No Mercy 2004 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on October 3, 2004 at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It was the fifth annual No Mercy event, and featured eight professional wrestling matches on the event's card. The buildup to the matches and the scenarios that took place before, during, and after the event were planned by WWE's script writers. The event starred wrestlers from the SmackDown! brand: a storyline expansion of the promotion where employees are assigned to a wrestling brand under the WWE banner.
The main event was a Last Ride match, where the objective was to place an opponent in a hearse located on the entrance stage and drive them out of the arena. WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) defeated The Undertaker in this match to retain his title. Two predominant bouts were featured on the undercard; in respective singles matches, John Cena defeated Booker T to win the WWE United States Championship, and The Big Show defeated Kurt Angle.
No Mercy grossed over $700,000 ticket sales from an attendance of 10,000, and received 240,000 pay-per-view buys. This event helped WWE increase its pay-per-view revenue by $6.2 compared to the previous year. When the event was released on DVD, it reached a peak position of third on Billboard's DVD Sales Chart. The professional wrestling section of the Canadian Online Explorer website rated the entire event a 5 out 10 stars, describing the event as, "an absolutely terrible" pay-per-view event.
The event featured eight professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots and storylines. Wrestlers portrayed either a villainous or fan favorite gimmick as they followed a series of events which generally built tension, leading to a wrestling match. All wrestlers were from the SmackDown! brand – a storyline division in which WWE assigned its employees to a different program, the other being Raw.
The main event featured WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) defending the title against The Undertaker in a match where the objective is to place an opponent in a hearse located on the entrance stage and drive them out of the arena, dubbed a Last Ride match. The buildup to the match began after SummerSlam, Smackdown's previous pay-per-view event, where JBL defeated the Undertaker in a standard wrestling match, also called a singles match, via disqualification to retain his championship. During that week on an episode of SmackDown!, JBL wore a neck brace, to signify that he was recuperating from a chokeslam that the Undertaker gave him on top of his limo. On the August 26, 2004 episode of SmackDown!, Orlando Jordan, one of JBL's associates, defended the WWE Championship for JBL against the Undertaker. Undertaker won the match via disqualification following interference from JBL; as a result, JBL retained the title. Two weeks later, General Manager Theodore Long, a fictitious match maker and rules enforcer, announced that Undertaker would get another opportunity for JBL's title at No Mercy in a Last Ride match.
One of the featured matches was contested for the WWE United States Championship, in which Booker T defended the title against John Cena. The feud began when then General Manager Kurt Angle stripped Cena of the United States Championship for attacking him. On the July 29 episode of SmackDown!, Booker won an 8-man elimination match also involving Cena to win the vacant United States Championship. The following week Cena defeated Rob Van Dam to become number one contender to the United States title. At SummerSlam, Cena defeated Booker in the first series of "best of five" match. On the August 26 episode of SmackDown!, the second match was won by Booker, to even the series one-to-one. The following night at a SmackDown! live event, Booker defeated Cena to win the third match. On the September 16 episode of SmackDown!, Cena defeated Booker in the fourth match, making the series even at two wins apiece. The following week it was announced that the final series title match would be scheduled at No Mercy.
The other featured preliminary match was Kurt Angle versus The Big Show in a singles match. The buildup to the match began on September 9, 2004 during an episode of SmackDown!, where a Lumberjack match (a standard match where non-participating wrestlers prevent contestants from fleeing the ring) was scheduled between Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero. The match ended in a no contest when The Big Show marked his return to SmackDown! by interfering in the match, chokeslamming both Angle and Guerrero in the process. The following week, Big Show was given two contracts to choose from; one contract to face Guerrero and one contract to face Angle. Big Show signed the contract with Guerrero's name on it. After signing it, Angle and his associate Luther Reigns, threw Guerrero out of the ring and offered Big Show a handshake. Big Show, however, tore up Guerrero's contract and signed the one with Angle's name on it to face him at No Mercy.
The first televised match was a standard wrestling match between Eddie Guerrero and Luther Reigns accompanied with Mark Jindrak. In the early stages both competitors took the advantage over one another. Reigns controlled most of the match, as Guerrero tried to avoid Luther's assaults. Reigns began to work on Guerrero's lower back, suplexing him down and bending him over his knee following a backbreaker. The match saw Guerrero take the advantage, as he was able to counter a swinging neckbreaker. The match concluded when Guerrero won the match by striking Reigns with a baton taken from a security guard.
The next match was for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, in which champion Spike Dudley accompanied by The Dudleys (D-Von and Bubba Ray) defended the title against Nunzio with Johhny Stamboli. The match began with Nunzio performing a pescado, a slingshot crossbody where the wrestler goes from the inside of the ring over the top ring rope to the outside, on Spike. The match saw interference from Devon as he pushed Nunzio off the top ropes. Spike took control of the match, as he was able to slip both arms underneath Nunzio's armpits and locked his hands behind his neck and pushing Nunzio's head forward against his chest. Back and forth action saw both competitors take the advantage over one another. The match ended when Stamboli tried to prevent interference from D-Von, allowing Bubba to trip up Nunzio and crotched him on the ring post and giving Spike the win and retention of his title.
The next match that followed was between Billy Kidman and Paul London. The start of the match saw London toss Kidman out of the ring and perform a running springboard moonsault, a move in which a wrestler springboards and executes a backflip to land on the opponent, from the top ropes to the outside onto Kidman. Kidman, however, took control once back in the ring, as he performed various stiff kicks on London's midsection and focusing on his lower back. London attempted to perform a powerbomb, but was not successful in doing so as Kidman reversed it into a sitout facebuster for a near-fall. The match concluded with Kidman as he jumped forward from an elevated position and pressed his knees to execute a backflip in mid-air, and landing on London to get the pinfall victory over London.
The fourth match was for the WWE Tag Team Championship, in which champions René Duprée and Kenzo Suzuki defended the title against Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio. The match began with Van Dam and Duprée gaining the upper hand over each other. Duprée tagged Kenzo into the match, which led him to take offense over Van Dam. Mysterio was tagged in the match and performed a flying headbutt on Kenzo, followed by a tornado DDT onto Kenzo. Mysterio followed this by knocking Duprée off the apron and launching himself back into the ring, onto Kenzo in a seated senton, a move performed by jumping forward off a raised platform or springboarding on to the shoulders of a standing opponent forcing them to the ground. Mysterio tried to perform the 619 on Kenzo, however, Duprée stopped Mysterio from doing so. Mysterio then performed the 619 on Kenzo. As he prepared to perform the West Coast Pop, Duprée pulled Mysterio off the ropes. This led to Kenzo pinning Mysterio, as he held onto the ropes for leverage to pick up the win and retain the tag team title.
Main event matches
The first main match was between Kurt Angle and The Big Show. A stipulation in the match was placed that anyone who tried to interfere would get fired. For the duration of the match, The Big Show, who stood at 7 feet (2.1 m) and weighed 500 pounds (230 kg), used his body size to his advantage as he squashed, or easily and quickly performed moves on, Angle. Angle, who had enough, began to walk away from the match. Angle ran back to the ring and counted along with the referee for the 10 count. General Manager Theodore Long ordered Angle to return to the match with a no count out stipulation or else Angle would never wrestle on SmackDown! again. Angle returned to the ring, in which Big Show dominated once more, even standing on Angle. A frustrated Angle brought a steel chair, but backfired when Big Show punched the chair onto Angle’s face. As Big Show prepared to perform a chokeslam, Angle countered into an ankle lock hold. Big Show managed to get a hold of the ropes to force Angle to break the hold and he was scripted to knock the referee down. Angle began targeting Big Show's knee and even hitting his knee with the steel chair, to take advantage of the referee's state. The match ended with Big Show chokeslamming Angle from the top of the ring. During this time, the referee regained consciousness and gave Big Show the pinfall victory.
The second main match was a singles match, in which United States Champion Booker T defended the title against John Cena in the final "best of five" match. In the early stages of the match, Cena and Booker fought at ringside. During this tussle Booker pounded Cena's head into the ring steps before being reversed into them himself. The match then returned to the ring, which saw Booker and Cena getting the upper hand over one another. Cena took control as he performed several of his signature moves; he ran up from behind Booker, grabbed his head with one hand and leaped forward to drive Booker's face into the mat. He then followed with hitting a fist drop with theatrics, which Cena calls the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena tried to follow up with lifting Booker onto his shoulder, but Booker countered it into a Book End. Booker went for the pin on Cena, but he kicked out. Cena was able to dodge a kick to the back of the head that would force him to hit his face first into the mat, with lifting Booker over his shoulders and throwing him down to execute the FU. He pinned Booker to be declared the new United States Champion.
Another match on the undercard was a mixed tag team match between the team of the Dudley Boyz (D-Von and Bubba Ray) and Dawn Marie versus Charlie Haas, Rico Constantino, and Miss Jackie. The start of the match saw Haas get back body dropped by the Dudley's. Dawn was tagged in to the match, as was Jackie who tagged herself in, if a man tags her female partner, both men leave the ring and both women enter the match. The two women began to beat one another. Bubba Ray tagged himself in and demanded Jackie give him a kiss, and closed his eyes. Rico came in and kissed Bubba Ray, prompting Bubba Ray to run away and gag audibly. Rico wrestled against D-Von, and was in control until Bubba Ray and D-Von double teamed him. Bubba Ray called for the flying head butt to the crotch, but D-Von was hesitant in performing the move on Rico. This caused Dawn and Jackie to continue their fight, as both entered the ring. The match ended when Haas performed a flying axe handle setting up the legal tag to Rico to perform a moonsault and get the win.
The main event was the Last Ride match for the WWE Championship, in which John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) defended the title against The Undertaker. During the beginning of the match, the Undertaker began hitting JBL in the corner, before twisting his arm around and dropping JBL's arm on the top rope. Following this, the Undertaker chokeslammed JBL in the ring, and performed a leg drop off the ring apron. Outside the ring, the Undertaker threw JBL towards the steel ring steps. The Undertaker continued to uphold the upper hand over JBL, as he began to remove the television set from the Spanish announce table, but JBL managed to hit Undertaker upside the head with the steel ring steps. JBL tried to put the Undertaker in the hearse, but the Undertaker fought back. A frustrated JBL took the Undertaker back to the ring and hit a shoulder block from the top rope. The Undertaker managed to get the upper hand once more, as he applied a triangle choke hold on JBL, leading JBL to tap out, but submissions do not count prior in this match. The Undertaker backdropped out of a piledriver attempt on the steel ring steps and grabbed JBL, turned him upside-down and dropped into a kneeling position, driving JBL's head into the steel steps, making JBL bleed from the head. Minutes later, the Undertaker chokeslammed JBL off the announce table through the Spanish table. The Undertaker carried JBL to the hearse, and Jon Heidenreich came out of the hearse. Heidenreich began to attack the Undertaker, covered his mouth with a soaked rag filled with chloroform. Heidenreich placed the Undertaker into the hearse and drove off. Inside the hearse, a camera was inside the hearse to show the Undertaker wake up and jump out and attack Heidenreich. JBL recovered, and swung his arm forward while running towards the Undertaker, a move JBL calls Clothesline from Hell, and helped Heidenreich place the Undertaker back into the hearse to be driven away. Backstage, Paul Heyman drove the hearse to the parking lot, where Heidenreich drove his car into it at high speed, causing an inexplicable explosion. As a result, JBL won the match and retained his title.
Following No Mercy, the storyline between JBL and The Undertaker ended. JBL was then placed in a new angle against Booker T. On an episode of SmackDown!, a six-man tag team match involving Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and Rey Mysterio taking on JBL, Kenzo Suzuki, and René Duprée was scheduled. At the time, Booker T being a villain, congratulated JBL with the success that he has accomplished within the company in a segment backstage. The tag team match got underway, and JBL was led to believe that Booker was going to betray his tag partners, as Booker warned both Van Dam and Mysterio not to interfere with him during the match. The match concluded with Booker pinning JBL for the win, thus turning Booker into a crowd favorite. The following week on SmackDown!, Booker defeated Orlando Jordan, JBL's associate, to earn the right to face JBL for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series. At Survivor Series, JBL defeated Booker to retain the WWE title.
On the October 21 episode of SmackDown!, Paul Heyman requested that Theodore Long schedule a match between Heidenreich and the Undertaker at Survivor Series. Long agreed to the match, but informed Heyman that in order for the match to take place, he had to get the Undertaker to sign the contract personally. The following week, Heyman met the Undertaker at an undisclosed location where he pled his case about Heidenreich wanting to face the Undertaker in a match. The Undertaker signed the contract and warned Heyman he would defeat Heidenreich at Survivor Series. At the November event, the Undertaker was successful in defeating Heidenreich.
Following his win at No Mercy, John Cena lost the WWE United States Championship to Carlito Caribbean Cool, who debuted on SmackDown!. As part of the storyline, Carlito was given a bodyguard, Jesús, who stabbed Cena in the kidney while at a Boston-area nightclub. On the November 18 episode of SmackDown!, Cena captured the United States Championship after defeating Carlito for it. Cena also debuted a "custom made" spinner-style title belt.
The Continental Airlines Arena usually can accommodate 20,000, but the capacity was reduced for the event. This event grossed over $700,000 from an approximate attendance of 10,000 – the maximum allowed. It also received 240,000 pay-per-view buys. No Mercy helped WWE earn $24.7 million in revenue from pay-per-view events versus $18.5 million the previous year, which was later confirmed by Linda McMahon, the CEO of WWE, on November 23, 2004 in a quarterly result. Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section rated the event 5 out of 10. The rating was the same as the No Mercy 2005 event, which was marked as an "absolutely terrible" pay-per-view from WWE. The standard match between Billy Kidman and Paul London was rated a 7 out of 10. Additionally, the matches of Eddie Guerrero versus Luther Reigns, Spike Dudley versus Nunzio, Booker T versus John Cena, and the Last Ride match were all rated a 4 out of 10.
The event was released on DVD on November 9, 2004. The DVD was distributed by the label, Sony Music Entertainment.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sunday Night Heat: Mark Jindrak defeated Scotty 2 Hotty (02:45)
- Eddie Guerrero defeated Luther Reigns (w/ Mark Jindrak) (13:21)
- Spike Dudley (c) (w/ Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) defeated Nunzio (w/ Johnny Stamboli) in a Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship (08:48)
- Billy Kidman defeated Paul London (10:36)
- Kenzo Suzuki and René Duprée (c) (w/ Hiroko Suzuki) defeated Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship (09:13)
- The Big Show defeated Kurt Angle (13:10)
- John Cena defeated Booker T (c) to win the WWE United States Championship (10:20)
- Charlie Haas, Rico and Miss Jackie defeated The Dudleys (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and Dawn Marie (08:47)
- John "Bradshaw" Layfield (c) defeated The Undertaker in a Last Ride Match to retain the WWE Championship (20:35)
Other on-screen talent
- No Mercy 2004 Official site
- No Mercy 2004 at CAGEMATCH.net
- No Mercy 2004 at Online World of Wrestling
- No Mercy 2004 on WWE Network
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