Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wrestling Do-Overs: The Invasion Angle, part 8 (No Mercy 2001)

Kurt Angle gets caught in the middle of the Steve Austin-Hollywood Hogan feud as we head toward No Mercy 2001....

To read this series from the beginning, click HERE

RAW after Unforgiven

RAW opens with Vince in the ring, mic in hand, Kurt Angle at his side.  He starts to say something about Kurt Angle being a fair and impartial referee at Unforgiven but is immediately interrupted by Austin's music.  Austin storms down to the ring and yanks the mic out of Vince's hand.  "Vince, I ain't in the mood for your crap, so piss off, I got nothin' to say to your stupid ass.  I'm here to deal with this lump of garbage you call a fair and impartial referee."  Vince exits the ring and watches from ringside.  Austin berates Angle for not keeping control of the match, Angle keeps saying "I was doing my job."  Austin says to Vince, "You know damn well I'm not through stompin' a mudhole in Hogan's ass, but I want a piece of your suck-up Kurt Angle too.  At No Mercy it's Hogan-Angle-Austin for the WWF Title.  Make the damn match, because Stone Cold said so!"  Vince hesitantly slides back in, Austin hands him the mic.  "Fine Steve.  At No Mercy it will indeed be Hogan vs. Angle vs. Austin, for the WWF Title.  You two resolve your issues however you need to, but above all, one of you needs to win back that championship!  I'll personally put up one million dollars to whichever of you defeats Hogan and brings the WWF Championship home."  Angle shakes Vince's hand, then Austin shakes it, only to lay him out with a kick/Stunner combo.  Angle takes a powder and Austin walks up the ramp as the show goes to break.

Later in the show Hogan (with Booker, Bischoff and others) cuts a promo about The Alliance's continued dominance.  "Booker T made good on his promise last night, jack!  He regained his WCW Title from that Hollywood Hack, The Rock!  And guess what, I'm still the wrestling god.  I'm still the WWF Champion, brother!  But I hafta give a shout-out to the one WWFer I kinda like, Christian, who was Johnny-on-the-spot in my match once he saw Crooked Kurt Angle's officiating.  He was having none of it, and he stuck his neck out to see justice done, man!  Ya know somethin' Uncle Eric?  Booker?  I think we should throw young Christian a bone and give him a match, tonight, for your US Championship!  Now that you're the six-time WCW Champion, how 'bout you give an up-and-coming superstar an opportunity at greatness?"  Bischoff smiles and Booker nods.  "Ya know, Hollywood, I can dig THAT, SUCKAAAA!"

In the main event Booker faces Christian for the US Title.  They lock up and exchange some basic wrestling holds, but then suddenly Christian does a feeble rollup and Booker exaggeratedly waves his legs to kick out but can't.  Christian wins the US Title.  Booker stands up as the referee awards Christian the belt, and they hug.  Bischoff from ringside throws Booker a T-shirt, and Booker unrolls it, revealing a WCW logo, and presents it to Christian, who proudly puts it on.  Christian is the newest Alliance member.  Backstage an enraged Edge trashes the locker room as RAW fades to black.

No Mercy Build

Over the next few weeks several No Mercy matches are built up.  On Smackdown Chris Jericho issues a challenge to I-C Champion Rob Van Dam after beating Rhyno at Unforgiven.  Van Dam comes out and the two have a face-off, but then the lights begin flashing and suddenly Sting descends from the rafters and gets in front of RVD.  "What can I help *you* with, Junior??  I'm talkin' to your boy RVD, not you."  Sting stands there wordlessly and RVD says "I think what he's trying to say is, if you want a shot at this, you gotta get through him first."  "You want Chris Jericho at No Mercy, you facepainted goth freak?  Let's do this."  Jericho drops the mic and gets in Sting's face.  The lights go out, and when they come back Jericho is alone in the ring.

Lita successfully defends the WWF Women's Title against Ivory but is attacked by Mighty Molly, who spreads out her superhero cape to reveal the WCW logo.  It's later announced Lita will defend the title against Molly at No Mercy.

The next week on RAW Edge cuts a promo on Christian, about joining The Alliance.  "It's one thing to turn your back on me, your flesh & blood.  Even though we had our personal issues, we could've worked through that.  It's another to turn your back on the company and the fans that made both of us who we are.  You've sold your soul and your loyalty to the highest bidder and I can't even look at you anymore.  Congratulations on finally winning singles gold.  I look foward to taking it from you at No Mercy, in the match that made us both famous - the Ladder Match!"  Later in the show Edge defeats Taz in a solid match but Christian attacks him and gives him a Con-Chair-To.

William Regal and Tajiri win a Tag Team Turmoil match to earn a shot at the Dudley Boyz, during said match, Matt and Jeff Hardy get into a fight with DDP and Kanyon that gets both teams disqualified.

Triple H makes his return to the ring, facing Rhyno.  After a competitive back-and-forth match, Triple H dodges a Gore and hits the Pedigree for the win.  Just then Goldberg hits the ring and the two have a pull-apart brawl that spills to the outside.  Officials separate them but then Goldberg charges, spearing Hunter through the ring barricade!  It's announced on that week's Smackdown that Triple H will face Goldberg at No Mercy, in a Last Man Standing match.

That Smackdown closes with a Booker T/Christian vs. Rock/Edge tag team match.  Christian avoids Edge the entire match, and routinely runs in to help Booker against The Rock.  Late in the match Booker hits a Book End on Rocky but Edge spears him through the ropes.  The referee is momentarily distracted and Christian hits The Rock with a low blow before finishing him with Unprettier.  Booker and Christian stand tall and celebrate, but then a gong sound hits and the lights go out.  A motorcycle roars and it's The Undertaker heading to the ring!  Booker and Christian's jaws drop as Taker climbs into the ring.  Rock and Edge come up behind them and shove them into Taker, who chokeslams both of them.  Taker picks up Booker's WCW Title and holds it over him as the show goes off the air.

No Mercy PPV

The final lineup is:

Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle - WWF Title
Booker T (c) vs. Undertaker - WCW Title
Goldberg vs. Triple H - Last Man Standing
Christian (c) vs. Edge - US Title Ladder Match
Chris Jericho vs. Sting
Dudley Boyz (c) vs. William Regal & Tajiri - Unified Tag Team Title
Lita (c) vs. Mighty Molly - WWF Women's Title
DDP & Kanyon vs. Hardy Boyz - #1 Contenders Spot

The Hardy Boyz and DDP/Kanyon have a fast-paced, even contest to open the show.  After 12 minutes DDP hits Matt with a Diamond Cutter off the ring steps, but Jeff counters a Kanyon Flatliner with a quick rollup for the win.  DDP and Kanyon are outraged and beat down the Hardys before leaving.

Lita and Molly Holly is a rugged clash of styles, with Lita employing aerial moves and Molly trying to ground her.  After eight minutes Molly counters a moonsault attempt by springing up the ropes and throwing Lita to the mat, then hits her with Molly Go-Round to win the Women's Title for The Alliance.

The Dudley Boyz bully the Regal/Tajiri underdog team over the allotted nine minutes, but Tajiri stands out as a tenacious babyface.  After a ref bump, Bubba and D-Von try to provoke Tajiri, a fellow ECW alum, to turn on his mentor William Regal, but Tajiri sprays mist in their faces.  Tajiri hits a roundhouse kick, knocking D-Von out of the ring, but Bubba uses brass knux to lay out Regal and tosses Tajiri out just in time for the referee to recover and count the pin on Regal.

Chris Jericho and Sting have a crisply athletic dream match, showcasing Sting's deceptive power against Jericho's agility.  Late in the match Sting hits the Splash and locks in a Scorpion Deathlock, but Jericho fights out of it and counters with the Walls of Jericho.  Sting makes the ropes and slides out, grabbing his baseball bat.  He swings but Jericho ducks and snares a small package, holding the bat across Sting's leg to trap him long enough for the three-count.  Sting tries again to hit him with the bat but Jericho escapes and gloats on his way up the ramp.

Christian and Edge tear the house down with a blazing Ladder Match, paced like Bret vs. Owen in the cage.  Several times they each take turns racing up the ladder only to be pulled down.  Christian brings chairs into the fray and goes for a Con-Chair-To on the ladder, but Edge moves and Christian hurts his hands with the shock of metal on metal.  Edge spears him into a ladder leaning against the turnbuckle, then considers doing the Con-Chair-To himself, but instead throws the chair away and sets up a ladder to climb.  Christian climbs up as well and there's a slugfest atop the ladder.  Christian rotates around and goes for Unprettier, but Edge shoves him off and Christian is clotheslined on the top rope.  Edge retrieves the belt at 19 minutes to become the new US Champion.

Triple H and Goldberg have a violent brawl full of plunder.  Goldberg dominates the early minutes but Hunter uses his sadistic cunning to even things up.  Goldberg spears Hunter through a corner table but Hunter beats the count.  Hunter busts Goldberg open with the ringside steps but Goldberg gets up at 9.  Hunter goes for a Pedigree but Goldberg lifts him up, tosses him in the air and spears him down.  Goldberg goes for a jackhammer but Hunter slips behind and hits a low blow.  Hunter positions him over the steps and hits the Pedigree.  Both men bounce off the steps to the mat and are down.  Hunter just barely beats the count to win the match after 12 minutes.

Booker T stalls for the early parts of his match with Undertaker, selling fear.  Taker chases him around and finally goes to work on him.  Bischoff frequently distracts the referee to allow Booker to cheat and take over.  Booker goes after Taker's back to soften him up for the Book End.  Late in the match Booker hits it, but Taker miraculously kicks out.  Booker goes up for the Houston Hangover but Taker catches him and hits The Last Ride.  Taker goes for the cover but two cameramen spring into action and pull him out of the ring.  They both remove their disguises and it's DDP and Kanyon!  Taker punches both of them and throws Kanyon over the barricade, but as Booker distracts the referee, DDP hits a Diamond Cutter on the floor.  DDP and Kanyon leave through the crowd as Booker tells the referee to count Taker out, allowing Booker to retain after 17 minutes.

In the non-stop action main event, Austin and Angle attempt to work together to defeat Hogan, but neither man trusts each other, and Hogan repeatedly leaves the ring so they'll fight among themselves.  Austin and Angle carry the workload, stringing together some fantastic exchanges, then Hogan keeps throwing out whoever is in control and attempts to steal a pin on the weaker opponent.  Angle at one point offers to give Austin half of the million dollars to lay down for him.  Austin gives him the finger.  Hogan charges at Angle, who ducks and hits three German suplexes.  He goes for the pin but Austin kicks him off.  Austin hits a second-rope elbow and goes for a pin but Angle kicks him off.  They fight each other again, Angle hits the Angle Slam, sending Austin out of the ring.  Angle locks the ankle lock on Hogan, who teases a tapout.  Austin pushes the bottom rope into Hogan's hand to force a break, slides in and hits Angle with a Stunner.  Hogan can't get up.  The ref counts 1...2...Angle kicks out!  Austin is pissed.  He pulls Angle to his feet, kicks him in the stomach and goes for another Stunner, but Angle counters with an Angle Slam.  1...2...Austin kicks out!  Vince runs to the ring and yells at both guys for not laying down.  Hogan whips Vince into both guys, Vince and Austin's heads collide, and Angle falls out of the ring.  Austin goes down and Hogan hits the legdrop, then pins Austin with his feet on the bottom rope to retain after 22 minutes.  Hogan and Bischoff clear out, Angle tends to Vince, and Austin seethes as the show goes off the air.

Continued in part 9.....

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