The SmarK Rant for WWF No Mercy 1999 (UK Version) – 05.16.99
So another crazy thing about the WWE Network is all the stuff that I didn’t even realize was on there, for example all the UK-only PPVs that I never watched and reviewed in the first place. So we might as well start going back and getting those all knocked out, too. Suffice it to say, I’m going into these completely blind and I have no idea what we’re gonna get.
Live from Manchester, UK, drawing 18,000 and broadcast on Sky Sports.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
The Corporate Ministry joins us to start with the god-awful mashup of “No Chance in Hell” and the Undertaker’s music. Shane McMahon promises NO MERCY for any of their opponents tonight. He said the thing! That’s the name of the show! It’s basically a RAW clipboard deal where Shane runs down all the matches tonight, with the Brood facing the Acolytes & Viscera, Kane taking on Mideon, and the European title getting revived for ONE NIGHT ONLY. He said the thing! No wait that was a different show, sorry. Shane trips over the phrase “No Holds Barred” in announcing the main event tonight, which is Austin defending the WWF title against HHH and Undertaker. Oh man, Shane-O-Mac was not the promo guy in 1999. This was baaaaaaaad.
Thankfully Jim Ross summarizes Shane after the promo, back when he could be counted on to be the guy to do that instead of needing his own translator.
Tiger Ali Singh v. Gillberg
Tiger hails from “the continent of Asia”, so that narrows it down. They should make sure everyone in the promotion gets a hometown pop by announcing that they’re from “The continent of North America”. JR immediately blows my goodwill by naming Tiger’s opponent as “Goldberg” before noting “It doesn’t really matter I guess.” Tiger does his usual “I’m better than you and you’re all racist and you all think I should be driving a taxi” promo before the match. We’re already off to a hot start I see. It’s of course hilarious now in hindsight to see them jealously busting on Goldberg at this point given how many times they’ve brought him in for cheap nostalgia in the past decade. Gill actually gets a big of offense on Tiger to start, but Singh puts him down with a press slam. Gill comes back with a slam and “spears” him, more of a gentle double-leg, but Tiger pops up and finishes him with a lame neckbreaker at 1:03. I should note that Gillberg was the light heavyweight champion at this point and they’re out there burying the guy and joking about how it’s so miserable watching him try to wrestle. DUD. What an opener this was!
The Brood v. The Acolytes & Viscera
The Brood had just split off from the Corporate Ministry because they wanted to crucify Christian because reasons and probably completely missed the irony therein. Good lord that storyline was atrocious. Now, we know that there are werewolves in London because of the brave citizen journalism of Warren Zevon, but is England also friendly to vampires? The Brood appears to be the babyfaces here, so I guess so. Gangrel slugs on Viscera to start and gets nowhere. Vis reverses a suplex attempt and gets two off that, but he misses a legdrop and Gangrel drops elbows on him with help from Edge. Bradshaw comes in and drops his own elbows on Edge, but Christian bulldogs him for two. Faarooq beats Christian down, but Edge comes in for the double-team before walking into the spinebuster. That gets two for Faarooq. The Acolytes are barely even selling for the Brood out there. Bradshaw runs Edge into the post and the heels take over, as Vis drops an elbow for two. Edge gets a DDT on Faarooq and Christian gets the hot tag 5:00 into this, but Bradshaw immediately cuts him off with the fallaway slam and they destroy him on the floor as well. Back in, that gets two.
Bradshaw runs Christian into the turnbuckles a few times and goes to a bearhug, but Christian fights out of that. So Bradshaw cuts him off again with a big boot for two. Vis with a sideslam for two as the announcers discuss the big Man U win over the Spurs. Don’t even get me started on Man U! They really singe my bangers and mash! Faarooq with a chinlock on Christian and he fights out of that, but Bradshaw cuts him off AGAIN and slugs him down for two. This crowd is so hot that they’re even cheering the babyfaces on while they’re getting squashed for 10 minutes straight by these jackasses. Bradshaw with a powerslam for two, and Faarooq gets his own slam for two. Christian finally gets a hope spot with a cradle on Faarooq for two, but they cut him off AGAIN and now Shane comes out to watch as well. Hopefully he doesn’t trip and tear a quad on the way. Christian finally gets the tag to Gangrel but Bradshaw will barely even sell for him, either, and after a triple-team the babyfaces get him down for two. But then Mideon comes down and takes out Gangrel with a DDT on the floor, and Bradshaw finishes with the Clothesline From Hell at 13:50. Obviously Edge and Christian got over on their own by the end of the year, but the Acolytes gave them nothing here and then won the match anyway. The match wasn’t BAD but it absolutely wasn’t up to the level you’d expect given the talent. **1/2
Steve Blackman v. Droz
Droz stomps Blackman down to start and chokes him out as the crowd immediately dies. Suplex gets one. They fight on the floor while Droz yells at the front row. Back in, Blackman makes a comeback, but Droz puts him down with an atomic drop and stomps him down again and chokes him out on the ropes. If he’s not careful Teddy Long is gonna DQ him and then book him in a tag team match with the UNDERTAKER. Droz misses a splash and Blackman rolls him up for two and a suplex gets two. Droz powerslams him for two and goes to a chinlock as this drags on longer than the Hundred Years War. Droz drops an elbow for two and tosses Blackman for an elbow on the floor. Back in the ring, Droz goes up for a flying nothing and lands on Steve’s foot, and Blackman finishes him with an armbar out of nowhere at 7:55. What the hell was that? DUD. This was like a master class on killing a hot crowd.
Meanwhile, we meet Beaver Cleavage, who needs some of his mother’s milk for his cereal. And then JR explains the joke to the UK fans watching.
Mankind joins us and you’ll have to speak up because he’s only got one ear. So he’s heard a rumor that they play football in Manchester and wants to know if the team is any good. Mick puts over the British Bulldog and reveals that he had the second match of his career against Davey RIGHT HERE in England! Well, New England. And then he spoke to Davey earlier and Davey said “Why are you calling me at 3am?” because he forgot about the time difference. Moving on, tonight he’s facing Billy Gunn, who might be a badass, but anyone who’s seen Mick in the shower knows what a really bad ass looks like. And there’s your dad joke allotment for the evening. Do they have dad jokes in the UK? I imagine they’re more dignified and they’re called “Father jokes” over there and people tell them at high tea while eating cucumber sandwiches. “I say Jeffrey, do you know what you call someone with no body and no nose?” “By jove, I don’t think I know the answer to that riddle, milord. What DO you call someone with no body and no nose?” “Nobody knows!” “Oh, quite humorous! Cracking good show, old sport! Let’s go watch some Doctor Who.”
Meanwhile, fans give their opinions on the main event tonight. I think. Why don’t they speak English in the UK?
Mideon v. Kane
Mideon attacks to start and Kane gets annoyed and beats him down in the corner and then puts him down with a big boot. Kane chokes him out and drops a leg on him, but misses a blind charge and Mideon goes to work on the arm. Mideon with a jawbreaker and he slugs away in the corner while Lawler notes that X-Pac should teach Kane to talk. These days they need to teach Kane to shut the hell up. Mideon misses a charge and Kane comes back with the flying clothesline and chokeslam, but SURPRISE, the Ministry runs in for the DQ at 4:14. And X-Pac makes the save. DUD
This is like a bad episode of RAW from the time but with slightly less talking.
Meanwhile, speaking of bad RAW episodes, we take you back to the special Friday episode where Sable “defends” the Women’s title against Debra by ripping off her dress, and then Commissioner Shawn declares Debra the winner as a result. Good thing no one would ever put that guy in charge of a wrestling promotion.
Sable v. Tori
Sadly, Sable is suffering from a head cold due to the English weather, so Nicole Bass is taking her place.
Nicole Bass v. Tori
Well you know how this goes. Chokeslam at 0:24. Oh boy JR and the “she-male” stuff looks really bad today and we’ll just move on.
European title: Shane McMahon v. X-Pac
Yes, Shane has un-retired the European title for one night only after retiring it, although it would later be un-retired again permanently a couple of weeks later because it’s wrestling and no one ever retires. Much like Cody Rhodes, the story was not yet over here, as Shane screwed X-Pac out of the title and then screwed him over at Wrestlemania but X-Pac later got his revenge by…hold on…just checking…oh. He never got his revenge and they just moved onto something else. Got it. X-Pac quickly dumps Shane, who decides to run away, but the Stooges block him and chase him back to the ring. Back in, X-Pac with the lightning legdrops, but now Chyna joins us as we go full gaga. She runs X-Pac into the post after taking out Patterson and Brisco, and back in for a suplex from Shane. He goes up with a middle rope elbow for two, but X-Pac comes back with a leg lariat, before Chyna takes the ref and he gets bumped as a result. Do they sell smoke and mirrors in the shops over there? Because they sure stocked up before this one. Chyna runs in and lays out X-Pac and Shane gets two off that. So our next run-in is HHH, who joins us at ringside while Shane misses the broncobuster. X-Factor, but Chyna bumps the ref AGAIN. So X-Pac takes out HHH, but he tries a broncobuster on Chyna and she kicks him in the nuts, followed by a Pedigree from HHH, and Shane retains the title at 8:25. Was there even a match buried under all this Russo horseshit? Yeah, but barely. *1/2. JR promises that someday Shane and Hunter and Chyna are going to pay for their evil deeds. Yeah by getting the WWF title away from Steve Austin in a few months and then running the promotion for the next two decades. We all wish we’d get punished for our evil deeds like that.
Meanwhile, Michael Cole wonders if the Ministry is going to interfere in Mankind’s match next. Mick speculates that maybe they kind of like him! And then the Ministry runs in with perfect comic timing and they all attack him and take him out.
Billy Gunn v. Mankind
Despite the beatdown moments earlier, Mankind does indeed make it to the ring, dressed like a homeless guy. Everyone who posts pictures on Twitter of wrestlers in suits and tells us that they “look like a World champion” would probably be having an aneurism over Mick Foley in 1999. Billy works on the knee in the ring and stomps Mick down in the corner. They fight to the floor and Mick uses a Styrofoam cooler lid to fight him off, so Gunn tosses him into the crowd. Mick backdrops him back to ringside and they head back in the ring, but Mick misses a legdrop and Gunn goes after the knee again. JR reminds us that Mick was the leader of the Union at this point. I think he should have morphed into his unseen fourth personality for this special show…UNION JACK! His weapon could be a barbed wire CRICKET BAT. They’ll make MILLIONS. Of pence. Back to the floor and Gunn works on the knee some more, but Mick suplexes him on the floor. Back in, Gunn clips the knee again and gets a figure-four and works on that for a while. Sadly the ref catches him using the ropes and Mankind reverses it. A chair gets involved and the ref prevents that, so Mick hits the DDT and loads up Mr. Socko. Billy bulldogs him onto the chair to break that up and then follows with a piledriver on the chair for two, although the bell rings, and then everyone is all confused and Gunn hits the fameasser on the chair for the real pin at 11:38. I have no idea why none of that was a DQ. Teddy Long should give up refereeing and go be, I dunno, a figure-head for Smackdown or something. Pretty dull match. *1/2. And good thing they spent all that time establishing the knee injury and spent 10 minutes on Gunn working the knee so that Mankind could lose to multiple piledrivers on a steel chair. Real 4D chess booking shit there.
Meanwhile, they bring up the British Bulldog again, in advance of him coming back to the WWF for one of the saddest comeback attempts in wrestling history.
WWF title: Steve Austin v. Undertaker v. HHH
Thank god we’re finally at the main event, this show feels like it’s 7 hours long and it’s actually only 2. So it’s 1999 and thus everyone has to brawl into the crowd for 5 minutes before the bell rings and the heels double-team Austin out there. Austin fights back and makes his own comeback, as they head into the ring and Austin gets the Thesz Press on HHH. Taker breaks that up and gets two. They do another lazy brawl outside and the heels continue double-teaming Austin, but he fights back with chairs, so the heels beat him down again. But then Taker and HHH finally realize that they can’t both be World champion (unless they split the WWF into two promotions and give them both titles BUT HOW LIKELY IS THAT LOL?) and then they turn on each other and we go brawling to the floor again. Back in the ring, Undertaker goes MMA with something resembling a heel hook on Austin. Yeah, Undertaker as a submission specialist, that’ll be the day. HHH breaks that up and Austin necks Taker to make a comeback, but they cut him off again and Taker slugs him down. Austin and HHH decide to team up on Taker for a bit, but then HHH turns on Austin and gets a facebuster for two. So Austin fights back on Taker and they’re calling spots pretty loudly, leading to the big reveral sequence where they all counter the finishes and Taker chokeslams Austin for two. KICK WHAM STUNNER on Taker gets two. KICK WHAM STUNNER on HHH gets two, but the Ministry all runs in and breaks up the pin. So they all beat Austin down, but then all the available babyfaces make the save and they pay tribute to famous British wrestler Lord Donnybrook. So they all brawl away to the back and Austin comes back on HHH, but he walks into the high knee. So now Chyna comes in because we haven’t had enough of her tonight apparently, but Austin gets rid of her, KICK WHAM STUNNER on Trips, and that finishes at 15:26. Probably would have been way better without Undertaker in there especially because Taker seemed like he was walking wounded at that point, but it was fine for what it was. **1/2. And then everyone drinks beer and gets stunners and we’re out.
Yeah this was very much “just a show”, although you’re a HUGE fan of the Corporate Ministry and Jerry Lawler making lame British references, then this one has everything you’re looking for and then some.