The SmarK Rant for WWE No Mercy 2004
(So now we’re into the era where WWE was doing everything in their power to make me stop watching, although the rise of Batista and Cena was enough to keep me interested for a while longer. However, I stopped watching Smackdown entirely at this point, and RAW would soon follow when the show shifted from TSN, a basic cable channel, to the Score, a pay channel, here in Canada.)
- I got my hands on this one a while back, but really I just wasn't in the mood for more of World champion JBL until I had enough cold medication to deal with it properly.
- Live from Jersey.
- Your hosts are Cole & Tazz.
- Opening match: Eddie Guerrero v. Luther Reigns.
Shoving match to start and they fight over the lockup, and Reigns gets a short-arm clothesline out of the corner. How can they call Reigns a "rookie" when he's been around as Horschu since 1999 or so? I kinda thought we were past that stuff. (Tensai and “rookie” sensation Ryback would beg to differ.) Eddie grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered. Eddie takes him down with a single-leg to block some kicks, and then dropkicks him low and gets two off a snapmare. Into the corner, where Eddie gets whipped into the turnbuckles and then press-slammed. That gets two. Back to the corner again and we hit the dreaded bearhug. Mark Jindrak, offering advice at ringside, tells him to "squeeze". Well, thank god for that kind of insightful coaching. I shudder to think what he might have done otherwise. (At least he didn’t give pharmaceutical advice, like “Buy your shit from Signature Pharmacies, no one will ever find out!”) Reigns throws a big boot, whiffs by six inches, and Eddie sells anyway to give Reigns two. He slugs Eddie down for two. We hit the chinlock, and Eddie powers out and mulekicks him, so Reigns hits him with a backdrop suplex for two. Backbreaker and Reigns works it as the match grinds to a halt. Eddie breaks free, but charges and lands on the floor, allowing Jindrak to stomp him. Back in, Reigns hammers away while Cole goes into his stupid "TV doesn't do justice to how big Reigns is" stuff, like he used to do with A-Train, as if we'd see him live and go "Oh my god, he's so BIG. Let's pay lots and lots of money to watch him wrestle now!" Another backbreaker sets up a powerslam, which gets two. He tries to Roll the Dice, but Eddie fights out and pushes off the ropes to escape. Eddie fights back as Reigns tries to remember how to sell, and gets a dropkick and some clotheslines. Rolling verticals, but Reigns blocks the third one and gets a forward suplex. Eddie rolls out to recover, and steals a nightstick from a "security guard", and puts it in his boot, but misses the frog splash, then pulls the stick out of his boot and hits Reigns with it, and finishes with the frog splash at 13:21. This was WAY long and didn't really go anywhere, with Eddie getting beaten on for 10 minutes and then hitting a prelim guy with a nightstick to win. *1/2 (Yeah, Eddie was on the downswing of his career, for sure. He was beat up and burned out and never really recovered.)
- Cruiserweight title: Spike Dudley v. Nunzio.
Apparently the FBI have turned face, although crowd response doesn't seem to back it up too much. I do like Spike's new evil goatee, as opposed to his former wussy goatee. They fight over a lockup and take it to the mat, then hang on while there and fight into the corner for the break. Cute. Nunzio comes back with a hiptoss, and Spike bails. Back in, Spike hammers him and tries a slam, but Nunzio falls on top for two. Rollup gets two. Nunzio works the arm, but Spike reverses, so Nunzio leverages him out of the ring. He follows with a bit of an ugly dive, and back in gets two. Takedown gets two. He goes up and gets shoved off by D-Von, which gives Spike two. Spike goes to a full-nelson, but Nunzio fights out, so Spike tries a rollup, which Nunzio counters for two. Nunzio goes up, but gets dropkicked on the way down for two. Spike chokes away, as do the Dudleyz, and Spike gets two. Back to the full-nelson, but Nunzio reverses to a chokeslam and makes the comeback. Backdrop suplex gets two. Into the corner for two. Sicilian Slice gets two. They fight on the floor and Spike gets backdropped out there, which gets two for Nunzio back in. Backslide gets two. D-Von tries grabbing the leg, triggering a brawl with Johnny the Bull, but Bubba posts Nunzio behind the ref's back and Spike gets the pin at 8:50. Decent but all the interference was a bit much. **1/2
- Billy Kidman v. Paul London.
(Oh yeah, Kidman’s heel turn, totally forgot about that. The riffs on the poor guy on Are Your Serious are never not funny, by the way.) Kidman does a pretty good arrogant sneer, I gotta say. Kidman stalls outside to start, so London dropkicks him into the railing and brings him in. He throws some forearms and gets a backdrop and a stiff kick to the back, then kicks him into the corner and a sidekick gets two. Kidman bails, so London follows with a springboard moonsault. Very nice. Back in, he slingshots in with a splash for two. Kidman comes back with a straight kick to the face and tosses London into the post, then baseball slides him into it. He starts stomping the ribs and goes to an abdominal stretch, before punting the ribs and getting two. He goes to a surfboard, but London fights out, only to land in a gutbuster from Kidman that gets two. Faceplant gets two. Back to the abdominal stretch. London fights out, so Kidman stomps him down again. London keeps fighting back, knocking Kidman down with a forearm and a spinkick, but Kidman tries a bulldog. London blocks and gets an enzuigiri for two. London tries a powerbomb, but YOU CAN'T POWERBOMB KIDMAN, and Kidman thus gets two. They fight on the apron and Kidman comes back in and tries a powerbomb, but London reverses to a rana for what looked like three, but was apparently only two. Kidman hits him with a dropkick to stop the rally and goes up, but then he changes his mind because he's afraid of his own power. Back in, London comes back with a superkick and goes up, doing his own version of the Shooting Star Press, but it hits the knees and Kidman is ALIVE again, finishing with the real deal at 10:34. That's actually an interesting storyline for a midcard match. **3/4 Kidman turns on the fans for good as London bites down on a condom and gets stretchered out, and then to really stress what a bad day he's having, Kidman does the SSP again while London is strapped down. OK, that was pretty cool. (Didn’t go anywhere. Kidman called it a career due to breaking a bone in his face, and became an agent and trainer soon after. London burned ALL his bridges in WWE and left as well.)
- Smackdown tag team titles: Rene Dupree & Kenzo Suzuki v. Rob Van Dam & Rey Mysterio.
(Yeah, Dupree and Suzuki as tag champions was a thing. Strange thing is they actually weren’t THAT bad as a team!) Kenzo butchers Springsteen before the match, which I guess is supposed to make me hate him. If bad singing defines heels these days, then everyone on the Originals album should be heels. RVD starts with Dupree and it's a posedown. They do some matwork to start and trade powerbomb attempts, which leads to a pinning reversal thing. Sadly, Dupree is no Jerry Lynn, but it was a good try. Rob grabs a headlock and the faces double-team into a Rey dropkick for two. Dupree takes him into the corner and Kenzo comes in with some chops, but Rey kicks him into the corner and dropkicks him there. Kenzo bails and Dupree charges, so Rey dumps him and the faces hit the champs with stereo somersault planchas. Back in, RVD gets two on Suzuki. Rob cleans up on both heels, hitting Suzuki with a spinkick, but he goes up and gets sent to the railing by Dupree. Back in, RVD is YOUR stoner-in-peril. Suzuki throws some chops in the corner and grinds a knee into Rob's throat. Dupree gets a snapmare and hits the chinlock, as the evil foreigners do the standard tag team formula stuff. Suzuki drops a knee for two. He goes to the armbar, but Rob fights out with a high kick and makes the hot tag to Rey. He throws kicks at Kenzo and DDTs him for two. Rey slugs away in the corner and springboards in for two. Kenzo fires back with a chop, but gets taken down into the 619 area code. Dupree breaks it up and tries a powerbomb on Rey, so RVD comes in and takes Dupree down to set up Rolling Thunder as the faces break out the double-team goodnees. 619 for Kenzo, take two, and this time it hits. The ref is distracted with RVD, however, and when Rey goes up Dupree brings him down, and Suzuki gets the pin with the ropes at 9:04. Surprisingly (shockingly) entertaining, as they stuck to formula and it worked. **1/2 The finish was weak and the heat segment was way too short, however. (I forget if the foreigners won the belts from the 4:20 crew or the other way around, and I don’t really care. Suzuki is doing his thing in AJPW last I checked and Dupree dropped off the face of the earth.)
- Kurt Angle v. Big Show.
I guess Show has been experiencing the pain of male-pattern baldness, too, thus explaining his new Steve Austin look. (Yup, once he went that route, he never went back.) I don't get how Show tries to commit murder on Angle by tossing him off a balcony, however, and this ends up as Show as the face and Angle as the heel. I guess that didn't happen anymore. Show overpowers him to start and Angle bails. Back in, Angle tries a headlock, and Show powers him into the corner. Show brings him into the corner for the big butt and a hiptoss out of the corner. Suplex gets one, as Show steps on him in lieu of a proper cover. Press slam and Angle bails again, and walks out at 3:36. Smart man. However, GM Teddy Long comes out and threatens to fire Angle if he doesn't get back in the ring. So back in we go, and Show pounds him down and hiptosses him again. Angle bails again and this time grabs a chair, but Show boots it back in his face. Whoops. Back in, Show pounds him in the corner, and then catches him coming off the second rope with a slam. Chokeslam is reversed by Angle, who FINALLY gets offense in, as he anklelocks Show. He takes him down and locks it in, but Show hangs on and powers out, bumping the ref in the process. Angle brings the chair back in and starts pounding the knee with it, then pulls the knee from the apron. Back in, Angle clips the knee and goes to a stepover toehold. He keeps working the knee until Show powers him off again and comes back. Clothesline and slam set up the big boot, but Show crotches himself on another try. Angle follows with the Angle Slam for two. Angle finds a…uh…tranquilizer gun under the ring (well, it's different at least) but Show takes it away and makes the comeback. Reverse powerbomb and he tosses Angle into the corner, setting up the chokeslam off the top for the clean pin at 15:05. Well, we definitely know that Angle doesn't have a problem doing jobs after that. ** (I remember nothing about this feud.)
- US title: Booker T v. John Cena.
This is the finals of the best-of-5 series, which would be more meaningful and exciting had the matches been any good. Slugfest to start and Cena takes him down for two. Booker goes to a facelock, but Cena clotheslines him out of the ring. Back in, Booker hammers him down and throws chops, but runs into Cena's boot and gets clotheslined for two. Spinebuster gets two for Booker, however. They brawl outside and Cena gets sent into the stairs, but then so does Booker. Oh, irony. Back in, Cena gets two. Booker comes back with a sidekick and gets two. Cena gets a crossbody for two in a weird spot, as they fought for the pin. Booker whips him back into the corner again, however. That gets two. Booker hits the chinlock and that lasts for a bit. Cena fights out with a suplex, but gets flapjacked by Booker. That gets two. Booker hammers away as the slow pace continues. Booker tries another sidekick and crotches himself, so Cena comes back. Bulldog and five-knuckle shuffle gets two. Booker catches him with the Bookend for two, however. He stops to get a chair for some reason, then changes his mind and tries the ax kick instead. That misses, and Cena gets two. F-U finishes at 10:19. Slow-paced and dull. *3/4 Cena's prestigious title reign would of course last all of two days before dropping it to Epstein Ramon. (Can you IMAGINE Cena dropping a title after a two day reign to Carlito? Talk about backing the wrong horse. Cena should have just held that damn US title all the way up to dethroning JBL.)
- Dawn Marie & The Dudley Boyz v. Jackie, Rico & Charlie Haas.
Haas starts with Bubba, but it's a SWERVE and D-Von starts instead. He pounds on Haas in the corner, but Charlie comes back with a hiptoss and dropkick for two. D-Von backdrops him, however, and brings in Dawn Marie, who shakes her booty at him. Jackie doesn't like that, and comes in for some catfighting. And clothes ripping. The gratuitous camera angle of Dawn's bra shows why they're the best. (The directors or Dawn’s rack? Because both are impressive.) Bubba comes in, however, after delivering a cheapshot to Jackie, and lays the badmouth on her, demanding a kiss. Rico, however, tags in and is happy to oblige. Bubba's reaction is pretty funny stuff. After he stops to rinse his mouth out, he tags D-Von in to deal with Rico, and Rico gets a backslide for two. Rollup gets two. Spinkick and back kick put D-Von down, and Rico goes up, but Bubba crotches him and D-Von chokes away. D-Von drops an elbow for two. Bubba, rather upset, comes in and delivers a beating to Rico, then chokes him out with the tape. I sense some homophobia. (He IS a bully.) Rico comes back with a DDT and makes the tag to Haas, who backdrops D-Von and spears him into the corner. Exploder for Bubba and a flying forearm for D-Von, and he's a HAAS AFIRE! I've been trying to work that one in for a while. Rico comes in off a blind tag with a high cross for two, but the chicks go at it again. The Dudleyz try the Whazzup on Rico, but he's WAY too into it for D-Von's liking, which allows Haas to break it up. Rico superkicks Bubba to get rid of him, and Jackie spears Dawn for the catfight, before Haas hits D-Von with a crossbody to set up Rico's moonsault for the pin at 8:47. OK, that was tremendously fun. **1/2 (Fired, quit, quit, fired, retired, fired. And this is less than a decade ago now, and look at all the ridiculous amount of turnover in the midcard.)
- Hearse match, Smackdown World title: JBL v. Undertaker.
Taker slugs him down to start and pounds away in the corner, then drops an elbow and slugs him down again. The ROPEWALK OF DOOM follows and Taker keeps slugging and choking. JBL tries a CLUBBING FOREARM, but Taker no-sells and boots him down again. JBL goes to the eyes and pounds UT in the corner, but Taker chokeslams him to end that rally. He makes the first try at dragging Bradshaw out, but he hangs on. Taker pounds him on the apron and drops the leg there, and they brawl in the aisle. Cole notes that the crowd is stunned by the ferocity of the Undertaker. I think they're just bored, personally. Taker drops JBL on the railing and sends him into the stairs, and continues pounding him on the floor. He preps the table, but JBL uses the STEEL stairs to prevent him from using the table. I guess that's what passes for psychology in Undertaker matches. Bradshaw boots him down as they fight up the aisle again, and another shot with the stairs follows. They head over to the hearse and then back down to the ring again, where JBL comes in via a flying shoulderblock from the top. Neckbreaker, but Bradshaw goes after him in a contrived position that allows Taker to use his dreaded triangle choke on him. Bradshaw taps, but of course there's no submissions here. I know that because I tapped out about 5 minutes in, but the match kept going anyway. So JBL is out and Taker then wakes him up and slugs him down and out again, and they fight over by the table again. Taker really wants that table to break or something. Bradshaw, however, once again uses the POWER OF THE STAIRS to foil his plans. What a strange match. Bradshaw tries a piledriver on the stairs, but Taker reverses out of it and clubs him into the front row. So UT slowly hammers on JBL in the carefully designated Impromptu Brawling Area, and they fight back to ringside again. Back to the stairs as Taker tombstones him on them, and JBL starts bleeding, which seems to be the defining trait of his title reign thus far. If in doubt, bleed. (Go with what you know.) JBL uses a chair to hold off UT, and then hits him with a monitor. Back to the table again, but UT chokeslams Bradshaw through the Spanish table. Been there, done that. And now they head back to the hearse again, with UT thankfully carrying him instead of just leading him by the hair like would usually occur, but Heidenreich pops out of the hearse, just like with every other dumb gimmick match. He pounds on Taker and chokes him down with ether (yes, ETHER, in 2004) and locks him in the hearse, which you'd think would give Bradshaw the win, but NO, Taker can even no-sell ether, and he breaks out. The Clothesline from Heck puts Taker down, and they throw him back in the hearse again, and that's enough to finish at 21:08. "I cannot believe this match!" Cole declares. That's because it's NOT BELIEVEABLE. *1/4 Usual slow brawl from Undertaker and blood from JBL leading to the cliché gimmick finish. And then, backstage, Heidenreich drives a truck into the hearse. And so UT is dead. Again. I hear James Andrews prescribed 6-8 weeks of rehab and some Tylenol for that. (We came dangerously, DANGEROUSLY close to Undertaker v. Heidenreich at Wrestlemania 21 instead of Orton. SLEEP TIGHT! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)
The Bottom Line:
A fairly enjoyable B-show up until the god-awful main event, with every cheap brawling trick from 1998 and a finish right out of 1996 to cap it off, which pretty much dragged this one down from a thumbs up to a thumbs down in one fell swoop, since there was nothing else on the show to go out of your way to see anyway. And not many did, as the show did 180,000 buys, thus setting a new record low for WWE PPVs. Congratulations, JBL! (They WISH the B-Shows were doing 180K domestic these days.)