By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit
The Undertaker vs Randy Orton and Bob Orton Jr. 10/9/05
Handicap Casket Match
The WWE as a promotion never seem content to just let things lie. If they can tinker with something, give it a small twist to make it seem fresh once more, they’ll do it. Matches like the Kennel from Hell and Punjabi Prison matches stem from this; the wrestling version of Malibu Stacey’s new hat version. Whilst not as much of a departure from the original concept, the idea of a handicap casket match reeked of the WWE looking to add an extra frisson of interest in a gimmick match that had been run into the ground.
Bob Orton Jr. was always one of the best stooge heels in the business during his initial WWF run, but it was a surprise to many to see him interfere on his son’s behalf at Summerslam, costing the Undertaker the match in the process. With the usual histrionics that accompanied an Undertaker gimmick match, especially one with a casket involved, playing out across weekly television – caskets being brought to ringside, mannequins looking like his opponents, you know the drill – the stage was set for a match at No Mercy that would see the Undertaker try to beat both Ortons in a casket match.
Harkening back to the double deep, double wide casket that the Undertaker built for Kamala many years ago, the casket was larger than the average – all the better for putting Ortons into. The match was always going to be about how the Undertaker would be able to nullify the numbers game, which he managed to do admirably in the opening moments by escaping an attempt to corner him and working over both opponents with rights and lefts. Vintage Orton Jr. saw him flop out of the ring on top of the casket as a bump for one of the first strikes, only to then hit a low blow to allow the double teaming assault to begin. However, it would be the Deadman who had the first try and putting someone into the casket; a throw to the outside seeing Randy clinging on to the bottom rope for dear life.
The Undertaker’s biggest issue was highlighted almost immediately afterwards as Orton Jr. was thrown into the casket, but escaped within seconds as Taker sought to grab Randy and finish the match. Not only was this something that made winning the contest more difficult, it often would allow the Ortons to land a cheapshot and take back the advantage. Ironically, the attempts by Bob and Randy to put the Undertaker into the casket often worked in a similar way, allowing their opponent to fight back as a means of escape.
A double superplex lead to Bob mistakenly going for the pin, whilst the decision to try and double suplex him into the ring was reversed into a double DDT. The weak link was unsurprisingly Bob, and it was often the older Orton who would end up in the casket first. The second time he found himself in this predicament, his escape would see him grab a fire extinguisher, though an Undertaker big boot halted his attempts to use it. Indeed, an errant extinguisher shot almost cost the heels the match as Orton Jr. almost lost control and landed on top of his son. A triangle choke did allow the Undertaker to finally pull Bob into the casket, but Randy had recovered enough to stop the lid being shut.
Turnabout was fair play as Taker used a low blow to halt Randy, who seemed to be stunned by the vision of his father laying in the bottom of the casket from the triangle choke. Randy’s arrogance would eventually get the better of him: a legend pose seeing the tables turn and Orton dropped with a Last Ride. As it seemed like Taker had the match in hand, Orton Jr. escaped from the casket and used the fire extinguisher to halt an attempted Tombstone. The resulting altercation saw both Randy and the Undertaker end up in the casket, but the numbers game paid dividend as Bob distracted Taker long enough for Randy to use a chair whilst standing in the coffin.
The Ortons slammed the lid shut and quickly locked it for good measure. Not content with just the victory, Orton would repeat Kane’s actions from the Royal Rumble 98 by setting the casket on fire. Things were not finished; they never quite are with a gimmick like the Undertaker. Taker would return at Survivor Series to seek revenge, revenge he would eventually get in a Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon. As for the handicap stipulation, it allowed the WWE to do something it doesn’t often do – make Taker lose a casket match.