October 11, 2010
No Mercy 2002, October 20, 2002, Alltel Arena, Little Rock, AR
Announcers: The Teams of: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole & Tazz
Opening Match, World Tag Team Championship: Chris Jericho & Christian vs. Booker T & Goldust
The Setup: Jericho and Booker had been feuding in the weeks leading up to this show, so when he and Christian won the Titles from Kane and Hurricane last Monday, this match was quickly signed for here tonight.
The Action: Booker wants Jericho right off the bat, but Jericho bails and lets Christian start. They all trade off for a bit with the faces mostly in control until Goldust mounts Jericho for punches in the corner and Christian drops him on the ropes to kick off the heat. Tag team wrestling has become a lost art, but Goldust definitely still knows his stuff. After taking a beating and a few teases he makes the hot tag to Booker who runs wild and finally gets his hands on Jericho. From here it pretty much becomes a tornado match. Goldust gets Shattered Dreams on Christian and the drop toes Jericho into his groin. Christian tries using a belt, but Booker ducks. Jericho goes for the springboard dropkick, but the rope breaks. Fortunately everyone here is great and they just work around it as Jericho dumps Booker. Goldust hits a bulldog, but Christian saves. Booker takes him out, but that lets Jericho catch Goldust with a bulldog on the belt and a top rope moonsault for the 3 count at 8:47.
The Verdict: I really wish that this could have gone longer because they all worked well together and given more time this could have been great. For the time they had thought it was only good. **1/2
Smackdown’s #1 Announcer Funaki then presents a recap of Dawn Marie seducing Al Wilson, leading up to him being caught in the shower (fully clothed) with her (not fully clothed) by Torrie Wilson. They’re in Arkansas tonight so the punch line is a Bill Clinton joke. It does lead us to the next match though.
Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson
The Setup: See above.
The Action: Torrie gets her right away with a baseball slide, but Dawn soon takes over by dropping her on the ropes. They do the catfight spot with the ref getting involved and he takes advantage of the opportunity to cop a few feels and gets up with a big smile on his face. Dawn confronts him, but that just lets Torrie get her with might generously be called a stungun and then finish her with a swinging neckbreaker at 4:41.
The Verdict: The usual crappy Women’s match we get on every show. The storyline however, would continue and get a little interesting. DUD
Coach interviews Rob Van Dam about his match with Ric Flair coming up next. RVD actually cuts a pretty entertaining promo, mocking Flair, but he does a horrible “Whoooo”. Coach then catches Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman going by, but they have no comments. Accompanying them however, is Tracy, a woman who had accused Undertaker of cheating on his wife with her while claiming he wasn’t married. She’s here to see him get what he’s got coming to him.
Ric Flair vs. Rob Van Dam
The Setup: Last month at Unforgiven, RVD challenged HHH for the World Heavyweight Title, but Flair interfered and cost him the match.
The Action: RVD charges in and beats Flair up on the floor before the bell, and then continues in the ring once we get going. This goes on until Flair suckers him into a low blow and then clips the leg. He goes to work on that, building up to the figure four, but RVD rolls it over into the ropes. RVD starts the comeback and gets a couple of nearfalls with all evidence of Flair having worked the knee simply disappearing, before missing a dropkick. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and RVD then follows with Rolling Thunder and the Five Star Frog Splash for the 3 count at 8:02.
The Verdict: Except for the glaring issue of RVD’s knee injury vanishing once the heat was over so that he could get his stuff in unhindered, this was a fun little match. Flair actually looked pretty good here too as his body had not yet completely deteriorated. Can’t go higher that *1/2 though because of the knee thing.
Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff catches Big Show talking to Stephanie McMahon. Eric demands to know what one of his guys is doing talking to her, so Show lets him know that he’s angry about not being booked as a main eventer (seriously), and if the booking doesn’t improve soon, he going to break Eric’s neck.
We then get an awesome video package on the Intercontinental Title, highlighting all the champions over the years with clips of many great matches. If they played this video on Smackdown this week, the Title would immediately gain more prestige then it’s had in years. This was that good.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) vs. Tajiri
The Setup: Tajiri was the ref in a match between Noble and Nidia on Smackdown, but they turned on him afterwards and so this match was signed.
The Action: Tajiri starts right off with a baseball slide and an Asai moonsault. Noble quickly takes over however, and the crowd pretty much dies. They do like Tajiri because they get into his comeback which starts with a tornado DDT. He uses he Tarantula, but when he follows up with the kick to the head, Nidia has the ref distracted. This lets Noble get him with the Tiger bomb, but Tajiri kicks out at 2. Tajiri then goes for a victory roll, but Nidia grabs the leg and Noble hooks him for the 3 count to retain at 8:15.
The Verdict: This was a decent match for the time they had to work with, but definitely nothing spectacular. **
Title Unification Match: Intercontinental Champion Kane vs. World Heavyweight Champion Triple H
The Setup: The reason we got that great video package earlier on was that this was hyped as the last ever Intercontinental Title match as it would now be unified with the WHC in order to make sure HHH’s new belt was accepted as legit. HHH’s revelation that Kane had killed his girlfriend Katie Vick also played a part in the buildup of the feud (although the most infamous bit of that angle would take place the next night on Raw).
The Action: Kane beats him down early on, but then they go to the floor where HHH sends him to the post to take over. HHH works a sleeper, but Kane breaks it and comes back which draws Flair out and his interference leads to HHH hitting a belt shot for 2. Hurricane tries attacking Flair, but he’s not a main event guy so HHH just casually Pedigrees him and he’s forced to sell it for the rest of the match. The match continues until HHH ducks a big boot and the ref gets wiped out. Kane then chokeslams HHH through the announce table. Flair tries helping out but gets killed as well. The sledge gets pulled out now, but Kane avoids the shot and hits another chokeslam. A new ref runs in, but Flair pulls him out at 2. Flair then takes a chokeslam, but that leads to HHH hitting Kane with the Pedigree which gets the 3 count from the recovered ref at 16:14.
The Verdict: They were going for something epic here, but never really got to that point, although the crowd was really into it so that helped things out here. The banishment of the IC Title would last for about seven months as I guess by that point they felt the WHC was established enough. **1/2
Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon has called Tracy to her office. Tracy confides in her (and everyone watching at home) that the whole thing about having an affair with Undertaker was a lie designed to break him and his wife up so she could then steal him. Unfortunately for her, Taker was hiding behind the door and with her lie exposed she can be thrown out never to be seen again as they obviously had no idea on where to go with this.
WWE Tag Team Championship Tournament Final: Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle vs. Edge & Rey Mysterio
The Setup: The WWE Tag Team Titles (now renamed the World Tag Team Titles) became Raw exclusive when champions at the time Lance Storm and Christian jumped from Smackdown to Raw. So in response, Stephanie McMahon created her own set of Titles (these would now be called the WWE Tag Team Titles) and held a tournament. Benoit and Angle are doing a deal where they don’t appear to get along, but none the less they beat Billy Kidman & John Cena, and Los Guerreros to make the finals. Meanwhile, Edge and Mysterio picked up wins over Tajiri & Brock Lesnar and Ron Simmons & D-Von Dudley.
The Action: Obviously I wanted to do a show with a Hell in a Cell tie in this week, but it was this match that made me pick this show specifically. It stars with everyone taking turns going back and forth until Edge falls victim to a double team and becomes face in peril. Angle and Benoit kill him for a while, including the triple Germans from Benoit. Benoit then goes up, but Edge meets him and nails a superplex. He makes the hot tag to Mysterio and he runs wild until going up and getting belly to bellied off by Angle. Now they do another heat segment on Rey. They get several nearfalls before he puts Benoit into the post with a headscissors and makes another hot tag to Edge. It breaks down into a tornado match at this point, but I forgive it because it gets great here. All the big moves and finishers are teased and blocked, and eventually hit with guys just making the save for their partner only to be hit by the other guy and the crowd heat for all of it is great. Finally Angle catches Edge in the ankle lock with Benoit taking Rey out. Edge reverses once, but Angle re-reverses and gets the tap out to win the Titles at 21:59.
The Verdict: It was definitely awesome, I loved nearly everything about it, especially the last few minutes following the second hot tag, but I still can’t go as far as calling it a perfect match. For example, instead of trying two heat segments, they probably should have just done one because neither hot tag was as big as one could have been if they’d had time to tease it more. Besides that, it was really great, and a definite highlight of the show. ****1/2
WWE Women’s Championship Match: Trish Stratus vs. Victoria
The Setup: Victoria jumped Trish on Raw several times over the last few weeks, so the match was made for tonight.
The Action: It was definitely better than the other women’s match, but that’s hardly a surprise given who’s involved here. Victoria sends her to the post after the fight on the floor for a bit, and then works her over back in the ring. She hooks an over the shoulder backbreaker at one point which draws a Bruno Sammartino reference. Trish then comes back with her kicks and a couple of swinging neckbreakers. Victoria escapes Stratusfaction, but then immediately gets rolled up for 3 at 5:33. She then attacks Trish after the match so the feud must continue with a hardcore match at Survivor Series.
The Verdict: Well, like I said, it was better than the earlier match, but it definitely wasn’t great or anything. *
Main Event, WWE Championship Hell In A Cell Match: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker
The Setup: Well, it’s October so we gotta have a Cell match. Oh wait, that’s the setup for this year’s matches. These two had a wild brawl at Unforgiven that went to a no contest, so here there actually was a logical reason for sticking them in the Cell for the rematch. Brock also broke Taker’s hand on Smackdown leading up to this to Taker enters the cage with a cast on.
The Action: Taker starts by using the cast as a weapon, and busts Lesnar open with a shot with it early on. Taker then just kills him at will for a bit, running him to the cage multiple times, and so on. Heyman tries getting involved from the other side of the cage, so Taker yanks him into the cage by his tie and he gets busted open too. But that gives Lesnar the opening he needs to start beating Taker with a chair, including several shots to the hand. Lesnar starts ripping the cast off, which takes awhile, but he finally succeeds. This gave Taker the chance to recover though as he then sends Lesnar off the apron to the cage and follows with a dive. Lesnar recovers first though and he nails Taker with the stairs. This gives us our third bladejob of the match, and it’s one of the more gruesome ones you’ll see anywhere. If I were rating these out of ten, Lesnar would get maybe a 2 for drawing a small trickle. Heyman would get a 6 or 7, which is pretty impressive for someone who’s not actually a wrestler. And Taker would break the scale and get an 11 as he’s just immediately covered with blood and it’s dripping everywhere. They get back in the ring and Taker just starts hammering him with the broken hand. I’ll give him a bit of a break on that lack of psychology because earlier on they did show him demanding a shot from the doctor to numb the hand, but regardless it’s not a smart move. We’re coming to the end now as the big moves start getting pulled out. Taker avoids an F5 and hits a chokeslam, but Lesnar kicks out. Lesnar hen makes the mistake of mounting him for punches in the corner and of course gets powerbombed, but he grabs the ropes at 2. That would be fine, except that earlier on they established that this was falls count anywhere so there shouldn’t be any rope breaks. Taker then goes for the Tombstone, but Brock counter and hits the F5 for the pin to retain at 27:18.
The Verdict: This wasn’t a great match, but it was really, really good. Everything here went pretty much exactly as it should have, and while they had a lot of shortcuts at their disposal, they still executed really well except for the few issues with psychology I noted. ***3/4
Overall Thoughts: The Main Event and the Smackdown Tag Title match make this a really good show on their own. The rest of the show is fine, and while there’s nothing special about any of it, nothing sucks either with maybe the exception of the Torrie/Dawn match. It’s a pretty solid Thumbs Up for No Mercy 2002.