October 7, 2007
Mike Abitabile

The Devilís Advocate:
Random No Mercy Thoughts and Observations

Well, No Mercy is tonight and with the main event having to be scrapped and retooled five days before the event, no one is giving it much of a chance of getting a good buyrate as WWE has, apparently, decided to not announce the replacement match before the pay per view goes live. The reporters wonder who is going to buy a pay per view without knowing the main event. Well, they may be right, but to play devil's advocate (because that's what I do), I'd like to point out that the unknown might work in this case because of one thing - Save.Us.222.

No one knows for sure what the video means (though many have tried their best to figure it out), so the possibility of whatever it is, who should I say, whoever it is, has people wondering if that person will be in the title match. Hey, anything is possible, and that's why the buyrate may not take a big hit. Some are comparing it to the last time something like that happened Ė WCW Souled Out 2000. I think that is an unfair comparison at this time because No Mercy hasnít even taken place yet. I mean, if you want to compare it to that event, at least wait until Monday, after the event airs.

Personally, I like this strategy. And there is no Vince Russo around to try and put the title on Tank Abbott right now (although Val Venis is currently leading the fan vote for who they would like to see involved in the match at WWE.com). Plus, even if they donít use the Save.Us.222 storyline, Iíve seen enough people thinking they will to prove to me that the unknown isnít going to totally fail this time.

Another thing I'd like to discuss is the number of matches for each brand and the total number of overall matches. Some sites are saying Smackdown only has two matches, using that to back up their claims that WWE doesn't care about Smackdown. Well, last time I checked, which was like a minute ago, Raw only has three matches, and ECW, not surprisingly, only has one. The spread isn't that bad - the critics would have you believe Raw has six matches to Smackdown's two or something.

For those counting, which may not be many of you because I haven't seen much reported on this, that brings the total number of matches at No Mercy to six. And I couldn't be happier. My main complaint with the tri-brand pay per views hasn't been that the same talent is on all the shows, but rather, the amount of matches taking place. There have been so many matches at each pay per view event recently (there was nine matches at Vengeance: Night of Champions) that each match hovered around the 10 minutes mark, including title matches and the main event. That is not good. Matches need time to develop and play out.

On television, they can give you shorter matches because they want you to pay for the longer ones. But when the card is packed, you donít get the longer matches on pay per view. They may add one more match before the show, which I wouldnít be particularly thrilled about, but that would still only give you seven matches, which should allow for plenty of time for each match. Thatís something I am optimistic about.

WWE has a lot of backstage vignettes and activity as well on pay per views (and television shows for that matter), which eats up a lot of their time. In the past (for example, the early 90s), pay per views would feature a large amount of matches and they would each get a nice amount of time. The difference was that there was less backstage stuff going on to eat away at the matches. Youíd usually get a few promos with wrestlers discussing their upcoming matches, but nothing too time consuming. Some people feel there is too much talking going on with todayís product, which is entirely your opinion. As for me, as long as they give the matches enough time, they can talk all they want. But this can only happen with less matches taking place on the pay per views, which is why I am happy No Mercy only stands at six matches.

Letís see how this plays out. I am cautiously optimistic about the WWE Title situation, but one thing I must insist Ė no matter who walks out with the belt, please get rid of the ďspinnerĒ! Then again, thatís a whole other topic for another time. Thank you, and enjoy the show.

Feedback is always welcome at figurefanatic@gmail.com or you can visit my blog here.

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