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10/20 WWE No Mercy PPV: Marshall's "alt perspective" review

Oct 21, 2002 - 12:07:00 PM
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WWE No Mercy PPV
October 20, 2002
Little Rock, Ark. at Alltell Arena
Report by Tony Marshall, Torch Team Contributor


GREAT BEGINNING! The Undertaker's sitting in the locker room with his head down. Kane walks in, sits down next to him, and says, "So how was your week?" Very funny. Good opening videos for Trips vs. Kane; Brock vs. Taker. I'm hoping the matches are as good as these vignettes.

(1) Chris Jericho & Christian defeat Booker T & Goldust to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles (version Raw). The Book wants to start off against Jericho, but Y2J bails on him, of course. Goldust shows no ill effects of his injured trapezius muscle and takes the brunt of the punishment, making the hot tag so Booker can come in and clean house. A funny spot had Goldust setting Christian up for the Golden Globes, and after hitting it, with Christian still sitting on the turnbuckle, he nailed Y2J with a drop toehold so Jericho's head slammed into Christian's crotch. At one point, Jericho went to bounce off the second rope and deliver a dropkick to Booker, who was leaning on the adjacent rope, but the second rope broke on impact. Everyone recovered nicely, and as Booker cleared out of the ring, Jericho was able give Goldust a bulldog onto a tag team belt, then hit a moonsault from the top turnbuckle and pinned him. What could have been a disaster turned out okay. Sort of a by-the-numbers tag team match, but nothing special. Now can we please give Booker T the singles push he deserves?

Funaki, Smackdown Numbah Wun Announcah (Keye Luke, if you're still alive, please forgive me), interviews Torrie Wilson's father, Al Wilson, and clips are shown of his encounters with Dawn Marie. When Funaki asks him why he had his clothes on in the shower, Al replies with Bill Clinton's line, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." See, we're in Arkansas, and, like...oh, forget it.

(2) Torrie Wilson defeats Dawn Marie. Look, these two are both knockouts, but they belong on Smackdown doing lingerie contests or in skits loaded with double entendres, not wrestling on PPVs! 'Nuff said.

Coach is backstage interviewing RVD, who cuts a promo mocking Ric Flair. It was okay (especially his "chair-smashin', frog-splashin' line) but RVD still has to work on his delivery. For God's sake, give him a Manager, or, better yet, a very hot, equally cool, valet/mouthpiece/babe. Speaking of which, after leaving RVD, Coach tries to interview Paul Heyman and Brock, but they just blow him off. Tracy, on the other hand, is more than happy to accommodate him, and gives that "bastard" Undertaker a piece of her mind. You know, her hair is even nicer than Kevin Nash's.

(3) Rob Van Dam defeats Ric Flair. Do you recall what I said about RVD's speed in his Unforgiven match with Triple H? Well, ditto. Initially, RVD, hell bent on revenge, comes blasting out on Flair with flying kicks, Rolling Thunder, etc., but then Flair slows it W-A-A-A-Y down, working on RVD's left leg, using the ropes, chopblocks, etc. Flair locks in the Figure-Four, but RVD's able to roll over into the ropes. Flair does a little strut after RVD misses a dropkick, but it's pretty obvious he doesn't have much left in the tank. Shocking, considering that Ric Flair is "the man who's cardiovascular conditioning is LEGENDARY!" He survives a second Rolling Thunder by getting his foot on the ropes, but after a spectacular Five Star Frog Splash RVD gets the duke. Of course he does. There's no title to be won and Ric Flair's an old man anyway.

The Big Show's backstage talking to Stephanie. She's telling him she can't help him with his problems. I guess her plastic surgeon doesn't do liposuction. Anyway, along comes Eric Bischoff who's really pissed off that Show's talking to Steph. After she slithers away, Big Show tells Bischoff that he's tired of just standing around "with his thumb up his ass." After all, he's a Giant, and he's a former WCW and WWE Champion, but it's been ages since he's been in a main event or on a PPV. Bischoff gets all hardcore; he's like, "don't take that tone of voice with me...I'm not the one who put the picture of King Kong Bundy in your locker." Okay, I made up the King Kong Bundy part. Anyway, Big Show grabs him by the collar, picks him up, and slams him into some racks (or something). He tells Bischoff that if he doesn't start treating him right, he's going to snap Bischoff's neck. Go ahead, BIG SLOW! I dare you to snap his neck! I double-dare you!

Once again, the very excellent InterContinental Title Video is shown. It was great, but couldn't they have gotten in one shot of The Magnificent Muraco? If they did, I missed it.

(4) Jamie Noble defeats Tajiri to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Title. Good little match, but not half as good as Tajiri vs. Super Crazy from the old ECW days. Tajiri was a kicking machine, and he got in a Springboard Tornado DDT that was off the hook, as well as a move where he had Noble in a full-nelson, leveraged him over his back in sort of a reverse-crucifix-backbreaker thing, and spun him around a few of times -- airplane-spin style. After that, he had Noble down for the count with a belly-to-back suplex into a bridging pin, but Nidia jumped up on the apron and distracted the ref by kissing him. After Tajiri kicked out of a pin attempt by Noble following a Tiger Bomb, he went up for a Victory Roll, but Nidia held on to Noble's ankles, allowing him to roll up Tajiri for the victory. Afterwards, Tajiri kissed Nidia, who appeared to like it. Noble got pissed, and when he kissed Nidia (to show Tajiri how it should be done), The Japanese Buzzsaw kicked him in the back of the head and left him and his girlfriend lying on the mat.

WWE Divas, Undressed and Uncensored on PPV. Well, why not?

More backstage antics. This time, Chris Benoit tells Eddie Guerrero that Kurt Angle is beating up Chavo. Oh yeah, homes, like Eddie's going to fall for that? Like he's a pendejo or something? Ha, ha, ha. He's standing by a door with Benoit and you can hear Chavo screaming for help. It sure sounds like Chavo to me, but to his Uncle Eddie, it sounds like a little girl. All of a sudden, the door flies open and Chavo comes crashing out, followed by Kurt Angle. Eddie goes nuts, but miraculously the agents show up just in the nick of time to keep him from getting to Angle and Benoit, who walk off smiling.

Oh, no, not the murder angle again? Shoot me now.

(5) Triple H defeats Kane to retain the Big Gold Belt and kiss the IC Title goodbye. Well, what did you expect? Kane looks pissed; Trips looks scared; punches fly left and right with Kane scoring the first quick knockdown. They screw up a back-body-drop very badly and receive a loud chorus of boos. Isn't that something you'd learn in, like, Week 2 of Tough Enough? Anyway, this match was p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y s-l-o-w for the most part. And mostly all punching and brawling with the occasional neckbreaker thrown in by Triple H. At one point, Triple H nails Kane with a facebuster, then clotheslines The Big Red Machine out of the ring. He goes out of the ring himself and throws Kane into the ringpost. Back in the ring it's more of the same; punch, punch, punch, the occasional neckbreaker, until Triple H locks Kane in a sleeper hold, which the big man quickly gets out of. Kane begins his comeback with a sidewalk slam, and then his flying clothesline (which really isn't a clothesline, but I don't know what else to call it).

So, of course, here comes Ric "Flunky" Flair to interfere, distracting the ref, using a championship belt as a weapon, getting smacked around for his trouble...you know, all the stuff that 16-time-world-champion-living-legends do. When it looks like Triple H is going to pin Kane following a shot with the belt, the heretofore dead crowd booed very, VERY, loudly. But, Kane got his shoulder up and the lethargy continued.

And now, here comes The Hurricane to save the day, and his tag-team partner, by attacking Ric Flair. Of course, Triple H gives The Little Green Machine a pedigree on the "hard concrete floor" and he's never seen or heard from again. But, it was a nice try, Caped Crusader. And it gives Kane a chance to recover and get some more offense in, including a series of clotheslines and a powerslam (such as it was). Damn, only a two-count on Triple H. He's so resilient, isn't he? It's remarkable.

Eventually, they brawl outside the ring again, which gives Kane the opportunity to chokeslam Triple H through the Spanish announce table. Not in the ring, of course, because that might lead to Triple H getting pinned. Back in the ring, Kane accidentally boots the ref, which gives Flair the opportunity to attack him with a sledgehammer. Kane blocks it, but can't use it himself, because Triple H gives him a low blow and takes it away from him. When Kane picks him up for a Tombstone, Triple H hits him with the sledgehammer. Kane finally gets to chokeslam Triple H in the ring, but of course, the ref is still out cold. A second ref runs in and gets to a two-count before Flair pulls him out and clobbers him.

This allows Triple H to recover and nail Kane with a pedigree just as the first ref recovers. Trips covers him for the one, two, three. Can you say "stinkeroo," boys and girls? I thought you could. And what made this match even worse, is that Jerry Lawler JUST WOULD NOT SHUT UP ABOUT THE WHOLE MURDER THING! "Why don't you just give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?"

Here we are, backstage again. This time, in Stephanie's office with the delectable Tracy. Woman to woman, she admits the whole thing about having a recent affair with The Undertaker was a scam. Although she does want him back, and she doesn't care about his pregnant wife, she was just playing mind games, and going along with Paul Heyman, who somehow found out about her past relationship with Taker. Seven years ago...hmmm...what was she, like seventeen or eighteen, and Taker was about thirty-five? Way to go, Dead Man! Anyway, surprise, surprise, The Undertaker's standing right behind you, bitch! And now, Steph's throwing your lying ass out, because we all know that Stephanie McMahon is all about integrity.

(6) Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit defeat Edge & Rey Mysterio to capture the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Anything I could write about this match simply would not do it justice. Even Roget couldn't come up with enough superlatives. It was absolutely off the freakin' charts, and worth the price of the PPV alone. Unbelievable, phenomenal performances by all involved. Spectacular; absolutely spectacular, particularly the two-man moves by Edge and Rey. You'd think they've been teaming together for years. After a blistering twenty minutes of action, Angle got Edge to tap out to the anklelock.

Dredz, my friend, this is the MOTY. It's going to take a supreme effort to top this one. And to my friend at Lake Tiorati, don't worry, I'll send you the tape.

And now we find The Undertaker in the locker room, begging the trainer to give him an injection in his hand before the HIAC match. Yup, just like Willis Reed (and his knee) back in 1970.

(7) Trish Stratus defeats Victoria to retain the WWE Women's Title. Victoria shows some power; Trish shows her educated feet. Unlike the Torrie Wilson-Dawn Marie spectacle, Trish and Vickie can really mix it up. Kudos to JR for mentioning "Bruno Sammartino's Backbreaker." Unfortunately, what started out as a pretty entertaining Women's Championship Match got tainted due to a botched Stratusfaction. Trish, I love you, and I'm rooting for you, but you simply cannot keep on blowing your signature move. All in all, a pretty decent effort by these two, with a bitter Victoria kicking Trish in the face after losing the match. The ref kept her from inflicting more damage. To be honest, I'd rather see a rematch between these two ladies than between Triple H and Kane.

Rikishi's at The World. What was he, stoned or something?

(8) Hell In A Cell -- Brock Lesnar defeats The Undertaker to retain the WWE Heavyweight Championship. Right off the bat, I take back all of the rotten stuff I've said lately about the Undertaker (like referring to him as the Underseller). Tonight, he absolutely did the right thing. Although I'd much rather see Brock in a match where his amateur wrestling skills come more into play, it ain't going to happen against Taker, and that's fine; after all, Brock did say he wanted to beat The Undertaker at his own game, and he damn sure did that tonight.

Taker got in his licks first, and bloodied Brock quickly. Lesnar bailed early to collect himself and came back with a vengeance. It wasn't pretty; it wasn't "scientific;" but it was very brutal and very exciting. Damn, what does that say about me? Taker bled like the entire 29th Infantry on Omaha Beach, and Heyman got bloodied very heavily, too. No arm drags or huracanranas here, sports-entertainment fans. It was fist and skull and you keep on swinging until somebody goes down, and you hope and pray it isn't you. Taker throws Brock into the cage. Brock throws Taker into the cage. Brock tears Taker's cast off -- using his teeth at one point! Taker stomps on Brock's hand (I couldn't help but think about the kid on TE3 who had to get up 50 times the right way so nobody would step on his hand). All the while Heyman is screaming like a madman. That got a little annoying at times, though.

One cool bit had Brock down and out on the floor, while Taker had Heyman by the tie through one of the foot-holes in the cage. Taker kept pulling him into the wall of the cage face first (and real hard), over and over again like some human yo-yo. After Brock recovers and smashes Taker from pillar to post, he uses Heyman's belt to tie Taker's bad hand up with Heyman holding on to it. He gets a chair from under the ring and begins smashing Taker's hand against the cage wall. He also stopped The Undertaker in mid-old-school-rope-walk and threw him halfway across the ring.

This one was definitely not for the faint of heart, sports-entertainment fans. Nobody went flying off the top of the cage, but I haven't seen a match this savage since Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher, many years ago. In the end, after twenty-five minutes of sheer ferocity, Taker went for the Tombstone, which Brock countered with an amazing show of strength, nailing The Undertaker with an F-5 and getting the pin. Brock then made his way out of the ring and out of the cage. He put the championship belt around his massive neck, and climbed to the top of the cage. Lesnar stood atop the cage and flexed for the crowd as The Undertaker -- battered, bloody, beaten -- lay still inside. If that picture isn't a metaphor for the WWE today, I don't know what is.

Some final thoughts. I can't wait to read a report on this show from someone who was there. It looked to me like a big chunk of the upper levels were empty. After hearing the horror stories about the weak ticket sales, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Also, the crowd seemed to be pretty dead throughout the whole show. There were some crowd-killing moments, to be sure, but it seemed that way even during the Smackdown Tag Team Title Match.

While I thought the show was okay (maybe a 7 or 7.5 on the old Torch Scale), it just amazes me that precious PPV time was wasted on Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie when Eddie & Chavo Guerrero, Lance Storm, Raven, John Cena, Shannon Moore, and others were left out in the cold. Hell, you could have shaved ten minutes off the Triple H-Kane match and thrown in Shelton Benjamin vs. Justin Credible and I'd be happier!

Hat's off to Taker. He actually put Brock Lesnar over in a serious way. I'm sure his wife being pregnant may have had something to do with it, but what the Hell. As for Triple H, well, maybe he'll learn to do the right thing one of these days. I know he's got guts. I know he's got intestinal fortitude. The question is, does he have any honor? Time will tell.


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