WWF No Mercy 2001 10/21/2001
October 21, 2001
St. Louis, Missouri
Buy Rate: .80
Announcers: Jim Ross and Paul Heyman
Sunday Night Heat
1) The Acolytes defeat Hugh Morrus (Bill DeMott) & Chris Kanyon (Klucsarits) when Bradshaw (John Layfield) pinned Kanyon
2) Billy Kidman defeats Scotty Too Hotty to retain WCW Cruiserweight Title
Pay Per View
1) The Hardy Boys defeat Lance Storm & WWF European Champion Hurricane (Gregory Helms) to retain WCW Tag Team Titles when Matt Hardy pinned Hurricane after a Jeff Hardy Swanton Bomb at 7:42
Fun Fact: The WCW Tag Titles switched twice from our last PPV to now. On the 9/25 Smackdown Booker T & Test upset the Brothers of Destruction to win the straps. Then the Hardys took out the Alliance team to win the Titles on the 10/8 Raw.
Fun Fact II: After a few recruiting attempts, Molly turned her back on her boyfriend Spike to become the Hurricane’s sidekick, Mighty Molly. Ivory also jumped ship back in the summer but had now began managing Lance Storm.
Scott: A pretty solid opener to get the show going. The Hardys continue to put one solid match after another on for almost two years running. This isn’t the shock, but there are two surprises about their opponents. First, it’s obvious the bookers like Hurricane. First because Gregory Helms is a good wrestler, and second because he is a funny and compelling character. Those are two things that will help you succeed in the WWF. His partner Lance Storm is a different story. Maybe one of the two or three most talented people of all the WCW refugees, but he’s stuck in tag team matches and boring cut-off promos. Except for that transitional reign as Intercontinental Champion which was nothing more than a placeholder to move the title to Edge, Storm has been wasted thus far. As for the match, there were a couple of missed spots, which seemed to be the theme of the night. Matt is definitely the backbone of the team, as it was clear Jeff was getting a little sloppy. Grade: 2
Justin: This month’s opener is a fast paced little tag match featuring four good athletes. Jim Ross made sure to bring up the North Carolina history and relationship between the Hardys and Helms so that added a personal aspect to the match. Speaking of Helms, the Hurricane gimmick is pretty much full fledged now as he has the cape, mannerisms and new music and also has a new sidekick. The crowd was into the Hardys as always and all four men worked in some good high flying offense throughout. Both teams also utilized good double team maneuvers on the other which caused control of the match to ebb and flow. Lita, Molly and Ivory would all get involved and that led to a hot finishing sequence to a good opening tag match. Grade: 2.5
***Backstage, the new Commissioner of the Alliance, William Regal, wants Rob Van Dam to apologize to Steve Austin. Elsewhere, Mr. McMahon arrives in his limo. ***
2) Test (Andrew Martin) defeats Kane (Glen Jacobs) with a big boot to the head at 10:09
Fun Fact: This continued the storyline of Test taking out WWF superstars as part of the Alliance, who took Test under their wing when the WWF was suspicious of Test’s relationship with Alliance leader Shane McMahon.
Fun Fact II: This show marks the four year anniversary of Kane’s debut in the very same city.
Scott: When you looked at the two names, you’re thinking “wow this is going to be a pile of shit”. Then when you watch it, it turns out it’s only…half a pile of shit. Kane had a red hot start to the year, being the 29th guy tossed in the Royal Rumble, then winning the Hardcore Title at Wrestlemania and having pretty good matches since then. Then he got involved with his “brother” the Undertaker and the next six months are full of low-workrate, no-selling crap. Last month at Unforgiven we saw the apex of this theory as the Brothers of Destruction stunk out the joint against Kronik. On this night we maybe see the 180 degree turn back to the Kane of early 2001. As for Test, he’s becoming more high profile since joining the Alliance so, although he’s low on the card, he’s in a big singles match. There were some good moments when they exchanged power moves, and some moments where they were over scripted, like when Test brings the steel chair into the ring and clearly has it at his head waiting for Kane’s boot. This wasn’t meant to be a workrate feast so I won’t grade it as such. Both men move on and for a power match it was ok. Grade: 2
Justin: Finally getting a break from being his brother’s less lazy sidekick, Kane ratchets up the intensity a bit and tries to work a good match with Test. He starts off well, dropping Test with a nasty press slam to the floor. As Kane took early control, the Alliance’s underhanded shenanigans would kick in when uber-heel ref Nick Patrick began wreaking havoc. JR would nearly have an aneurysm in this match railing against Patrick’s poor refereeing. At one point he totally ignores Test pasting Kane with the ring bell. Despite a rough past few months, Kane was still really over with the loyal WWF fans and it seemed to energize him a bit. Test would use his basic power offense while on control and the match as a whole was choppy until business picked up at the end, leading to the Test upset win. An angry Kane would beat up Nick Patrick after to take out some frustration, but the Alliance picks up a win. Grade: 2
***Backstage, Jonathan Coachman tries to get a word with Steve Austin, but he gets stuck talking to Debra instead. The funny part was that Austin was behind the door of his locker room loudly telling Debra what to say and then she would repeat him word for word. ***
3) Torrie Wilson defeats Stacy Kiebler in a lingerie match after a handspring elbow at 3:07
Fun Fact: These two divas starting splitting apart due to Torrie going out with WWF-sided Tajiri, and Stacy becoming the valet of the Alliance-sided Dudley Boys.
Scott: This really wasn’t much except a chance to see WCW’s hottest divas roll around half naked. Grade: 1
Justin: We have a little bit of history here as Torrie and Stacy throw down in the first ever WWF lingerie match. They work the usual T&A match spots and Torrie steals the win from her former friend. Grade: 1
4) Edge (Adam Copeland) defeats Christian (Jay Reso) in a ladder match to win WWF Intercontinental Title when he grabs the belt at 22:16
Fun Fact: This feud took a sharp turn on the 10/15 Raw when Christian officially joined the Alliance. In a backstage segment Edge tells Christian his mother’s been in a car accident. Christian asks why he wasn’t called first as they run down the hallway. On their way out, they meet up with Hugh Morrus, Kanyon and Chuck Palumbo. As Edge tries to push out of the way, Christian crushes him with his briefcase, and says “The only accident in our family is the one where Mom gave birth to you twenty-seven years ago!”
Scott: Next up we have a great rematch from the shocking win by Christian at Unforgiven. You knew that both guys could bring their all, including the climax when Edge hits a vicious Con-Chair-To on Christian while both are on two ladders, which gives Edge a chance to grab the belt and win his third IC title. After they banged around for five stars at Wrestlemania as a tag team in a ladder match, they do it again. On top of the RVD/Jeff Hardy Hardcore Ladder match at Summerslam, that’s three PPV ladder matches in seven months. The gimmick was clearly getting overused here, and maybe they could have done just a straight rematch with both men. As much as the ladder match is one of the most visually stunning gimmicks of them all, having too many of them, and in the PPV world, four in one year may be too many, waters down the uniqueness of it and you start seeing the same spots repeated. I’m not going to grade the match down due to this reason, as it was a great match. I’m just saying they needed to put the ladder match away for a while to make it feel special again. Grade: 3
Justin: After stealing his Intercontinental Championship, beating him down, lying about an injury to their mother and joining the Alliance, Christian had done everything he could to steal the spotlight from his brother. As JR pushed all match long, the key to an Edge victory would be composure. He needed to keep his emotions and temper in check to ensure victory and he would do just that. They would brawl around the arena to start and the action was pretty good. While the action was good, however, things did seem a bit forced early on and they seemed to be trying too hard for a classic once again. Once the nerves cooled and they got into a groove, the match started getting really good. Both men would utilize the ladder for some high impact offense and keep the crowd into things. Edge would get his revenge by crotching Christian with a chair, drilling him with a con-chair-to and taking back his IC title. I liked all the callbacks to earlier in their feud and they definitely delivered a hell of a ladder match, but the tentative action early hurt the grade a bit. Grade: 3.5
5) The Dudley Boys defeat Tajiri (Yoshihiro Tajiri) & Big Show (Paul Wight) to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when D-Von (Devon Hughes) pins Tajiri after the 3D at 9:19
Scott: An ok match that showcased the Alliance’s top tag team. Watching this match, and a lot of their early WWF career stuff, the Dudleys did do something very well. When they were faces, they were fun, goofy and exhilaratingly violent. However when they wanted you to hate them, they became belligerent bullies who just became total assholes. They wrestled their matches in this stretch exactly like that and were the biggest strength of the Alliance. As for their opponents, Tajiri brings his A-game every time he stepped in the ring and takes a good beating also. The Big Show actually looked really good here, and he’s not as plump as I thought he became in that stretch. Unfortunately he still hasn’t touched gold since late-1999 and he’s being terribly misused here as well. He probably could have been one of either the WWF’s or the Alliance’s top guys and carried the World Title/main events through this storyline. We’ll never know. Grade: 2
Justin: Another pay per view and another title defense against a random team for the boys from Dudleyville. Show brought Tajiri in as his partner and was out for revenge for his buddy Spike. Show was actually booked pretty strong here and Tajiri was energetic as always. The flow was good and the Dudleys worked their usual effective heel shtick. The finish was a bit choppy as Rhyno got involved and took out Show. Tajiri would get a nasty kick in on D-Von for a close near fall but would eventually succumb to the 3D and a pin. The Dudleys were still rock solid out there and continue to anchor the tag division. After a hot start back in April, Tajiri is starting to flounder a bit and he eats the loss here to keep Show strong for next month. Grade: 2.5
6) The Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats Booker T (Booker Huffman) after the Last Ride at 12:12
Fun Fact: This feud started on the 10/4 Smackdown, when after Booker T defeated Kane in a match he and Test started working Kane over, which brought the Deadman out to break it up. Booker then laid the challenge down on the 10/8 Raw and Taker accepted on the 10/11 Smackdown.
Scott: When this match was first put on the card back in 2001 I was immediately thinking “Poor Booker, loses to Rock twice and now has to be buried by the fat man.” Earlier I talked about Kane having a bad stretch of matches in 2001, well Undertaker’s was even worse, and since Kane was in most of them it’s pretty much the same stretch. Then something happened during this match that brought things back to earlier in the year. Unlike all of Taker’s opponents in 2001, for who he sold pretty much nothing, Booker T actually dictated the tempo and dominated the Deadman through stretches of this match. Sure Taker wins, but it took a Last Ride out of nowhere in a corner where Booker was beating him down that led to the win. Taker sold and actually bumped for Booker for all twelve minutes. Booker is now 1-3 in his PPV career, but losing to the Rock twice and Undertaker isn’t that big a deal. He’ll get back on his feet soon enough. This is Taker’s first singles match I’ll be grading higher than a two since Wrestlemania so kudos to Booker for getting Taker off of his fat ass and doing something. Grade: 3
Justin: Coming off his top level feud with the Rock, Booker takes a lateral step and enters a brief feud with the Undertaker. Taker has been a mess this year, but he actually turns the corner here as he has his first good major singles match since Wrestlemania. The two men would brawl to start and would eventually end up fighting into the crowd. Taker worked Booker’s arm a bit and the match had a nice back and forth pace to it with neither man really controlling for a while. Once Booker did take control, his offense looked good and he paced the match nicely and Taker let him work him over quite a bit, which was a nice change of pace. Booker was actually starting to get a few face pops, especially when he busted out the Spinarooni, which was really stating to catch on with the WWF fans. Despite the loss, Booker looked strong throughout the match. Booker could have used the win but the loss was a hard fought one and Taker actually seemed lucky in the end, just barely hitting the Last Ride for the win despite getting no offense in towards the end. I liked this match quite a bit on this go around and it seemed to be a sign that Taker was getting back in the game mentally and physically. Grade: 3
7) Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) defeats the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) to win WCW World Title after a forward legsweep into a steel chair at 23:44
Fun Fact: Chris Jericho defeated Rob Van Dam on the October 11 Smackdown to earn the title shot here. Jericho and Rock would spend the week leading up arguing with each other and also teaming up against various Alliance members.
Scott: This was the match of the night as both men bring their all, particularly Jericho. Other then that feigned win over Triple H in 2000 that got storyline-swerved and his KOTR match with Benoit and Austin, Jericho hasn’t sniffed any kind of World title match since arriving in 1999. They kept using the “can’t win the big one” hook leading into this match, but when did he really have the chance to be in a “big one”? Now he has a legitimate chance to take a real World title. This was kind of a shock, as many thought Rock would hold on here and the belts would just merge, particularly when Stephanie comes out to interfere as you think that they’ll continue that storyline and Rock retains. Speaking of the Great One, he once again proves doubters wrong and goes all out in a really great match with someone who everyone thought was a better wrestler than him. Maybe technically he is better than Rock, but unlike other main eventers throughout history he and Steve Austin did a great job of meshing with their opponent’s style to make the match better. Whether it was Ken Shamrock in 1998, Mick Foley in 1999, Triple H in 2000 or Chris Jericho now, Rock knew how to adapt and put on a great match. The post-match moment shows the side of the Rock that made him a star: The ability to hold the viewer’s attention till the end. He picks the chair up that was used to defeat him, and waits for a moment, not sure whether to give it to Jericho or paste him with it. In the end he hands it to him, sort of saying “You got me tonight, but it took this to get it done.” This is a super package of wrestling and psychology that could be a solid contender for MOTY. Grade: 4
Justin: After years of being held down in both promotions despite being consistently over, Chris Jericho finally wins the big one and takes home his first World title. The story is clear from the start: can Jericho win the big match. Both men were pretty over here, but Rock out pops him in the entrances. However, as the match wore on, the crowd actually started turning towards Jericho and turning against the Rock. The coolest part of the match was the tons of flash bulbs going off as the two men first stared each other down and that actually continued throughout the bout. The atmosphere gave the contest a big match feel as did the commentary. The contest was a straight wrestling match to start as both men were feeling each other out. Both men would also tease their finishers early on, something that had become commonplace in the main event style. They would also trade off heat segments during the match and that is when the crowd started to side with Jericho. The hottest near fall of the match would come when Jericho hit a Rock Bottom and Lionsault in succession. It was a great tease, because it was one of those moments where you assume he isn’t winning if he didn’t win there. Rock would fire back with a Rock Bottom on the announce table and, as the crowd started backing Jericho, Rock started acting a bit more heelish, which shows just what a pro he was. Jericho would come close again as he hit an awesome reversal by avoiding the People’s Elbow and turning Rock into the Walls of Jericho. That should have been the ending right there and Jericho would have been put over even stronger, but instead the actual finish ends up being a bit weaker. Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley would end up running in and inadvertently costing Rock the match when she tossed a chair in the ring. Rock took her out, but Jericho dropped him on the chair for the upset win. The crux of the continuation of the feud was Rock putting some doubt in Jericho’s mind about if he could have won cleanly or if he needed a chair to get it done. This was a great match and these two would actually put on even better ones in the coming months. Grade: 4
8) Steve Austin (Steve Williams) defeats Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) & Kurt Angle in a triangle match to retain WWF World Title when he pins Van Dam after a Stunner at 15:15
Fun Fact: Steve Austin regained the WWF World Title on the 10/8 Raw thanks to the unusual and very late heel turn by William Regal to the Alliance when he cracked Kurt Angle with the title belt. It was Austin’s sixth World Title victory, with an unprecedented three of them on Raw. Regal would be named the GM of the Alliance, which left an opening on the WWF side. That opening was quickly filled by the returning Mick Foley, who assumed the role and helped facilitate this match. The 10/8 Raw was actually a controversial one. As the ratings started to slide in mid 2001, Vince and company began to panic a bit. This episode of Raw was actually pushed as the biggest in history and one that would feature a huge moment on it. That moment ended up being the Regal turn and Austin title win but all of the hype and the minor payoff left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths. They thought the constant shilling on the web and by JR was reminiscent of the hyperbole spewed by Tony Schiavone during WCW’s heyday and it came off as a desperate maneuver.
Fun Fact II: Austin started to distrust RVD as he felt that Van Dam was trying to usurp Austin’s slot as leader of the Alliance. On the 10/15 Raw, during the Austin/Booker T vs. Undertaker/Kurt Angle main event, RVD came in with both Austin and Angle on the ground, thought about it, and frog-splashed Angle to allow Austin to get the pin. The following Thursday on Smackdown the Alliance was about to throw a big party for RVD to celebrate his loyalty to them. RVD was seen leaving a limousine, and then heading into the party. Later we find out that the other guy in the limousine was WWF owner Vince McMahon. Austin confronts RVD and says “Either you’re with me or you’re against me” and RVD is kicked out of the party. The main event that night was RVD vs. Kurt Angle, and we now pass on the much better description from our good friend CRZ at The Other Arena: Sure enough, STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN is out to break it up with a big swing – stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, drops down for eleven quick punches – picks him up – KICK WHAM STUNNER – six more quick rights – now tossing out van Dam through the ropes as well! Austin is making a lotta noise jawjacking to van Dam. Back to Angle – KICK – is CAUGHT – OLYMPIC SLAM ON AUSTIN!! van Dam quickly climbs to the top – who will he choose? Crowd is loud – Fivestar frog splash – on – AUSTIN! Cole: “Oh my God!” van Dam points to himself! Crowd chants “RVD.” Play his music! (No contest? Boeing 7:37?) And now BILLIONAIRE VINCE walks out…and puts his hands on his hips, assuming the Brawny pose. Reactions from Austin – Angle – van Dam – Vince POINTS TO HIMSELF! I think Austin is crying. How will it turn out?
Scott: Our main event is a storyline-driven match that disappointed me upon this viewing. Steve Austin’s character is a complete 180 from his 1998-99 confident ass kicker role. Now he is paranoid, calculating, and downright nefarious. His fear of RVD being either the new leader of the Alliance or Vince McMahon’s newest member of the WWF camp put him at wit’s end by the time we get to No Mercy. As for Angle, his spike as a babyface that started in July is slowly starting to dip, and by our next show he’s all over the face/heel map. Then there’s R…V…D. Van Dam is the fans’ favorite ever since debuting at Invasion, defeating Jeff Hardy twice and having a pristine 3-0 PPV record. Well that comes to a crashing halt right here. He barely gets any moves in and eats the pin to retain the title for Stone Cold. Both Vince and Shane McMahon get involved here, as they have a funny brawl behind the main announce table. Austin also gets his now famous scar on the back of his head from a Vince chair shot here. This is the first match where you’re probably thinking “This storyline needs to end now.” I’m not sure if they wanted to stretch the angle out to Wrestlemania or not, but this show lacks the sizzle of the Invasion like the last three shows had. This match is ok, but considering the talent in the match it’s disappointing. Grade: 2
Justin: After months of Alliance mind games, Vince decided to strike back by actively recruiting Rob Van Dam. After a month of unrest between Austin and RVD, the main question heading in here was whether or not Vince had gotten to RVD and if he was battling for the WWF. Austin and RVD wasted no time with their big showdown as they start face to face and only stop to take out Angle. Austin gains control early but RVD would fire back with a sick somersault senton to the floor. The crowd was pretty split between Angle and RVD here but I think RVD was slightly out popping him. The entire match was pretty high impact and kept a good pace. Angle would even bust out his picture perfect moonsault. All three men traded offense until Vince made his way to ringside and busted Austin open hardway with a sick chair shot to the back of the head. Following that shot, RVD drilled Austin with the Five Star for a wicked near fall and I think that should have been the finish, but more on that in a minute. Not one to let Vince get the entire spotlight, Shane ran down and the two had a great brawl around the announce area as the match wore down. Austin would end up sneaking in and getting the pin on RVD after a Stunner to retain his coveted title. The crowd ends up being a bit deflated with the finish as you could tell they were ready to explode for an RVD win. I understand why they waited to keep the belt on Austin as the Invasion wound down, but they could have made RVD a mega star here or at Survivor Series as he was super hot and motivated as well. I think if they would have ended the match with the Five Star, the arena would have burst open from the pop. I also would have been OK with Austin pinning Angle and setting up a match with RVD at Survivor Series, but I digress. I am totally against Scott here as I loved this match, thought it was a great triple threat and a hidden classic on an overlooked show. Grade: 4
Scott: Other than Rock/Jericho and the resurgence of Undertaker, this show is very bland. The spark of the Invasion storyline is lacking for the first time, and it’s clear that a conclusion needs to happen soon. The matches are solid if slightly bland. The Hardys look good as always in the opener as do their opponents. I still feel Lance Storm was being misused here, but at least he and Hurricane are a solid team for Matt & Jeff. Test and Kane put on a solid but sloppy power match as Kane tries to break out of his slump. Stacy Kiebler and Torrie Wilson do their best to feign rolling around naked as a wrestling match, and both would get a little better as time progresses. Edge regains the IC Title from his brother but the ladder gimmick needs to be put away for a while. The Dudleys win to stay the hot Alliance tag team. Undertaker finally looks to be getting off his ass and putting on decent matches again. Nice job by Booker T for carrying him even though he had to job. Chris Jericho reaches the first of what would be two major milestones in his career at this show, winning the WCW World Title over a red hot Rock. The main event is decent, but lacked sizzle and had some booking flaws in the middle. Next month we come to the end of the line of 2001’s major storyline, however the prelude to that is very flat. Final Grade: C
Justin: This is kind of an odd show as the Invasion storyline was clearly running out of steam and you could tell they were just sort of in a holding pattern until Survivor Series. To be honest, I think that is why the RVD/Austin and Jericho/Rock angles were so intense and intriguing; because they were not just feuds between WWF and Alliance guys, they were feuds within the factions. They really could have made RVD here but I think they were a bit gun shy and also I think they had an upcoming Austin/Rock showdown in the books already, so they held off and ended up missing their chance. The triple threat did have a great buildup, though, and it was paid off pretty well. I enjoyed the rest of the show as there were no dogs and every match was at least solid with three great matches and one really good one mixed in. It was good to see Undertaker get his act together as he and Booker put on a nice match. The last two matches were great stuff and a good way to cap off a solid show. The Invasion is finally coming to an end as all signs point to a major final battle at Survivor Series. Grade: B-
MVP: Chris Jericho & Rock
Runner Up: Undertaker
Non MVP: Tajiri & Big Show
Runner Up: Kane