Friday, September 29, 2023

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No Mercy in Review: Haters gonna hate, Bella’s gonna ball

[media-credit name=”WWE” align=”alignnone” width=”620″]nikki-bella-vs-carmella-no-mercy[/media-credit]

Welcome, Diva Dirt readers, to our second ever SmackDown Live exclusive pay-per-view redux! Last night at No Mercy, we saw two fairly different bouts. Though the Women’s championship wasn’t defended, we still saw four different women compete. And though one match wasn’t quite what it needed to be, we’ll get onto that in just a bit…

On the Kickoff show, Alexa Bliss met with SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan and the blue brand Commissioner Shane McMahon. The men announced that Becky Lynch could not compete in the title match due to a non-ring related injury. Bliss then quickly responded by saying as she signed the contract to compete for a title at No Mercy, she should be given the championship anyway. Unfortunately, Bryan responded with some bad news for her. He stated that with him and Shane in charge, titles aren’t just given to competitors. He did however say that Bliss would get the chance to compete tonight against a mystery opponent. And with that, Bliss was fairly blissed off and walked away.

Though, Shane did make note that Alexa would face off against Becky on November 8th when SmackDown heads to Glasgow – but it’s Alexa Bliss, so her frustration isn’t much of a surprise.

Nikki Bella soon showed up on the Kickoff Panel to discuss Total Bellas and her match with Carmella that would place later on. After a short conversation about Bella’s reality show, Lita chimed in with her two cents on the match. She said that the Princess of Staten Island doesn’t understand how going after someone’s previously injured body part only makes them fight back even harder. Nikki responds by telling Lita that her opponent reminds her of the old Nikki Bella. She then goes on to say that she’s back because she wants to be inspiring and empower her fans. Bella also goes on to say that Carmella’s antics make her giggle as even if she does make a name for herself, it won’t be a good one. And after hearing that Lita and Jerry “the King” Lawler are on her side, she headed off to get ready.

Nikki’s match against Carmella then took place within the first hour of the show. In their contest the two ladies gave it their all. We initially saw the Princess of Staten Island try to run away from her competitor, but Nikki quickly threw her across the ring and beat her down. Throughout the match we saw Carmella focus her moves on Bella’s neck and back, but it was an opportunistic use of the Rack Attack 2.0 that kept Carmella down for the three count.

After her victory, Nikki spoke to Charly Caruso about how her win felt like her SummerSlam win – and even said it felt like she won at Wrestlemania. She reminded everyone how she fights every match as though it were her last and the fact that this win came after constantly being belittled made it an even sweeter victory.

As announced earlier on in the night, Becky could not compete due to an injury. However, Alexa still ended up competing. Before the contest took place though, Bliss said a few words on the mic. She groaned about how Lynch faked her injury and was too scared to face her. As she went on the lights quickly turned off and Naomi’s theme song blasted around the arena as the two would face off – in a non-title match, of course.

The match consisted of a few cool spots and we saw Alexa demonstrate her aggression. However, soon after a failed attempt at pinning Bliss with the Rear View, Naomi scored the victory by rolling up her opponent for a three-count. The glow-tastic Superstar then walked away holding onto her arm as Alexa threw a tantrum in the ring.

After the show, Alexa joined Daniel Bryan, Shane McMahon and Renee Young on Talking Smack. Alexa said that Naomi’s win wasn’t a proper one as she rolled her up at a random moment, instead of properly pinning her down. She doesn’t believe that Naomi should be number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s championship as she is still inferior to Bliss.

Alexa also made sure to remind us that Becky was simply scared to face her and pretended to be too injured to fight.

Thoughts: Carmella and Nikki’s match was practically everything I wanted it to be. What was necessary for this was for both ladies to showcase their aggressive emotions towards one another throughout its entirety. This feud was built purely off of hatred and jealousy, rather than a title or anything of the sort. So with that being the case, it was supposed to be more of an emotive bout, rather than a competitive one – and that’s exactly what it was.

Carmella, the spiteful newbie, remained aggressive throughout. Her focus stayed on Nikki’s back and neck, she implemented dirty tactics such as the hair pull, and she continuously yelled in desperation. Carmella really anchored her weak yet belligerent personality, which, in turn, made the audience want to stand behind Nikki Bella even more.

Bella also had a hand in telling the story. She played the babyface role wonderfully with her taunts, but on top of that, her aggression really pushed forward the story. Nikki came into the match wanting to beat Carmella down, and that’s exactly what we saw her do. From the throws across the ring and the Rack Attack 2.0, to the refusal to submit to the Code of Silence, it was pretty clear that Nikki wanted this match.

It’s also really great that Nikki constantly appears as grateful to be wrestling again. This passion for the business is what helps fans to get behind a wrestler, and this definitely has worked wonders for Miss Wonder Woman.

My only issue is that when Nikki broke out of the Code of Silence at first, it would’ve been nicer if she had turned that into the Alabama Slam. But I guess that’s only minor.

Also, Nikki showing Carmella how the Bella Buster is done was a nice touch.

Throughout the match, both ladies gave it their all and they really showed that they really are capable of putting on a good match together – even after the WWE title triple threat. The crowd may have been a little exhausted at first, but with the intriguing storytelling and impressive moves, both Carmella and Nikki were able to get them involved and entranced by their work.

Now onto the not so impressive match.

In the defense of Alexa Bliss and Naomi, there was absolutely no build up to this match. Bliss is still in need of a crowd favourite to help her get over, whilst Naomi is yet to really receive the chance to get over herself. So, in a way, the ladies were almost set up for failure.

However, there’s only so much blame that can be placed on creative. Despite the lack of build behind the story and characters, the match still didn’t live up to standards. We’ve seen many random matches between the women take place and a lot of them have ended up being surprisingly good. But this one wasn’t impressive whatsoever. It was clear that both women weren’t ready to face each other, but unfortunately this shouldn’t be made apparent.

The biggest shame in this match is the fact that this was supposed to be Naomi’s time to shine. This was Naomi’s chance to prove why she is capable of being in the SmackDown Women’s championship picture but what it ended up doing was make us not want to see her in the title frame. And whilst we’re all aware of the talent she holds, this match may prove that she isn’t capable of working well under pressure.

However, though the same can be said for her opponent, the statement is only true to a lesser extent. Whilst the sloppiness of the match is the fault of both participants, Bliss at least managed to get the crowd to care at more than one point. She had a few impressive moves and held the audience’s attention (though to a short degree), so we should give her kudos for that.

And the ending… I’m not quite sure if Naomi was supposed to win or not, but it felt way too abrupt. This is the type of win I’d expect from a rookie like Carmella or a heel like Bliss, but for one of the veteran faces to do it was weird. And I’m not sure if this will work in anyone’s favour as it made Bliss lose some credibility and didn’t exactly make Naomi look threatening.

It’s unfortunate that Lynch vs Bliss didn’t take place, but hopefully this can now lead to a proper built-up feud, rather than the lacklustre one we received. And I also do hope that Naomi is able to redeem herself as we know she can do better.

But overall, Bliss and Naomi’s bout isn’t something I’d show to prove why the SmackDown women’s division is better than RAW’s. Fortunately we have Carmella and Nikki Bella to bring to the table after last night, though.

What did you think of last night’s action? Are you happy with both matches? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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