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WWE No Mercy
October 20, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


In the first major gimmick match of his rookie campaign, Brock Lesnar decisively defeated the Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell contest.  The bloody and brutal affair was a departure from most HitC matches insofar as there was no on-top-of-the-cage brawling, nor any one single signature highspot.  However, Taker's stomach-churningly graphic crimson mask was more than enough to still distinguish this from just any other match.

Lesnar was joined in the Successful Title Defense Club by Triple H, who managed a pinfall victory over Kane (thanks in no small part to Ric Flair and a sledgehammer).  But the highlight of the night had to be the outstanding Tag Tournament Final, which saw Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle get a win over Edge and Rey Mysterio.

Here are the match-by-match results from the just-completed WWE No Mercy pay-per-view:

  • Chris Jericho and Christian retained the World Tag Team Titles, defeating Booker T and Goldust.  Pretty standard fare here, until about the 10 minute mark, when Jericho went for a Lionsault, only to have the second ring rope snap free from the steel post.  The four men quickly regrouped and didn't let the missing ring rope affect the course of the match, though.  Booker and Christian started brawling at ringside, and occupied the referee's attention when Jericho hit a bulldog onto a tag title belt on Goldust.  Jericho followed up with a moonsault to score the pin on Goldust.  Nothing particularly special about this one...  I think most everybody who saw it will remember it more for the rope breaking than anything else.
  • Torrie Wilson beat Dawn Marie in what wound up being a bit more involved than just a cat fight.  The two traded some basic wrestling holds, but the crowd only really perked up when they started rolling around on the mat with each other (and with an intrepid referee who put his own well-being at risk by inserting himself into the fray to try to break it up).  Torrie got the pin following a neckbreaker.  This one went like 5 or 6 minutes, which given what they could do was maybe a bit too long, but I guess I can't really find too much to bitch about from an eye candy perspective...
  • Rob Van Dam scored a pinfall win over Ric Flair.  After a hot start from RVD, Flair controlled almost the entire rest of the match by going after Van Dam's left knee.  RVD could not sustain any real offense, but was able to reach the ropes when Flair finally built up to the Figure Four at about the 7 minute mark.  When Flair went to re-apply the hold, RVD was able to counter, and went directly into the Rolling Thunder, followed by a Five Star Frog Splash for the win.  A decent little 9-10 minute match, but again, short on sizzle.
  • Jamie Knoble got a win over Tajiri, retaining his Cruiserweight Title in the process. Good action here, and the first match to draw some audible oohs and ahhs out of the crowd, mostly for Tajiri's assortment of wickedly stiff kicks.  The finish came when Tajiri went for a Victory Roll, only to have Nidia grab on to Knoble's ankle, giving him the necessary leverage to counter into a pinning combination of his own.  After the match, Tajiri looked like he was going to attack Nidia for her interference, but instead, he kissed her.  When Knoble decided to show Tajiri how Nidia likes to be kissed, Tajiri kicked him in the back of the head, effectively taking out both Knoble and Nidia.  A little on the short side (not much longer than the Torrie/Dawn match), but the first memorably good match of the night.
  • Triple H pinned Kane to retain his World Heavyweight Title.  These two got off to kind of a slow start, but picked up the pace after the opening five or so minutes.  Kane had managed to secure the advantage at about the 10 minute mark, at which point Ric Flair came out to try to help out HHH.  In response, the Hurricane came out to try to even the odds...  however, HHH was able to quickly eliminate Hurricane with a Pedigree outside the ring, while Flair remained a factor for the rest of the match.  Following a ref bump, Flair introduced a sledgehammer into the match; when Kane looked to be going for a Tombstone piledriver, HHH used it to hit Kane in the ribs.  He followed up with a spear in the corner to further soften up Kane's mid-section.  With Kane doubled over, it was easy to hit the Pedigree and get the pinfall win.  The most interesting part of the first part of the match was listening to JR try to keep the focus on the match, and not on Lawler's fixation on the silly soap opera storyline that set up the match.  Luckily, the final few minutes with Flair and Hurricane and all were really well put together:  busy and dramatic without feeling over-booked.
  • Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit defeated Edge and Rey Mysterio to win the new exclusive-to-SmackDown! WWE Tag Team Titles.  An absolutely spectacular match, managing to eclipse the Hell in the Cell contest for Match of the Night.  We started off a little bit slow, with Angle and Rey establishing what a jerk Angle is (Angle basically toyed with Rey, and then told him to tag in his non-midget tag partner).  That, of course, led to a brief heat sequence for Rey.  However, we eventually settled in with Edge getting beat down by the heels for a few minutes.  That was followed by a hot tag to Rey, who then found himself on the defensive again, setting up the rare Second Hot Tag.  When Edge came in at about the 15 minute mark, we got a big time escalation in the action (which had been good already up to this point).  Edge and Rey had some sweet double team moves (including a smoother version of that springboard into a top rope rana thing they did on SD this week), and we pretty much had all four men involved for the remaining 8 or so minutes of the match.  The finish came with Edge and Angle as the legal men in the ring (Rey had taken out Benoit with a dive to the outside, and both men were down for the count); they each managed to counter an anklelock, but Angle was finally able to cinch one in good enough that Edge was forced to tap out.  Fantastic match, and when Michael Cole said he wanted to stand up and applaud all four men afterwards, it didn't seem like a ridiculous sentiment.
  • Trish Stratus beat Victoria to hold on to the Women's Title.  More physical and technical than the previous women's match, but not as smooth or crisp as you may have hoped.  The finish had Victoria counter the Stratusfaction bulldog, only to fall prey to a schoolgirl roll-up.  This was probably placed here to "rest" the crowd after the hot tag match, and was a completely serviceable choice to do it.  
  • In the main event, Brock Lesnar pinned the Undertaker to retain the WWE Heavyweight Title.  Taker used his cast to bloody Lesnar within the first minute or two of the match, and actually remained pretty firmly in control for the first 10 minutes or so.  When Paul Heyman tried to reach into the cage (through one of the holes cut for cameras and climbing purposes), Taker even took the assault to Heyman, using his tie to pull him face-first into the cage.  Heyman bled pretty heavily as a result.  But while Taker was distracted by Heyman, Lesnar was able to regroup and get his first real good shots in on Taker.  A pissed-off Heyman even handed his leather belt into the cage for Lesnar to use.  Using the belt to bind Taker's right hand to the cage, Lesnar went to town on the hand with a steel chair.  The shots were stiff enough to actually snap the leather belt, and also to cause the cast to start coming loose (Lesnar eventually just pulled the whole damn thing off).  As the brawling continued at ringside, Lesnar used the steel ring steps to hit Taker in the head.  A quick blade job later, and Taker was bleeding excessively; it was honestly about the most gruesome crimson mask I can recall.  Without his cast to protect his hand, and with blood literally gushing out of his head, Taker fought on, even briefly gaining the advantage over Lesnar.  Lesnar, however, had too much left in the tank, kicking out following a chokeslam, and then managing to reverse a Tombstone piledriver attempt directly into an F-5 for the pinfall win.  After the match, Lesnar celebrated on the top of the Cell with his title belt.  A very engrossing main event, one that substituted some psychology and storytelling (and lots of blood) for the usual HitC agenda of jaw-dropping high spots, and did so to good effect.

This is one of those shows that is hard to render a verdict on...  the tag tourney final and the Hell in the Cell main event were pretty much the sole highlights.  And you could argue that two matches out of eight is not a very good hit rate.

But these highlights were really impressive highlights, and at around 25 minutes each, they accounted for almost an hour of ring time and nearly a third of the overall broadcast.  That's a substantial contribution.  Enough that I find myself wanting to recommend this PPV, even if it is with the caveat that you could probably fast forward all the RAW stuff and just watch the SD!-branded matches.

In fact, that gives me an idea:  they want these two brands to be so totally distinct?  OK, I'll give you two distinct assessments of the No Mercy PPV...

The RAW branded segments were tepid and mostly forgettable, the result of storylines that ranged from hastily-thrown-together at best all the way to downright awful and silly at worst.  Thumbs Down.

The SmackDown!-branded segments gave us the night's three best matches, including a tag title match that was so good it even managed to overshadow the ever-popular Cell.  Thumps Up.

We'll have more No Mercy PPV fall-out and opinion coming up on Monday.  Stop back to check it all out.   


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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