No Mercy 2003 DVD Review

Review Format:

DVD

Running Time:

182 mins

On Sunday 19th October 2003, WWE’s Smackdown Roster invaded Baltimore, Maryland for their No Mercy Pay-Per-View. Headlined by Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, the event also featured an “I-Quit” match involving the dysfunctional McMahon family.

Starting things off was a WWE Cruiserweight Championship match featuring a clashing of styles between Rey Mysterio and Tajiri. The Japanese buzz saw had his work cut out, as Mysterio performed an endless assault of gravity-defying moves. A decent opening match-up, that got the most out of its cruiserweight stars.

Chris Benoit faced the man-carpet A-Train in a singles match. After the recent passing of the legendary Stu Hart, this match served as a fitting tribute to Benoit’s former teacher. A-Train performed surprisingly well against the Rabid Wolverine, using his power to try and ground the Canadian ring technician.

Matt Hardy met the one-legged-wonder Zach Gowen in his first contracted PPV match. Zach certainly has a unique style, and utilised impressive high-flying manoeuvres despite his apparent disability. With Shannon Moore at ringside to support Matt, Zach certainly had the odds stacked against him.

Former WWE Tag Champions APA faced newcomers The Basham Brothers in a Tag match. This contest was fairly uneventful, provoking minimal response from the Maryland crowd. A weak ending followed a supposedly shocking comeback from Shaniqua, who was sporting new chest accessories.

Next up was the controversial match-up involving Vince and Stephanie McMahon in the first ever Father-Daughter “I Quit” Match. While Vince had sent monsters such as A-Train and Brock Lesnar to attack Stephanie in previous weeks, this feud actually had her best intentions at heart. His daughter was soon to wed Triple H (in real life), requiring some much-needed time off from her General Manager position. Linda McMahon was heavily involved with the match, pleading with her husband to call it off. Sable was also at ringside, adding further fuel to the fire. More of a storyline catalyst then a wrestling match, which raised uncertainty towards Smackdown’s future.

John Cena continued his rise to the top by challenging Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle. A series of entertaining encounters on Smackdown - involving midgets and rap battles led to their eventual No Mercy match-up. While Cena is undeniably talented on the microphone, his in-ring abilities were no match for Kurt’s amateur wrestling style. Switches in momentum divided crowd support for both Cena and Angle. Able to bring the best out of anyone, Kurt took Cena through the best match of the night.

Eddie Guerrero entered his match against the Big Show with his back covered in stitches. Having sprayed Big Show with raw sewage weeks earlier, Eddie was brutally attacked, and slammed repeatedly into a car covered with broken glass. During the match, both wrestlers continually tried to cheat to gain an advantage. Big Show manhandled Latino Heat, using his size advantage to try and dominate the US Champion.

The main event featured Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker in the first-ever Biker Chain Match for the WWE Championship. Their previous encounter in a Hell in a Cell left the Dead man battered and extremely bloody. The two heavyweight rivals slugged it out, making full use of their strength and the surrounding environment. To his credit, The Undertaker continues to introduce new moves to his repertoire, including a variety of submission holds. The highlight of the match was undoubtedly when The Undertaker launched himself over the top rope, onto an unwanted presence below. A reasonable main event, but as the infamous biker chain was only used once in the match, it brings into question whether the gimmick was actually needed.

The DVD contains several bonus extras from Sunday Night Heat, recorded prior to No Mercy. Highlights include a match between Billy Kidman and Shannon Moore, John Cena rapping with a fan, and an interview with the Big Show. The full footage of Eddie Guerrero spraying Big Show with sewage on the 10/9/03 edition of Smackdown is also included.

Separate contests involving Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero ensured that No Mercy 2003 would be littered with strong match-ups. The rest of the Card was entertaining enough, with the obvious exception of APA vs. The Bashams. A solid enough purchase for completists, but don’t expect any match of the year candidates in this effort from the Smackdown crew.

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