WWE History: Power Ranking Every October PPV
October is the the beginning of the fall season and, in years past, has been home to some of the most surprisingly good WWE pay-per-view events. Match of the Year Candidate matches, such as Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit vs. Edge and Rey Mysterio, have taken place at the annual October shows while Superstars such as the aforementioned Angle and Brock Lesnar have capped off rookie years with monumental victories.
There have also been some less-than-stellar events that have taken place in the month, shows that did little to help WWE or any of the Superstars on the card. On those shows, Superstars such as Heidenreich, Simon Dean, Dean Douglas and Kenzo Suzuki have been featured.
With the 2012 edition of WWE's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view rapidly approaching, join me as I take a look back at the previous seventeen October events and rank them according to match quality, storyline development, and historical importance.
22. In Your House 4 (October 22, 1995)
WWE Title Match: "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith def. WWE Champion Diesel by disqualification
Intercontinental Title Match: Razor Ramon def. Intercontinental Champion Dean Douglas to win the title; Shawn Michaels had forfeited the title to Douglas moments before the match
Yokozuna and King Mabel fought to a double count-out
Goldust pinned Marty Jannetty
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns def. Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid
Hunter Hearst Helmsley def. Fatu
The fourth installment of WWE's B-show pay-per-view series "In Your House" was another in a series of underwhelming events. Diesel was nearing the end of his financially disastrous WWE title reign and the British Bulldog was hardly the challenger to help stimulate fan interest. Add to that an injury that kept Shawn Michaels, arguably the hottest wrestler on the roster at that point, off of the show and the lack of a Bret Hart match and you have a card relying on a make-shift roster full of bad gimmicks and poorly-conceived match-ups that did not capture the attention of the fans that resulted in the worst pay-per-view buyrate in company history.
21. Taboo Tuesday (October 19, 2004)
Steel Cage Match: Randy Orton def. Ric Flair
World Title Match: World Champion Triple H def. Shawn Michaels
Lingerie Pillow Fight: Christy Hemme def. Carmella DeCesare
World Tag Team Title Match: Chris Benoit & Edge def. World Tag Champions La Resistance
Eugene def. Eric Bischoff
Weapon of Choice Match: Gene Snitsky def. Kane
Fulfill Your Fantasy Battle Royal for the Women's Title: Trish Stratus def. Molly Holly, Stacy Keibler, Gail Kim, Victoria, Jazz, and Nidia
Intercontinental Title Match: Shelton Benjamin def. Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho to win the title
When the best match of the night is the first one, it is generally not a good thing.
The fan interactive pay-per-view concept was brand new and had never been tested before. WWE had a revolutionary idea and literally tested it on the fly, during a pay-per-view event and for that, their courage is to be commended. Unfortunately, that courage resulted in a very choppy event, a bad card, and too many gimmicks for their own good.
Far too much focus on stories and match stipulations hurt any chance the competitors had to have a really good match. An ill-timed injury to Shawn Michaels just 24 hours prior to the show also hampered what could have been a very good World Heavyweight Championship bout between he and Triple H.
The evening's two best matches were the ones that employed a no-nonsense approach. Shelton Benjamin and Chris Jericho had a straight-up wrestling match that probably would have been even better had the two performers had time and advanced notice to structure a match. And in the main event, Randy Orton and Ric Flair had an old school steel cage match that helped get Orton back on track for his main event push and gave Ric Flair another quality main event performance.
20. Bragging Rights 2009 (October 25, 2009)
Iron Man Match for the WWE Title: John Cena def. WWE Champion Randy Orton to win the title
Team Smackdown (Chris Jericho, Kane, R-Truth, The Hart Dynasty, Matt Hardy, and Finlay) def. Team Raw (D-Generation X, The Big Show, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, and Kofi Kingston)
Fatal 4-Way for the World Heavyweight Title: World Champion The Undertaker def. Batista, Rey Mysterio, and CM Punk
Smackdown Divas (Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, and Natalya) def. Raw Divas (Melina, Kelly Kelly, and Gail Kim)
The Miz def. John Morrison
A pay-per-view can be panned even if there was nothing particularly bad about it. Case in point, WWE's 2009 Bragging Rights event. The card was a solid one with a fair amount of star power sprinkled throughout. The main event was heavily hyped and was the conclusion of one of the year's best rivalries. Even the Six-Diva tag match had a decent amount of talent involved.
Why, then, does Bragging Right from 2009 rank so low? Because it was "just there."
When fans pay the amount that they do for a pay-per-view event, they expect a certain quality. It was clear that, outside of the top billed match, the company was in cruise control for the majority of the show. The effort was there but the show meant little in the long run and now, some three years later, remains just a foot note in WWE history.
19. Bragging Rights 2010 (October 24, 2010)
WWE Championship Match: Wade Barrett def. WWE Champion Randy Orton by DQ
14-Man Elimination Tag Match: Team Smackdown (Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Edge, Tyler Reks, and Kofi Kingston) def. Team Raw (The Miz, R-Truth, John Morrison, Santino Marella, Sheamus, CM Punk, and Ezekiel Jackson)
World Heavyweight Title Match: World Champion Kane def. The Undertaker
Divas Title Match: Divas Champion Layla def. Natalya
Ted DiBiase def. Goldust
WWE Tag Title Match: The Nexus (John Cena and David Otunga) def. Tag Champions Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes to win the titles
Champion vs. Champion: United States Champion Daniel Bryan def. Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler
It is rare that modern WWE produces a bad pay-per-view. Typically, if they aren't great, they are at least good, or solid. In October of 2010, WWE produced that rare pay-per-view that was just plain bad. Nothing clicked and the matches were lackluster, to say the least.
Kane and Undertaker struggled as ring rust and a missing chemistry played major factors. The 14-Man Elimination Tag Match lacked star power and the addition of John Cena to a meaningless tag match left many scratching their heads. Ted DiBiase and Goldust did not belong on the show and the Divas title match was dead on arrival.
The only bright light on the show was a battle between Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler that got the show off to a hot start and saved it from the "worst PPV ever" list. Unfortunately, they would have a rematch the following night on Raw that would negate the match fans paid money to see.
18. No Mercy 2004 (October 3, 2004)
Last Ride Match for the WWE Title: WWE Champion JBL def. The Undertaker
Charlie Haas, Rico, and Miss Jackie def. The Dudley Boys and Dawn Marie
Best-of-Five Series Finale for the US Title: John Cena def. Booker T to win the title
The Big Show def. Kurt Angle
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Tag Team Champions Rene Dupree & Kenzo Suzuki def. Rob Van Dam & Rey Mysterio
Billy Kidman def. Paul London
Cruiserweight Title Match: Spike Dudley def. Nunzio
Eddie Guerrero def. Luther Reigns
When one scans over the above results, one thing becomes incredibly clear about the Smackdown brand, circa 2004: There were a number of fresh faces spread across the card. Sometimes that is a good thing. It allows fans to be exposed to a number of new performers and it allows those same fans the chance to pick and choose who they want to support and who they do not. It can also be a problem because those same fresh faces may not necessarily have the experience to be able to carry a pay-per-view and, more importantly, those new stars may not have the crowd's support or attention.
That was the case heading into No Mercy in 2004. Eddie Guerrero was still enjoying his most successful year. JBL was in the middle of a career renaissance as the heel WWE Champion and John Cena was well on his way to breaking out as the company's next top star. Kurt Angle, Big Show, Rob Van Dam, Rey Mysterio, and Booker T had all been apart of tremendous events.
Unfortunately, none of the matches really clicked, the stories were not all that interesting, and fans had a difficult time investing in what was being presented. Billy Kidman and Paul London had a very good story going for them and they backed up the pre-match hype with a very good contest. Even the mixed, six-person tag match exceeded expectations. But when those two matches are the best on a card with as many future Hall of Famers included as this one had, it is usually a bad thing.
17. No Mercy 2003 (October 19, 2003)
Biker Chain Match for the WWE Title: WWE Champion Brock Lesnar def. The Undertaker
US Title Match: The Big Show def. US Champion Eddie Guerrero to win the title
Kurt Angle def. John Cena
"I Quit" Match: Vince McMahon def. Stephanie McMahon
The Basham Brothers def. The APA
Zack Gowen def. Matt Hardy
Chris Benoit def. A-Train
Cruiserweight Title Match: Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri def. Rey Mysterio
In 2002, Paul Heyman made Smackdown a must-see show, using highly-talented wrestlers to tell stories and provide excellent contests. In 2003, the company moved away from Heyman's direction and steered the number two brand towards a soap opera-driven product that featured washed-up legends such as Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper. By the time October rolled around, those Hall of Fame inductees were shoved out the door and the creative team was left to pick up the pieces.
No Mercy is a weird show in that it is a mix of the soap-opera storytelling method and a struggle to find something new to bring to fans. What resulted was John Cena's first real shot at a big-time main event match on a card that is often times uneven and polluted with failed gimmicks and bad ideas.
One of those bad ideas was the "I Quit" match pitting Vince McMahon against his daughter Stephanie. The storyline leading to the match was absurd and fans believed it had jumped shark far before the bout actually happened. To their credit, Vince and Stephanie had a match that, to this day, is underrated in terms of the story they were telling and the way they manipulated the fans to reacting how they wanted. That said, it was far too little, far too late and the program died a miserable death.
The only match that truly clicked and hit on all cylinders was the bout between Kurt Angle and John Cena. Angle was on a roll and Cena was at his hottest as the rapping, attitudinal young punk looking to make a name for himself at the expense of a decorated veteran. The match was phenomenal and announced Cena's arrival as a top young star, despite a submission loss to the Olympic gold medalist.
16. Judgment Day 1998 (October 18, 1998)
For the vacant WWE Championship: Kane fought Undertaker to a no-contest
Mark Henry def. The Rock
Intercontinental Title Match: Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock def. Mankind
WWE Tag Team Title Match: The Headbangers def. Tag Champions The New Age Outlaws by DQ
European Title Match: X-Pac def. European Champion D'Lo Brown to win the title
Goldust def. Val Venis
Cruiserweight Title Match: Christian def. Cruiserweight Champion Taka Michinoku to win the title
LOD 2000 def. The Disciples of Apocolypse and Paul Ellering
Al Snow def. Marc Mero
By the time October of 1998 arrived, the influential Attitude Era was in full-swing. Stone Cold Steve Austin was rebelling against Mr. McMahon, The Rock was on his way to main event stardom, Mankind was arguably the most entertaining character on the show, Ken Shamrock was a dominant Intercontinental Champion, and D-Generation X was counted on to hold down most of the mid-card.
Of all of the 1998 pay-per-view events, however, Judgment Day was a prime example of Vince Russo trying to cram too many stories into a one show and, as a result, the wrestling itself suffered. The main event, more specifically, was a mess as the fan's attention was on Stone Cold Steve Austin as the referee and his interaction with Vince McMahon (who was sitting in a skybox) rather than Undertaker or Kane, who were competing for the company's top prize.
X-Pac and D'Lo Brown continued their streak of excellent matches over the European Championship and Christian, Al Snow, and Val Venis were hungry and provided solid performances but, overall, Judgment Day was one of the few less-than-impressive events of 1998.
15. No Mercy 2005 (October 9, 2005)
World Heavyweight Title Match: World Champion Batista def. Eddie Guerrero
Cruiserweight Title Match: Juventud def. Cruiserweight Champion Nunzio to win the title
Handicap Casket Match: Randy and Bob Orton Sr. def. The Undertaker
JBL def. Rey Mysterio
Mr. Kennedy def. Hardcore Holly
Fatal 4-Way for the US Title: US Champion Chris Benoit def. Orlando Jordan, Booker T, and Christian
Bobby Lashley def. Simon Dean
The Legion of Doom (Heidenreich & Animal) and Christy Hemme def. MNM
No Mercy 2005 saw the final pay-per-view contest of the late, great Eddie Guerrero's Hall of Fame career. In the main event, he challenged Batista for the World Championship. He was spectacular in his role, leaving fans guessing whether or not he was a changed man or if he would revert to his lying, cheating, and stealing ways and in the process, helping to teach Batista what to and not to do inside the squared circle. One of Eddie's closest friends, Rey Mysterio, also had a solid evening, squaring off against JBL in a match that proved they had chemistry with one another.
Unfortunately, the night was not as smooth for others on the card. Randy Orton and Undertaker had an uninspiring casket match that also involved Randy's dad, Cowboy Bob. Chris Benoit, Booker T, and Christian were bogged down in a match also involving Orlando Jordan. And Juventud and Nunzio never displayed the chemistry necessary to have a great cruiserweight title match.
14. Badd Blood (October 5, 1997)
Hell in a Cell: Shawn Michaels def. The Undertaker
Flag Match: WWE Champion Bret Hart & British Bulldog def. Vader & The Patriot
The Disciples of Apocalypse def. Los Boricuas
Intercontinental Title Tournament Final: Owen Hart def. Faarooq
WWE Tag Team Title Match: The Godwinns def. Tag Champions The Headbangers to win the titles
Max Mini & Nova def. Tarantula & Mosaic
Nation of Domination def. The Legion of Doom
In 1997, it was not unusual for WWE pay-per-views to be one-match shows. That one match would determine whether or not the show could be considered a success. Badd Blood was no different. Hyped as the debut of the Hell in a Cell, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were tasked with delivering a match that could not only steal the show but also justify fans spending hard-earned money on the event.
They more than delivered, having one of the matches of the year and convincing management that the Hell in a Cell could be an effective way to end rivalries.
With that said, it is impossible to disregard the rest of the card. Bret Hart had all-but checked out by this point and the tag team flag match was only passable at best. Owen Hart and Faarooq were both heels and their match was proof of a lack of chemistry. The rest of the card was about as bad as it seemed, even if most involved worked hard.
13. Cyber Sunday 2008 (October 26, 2008)
World Title Match: Batista def. World Champion Chris Jericho to win the title
WWE Title Match: WWE Champion Triple H def. Jeff Hardy
Last Man Standing Match: Undertaker def. Big Show
Intercontinental Title Match: The Honky Tonk Man def. Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella via DQ
John Morrison and The Miz def. Cryme Tyme
ECW Title Match: ECW Champion Matt Hardy def. Evan Bourne
No Holds Barred Match: Rey Mysterio def. Kane
Like the 2007 edition of the same event, Cyber Sunday in 2008 took a no-nonsense approach to the fan interactive event. Rather than relying on an overabundance of gimmicks, matches were decided based on fans' votes for the competitors involved or for referees. It allowed the matches to be straight-forward affairs that focused on quality rather than squeezing a number of different things into a short time frame.
Batista continued his winning streak at Cyber Sunday, winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Jericho just one year after defeating the Undertaker in the main event. Matt Hardy and Evan Bourne nearly stole the show from the undercard in a bout for the ECW Championship while Triple H and Jeff Hardy actually DID steal the show in their match for the WWE title.
The Honky Tonk Man's return to WWE was fun and The Undertaker and Big Show had the best match of their 2008 under Last Man Standing conditions.
The only knock on Cyber Sunday 2008 is the lack of impact on the long-term future of the company.
12. In Your House: Buried Alive (October 20, 1996)
Buried Alive Match: Undertaker def. Mankind
Sycho Sid def. Vader
Intercontinental Title Match: Intercontinental Champion Marc Mero def. Goldust
Tag Team Title Match: Tag Champions British Bulldog & Owen Hart def. The Smoking Gunns
Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
The October 1996 pay-per-view, In Your House: Buried Alive, was an indicator of what was to come for Vince McMahon's company. With a very no-nonsense approach, the company delivered one of the best pay-per-views of its year, capped off by another chapter in the story between Undertaker and Mankind. The first-ever Buried Alive match was fresh and new and a suitable addition to a storyline that had stretched throughout the summer and had been a crown jewel for WWE in a year that was not spectacular.
Sid and Vader had a hard-hitting battle that determined the number one contender to Shawn Michaels' WWE Championship and Marc Mero and Goldust had a solid Intercontinental Championship match after a disappointing affair at SummerSlam two months earlier.
The biggest surprise of the show was a last-minute substitution. Stone Cold Steve Austin was originally scheduled to face Savio Vega but an injury resulted in Hunter Hearst Helmsley replacing him, setting up a rare heel versus heel match to kick off the show. Austin and Helmsley, like the overall show, was evidence of what was to come for WWE. They had a tremendously competitive match in what was Austin's first pay-per-view match in months. Austin would win but both men would come out of the bout better off than they were prior to it.
11 No Mercy 2006 (October 8, 2006)
Fatal 4-Way for the World Title: World Champion King Booker def. Batista, Bobby Lashley, and Finlay
Chris Benoit def. William Regal
Falls Count Anywhere: Rey Mysterio def. Chavo Guerrero
Mr. Kennedy def. The Undertaker via disqualification
MVP def. Marty Gardner
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Tag Champions Brian Kendrick & Paul London def. KC James & Idol Stevens
Matt Hardy def. Gregory Helms
No Mercy in 2006 is an example of talented wrestlers working together to produce a quality show. While the most visible stars for World Wrestling Entertainment found themselves on Raw, the motivated Smackdown stars made up for a lack of star power with better stories and, in many cases, better wrestling.
Great in-ring workers such as Chris Benoit, William Regal, Finlay, Gregory Helms, Matt Hardy, Rey Mysterio, and Chavo Guerrero Jr. elevated a card that had all the potential of a mediocre Smackdown outing and made it into one of the better shows of the second-half of the year. King Booker continued his impressive run as the top villain for the blue brand while the company continued to tell the story of Batista's hunt for the World Heavyweight Championship.
The unspoken heroes of the show were easily Paul London and Brian Kendrick, who continued on their quest towards a year-long run with the tag titles. They were charged with an extremely green set of opponents in KC James and Idol Stevens (you may recognize Stevens as a certain "Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses) but they had no problem extending their hot streak with a very solid, old-school formula tag title defense.
The debut of MVP and the birthday celebration for The Miz were weak but two small fractions of the show could not derail what was one of the more unexpected and satisfying events of 2006.
10. Cyber Sunday 2007 (October 28, 2007)
World Heavyweight Title Match: World Champion Batista def. The Undertaker
Street Fight: Triple H def. Umaga
WWE Title Match: Shawn Michaels def. Randy Orton via disqualification
WWE US Title Match: Kane def. MVP by count-out
Mr. Kennedy def. Jeff Hardy
ECW Title Match: ECW Champion CM Punk def. The Miz
Stretcher Match: Rey Mysterio def. Finlay
For the first time since the inception of the fan interactive pay-per-views, Cyber Sunday took a fairly straight-forward approach to the matches on its card. Gimmick matches were kept to a minimum and, instead, fan vote determined who would do battle for championships instead. As a result, the in-ring product was better than it had ever been on the Cyber Sunday or Taboo Tuesday shows.
Batista and The Undertaker had a tremendous contest, showcasing their outstanding chemistry with one another and closing out the show as all main events should. Shawn Michaels returned from a months-long hiatus and had his typically great match, this time with Randy Orton over the WWE Championship. And Umaga and Triple H continued their string of hard-hitting affairs with a street fight that, on any other night, would have earned "Match of the Night" honors.
Rey Mysterio and Finlay kicked the show off with a stiff Stretcher Match and CM Punk proved his ability to have a good match with anyone, including the relatively green Miz.
9. Hell in a Cell 2010 (October 3, 2010)
Hell in a Cell for the World Title: World Champion Kane def. The Undertaker
Divas Title Match: Natalya def. Divas Champion Michelle McCool by DQ
Wade Barrett def. John Cena
Edge def. Jack Swagger
Hell in a Cell for the WWE Title: Randy Orton def. Sheamus
Submissions Count Anywhere for the US Title: US Champion Daniel Bryan def. The Miz and John Morrison
The 2010 edition of the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view was WWE's second attempt at an event featuring the vaunted, hellish, demonic gimmick match. While it did not fare as well as the inaugural show one year earlier, it was a solid show that featured the final appearance by The Undertaker in a match outside of Wrestlemania.
United States Champion Daniel Bryan stole the show from the get-go, successfully defending his title in a Triple Threat, Submissions Count Anywhere match that was more chaotic, more hard-hitting, and more action-packed than either of the evening's Cell contests.
Sheamus showed great growth as an in-ring performer as he challenged Randy Orton for the WWE title inside Hell in a Cell. The match was solid but not necessarily the quality of the duo's later matches.
The only noticeable miss was the lackluster World Championship match as Kane and Undertaker failed to recapture their chemistry of the past and the Dead Man appeared to still be shaking off ring rust. With that said, a disappointing conclusion to the show does not erase the solid action that came before it.
8. Hell in a Cell 2011 (October 2, 2011)
Hell in a Cell for the WWE Title: Alberto Del Rio def. WWE Champion John Cena and CM Punk to win the title
Divas Championship Match: Beth Phoenix def. Divas Champion Kelly Kelly to win the title
Intercontinental Title Match: Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes def. John Morrison
Hell in a Cell for the World Title: World Champion Mark Henry def. Randy Orton
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Tag Champions Air Bourne def. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Sin Cara (Blue) def. Sin Cara (Black)
Sheamus def. Christian
Hell in a Cell 2011 was a damn good show. Sometimes there really is no better description for a given event.
CM Punk, John Cena, and Alberto Del Rio continued their feud over the WWE Championship with a brutal Hell in a Cell match that saw The Miz and R-Truth interfere and help Del Rio capture his second WWE title. Mark Henry continued his unexpected rise, dominating Randy Orton inside the steel structure and convincingly retaining his title.
The tag titles were defended in a stellar bout that saw Air Bourne retain the gold over Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler while Sheamus and Christian made the most of a disappointing spot on the card with a quality opener.
The show fell in the middle of a period where the creative team clearly was not sure what they were doing with the white-hot CM Punk, the thriving Miz and Truth, John Cena and Del Rio but the performers themselves delivered a hot pay-per-view event despite the nonsensical writing.
7. No Mercy 2000 (October 22, 2000)
WWE Title Match: Kurt Angle def. WWE Champion The Rock to win the title
Triple H def. Chris Benoit
WWE Tag Title Match: Los Conquistadors def. WWE Tag Champions The Hardy Boyz to win the titles
European TItle Match: European Champion William Regal def. Mideon
No Holds Barred: Stone Cold Steve Austin fought Rikishi to a no contest
Right to Censor def. Billy Gunn and Chyna
Chris Jericho def. X-Pac
APA and Lita fought T&A and Trish Stratus to a no contest
The Dudley Boyz won the "Dudley Boyz Invitational Table Match"
No Mercy 2000 is a case of the two top matches on the card delivering despite a weak undercard. When those two top matches feature four of the very best workers in the business, those two matches have the ability to catapult even the most disappointing show into the top ten.
The undercard was a rarity for WWE in 2000 as it was really lacking a quality match that could keep fan attention until the main events. Chris Jericho versus X-Pac was good but not up to the quality of the year's best mid-card matches. The Hardys and Edge and Christian were clearly hampered by the Los Conquistador gimmick the latter were forced under. And the odd pairings in other bouts showed failed to capture fan interest.
Add to that Stone Cold Steve Austin taking on Rikishi in a dud of a match and things were not looking bright for the No Mercy pay-per-view.
But the two main events erased every negative that came before them. Chris Benoit and Triple H had one of the great old school wrestling matches where the focus was what happened between the ropes, with very little attention paid to overbearing storylines or aggravating interference. Triple H scored the victory off of a Pedigree as both men kept their streak of excellent pay-per-view bouts alive.
The Rock and Kurt Angle capped off the show with a tremendous WWE Championship match that set up Angle's first heavyweight title win perfectly. Stephanie McMahon and Rikishi interfered but it made sense within the context of the match and the story they were telling. The Rock, perhaps motivated by the young upstart Angle, worked extremely motivated and Angle bounced back from a lackluster Unforgiven showing for his best performance in the company to that point.
A terrific example of even the most mediocre WWE show in the year 2000 being better than most that came after it.
6. No Mercy 2007 (October 7, 2007)
Last Man Standing for the WWE Title: Randy Orton def. WWE Champion Triple H
Punjabi Prison Match for the World Title: World Champion Batista def. Great Khali
Women's Title Match: Beth Phoenix def. Women's Champion Candice Michelle to win the title
Finlay fought Rey Mysterio to a no contest
WWE Title Match: WWE Champion Triple H def. Umaga
ECW Title Match: ECW Champion CM Punk def. Big Daddy V by DQ
Mr. Kennedy, Lance Cade, and Trevor Murdoch def. Jeff Hardy, Paul London, and Brian Kendrick
WWE Title Match: Triple H def. WWE Champion Randy Orton to win the title
Say what you will about Triple H but on one night in 2007, he took a promotion reeling from the loss of John Cena to injury and carried it on his shoulders. He wrestled in three very good matches throughout the course of the evening, each of them WWE Championship bouts. Two of the matches were against Randy Orton, the main event being a Last Man Standing Match, while a title defense against Umaga was sandwiched in between.
Those three matches already elevated the event into the top ten of all-time October pay-per-views but solid performances by Rey Mysterio, Finlay, and Dave Batista only helped to solidify its status.
5. No Mercy 2002 (October 20, 2002)
Hell in a Cell for the WWE Title: WWE Champion Brock Lesnar def. The Undertaker
Women's Title Match: Women's Champion Trish Stratus def. Victoria
WWE Tag Team Title Tournament Finals: Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit def. Rey Mysterio & Edge to win the titles
Title Unification Match: World Champion Triple H def. Intercontinental Champion Kane
Cruiserweight Title Match: Cruiserweight Champion Jamie Noble def. Tajiri
Rob Van Dam def. Ric Flair
Torrie Wilson def. Dawn Marie
World Tag Title Match: World Tag Champions Chris Jericho & Christian def. Booker T & Goldust
As bad as the WWE product was at times in 2002, the company somehow managed to get most of their booking under control as it approached the fall months and the result is a very good No Mercy show that perfectly set up the even-better Survivor Series show one month later.
Brock Lesnar had dominated all competition for nearly a year and it was his victory over The Undertaker, inside the hellish Hell in a Cell structure, that announced to the world that Lesnar was not only "the Next Big Thing," he was the baddest man in World Wrestling Entertainment.
Triple H and Kane overcame one of the worst stories in the history of entertainment to have a competent World Championship match while Rob Van Dam and Ric Flair represented Raw with another solid bout, despite two completely contrasting styles.
Superceding everything else on the card, however, was the match voted by fans to be the best of 2002. After weeks of a tournament to determine the new WWE Tag Team Champions, Edge and Rey Mysterio teamed to meet Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit in the finals. The two teams tore the house down, setting a pace only those four men could keep up with and deliver in. Angle and Benoit would capture the titles, continuing the hot streak for the Smackdown brand that Paul Heyman had constructed as head writer.
Add to that the spectacular storyline between Trish Stratus and Victoria that really got its start with the latter's loss at No Mercy, as well as the always-entertaining duos of Chris Jericho and Christian and Booker T and Goldust and you have a very solid, entertaining, and crowd-pleasing show from top-to-bottom.
4. Hell in a Cell 2009 (October 4, 2009)
Hell in a Cell: D-Generation X def. Legacy (Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes)
Triple Threat for the US Title: US Champion Kofi Kingston def. The Miz and Jack Swagger
Drew McIntyre def. R-Truth
Hell in a Cell for the WWE Title: Randy Orton def. WWE Champion John Cena to win the title
Unified Tag Title Match: Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & The Big Show def. Batista & Rey Mysterio
Divas Title Match: Divas Champion Mickie James def. Alicia Fox
Intercontinental Title Match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison def. Dolph Ziggler
Hell in a Cell for the World Title: The Undertaker def. World Champion CM Punk to win the title
Hell in a Cell 2009 was WWE's first attempt at structuring a pay-per-view around the Hell in a Cell match. Many doubted it could work effectively, especially considering the company's strict "no blood" policy in light of its more kid-friendly direction. A collection of incredibly smart performers, however, proved those doubters wrong.
The Undertaker, CM Punk, John Cena, Randy Orton, DX, and Legacy were put in a tough position in that the Hell in a Cell had long been a rivalry-ending bloodbath. It was the type of match where expectations were heightened based solely on the cell itself and heading into the pay-per-view, all involved knew they would never be able to match the same brutality that Batista and Triple H brought to the match in 2005 or the death-defying stunts Mick Foley put his body through to make the match famous.
Instead, those involved in the 2009 event used the cell to tell stories, to get the fans emotionally invested in their matches rather than using blood and hardcore violence to get their attention. It worked and it proved that the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view could be a success, despite the limitations workers had inside of it.
3. No Mercy 1999 (October 17, 1999)
Anything Goes for the WWE Title: WWE Champion Triple H def. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Four Corners Elimination Match: X-Pac def. Kane, Faarooq, and Bradshaw
Val Venis def. Mankind
Terri Invitational Tournament Finals Ladder Match: The Hardy Boyz def. Edge & Christian
The Rock def. British Bulldog
Good Housekeeping Match for the Intercontinental Title: Chyna def. Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett to win the title
The Hollys def. The New Age Outlaws via disqualification
Women's Title Match: The Fabulous Moolah def. Women's Champion Ivory to win the title
The Godfather def. Mideon
During the height of the Attitude Era, No Mercy 1999 emanated from the Gund Arena in Cleveland and featured a showdown for the WWE Championship most fans thought would have happened two months earlier at SummerSlam. An injury to Stone Cold Steve Austin caused that match to become a triple threat match and as a result, Triple H would be forced to wait two months to prove himself against the top star in the sport.
"The Game" continued his trek towards the top of the industry with a high-impact battle for the WWE title, proving himself worthy of his spot in a match that was the epitome of the Attitude Era. The Rock's mistimed interference would cost Stone Cold the title and set up what should have been one of the biggest three-way bouts in history the next month at Survivor Series.
The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian became overnight sensations, stealing the show in a ladder match that would come to define their early careers. Chyna's victory over Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship and the continued spotlight on The Rock exposed fans to the stars that would lead World Wrestling Entertainment into 2000, a banner year for the company.
2. No Mercy 2008 (October 5, 2008)
Ladder Match for the World Title: World Champion Chris Jericho def. Shawn Michaels
WWE Title Match: WWE Champion Triple H def. Jeff Hardy
The Big Show def. The Undertaker
Batista def. JBL
Rey Mysterio def. Kane via disqualification
Women's Title Match: Women's Champion Beth Phoenix def. Candice Michelle
ECW Title Match: ECW Champion Matt Hardy def. Mark Henry
No Mercy was a perfect example of a show where everything went right. It was a show whose card looked less than pleasant on paper but, when it played out live on pay-per-view, exceeded every expectation fans and critics had for it.
Triple H and Jeff Hardy had an underrated string of matches for the WWE Championship on the Smackdown brand for most of the fall and early-winter of 2008 and their match at No Mercy may have been their best. Hardy was the classic underdog who could not match the wrestling ability of the champion but had heart and the will to be WWE Champion. He would not achieve his goal at No Mercy but it was a major stepping stone in proving he could handle that position.
Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho concluded a critically-acclaimed rivalry that stretched from April until October of 2008 in a brutal, violent ladder match that saw Chris Jericho get the best of his idol and retain the World Heavyweight Championship, all the while losing a tooth.
Matches such as Undertaker versus Big Show, JBL versus Batista, and Matt Hardy versus Mark Henry were matches most fans groaned at the very thought of but managed to not only exceed expectations but were damn good in their own right.
1. No Mercy 2001 (October 21, 2001)
Triple Threat WWE Title Match: WWE Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam
WCW Title Match: Chris Jericho def. WCW Champion The Rock to win the title
The Undertaker vs. Booker T
WWE Tag Title Match: The Dudley Boyz def. The Big Show and Tajiri
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title: Edge def. Intercontinental Champion Christian to win the title
Lingerie Match: Torrie Wilson def. Stacy Keibler
Test def. Kane
WCW Tag Team Title Match: WCW Tag Champions The Hardy Boyz def. Lance Storm and Hurricane Helms.
One of the more underrated pay-per-views of all-time, No Mercy in 2001 emanated from the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri and featured two legitimate main events as Chris Jericho challenged The Rock for the WCW Championship and Stone Cold Steve Austin defended the WWE Championship against Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam in a triple threat match.
Unlike other October pay-per-views on this list, the 2001 installment of No Mercy featured a consistently solid card from top to bottom with no match being actively bad. The Hardy Boyz defending their WCW Tag Team Championship against The Hurricane and Lance Storm got the night off to brisk start while Kane and Test brought the hard-hitting offense one match later. Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler, former friends in the ECW-WCW Alliance, settled their differences in the first-ever Lingerie Match.
Edge and Christian brought their sibling rivalry to a close in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, a match type both were extremely familiar with, while the Dudley Boyz retained their WWE Tag Team Championship over the make-shift duo of Tajiri and the Big Show. Undertaker successfully represented WWE in their war with the Alliance, defeating Booker T.
The main events had a lot to follow as fans had enjoyed a very entertaining, very solid pay-per-view event up to that point. Luckily for Vince McMahon’s company, his main event scene featured some of the all-time great performers, all capable of delivering “Match of the Year” candidates at any given point. Chris Jericho and The Rock did just that in their first high-profile pay-per-view bout against one another. Jericho proved himself as a main event performer and The Rock showed that filming The Scorpion King could not slow down what had been a phenomenal year for “The Great One.”
Arguably the wrestler of the year, Stone Cold Steve Austin continued a hot streak in 2001 with a win over Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. Working banged up and bruised for the better part of the summer and fall months, Austin did not let that get in the way of delivering a quality title bout and Angle and Van Dam, arguably the two hottest stars in the company by the time No Mercy rolled around, filled their roles to perfection.
No Mercy 2001 is the greatest October pay-per-view in WWE history because it was a perfectly structured show with quality bouts from top-to-bottom. Even matches such as Kane versus Test and the WWE Tag Team Championship bout, which do not seem to be strong on paper, turned out to be solid bouts with satisfying results. Add all of that up and toss in a few performers at the very top of their game and you have the perfect recipe for a very good pay-per-view event.