And the match of the year.
No Mercy 2002
Date: October 20, 2002
Location: Alltel Arena, North Little Rock, Arkansas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
This was requested by someone and I can’t remember who. In name only this seems like a weak card but it’s actually pretty stacked. We have HHH vs. Kane in a title unification match, the match of the year with Edge/Mysterio vs. Benoit/Angle for the first Smackdown tag titles and Hell in a Cell with Lesnar vs. Taker. Let’s get to it.
Nothing special in the opening video. THERE WILL BE NO MERCY! Yeah that’s all they’ve got.
Raw Tag Titles: Chris Jericho/Christian vs. Booker T/Goldust
The Canadians have the titles. Four separate entrances here which is kind of odd. Christian and Jericho just won the belts this past week on Raw. Booker vs. Christian starts us off. Christian is a glorified lower card guy at this point having been more or less completely left in the dust by Edge despite him having a title and Edge not at the moment. It sounds odd but it’s completely true.
Flying hips to the face of the Canadians keep Goldust in control. Jericho gets a middle rope dropkick as that first little bit was kind of quickly done and not in a good way. The fans are way behind Booker T. Goldust avoids a Christian dropkick and gets a rollup for two followed by a powerslam. No tag though as I guess he’s playing the face in peril here. Before I finished that sentence Booker comes in.
Apparently Booker and Jericho are feuding at this point so there’s your reasoning for the match I guess. You knew it wasn’t just because they’re both good tag teams right? Booker dominates for the most part here as he’s the hottest thing in the match and would get a title shot at Mania.
Back over to Goldust who hits Shattered Dreams on Christian and continues to abuse the balls of Christian by getting a drop toehold onto Jericho to send him into his partner’s crotch. Axe kick to Jericho gets two as Christian saves. Booker gets the missile dropkick and it’s Spinarooni time. Jericho goes for his running springboard dropkick but the ropes break. Well doesn’t that suck. Jericho bulldogs Goldust onto a title belt and hits a moonsault off the top to retain.
Rating: C-. You can’t hold the ropes breaking against them here but this match wasn’t very entertaining. It’s ok but it really is a Raw match with a bit more time on PPV. It wasn’t much at all with Goldust and Booker being a glorified comedy team as this is a backdrop for the Booker vs. Jericho feud which I’m never a fan of. Not terrible though.
Funaki, Smackdown NUMBER ONE announcer, is with Al Wilson. This was during the Dawn Marie marries Al Wilson to piss off Torrie. This resulted in Al “dying” and Dawn making out with Torrie in a lesbian/semi-incest angle that was hot but irritating at the same time. This is WAY too long as they show a bunch of clips but they have to fix the ring so we have hot women to look at I guess. It results in a Bill Clinton joke of all things.
Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie
They’re not even called Divas all the time yet. Sweet GOODNESS Cole looks toolish here. The girls look great though. Torrie drills her to start and it’s on early. This is when the girls were just AWFUL in the ring. It’s this era and the next 2-3 years where the bad stereotypes come from. Torrie kept getting ring time and looked like a rookie in her first match for the better part of three years.
Dawn drops a head into the crotch of Torrie and Tazz wonders if that actually hurts. This is just freaking terrible. Rolling catfight spot as this is going nowhere at all. They can’t even do clotheslines right. YOU STICK YOUR ARM OUT. Why is this getting extended time??? Finally Torrie wins with a swinging neckbreaker.
Rating: D-. Girls looking this hot can’t be a failure. That’s all it’s got going for it though and I want to get away from it as fast as I can.
RVD says Flair is awesome and lists off some catchphrases of Naitch. He even struts and woos and does his own version of the limousine riding bit. It’s MUCH funnier than it sounds and it helps that Flair is a walking cartoon character.
In the same shot we see Brock and Heyman showing up and they have no comment. There’s also a decent looking woman named Tracy that is accusing Taker of being a cheater in his marriage. Actually that’s true but who cares about reality?
Ric Flair vs. Rob Van Dam
Flair is heel here and Evolution isn’t quite formed yet but would show up on February 3 of the following year (no I’m not that big of a geek. That’s my birthday). At Unforgiven (JR says Vengeance) Flair turned heel and hit RVD in the stomach with a sledgehammer to save HHH’s title. They go at it on the floor for a bit and Flair’s shoulder goes into the post before the bell rings.
Or has the match started already? Top rope dropkick hits Flair as the bell rings. Ok so it hadn’t started yet. Flair is only 53 here so he’s still a young dude in theory I guess. Flair takes out the knee and we’re officially in the Flair Formula. The main talking point is that Van Dam said he flies coach in the prematch promo. Lawler will not shut up about it and it’s kind of annoying. Yes Lawler is getting annoying. I’m stunned too.
The standard Flair beating goes on for a LONG time. And now we’re talking about the Tracy girl. Well sure why not. We get to the Figure Four after maybe three minutes and naturally it doesn’t end the thing since Flair is a heel and he loses the ability to win with a submission. Van Dam makes his comeback as this is borderline predictable.
Ross slips in his more time on the canvas than Rembrandt line as Flair is slammed off the top. Rolling Thunder gets two as Flair gets a foot on the ropes. And then there’s the Five Star to actually end it. It’s kind of weird to see Flair just jobbing cleanly like that. Most odd indeed.
Rating: D+. You’ve seen it once and you’ve seen it 1000 times. And yes I know how ironic that is given the last thing I said about the ending. This again belonged on Raw and not here but that’s typical for the most part. This went nowhere for the most part as Flair at least is almost good for putting someone over. Pretty weak match though.
Show is talking to Stephanie and Bischoff comes up to complain about it. Show wanted to leave Raw but Eric wouldn’t let him. He would be there by Survivor Series and a heel under Heyman’s leadership.
Since the IC Title dies tonight we get a video package on the history of the title. Cool stuff.
Cruiserweight Title: Tajiri vs. Jamie Noble
Noble is champion here. Tajiri was the referee in a Noble/Nidia match on Smackdown for no apparent reason so Noble beat him up afterwards. Tajiri gets a baseball slide before the bell rings as that’s a running theme lately. Asai Moonsault hits and that’s about the extent of Tajiri’s offense for awhile.
Nice electric chair by Noble gets two. Pretty much domination by the champion so far. Tazz and Cole imply these three are in a three way relationship or something but that never went anywhere. The commentary is far more sexual in nature than what you would be used to in WWE today.
Jamie gets knocked off the top rope as he tries a suplex so Tajiri gets to miss a moonsault now. He does get a tornado DDT but doesn’t cover for no apparent reason. Both guys down now. Both guys up now. Tajiri unleashes that martial arts rush which is always awesome. Handspring elbow has Jamie in big trouble. German suplex gets two.
There’s the Tarantula and Jamie is reeling. Big kick misses and the Tiger Bomb is countered. There’s the kick and Nidia kisses the referee so he can’t make the count. And there’s the Tiger Bomb for two which is surprising. Tajiri goes for a victory roll but Nidia trips him so Jamie can dive into it for the Owen Hart at Mania X pin.
Rating: C. Not bad here and at least they allowed Tajiri to get in more offense than it looked like he was going to get. It’s nothing great or anything like that but this was definitely watchable and the whole thing worked pretty well. It’s a shame no one cared about this or it might have been interesting.
Tajiri kisses her post match. Noble kisses her too. Tajiri kicks the living heck out of him while he does though.
Benoit is looking for Eddie and says that Angle is kicking Chavo’s teeth in at the moment. Eddie goes off to find him and Benoit follows. Eddie finds the door they’re behind and makes noises with his mouth. Eddie thinks Benoit is faking so that Angle can take him down.
It’s clearly Chavo yelling but Eddie says that sounds like a little girl. And then Angle throws Chavo through the door. This was…..uh yeah. Apparently they did the same thing on Smackdown and Angle was suckering Eddie in. Out of context this is nuts but that makes sense.
We recap the monster Kane face push that resulted him in being the IC Champion and getting the shot at HHH here because it’s winner take all since WWE decided there was going to be one title per show for no apparent reason at all. Kane talked about being all happy for the first time in his life. And then, HHH asked Kane about Katie Vick.
Yes it’s THAT Katie Vick. The idea was that there was some chick that Kane knew (despite allegedly being burned horribly and never knowing anyone but Paul Bearer). He drove her home one night and they wrecked, killing her. Then HHH went to a funeral home and simulated sex with a mannequin while wearing a Kane mask, implying that Kane raped her corpse. This might be the lowest the company ever got.
Raw World Title/Intercontinental Title: HHH vs. Kane
Since Lesnar had gone to Smackdown as the Undisputed Champion the World Heavyweight Championship had been made for HHH as the Raw title. That was last month so the ending is pretty clear here. We hear the stupid line of that title dating back to 1904 (it was 1905 until they decided it was 04 when HHH got it) which is complete nonsense.
In short, the NWA Title was unified with a title that dated back to 1905. That title LOOKS like the NWA Title so it has the same lineage. That’s the extent of the WWE’s logic. Lawler says Kane needs Liquid Courage to face HHH. Well it would certainly help him with his covers. And now onto the match.
Kane pushes him around to start and then drills HHH. An amusing thing here is that Lawler keeps calling Kane the Animal. Batista was either already on Smackdown or would be debuting any week now. I think he’s already there though. All Kane so far. He beats on HHH for about the first three minutes more or less non stop. HHH gets a bad reverse neckbreaker to take Kane down. Naturally he sits up to take care of that.
Facebuster buys HHH some time and he sends Kane to the floor. Back in the ring and HHH hits another neckbreaker. Make that three. Dang he sticks to stuff he likes doesn’t he? Ross says if Kane wins he’ll be the first masked World’s Heavyweight Champion. I guess they’re pushing that whole separate titles thing. Spinebuster puts Kane down again.
HHH keeps up the offense on the neck and throat with a slingshot up into the middle rope to keep Kane down even longer. Off to a sleeper now and Kane is reeling. Down he goes as Lawler makes death jokes. Those are pretty creepy actually. This match is pretty plodding and not much is going on here at all. Sidewalk Slam by Kane gets no cover as he’s broken the sleeper and is in control again.
Top rope clothesline hits and here’s Ric Flair because a title match can’t be clean right? Down goes the referee and Flair won’t leave. What a shocker. Belt to Kane’s face gets a two without much drama at all. Hurricane, Kane’s partner, comes out and beats up Flair but walks into a Pedigree. Kane sits up and it’s on again.
HHH comes off the middle and top rope and neither of them work. Chokeslam is blocked and down goes the referee again. To the floor now and HHH takes a chokeslam through the Spanish Announce Table. Flair comes in with the sledgehammer but Kane stops it. HHH gets a low blow and a hammer shot but walks into a chokeslam. Flair (again) breaks up the pin and takes a chokeslam as a result. Back in and HHH hits the Pedigree to retain and retire the IC Title.
Rating: D. This more or less is what would happen in Raw World Title matches for the vast majority of the next year and a half. HHH would get dominated by a big guy but then Flair and the sledgehammer would come into play and HHH would of course retain. Kane more or less was done for a good while after this as he didn’t get to do anything because it was world title or nothing. That was the stupid part of the whole thing but it took about 9 months for them to realize it. The match sucked due to all of the garbage in it though.
Stephanie talks to the Tracy girl about the Undertaker thing and she admits Heyman made the whole thing up and she’s just going along with it. They had a relationship before he married Taker. This is “confidentially between the two of them.” I guess the camera means nothing.
We recap the tag team tournament and basically the two teams have been flying through the whole thing and are unstoppable. If Benoit and Angle fight they’re both suspended for a year.
Smackdown Tag Titles: Rey Mysterio/Edge vs. Chris Benoit/Kurt Angle
This was the undisputed match of the year so this more or less has to be awesome. Edge is about as hot as possible here and Rey is pretty new here. Yeah he had been around only three months or so here. Edge is just straight up awesome here and the whole thing is just greatness. Angle vs. Rey to start us off. We have what, about 25 world titles in there? Angle takes him to the mat and slaps him in the back of the head to be a jerk.
Kurt is really the only heel in this match. He literally throws Rey into his own corner because he wants a grownup apparently. Rey won’t tag out though because he wants Angle. They had a great opener at Summerslam so this works for me. Rey can’t get out of much of anything so he steps on Kurt’s foot and hits him with what can only be called an FU.
He busts out the speed and slaps Angle in the back of the head just like Kurt did earlier. The announce table being in pieces is funny for some reason. Here’s Edge to a big old pop. This is before Edge hurt his neck so he’s a totally different worker here. Off to Benoit now. Expect a LOT of play by play here as if the reviews I’ve heard are any indication there isn’t going to be much to make fun of.
The Canadians do a much more technical sequence and it’s a lot more entertaining than you would think a side headlock should be. Edge gets a knee to Benoit’s ribs and focuses on them for a while. Flapjack and a rollup get two. And there’s a knee from Kurt as Edge hits the ropes to give Benoit an advantage. They try the same thing again but Edge spears him this time.
Benoit and Angle double team Edge in a very nice sequence. Back to Angle now. The fans are all over him which is always good to hear. Better for them to be making noise at all than to be bored. Rear naked choke to Edge and Rey is getting antsy. Tazz adds in something by saying Angle is making sure Edge is facing his partner to mess with his head. Nicely done Mr. suplex machine.
Edge gets a big boot but walks into a belly to belly for two and here’s Chris again. Here are the rolling Germans as Edge is getting the tar beaten out of him. Benoit goes a little heel by drilling Rey to keep him from making the save. Benoit goes up for the headbutt and down he comes off a big old superplex.
There’s the big tag to Rey and he cranks things WAY up. The good thing is that he’s in there against two guys that can do the same thing. He sets Benoit for a Bronco Buster but goes with a running dropkick instead. HUH-FREAKING-ZAH! Rey and Benoit crank things up ever more but Benoit gets a counter and hooks up the Crossface until Edge finally saves.
Edge vs. Angle on the floor along with Benoit and Rey in the ring. 619 is blocked by Benoit but Edge hits a missile dropkick to drive Rey onto Benoit for a long two. This is all happening at a very fast pace. Rey goes up but Angle JUMPS from the mat to the top for the HUGE belly to belly off the top for another long two. Benoit’s face is like WHAT at that.
Angle in now vs. Rey as things slow down a bit. Rey starts a bit of a comeback but gets caught in a quick suplex and crashes for two. Back to the short and crazy Canadian now. After more of a beating Rey gets a headscissors to send Benoit into the post and we get double tags to bring in Edge vs. Kurt. Edge-O-Matic gets two and everyone is back in again.
Spear in the corner to Benoit and there’s the Bronco Buster. I withdraw my former HUZZAH! Spear in the corner again to Angle and Edge sits him on the middle rope. Rey runs at Edge who throws him into the air for a big old rana. Benoit looks to save with the diving headbutt but it crushes Angle and only gets two. Angle busts out a German from nowhere for two. He shouts at Edge to go to the middle which Edge does.
In a VERY nice spot, Rey runs at Edge who belly to bellies him into Angle to take down the bald one. That’s what he gets for calling spots that loudly. Benoit saves the spear and grabs the Crossface and Edge is in trouble but he gets a rope. He won’t let go so Rey hits a 619 out of somewhere. Angle Slam takes out Rey and Angle locks on the ankle lock.
Edge kicks off and grabs a small package for two. Spear gets two as Benoit saves and Rey takes out Benoit. Rey gets a running start at Edge again and Edge catches him and gives him a very nice launch into a moonsault to take out Benoit. SICK counter out of the Edgecution by Angle into the ankle lock. Edge counters that into an ankle lock of his own but Angle is all like OH NO YOU DIDN’T and counters into an ankle lock for the tap out and the titles. Sweet goodness as Cole says he’s going to applaud them for it.
Rating: A+. OH YES. Now this is what you get when you have two teams out there that are young and moving as fast as they can to make something look awesome. Smackdown was supposed to be the wrestling show back then and it certainly was.
These four plus Brock and Eddie were known as the Smackdown Six and were more or less there to have great matches every week. This is another fine example of it and it worked like a charm. Great match with some INSANE counters and saves and double teaming. Go watch it. Like now.
A doctor tells Taker that he shouldn’t give Taker a shot in the broken hand/wrist that he has. Nice to see him getting this maybe 15 minutes before the match starts.
Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Victoria
Sweet merciful goodness Trish looks amazingly good tonight. She’s in her standard stuff but the blue with the long blonde hair and the big smile is WORKING. Victoria is currently known as Tara in TNA. Total bring the crowd down match after the awesome match they just had. Victoria is a bit more hardcore than the rest of the Divas. Trish was pretty good in the ring by this point and can more than carry herself.
You can tell that Trish has talent as she’s not afraid to go after Victoria here and clearly looks comfortable out there doing what she’s doing. When you watch the Divas today for the most part they clearly have to stop and make sure they’re doing everything right. With Trish like most of the male wrestlers, you can see she’s mostly going on instinct which is the better way of doing things.
Victoria in control here as she hits a front flip slingshot legdrop and then botches the heck out of a monkey flip to the extent that Trish landed on Victoria rather than hitting the mat. Victoria throws on an old school backbreaker which is the kind where they throw the other girl over her shoulder and pulls down. A big spinning sideslam gets no cover so Trish gets an electric chair drop for two. Chick Kick gets two before a neckbreaker and rollup end it.
Rating: D. This was just there but the sloppiness of it hurt things. Trish was getting a lot better but still wasn’t as great as she would get. Victoria wasn’t a character yet and was just a bit nuts and said that Trish slept her way to the top of the fitness modeling world. She would get the title the next month in a hardcore match. This was pretty much nothing.
Post match Victoria kicks the blonde’s head off.
We get a clip of Rikishi being thrown off the top of the Cell in 2000. Rikishi is at the World (WWE nightclub/restaurant) and says the match is no joke. He predicts Taker wins it.
The Cell is lowered.
We recap Taker vs. Lesnar. They had a match at Unforgiven where Taker lost by DQ when he threw Brock through the set. In short he just didn’t want to put Lesnar over so they gave them two matches in a row. Lesnar has been champion for two months here so this is his second major title defense. Brock broke Taker’s hand and we threw in that Tracy chick who meant nothing apparently. This gets the music video treatment.
Smackdown World Title: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
In the Cell remember. Taker keeps lunging at Brock and gets taken to the mat for his trouble. Big powerslam gets two for the champion and there’s the cast to Lesnar’s ribs after he misses a charge in the corner. Brock tries to escape but can’t get out so he hammers on the arm instead. He goes with an armbar which isn’t something you often see in a Cell match.
Taker blasts him in the head with it which is a double edged sword. Actually it’s a hard cast but you get the metaphor. Brock is busted BAD. Heyman is all freaked out. Brock is bleeding but there’s been worse in ECW so I guess he’s mellowed. They hit the floor and Taker beats the tar out of him and covers on the floor for two. You can do that? I don’t remember that before.
More cast shots which all of a sudden don’t hurt him. I guess he’s lucky that the shot he got kicked in sometime between the first big shot with it and this set of them. Lesnar gets put in place for the apron legdrop but Taker goes up and drops a knee (I think) from the top instead for two on the floor again. Heyman shouts at Brock to get away from Taker. Taker kicks Heyman through the cage in a nice shot.
He follows that up by grabbing Paul’s tie and pulling on it to slam him into the cage. Taker gets out of the way of a charging Brock who crashes into Heyman too. DAng he’s taken a beating tonight. Brock gets a good shot in though and sends him into the cage. Heyman is busted open too. He slips his belt in and ties Taker up with it so Lesnar can annihilate him a bit. Heyman shouting YOU’RE GONNA DIE is great stuff.
Lesnar, a 300lb beast, swings a chair about ten times to drill Taker’s hand each time. So in other words, Taker is probably in need of major surgery now on it. Let’s see if it hurts at all. Brock gets the cast off or at least tries to. Heyman sounds demonic out there. There goes the cast completely as they’re actually in the ring now.
In a cool spot, Brock sits him on the top rope and uses the top of the cage to lift himself up and throw kicks at Taker. Taker blocks a superplex despite being more or less dead. He knocks Lesnar to the mat and manages to drop an elbow off the top with the right hand and seems to be just fine. Shocking isn’t it? I’m not used to seeing Taker’s bare hand. Taker kicks Brock into the cage and has momentum again.
Taker dives through the ropes and more or less completely misses but Brock sells it anyway. Cole thinks Taker’s broken right hand could be a weakness for him. Wow indeed. Steps to the head take Taker down again and busts him open. More steps to the head and Taker is more or less done. His face is COVERED in blood.
Back in the ring Brock gets a big spinebuster for two. ZERO pop for the kickout. And naturally Taker is able to throw big right hands and is “running on adrenaline” apparently. Oh give me a break. The blood on the camera is always a nice touch. Old School is blocked and Brock takes over again. Tazz: Undertaker has never been pinned or submitted. What the heck is this guy on?
F5 is reversed into a chokeslam for two which gets a bigger pop than the kickout did a minute ago. Brock goes for a Last Ride and is reversed. DDT gets two. Good night Taker is bleeding badly. Brock does the punches in the corner which Taker counters with the Last Ride for two as Brock’s bloody hand grabs the rope.
In something SICK on the cover, Taker’s blood drips onto Brock’s face. That’s not good at all and really isn’t safe in the slightest. That’s a big reason as to why the blood policy is a good thing. Taker goes for the Tombstone and Brock is like screw this let’s end it and counters it before literally throwing Taker onto his shoulders for the F5 to retain. We then get what is supposed to be an iconic scene as he grabs the title and climbs to the top of the Cell where he holds it over his head to end the show.
Rating: C. Hard one to call here as the match itself is more or less crap. It’s about 27 minutes long and at least 15 of that is spent on the floor. Taker’s hand thing was eye rolling levels of stupid as all of a sudden a shot is able to heal 5 chair shots from Brock Lesnar to a broken hand. Brock looked great here, but the main reason this is a decent grade is the blood.
If you like bloody matches, RUN out and find a copy of this show. Taker’s blood is absolutely insane as you can’t see his face and it looks like there’s a hole in his forehead. It’s a big brawl but Taker was really looking bad out there, both from how his face looked to how he was working. I didn’t like the match, but the blood was insane.
Overall Rating: D+. This isn’t quite a one match show but it’s very close. The tag match is required viewing, but other than that there isn’t anything absolutely worth seeing. The Cell match is a very case by case basis of whether or not you should watch it. Other than that though everything here is very hit or miss and nothing you couldn’t find anywhere with relative ease. This show isn’t terrible, but it’s not very good. Tag title match is absolutely worth seeing though. Other than that, not really worth it.
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