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THE BROAD PERSPECTIVE
No Mercy PPV Preview
October 17, 2003

by Erin Anderson
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Smackdown! has a tough act to follow with No Mercy; their last brand-specific pay-per-view, Vengeance, had three of the best matches of the year so far as well as an entertaining brawl in Undertaker/John Cena. Can No Mercy measure up to Vengeance? Given the build-up, I'd say no, but there's still potential for a couple of great matches on the card.

Here's the full rundown, complete with my predictions for the event.

Cruiserweight Championship: Tajiri v. Rey Mysterio

Tajiri has been the cruiserweight champion for nearly a month now, defeating Rey Mysterio for the belt with the use of the green mist. After wreaking havoc on everyone with some wickedly stiff kicks and mists of varying colors, Rey finally gets another chance at the title.

Will the match be good? No doubt. Whether or not it qualifies as "great" will be determined by its length: these two have proven before on Smackdown! that they can go for 15 minutes and have the crowd love every second of it. But if the length of the cruiserweight matches in the past few weeks is any indication, don't be surprised if it doesn't break the six-minute mark.

Who should win: Tajiri. His run as the champion is just beginning, and Mysterio doesn't need the belt. He's already massively over, and not having the belt can give him a chance to play not only with the main-eventers, but in the suffering tag team ranks as well.

Who WILL win: Tajiri.

The REAL White-Boy Challenge: Kurt Angle v. John Cena

This is continuity at its finest: the first time we saw Cena on WWE television, he nearly defeated Angle in an impromptu match and won the crowd over in the process. Since then, Cena's adopted an incredibly successful rapper gimmick, and Kurt became a fan favorite. These two have been jaw-jacking for a while now, and a feud was teased several months back in a hilarious rap by Kurt Angle shortly after he returned from neck surgery. Unfortunately, their verbal confrontations in the weeks leading up to No Mercy just haven't been up to par with that first promo; we've come to expect better than that from these two on the mic.

All that aside, this could be the match that makes Cena a credible main-eventer. We saw Kurt make Cena look like a million bucks in his first WWE match, and this Sunday should be no different. Cena's ringwork is always solid; that put together with Angle's brilliance could make this a contest with the potential to steal the whole show.

Who should win: Cena. Angle's credibility is indestructible, and Cena needs the rub to be a convincing main-eventer.

Who WILL win: Angle got the last laugh on the show before the pay-per-view, so I'm picking Cena to go over clean.

Random Push for the Big Man Match: A-train v. Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit has defeated A-train twice in singles matches this past month, first in a "questionable" pin when A-train's foot was under the ropes, and again after failed interference from Rhyno. If my memory serves me correctly, Benoit has also won in a few other confrontations earlier in the year. As a result, A-train has become obsessed with beating Benoit, and is determined to do so at No Mercy. In the process, he has also blessed the fans with some of the worst guest commentary since Jacqueline co-hosted Sunday Night Heat.

I also don't give a flying fuck about this feud, and the match most likely won't be anything special. A-train is not a bad worker, but he's just not on Benoit's level when it comes to in-ring ability. Benoit will make A-train look good, but I won't be able to watch this match without thinking how much better Benoit v. Rhyno would have been instead.

Who should win: Benoit. He's better in the ring and on the mic than A-train, who hasn't been able to go anywhere no matter how often he's pushed.

Who WILL win: A-train. What's the point of all this if Benoit will just beat him yet again? It's already been established that Benoit can beat A-train (twice!), so this third match is completely unnecessary if it means another victory for the Rabid Wolverine. But if WWE is going to prove me wrong, they couldn't pick a better time than this match to do it.

U.S. Championship: Eddie Guerrero v. Big Show

These two first clashed a few weeks ago after Big Show punked out Eddie backstage. Eddie responded by delivering some tainted burritos to the Big Show, and then took it to another level last week when he drove a sewage truck to the ring and sprayed Show with its contents.

Yeah, the buildup sucked. Until last night, that is, when Big Show completely destroyed both Eddie and his low-rider in a brutal, bloody beat-down that restored my faith in this feud. The match itself will be about as good as a 225-pound man bumping for a 500-pounder's offense can be; Eddie will sell like a champ and make Big Show look like a complete monster, but most of his mat-wrestling and high-flying skills will be neutralized by Show's limitations in the ring.

Who should win: Guerrero. He's on an amazing hot streak right now, and jobbing him to the Big Show probably won't do anything for his momentum.

Who WILL win: I'd guess Guerrero for the reasons listed above, but this is a pick 'em, depending on what WWE plans for Eddie after this. If there was ever any time to have him drop the U.S. belt and head straight into the main event, it's now.

Let's-Give-Matt-Hardy-Something-to-Do Match: Matt Hardy v. Zach Gowen

Offhand, I can't really remember why these two are feuding, nor do I care. I think Matt attacked Zach after one of his matches or something. Or maybe not. I dunno.

Who should win: Hmm… let's see… we have a talented veteran facing off against a one-legged rookie with no muscle mass. You do the math. I admire Zach's courage in getting this far in the wrestling business, but a win here will spit in the face of all conventional logic. Why not have Zach in feuds for the cruiserweight title? That'd be much more up his alley, and far more plausible to the fans.

Who WILL win: Gowen. The kid hasn't won a singles match without outside help yet, and he's gotta win sometime. I would assume WWE feels that Matt's character isn't too important to sacrifice for that cause. 

Father-Daughter I Quit Match: Vince McMahon v. Stephanie McMahon

As the General Manager of Smackdown!, Stephanie was doing just fine. We didn't have to listen to her whiny, screechy heel persona, and her screentime was usually minimal. Until Vince and Sable stuck their noses in everything, that is. The father-daughter tension started back when Mr. America signed with Smackdown! and continued through Zach Gowen's introduction to WWE and Sable acting as Vince's whore. The last straw came when Stephanie refused to change the Undertaker/Lesnar match she made for No Mercy, and so Vince booked this atrocity of a match. If Stephanie quits, she resigns as GM. Should Vince quit, he will step down as WWE Chairman.

The buildup has been long and painful to sit through. The acting from both Vince and Stephanie has been fine, but the material has nearly reached Katie Vick levels in terms of suckitude. This match is very much like the Vince/Hogan contest at this year's Wrestlemania: it won't be a workrate classic, but it has a chance of being entertaining.

Exactly how entertaining it is depends on two things: 1) How far Vince and Steph are willing to go to put on a show for the fans, and 2) how many superstars, if any, will have run-ins. After the show we saw last night, the Undertaker and Jamie Noble could both make appearances on Stephanie's behalf, as could Kurt Angle. On Vince's side, Lesnar, A-train, Tajiri, and the Big Show could also show up. If the match is turned into enough of a schmoz, the fans might not notice how badly it sucks. There should be plenty of heat on this one either way, and the crowd will loudly boo Vince any time he hurts Stephanie, and go completely batshit whenever Steph gets in a lick.

Who should win: Vince. He's bigger and stronger, as well as ruthless enough to beat the shit out of his daughter. Stephanie losing is a no-brainer when you consider that she's getting married the following weekend.

Who WILL win: I'm going to go out on a limb here and pick Stephanie. Why, you ask? First, the smarts all expect Stephanie to lose so she can go off and marry Triple H next weekend. This doesn't have to be the case, though, as Stephanie could win but still easily take off nearly a month to sell injuries she sustains in the match. Second, the casual fans don't realistically expect Stephanie to defeat her father. They may want her to win, but that doesn't mean they think it will happen. If she does it, it will be completely unexpected and still make the fans happy. Stephanie also hasn't gotten the "last laugh" in a confrontation with Vince in a few weeks, so conventional WWE wisdom says that she'll come out the victor on the pay-per-view. And lastly, hasn't Stephanie already lost a few "Loser leaves WWE" matches before? I'd say she's due for a win, and as we all know, this won't really keep Vince off TV forever.

Hey, it's just a theory, and one that will give us a break from Vince for a while.

Biker Chain Match, WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar v. Undertaker

One of the best free-TV matches of the year in Angle v. Undertaker was rudely interrupted when Brock decided to paste both men with a steel chair, and Taker hasn't forgotten it. After Lesnar won the title from Angle in their Iron Man match, Stephanie gave Taker the first shot at Brock's newly-won belt.

The "Biker Chain" stipulation has me scratching my head, though, as it's not a gimmick match that's synonymous with Taker. Come to think of it, it's not a gimmick match that any wrestling fan has ever heard of until last week. They already fought in Hell in a Cell last year, but a Casket Match or Buried Alive Match would make a bit more sense. But the brawl between these two last night involving the chain was entertaining enough, so I'll run with it.

Bother Taker and Brock have had a string of good-to-great matches over the past few months, so I'm expecting a respectable main event out of these two. The quality of the match should be inversely proportional to the stupidity of the "Biker Chain" stipulation; while it looks bad on paper, it might turn out to be less ludicrous in execution. I also wouldn't be surprised to see interference from Vince here, given the mounting tension between him and Taker lately.

Who should win: Lesnar. He can go onto feuds with the likes of Guerrero and Benoit, and it allows Angle to jump back into the title picture at any time. Should Taker win, there aren't a lot of viable heel challengers for the belt.

Who WILL win: Lesnar, with interference from Vince.
  

E-MAIL ERIN
BROWSE THE BROAD'S ARCHIVES

Erin Anderson is an Atlanta native and a student at Georgia State University. Since writing about wrestling didn't go over too well with her English professors, she vents here at Online Onslaught.


  
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