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Posted in: Requesting Flyby
REQUESTING FLYBY: No Mercy - A Playlist
By Maverick
Sep 8, 2017 - 4:41:32 PM

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No Mercy: A Playlist

With No Mercy fast approaching, my colleagues on The Right Side Of The Pond and I thought it was high time to give you a historical look back at some of the most significant match ups of that pay-per-view brand. I was always a fan of the 1999-2008 monikers sported by the non-big 4 shows and was saddened when they were replaced by gimmick pay-per-views with depressingly mundane and literal names. The return of Backlash, No Mercy et al has filled me with the joy of nostalgia, and in combing back through the cards there were a number of interesting matches that stood out to me as prime candidates for a rematch on the Network.

Chyna vs Jeff Jarrett in a Good Housekeeping Match for the Intercontinental Championship, No Mercy 1999
Jarrett’s male chauvinist character was drawing huge heat in the midcard just before his departure to WCW, and he found the perfect foil in the form of Chyna, whose push as a serious singles performer was well underway following her soft face turn and detachment from the dastardly Triple H. After a first match at Unforgiven ended in a DQ finish, this sequel threw in a bizarre yet thoroughly entertaining twist: the ring would be filled with domestic items to be used as weapons. It is perhaps the most Attitude of all Attitude matches, and very of its time, but only the most churlish would deny its charms. It’s also significant for being the match that Jarrett held Vince to ransom over, a grudge that still festers to this day.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Triple H in an Anything Goes Match for the WWF Championship, No Mercy 1999
Often overlooked due to the greater prominence of later encounters between the two, this minor classic serves to show just how luridly brilliant the brawling style of the mid period Attitude Era could be under the correct conditions and with the right protagonists. Triple H comes into his own as the top heel in waiting, whilst Austin puts in a kayfabe “circle the wagons” performance in defending his championship on one leg and with a bad neck (indeed, Austin went for his famous year off for neck surgery not long after this match, so it’s historically significant in that sense also). The typical frenetic finish sees The Rock attempt retribution on Helmsley, only to end up helping him to retain the strap. Well worth a look.

The Rock vs Kurt Angle in a No Disqualification Match for the WWF Championship, No Mercy 2000
The match where Kurt Angle won his first world title and also proved conclusively that he could more than hang in the hallowed company of the top stars of the day demonstrates the insane chemistry that Rock and Angle had with each other (see No Way Out 2000 for an even more compelling version), whilst also weaving the over arching story of Rikishi running down Austin “for The Rock”. The pacing is superb, the wrestling is crisp, and the finish is beautifully judged. Not all first title wins need to be at huge big 4 events! This one is a classic no matter what show it’s on.

The Rock vs Chris Jericho in a No Disqualification Match for the WCW Championship, No Mercy 2001
Jericho’s jealousy led turn from the poster boy of Team WWF to an Egoholic whose festering resentment threatened his own side’s survival was beautifully judged and executed during the latter part of the InVasion angle, and the beginning was this intense face vs face clash against his team mate, the established main eventer, The Rock. Wrestled at a blistering pace, and filled with unique character dynamics and superior storytelling, this is a match everybody needs to see. Two men at their physical peak running away with the show as Jericho finally “won the big one”. He would go on to do much more than that at Vengeance a couple of months later…

Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit vs Edge and Rey Mysterio for the WWE Tag Team Championships, No Mercy 2002
Making most people’s top 5 tag matches of all time with a bullet, this work rate classic was the final of the tournament to crown Smackdown’s first brand exclusive tag champs, a tournament which included “odd couple” thrown together teams. As they grew threw the tournament, Angle and Benoit came to respect each other, and their triumph here in a 22 minute epic still feels special to this day, notwithstanding the usual reservations about including Benoit matches on lists like this. Fluid and effortless.

Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship, No Mercy 2002
Brutal, bloody, innovative, intense and utterly convincing, this put over job by The Undertaker cemented Brock Lesnar’s 2002 as one of the single most dominant years of booking in history. With a cunning narrative of Lesnar gradually adapting to his surroundings to negate the experience advantage of The Undertaker and eventually bloodying the legendary figure opposite him, this one stands as one of the greatest cell matches. Certainly, there haven’t been any since that came close to the dizzying savagery of this one.

Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels in a Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship, No Mercy 2008
From the last edition of the show before its revival in 2016 comes this beauty, which capped off a wonderfully executed feud between two masterful veterans of the game. Jericho’s savage turn on Michaels led to a back and forth battle over the summer months, and after Jericho got the hell beaten out of him by Michaels at Unforgiven, he snuck into the Scramble Match as a replacement for the kayfabe injured CM Punk and improbably walked out with the belt. The poetic nature of their final contest being a ladder match was great in itself, but the storytelling once the bell rang was what brought all those elements together. Fantastic stuff.

Hear the thoughts of myself, as well as fellow LOP columnists Mazza and ‘Plan, on these matches and many more from down the years on this week's edition of The Right Side Of The Pond podcast on LOP Radio. You can listen here:

Until next time!