PPV REVIEW: WWE No Mercy 2003

WWE No Mercy 2003 Review

October 19, 2003,
1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.

Introduction - Smackdown had been the better brand since split PPVs had come into place -0 would they stay that way tonnight.

Vince McMahon is an Abusive Father

Tonight's opening video package focused primarily on the rivalry between Vince McMahon and his daughter, Stephanie, a rivalry which was basically all about Mr. McMahon being an evil and abusive father who booked himself in a match against his daughter even though it was the last thing Stephanie wanted. 

The McMahon story dominated this opening, after which about 30 seconds was given over to hyping the WWE Championship match between reigning champion Brock Lesnar and his challenger, The Undertaker.


From there, we got the usual crowd shots and pyro as an overly enthusiastic Michael Cole welcomed us to the show. I swear, as Cole bounced giddily in his chair while introducing his colleague, Tazz, it seemed like he'd snorted several lines of coke just before going on air. 

Tazz and Cole then gave us a wave to the Spanish announce table before getting on with our opening match.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio

Before the bell, Rey Mysterio had referee Brian Hebner check Tajiri's mouth for the Evil Japanese Mist of Doom, something more wrestlers really should have been doing given Tajiri's reputation for spraying it everywhere.


From there, the two locked up and gave us a thrilling opening contest that combined fast-paced action with a solid ground game. The whole thing got better the longer it went on, building towards a climatic finale complete with some dramatic near falls.

At that point, a "fan" rushed the ring and distracted Rey, allowing the champion to capitalize and steal the victory.

Of course, the "fan" wasn't a fan at all, it was debuting superstar Jimmy Yang, who was joining the company as an ally of Tajiri.
Your Winner and Still WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Tajiri

Out in the back, a nervous Josh Matthews interrupted Mr. McMahon to ask him about his match tonight.


As captivating a presence as he always was, Vince cut a strong promo in which he claimed that he was sad about what he'd have to do tonight but was going to do it anyway because the issue was mostly personal but also partly business. 

McMahon wrapped up by warning that anybody who got involved and tried to help Stephanie would never be employed ever again, not just in WWE, but anywhere, 

That was good stuff from the chairman of the board.

A-Train vs. Chris Benoit

Though it took a while to build up momentum, this one gradually developed into a solid match which must undoubtedly go down as one of A-Train's better performances of his career.

Like I've said about countless matches before, this wasn't the greatest thing you'll ever see, but it was perfectly good enough and was compelling without being overly dramatic. 

After the better part of 10 minutes, Chris Benoit locked A-Train in a sharpshooter in tribute to the Hart Family after the then-recent passing of Stu Hart

A-Train tapped and that was that.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit 

Backstage, Matt Hardy searched for his buddy Shannon Moore and found him being choked out by Heindenriech


Hendenreich was annoyed that Matt Hardy had thrown his WWE tryout tape in the garbage, but Matt promised that wasn't actually the case and he would give Heindenreich's tape to the new Smackdown GM, assuming there'd be one after Stephanie faced Vince.

To be honest, I didn't really understand what was going on here and it wasn't very entertaining.

Zach Gowan vs. Matt Hardy V1 (w/ Shannon Mooore)

Though this was the shortest match on the card so far, it was still pretty fun. The Matt Hardy V1 character was always entertaining and when you combined that with the simple story of the plucky underdog trying to get the better of the arrogant heel, it came off well. 


After a decent enough match, Zach Gowan scaled the top rope and landed an impressive moonsault to pick up his first win in WWE. 
Your Winner: Zach Gowan

Back in Vince's locker room, Linda McMahon begged her husband not to wrestle their daughter tonight. 

Vince refused to reconsider but did change up the rules, making it a no-holds barred match and decreeing that while he could only win via submission, Stephanie could win by pin or submission. 

The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw) vs. The Basham Brothers (Doug & Danny Basham)

As Bradshaw greeted some military personnel in the front row, a flashback to Smackdown showed us him decapitating The Basham's manger, Shaniqua.


That led to Doug and Danny Basham getting some revenge by destroying Bradshaw with a chair, leading to the bald-headed duo's WWE PPV debut here tonight against Bradshaw and Farooq.

Since Shaniqua had been taken out, she didn't accompany her boys to the ring, leaving them alone to wrestle what was a pretty boring match until the last minute or so. 

At that point, Bradshaw started tossing out Last Calls to his opponents, only for Shaniqua and her new breasts to run in and clobber JBL over the head, giving the win to her team.
Your Winners: The Basham Brothers 

Out in the back, The Bashams fondled Shaniqua while she told Josh Matthews that JBL's attack on her had made her chest swell and that it would be permanent. 

In other words, it the attack and subsequent time away from TV was a way to give her a break to get a boob job

Up next, we got a video package hyping the first ever Father vs. Daughter I Quit Match in which Stephanie would lose her job as Smackdown GM if she lost.

I don't know why anybody would want to see Vince vs. Steph, but here we are. 

I Quit Match
Stephanie McMahon (w/ Linda McMahon) vs. Mr. McMahon (w/ Sable)

This was awful. 

I don't mean in the sense that the wrestling wasn't any good. Weirdly enough, the crowd were into the whole thing and it was the hottest match of the night so far. 


I just meant that the whole storyline was in too poor taste for this writer's liking.

I know, call me soft or old-fashioned or whatever  you want, but even in the fake world of scripted pro wrestling, I don't find anything entertaining about a man physically abusing his daughter and then his wife.

That's precisely what happened here. 

Vince beat up Steph, Steph got hold of a steel pipe that Sable had thrown in the ring and destroyed her Dad with it to the delight of the crowd, but then Vince made a comeback and choked his daughter out with the pipe until she passed out and Linda threw in the towel. 


I know there'll be people who liked that, but I just didn't enjoy a second of that. 
Your Winner: Mr. McMahon

Afterwards, Vince grabbed Linda as she tended to Stephanie, muzzled her with his hand around her face then threw her to the floor before snogging Sable. 

As all this was going on, Stephanie looked upset that her mum had thrown in the towel, but handed her exit gracefully, waving goodbye to the fans as she was helped to the back.

John Cena vs. Kurt Angle 

After weeks of basically battle-rapping against one another, John Cena and Kurt Angle finally locked up as the former looked to prove that he was a bigger star than the latter.

For the most part, he almost accomplished that goal as he and Angle waged war  in an absolutely tremendous match.

This was very similar to Cena's match against The Undertaker at Vengeance 2003 in that Cena ultimately lost the match but took his opponent right to the very limit and looked like a true star in the process.

It was clearly a tactic that was paying off as the crowds became divided between "Let's Go Cena!" and "Let's Go Angle!" chants despite Cena being the babyface. 

Of course, I've made this whole match review about The Doctor of Thuganomics, but that's not to discredit or downplay Angle's contributions. 

The Olympic Gold Medalist was on fine form as always, helping to create what had to the match of the night before finally snatching victory the jaws of defeat thanks to an ankle lock/leg lock combo.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle 

Up next, we were shown a video package of the rivalry between Eddie Guerrero and Big Show which basically revolved around Guerrero spraying Show with a waste from a waste truck and Show getting revenge by punching Eddie's car window through.

WWE United States Championship
WWE United States Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. The Big Show

The last time we saw Eddie, he was heading into full-on heel mode, but the crowd loved him so much that he was cheered throughout the contest.


His body scarred and torn from a recent attack by The Big Show, the reigning champion entered into a good contest with his larger challenger. 

Though this was never going to claim match of the night honors (especially not after Angle/Lesnar), both men played to their strengths and looked good in the process. 

Big Show survived getting hit in the face with both brass knuckles and the US title belt as well as frog splash, but still lived to fight on and chokeslam his way to a US title win.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: The Big Show 

Post-match, Chavo Guerrero came down and tried to console his uncle by reminding him that the two were still tag team champions, but Eddie was furious and didn't want to hear about it.

Backstage, Josh Matthews caught up with the new US champion who gloated that he'd done exactly what he told everybody he was going to do in beating Eddie Guerrero. 

A video package then aired for our main event and then it was back to the ring.

Biker Chain Match for the WWE Championship
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

In case you're wondering what a biker chain match is, it's basically a "chain on a pole" match.

That was the plan anyway. The truth was that the actual chain didn't come into play until the closing moments of the match. 

Before that, we got 20+ minutes of a long, tired slog that never seemed to kick it up into the higher gear you knew both Lesnar and 'Taker were capable of. 

The two had a great battle back at Unforgiven 2002, and when they met in a Hell in a Cell match a year earlier at No Mercy 2002, that was awesome too.

This though, just wasn't. 

It wasn't terrible in the sense that the wrestling was bad or anything. Both men were capable performers who worked well together, it's just that nothing they did was all that exciting or interesting. 

Watching them, you kept waiting for some kind of big spot or match-changing move that would up the intensity and take us into the typical WWE-style main event finish.

Instead, things just plodded and plodded along until The FBI randomly ran in. 

The Undertaker destroyed them and went for the chain, only for Vince McMahon to pop up and push the challenger off the turnbuckle so that he crotched the ropes. 

At that point, Brock grabbed the chain (which had fallen to the ground when Vince attacked 'Taker), smashed his opponent in the face with it, and won the match.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar

Post-match, Brock celebrated with his title as 'Taker writhed in agony.

No Mercy 2003 wasn't the greatest show of all time. The Angle/Cena match was the best thing on the card and the opening cruiserweight match was also a lot of fun.

However, the main event was disappointing, the APA tag match was boring, and the Vince/Steph saga was awful in all kinds of ways. 

Not the Smackdown brand's finest hour then, but to be honest, I've seen much worse PPVs.