Sunday's No Mercy had a very specific selling point when it comes to WWE convincing us that the event is a big deal. Michael Cole did not tire of telling us that two of the matches on the card are WrestleMania worthy. In Cole and WWE's defense, they're not wrong. We were treated to two huge first time ever matches. Brock Lesnar defended his Universal Championship against Braun Strowman and John Cena squared off with Roman Reigns. Both were matches that wouldn't seem out of place on a WrestleMania card. This isn't the first time that WWE beefed up a No Mercy card though. The event is a long-running one and dates back all the way to 1999. Multiple times WrestleMania caliber matches have taken place at No Mercy, and here are five of those bouts.
No Mercy 2001 took place in October of that year, so right in the midst of the WCW/ECW invasion angle. By this point in the storyline, Stone Cold was the WWE Champion, but turned his back on the company and joined The Alliance. In this bout, The Alliance actually had two Superstars representing them, Austin and Rob Van Dam, while Kurt Angle fought the corner of WWE. The match featured two Hall of Famers and RVD who will likely be inducted one day. At the time, WWE was trying desperately to fight the fans' love for Van Dam, so they likely wouldn't have put him in a WrestleMania main event, but there's no question as to whether these three could have closed the Showcase of the Immortals with this match.
Let's be honest, put Stone Cold Steve Austin's name near anything pro wrestling related and it's worthy of being on a WrestleMania card, hence his presence in both of these first two entries. The first time No Mercy took place on US soil in 1999, both he and another sure-fire Hall of Famer, Triple H, squared off in an Anything Goes match, yet another name for what is now commonly referred to as a Street Fight. The Game's WWE Championship was on the line and he managed to retain. What's more is The Rock, Vince McMahon, and Chyna were all involved in this bout. Austin and Triple H never did battle at WrestleMania, but in hindsight, at some point, they really should have.
This match between The Rock and Kurt Angle at No Mercy 2000 has some historical significance for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it effectively started the road to maybe the biggest and best WrestleMania of all time, WrestleMania X-Seven. Rikishi interfered in the bout and inadvertently cost The Rock the WWE Championship, which would lead to the story where Rikisha ran over Stone Cold, citing that he 'did it for The Rock'. Secondly, and more importantly, it marked our Olympic Hero's first ever WWE Championship win. Following this no disqualification match, Angle would go on to defend the title inside Hell in a Cell against five other men at Armageddon before losing the title back to Rock at No Way Out the following February.
This match really would have nicked the number one spot if it wasn't for one particularly famous bout that also took place at No Mercy, but more on that in a second. At the 2008 edition of the pay-per-view, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho went head to head in a ladder match. Put these two in the ring and throw a ladder into the mix and you're almost guaranteed to have a history-making match. The feud between the two will go down as one of the best in both men's illustrious careers. In fact, Y2J cites this as being the best match he has ever had. That's really saying something considering the 25 years and counting that Jericho has been wrestling. Jericho retained his championship in a match that will not be forgotten about anytime soon.
A whole 12 years before Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker had their famous streak ending match at WrestleMania XXX, they clashed inside a Hell in a Cell for the WWE Championship. Despite Lesnar only making his WWE debut earlier that year, he already rose to the top, beating The Rock at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship. This was the second time he and Taker clashed, but as we know now it was far from the last. In fact, the two of them fought for the WWE Championship one year later, again at No Mercy. That time, it was a biker chain match though, and we thought a Hell In A Cell sounds much more worthy of the Showcase of the Immortals. Brock beat The Deadman inside the cell in what wound up being a bloodbath. Brock was bleeding, The Undertaker was bleeding even more, and even Paul Heyman got color after being repeatedly slammed into the side of the cell by The Phenom.
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