|Event||WWE No Mercy 2008|
|Date||Sunday October 5 2008|
|Venue||Rose Garden Arena|
|Location||Portland, Oregon, USA|
WWE No Mercy 2008
WWE No Mercy 2008 has one of the strongest double main events of any B-level PPV in WWE history. The WWE Championship match continues an ongoing chase towards the promised land for Jeff Hardy. Meanwhile, the World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match is a bona fide classic. But we can’t merely use this paragraph as the full review of the show, so let’s go into further detail, bout-by-bout.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS TV SHOWS? READ OUR PRE-PPV REVIEWS OF RAW, ECW & SMACKDOWN!
ECW Championship Match
Matt Hardy (C) vs. Mark Henry
Opening the show was the culmination of a fairly lengthy ECW feud. Matt Hardy had captured the ECW gold (well, silver) at Unforgiven in a Championship Scramble bout. However, since Henry technically hadn’t lost the bout and the title via pinfall, he was entitled to a rematch. In other words, this would be Matt’s opportunity to prove that he would be truly worthy of holding the ECW Championship. That would be the same belt once held by Vince McMahon, but that’s another story. Anyway, this was a decent opener, and it was good that these two got to actually have a proper match after their 30-second contest at SummerSlam. Matt pinned The World’s Strongest Man with a Twist Of Fate to retain the belt, which he would hold onto until January 2009. Henry and his associate Tony Atlas would largely flounder until Henry’s move to Raw in June 2009.
WWE Women’s Championship Match
Beth Phoenix (C) vs. Candice Michelle
These two had battled for the same prize at No Mercy 2007. Back then, Phoenix was still trying to prove herself, whereas Candice was the more established performer. By this point, however, Phoenix could be legitimately described as WWE’s biggest female star. Plus, her Glamarella partnership with the then-Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella was highly entertaining. As for Michelle, though, this would be her last hurrah in terms of a major PPV match. It didn’t last very long, and Candice would fail to exact retribution from 2007 as she again succumbed to a Glam Slam. It would be almost four months before Beth would lose the Women’s Title, that being to Melina at Royal Rumble 2009.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PREVIOUS PPV? READ OUR WWE UNFORGIVEN 2008 REVIEW!
If Rey Mysterio Loses, He Must Unmask
Rey Mysterio vs. Kane
For around two months, Kane had been carrying a burlap sack while shouting “Is he alive?” The implication of a mask seemingly referred to his past, only for it to be referring to Rey Mysterio. In the meantime, Rey would return from a long lay-off to begin his feud with Kane proper. The stipulation here was that, if Mysterio lost, he would have to unmask. That suggests a large amount of drama here. But it wouldn’t be the case. This was simply a TV-level contest that ended with Kane blocking a ringside dive with a chairshot. In other words, Mysterio was in danger whatsoever of losing his mask, making that match rule pointless. Mysterio would eventually defeat Kane in numerous rematches, thus meaning that his mask would be as secure as ever.
Before the next match, there was an extended promo segment involving MVP, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, Manu, CM Punk and Kofi Kingston. I’d go into detail but it went very long and was instantly forgettable. So, rather than waste 500 words explaining it, I would prefer to just move on.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FIRST EDITION? READ OUR WWF NO MERCY (UK) 1999 REVIEW!
#1 Contender’s Match
Batista vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
When I think of Batista and JBL, I immediately think of their 2005 feud for the World Heavyweight Championship. And I completely forget that they would briefly renew hostilities again in 2008. This particular battle would still have a connection to the WHC, though. Indeed, the winner would receive a title shot against whomever left No Mercy 2008 as World Heavyweight Champion. Though this is barely memorable, it wasn’t too bad; it may have even been their best bout. It also didn’t last very long, as a Batista Bomb finished off Layfield within five minutes or so.
Batista would win his World Title opportunity at Cyber Sunday, though his reign would only last eight nights. As for JBL, he would cut a post-match promo where he essentially discussed the impact of the recession upon his wealth. He also noted how the US bail-out meant that he actually made money whereas others lost tons of cash. Then, Cryme Tyme and, of all people, Sgt Slaughter made use of his limousine, much to JBL’s chagrin. If ever a Ron Simmons “Damn!” promo would have been appropriate, it was here, especially because it didn’t lead to anything. Damn indeed.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE LAST EDITION? READ OUR WWE NO MERCY 2017 REVIEW!
The Undertaker vs. Big Show
Big Show had turned heel on Undertaker at Unforgiven to aid Vickie Guerrero. Taker would drill Vickie with a Tombstone Piledriver en route to No Mercy 2008, and his quest to exact full revenge against Show. Few people were excited about this feud, but these two would over-deliver and have a highly enjoyable rivalry in the ring. Their first surprisingly enjoyable match occurred here, with both big men giving it their all. Taker was certainly reliable, so it was Show who ultimately went above and beyond to provide a performance to be proud of.
It also had a surprising finish, as Show knocked out Taker with several KO punches (later the WMD punch). Undertaker never submits, but he also never gets completely knocked out cold, especially by straight-up strikes. Yet that was the case here, and fans were stunned to see Show completely obliterate Undertaker in this manner. Taker, of course, would win every other major match of their rivalry, but this finish still stands out when rewatching the card today. It’s also evidence that Big Show was enjoying a career renaissance during 2008, making him a valuable member of the roster.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING PPV? READ OUR WWE CYBER SUNDAY 2008 REVIEW!
WWE Championship Match
Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy
Now we come to our epic double main event. Firstly, we have Jeff Hardy attempting to make this the night that he finally captured the WWE Title. His chase towards the brass ring had been a continuous storyline from December 2007 onwards. Here, HHH was the only obstacle standing in his way, but what an obstacle it was. The Game, incidentally, was enjoying a strong year in the ring, with several outstanding WWE Championship clashes to his credit during this reign. And this may have been the best yet. Both men delivered an awesome and logical match, with HHH using the old Bret Hart tactic of leanming ever-so-slightly towards heeldom while still remaining a babyface. Hardy, meanwhile, had fans in Portland, Oregon excited about the possibility of him winning the WWE crown here.
And it almost happened, as Hardy struck The Game with a Twist Of Fate and Swanton Bomb combo. However, HHH reversed the pinfall into a crucifix, which allowed him to win and retain his belt. Jeff was very disappointed, as he had come within a whisker of making his dream come true. After another missed opportunity at Cyber Sunday, Jeff would finally become WWE Champion by beating HHH and Edge at Armageddon. This is an excellent match, but the best was yet to come.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING EDITION? READ OUR WWE NO MERCY 2016 REVIEW!
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match
Chris Jericho (C) vs. Shawn Michaels
To conclude No Mercy 2008, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels would reach a new peak in their classic rivalry. Previously, these two had performed incredible bouts at Judgment Day, The Great American Bash and Unforgiven. Somehow, Jericho ended up also becoming World Heavyweight Champion at the latter show, with Shawn being awarded a title shot here. And because of the associated history of each men with the Ladder match stipulation, that seemed to be the perfect way for these two to justify their latest, and potentially greatest, battle yet.
Looking back, it would be easy for this to be a let-down, given the substantial build-up. But when you have two absolute legends in their prime, a Match Of The Year contender is surely the only possibility. And that’s what we got here, as this was simply superb. At a time when Ladder matches had become all about spots and barely about psychology, these two took fans back to a time when the ladder was part of a bigger story, rather than a focal point for high spots.
Mind you, we still did get some head-turning moments, such as Shawn turning an attempted Jericho back suplex into a crossbody through an announcer’s table, and Jericho losing one of his teeth and cutting his mouth off a particularly gnarly bump. We also had another amazing finishing sequence. After Michaels repelled interference from Chris’ forgotten associate Lance Cade, he and Chris met at the top of the ladder. There, they both tugged at the WHC in a very dramatic manner; it was impossible to call who would win. But a well-timed Jericho headbutt knocked Michaels to the canvas, allowing Jericho to triumph. What a brilliant match this was. These two would collide one final time under Last Man Standing rules one month later on Raw to officially end their all-time classic feud.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOLLOWING TV SHOWS? READ OUR POST-PPV REVIEWS OF RAW, ECW & SMACKDOWN!
WWE No Mercy 2008 was a two-match show, but those two matches were amongst the best of the year, making this a must-see card overall. The undercard is acceptable though nothing spectacular. However, HHH vs. Hardy is tremendous, and the Ladder match is better still. If you haven’t seen the double main event from No Mercy 2008, it receives my highest recommendation.