WWE No Mercy 2017: Most Intriguing Storylines to Track on Road to PPV
Whether you loved or hated SummerSlam 2017, it's in the past. It's time to move forward and start looking toward WWE's next pay-per-view events.
When it comes to Raw, that upcoming show is No Mercy 2017, scheduled for September 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Only one match has been officially confirmed, but with every pre-event edition of Monday Night Raw, new storylines will be introduced and the feuds that will make up the card will start to formulate.
There will undoubtedly be some duds and other matches that won't be too interesting, but there are already a few storylines that could be fun to watch unfold while building to the pay-per-view.
Let's take a look at what Raw has in store for us over the coming weeks.
With only one episode in the books for the build to No Mercy, there is still plenty of time to develop storylines for more than the major topics talked about on this list.
In fact, there's potential for a variety of lesser feuds to take interesting turns and become sleeper hits along the way, even if there doesn't appear to be too much going for some of them.
For instance, what happened to the tease from a few weeks back that Goldust would be watching SummerSlam closely before unveiling his latest masterpiece?
Was it the KFC commercial? Did WWE simply forget about it? Or has that whole idea been scrapped?
The Raw Women's Championship seems to be on a simple path of Alexa Bliss facing Sasha Banks again, but since she's getting her rematch on Monday's Raw, that leaves room for a new challenger to spring up afterward.
Whether it's Bliss or Banks who is holding the belt, will someone like Nia Jax be next in line, or will Bayley return from her injury in time to get the title shot she earned a few weeks back?
A similar scenario applies to the Raw Tag Team Championships situation with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
Since Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson had little ties to the Big Cass, Enzo Amore and Big Show feud to begin with and the fact that is definitely over, they will be looking for something to do.
Between those two, The Hardy Boyz and the former champions Sheamus and Cesaro, the tag team division is going to have to settle on who are the rightful challengers for the former Shield members' title defense at No Mercy.
The power struggle to determine who gets that opportunity will be an interesting development to watch unfold.
Braun Strowman's Dominance and Setup for an Inevitable Failure
Off the bat on Monday Night Raw, the Universal Championship scene continued where it left off from SummerSlam, with Braun Strowman asserting his dominance over Brock Lesnar.
During Sunday's Fatal 4-Way, Strowman was nearly unstoppable, destroying everybody in his path, including the champion.
By no means did Lesnar defeat Strowman—he merely survived the encounter and happened to be able to pin Roman Reigns to hold on to his title.
Going forward, it looks as though WWE is going to continue that story by making The Monster Among Men someone who has The Beast Incarnate's number.
However, given the company's track record of presenting feuds like this only to have the underdog victorious, combined with Lesnar's history of nearly always winning, this is a rivalry set up for Strowman to lose.
Strowman is assuredly going to look strong in his hunt for the title, but he will come up short, just as Samoa Joe did at Great Balls of Fire.
It will be interesting to see how WWE plans on building Strowman up just to have him fail, as well as what measures will be taken—if any—to keep the former Wyatt Family member from leaving No Mercy looking worse than when he entered.
What Will Become of Jason Jordan and Finn Balor?
It appears as though Jason Jordan's feud with The Miz has been pushed aside, if not indefinitely, as he stated he would "get back to The Miz" in the future while the champion busied himself with a bigger fish in Roman Reigns.
To compensate for this, Jordan was given a match against Finn Balor, which he naturally lost due to his relative inexperience and being the lesser of the two as far as popularity and star power go.
Balor, who defeated Bray Wyatt the night before, was out of his Demon King persona and back to his normal threads, which may signify an end to his rather short program with The Eater of Worlds.
If that is the case, though, what is going on with Balor, Jordan and Wyatt?
The easy thought is Balor and Jordan simply had a throwaway match to kill time for a week and that the feud between Balor and Wyatt will continue on the next episode of Raw in some fashion.
Assuming that happens, what's next for Jordan?
He would feel like a third wheel in that feud, but there aren't too many options on the table.
Elias is busy fighting R-Truth, Jordan has no tag team partner and he is above 205 Live's weight limit, so what is there for him to do?
How WWE manages to rekindle the flame for Wyatt and Balor without the theatrical shenanigans that were the spine of their match for SummerSlam will prove a challenge—as will finding a suitable opponent and storyline for Kurt Angle's boy that doesn't interfere with other plans or underwhelm and become part of a pre-show contest nobody will watch.
How Will Big Cass's Injury Change the Lineup?
There's no way WWE's intention for the Brooklyn Street Fight between Enzo Amore and Big Cass was to end the feud with an injury that would put the latter on the shelf for quite a long time.
At best, the writing team got what they wanted, with Amore winning the match, but it's much more likely that was going to serve as the final nail in the feud's coffin before Cass moved on to other things.
Big Show's loss and storyline injury may not be addressed now because there is little reason to have him show up.
Whether it was planned well in advance or not, Amore is on the 205 Live crew and is obviously going to be the next in line for a title shot against Neville, who retained against Akira Tozawa in his rematch.
That is all well and good for Amore, but whoever was going to be positioned to feud with Cass is going to suffer from not having anything to do, as Cass' injury dictates those ideas will have to be scrapped or put on the back burner.
This could be an opportunity to nix all the angles and to start fresh with everybody involved, save for Cass, who will have to wait even longer to get back in the swing of things. He has a long road ahead when it comes to not only recovery but also finding his place on the roster once he's able to return.
The Miz, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Samoa Joe
At first, John Cena's reintroduction to the Raw roster started to look like his first feud would be with Roman Reigns. But WWE's writers knew it would be better to tease now and deliver later with that.
Instead, The Miz interrupted, cutting a promo that blurred the lines between how a heel should be received by the crowd versus how the two babyfaces opposite him in the ring should have been cheered instead of booed.
This is no surprise given The Miz's uncanny ability to mix up backstage talk, website chatter and a bit of flair and produce gold.
Soon enough, Samoa Joe inserted himself into the fray and seemingly targeted Cena above the rest.
This is likely to turn into a situation wherein Joe and Cena face off at No Mercy while The Miz defends the Intercontinental Championship against Reigns, more than likely dropping the belt when they come to blows.
Does this mean Reigns will hold that title and stay out of the picture for the Universal Championship?
If so, what is to become of The Miz after he's helped save the credibility of that belt for the past year?
Will Joe and Cena have good enough chemistry together to justify the need for a rematch at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in October, or will this be a case of fan expectation for a dream feud not being able to live up to the hype?
On top of all this, since Cena and Reigns have beef with one another, how will that play into their respective feuds and help set them up for their inevitable clash?
With those two matches on the card, No Mercy could prove to be an interesting event.
Which stories are you most fascinated by as we start gearing up to the pay-per-view, and what are you hoping happens along the way?
Tell us your thoughts and predictions in the comments section below!
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.