It’s time for another retro WWE review with a look back at the October 2003 event known as No Mercy. It’s a Smackdown brand pay-per-view event.
I did not write a review of this show when it happened in 2003, so it will be fresh to me. I am watching it on WWE Network, so if you think anything is missing blame them. Let’s get to it.
WWE No Mercy
1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, MD
The opening video package focused on WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s relationship with his daughter Stephanie, who was the Smackdown GM. Vince put her in a match with him. It also focused on the Lesnar/Undertaker match for the WWE Title.
The pyro went off in the arena and it looked like a sellout crowd. The announce team of Michael Cole and Tazz welcomed us to the show. The Spanish announce team was also at ringside.
Cruiserweight Championship: Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio
Pre-match notes: Tajiri was a heel champion. On the previous Smackdown, Tajiri spit mist in Nidia’s eyes leading to her angle as a blind woman. Mysterio was the face that was the former champion getting a rematch.
Mysterio applied a leg lock on Tajiri and when Tajiri got to his feet, he applied an armbar. Mysterio came back with an arm drag followed by a dropkick to the knee. When Tajiri went for the handspring elbow, Mysterio nailed a dropkick to the back that sent Tajiri to the floor. Mysterio hit a plancha over the top rope to take out Tajiri on the floor. When Rey went for a move off the top, Tajiri grabbed him by the hand and sent him into the top rope. Tajiri sent Mysterio’s left arm into the ring post as he continued to work on the arm. Mysterio tried a comeback, but Tajiri kicked him in the left arm and a kick to the face earned a two count. Tajiri continued to work on the arm. Mysterio kicked him away, went up top and Tajiri kicked him in the head again. Mysterio came back with a headbutt to knock him down and Mysterio hit a perfect Tornado DDT for a two count. Mysterio with a springboard attack into a cross body block for two. They did a cool spot where Mysterio used his legs to send Tajiri over the top to the floor. Mysterio jumped off the apron with a hurricanrana on the floor. Back in the ring, Mysterio missed a springboard attack and came back with a 619 kick to the ribs of Tajiri. That drew a good reaction. Mysterio went for the West Coast Pop attack off the springboard, but Tajiri nailed a Powerbomb to counter for two. Great nearfall. They did another awesome spot where Tajiri sent Mysterio to the top and Mysterio hit a moonsault for a two count. That was another fantastic nearfall. Tajiri came back with the Tarantula using the ropes. Mysterio rolled through a pinning attempt into a dropkick. Mysterio set up for a 619 and connected with it to a huge ovation. Mysterio hit the West Coast Pop springboard into a hurricanrana. He went for the cover, but a “fan” went into the ring and another fan was around ringside. The ref and security took the fan away. Mysterio got up, so Tajiri capitalized with a hard kick to the head for the pinfall win at 11:40.
Winner by pinfall: Tajiri
The fan in the ring was actually Jimmy Yang, who was going to be a part of a heel “Yakuza” stable for Tajiri, but the group did not get very far in terms of a push.
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a fun match that was a good choice for an opener. It was more of a psychological cruiserweight match where they worked on body parts instead of the high-flying stuff. That’s how Tajiri was because he wasn’t known for moves off the top or dives over the top. The last five minutes were awesome with some great nearfalls and the crowd was into it. Mysterio was already established as the top cruiser in WWE as a face, so giving the win to heel Tajiri was a smart move. It was a very cheap win to cap off a competitive match.
Vince McMahon was walking backstage as Josh Mathews asked him how he feels about facing his daughter in a match. Vince said that it’s personal. Vince said if anybody on the roster tries to interfere, they won’t be employed there or anywhere. Vince made Mathews say “thank you very much” and Vince left.
Chris Benoit vs. A-Train
Pre-match notes: Benoit was the face. A-Train was the heel that was previously known as Albert that got a mild push at this point, but never got very far. A-Train is Matt Bloom, who is now head trainer at WWE’s Performance Center.
A-Train sent Benoit out of the ring early on using his power as the fans chanted “shave your back” at A-Train. A fan brought a “shave your back” sign as well. Train used his power early on leading to a forearm smash that knocked Benoit down. When Benoit attacked with punches, Train shoved him back and Benoit was relentless in coming back. Train nailed a big splash for a two count. Benoit with a drop toe hold, but Train came back with a bicycle kick to the head for two. Train continued on offense by doing a catapult move that sent Benoit’s throat into the middle rope. Train picked him up and dropped him chest first on his knee. Benoit was bleeding from the mouth. When Benoit tried a comeback, Train hit him with a forearm shot to the face to knock him down. Benoit fought out of a submission attempt with a DDT. Train fought out of a suplex and hit a suplex of his own. Train dumped him to the floor. Train rolled him back in and Train grabbed a chair, which doesn’t make sense in a match like this with regular rules. They did a spot where Train picked him up over his head, Benoit fell down and Benoit’s head hit the chair that was on the mat. Train wedged the chair between the top and middle rope. Benoit rolled through to avoid an attack and hit a Crossface. Train powered out, so Benoit hit three German Suplexes on A-Train as the crowd fired up. Benoit up top and Train slammed him off. Clothesline by Train. Train hit the Derailer (two handed Chokeslam) for a two count. Train missed a kick because Benoit moved and Train’s foot hit the chair. Benoit tripped him up and applied the Sharpshooter submission. Train tapped out to give Benoit the win at 12:24.
Winner by submission: Chris Benoit
Analysis: **1/2 An average match. It was physical with Train on offense for much of it, but Benoit did a good job of coming back. Benoit matches at that length were usually better than that because he was one of the best in-ring performers ever. It just wasn’t an exciting match. I had forgotten about the spot with the chair. The bump Benoit took onto the chair looked nasty. Benoit didn’t win with the Sharpshooter often, but it worked with this match. This was the start of Benoit’s major push that saw him win the Royal Rumble in 2004 and the World Title at Wrestlemania 20 two months after that.
Matt Hardy was backstage looking for his buddy Shannon Moore. John Heidenreich was backstage choking Moore. Heidenreich talked about “Little Johnny” and how Matt was supposed to give his tryout tape to Stephanie. Matt told him that he’ll give it to whoever the GM was. Heidenreich apologized and left.
Analysis: Heidenreich was a terrible wrestler. I don’t look forward to when he started having matches. They were not good.
There was a moment to salute the troops that were in the building. They received a standing ovation.
Zach Gowen vs. Matt Hardy (w/Shannon Moore)
Pre-match notes: Gowen was a face that had just a right leg and he took off his prosthetic left leg as he entered. Matt Hardy was a heel doing his “Version 1” gimmick with Shannon Moore as his buddy.
Gowen with a jumping kick to the head. Hardy came back with a body slam. Gowen came back with a bulldog off the middle ropes. When Gowen went for a springboard attack, Moore grabbed the ropes and Gowen took a fall while the ref was distracted by Matt. Corner clothesline by Matt, head into the top rope and Hardy nailed a clothesline. Leg drop by Hardy for a two count. Gowen came back by sending Hardy face first into the middle turnbuckle. Hardy came back with a front slam. Hardy went up top for a moonsault, but Gowen moved out of the way. Gowen nailed a running dropkick. Gowen vaulted himself to the top rope and hit a flip dive onto Hardy on the floor. That was impressive. Back in the ring, Gowen hit a top rope cross body block for two. Hardy came back with the Side Effect that was good for two. They battled by the ropes again. Gowen fought him off, Hardy landed on the mat and Gowen nailed a perfect moonsault for the pinfall win at the 5:33 mark.
Winner by pinfall: Zach Gowen
The announcers put over Gowen’s first win with Cole yelling about how impressive it was.
Analysis: *1/4 A huge upset win for Gowen. It was an odd booking decision because it was Gowen’s first win and he was out of the company later in the month. There were reports that it was due to injury, but I think WWE lost interest in booking him after his initial run in the summer.
Vince McMahon was in his locker room as his wife Linda McMahon showed up. Linda told Vince not to go through with this. Linda said that Vince is doing something he cannot come back from. Vince said he’s going to go through with the match saying he can win by Submission, while Stephanie can win by Pinfall or Submission. Vince said that this match is No Holds Barred. Linda was frustrated and she left.
Analysis: Vince was really over the top as a heel at this point. Five years earlier he was a mean heel, but he took it to another level since he made it more personal with Stephanie.
The APA duo of Bradshaw and Farooq greeted troops at ringside. A clip aired of Bradshaw crushing Shaniqua (the manager of the Bashams) with the Clothesline From Hell last month.
APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq) vs. The Basham Brothers (Danny & Doug)
Analysis: The Basham Brothers were the heels. They were not really brothers, but looked similar with shaved heads. APA guys were the faces.
Faarooq with a back elbow on Doug followed by a slam. Danny tagged in and was dropped with a drop toe hold by Faarooq. Bradshaw tagged in for a double spinebuster. Faarooq tagged back in as the faces did a double shoulderblock. Danny with a jawbreaker on Faarooq. Doug was back, Bradshaw brought him out of the ring and beat him up on the floor a bit. The heels did a double team double back suplex that the ref didn’t see because he tried to keep Bradshaw out of the ring. Double team suplex by the Bashams on Faarooq. Doug had Faarooq grounded in the ring with a headlock and Danny entered with a headlock of his own. Faarooq came back with a Spinebuster. Bradshaw got the hot tag against Doug with Bradshaw hitting boots to the face, clothesline in the corner and a stiff Powerbomb by Bradshaw on Doug for a two count. Danny poked Bradshaw in the eye. Bradshaw dumped Doug to the floor and hit a fallaway slam on Danny. Bradshaw gave a fallaway slam on Doug off the middle rope for a two count as Danny made the save. Faarooq missed Danny with a clothesline and hit the ref. That was a bad looking bump. Bad as in it looked too fake. Bradshaw hit the Clothesline from Hell on Danny. Shaniqua went into the ring and hit Bradshaw in the back of the head with a club. Doug went into the ring and hit a leg lariat to Bradshaw. The ref woke up, counted the pin and the Bashams got the win at the 8:55 mark.
Winners by pinfall: The Basham Brothers
Analysis: 1/2* That was a boring match. At least it accomplished a goal by having the younger team getting a win over the veterans. Cheap win thanks to the surprise appearance from Shaniqua. The match was designed to give a win to the Bashams.
The Bashams and Shaniqua were interviewed by Josh Mathews backstage. She said it will take more than a clothesline from hell to keep her down. She added that the clothesline did this…she pointed at her breasts and said it was swelling in her chest. The Bashams were excited that it was permanent. She told them that they deserve to be rewarded. She ended it saying, “let’s go and whip it good.”
Analysis: The story was that Bradshaw’s clothesline led to Shaniqua having larger breasts. In other words, they used that move to explain her breast implants. What a bizarre way to explain the change in her appearance. It was a dominatrix angle with her having control over Doug and Danny. She didn’t have a long career in WWE after winning a Tough Enough season.
A long video package aired about the Vince McMahon/Stephanie McMahon storyline. It took a few months to reach this point with Stephanie in the role as the GM of Smackdown. If Stephanie loses then she will no longer be the GM of Smackdown. Vince said if Stephanie wins he’ll resign as WWE Chairman of the Board. Vince: “May God have mercy on your soul because I won’t.” The video was well done and lasted nearly four minutes.
Stephanie McMahon was with her mother Linda McMahon, who was WWE CEO at this point. She gave up that position when she ran for office a few years later.
Sable made her entrance alone. She was Vince’s mistress in the story. Vince McMahon looked ridiculously ripped and as big as ever.
No Holds Barred I Quit Match: Vince McMahon (w/Sable) vs. Stephanie McMahon (w/Linda McMahon)
Pre-match notes: Vince was the heel boss and Stephanie was the face GM. Vince was 58 years old and Stephanie was 27 years old.
Vince knocked down Stephanie with a shoulder tackle followed by a hair whip across the ring. Vince hit Stephanie in the ribs with two shoulder tackles. Vince choked Stephanie across the middle rope leading to Sable hitting Stephanie with a slap to the face. Linda went after Sable on the floor, but Vince stood in front of Sable to prevent anything from happening. Fans unleashed a loud “Asshole” chant for Vince. Back in the ring, Stephanie hit Vince with two kicks to the chest and Vince came back with a hard clothesline. Vince put on a half crab submission to try to make Stephanie quit, but she yelled “no” repeatedly. Vince did another submission where he drove his knee to Stephanie’s back and she yelled “no” repeatedly. Vince turned it into a choke while the announcers talked about how sick this is. Sable grabbed a pipe from under the ring. Linda went over to her and tripped her on the apron. Vince grabbed Linda, so Linda slapped him in the face. Stephanie with a low blow to Vince with her fist and she used the pipe for a low blow. Stephanie with a rollup for two. Great nearfall that the crowd bought into. Stephanie had the lead pipe in her hand, she hit Vince in the ribs with it and she hit him in the back. Stephanie hit Vince in the face with the pipe. Stephanie jumped off the middle rope with the pipe, hit Vince in the head and Vince got his foot on the bottom rope. Another good nearfall. Sable was on the apron. The ref tried to get her down. Vince went for a body slam, Steph slipped out, shoved Vince into Sable to knock Sable off the apron and Steph hit a bulldog on Vince for two. Steph went for another attack with the pipe, but Vince grabbed her by the throat and shoved her down. Vince hit Stephanie in the ribs with the pipe. Fans chanted “Asshole” again. Vince choked Stephanie with the pipe around her throat. Fans chanted “you suck” at Vince. It lasted about 30 seconds and Linda threw in the towel to end the match.
Winner: Vince McMahon by forfeit
Analysis: *1/2 Tough match to rate. It was more of a story than a match. The three big nearfalls for Stephanie were really well done with the crowd buying into them as the potential finish of the match. It was no surprise that Vince ended up getting the win even though the crowd would have loved to see Stephanie get the win.
Analysis x2: This match also took place six days before Stephanie got married to Triple H. What a weird family to do this kind of match less than a week before her wedding. She was removed as GM and Paul Heyman took over in that role.
After the match was over, Linda checked on Stephanie in the ring. Vince grabbed Linda by the hair. Vince put his hand on Linda’s face and shoved her down. Cole stated that in 37 years of marriage, it was the first-time Vince ever put his hands on Linda like that. Vince left the ring and got a quick congratulatory kiss on the lips from Sable. Doctors and referees went into the ring to check on Stephanie. Vince left arm and arm with Sable as Stephanie got checked on by doctors. Stephanie waved goodbye to the fans as she went up the ramp.
Analysis: It was the only Father vs. Daughter match in WWE history. It may never happen again and that’s probably a good thing.
The announcers talked about how disgusting that last match was with Vince pushing his daughter around like that.
A video package aired about John Cena’s feud with Kurt Angle. Cena was still in the heel role that was doing his rap routine. Angle was a face that did some comedy raps of his own including when he dressed like Cena and tapped to a little person dressed like Angle. It was all about Cena proving he could be a bigger star against a former WWE Champion like Angle.
Cena walked out first wearing a Bo Jackson jersey with his padlock chain around his neck. When he got into the ring, he did a rap saying you don’t want to mess with him because he’s like a prostitute with herpes. He also added that Angle’s “you suck” shirt had to change because Angle swallows. The fans greeted Angle with “you suck” chants even though he was a face because the story was that it was out of respect. Great ovation for Angle.
Analysis: This was Cena’s last PPV match as a heel. He ripped on the faces he was again, but he won over the fans a lot because he was a cool heel due to the creative raps.
Kurt Angle vs. John Cena
Pre-match notes: Angle was the face that lost the WWE Title to Brock Lesnar one month earlier. Cena was a heel on the rise.
They did some mat wrestling early on with Angle having the advantage after a couple of minutes. There was a “Let’s go Angle/Let’s go Cena” chant. When Cena went for a takedown, Angle slipped out and did a double middle finger salute. Cena ran the ropes and hit a shoulder block to knock down Angle. Back body drop by Angle as the crowd chanted for both guys. Angle came back with a running shoulder tackle to the stomach. Angle whipped Cena into the corner, he charged, Cena moved and Angle went crashing shoulder first into the ring post. They went back into the ring with Cena taking control with a clothesline. Corner clothesline by Cena followed by a neckbreaker for a two count. Cena hit a back elbow for a two count. Angle tried to come back, but Cena hit a knee to the gut to knock him down. Spinning slam by Cena for a two count. Cena grounded angle with a headlock. The crowd started the “Let’s go Angle/Let’s go Cena” chant again. Angle back to his feet again and Cena dropped him with a Spinebuster. Cena went up top, he jumped off with something and Angle hit a dropkick to the left leg. That looked like a nasty landing for Cena. Angle ran the ropes with a forearm, two clotheslines and a Russian legsweep earned a two count for Angle. Angle tripped him up and applied the Ankle Lock, but Cena grabbed the bottom rope. Angle’s mouth was bleeding also. Angle with a dropkick that sent Cena into the side of the announce table. They battled on the ring apron, Cena fought off a suplex attempt and Cena hit a DDT on the apron. Great spot that looked nasty. Angle stumbled back into the ring before the count of ten.
Cena jumped off the middle rope with a leg drop to the back of the head for a two count. Angle hit a German Suplex on Cena, but Cena came back with a dropkick and the Throwback neckbreaker for a two count. Angle with a rollup for two. Angle with a German Suplex, there’s a second one and third German Suplex with a release for a two count. Cena fought back with knees to the head and a corner clothesline. Cena picked up Angle with a Powerbomb into the turnbuckle. It was not as vicious as what Seth Rollins did in recent years, but it was still a nasty looking move. That earned a two count for Cena. Cena picked up Angle, put him on his shoulders and hit the FU for a two count as Angle got his shoulder up. Great nearfall to have Angle kick out of his finisher. Cena was stunned that Angle kicked out, so it gave Angle time to recover and Angle hit the Angle Slam for a two count. Another great nearfall. Cena picked up his chain that was in the corner, but referee Jimmy Korderas took it away from him. Cena also had the Angle gold medal (not really the Olympic gold medal) in his hands and punched Angle in the head with it, which the ref missed. Angle kicked out at two. Backslide by Angle earned a two count. They each went for finishers again, but Angle rolled through. Angle applied the Ankle Lock. Angle dropped down to wrap up the leg of Cena on the mat. Cena couldn’t take anymore, so he tapped out. Angle won by submission at 18:28.
Winner by submission: Kurt Angle
The crowd gave Angle a great ovation for the win. The announcers put over Cena for having a great match. Angle saluted troops at ringside after his win.
Analysis: **** Great match four stars out of five. It was probably Cena’s best match from that year while Angle had a lot of matches at that level or better since he was such an incredible performer. If you give Angle that much time on a pay-per-view you know the match is going to be awesome every time. It was smart by WWE to put Cena in a featured match like this against Angle with a lot of time to tell a story and for Cena to show what he can do. Cena is a better worker these days 14 years later because of his experience, but he wasn’t that bad in 2003 when in there with a great performer like Angle. In the first few years of Cena’s career, Angle was one of his best opponents. If you haven’t watched a lot of Cena’s matches from this time period, I recommend checking out this one because it showed how much potential he had. Plus, if you listen to the crowd reaction you can understand why he turned face very soon after this match. Cena was a cool heel that WWE realized was going to be a big face, so that’s why he turned.
There were members of the Baltimore Ravens sitting at ringside.
A video aired of Eddie Guerrero using a sewage truck to spray Big Show repeatedly two weeks earlier. On the previous Smackdown, Show got revenge with a Powerbomb on the car and a Chokeslam on the car.
United States Championship: Eddie Guerrero vs. Big Show
Pre-match notes: Eddie was the face champion while Show was the heel challenger. Eddie had scars and tape on his back to sell the beating that Show did on the car on the previous Smackdown. Guerrero was US Champion for about three months going into this match.
Guerrero used his speed early on as he avoided Show’s attacks. Guerrero ran the ropes and Show hit a clothesline. Headbutt by Show knocked him down. Show stomped on Guerrero’s back and pounded on him in the back repeatedly. Guerrero got some offense after Show was leaning over the top rope and Guerrero hit him in the head to knock him down. Guerrero tossed a chair into the ring. The ref grabbed it and tossed hit out of the ring. Guerrero hit Show in the head with a garbage can, which ref Nick Patrick didn’t see. Apparently he is deaf too. Guerrero worked on Show with some chops and punches. They went to the floor with Show sending Guerrero into the ring post. Show tossed Guerrero into the post again. Back in the ring, Show kicked at the back of Guerrero to continue to weaken him. Show hit a hard chop to the lacerated back of Guerrero. Show ripped off a turnbuckle pad to expose the turnbuckle. Show whipped Guerrero hard into the exposed turnbuckle to continue to weaken him. Guerrero stunned him by sending Show face first into the exposed turnbuckle. Guerrero jumped off the top with an attack for two as Show powered out Show went for a leg drop, Guerrero moved and Show hit a leg drop on the ref. Guerrero pulled out brass knuckles from his tights and punched Show in the head. Guerrero covered, the ref slowly went over to count and it got a two count for Guerrero. The ref was still dazed, so Guerrero grabbed the US Title and hit Show in the head with it. Guerrero up top and he hit a Frog Splash. The ref slowly made the count, but Show got his shoulder up at two again. Guerrero charged at Show and Show dropped him with a Spinebuster for two. Show picked up Guerrero and hit a Chokeslam, but Guerrero got his foot on the bottom rope. Guerrero with a low blow kick to the groin that the ref didn’t see and Guerrero hit a DDT. Guerrero slow covered for a two count. Show got back to his feet, he hit a Chokeslam and covered Guerrero to win at 11:27.
Winner by pinfall and New United States Champion: Big Show
Analysis: **1/4 It was a dominant win by Show where he kicked out of brass knuckles and Eddie’s finisher. Guerrero went into the match hurting, which was built up well in the match. The last few minutes were really well done. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but this was done to get the US Title off Eddie, so that he could get the push to the main event leading to the WWE Title win a few months later. Show held the title until WrestleMania 20 when he dropped it to Cena.
After the match was over, Chavo Guerrero went into the ring to remind Eddie they are still the tag champs. Eddie was upset about the title loss.
Analysis: They did their split soon after this to further push Eddie as a face.
Big Show was interviewed backstage by Josh Mathews. Show said he told us that he would beat Eddie and he gave him a beating that only a 7’2” 500 pound giant could give. Show added that nobody can take the title from him.
The video package aired for Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker in a “Biker Chain Match” for the WWE Title. Lesnar was the heel champion that destroyed a lot of people on the Smackdown roster. It led to Undertaker stepping up to set up the first ever Biker Chain match for the WWE Championship.
The Undertaker made his entrance on his motorcycle because he was still in his biker Taker look. That lasted for about one more month. Great ovation for him. I also liked the “You’re Gonna Pay” song he had. Undertaker had a brace on his left arm around the elbow.
Brock Lesnar walked out alone with the WWE Title around his waist. He was booed as a heel champion.
Analysis: They had two PPV matches in 2002 that were built up better than this match. It was fine, but not as good as the road to their Hell in a Cell match in 2002.
WWE Championship – Biker Chain Match: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
Pre-match notes: Lesnar was the heel champion and Undertaker was the face. The biker chain was on a pole. If somebody grabs the biker chain, they can use it. Other than that, no DQ rules are in place. I usually write “Taker” for Undertaker during his matches. Less typing.
Lesnar with shoulder tackles to the ribs of Taker. Lesnar whipped him across the ring and missed a shoulder tackle, so Lesnar hit the ring post. Taker with an arm wringer, but Lesnar fought back to avoid the clothesline off the ropes. Taker with a boot to the face followed by a leg drop for two. He just did the Hogan combo. Sorry brother, but you can’t win with that. Taker hit the Old School rope walk leading to a punch to Lesnar’s shoulder. Elbow to the face by Taker sent Lesnar to the floor. Lesnar whipped Undertaker hard into the ring steps with Taker taking the bump right on his knees. Back in the ring, Lesnar with a suplex as he took control. Taker tried to get control back with a boot to the face, but Lesnar moved and Taker’s leg was up against the turnbuckle. Taker draped Lesnar’s neck across the top rope to stun him. Lesnar shoved Taker off the apron to send him crashing into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, Taker took control with a leaping clothesline. Taker nailed a stun gun like move using the ropes. Taker did a slow climb to grab the biker chain that was on the pole. The lights in the arena went out, so Taker wasn’t able to grab the chain. Lesnar came back with a powerslam in the center of the ring for a two count.
Lesnar brought the top half of the steel steps into the ring. Undertaker tried a whip into the ropes, but Lesnar did a drop toe hold that sent Taker into the steps. Taker fought back with punches as well as a clothesline that sent Lesnar over the top to the floor. Taker followed him out of the ring. Taker hit a piledriver on the bottom half of the steel steps. That looked nasty. Crowd chanted “holy shit” for it. Taker went to climb for the chain again, but Lesnar grabbed him to prevent him. Taker did a triangle choke using the ropes. Lesnar fought back with a low blow uppercut punch, which is okay in a match with no disqualifications. Lesnar picked up the steps and hit Taker in the face with them, which was good for a two count. When Lesnar picked up the steps again, Undertaker hit them with a boot as the steps fell on top of Lesnar. Taker picked up the steps, charged in and Lesnar moved to avoid them, so Taker sent the steps to the floor. Lesnar climbed up for the chain, but Undertaker was right underneath him and powered him out teasing a Last Ride. Lesnar slipped out of it and they did a double clothesline spot.
Taker was in control with two clotheslines in the corner, snake eyes into the turnbuckle and a boot to the face. Lesnar avoided a Chokeslam and hit a spinebuster for two count. Taker came back with a Triangle Choke submission on Lesnar’s head/arm area. Lesnar powered out with a slam. Taker went for a Dragon Sleeper, but Lesnar fought out of it and Lesnar hit the F5. When Lesnar covered, Taker got his foot on the bottom rope. Lesnar climbed up the ropes going for the chain, but Taker got back up. Taker hit a Chokeslam off the top rope. Taker went to climb up the pole, but Nunzio, Palumbo and Johnny the Bull from the FBI went to the ring. They went after Taker. Taker dumped out all three guys easily. Taker hit the Last Ride Powerbomb on Lesnar. Taker ran the ropes and jumped over the top to take out Chuck and Johnny on the floor. Nunzio tried to get the chain, but Taker knocked him down with a punch. Taker pulled down the chain as the crowd went wild. Vince McMahon showed up at ringside and he shoved Taker off the top rope to crotch him. Lesnar had the chain. Lesnar hit Taker in the head with the chain and pinned him for the win at the 24:14 mark.
Winner by pinfall: Brock Lesanr
After the win, McMahon ran up the ramp and went to the back alone.
Analysis: **1/4 The match went too long and was too slow at times for me to say it as above average. I think the match was hurt by the fact that they went nearly 25 minutes. Cut out 7-10 minutes and it would have been a better match. The crowd was dead for a lot of it until Taker finally got his hands on the biker chain. The interference from McMahon led to Taker vs. McMahon at Survivor Series one month later. Undertaker looked strong despite the loss because of all the interference that took place as well as the lights going out when he nearly got the chain the first time. That was part of the story because it was McMahon that would have done that. They had better matches in 2002, especially at No Mercy 2002 when it was a Hell in a Cell match. I assume WWE didn’t like the match that much since they didn’t do a biker chain match again as far as I can remember.
After the match, they showed a replay of the finish. McMahon showed up at ringside by coming from under the ring. The announcers had no idea how he got there.
Lesnar ended the show by celebrating with the WWE Title still in his hands.
The show had a run time of 2 hours, 43 minutes on WWE Network.
Five Stars Of The Show
1. Kurt Angle
2. John Cena
3. Rey Mysterio
5. Brock Lesnar
Best Match: Kurt Angle vs. John Cena (**** out of five)
Worst Match: Basham Brothers vs. APA (1/2*)
Overall Rating (out of 10): 5.5
It was an average show. The Angle/Cena match was very good. I had forgotten about the match aside from the match. I’m glad they got a lot of time and had a competitive match like they did. Mysterio vs. Tajiri was a well booked opening match as well. A lot of the match finishes were done to set up stories for the future rather than putting an end to rivalries.
This was such a bizarre show with a few memorable things:
– A father vs. daughter match.
– Cena’s last match as a heel. Yes, he was booed a lot in other matches in his career, but this was his last major match where he was promoted as a heel.
– The first ever biker chain match for the WWE Title.
– A woman talking about her larger breasts that were the result of a clothesline in the storyline, of course.
– A one legged man won his first match.
It was a weird period for Smackdown in late 2003, but the talent was good and there were some awesome matches once in a while.
Next Up: Survivor Series 2003. I wrote that review in November last year, so it should be up soon.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]