- LWIW Recommended List:
- Hell in a Cell for the WWE Championship. Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker. No Mercy October 20 2002.
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Chris Jericho vs The Rock. No Mercy October 21 2001.
- NWA X-Division Title. AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels. Bound For Glory October 23 2005.
Last week in wrestling history had three recurring themes:
Halloween Havoc, No Mercy, and Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker.
Let’s address the latter first. If I thought the WWE creative team had a yearly pop-up calendar reminder to switch the tag titles last week, this week it would be to book Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker in a pay per view main event. The two WrestleMania 30 opponents historically clashed three times on pay per view this week: in 2002, 2003 and 2015.
Their first encounter was at No Mercy 2002 where they battered each other inside the Hell in a Cell, and if you have a weak stomach I would avoid this one as The Undertaker suffered a puncture wound to the forehead that caused the blood to literally pour out his head and onto the mat. I’m not exaggerating here, there were points in the match where it was pouring like a tap onto Lesnar’s face and everything else around them. By the end of the match, the ring was soaked in the Undertaker’s blood.
The next year, again at No Mercy, they met this time under “Biker Chain” rules, which was basically a chain on a pole match. This one wasn’t nearly as gruesome, or as exciting, but Mr. McMahon helped Brock win this one which led to Taker vs McMahon in a Buried Alive match at Survivor Series the next month, which set up the return of the Deadman gimmick at WrestleMania 20.
11 years later in 2015 these two yet again met inside the Hell in a Cell at the pay per view of the same name. Like the other two, Lesnar won this one as well but he had to kick out of a chokeslam and a tombstone on the exposed wooden ring boards before he planted the Deadman with an F5 to win it. After the match ‘Taker would be attacked by the Wyatt Family which led to the Wyatt Family vs the Brothers of Destruction at Taker’s 25th anniversary at Survivor Series that year.
Historically this was not a good week for the Undertaker on pay per view. To add to his Lesnar based misery he was also on the losing end of a Buried Alive match against Mankind back in 1996. Again the conclusion of the match involved a multi-man beatdown of the Deadman as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, The Executioner, Goldust, Bradshaw and Crush helped Mankind bury him alive.
For a long time, WWF’s pay per view schedule had No Mercy in the October slot (before it also included Cyber Sunday/ Taboo Tuesday, then changed to Bragging Rights, and more recently to Hell in a Cell). Historically last week we saw No Mercy’s from 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 with Taker and Lesnar grabbing the headlines from the latter. But the years 2000 and 2001 certainly threw up a lot of headlines of their own.
In 2000 Kurt Angle won his first-ever WWF title when he pinned The Rock after interference from Rikishi, who himself had just about survived (and no more) after a No Holds Barred match with Stone Cold Steve Austin earlier in the night. In 2001, Angle was again in main event action but he was on the losing end of a triple threat match with Steve Austin and Rob Van Dam with Austin retaining the title and keeping it under The Alliance’s rule. Chris Jericho also defeated The Rock that night and won his first major heavyweight title by claiming the WCW World title from the Great One in a great match.
Jericho was also involved in either a nice coincidence or a well planned sentimental match as only one week after his anniversary, back in 2003, 13 years (almost) to the week where he and Lance Storm both had their first wrestling match ever (against each other), they were on opposite sides of a tag team match on Monday Night Raw.
Talking of Chris Jericho and Taboo Tuesday, its first incarnation back in 2004 was held last week and threw a curveball straight away with the first match of the night. Jericho was set to defend his Intercontinental title against the winner of an online poll that consisted of 15 WWE superstars. If you have read Jericho’s book and choose to believe his and many other’s recollections of events, this was a legitimate poll where both Jericho and Shelton Benjamin (who won) legit did not know the outcome until it was announced live on air- while Jericho was already in the ring! Jericho wrote in his book that the referee told him the finish of the match while Benjamin was making his entrance. The show would also be memorable for the fans choosing a clearly severely injured Shawn Michaels, who won a poll of three men who could challenge for Triple H’s World Heavyweight title. HBK hobbled to the ring with massive taping around his knee that he had only recently injured, but WWE didn’t want to change an advertised match given Michael’s massive popularity at the time. HBK gave it his best shot and somehow pulled off a very impressive match for someone who only had 1 fully functioning leg.
Title switches were rife in 2001 this week, especially if it involved the Dudley Boyz and tag gold. In three consecutive nights those damn Dudleyz first successfully defended the WWF tag titles, lost them the next night on Raw, but thn won the WCW straps on SmackDown! Between the No Mercy pay per view, Raw and SmackDown, there were 7 title changes: Christian won the IC, Jericho won the WCW, Tajiri WCW Cruiserweight, Angle WCW US, Bradshaw European, Jericho & Rock WWF tag, and as mentioned the Dudleyz won the WCW tag. Its almost as though Vince decided there and then the Alliance angle was over and he had to set the jigsaw pieces in place there and then for the Invasion to conclude at Survivor Series the next month.
As we head towards Halloween on October 31, of course, that means that historical Halloween Havoc’s took place last week too. 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, and 1999 all took place last week (with more to come next week). Highlights of these included Sting defeating Jake Roberts in a Coal Miner’s Glove match (92), Vader defeating Cactus Jack in a Texas Death Match (Last Man Standing) after Harley Race used a cattle prod to keep Jack down (93), Hulk Hogan retiring Ric Flair in 1994, The (Ultimate) Warrior and Hogan having arguably the worst heavily hyped pay per view match in history (98), and Goldberg facing DDP only for the pay per view feed to cut just as the bell rang to start the match (98).
In true WCW fashion, no-one had told the PPV company that the 1998 show was scheduled to go on later than originally planned so when the original end time came, the feed was cut off and thousands of fans were left watching a blank screen as the Goldberg vs Page main event was seen only by the live crowd. They did replay the full match the next night on Nitro which popped a nice one-week rating, but this was WCW in a nutshell.
TNA and Impact wrestling were historically back in action last week too with four more instalments of their biggest show of the year: Bound For Glory. Last week we saw the shows from 2005, 2006, 2013 and 2019 all take place, with highlights and talking points throughout.
Starting with the earliest and first instalment back in 2005, Rhino was the man of the night after he won a four-way Monster’s Ball match (also featuring Abyss, Jeff Hardy and Sabu) then later won a gauntlet to set himself up for an NWA World Heavyweight title shot against Jeff Jarrett. Double J looked to have the match won after breaking a guitar over Rhino’s forehead, but no. Rhino kicked out, fought back and gored his way to the title. Also that night we saw Samoa Joe take on Jushin Liger, and an excellent 30 minute Iron Man match between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels.
The next year AJ and Daniels were pulling off the match of the night again, but this time they teamed up in a losing effort to Homicide and Hernandez inside the “Six Sides of Steel” cage. The main event saw Sting win his second NWA World Heavyweight title by defeating Jeff Jarrett. AJ was then in the main event scene in 2013 as he challenged Bully Ray for the TNA World Heavyweight Title in a No Disqualification match. Bully and the Aces & Eights were running rampant through TNA at the time and AJ had to fight off them and Dixie Carter to finally beat Ray with the Spinal Tap to win the gold.
Other memorable moments from this week;
- Stone Cold Steve Austin kidnapping Mr McMahon on this week’s episode of Raw in 1998, ending the night was the famous “BANG 3:16” flag popping out of a pistol and Mr McMahon peeing himself live on air.
- Nick Aldis retained the NWA World Heavyweight title when he beat Cody at the NWA’s 70th-anniversary show in 2017.
- The Big Show and Mark Henry broke the ring at Vengeance 2011.
- Kurt Angle returned to the ring as part of a make-shift Shield as he Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and Kane in a TLC match at, you guessed it: TLC 2017.