The SmarK Rant for WWE No Mercy 2003
– Geez, you’re a FEW days late with a rant
– Live from Baltimore, MD.
– Your hosts are Cole & Tazz.
– Opening match, Cruiserweight title: Tajiri v. Rey Mysterio. Lockup to start and they fight over that, and they both hit the floor and head right back in. They exchange low kicks, and back to the lockup. Rey takes him down with an armdrag and then goes after the leg on the mat, but Tajiri reverses to an armbar. Rey flips out of it, but Tajiri chops him down and goes behind in order to pound him down. Rey escapes a suplex and gets an armdrag, then dropkicks the knee and blocks the handspring elbow with a dropkick that sends Tajiri out. Rey follows with a pescado, and back in with a try at Eddie’s springboard wristlock, but Tajiri drops him on the top rope, and then sends him into the post. Back in, that gets two. Tajiri stays on the arm and kicks Rey down on the mat, and he goes back to the arm. Rey fights back with the springboard wristlock, but now Tajiri kicks him down with a high kick and a spinkick for two. Back to the arm, and a kick to the shoulder gets two. Tajiri pounds the arm and takes him to the top, but Rey comes down with a tornado DDT for two. Cross body gets two. Crucifix into a sunset flip, but Tajiri blocks for two, and Rey reverses that for two. Tajiri catapults Rey over the top, but he hangs on and takes Tajiri out with a bodyscissors. He follows with a rana off the apron. Back in, Rey misses a springboard, and Tajiri tosses him, but Rey reverses the momentum into a 619, leaving Tajiri loopy. West Coast Pop is blocked with a powerbomb for two. Rey reverses him into the corner and charges, then alley-oops over with a moonsault press for two. Tajiri kicks him down again, into the Tarantula, but Rey ducks the Big Kick and they reverse into a seated dropkick from Rey. Rey catapults him into the 619, and the West Coast Pop gets nothing as Tajiri’s future cohorts run in to break up the count, and the Big Kick finishes for Tajiri at 11:40. Good match, horrible finish. It was an interesting blend of the “new styleÃ¢â‚¬Â mat-based stuff and the traditional lucha stuff, but it didn’t feel like it clicked 100% ***
– Meanwhile, Vince shares pathos over having to beat up his daughter later tonight. Hey, I’m okay with it.
– A-Train v. Chris Benoit. Who would have thought back then that this feud would be the precursor to Benoit actually winning the big one? Train talks trash in the corner to start, so Benoit pounds away, but gets overpowered and bails. Back in, Train takes him down and out again. Back in, Benoit dodges him and starts chopping, but can’t get the german suplex and Train powers him into the corner and pounds him with knees. Benoit fights back, but runs into an elbow. They slug it out in the corner and Train misses a charge, allowing Benoit to fire away again and start chopping. Train clubs him down, into a splash for two. Benoit takes him down into the corner, but walks into a bicycle kick that gets two for Train. Into the corner for more CLUBBING FOREARMS until Benoit drops. He catapults him under the middle rope, but Benoit fights from his back. Train drags him out to the middle and smacks him around, into the forward butterfly suplex for two. Benoit fights back and goes for the knee, but Train clubs him down again. Into a surfboard, but Benoit fights out and gets a DDT, and both are out. Train reverses a suplex attempt into his own german suplex, and he tosses Benoit. Into the railing and back into the ring, but Train grabs a chair because he’s a BAD PERSON. Benoit fights him off, but Train presses him and then loses his grip and drops Benoit on his head, on the chair. Thankfully, he survived. Train sets up the chair in the corner, but Benoit keeps coming, rolling Train into the crossface. Train counters up, so Benoit hits him with the rolling germans. Cole wonders how he can do that after falling on his head. Because he’s CHRIS FUCKING BENOIT, you wank. Benoit goes up and gets slammed off, and Train clotheslines him before going up himself. He changes his mind and gets the Derailer for two instead. He kicks the chair by mistake, and Benoit takes him down into the Sharpshooter for the submission at 12:19. Too long, but Benoit sells a beating really well. **
– Zach Gowen v. Matt Hardy. Boy, did THIS one end up looking stupid in retrospect, and probably destroyed Matt’s career. Matt Facts: He cannot be grossed out, and he’s survived five car wrecks. I bet Jeff was driving during all of them. Matt takes him into the corner to start, but Gowen gets a pair of leg lariats. Matt slams him and puts him on top, but Gowen comes down with a bulldog for two. Shannon Moore trips him up and Matt stomps away and works him over in the corner, into a corner clothesline, and a lariat that puts Zach on the floor. Matt steps on his head and brings him in for two. Legdrop gets two. Vertical suplex into a surfboard, but Zach fights out, so Matt stomps him down again. Matt goes up and misses a moonsault, and Zach comes back with a dropkick that puts Matt on the floor, and Gowen follows with a somersault plancha. Back in, high cross gets two. He walks into the Side Effect, however, and Matt gets two. Zach goes up and gets crotched, and Matt tries to bring him down with a superplex, but Gowen blocks and gets the moonsault for the pin at 5:31. Gowen was fired two months later and I don’t think he even appeared on TV again after this. To this day I have no idea why the finish was Hardy doing a clean job. *
– The APA v. The Basham Brothers. Bradshaw pounds away in the corner to start on Doug and overpowers him, and Faarooq comes in for some double-teaming. Back elbow gets two. Powerslam and he fights off Danny and clubs him, too, and the APA get the double spinebuster on him. Bradshaw drops an elbow for two, and the APA get a double shoulderblock for two. Danny kicks Faarooq down off a jawbreaker and Doug comes in, but gets pounded on the floor by Bradshaw. Back in, Faarooq with the Dominator attempt, but the Bashams sneak in with a double-suplex that gets two for Danny. They work Faarooq over in the corner and get another double-suplex, and that gets two for Danny. Back to the corner, as Doug switches in and chokes away, then hits the chinlock. Faarooq fights out, but Danny drops an elbow for two. Back to the chinlock, but Faarooq escapes and gets a spinebuster. Hot tag Bradshaw and he’s a REPUBLICAN ON FIRE, powerbombing Doug for two. He tosses Doug and gets the blockbuster slam on Danny, and another one on Doug. That gets two. The ref is bumped, which is JUST what this match needed, and Shaniqua runs in and clubs Bradshaw, giving Doug the pin at 8:54. This went on forever. Ã‚Â¾* The Bashams won the tag titles two days later from Los Guerreros.
– I Quit match: Vince McMahon v. Stephanie McMahon. The buildup and promotion of this match was some of the most intelligence-insulting, arduous crap that the promotion that has ever put out, and that’s saying something. This match was promoted above all the others, and the result was a buyrate rivaling the lowest of all time. Anything that requires Linda to act is asking for trouble. Vince attacks Steph from behind, but she tries a sleeper, so Vince puts her down again. She dodges him, but Vince knocks her down again and hairtosses her. Into the corner, as Vince works her over with shoulders and chokes her out on the ropes. Linda tries chasing Sable away, but Vince intervenes. Back in, Steph kicks at him to come back, but Vince clotheslines her. Into a half-crab. Ever notice that Steph and Vince dress like mirror images of each other, down to the all-black color scheme and elbow pads? Kinda creepy. Vince surfboards her while Stephanie flexes her acting muscles and sells it. Sable brings in a pipe, but Linda trips her up, so Vince goes after her and gets hit with a low blow by Stephanie as a result. She hits him with the pipe and gets two. Vince begs off, but Steph hits him with the pipe in exaggerated manner a few times, and gets two. She goes after Sable, and sends Vince into her, setting up a bulldog for two. Vince catches her and chokes her down, then beats her down with the pipe. Well, spare the rod, spoil the child. He chokes her out with it, and Linda throws in the towel at 9:21. Because you have to keep Stephanie strong, you see. This was all silly and cartoonish and worked within the context of what they were doing, but in the end it was just an excuse to give Stephanie another banishment from TV “foreverÃ¢â‚¬Â and didn’t make a bit of difference to anyone watching, nor did it draw a dime or have any effect on anyone who COULD draw money. * In fact, the whole plot with Sable and Linda went nowhere, and was completely forgotten a month later.
– Kurt Angle v. John Cena. Hard to believe, but Cena was the heel and Angle was the face here. That dynamic seems so bizarre considering how easily they fit into the opposite roles. They fight over a lockup to start and Angle takes him down with a headlock, as Cole notes that “Cena cannot get into a quote-unquote wrestling match with Kurt AngleÃ¢â‚¬Â. I’m so confused as to what I’ve been watching. Angle takes him down with an armdrag, but Cena grabs a headlock and overpowers Angle, but Kurt comes right back with a series of armdrags. Angle gives some disrespect to Cena and fires away with punches, then gets a back elbow for two. He slugs away in the corner, but Cena catches him with a clothesline for two. Angle backdrops him for two, and slugs him down again, as the crowd seems torn on who to cheer for. Angle spears him with a shoulderblock in the corner and starts chopping, but misses a charge and hits the post, ending up on the floor. Cena sends him back in for a clothesline and a corner clothesline, into a neckbreaker for two. He stomps away and elbows him down for two. Into a double chickenwing on the mat as Angle’s mouth starts to bleed, but Angle counters out before running into a knee. Backdrop suplex gets two. Into the facelock, but Angle fights out and slugs away. He walks into a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER, however, and that gets two for Cena. Cena goes up, but gets caught with the Pop-Up Superplex, which Cena blocks. He tries a high cross, but Angle dropkicks the knee on the way down. Good sequence. Angle fires away and gets a flying forearm and clotheslines to make the comeback. Russian legsweep gets two. Cole notes that if you give Angle the big opening, he’ll drive right through. Rob Feinstein operates the same way. Angle goes for the anklelock, but Cena makes the ropes, so Angle baseball slides him to the floor. Back in, Cena catches him with a necksnap and they slug it out on the apron, where Angle teases the german suplex and Cena reverses to a DDT on the apron. Angle comes in, but gets caught with a guillotine legdrop coming in, which gives Cena two. Angle comes back with the rolling germans, but Cena dropkicks the knee, into the Throwback for two. Blind charge misses and Angle rolls him up for two. More germans from Angle get two. Angle slugs away in the corner, but Cena goes for a piledriver, but Angle keeps dropping down to block. Cena fires off knees to put him down and follows with a corner clothesline, and that allows a powerbomb into the corner. That’s so sick. That gets two. Gotta wonder why he never worked that into his regular arsenal. F-U gets two. Another one is countered to the Angle Slam, however, and that gets two. Cena grabs the chain, but it’s just a distraction while he uses Angle’s medals, and that gets two. I will go to my grave believing that should have been the finish. Another try at the F-U is reversed to a backslide for two. Angle Slam is reversed to another F-U, but Angle reverses to the anklelock for the submission at 18:27. Time and perspective would have meant Cena goes over, I’m pretty sure, but at the time they went with Angle and Cena didn’t end up too hurt by it. Didn’t like it as much the second time around, as the good parts were very obviously Angle carrying things, but Cena more than held his own otherwise. ***3/4
– US title: Eddie Guerrero v. Big Show. This is another one where they’d probably change the result in retrospect if they could. Eddie goes after the knee to start, but Show tries to overpower him, so Eddie slugs away. He walks into a clothesline, however. Show headbutts him down and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS before stepping on him. Eddie dodges a charge and pulls Show out of the ring, then distracts the ref with a chair before using a garbage can lid on him. Why was THAT under the ring, anyway? Eddie keeps slugging and chops Show in the corner, but that just annoys him. Eddie wisely backs off and heads outside, but gets tossed into the post as a result. Show tosses him back in and sits on his back, hitting the chinlock off that. Show keeps pounding the back and he loosens a turnbuckle, whipping Eddie’s back into it. Eddie fights back and the ref gets bumped, so Eddie pulls an international object out of his tights, nailing Show with it. That gets two. Next plan, as Eddie grabs the title and puts Show down with it, setting up the frog splash for two. Eddie charges and runs into a spinebuster, which gets two. Show chokeslams him for two. Another one is blocked with a low blow, and Eddie DDTs him for two. Another chokeslam finishes at 11:27, killing the crowd. Show would of course go on to defend the title a grand total of 3 times during the course of a SIX MONTH title reign. This match made no sense on a number of levels, and Show just wasn’t the guy to help Eddie reach the top. **
– Smackdown World title, chain-on-a-pole match: Brock Lesnar v. Undertaker. Michael Cole says it’s ironic that Stephanie made this match as GM, which led to her match with Vince where she lost the GM title. So, how is that ironic, exactly? Undertaker slugs away to start and goes for the arm, and they struggle in the corner. Brock misses a charge and Taker works the arm again, but Brock slugs out of that and hammers him in the corner. Taker boots him down, and the legdrop gets two. UT with the ROPEWALK OF DOOM and La Majastral for two. They brawl out and Taker elbows him off the apron, but Brock fires back with knees to the gut and sends UT into the stairs. Back in, Brock slugs away and throws elbows in the corner, into a Perfectplex for two. Brock slowly stomps him in the corner, but Taker fights back, only to miss a charge to the corner and Brock stomps him down again. Taker necksnaps him, but Brock sends him into the railing and they fight on the floor. Back in, Taker catches him with an elbow, and the flying clothesline for two. Brock comes back with a knee to the gut, but Taker hotshots him. He makes the first attempt at getting the chain, but the lights go out. And nothing happens. Taker fights off Brock, but gets powerslammed. Brock brings the stairs in, but Taker headbutts him down again and stomps away in the corner. Brock whips him into the stairs, however. Taker comes back and clotheslines Brock to the floor, where he piledrives him on the remaining half of the stairs. The crowd gives that a perfunctory “Holy shitÃ¢â‚¬Â chant. Taker climbs for the chain again, but Brock stops him, so UT puts him in something vaguely resembling a triangle choke, and they head back in. Brock goes low, and uses the stairs for two. Another charge with the stairs, but UT boots him down again and charges with them. Brock ducks and the stairs end up on the floor again, and Brock pounds UT with shoulders in the corner. He goes for the chain, but Taker brings him down with an attempt at the Last Ride, which Brock counters with a clothesline. It’s a duel of fisticuffsmanship, and Taker gets the corner clothesline, setting up Snake Eyes and a big boot. You know, Kevin Nash can always rest easy knowing that he added Snake Eyes to the wrestling vernacular. Brock counters the chokeslam with the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. Taker gets the “triangle chokeÃ¢â‚¬Â, with about 8 inches of air, so Brock counters with a slam. Clothesline from Brock, but Taker catches him with the dragon sleeper. Brock counters to the F5, which gets two. No one buys these near-falls because the chain hasn’t come into play, though. Speaking of which, Brock takes the moment to go for the chain again, but Taker chokeslams him from the top. And instead of going for the pin, which would be SMART, Taker climbs for the chain, but now the FBI run in and attack him. Boy, did THAT ever help out their careers. Taker gets rid of them as though they were jobbers (I know, that’s a stretch) and powerbombs Brock, but AGAIN chooses not to go for the pin. He stops to hit the FBI with the tope con hilo, but why would you bother if you’ve got the title won? Nunzio tries to get the chain and gets sent to the floor by Taker, who DOES get the chain, finally bringing it into play 25 minutes into this snoozefest, but now Vince McMahon comes out and shoves him off the top, allowing Brock to use the chain for the pin at 24:16. Ridiculously anti-climactic finish to a boring match. This set up not any kind of money-drawing program for Brock, but a gimmick match between Vince and Undertaker. No wonder Brock got tired of it all and left. Long and dull and LONG. **1/4
The Bottom Line:
Time has left this show in the dust, as it bombed critically and financially, and showed just how wrong the direction of the company really was at that point. The crowd was dead after Angle-Cena because they had nothing to follow it, and the “I QuitÃ¢â‚¬Â match ended up meaning not a thing, as no one misses Stephanie and Heyman ended up doing a more effective job in the same role. The Cena match is good, but not worth getting the DVD for.
Recommendation to avoid.