Hallowicked will defend the CHIKARA Grand Championship against Heidi Lovelace, and Fire Ant will battle Mark Angelosetti.

*****

THAT’S THE SPIRIT: It was fun to see Kenny and Mikey of the Spirit Squad on Smackdown this week as part of the Miz-Dolph Ziggler feud. The Spirit Squad was a fun gimmick. At the time of the Spirit Squad’s demise, Kenny was considered to be the brightest star from the group, starting a singles career as the unfortunately named Kenny Dykstra.

*****

GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE? Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens continue to be an entertaining duo. During an in-ring discussion in which Jericho tried to convince Owens to join him in pursuing the tag team titles, Jericho responded to an unenthusiastic Owens by pointing out that at least Jericho didn’t challenge him for the WWE Universal Championship. Owens quickly endorsed the tag team approach, but the Greek God of Wrestling is guessing that eventually Jericho will challenge Owens for his title. The seed has been planted.

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