Torch Flashbacks KELLER'S WWE NO MERCY PPV REPORT 5 YEARS AGO (10-19-03): Vince vs. Stephanie, Lesnar vs. Taker, Cena vs. Angle, plus Sable, Eddie, Rey, Benoit, Gowen
Oct 5, 2008 - 4:19:57 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
KELLER'S WWE NO MERCY PPV REPORT
OCTOBER 19, 2003
Note: At the beginning of Heat, they mentioned Stu Hart's death. They didn't mention Road Warrior Hawk's death.
The show opened with a montage plugging Stephanie McMahon vs. Vince McMahon including pictures of the two together as Steph was growing up. There was then a brief preview of the Brock Lesnar title defense against Undertaker.
1 -- TAJIRI vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. - Cruiserweight Title match
Nice opening five minutes, done at a pace where it was a clear they were going over ten minutes with the match. Tajiri dominated offense, working over Rey's shoulder. Tajiri threw some nice kicks, including knocking Rey off balance as he mounted the top rope at 7:00. Rey knocked Tajiri off and then flew at him with a tornado DDT for a two count. Cole said, "This is the third match up in the series of rivalries between Mysterio and Tajiri." Syntax aside, it's nice when announcers put in perspective how many (TV/PPV) matches the two have had. Tajiri catapulted Mysterio over the top rope, but Mysterio quickly gave Tajiri a body scissors and threw him over the top rope to the floor. He followed by diving onto Tajiri. This is where they would have cut to a commercial if it were on Smackdown. In the ring he hit the 619 at 9:30. He followed with a West Coast Pop attempt, but Tajiri caught him and turned it into a powerbomb for a nice near fall that popped the crowd. Mysterio leaped up to the top rope and then rebounded onto Tajiri. Tajiri fired back with a low blow and then applied the four-second Tarantula. He then went for his roundhouse kick, but Rey ducked. Rey dropkicked Tajiri to the face and followed with a catapult into the second rope. He then hit his 619, drawing another crowd pop. He followed with the West Coast Pop. When he went for the pin, two "fans" tried to get into the ring. It was Jimmy Yang and Ryan "Keiji" Sakoda, doing a new Japanese Mafia tag team gimmick. The distracted Rey fell prey to a Tajiri kick and got pinned.
WINNER: Tajiri at 12:05 to retain the Cruiserweight Title.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Very good opener. I really don't like that the Cruiserweight Title is treated as an "opening warm-up match" rather than something more prestigious because it, by definition, limits any drawing power it might have.
-Josh Matthews interviewed Vince McMahon who talked about how emotional he was tonight over the match with is daughter. He seemed to be deeply affected, if not disturbed, by what he was going to do later.
2 -- CHRIS BENOIT vs. A-TRAIN
A match like this can make or break a push of someone who is riding the fence as far as more TV time being invested in his push. Train need to connect with the crowd as a heel and have a good match with Benoit. Train battered Benoit early with forearms. Benoit fought back with chops. Benoit attempted a German suplex, but Train blocked it and powered Benoit to the mat. Train continued to overpower and batter Benoit during the opening five minutes. Train gave Benoit an underhook front drop where Benoit's shoulder crashed into his knee. Benoit began bleeding from the mouth. Train dropped Benoit onto the chair leg and Benoit landed hard on the side of his head. The match came to a bit of a halt as they figured out if Benoit was okay. Train choked Benoit and the ref made him break. Train set up a chair in the corner. Benoit reversed Train into a Crippler Crossface, popping the crowd. He followed up with three consecutive unreleased German suplexes (the released suplexes are what WWE management has a problem with because they're believed to be too unpredictable as far as safe landings go). He then went to the top rope. Train tossed Benoit off the top rope, then checked him to the mat. Train did the slice neck signal that Benoit is known for. He was going to go to the top rope, but then changed his mind and gave Benoit a Baldo Bomb for a two count. He charged at Benoit in the corner, but Benoit moved and Train's leg got caught in the chair. Benoit legwhipped Train to the mat and then applied the Sharpshooter for the tapout win. They showed a replay of Benoit's awkward landing face-first on the chair from two different angles.
WINNER: Benoit at 12:21.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Really nice match. The crowd was really into it at times, especially at the finish.
-They showed Matt Hardy walking backstage. That big wrestling fan had Shannon Moore up against crates. He said he heard that he smashed the wrestling tape he gave to him to give to Vince. Matt said the tape he smashed was of Shannon Moore. The guy apologized to Hardy for overreacting.
3 -- MATT HARDY (w/Shannon Moore) vs. ZACH GOWEN
Mattitude Facts: "Matt cannot be grossed out" and "Matt has survived five car wrecks." You know there's got to be an inside story to both of those. Hardy slapped Zach at the start. Zach slapped him and back and hit him with a few elbows. They went back and forth for the first minute. Zach scored an early one count. (Hey, an actual one count in a WWE match!) When Zach went to kick Moore at ringside, Moore shoved him and Zach landed on the back of his head on the mat. Matt took over offense with some chops in the corner. Hardy went for a moonsault at 4:00, but Zach moved out of his path. Tazz mentioned that you don't see Hardy attempt many moonsaults. Zach did a springboard flip off the top rope onto Hardy at ringside. When Hardy entered the ring, Zach did a crossbody block for a two count. Zach next walked into a Side Effect by Hardy. They were both slow to get up. Zach elbowed Hardy to the mat and hit a moonsault for a three count. Cole and Tazz made a big deal out of winning his first singles match. Moore freaked out at ringside.
WINNER: Zach Gowen at 5:50.
STAR RATING: ** -- Surprising finish. Not sure what that's all about. A solid match.
-Linda McMahon approached Vince backstage. She begged him to back out of the match. She said for the past 37 years she has turned her head at his transgressions. She said this was going too far. Vince said he anticipated her request. Vince said he is going to go through with the match, but he is going to make a concession: He can win only by submission whereas Steph can win by submission or pinfall. Vince said in response, since Steph insists on going through with the match, the match is now no holds barred. Linda threw her arms in the air and stormed out of the room in disgust.
4 -- THE BASHAMS (w/Shaniqua) vs. APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq)
Bradshaw got a hot-tag at 6:45 and cleaned house with clotheslines. He then nailed Doug Basham with a powerbomb for a convincing near fall. Faarooq held Doug Basham on the top rope. Bradshaw then gave him an overhead suplex off the second rope which popped the crowd. Cole said he doesn't know if Bradshaw has ever come off the second rope with that move before. When Danny interfered in the pinfall attempt, Faarooq nailed him. After a ref bump, Bradshaw hit his Clothesline from Hell. Shaniqua then nailed Bradshaw with a club from behind leading to the three count after the ref recovered. Cole and Tazz made a big deal out of the Bashams beating a team the caliber of the APA on PPV. They said they are "suddenly a tag team to be reckoned with."
WINNERS: The Bashams at 8:55.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Decent tag action.
-Afterward, Josh Matthews interviewed The Bashams and Shaniqua. Shaniqua sporting a new boob job, said the Bradshaw clothesline caused "permanent swelling in her chest." The Bashams were drooling over her new breasts. She said they were going to be rewarded for their win.
5 -- VINCE MCMAHON (w/Sable) vs. STEPHANIE MCMAHON (w/Linda McMahon)
How embarrassing it's going to be for Kurt Angle, John Cena, Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar when the arena clears out after this match. The people will have seen what they came for, then they'll go home to see the World Series. Steph had to hold Linda back when Sable walked out. Vince dominated early against Steph, tossing her to the mat, and then choking her. Linda chased after Sable at ringside at 2:30. Vince got between them. Linda tried to shove her way past Vince, but Vince wouldn't let her. Sable pranced away proud as a peacock. Fans began an "asshole" chant. The crowd was really into the spectacle. Steph kicked Vince in the gut, but on the second kick attempt, Vince grabbed Steph's leg. Steph begged for mercy, but Vince clotheslined her to the mat. Vince put Steph in a half Boston crab. Steph screamed her lungs out and reached for the bottom rope. Vince looked like he was having a bowel movement to end all bowel movements as he cinched on the hold. When he released the hold, Steph held her leg in pain. Vince then applied a surf board. When Sable stood on the ring apron and held up her heel shoe, Linda yanked her off the ring apron. Vince then grabbed Linda by the hair before she could get to Sable. Steph then gave Vince a low blow followed by a blow by a lead pipe that Sable had intended for Vince and scored a two count. Vince begged off, but then charged at Steph with the double axe handle (which has the highest percentage of backfiring of any move in wrestling), but Steph sidestepped him and hit him with the pipe. Sable came off the ropes with with another pipe shot. Sable distracted Steph. Vince charged at Steph, but Steph moved and Vince knocked Sable to the floor. Steph then scored another two count. Steph went after Vince with a lead pipe again, but Vince caught her by the throat and slammed her to the mat. Vince then choked out Steph with the load pipe prompting Linda to throw in the towel to end the match. After the match Linda got in Vince's face, so Vince shoved her to the mat. Cole said it was the first time in their marriage that Vince ever laid a hand on his wife Linda. Vince then kissed Sable and walked to the back together.
WINNER: Vince McMahon at 9:25.
6 -- JOHN CENA vs. KURT ANGLE
Cena, of course, rapped before the match. They showed footage during Heat of Cena coming into the arena and cutting a rap promo on a heckler. It went on for a couple minutes and in the end the other fans crowding around the entrance area were chanting "Cena, Cena." It seems pretty clear WWE is moving toward a Cena babyface turn, and "earning Angle's respect" in this match could be another step in that direction. There were some "Let's Go Cena" chants that battled "Let's Go Angle" chants. Tazz and Cole acknowledged the chants and said Cena has "street cred." Street cred or not, I'd still rather walk through a rough neighborhood with Angle than Cena. Angle outwrestled Cena early on. Angle gave Cena two middle fingers. Cena got in his first sustained offense at 5:00. He trash talked Angle in the corner once he gained control. Cena went to his obligatory mat hold at 7:30 for nearly a minute. When Angle fought out, Cena caught him coming off the ropes and gave him a spinebuster. Cena came off the top rope. Angle caught him in mid-flight with a dropkick to the shin. Cena was slow to get up. Angle threw some rights that didn't look particularly realistic. He followed with three nice clotheslines followed by a Russian leg sweep for a two count. Good sequence. At 10:15 Angle applied an ankle lock. Cena grasped the bottom rope right away to force a break. Cena bailed to ringside. Angle tossed Cena back into the ring. Angle attempted to back suplex Cena off the ring apron onto the floor or tables, but Cena blocked it (was there any doubt; there's no way they'd do that move). Cena elbowed Angle and then dropped down and DDT'd Angle's face into the ring apron. As Angle recovered at ringside, Cole did a nice job pointing out that Cena was using the time to let his injured leg rest. As Angle re-entered the ring, Cena gave him a guillotine legdrop for a two count. Angle fought back with a quick German suplex, but Cena quickly returned to offense with his Throwback. Angle came back at 13:15 with a series of unreleased German suplexes. He hit three. At 14:45 Cena threw Angle neck-first into the corner and Angle's neck and arms bounced off the corner turnbuckle before Angle landed with a thud. Cena scored a two count. Cena then gave Angle his FU, although he seemed tired enough that it didn't have the usual impact. Cena scored a two count. Angle surprised Cena at 16:15 with an Angleslam for a near fall. "What a match!" Cena said. Cena crawled over to grab a chain. The ref caught him with the chain, and as the ref returned the chain to ringside, Cena grabbed a medal and KO'd Angle with it. Angle kicked out of the pin attempt just before three. When Cena went after Angle again, Angle surprised Cena with a backslide. Cena escaped, but Angle then gave Cena a victory roll into the anklelock. Cena screamed in pain and reached for the bottom rope, but Angle kept him in center ring and Cena tapped out. Angle shook hands with soldiers at ringside.
WINNER: Angle at 18:24.
STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- Very good match. Cena's coming along for sure, but is still a notch short of being where he should be to carry his end of top tier level four-star matches.
7 -- BIG SHOW vs. EDDIE GUERRERO - U.S. Title match
Guerrero was all taped up from the "glass cuts he suffered" on Smackdown last week. Big Show beat up Guerrero for the first two minutes. Guerrero cheated his way to an advantage by distracting the ref with a chair and then using a trash can lid against Show. Show took control again and threw chops and forearms to batter Guerrero for several minutes. Show then ripped off the padding on the corner turnbuckle. Show then whipped Guerrero into the exposed corner. Show began trash-talking Guerrero. Guerrero came back with a bodyblock off the ropes. Show kicked out, and Guerrero flew onto Patrick. Show went for a legdrop, but Guerrero moved and the leg hit Patrick instead. Guerrero then used brass knux to KO Show. Guerrero went for the cover, but the groggy ref was slow in making the count. Show kicked out at two. Guerrero then grabbed the U.S. Title belt from ringside and KO'd Show with it in the ring. He then shouted to the crowd, checked on the ref briefly, and then hit his Frog Splash in center ring. The ref crawled over and scored another near fall. Thanks to the announcers not declaring the match "over," I didn't know whether Show was going to kick out. That's nice for a change. Show came back with a chokeslam on Guerrero for a near fall. When Show went for another chokeslam, Guerrero hit him with a low blow and then dropped him to the mat with a DDT. Guerrero was too groggy to get up right away. Guerrero covered Show for another two count at 11:00. Show surprised Guerrero out of nowhere with a chokeslam for a three count. Show celebrated with the U.S. belt afterward, and the belt looked like a toy when draped over his shoulder. Show tried to wrap it around his waist, but the belt wasn't long enough. Chavo Guerrero came to the ring after the match and chewed out Eddie for letting down the family.
WINNER: Show at 11:22.
STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Entertaining. It played into the storyline well and was about what you'd expect. They had a credible big man/small man match.
-Josh Matthews interviewed Show backstage afterward. He gloated about his title win. He said "I told you so." He said Guerrero gave him everything he had and he still won. He held the belt over his head and declared, "I am the U.S. Champion!"
8 -- BROCK LESNAR vs. UNDERTAKER -- WWE Title match
The match began with well over 30 minutes left in satellite time, so the match began with the pace you'd expect - methodical. They took it to ringside at 4:00 briefly. You know a match begins slow when they go to the wideshot and remind viewers of what city they're in. I haven't seen them do that in a long time. It felt like filler, but it was okay filler. Taker scored the first two count at 8:00. Taker made the first attempt at the chain on the pole at 9:00. When he got to the top rope, the lights went out briefly. Taker said, "Sh--" and stepped down to the mat. The lights came back on and Taker again attempted to climb the pole. Brock recovered and stopped him. Brock then grabbed the top of the ring stairs and threw them into the ring. Taker eventually blocked Brock's attempts to ram his head into the stairs over and over and then clotheslined Brock hard to the floor at 12:00. Taker attempted a piledriver on Brock on the stairs, but Brock's head didn't come close to the metal. Taker and Brock both fell backwards off the step to the floor. Fans chanted "Holy sh--." Tazz said he agreed with the crowd. Taker got up first and climbed for the chain again. Brock stopped him. Taker ended up on his shoulders. In a nice spot, Taker dropped down and held onto the top rope and then wrapped his legs around Brock's neck for a triangle choke. A minute later Brock came back by nailing Brock with the top of the steps and scored a two count. If you can use the steps as a weapon and not get DQ'd, it makes the goal of grabbing the chain to use it as a weapon a bit anticlimactic. Taker kicked the stairs into Brock's face at 14:30. Taker went to hit Brock with the stairs, but Brock sidestepped them and the stairs dropped to ringside. Brock then charged Taker in the corner with a series of shoulder rams, turning up the pace of the match for the first time to third gear. Brock climbed to get the chain, but Taker caught him and went for the Last Ride. Brock, though, escaped. They collided and shifted back into second gear. They exchanged blows on their knees, then they stood and continued to exchange punches. Taker got the best of the exchanges. Taker waited for Brock to stand, and then went for a chokeslam. Brock escaped, though, and dropped Taker to the mat. Taker then slipped Brock into an armbar submission attempt. The crowd didn't pop at all for the submission attempt. Brock lifted Taker a few feet and dropped him to the mat hard to break the armbar. Both were slow to get up. Brock clotheslined Taker. When Brock lifted Taker for a slam, Taker reversed into a Dragon sleeper attempt. Brock escaped with punches and palms to the face. He then went immediately into the F5. The ref counted to three, but then called off the pinfall when he saw that Taker's foot was over the bottom rope. The crowd was pretty dead at this point, but they know the match doesn't really truly start until someone gets the chain. Brock went for the chain for the first time himself at 20:00. Taker tried to stop him by grabbing at his legs. Taker chokeslammed Brock off the top rope. Cole, no doubt due to prompting by Vince through his headset, declared, "Taker is going to win the title!" That gave away there'd be no title change tonight. Taker was going to go for the chain, but all three FBI members attacked Taker. Taker threw Nunzio out of the ring, but fell prey to Johnny Stambolli and Chuck Palumbo. Taker came back, though, and threw them out of the ring. Brock recovered enough to go for an F5 as the match finally hit a crescendo. Taker escaped and gave Brock a Last Ride. Cole said it was over, which meant there would be no finish yet. Taker ran the ropes and dive over the top rope onto Stamboli and Palumbo. Cole put over someone of Taker's side launching himself like a torpedo over the top rope. Nunzio attempted to get to the chain, but Taker knocked him off the pole to the mat. Taker then grabbed the chain. Vince then shoved Taker off the top rope. Taker crotched himself on the top rope as Vince smiled at his deed. When the ref scolded Vince, Vince denied everything. Brock grabbed the chain and wrapped it around his fist. He KO'd Taker in the face for the pin.
WINNER; Brock Lesnar at 24:20 to retain the WWE Hvt. Title.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Above-average match overall, but not by much. Too much of the same thing over and over in first or second gear for 20 minutes before things picked up. The FBI run-in really was necessary to add some spark to the match. There were a few nice spots in the match, but overall a disappointment.
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