The Announce Table

TAT: WWE No Mercy 2004 Thoughts

Hey there tatfans and welcome to another edition of The Announce Table. So what am I going on about this week? I am going to talk about what could have been John Bradshaw Layfield’s final successful title defence…

Hey there tatfans and welcome to another edition of The Announce Table. So what am I going on about this week? I am going to talk about what could have been John Bradshaw Layfield’s final successful title defence.

No Mercy was a pretty hot show, it has to be said. I don’t know what made it so hot, I’m not sure what made the time fly like it seemed to, but I have one major theory: the fans. The No Mercy fans were magnificent, they got involved with everything and there was hardly a spat of cynicism. Great stuff.

Next week’s tat is going to be about my trip to the MEN Arena to watch the first official UK Smackdown! taping. I am hoping, expecting, the British fans to raise the roof for the WWE and to really get involved with the action. I have had enough of smarky crowds this year, always trying to ruin what could be really great shows.

Anyway, JBL walked out of No Mercy with the WWE Championship Belt still firmly around his waist. He, with a little help from John Heidenreich, placed the Undertaker into a hearse and started to make his way out of the arena, only for Heidenreich – in what could have been but wasn’t a true “WWE Moment” – to crash his car into the hearse with the Undertaker inside! Scary. Everyone expected Heidenreich to be feuding with Undertaker before long and so hopefully, in Manchester, we’ll get to see Undertaker hand Heidenreich his ass on a plate, if you will forgive me for my French.

So what now for JBL? Well, to me it seems as though his highly entertaining but ultimately non-descript title reign is slowly coming to a head. And by that I mean ‘an end’. Rather like Chris Benoit, it seems to me that JBL was “rewarded” the Belt rather than “won” it, and now his tenure at the top is coming to an end now that Angle and Big Show are back to full fitness, and especially as Angle has started his neat little faction that includes my man Mark Jindrak.

I expect JBL to become embroiled in a feud with Big Show before too long, and then for Big Show to beat JBL. This will then open the door for Angle, Reigns, Jindrak, Eddie, Cena and possibly RVD to all get involved, as well as JBL, of course.

So what of Layfield’s title reign so far? Has it been that good, or that bad? Neither. It’s just been okay. But more importantly, I think it’s been better than Benoit’s.

Two weeks ago I wrote an article that questioned the legacy of Chris Benoit’s title reign, and how the poor booking undermined the prestigiousness of it. This cannot be said about JBL’s reign. He has been made to look strong twice vs Eddie Guerrero, and strong against the Undertaker. The only blemish I can think of is at Summerslam when a selve-serving effort from the Undertaker made JBL look very weak indeed. However the real struggle has been how the WWE are going to overcome the fans’ resistance, and despite a respite leading into Summerslam, a lot of the smarks have still remained more that happy to undermine Bradshaw.

A title change at the next Pay-Per-View is what the doctor ordered, methinks.

And talking about doctors, the self proclaimed Doctor of Thuganomics won the Best of 5 Series against Booker T for the US Title. I claimed before Summerslam that this series would finally inject prestige into this title, but I can’t say for definite that it has. In a remarkably predictable and sluggish series of matches, Cena came out on top. However the danger with having a series is that the fans can become bored with the same matches, and the matches themselves can become stale. I don’t know, perhaps this is what happened here?

What I do know is that Paul London, CCC, Billy Kidman and Mark Jindrak could all battle against Cena in the coming months, and if the matches are anything like Kidman vs London at No Mercy, then the tail-end of 2004 could be a very exciting time for the Smackdown! fans.

Kurt Angle faced The Big Show in a very, very decent match that saw the Big Show go over clean. This strengthens my belief that Big Show will be the number one contender for JBL’s belt as according to the smarks, and I don’t usually listen to what they say, Angle is set to be pushed as the unbeatable super-heel. So for Big Show to beat him sets things up nicely for a “ahhh, but you didn’t beat me, Angle!” kinda feud.

The other matches on the card saw Spike Dudley defend his Cruiserweight title over the suddenly hip Nunzio. Nunzio had beaten Spike the previous week and now they have put on two very solid, very watchable matches. The curtain-jerker, rather surprisingly, was Eddie Guerrero vs Luther Reigns with ended with a rather unsurprising “lying, cheating Eddie” gimmick. As if to reinforce that yes, Guerrero is a bigoted Mexican stereotype, he claims another major victory by cheating when he has more than enough in his moveset to defeat Reigns. Kenzo and Rene defeated RVD and Mysterio in a match that could have been very good but sadly wasn’t. The tag team titles are getting washed down the drain all the while. Lastly, Haas, Rico and Miss Jackie had a match against The Dudleys and Dawn-Marie.

And before I finish up for the week, I just want to make a suggestion. I think that any WWE Tag-Team Title match should be the penultimate match on any card. It should always be the match before the WWE Title match, and after any gimmick matches like Steel Cages or Hell in a Cell (unless, of course, they are for the title…).

Thanks for reading,