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Dark Pegasus Video Review: No Mercy 2003

August 11, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: No Mercy 2003  

No Mercy 2003
by J.D. Dunn

I should point out that, while the actual angle is pretty silly, the opening video package for the match between Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon is one of the best they’ve ever done. It comes in second only to Mick Foley’s career-ending promo at No Way Out 2000

“I love you, Daddy.”

  • October 10, 2003
  • Live from Baltimore, Mary.
  • Your hosts are Michael Cole and Tazz.

  • Cruiserweight Title: Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio.
    Tajiri had a weird summer where he and Eddy Guerrero formed a tag team, but Eddy turned heel on him when Tajiri had the nerve to land on his low rider after getting thrown out of the ring. The problem is that the fans sided with Eddy! So now Eddy is a babyface, and the WWE was forced to turn Tajiri heel so he spewed the dreaded BLACK MIST into Nidia’s eyes. They sell it as though Nidia may be permanently blinded, but I believe the traditional affects of the Black Mist are paralysis. They go 50/50 early with Rey even trading kicks with Tajiri to show he’s not afraid of Tajiri. Tajiri targets Rey’s shoulder with kicks and holds. Rey comes back with a Tornado DDT and a springboard crossbody for two. Tajiri tries to toss Rey to the outside, but Rey grabs the ropes and hits a 619 to Tajiri’s gut. WEST COAST PO—NO! Tajiri counters the West Coast Pop to a powerbomb! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Tajiri tosses Rey overhead, but Rey lands on the top rope and hits a moonsault block! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Awesome! Tajiri locks in the Tarantula, but the Buzzsaw Kick misses. Rey rolls through a powerbomb for two and catapults Tajiri into position for the 619. 619! WEST COAST POP! ONE, TWO, TH-Oh, but some fans jump into the ring and have to be hauled off by security and Referee Brian Hebner. Tajiri uses that distraction to hit a thrust kick and pick up the win at 11:41. Those fans would later be revealed as Akio (Jimmy Wang Yang) and Sakoda. Excellent match up until the finish. It’s too bad Rey couldn’t go like this during his title reign. ***1/4

  • Vince McMahon goes on a power trip because his own people don’t like it when he beats up his daughter.
  • A-Train vs. Chris Benoit.
    A-Train was outliving his usefulness at this point. The sad thing is that there was allegedly a backstage power struggle in late 2002 between Michael Hayes and Johnny Ace over who should get a big heel push – A-Train or Matt Hardy. Ace won that, and A-Train wound up destroying Rey Mysterio and picking a fight with Edge (which would have made SO much more sense if it were Hardy), but then, after all that, both he *and* the Big Show got squashed by the Undertaker. To his credit, Benoit tries to make A-Train look like the next Vader. A-Train overpowers him and does a lot of clubbing forearms. He hits a nice butterfly shoulderbreaker, but Benoit gets his foot on the ropes. A-Train turns to argue with the ref, allowing Benoit to come back. He runs right into a Polish Hammer, though. Cole and Tazz note that Benoit is bleeding from the mouth, but they say they WWE’s not going to stop a match for blood loss. Oh, see because they’re in Baltimore, and the NWA did that 15 years earlier! Time to let it go. A-Train reverses a German Suplex to one of his own. He tosses a chair in the ring and tries to press slam Benoit. Unfortunately, he actually stumbles over his own chair and drops Benoit right on his face. Geez. No wonder his brain was swollen. A-Train gets rattled and doesn’t know what to do for the rest of the match. Benoit rolls him over into the Crossface, but A-Train powers up and slams him. A-Train thinks about going up but then comes back in and gets two off the Derailer. Um, *Benoit* was the one just dropped on his head. He should be the one with no sense of direction. Benoit kicks out of the Derailer, so A-Train tries a Bicycle Kick but puts his foot through the chair, which was wedged in the corner. Benoit yanks him out and finishes with the Sharpshooter at 12:20. Christ on a Cracker! No wonder they got rid of him. Thankfully for Matt Bloom, Japan came calling and he had a career rebirth as “Giant Bernard.” **1/4

  • In the back, Heidenreich says that he talked to Little Johnny, and apparently Matt Hardy threw away his audition tape. Matt denies it, but having seen the epic Undertaker/Heidenreich feud, I wish he did.
  • Matt Hardy (w/Shannon Moore) vs. Zach Gowen.
    Hardy got a cheap win over Gowen to set this up. Young Zachary fares well early with his one-legged offense. Shannon Moore blocks his quebrada, though, allowing Matt to take over. Meh. Matt gets a lot of heat, but there’s not a lot going on. Gowen comes back with more spinning wheel kicks and a springboard somersault plancha. Back in, Matt puts Gowen on the top for a backdrop superplex, but Gowen elbows him back to the canvas and scores the upset with a moonsault at 5:33. Gowen got a decent pop, but he was basically the same as Colin Delaney today. He didn’t have anything going for him other than the freakshow aspect, though, and he got to be too much of a pain in the ass to keep around. **

  • In the back, Gigantic Linda McMahon confronts Vince. Oh, turns out that was just the camera angle. She wants him to call off the match tonight. Vince offers to handicap the match by saying he can only win by making Steph submit, but she can win by pinfall or submission. However, he’s going to make it “No Holds Barred.” As opposed to all those other “I Quit” matches where you can be disqualified?
  • The APA vs. The Bashams.
    I’m not sure what the Bashams problem is. They did well in OVW as singles, but when it came to translating that to the WWE (and later TNA), they just flopped. I mean, you can chalk up their TNA failure to residual failure from the WWE, but they just don’t connect with the audience in any way. It probably didn’t help that their gimmick seemed to be a sadomasochistic version of Right Said Fred. Come to think of it, I probably could have left off “sadomasochistic version.” Oh, by the way, their execution in this match is horrible. Doug hits a jawbreaker where Faarooq falls, but Doug doesn’t. Then, the Bashams hit a double suplex and both roll to the outside without leaving one guy in the ring to stay on offense. Faarooq comes back with a spinebuster, and the APA clean house. The ref gets bumped in all the action. That allows Shaniqua to run down and nail Bradshaw with a nightstick. Danny hits the Legline and picks up the win at 9:06. Ugh. Boring and sloppy. The Bashams looked green, and they had to control the match for the most part. *

  • Shaniqua reveals that Bradshaw’s Clothesline from Hell on Smackdown a few weeks earlier gave her swollen breasts. As if the Bashams’ mouth-drooling S&M gimmick isn’t bad enough, they gave Linda Miles a borderline racist gimmick (“Linda?” Ha! That’s a white woman’s name. Let’s black it up by about 75-percent. And yes, I know that the CEO is also named “Linda” and fans aren’t smart enough to know the difference between the two.) It wouldn’t matter, as she was fired for her poor attitude and allegedly assaulting Stephanie McMahon.
  • “I Quit” Father vs. Daughter Match: Vince McMahon (w/Sable) vs. Stephanie McMahon (w/Linda McMahon).
    If Steph loses, she’s fired – but she’s still incredibly hot. Linda begs Vince one last time to call it off, but Steph gets between them and tells Linda she’s got this. Then, when Steph’s back is turned, Vince jumps her from behind. That’s a gloriously shitty thing to do. Ha ha! Steph tries to choke him out, but Vince slams her down and shoulderblocks her. Sable adds a slap, drawing Linda after her. Vince goes out and straightens the bitch out, though. Steph bites her way out of a surfboard, but Sable pulls a lead pipe from under the ring – possibly having kept it with her from when she rode the first ever steam engine. Linda yanks her down, though, and Steph gives a distracted Vince a low blow. Oh, now Steph has the lead pipe… AND SMASHES VINCE IN THE FUCKING FACE! AWESOME! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Steph goes to town on Vince with the lead pipe. I’M MISS SCARLETT, BITCH! Vince begs for mercy, apparently having forgotten the title of the PPV. He charges, but Steph hits him in the gut with the lead pipe and then hits him in the face again. Sable gets involved, but Steph slips off a slam and shoves Vince into her. Schoolboy rollup! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Vince begs off again and then chokeslams Stephanie (sorta). He struts around, picks up the lead pipe, and chokes Steph out with it. Finally, Linda McMahon decides she’s seen enough and throws in the towel at 9:25. See, the McMahons realize that wrestling is about story, not athleticism (‘cuz this sure didn’t have that). Everything here is in service to the story. I wish more indy guys would watch matches like this and then apply their own physical skills to making it work rather than just focusing on showing their athleticism without being able to tell a story in the ring. The same goes for the generic guys they pull out of developmental. That’s why Shawn Michaels’ flying crossbody off the top gets a bigger reaction than when someone does a springboard reverse corkscrew Asai Tornado Star Press Chaparita onto a pile of guys. **3/4

  • After the match, a tearful Steph has to be told that her mom threw in the towel.
  • Kurt Angle vs. John Cena.
    I don’t even remember the precise genesis of this feud, but I do recall Angle trying to battle rap with Cena. They show the segment where a midget (possibly the future Hornswoggle?) came out as Kurt Angle and made Angle (dressed as Cena) tap out to the anklelock. Angle outwrestles Cena handily early on. Cena slugs his way back, drawing dueling chants of “Let’s go Angle/Let’s go Cena.” Cena comes off the top, but Angle dropkicks him in the shin on the way down. They brawl to the apron where Angle teases German Suplexing Cena off the apron through the announce table. Cena blocks and DDTs Angle on the apron. Back in, Cena gets two off the Throwback. Angle ducks and hits ROLLING GERMANS! Cena powerbombs him into the turnbuckle, though. Don’t see that from him anymore. FU! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Cena goes for another, but Angle slips out and hits the Angleslam. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Cena wraps the chain around his fist, but the ref takes it away from him. Oh, but Cena secretly stashed Kurt’s medals away and uses them to clock Angle instead. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Kurt hits a Victory Roll into the Anklelock and then locks in the scissors to pick up the win at 18:27. Cena was gathering a huge following at this point, and this was one of the matches (along with his Eddy Guerrero series) that proved he could be at least serviceable, which was all they were looking for. Angle used his usual formula of lots of finisher kickouts and reversals to drag Cena (who was still very green at this point) to a good match. ***1/4

  • Recap of Eddy Guerrero spraying human waste all over the Big Show (from a chemical waste truck, not through more traditional means).
  • U.S. Title: Eddy Guerrero vs. The Big Show.
    Eddy dropkicks Show in the knee, but Show recovers and overpowers him. Eddy avoids a charge and snaps Show off the top rope á la Randy Savage. That takes them both to the floor where Eddy tosses in a chair to distract the ref and then smashes Show in the head with a trash can lid. Back in, Eddy goes after Show’s knees and chops him, but that just pisses Show off. Show chases Eddy to the floor and tosses him into the post. He presses Eddy over the top into the ring. Back in, Show rips the turnbuckle pad off and whips Eddy’s back into the exposed buckle. He sets Eddy on top, but Eddy slams Show’s head on the buckle and hits a Frogsplash on him while he’s standing up. Show kicks out, and Eddy lands on the referee. That’s a pretty weak bump, so Show tries legdrop on Eddy and squashes the ref. Okay. That’s better. Eddy sneaks a pair of brass knuckles out of his tights and wallops Show. The ref is slow to recover, so Eddy only gets two. The ref is groggy, so Eddy smashes the title belt into Show’s head and hits the Frogsplash. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Eddy charges into a spinebuster for two. AAAARRGGHHH! CHOKESLAM! ONE, TWO, THRE-foot on the ropes. The ref is *still* groggy, so Eddy kicks Show in the yam bag to block another chokeslam. Eddy gets two off a DDT but staggers right into another chokeslam at 11:26. Pretty good David vs. Goliath battle. Hey, David used a foreign object too! This was also, arguably, the match that killed the U.S. Title because Big Show wouldn’t have a major title defense until he lost the title to John Cena at WrestleMania the following year. After that, it just became a meaningless prop. **3/4

  • After the match, Chavo Guerrero tries to console Eddy, but he’s not having it.
  • Big Show gives us an “I told ya so.”
  • WWE Heavyweight Title, Biker Chain Match: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker.
    This was part of Undertaker’s annual title match push and the second year in a row they’ve met at this event. This is a chain-on-a-pole match, which is apparently supposed to favor the Biker Taker. They try to overpower each other early, and Taker gets one off La Majestral (?!?). Lesnar takes it to the floor for a little brawling. Back in, he gets a nearfall off a Fisherman’s Suplex. More brawling on the outside. Back in, Taker hits his flying clothesline for two and goes up. The lights go out, though, and Taker hops back down. You’d think for a guy whose gimmick is control of the lights and has the ability to teleport into the ring at his whim that he wouldn’t scared of the dark, but what do I know. The lights come back up, and the brawl continues. Lesnar tosses the steps in the ring and drop toeholds Taker into them. Taker shrugs it off and uppercuts Lesnar to the floor. Taker pulls Lesnar over to the other steps and PILEDRIVES HIM ON THE STEPS! Taker goes up, but Lesnar catches him. Taker shimmies around into a Triangle Choke in the ropes, but he can’t maintain it. Lesnar goes low and smashes the steps into Taker’s face. My, Lesnar sure has recovered nicely from the piledriver on the steps. You’d think that would hurt more. Lesnar drives Taker into the corner and goes up, but Taker grabs him for the Last Ride. Lesnar slips off his shoulders, and they clothesline each other for a double KO spot. Taker wins a slugfest and readies for the chokeslam, but Lesnar spinebusters him. Taker reverses to a Triangle Choke when Brock tries to cover, though. Lesnar powers him up and slams him to break it up. NOW YOU’RE PLAYING WITH POWER! Brock picks up Taker, but Taker slips over into the Dragon Sleeper. Brock ducks under and hits the F5. ONE, TWO, THR-foot on the ropes. These are what we call “random rules.” Brock goes up, but Taker catches him and chokeslams him from the top to the mat. Taker decides to go up instead of covering, so here come the Full-Blooded Italians. Taker quickly dispatches the awesomeness of Nunzio, Palumbo and Johnny the Bull. He gives the Last Ride to Lesnar but decides to hit his no-hands over-the-top tope onto the FBI instead of winning the match. Nunzio goes after the chain, but Taker knocks him off the pole. Taker retrieves the chain, but Vince McMahon comes out and crotches Taker on the top rope. Lesnar grabs the chain, wraps it around his fist, and punches the Undertaker for the win at 24:17. Despite a number of my pet peeves – specifically, that it takes the 82nd Airborne interfering for Taker to do a job to the heavyweight champion, and inconsistent rules – they did put on a hell of a performance. The one big flaw in the match is that you’ve set up a “Golden Fleece” premise wherein the wrestlers are desperate trying to obtain an object (the chain), but throughout the match, they used bigger, more realistically violent weapons to hurt each other (like the steps), rendering the chain irrelevant. It would be like Indiana Jones recovering the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark only to have Bob Balaban pop up and say, “Hey, bitch. I’ve got fuckin’ Excalibur! Suck on that!” Still, as just a wrestling match and not a “chain match,” this was very entertaining. ***1/2
  • The 411: A surprisingly good PPV from a highly inconsistent era. Taker vs. Brock showed flashes of Taker's return to respectability as an actual wrestler later in the decade. Cena was coming along well, and Eddy losing was only a step back so he could take a leap forward. Even the McMahon's match was good if you enjoy it for the story it tells instead of looking for athleticism.

    Thumbs up.

     
    Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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