AJ Styles will put the WWE World Championship on the line at No Mercy in a Triple Threat match against John Cena and Dean Ambrose.
WWE shared a replay of SmackDown Live commissioner Shane McMahon announcing Styles' title defense Tuesday night:
Bleacher Report's Mike Chiari is enthusiastic about a three-way dance featuring Cena, Styles and Ambrose:
The only potential gripe is the fact that McMahon handed Cena a world title shot despite him doing little to earn it. Cena's last appearance on WWE programming was nearly a month ago at SummerSlam, and he lost that match to Styles.
As big of a star as Cena is, it's not a good look when a wrestler parachutes in from a brief hiatus and is immediately granted a championship opportunity.
That issue aside, a Triple Threat match at No Mercy is interesting, especially given the way Cena, Styles and Ambrose laid into one another Tuesday night. Cena and Ambrose in particular traded verbal barbs, with WWE sharing one of the more pointed critiques:
As WWE transitioned into a more PG-friendly era, many fans complained that wrestler promos became too scripted and lacked any sort of edge, best emphasized by Roman Reigns' "sufferin' succotash" insult against Seth Rollins last year.
On SmackDown Live, however, the wrestlers seem to have a little more freedom. The Miz delivered one of the best promos in years on Talking Smack last month, and like The Miz, Cena and Ambrose blurred the lines a bit between reality and scripted conflict.
Creating that personal animosity among the three wrestlers will be important in order to build hype around No Mercy's main event. Cena and Ambrose both have separate issues with Styles, but Cena and Ambrose have little history beyond Cena's feud with The Shield.
Simply throwing the three together won't drive interest by itself, so WWE would be smart to continue pushing the envelope a bit ahead of the title match.
WWE appears to be using the branded pay-per-views to showcase its wrestlers more. Excluding Randy Orton's forfeit to Bray Wyatt, the six main card matches at Backlash each went at least 10 minutes.
Whereas a Triple Threat match between Cena, Styles and Ambrose might disappoint on a busier co-branded PPV, the three wrestlers should have ample opportunity to put on a spectacle Oct. 9 in Sacramento, California.