Top critical review
on 17 July 2013
On the one hand, there was nothing wrong with Smackdown's PPV offering here, but on the other, there was nothing right about it either. What is contained within this two and a half hour event is a very, very strong episode of Smackdown. But for a pay-per-view this is a pretty poor showing. A lot of events are described as not being memorable, but in this case I don't think the words do it justice - aside from one storyline shock there is really nothing to remember from this PPV. And that is reflected in the crowd, which is dead for pretty much the entire night; despite the best efforts of the (highly entertaining) announce team, this leads to a rather dull atmosphere, with moves that should have felt exciting instead just happening.
1. 6-MAN TAG: LOD & Christy Hemme vs MNM
There's really nothing of any note here. It's a good solid outing, but without any stand out moments. Heidenreich had an interesting style, and Animal was always good at strong-style traditional wrestling, but none of this is really evidenced here. Equally, MNM were an exciting tag team that could put on some great matches - this is definitely not one of them. The two women went on to become skilled workers, but at this time not so much. 5/10
2. Simon Dean vs Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley gets his PPV debut in a two minute squash match. To me, this is a great shame, as Lashley really was one of the more talented WWE big guys, and could dominate in the ring. But this match was boring, predictable, and didn't have long to get up steam. A botched finish doesn't help matters. Had the match been about three times as long (which would have been possible by removing a bland Simon Dean opening speech and several unnecessary segments between the two later on in the PPV) and some form of offense from Dean been seen, this could have been OK, and would have served to set Lashley up in a much better way. However, as is this is a bit of filler at best. 2/10
3. FATAL FOUR WAY: Booker T vs Christian vs Orlando Jordan vs Chris Benoit for the US CHAMPIONSHIP
This should have been really good. You've got three great workers in there, and Jordan's no slouch either, and the match was given ample timing. But despite this, nothing really seemed to gel, and the crowd were pretty dead. This led to some exciting moments in the match being passed over as average, which could have been much improved by a crowd that was behind the wrestlers. Unfortunately this wasn't the case, so nothing really seemed to gel. This is a match I so want to rate higher, but in all honesty can't. 5/10
4. Rey Mysterio vs JBL
A cliched match-up of big guy vs small guy. And this does follow a fairly predictable structure - Rey gets beaten down, uses quickness to some back, gets beaten down. Rinse and repeat. This format was done to death with Rey's WHC run, and there are some much better examples of the format in there. That said, there are some great moments here, and the finish is very well engineered. 5/10
5. Mr Kennedy vs Hardcore Holly
Relative to the rest of the undercard, this is a pretty good match. I like the Mr. Kennedy gimmick, and this being his PPV debut (one which goes off much better than Lashley's) that gets a good airing. The match itself is fairly hard-hitting, with the wrestlers selling the moves well. This could also be due to Holly's notorious stiffing of new guys in the ring (so maybe they weren't selling all that much). But either way it makes for an entertaining match. Finishing with one of my favorite moves on the roster at the time, there's not much wrong with this match. If only it had been a bit more exciting. 6/10
6. HANDICAP CASKET MATCH: Randy Orton & 'Cowboy' Bob Orton vs The Undertaker
This is an interesting concept, and has a good story going into it. Riddled with psychological warfare and a strong animosity between the competitors, there is some actual mental investment in the match. Unfortunately, 'Cowboy' Bob is way past his prime and it shows as he lumbers around the ring and doesn't really do a whole lot of wrestling. That said, there are some good ideas, and dare I say innovative moments, but both Randy and 'Taker are performing well below par, which is a shame. I was hoping to see a bit more 'Taker MMA, and some more Randy wrestling. After the match the only exciting storyline development of the whole show occurs, and how well it is executed. 7/10
7. Juventud vs Nunzio for the CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
It's really good to see a cruiserweight match at the top of the card like this, and with two skilled wrestlers there too. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite click, and the crowd seem positively bored (definitely not justified). I would have liked to see a little more mat wrestling as well as some more high-flying, and possible some more outside interference from the Mexicools and Big Vito. A letdown, and doing its placement on the card a great disservice. 6/10
8. Eddie Guererro vs Batista (World Heavyweight Championship) 4/5
There's a very strong story running throughout the match: has Eddie really changed and given up cheating? This is perhaps executed in an overly in-your-face manner, but it's a nice idea nonetheless. The match begins with some clever mat wrestling attempts to bring the big guy down, but the instant Batista gets on the offence he goes for a resthold. This broke up the opening minutes of the match - when you're meant to be sucking the audience in, not sending them to sleep. A frog splash to the back early in the match puts Batista at a disadvantage, and serves to set up a nice bit of back and forth between the two. Once again, a solid match without any stand out moments, but the strong storyline undercurrent does add something to it. What turned out to be Eddie's last match was a but f a damp squib by his standards. 7/10
You don't really get anything worthwhile in terms of extras, which is a shame. Throughout the event WWE.com were running "instant access" which was interviews with the winners straight after their matches. I would perhaps have liked to see some of this in the extras section, but to no avail. Or perhaps the dark match, which on paper sounds better than most of the PPV card (Regal/Burchill vs London/Kendrick).
In summary, in 2005 Smackdown had a great choice of talent; but judging by this event, they had no idea how to use them. Matches that look good on paper fail to deliver, and there are no surprises from the rest of the card. All in all, very disappointing. As I siad at the start of this review, there's nothing bad about No Mercy 2005, but there's nothing good either.