Mike Reviews – WWF No Mercy 1999 US Version (17th October 1999)

What’s Happenin’ Cool Cats!

The WWF actually ran two shows called No Mercy in 1999, with the first one being a UK only show in May 1999 that was pretty rubbish. Thankfully the American version of the show in October was much better, so let’s watch that.

The arena for this show was actually included in the Video Game of the same name that was released on the N64. I’m not sure if THQ/AKI just picked that pay per view at random to name the game after or if it was a case of “corporate synergy” where they and the WWF came together and decided to give the game and the pay per view in question the same name for tie-in purposes.

The event is emanating from Cleveland, Ohio on the 17th of October 1999

Calling the action are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler

We get the usual dramatic opening video package, focusing on Triple H doing a big injury job on Stone Cold by destroying his leg with a chair.

Opening Match
Mideon w/ Viscera Vs The Godfather w/ The Ho’s

There was a bit of a feud going on at the time between The Ministry and Godfather/Mark Henry, which led to Viscera winning The Ho’s from Godfather for a bit. I must say the tease of Godfather coming out without The Ho’s to boo’s before beckoning them out for the pop is pretty funny. This is one of the two matches from the pay per view that you can’t play in the game itself because Mideon isn’t in it, although his picture is in the creation suite if you want to make him as a CAW. The other one is the Jeff Jarrett Vs Chyna match from later on.

Godfather is so ticked off with The Ministry that he doesn’t even do the old “offer them a Ho in order to get them to forfeit the match” routine, saying that he instead just wants to kick Mideon’s butt. The match itself isn’t especially good, but Godfather is over and the crowd likes him at least. Godfather gets a bit of a shine but is distracted by Viscera making unwanted advances towards The Ho’s, leading to the cut off and some heat from Mideon. Mideon sticks to basic stuff in the heat, and Godfather doesn’t do too bad a job of selling.

The crowd is pretty quiet aside from the occasional reaction when it looks like Godfather might fight back. It’s not the most thrilling opening match to a pay per view I’ve ever seen, but I don’t think it’s horrendous or anything. I seem to be in the minority of people who doesn’t think that Dennis Knight was this despicably bad wrestler though. He’s fine as a basic brawler, they just didn’t really have that many good interesting workers to put him with during this period and he was pretty much phased out by the time of the influx of new talent in 2000. Eventually Viscera ends up clocking Mideon by accident outside the ring, which leads to a Ho Train and roll up back inside for three.

WINNER: THE GODFATHER
RATING: *1/2

Just a match really. Would have been fine on TV but it wouldn’t class it as “Pay Per View Quality” really

Referee Tim White dances with The Ho’s post-match.

On Smackdown, Triple H pretends to be injured, but it’s all a ruse and Triple H attacks. Earlier on HeAT, Triple H brags about it. He even calls Vince McMahon a “maroon” like he’s in a Bugs Bunny cartoon or something. This wasn’t a bad promo from Triple H but it was clear he was still missing something, which he’d finally get in 2000 when they put him with Stephanie.

WWF Women’s Champ Ivory says she doesn’t care about Fabulous Moolah’s history and that she’ll prove that she’s the real Champ.

Match Two
WWF Women’s Title
Champ: Ivory Vs The Fabulous Moolah w/ Mae Young

Urgh, Moolah. Ivory was doing the cocky Heel gimmick and got in the feud with the veteran, so we have a match here to pay it off. Mae Young was the real star of the tandem and would end up getting pretty over in 2000 due to taking ridiculous bumps for a woman her age and being pretty entertaining whilst doing so. There’s a story from Hardcore Holly of all people where she put the fear of God into him and demanded that Holly hit her as hard as possible, so he dutifully did so.

This match is your typical Moolah match, in that it’s all about hairmares and lousy looking strikes. Ivory was in great shape during this period, and she had a decent Heel character, but she’s got nothing to work with here. The highlight of the match is Mae taking a couple of bumps off the apron, which should tell you how good the actual wrestling in the match is. Eventually Mae keeps getting involved and takes a shot with the belt from Ivory, which allows Moolah to get a roll up for the belt.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: THE FABULOUS MOOLAH
RATING: ¼*

Mae’s bumps were good, the rest of the match sucked

Moolah and Mae celebrate following that but Ivory would have the belt back by the time the next pay per view came around. I’m not entirely sure how and I don’t really care to find out.

Earlier on HeAT, Triple H is bragging to Vince McMahon that he’s made Stone Cold so angry that he’ll get DQ’ed. However, Babyface Authority Figure Vince is all…

In that the match will now be No DQ, so Triple H’s plan isn’t going to work. Vince yelling “Give Em Hell!” in a mocking manner was pretty funny though.

Match Three
Hardcore Holly and Crash Holly Vs The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg)

Hardcore and Crash were storyline cousin’s, with Hardcore being the powerhouse of the team and Crash being the annoying Scrappy Doo styled figure. Gunn had been a singles Heel and had won King of the Ring earlier in the year, but the push didn’t take so they decided to reunite The Outlaws. The Outlaws had actually been the Tag Champs, but on Smackdown The Hollys cost them the tag belts against Rock and Mankind, hence we have a match here. The Hollys actually cost themselves a Title shot as a result though, as the belts would have originally been on the line here, which is pretty stupid on their part all things considered.

This is a decent match actually, as The Outlaws get a shine on Crash to start, with Crash selling it all really well, but eventually Road Dogg takes a tumble to the floor for the cut off and The Hollys work some heat off of that. Road Dogg sells well during that and The Holly’s offence looks good, but the crowd doesn’t seem to really care about it that much. I kind of feel bad for the four guys involved actually, as they’re working the formula well but the crowd just doesn’t bite.

They do some good hot tag teases, and the crowd starts to react a bit more, but at the same time the heat isn’t there as you would like for a match with two stars the level of The Outlaws in it, especially as the match itself has been worked really well. Eventually Road Dogg catches Hardcore with a Superplex and its hot tag Gunn, with Gunn doing a series of big power moves and looking great in the process. He even hits some WCW moves, with some Stinger Splashes followed by a Jack Hammer on Crash. Hardcore brings a chair into the match, but before he can use it himself it ends up on the mat and Gunn gives Crash a Fame-Asser on it for the DQ.

WINNERS: THE HOLLY COUSINS VIA DQ
RATING: **3/4

Good tag match with a super lousy finish. The Hollys were going to get the belts eventually so they wanted to give them a win here, but they didn’t actually want to beat The Outlaws either, hence the lame DQ. They were just starting to get the crowd into it too

The Outlaws send The Hollys packing following that to get their heat back.

Match Four
WWF Intercontinental Title
Good Housekeeping
Champ: Jeff Jarrett w/ Miss Kitty Vs Chyna

The story here was that Jarrett had been doing the old Andy Kaufman misogynist gimmick, because Vince Russo was booking and that sort of stuff is like catnip to him, and that led to Chyna standing up for women the world over. Chyna was a Heel at the time, but this angle was slowly turning her babyface. The idea with the stips is that household appliances are going to be around ringside and they can be used as weapons. So we’ve got ironing boards, pots, pans etc. In real life Jarrett’s deal had expired, so he held up the WWF for a big payday in order to drop the belt here, which caused him to be expelled from WWE for many years until he eventually returned a few years ago.

Dave Meltzer apparently have this ***1/4 in the newsletter, which seems extraordinarily generous based on my memories of this match, but maybe it’s aged well and Big Dave wasn’t too far off the mark? This is a more comedy based hardcore match as opposed to a serious one, with Chyna even using a big salami as a weapon before breaking a toilet seat over Jarrett’s head. We also get the obligatory cream and flower spots, with even Miss Kitty getting a pot of cake mix dumped over her head at one stage.

Chyna gets the best of things in the early going, but she goes for an elbow drop off the apron through a table and Jarrett moves, sending her crashing through the table for a two count and leading to Jarrett controlling things for a bit. Jarrett hits Chyna with a piece of fish at some stage, with it possibly being some Plaice or Flounder. It’s a flat fish anyway. I don’t tend to eat a lot of fish unless it’s battered/bread crumbed and served with chips, so I’m probably not the best guy to ask in all honesty.

It’s an okay silly weapons match and mostly entertaining, but I wouldn’t go so far as to class it as “good” or anything. The finish is pretty silly, as Jarrett hits Chyna with the IC belt for the three count, but the result gets overturned due to the IC Title not being a household item. Lawler actually makes a good point, stating that the IC belt is an item in Jarrett’s house, which is true. It’s a silly premise for a false finish, but it could kind of work if the finish isn’t then Chyna hitting Jarrett with a guitar, which is hardly a regular household item either. If she’d hit him with the kitchen sink it would have not only been funnier but would have made more sense within the stips.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: CHYNA
RATING: **

This was harmless fun for the most part, but the finish was pretty goofy

Chyna celebrates with the belt and she’d have three more reigns win it until moving into the women’s division in 2001 before leaving the company as Women’s Champ. Miss Kitty leaves with Chyna following the match, leading to her being Chyna’s valet for a bit until they fell out in real life.

Match Five
British Bulldog Vs The Rock

Both men had cost one another the WWF Title, with Rock upping the ante by then giving Bulldog a Rock Bottom into some dog poop, thus setting this match up. Interestingly, Rock is one half of the Tag Champs here, but he hasn’t brought his belt out with him because he doesn’t want to actually be teaming with Mankind. Lawler kind of spoils the subtle showing of dissension between the Champs by referencing it though.

Bulldog was pretty much done physically by this stage, with injuries in WCW basically finishing him off for the most part. He had kind of been in the Main Event scene since returning, but this match is pretty much the end of him when it came to being a potential top guy, as Rock ends up defeating him with little in the way of difficulty and he went into the mid-card afterwards for a feud with Val Venis and D’Lo Brown.

As a match this is fine for the most part, if a little dull due to Bulldog’s physical limitations meaning he has to pretty much stick to just punches and rest holds. He does take a big flying bump into the corner at one stage, but that’s about as action packed as this one gets. It also suffers from the problem that you just never buy that Rock is in any real sense of jeopardy. Bulldog is a mid-carder in all but name, whilst The Rock is The Rock, so this is only going one way and the crowd knows it.

Case in point, Bulldog gets The Running Powerslam and Rock even tries to put the move over by putting his foot on the rope to break the pin rather than full-on kicking out, but the move is greeted to barely any sort of reaction and Rock’s kick out draws barely a murmur despite it supposedly being this big near fall. Bulldog goes for another Powerslam, but Rock slips out this time and gets the Spine Buster followed by The People’s Elbow for three.

WINNER: THE ROCK
RATING: **

A TV Main Event on a pay per view with a crowd who didn’t once buy that Rock would actually lose

Earlier today, Terri Runnels climbs a ladder and Lawler tries to look up her skirt. The Attitude Era everyone!

Match Six
Tag Team Ladder Match for Terri Runnel’s Contract
The New Brood (Matt & Jeff Hardy) w/ Gangrel Vs Edge and Christian

This was originally a five match series between the teams, but one of the matches ended in a draw, so we’ve got a ladder match to settle it. This match is usually recognised as the moment that these four guys took the next step from being just guys on the show to being genuine stars. Gangrel gets kicked out of ringside early on, leaving this as a fair fight, and what follows is a wild collection of dives and big spots involving the ladder. It’s funny to think how novel a ladder match with tag teams in was at the time when you think of just how many wild and wacky ladder matches we’ve had since.

Interestingly the crowd is kind of quiet in the early stages, but as all four guys keep working the crowd gets more and more invested, as it really feels that after a certain point the crowd starts to catch on that they’re seeming something special and memorable. The high spots are still impressive to me despite the bar continuously being raised over the years, with Jeff’s leapfrog over the ladder to do a leg drop on Christian still looking cool all these years later for instance. We also get, I think, the debut of the “Coyote Cam”, whereby a camera is set up to show the guys falling down not unlike in the Roadrunner cartoons.

The quick clip they work at here is pretty impressive, as it keeps a lot of slow climbing to a minimum because there’s usually someone there to cut a climb attempt up. Also, because it’s a tag match, two guys can sell whilst two others do a spot or climbing tease together, which means you can get constant action but guys can still sell the effect of the moves. The eventual finish almost doesn’t quite come off as everyone crashes and burns leaving Jeff atop the ladder, but the bag of money almost doesn’t come loose at first so Jeff has to just fall and hope it falls with him, which ended up being the animation they used in the game in ladder matches.

WINNERS: THE NEW BROOD
RATING: ****

This one is interesting because I still loved it after all these years, and I also think it holds up as a great match, but I also think some of the younger pups who grew up in the Money in the Bank Era from 2005 onwards would almost think this kind of tame and even a little bit quaint by comparison. This was the absolute cutting edge (no pun intended) at the time and I still think it works as an absolute thrill ride of wild spots and action, but if you’re the type of person who likes their ladder matches to be as insane as absolutely possible then this might be a bit too “sensible” for you

Edge and Christian get a STANDING O following that despite losing and it’s deserved, whilst The Hardyz celebrate with Terri backstage.

Earlier on HeAT, Val Venis beats up Mankind and steals a copy of his book for good measure.

Rock joins us for a cooldown segment following the ladder match, where he cuts a promo and challenges the winner of the Main Event. Now he’s beaten Bulldog he wants a Title shot. Triple H takes umbrage to this and attacks Rock with a sledgehammer on his way to the back. They were doing a good tease with Rock here actually, as he didn’t win the belt again for another six months so it actually felt kind of fresh when he finally did, even though he’d already had the belt three times by that stage. This was your typical Rock promo with a Heel heat angle at the end to set something up for later. Normally I’d balk at something like this on a pay per view but there’s actually a point to doing it so I’ll cut it some slack.

Match Seven
Val Venis Vs Mankind

This was an attempt from Mick Foley to try and elevate Val a bit, as they did an angle where he made a special version of Mr. Socko with Rock’s face on it called Mr. Rocko, but Val stole it in order to start an instant feud. Val is trying to be all intense here, eschewing his usual pre-match mic work in order to get that across. Mankind’s entrance is delayed because he’s checking on The Rock, and he says he’ll win the match for him. B.B. is actually backstage trying to tend to Rock, and I’m guessing this is one of the earliest appearances she made?

I remember reading in Foley’s second book that he felt bad about this feud because he felt he didn’t really do much for Venis, but I think this is a solid match for the most part. The crowd doesn’t really react that much to it, which is a bit of a trend on this show to be honest outside of a few matches and segments. Mankind manages to liberate Mr. Rocko from inside Venis’ trunks at one stage, but Venis attacks him and then stuffs it back down there. They fight outside for a bit, where Mankind ends up taking a back suplex onto a chair, which isn’t a DQ because reasons.

To be honest, the overall goal to make Venis look more intense and vicious than usual is achieved here and the work from both men has been decent. The match just hasn’t had the crowd reactions you would like, and it doesn’t make sense that doing a move on a chair was a DQ earlier, but now it’s fine. You can’t even use the outside the ring excuse either, as the chair winds up in the ring at one stage and Venis gives Mankind a Russian Leg Sweep on it, with the ref just meekly moving the chair out of the ring and letting the match continue.

A big part of the match is built around Venis attacking Mankind’s head and neck, which is solid storytelling and Mankind sells it all well, but the crowd doesn’t really care about it. Mankind eventually manages to dodge The Money Shot and makes the comeback, leading to Mankind applying Mr. Socko and giving Venis the Mandible Claw whilst Venis applies Mr. Rocko and goes to a Testicular Claw. For some reason the referee allows Venis’ claw, even though that should be a five count and possible DQ. The finish is somewhat clever, as Mankind falls back from the Claw and bangs the back of his head on the mat, which momentarily knocks him out for three and at least pays off all the work to the head.

WINNER: VAL VENIS
RATING: **

The wrestling here was okay, but the match itself didn’t make a lot of sense due to inconsistent agenting throughout the night when it came to moves on chairs and the fact that Venis’ finishing hold should have been an instant DQ

Mankind rallies following that and finally reacquires Mr. Rocko.

Meanwhile, The Rock hasn’t left the building yet and is still being tended to.

We get clips of The Acolytes defeating Kane in a handicap match, and X-Pac rescues him following that even though Kane told him not to.

Semi-Main
Four Corners Elimination Match
Faarooq Vs Bradshaw Vs Kane and X-Pac

Faarooq/Bradshaw and Kane/X-Pac are both tag teams, but this one is every man for himself. This was part of a storyline where X-Pac was trying to prove that he belonged to be in the ring with the bigger guys, which led to tension between him and Kane as a result. This match is probably the quietest the crowd is all night, as they just don’t remotely care about this for whatever reason. The actual wrestling is fine, with it being more like a tag match in many ways because The Acolytes are happy to work together.

We do get the two tag teams fighting with one another at different points, but it doesn’t go on for very long and it doesn’t really get much of a reaction either. You’d think that The Acolytes in particular throwing down with one another would at least get a reaction from the crowd, but it barely registers with them for whatever reason. This match becomes borderline hard to watch at one stage due to just how quiet the crowd is. I actively feel bad for the wrestlers involved, as they are working hard and the action hasn’t been bad at all, but if it was any quieter in here there’d be people checking out books in the background.

X-Pac eventually gets worked over for a bit by The Acolytes and sells that really well, with the match actually telling a good story of him managing to mostly hold his own with these three big lads, even refusing to tag out when given the chance so that Kane has to make a blind tag before running wild. Kane gets Bradshaw with a Choke Slam following that, but X-Pac immediately comes off the top with a Spinning Wheel Kick to eliminate him. Man, the lack of reaction to X-Pac pinning Kane was genuinely kind of scary. That should have been a huge moment and it didn’t garner anything.

Elimination #1 – Bradshaw via Kane (1) – Pin

Elimination #2 – Kane via X-Pac (1) – Pin

So now we’re left with Faarooq and X-Pac, and they do a decent couple of minutes to close us out, with X-Pac mostly selling until he catches Faarooq coming off the second rope with an X-Factor for the three count.

Elimination #3 – Faarooq via X-Pac (2) – Pin

WINNER: X-PAC
MOST ELIMINATIONS: X-PAC (2)
RATING: **

This was a decent match in front of a crowd who couldn’t have possibly cared any less. It’s not like the wrestling was bad either, the fans just refused to bite for whatever reason. I actually liked the story being told of X-Pac surviving against bigger guys and catching them with quick pins

Rock is still being tended too, as the foreshadowing for what is about to come continues.

Main Event
WWF Title
No DQ
Champ: Triple H Vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

Triple H destroyed Austin’s leg with a chair at SummerSlam, so Austin is now back looking to get even for it, taking the WWF Title in the process. Triple H tries bringing a sledgehammer down to the ring with him, but Vince McMahon ain’t having that, which earns him a punch and leads to the Attitude Era brawl starting up, with both guys fighting all over the place. I do sometimes feel that these sorts of matches started feeling really samey after a certain point, and I even kind of felt it at the time, but it’s a fun fight for the most part and I like the fact the arena has wooden floor all over the place, although that is a bit more slippy underfoot than a regular floor would be.

The big highlight of the outside the ring brawl segment for me is when Austin grabs the boom camera and then swings it into Triple H’s face, with Triple H taking a great bump from it. Triple H ends up getting catapulted into the ref outside the ring at one stage, with Mike Chioda taking a pretty darn impressive bump in the process, which leads to both men getting in the ring but there is now no referee to count the pins. That’s Sod’s Law in a nutshell right there! Austin of course gets a Stunner now that the ref is dead and there is no one to count, giving him his visual pin.

Poor Chioda takes another big bump off the apron, as he’s bumping like nuts here, which leads to a Pedigree from Triple that gets a two count from Earl Hebner. That leads to Triple H and Hebner having their trademark shoving contest, which is followed by the Thesz Press from Austin. There’s a picture of that on the back of the video box actually and it looks like Austin is giving Triple H the world’s most aggressive hug. Triple H ends up bleeding following that, as both men head outside for some more brawling, and that leads to Austin throwing more punches to a downed Triple H back inside for a near fall. You don’t see that every day.

Triple H finally manages to fight back a bit, actually suplexing Austin onto one of the commentary tables, and we head back inside. They’ve had a good wild brawl here, but I don’t know, it’s just kind of not “clicking” for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a well worked Attitude Era WWF Style Main Event, but it also feels a bit flat for some reason too. This might very well just be down to the way I’m viewing it though and you might think differently. I can totally understand if there are people out there who really like this. Triple H works over Austin’s leg back inside and Austin sells it well, with the crowd reacting when he fights back.

This has been much more of a standard match since Triple H took over and I’ve enjoyed it, with Austin actually getting a chance to show he could still wrestle at this stage when given the chance. He even busts out a Superplex at one stage to get himself back in the match. We eventually get the big payback spot for Austin, as he grabs hold of a chair and destroys Triple H’s leg with it to a great reaction from the crowd. The crowd loved that, showing that the pre-match build-up was effective at getting the story over at least.

Triple H hits Austin right in the Debra’s to put a stop to that though, which brings Rock down to the ring with his mid-section taped up so that he can try and get revenge for the hammer attack from earlier. However, Triple H dodges the hammer shot and Rock catches Austin instead. Triple H takes out Rock and then pins the still downed Austin to pick up the last gasp win. This was a logical way to set up a Triple Threat match between the three men, although it did make Rock look like a bit of an ineffective goof in the name of making Triple H look good.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: TRIPLE H
RATING: ***1/4

Good match and a solid way to close out the show. I’m willing to bet that my rating might be a bit lower than others, but this one just didn’t do it for me when it came to a higher rating for whatever reason. I’ve always kind of thought it was a bit of a flat Main Event actually, even back in the day when I used to watch the video of this show quite a bit. Still a good match, but not a classic for me. You might enjoy it more though possibly

Austin tries getting a revenge attack following that but Triple H flees in a limo, meaning that this feud MUST CONTINUE!

In Conclusion

This is a decent show all in all, with the ladder match being the big highlight. There’s only one match that I’d say was actively bad, the Main Event is good, the ladder match is excellent and everything else is roughly **ish. For an Attitude Era WWF pay per view prior to the Radicalz jumping ship that’s not a bad return. I wouldn’t go massively out of your way to see it or anything, but if you fancy 150 minutes or so to kill and have the WWE Network then this wouldn’t be the worst use of your time.

Recommended show