By Luke Dorsch @Luke_Dorsch
October 19th 2003, Baltimore, Maryland
Going through the archives I remembered I actually attended a No Mercy PPV and it was in my hometown of Baltimore, MD. Oddly enough it had been almost ten years since WWE held a PPV in Baltimore, the last being the King of the Ring Tournament in 1994 with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs Jerry “The King” Lawler in the main event and had the late great Owen Hart winning the tournament itself. Well, in the fall of 2003 with the brand split still in affect WWE’s Smack Down brand held the No Mercy PPV. I recently went back and watched the show on the WWE Network and all in all it wasn’t half bad. In 2003, with guys like Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit all in their prime there were some really solid performances on this show. I’ll go through in what my opinion were the highlights of this show and my memories of attending it live.
The then named 1st Mariner Arena isn’t one of the largest arena’s having a max occupancy of approximately 14,000 but on this night WWE barely sold half that, but Baltimore has always been a wrestling town going all the way back to the days of Gorgeous George and later Buddy Rogers and Bruno Sammartino. Throughout the decade of the 90’s when coming to Maryland WWE chose to hold their events in Landover, MD at the Capitol Center/US Air Arena which was demolished in 2002 so it was a real treat to have a WWE PPV back in Baltimore.
The Ruthless Aggression era had begun, and much like today Brock Lesnar was the champ and we were treated to some current and future WWE Hall of Famer’s in action But the WWE had The show started well with the Sunday Night Heat match between Billy Kidman and Shannon Moore and moved into another fast paced match with Rey Mysterio Jr. facing Yohihiro Tajiri for the WWE Cruiserweight championship. After some interference by Kyo Dai (Akio and Sakoda) Tajiri nails Mysterio with the Buzzsaw Kick to retain his title.
The infamous McMahon vs McMahon “I Quit” match was also held that evening which featured ol’ Vinny Mac himself accompanied by Sable taking on his daughter Stephanie McMahon accompanied by her mother and Vince’s wife Linda. The stipulation of this bout was that Stephanie could only win by pinfall or submission and the loser would be forced to resign from their perspective job. This is the classic Mr. McMahon heel character we all loved, just abusing his baby girl and taunting her mother. A tad sadistic to write this but I LOVED the sharpshooter spot where Stephanie is selling like a champ and Linda is holding her hands while Vince in full on heel mode is just screaming stuff at everyone. Most of the match consisted of the hugely muscular Chairman tossing Stephanie around the ring and using submission moves. After an eye rake to Vinny Mac, Sable gets involved on the apron only to be pulled down by Linda. Stephanie hits the low blow and grabs a pipe and…lays some pipe on her daddy. After a top rope pipe bomb to the head Stephanie gets a near fall but Vince uses the bottom rope. Sable gets involved again on the apron, Stephanie hits the bulldog recovers her pipe, but the near superhuman strength of Vincent Kennedy McMahon is too much for his daughter as Vince gets ahold of the pipe and chokes his daughter to death with it, prompting his wife Linda to throw in the towel and save her daughter from being choked to death by her husband. Classic shit man.
The two best matches of the night by an in ring working standpoint were obviously the Kurt Angle and John Cena match and the WWE Championship match. For John Cena still being essentially green as grass this match was really good and went for approximately twenty minutes. Kurt eats a nasty DDT on the apron, and this was before apron bumps became the thing, it was a lot of Kurt in control with Cena coming back big near falls and finisher counters but alas, The Doctor of Thug-a-nomics succumbed to the ankle lock and submitted. Hands down match of the night.
The WWE Championship was on the line in a Biker Chain match, because Taker wasn’t a Deadman at this point, he was the American Bad Ass and he sought to reclaim the championship from longtime rival Brock Lesnar. There was a chain hanging from a pole and the first competitor to retrieve said chain could utilize it in the match. This was another really solid match, with Brock really showing how athletic he is/was at the time. He took the Undertaker’s piledriver onto the ring steps, if memory serves there was a failed spot where the power in the arena either went out momentarily or it was a gimmick for the match, either way it disrupted the action temporarily. Taker has Brock trapped in a dragon sleeper and makes a move for the chain but Lesnar recovers and hits the F5. Brock goes for the chain but Taker recovers and hits a choke slam from the top rope. Next, we get the run in by the FBI (Full Blooded Italians) and they’re destroyed by the Undertaker of course. Which gives Taker a chance to hit the Last Ride and recover the chain but in comes Vinny Mac who pushes Taker from the top rope causing him to drop the chain for Lesnar to recover it and smash the Undertaker in the face getting the pin. All in all it was a fond memory of when WWE returned to Baltimore and a completely different time for WWE in general, everything seemed fresh, and the TV storylines for the most part were just as solid as the Attitude Era ones.
Billy Kidman def. Shannon Moore 05:12
Tajiri (c) def. Rey Mysterio for the Cruiserweight Championship 11:40
Chris Benoit def. A-Train 12:24
Zach Gowen def. Matt Hardy V1 05:33
The Basham Bros. (Doug and Danny) def. The APA (Ron Simmons and Bradwhaw) 08:55
Vincent K. McMahon w/ Sable def. Stephanie McMahon w/ Linda McMahon in an I Quit Match 09:24
Kurt Angle def. John Cena via Ankle Lock Submission 18:28
Big Show def. Eddie Guerrero (c) for the U.S. Title 11:27
Brock Lesnar (c) def. The Undertaker in a Biker Chain Match for the WWE Championship 24:14