The Netcop Rant for No Mercy, 10-17-99
(I’m not finding these October shows to be particularly memorable. This one is somewhat notable for being the first show in the post-Russo era.)
- Live from Cleveland, OH
- Your hosts are JR & The King
- Opening match: The Godfather v. Mideon.
Apparently they had some sort of altercation on Smackdown to set this up, although damned if I care about it. (This was back when Smackdown was just starting out as a TV show and only on its first network.) This would probably fit into the "get the crap out of the way first" theory of booking. (Nah, just the Godfather as the world’s greatest opening act theory.) And what happened to those trendy new tights Mideon had? Georgio Armani must have sued for copyright infringement or something. Godfather pounds Mideon in short order, but gets distracted when Viscera puts the moves on the ho's. Now THERE'S a punchline just waiting to happen. (Big Daddy V! I called it here first!) Mideon chinlocks the Godfather into oblivion and tells the fans to shut up a lot. Dramatic irony, I guess. Ho Train misses and Mideon gets two off a clothesline. Godfather comes back, but a pump splash hits the knees. Viscera's interference backfires and the Ho Train gets the pin at 7:30. That's 7:30 longer than I would have given it. DUD
- Women's title match: Ivory v. The Fabulous Moolah.
Please, god, let it be short. Ivory continues her stellar run of comedy matches here by blowing almost EVERY SINGLE MOVE she tries, including a plancha so sad it's almost funny. How sad was it? I've seen Kevin Nash do a better one, seriously. Moolah can hardly move, but Mae takes about 4 good bumps off the apron to compensate, and Moolah is still a better wrestler than Ivory anyway. You know, comedy matches don't really work unless it's intentional, and this is no exception. And speaking of bad comedy, Moolah rolls Ivory up for the pin at 3:04. Well, there goes another title. Might as well do a unification match with Gillberg and get it over with. Crowd was NOT impressed with that decision, showing they at least have some intelligence. -*** Worst Big Two match of the year, including Kennel in a Cell. (Yeah, Moolah won the Women’s title again in 1999, just accept it. Didn’t Debra get it somewhere in here, too?)
- The New Age Outlaws v. The Hardcore Hollys.
See, now why would the Hollys screw themselves out of a title match by putting the belts on Rock N Sock? (Because they’re stupid.) Brawl to start, at any rate. The NAO double-team Crash, and Dogg gets the funky-punch and crazy-legs kneedrop. He gets tossed over the top and plays Ricky Morton. Long delayed suplex from Bob gets two. The Hollys use my favorite southern heel old school heel tactics to control, including the rope-assisted chinlock (note to all heels: Another of the top ten rules of wrestling is "Always put your feet on the ropes at any opportunity.") and good old choking and play to the crowd to keep them in it, a major problem in most Outlaw matches. (Yeah, the Outlaws had this issue they never resolved where fans would go nuts for the entrance and a bit of their offense, but then they wouldn’t get into the heat segment, like at ALL, and they’d pop again for the finish. It was kind of symptomatic of the whole Russo thing in general because they basically had to retrain fans again on how to watch wrestling matches after he left, but the Outlaws were the biggest victims of it.) Obviously Bob Holly paid close attention to what Jim Cornette taught him as part of the New Midnights. Either that or Jerry Lawler is booking. (I wish they would let him.) Bob goes to the top but gets superplexed and Mr. Ass gets the hot tag. Jackhammer, but the ref is distracted, so Bob throws a chair into the ring. Gunn hits the Fameasser on Crash on the chair, but the ref sees it and DQ's the Outlaws at 10:22. That is SO Memphis. **3/4 It's so great to see a team actually playing the HEELS and getting the crowd to boo, instead of being cool or funny or whatever. (Indeed, no one ever accused Bob Holly of being cool or funny.)
- Intercontinental title match: Jeff Jarrett v. Chyna.
This is "Good Housekeeping rules", plus another special stipulation: Winner must have ovaries.(That is the exact opposite stipulation of The Glee Project.) Various appliances are scattered in the ring like in Attitude/Warzone. Chyna basically beats the holy hell out of Jeff, again Memphis style, hitting him with whatever goofy weapons are scattered around ringside. Okay, seriously, is Jerry Lawler booking here or what? You generally don't see people getting hit with salamis and eggs outside of Tennessee. Chyna misses an elbow and goes through a table, giving Jarrett a two count. More goofy weapons get involved, including a hastily-made cake batter (which ends up on Kitty's head via Chyna), but JJ gets a low blow and applies the figure-four. Chyna makes the ropes. Jarrett gets a pair of tongs, but ends up getting them clamped to his very special place. Jarrett, ever the pro, then sells two pies to the face and a kitchen sink. It gets two. Jarrett reverses the Pedigree, bumping the ref. Oh, man, why bother? Everyone knows Chyna is winning. Jarrett nails her with the belt…and gets the pin?!? But wait -- the belt isn't a household item, sez the ref, so the match continues. Chyna hits Jarrett with that very common utensil -- the guitar -- and gets the pin at 9:57 for the I-C title, thus ruining two titles in the span of about 15 minutes. Goofy but relatively inoffensive otherwise. (This was FUCKING TERRIBLE. 1999 Scott was exceedingly generous, because I watched this piece of shit match on WWE 24/7 a couple of years ago and was so embarrassed to be a wrestling fan seeing a man v. woman match where they’re hitting each other with produce. Easy, EASY, negative star match.) Kitty leaves with Chyna. ** (Of course, at the time we didn’t know that Jarrett was actually working without a contract and had threatened to walk with the belt unless Vince paid him his PPV money up front. That’s why you don’t see Jeff Jarrett ever mentioned on WWE TV since then. The nerve of the guy, asking for money owed to him.)
- The British Bulldog v. The Rock.
Geez, pretty low on the card for the People's Champion. Brawl to start, big shock there. Into the ring pretty quickly, however, and they exchange some stuff. Chinlockery erupts. Bulldog messes up taking a Samon drop and it ends up as a backdrop which gets two for the Rock. Low blow turns the tide, but Rock gets a DDT for two. Bulldog with the powerslam for two. Try #2 is countered to the Rock Bottom/People's Elbow sequence for the pin at 7:18. Standard stuff here. *1/2 (This feud was famous for two things: Davey Boy literally rolling around in dog shit, and the Rock sliding into the ring in his $800 shoes to do a run-in.)
- Ladder match: Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz.
(This is where TLC all began in its most primitive form.) Ref tosses Gangrel right off the bat. LET THE SPOTS BEGIN! Christian gets the first try for the money, and they take turns tossing each other off the ladder. Christian impales Jeff with the ladder in the corner, then runs up the ladder and dropkicks him in the face. Nasty. Edge misses the dive to the corner and hits the ladder. Jeff goes for the money and Christian hits an inverted DDT off the ladder. Yow! Christian gets suplexed off that ladder, Matt gets powerbombed off, and Edge gets dropkicked off. Jeff puts Edge on the ladder and hits the senton bomb. More insanity, as Jeff goes to the top, leapfrogs the ladder, and legrops Christian. Big round of applause for that one. Edge finds another ladder (it's a tag team match, why not two ladders?) and takes a swing, knocking Jeff off the other ladder. Matt returns the favor. Edge ducks a ladder clothesline and Christian cross-bodies the ladder off the top, nailing both Hardyz in the process. The Blonds baseball slide the ladder into Matt's crotch, drawing more standing ovations from the crowd. They put Jeff between the ladder and slam it on him 10 times, with the crowd counting along. May I just say all four of these guys are SUICIDAL? Both ladders get set up, and Jeff and Edge race up. Edge gets the Downward Spiral on Jeff from the ladder. Matt gives Edge a neckbreaker from the ladder. Now it's Christian & Jeff, with a hiptoss to Jeff being the move in question this time. Then an unbelievably cool spot, as the Blonds set up the ladders with one folded, sitting on top of the other which is open. They try the assisted superplex onto that, but Jeff escapes, then dives onto the folded ladder, sending it into the air like a see-saw and nailing the Blonds in the face. Amazing. You just have to see that one to believe it. Another standing ovation for that one. All the ladders get set up again, and now all four head to the top, and then all go crashing to the mat in a spectacular trainwreck. Another ovation for that one. Now Matt & Edge race up the ladder, triggering a complex domino series that ends up with Jeff standing on the primary ladder and everyone else on the mat. That allows Jeff to grab the money at 16:22 for the win. An amazing, brutal, suicidal instant classic. Note to ECW: If you're gonna do a spotfest, do a SPOTFEST. They all get a standing ovation, and after all that I feel like doing the same. ****1/2 (I haven’t watched it in a while, but I feel like the stuff at WM2000 and the TLC matches probably eclipsed it. Still, it was the original tag team ladder match.)
- His Rockyness returns to cut a promo. He wants the WWF champion, probably at Survivor Series. HHH attacks him with the sledgehammer. (This didn’t pay off until a few months later, but WHAT a payoff!)
- Val Venis v. Mankind.
Val wisely learns the first lesson of heel heat: Don't cut a funny opening promo. Val jumps Mick, which is somewhat stupid considering that Mick is wearing his Cactus Jack shirt underneath tonight. Mick controls with his usual back in the ring. He gets Rocko back, but a low blow turns the tide and gets it back for Val. Brawling outside, where Val suplexes Mick on an opened chair, painfully. Mick gets the mandible claw, but Val bounces his head off the ringpost twice to break. Val brings a chair in, and gets a russian legsweep on it for two. Um, weren't the Outlaws DQ'd for doing that earlier tonight? Val works the neck, hitting a corner clothesline - bulldog combo. Flying elbow hits the neck squarely, with Mick selling like a pro. Money Shot misses, and Mick gets the double-arm DDT for two. Socko meets Rocko as both men go for the socks, and it's mandible claw v. testicular claw. Mick's neck is just too hurt, however, and he makes the mistake of falling back. Val gets the pin at 9:29. Good booking and psychology equals Val's best match in the WWF to date. ***1/2 Mick gets Rocko back for good and chases Val off. (I remember none of this. Like, at all.)
- X-Pac v. Kane v. Faarooq v. Bradshaw.
X-Pac takes a seat on the floor right away and the Acs double-team Kane. X-Pac tags in and wants Kane. Bad move. Bradshaw tags in and Faarooq follows, and they do their thing on each other for a bit. They sucker X-Pac into a lariat, however, and a lengthy can of whoop-ass is opened. If you're seen one X-Pac/Kane v. Acolytes match, you've seen this segment. X-Pac gets a tornado DDT to come back, and Kane tags himself in and kills everything moving. Chokeslam puts Bradshaw out. X-Pac follows with a leg lariat from the top as Kane is getting up, eliminating him as well. Crowd didn't like that one. That leaves Faarooq v. X-Pac. Broncobuster is blocked with a spinebuster, and he tries a top rope shoulderblock, but X-Pac catches him in mid-air with an ugly X-Factor for the pin at 10:14. Eh, dull but decent. **1/4 I was expecting the long - awaited Kane v. X-Pac match out of this, but I guess that might have excited the fans or something so it didn't happen.
- WWF World title match: HHH v. Steve Austin.
Vince McMahon makes his appearance for the night, stealing HHH's sledgehammer before the match. Austin then wipes the floor with HHH, beating him with everything not nailed down over by the entrance. Into the crowd, with the obligatory crutch given by a fan. Back to the aisle, where Austin actually swings the boom camera and nails HHH in the face. Now that's innovative. (Surprised no one stole that one.) Down to ringside, and the ref gets bumped on the floor before the match even gets to the ring. We finally make into the ring 7 minutes in, with Austin hitting the stunner. No ref. Ref climbs in, but gets bumped again and takes the Brian Pillman bump to the barricade outside. HHH hits the Pedigree, and Hebner comes charging in for a late two-count. Slugfest, and Austin wins. Thesz press and elbow get two. Now it's back on the floor, where HHH does a wussy bladejob. It's not a real bladejob unless blond hair turns red. Austin pounds away on the cut and gets a couple of two counts. Back outside and HHH eats stairs. He grabs the ringbell in desperation and nails Austin to turn the tide, however. HHH suplexes Austin on the Spanish table, and you see, I knew he'd do that. Why? Because he audibly yelled "Are you ready for the suplex on the Spanish table?" when the camera was on him. Back in the ring, as HHH works on the knee, audibly calling a couple of spots. Man, get this guy a ventriloquism course or something. Comeback for Austin, but he puts his head down and takes a facebuster. HHH grabs a chair, but it doesn't come into play yet. Austin gets a superplex for two. They fight over the chair, and Austin goes MEDIEVAL with it, nearly killing HHH. The crowd goes BATSHIT, popping like nuts. That was amazing to see. And here comes Rock, carrying a sledgehammer. He swings at HHH, who of course ducks (because he's the Game) and Austin takes it on the knee. A Pedigree takes Rocky out of the equation, and the knee injury is enough for HHH to pin Austin at 21:50 and retain the title. In other news, hell freezes over. Good match. ***1/2 I think that pretty much puts the "Austin won't put HHH over" theory to rest. (Yeah, well Austin’s problem was never putting HHH over, as we now know, it was other things surrounding the match. This was supposed to set up Rock/HHH/Austin at Survivor Series 99, and Austin’s neck surgery just completely derailed that and gave us WWF champion Big Show instead. In fact, I’m kind of shocked we never did get that Rock/Austin/HHH three-way at some point. They might have made some money off that. Just a hunch.)
The Bottom Line: First 40 minutes or so sucked, but the rest of the show was a great combination of sports entertainment (the Rock and Sock stuff scattered throughout that I skipped over) and some really good wrestling, notably from the main, the ladder match and the surprisingly great Venis-Mankind match. Dump the first little bit and call it an easy thumbs up. (I don’t remember this show at all. I probably have the DVD, though. Maybe I should pop it in sometime.)