Friday, 12 February 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF No Mercy 2001

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Event poster
October 21, 2001, 
Savvis Center, St. Louis, Missouri

By the time WWF No Mercy 2001 came around, the WWF vs. WCW/ECW Invasion was nearing its conclusion.

A few weeks after this PPV, the "Winner Take All" match at Survivor Series would put paid to the whole thing once and for all, finally bringing to an end months of bizarre creative decisions and ill-fated ideas.

Yet as rough as The Invasion may have been in many respects, there was at least one really good thing about it:

The Rise of Rob Van Dam.

From the very beginning, The Whole F'N Show had consistently proven himself to be one of -if not the- most popular member of The Alliance.

Tonight, all of that would pay off as he stepped into the main event to take on his fellow Alliance cohort Steve Austin and future Alliance member Kurt Angle in our main event.






Here's what went down when No Mercy came live from St. Louis, Missouri.

What Motivates a Man?

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the event
Tonight’s show began with one of the most compelling opening videos the World Wrestling Federation had used in a while.

Focussing exclusively on our triple threat main event, the video dissected the motivations of our three competitors, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and his challengers, Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam.

If you ever want proof that this company could tell great stories when they wanted to, look no further than this video.

Anyway, with that out of the way, the nu-metal tones of Saliva’s Click Click Boom brought us into the arena where pyro aplenty exploded and Jim Ross welcomed us to tonight’s show.

As was customary for this time, we also got a look at the hot crowd at WWF New York before Ross and broadcast colleague Paul Heyman took us to tonight’s opening match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Team Champions The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy w/ Lita) vs. Lance Storm & WWF European Champion The Hurricane (w/ Ivory Molly Holly)

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - The Hurricane
So, The Hardyz had been holding the WCW tag team titles for a few weeks while Lance Storm and The Hurricane had formed a pretty solid tag team since we last saw them at Unforgiven 2001.

The Hurricane was still getting large babyface reactions but judging by the story we were told by JR and Heyman, we were supposed to believe that he was a heel.

Speaking of the announcers, you have to give them credit for bringing up Hurricane Helms’ real-life history with The Hardyz in their Omega promotion.

That aside, this was a tremendous opening contest that whipped the crowd into a frenzy very early on and only got better as it built towards a gripping climax.

That came when all three women got involved in the match causing a big mid-ring kerfuffle. That led to Jeff Hardy landing a Swanton bomb and brother Matt picking up the three count.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - William Regal confronts Rob Van Dam
Backstage, Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam arrived at the arena and was immediately confronted by William Regal. Since the last PPV, Regal had defected from the World Wrestling Federation and joined The Alliance, helping his old WCW buddy Steve Austin recapture the title from Kirt Angle.

Tonight, Regal scolded RVD for hitting Austin with a frog splash on Smackdown and for having words with Vince McMahon. Van Dam was, after all, still technically an Alliance member.

Ever the cool character, RVD blew off Regal and strolled on into the arena.

Elsewhere in the arena, Vince McMahon just so happened to arrive in a limousine moments after his name had been mentioned. Honestly, you’d think this whole wrestling thing was scripted or something.

Anyway, McMahon refused to answer any of Michael Cole’s questions but did promise that he’d get all the answers he wanted -one way or another- over the course of tonight’s show.

Test vs. Kane

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Test pins Kane
As Kane made his way to the ring, Jim Ross reminded us that this was the very same arena where The Big Red Machine made his debut back at Badd Blood: In Your House 18 way back in October 1997.

Back then, he was The Undertaker’s sworn enemy. Tonight, he was on his brother’s good side and joining him in a feud against Booker T and Test which saw him go one on one with the latter.

The match was better than you probably imagined it being. Honestly, this fan was ready to dismiss it right from the get-go, but it turned into a pretty solid big man brawl.

Don’t get me wrong, this was never going to make it onto any ‘All-Time Must Watch Matches’ list, but both men brought their working boots (Test more than Kane) and gave us a decent contest despite a few moments of blatant sloppiness.

With heel referee Nick Patrick hamming it up as only he could and siding with his Alliance teammate wherever he could, Test eventually picked up the win after putting on a solid performance.
Your Winner: Test

Post-match, Kane gave Nick Patrick a couple of chokeslams and a powerbomb in revenge fun the referee’s various nefarious doings in the match.

Stone Cold Has No Time For Interviews

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Debra stops Coach interviewing Steve Austin
Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman knocked on Steve Austin’s dressing room door in the hopes of gaining an interview.

Instead, Debra answered the door and insisted that her husband didn’t want to talk to Coach. Austin would, however, talk to his wife and could clearly be heard giving her messages which she then relayed back to Coach.

It was -you have to believe me- much funnier than I’m making it sound. So funny in fact that Coach couldn’t keep a straight face. I honestly don’t think that was part of the show. Send for the man indeed.

Matt Hardy’s Close Call

Across the way, Stacy Kiebler made her way through the backstage area in readiness for her lingerie match with Tori Wilson. En route, she bumped into Matt Hardy and gave him an exclusive peek at her outfit.

Hardy was momentarily dumbfounded and started off after her until his girlfriend Lita arrived on the scene.

Acting as nothing happened, Matt cuddled and kissed Lita tight while, over her shoulder, expressing a sigh of relief that she hadn’t caught him ogling Stacy.

Lingerie Match
Stacy Kiebler vs. Torrie Wilson

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Stacy Kiebler faced Torrie Wilson in a lingerie match
For what it’s worth, Kiebler had theme music that sounded like a demo version of Sable’s old theme.

As for the match, well, it was the typical two-women-rolling-around-in-their-knickers deal that was so popular back in the day.

That’s no knock on Stacy and Torrie. The girls did their best with what they had without wearing anything more revealing than what your typical female performer wears today.

It was alright, but neither as sexy nor as funny as the company wanted you to believe.

Torrie Wilson won by rolling up Stacy and giving her a good ol’ slap on the bum for good measure.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Vince McMahon wishes Kurt Angle luck
Backstage, Vince McMahon interrupted Kurt Angle’s interview with Michael Cole to wish him luck in tonight’s main event.

Angle tentatively accepted the Chairman’s handshake but insisted that he didn’t need luck because tonight he was going to whoop everybody’s ass and reclaim his title.

In another room, Lillian Garcia interviewed Intercontinental Champion Christian about his rematch with brother Edge.

The future Captain Charisma has scored a somewhat surprising win over Edge at Unforgiven, capturing the IC title in the process. Tonight, he promised to do the same again in a ladder match, though not before rounding off his promo with the first thing you learn at How to Be A Heel School:

Insulting the local sports team.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Christian vs. Edge

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Edge faced Christian in an Intercontinental title ladder match
Prior to the bell, we got a look back to the moment on Raw when Christian tricked Edge into thinking their mom had been into an accident, only to lure him into a beat down at the hands of Mike Awesome and -if I recall correctly- Hugh Morrus.

Paul Heyman had then revealed that Christian was now a member of The Alliance, the only logic behind that move being that the Intercontinental Champion was a heel.

The bell then rang and this slowly but steadily built up into a terrific ladder match where each spot got progressively more dramatic and jaw-dropping over the course of 20+ minutes.

It’s difficult to watch a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship and not think of Shawn and Razor at Wrestlemania 10 and Summerslam 1995

Edge vs. Christian at No Mercy 2001 isn’t really talked about with the same reverence as those two classics, but I think that’s only because of the context. Had this taken place in a time period when we weren’t bombarded with excellent matches week in, week out, then this too would be talked about as a classic.

Ok, so you could argue that, as the match wore on, there was too much dead space between each increasingly-elaborate spot. I’ll be honest, even though I knew both champ and challenger had to sell as they’d just almost murdered one another, the fact that they just played dead for a while then got up and walked straight into the next clearly orchestrated spot was a little off-putting.

Still, those spots were so breathtakingly brutal that it was always worth the wait.

After a lengthy battle, Edge hit his brother with a Con-Chair-To on top of two ladders. As Christian toppled to the floor, the challenger reached and reclaimed his gold to win the match.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Edge

For those keeping score, Edge was now a three-time IC Champion.

Spike is a Ladies’ Man

Over at WWF New York, little Spike Dudley was seen nursing a beer. The diminutive Dudley had been through a rough time lately. First, his girlfriend Molly Holly left him for The Hurricane, then he got elevated about a thousand feet in the air by Bubba Ray and D’Von and crashed through a table on Smackdown in an awesome spot that I recommend you check out.

It was because of the latter that he wasn’t competing with his usual partner, The Big Show, tonight,

In kayfabe at least, said table spot had temporarily put Spike out of commission, meaning he was left to root on Show and his temporary stand-in, Tajiri, from the WWF New York bar.

Not that Spoke seemed to upset. He was soon approached by an attractive woman and basically ignored Paul Heyman's questions because we were now supposed to believe that Spike was a bonafide ladies' man.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D'Von) vs. The Big Show & Tajiri

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Bubba Ray Dudley is ready for action
Despite the odd-couple pairing of Show and Tajiri, this was a surprisingly very entertaining match.

Both teams provided a change of pace from the drama and intensity of the earlier ladder match and yet still worked hard to ensure the fans got their money's worth from this show.

As the match neared its end, Big Show looked to be in complete control only for Rhyno to appear, nail him with a Gore, and take him out of action. That allowed The Dudleyz to plant Tajiri with the 3D and retain their gold.

Honestly, on paper, this shouldn't have been up to much, but it was definitely a solid match and a surprise highlight of the show.
Your WInners: The Dudleyz

Out in the back, recent Alliance recruit William Regal congratulated Rhyno on taking initiative. Rhyno responded by saying that he'd done it because the Alliance was becoming a joke to people and if he had to stop that by himself, he would. Unfortunately for Rhyno, The Alliance was well beyond saving as the next match would prove.

Elsewhere in the arena, Shane McMahon and Test got Booker T psyched about his upcoming match with The Undertaker.

Booker T vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - The Undertaker ready to strike Booker T
While the last match may not have looked great on paper but ended up delivering the goods, this one was the opposite. To be honest, I was looking forward to this and thought it could be a unique match between two stalwarts of their respective organizations.

Instead, it seemed to be a lot of armbars, a brawl through the crowd, and a bunch of nothing. I'm sure this match had its fans, but I think sometimes a match can have all the right ingredients and still not connect. 

This was one of those matches. It was by no means awful, but it just didn't do it for this fan.

Undertaker put Booker away with the Last Ride for the three count.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Backstage, Chris Jericho told Jonathan Coachman that tonight, he was finally going to win the big one. Although it was an obvious thing for anyone to say when challenging for a title, it made more sense than most here as the whole storyline going into Jericho's match with The Rock was that The Great One had reminded him over and over again that Jericho had never been able to win a world title.

Indeed, even when Y2J hit the ring, Jim Ross had to tell us that this was Jericho's first WCW title shot despite wrestling in that company from 1996 - 1999.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Rock vs. Chris Jericho 

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - Chris Jericho beat The Rock for the WCW title
I'm just going to say it - this was a damn fine match.

Things started hot, with The Rock getting the better of his opponent at every turn until the challenger was finally able to get some sort of offense going and begin to dominate.

Back and forth they went, with every twist and turn to add more drama to what was fast becoming a compelling story.

At one point, the action spilled to the outside where the champion killed his opponent dead with a rock bottom through the Spanish announce table, but even that wasn't enough to seal the deal. 

Jericho fought back and locked Rocky in a Walls of Jericho only for Stephanie McMahon to head to ringside brandishing a steel chair. Though it looked as though she was aiming to assist Rock, the champion hurled the ECW owner into the ring and hit her with a rock bottom. The distraction allowed Jericho to slam Rock's face into the chair on the canvas, make the pin, and finally win the WCW title after what was a very good match indeed.
Your Winner and New WCW Champion: Chris Jericho

Afterward, Jericho gloated to Steph about his big win before being confronted by The Rock. The Great One was clearly pissed off as he thrust the offending chair in the new champion's face.

Backstage, we got an ominous look at Mr. McMahon's dressing room before a final video package for tonight's main event.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF No Mercy 2001 - RVD lets Steve Austin know exactly who he is
Was the first time a reigning hardcore champion had headlined a PPV? I can't be sure, and to be honest, I'm not going to spend too much time researching it, but I honestly do think so. 

Of course, the hardcore title wasn't actually on the line tonight. It was all about Austin's WWF title in a match that tried really hard to outmatch the earlier Rock/Jericho encounter and almost - almost managed it.

Indeed, this was a very good effort, even if the tried and tested two-guys-fight-while-the-other-takes-a-nap-then-breaks-up-the-fall routine did come across as a little messy at times.

There was also involvement from Vince and Shane McMahon, with the former drilling Austin with a chair and the latter preventing Angle from getting the pin on RVD, all of which felt rather unnecessary, but otherwise, this was a very enjoyable main event with plenty of big-time moves.

Austin won by taking out RVD with a stunner, but before that, there was a lot to like about this match, and about the show as a whole.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterward, a bloody and battered champion staggered up the entrance way as Vince McMahon looked on, furious.







WWF No Mercy 2001 was not a perfect show. The Undertaker/Booker T match was underwhelming, and despite their best efforts, Edge and Christian got the pacing of their ladder match all wrong.

That said, there was a lot to like. The opening tag team match pitting the Hardys against Lance Storm and Hurricane was fun. Torrie and Stacy did the best they could with what they had in their lingerie match. The Dudleyz vs. Big Show/Tajiri was a surprise highlight and the main event was delivered, but really, it was Jericho vs. The Rock that stole the show and is definitely a match that deserves repeat viewing.

1 comments:

Jericho vs Rock should have closed the show.

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