Sunday's WWE No Mercy card had the kind of build and exciting matches on paper to make it feel more like WrestleMania than an in-between September pay-per-view. Unfortunately, the booking couldn't match the anticipation when all was said and done.

Despite a few high spots along the way and very strong start, a series of abrupt finishes robbed the card of its bright potential. Braun Strowman's coronation as universal champion wasn't meant to be as Brock Lesnar rallied to hit a single F5 to save his title. Meanwhile, the "dream match" between John Cena and Roman Reigns produced a similar anticlimactic feeling after the "Big Dog" fairly easily went over clean following a long sequence of near falls.

The card's peak was a fantastic tag team championship match as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins barely retained against Cesaro and Sheamus. A Fatal 5-Way women's championship match delivered, too, as Alexa Bliss held off what appeared to be Nia Jax's time to wear the strap.

This one had the potential to be great. It came up frustratingly short in an otherwise good night. Let's take a look at the results and highlights along with my grades from the show.

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2017 WWE No Mercy results, grades

Elias def. Apollo Crews via pinfall (Kickoff Show): After Elias serenaded the Los Angeles crowd with insulting lyrics, he traded physical strikes throughout with Crews in their fairly pedestrian opener. The match was booked fairly even throughout until a mistake from Crews found no one home off the top rope. Elias quickly capitalized to hit his Drift Away finisher for the 1-2-3. Elias added a few boots the face after the match, causing Titus O'Neil to give chase. Grade: C

Intercontinental Championship -- The Miz (c) def. Jason Jordan via pinfall to retain the title: Despite the unexplained absence of Maryse, Jordan was still facing a serious deficit in the numbers game thanks to The Miztourage. After Jordan put on a tourde force of various suplexes and near falls while dominating the majority of the match, his roll-up pin attempt on Miz was never seen by the referee due to Bo Dallas climbing onto the top rope. Curtis Axel used the distraction to land a cheap shot, and The Miz hit his Skull Crushing Finale to finish Jordan off. During a post-match interview, Jordan was booed constantly as he called for a rematch before adding, "Miz, you really do suck." Good story told here with continued teases of much more to come. Grade: B-

Finn Balor def. Bray Wyatt via pinfall: Wyatt had seemingly everything in his favor after a pre-match attack that left Balor's ribs in anguish as referees attempted to walk him back to the locker room. But Balor decided to fight on after Wyatt taunted him on the microphone by saying, "You ain't no demon, you ain't even a man. Your'e a coward." An inspired Balor delivered a physical and intense match with his character proving his demon alter ego wasn't needed in order to get the best of Wyatt. The clean finish -- Balor jumped extra high to hit his Coup de Grace -- likely means the program is over. If so, the finale was well performed, even if the end to the feud felt abrupt and Wyatt once again jobbed to an elite foe. Grade: B

Tag Team Championship -- Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (c) def. Sheamus & Cesaro to retain the titles: In a clear candidate for match of the night, Ambrose and Rollins were pushed to the very limit in an incredibly physical affair. The real MVP was Cesaro as he inadvertently had a pair of teeth knocked out while being busted open on a slingshot into the turnbuckle post. He fought through it admirably, as did Ambrose after a suicide dive appeared to injure his left shoulder. The spot of the match was Sheamus hitting White Noise on Ambrose and Cesaro immediately followed by powerbombing Rollins off the second rope and onto Ambrose below. The move could only get two, however. After Sheamus accidentally hit Cesaro with a Brogue Kick, Rollins followed with Kings Landing (his Rain Trigger knee finisher) and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds to end matters. This was one heck of a match. Grade: A-

Women's Championship -- Alexa Bliss (c) def. Bayley (via pinfall), Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Emma to retain the title: This was car-wreck insanity at its finest with one physical spot after another. None was bigger than Jax getting double powerbombed from the apron to the floor and landing on the back of her head. Banks and Bliss assisted on the move with dropkicks from behind for extra momentum. Jax also received the loudest pop from the crowd before the match, which helped paint the picture she would go over after such a strong performance. But Bliss went on to retain in a finish that came surprisingly quick following a DDT on Bayley for the 1-2-3. Bayley had just broken up a Banks submission on Bliss, Banks returned the favor by breaking up a Bayley pinfall attempt, and Emma later broke up a Jax pinfall attempt. After the match, Bliss called herself Raw's "only true goddess." Grade: B+

Roman Reigns def. John Cena via pinfall: This WrestleMania-quality feud seemed to come a bit earlier than expected during an in-between PPV in September. So did the end of the story after just one match. Following an incredibly fun four-week build of dueling trash talk, Reigns went over Cena clean in a match which featured big spots and plenty of dramatic near falls. Afterwards, Cena raised Reigns' arm in a virtual passing of the torch, hugged him and whispered some words. He then took his time soaking in the moment by hanging around the ring before taking a bow, hugging a child in the front row and handing him a wristband.

The somewhat anticlimactic finish and the tease that Cena is finished left behind more questions than answers and bookended an incredibly slow start to this "dream match." The action in between was strong with plenty of reversals into big moves. Reigns kicked out of an Attitude Adjustment, a Super AA off the second rope and a roll-through double AA. In between, Reigns reversed an AA attempt on the announce tables and speared Cena through it (inadvertently hitting his own head and neck hard).

The finish saw Cena in a shocked look of disbelief after Reigns kicked out of the double AA. Reigns played possum in the corner took advantage of Cena's dismay by hitting a surprise Superman Punch and a spear for the pin. The match failed to live up to its lofty expectations but did build a cliffhanger as to what happens next on Raw. Grade: C+

Backstage -- The Miz and Kurt Angle: The Miz gloated about his victory over Jordan in front of Angle and said he wanted to hold a special edition of MizTV on Raw with Roman Reigns. Angle agreed to The Miz's suggestion, calling it a great idea and promising that it would lead the show.

Cruiserweight Championship -- Enzo Amore def. Neville (c) via pinfall to win the title: Amore's run of cheating his way into contention culminated in a surprise title win. This one served as a popcorn match before the main event with Amore dressed like Beetlejuice in a gaudy pinstripe suit. He went on to sell everything Neville had in a largely one-sided match. But Neville hesitated while setting up the Red Arrow in a move that was completely out of character, and his attempt at a Phoenix Splash missed. Amore went on to use the cruiserweight title to distract the referee, allowing him to hit a hard low blow on Neville before rolling up the champion for the 1-2-3. The title change solidified WWE's transparent push to increase ratings on 205 Live by pushing the certified attention getter. Grade: C

Universal Championship -- Brock Lesnar (c) def. Braun Strowman via pinfall to retain the title: Strowman's first solo shot at a world title saw him manhandle Lesnar at times in a true heavyweight battle. But Strowman ultimately succumbed to a single F5 in an abrupt finish that was nothing short of anticlimactic as Lesnar used a late reversal to hit his finisher and get the pin. The champion rallied from a slow start to hit six German suplexes and kick out of Strowman's running powerslam before the finish. Strowman hit his finisher three times but was unable to cover Lesnar on the latter two attempts. Like SummerSlam, Lesnar did plenty of bending -- including his back, which did not allow him to lift Strowman in the F5 until the finish -- but never broke. The pedestrian finish undermined how dominant Strowman had been in the build to the match. Grade: C+