Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: No Mercy 2001

Edge vs. Christian © – Ladder Match for WWF Intercontinental Championship

For Summerslam 2001 I reviewed Edge vs. Lance Storm where Edge won the Intercontinental Championship. In the two months that have passed since that match, Edge & Christian are officially no more and now embattled in a feud. This is one of the stranger feuds from the time because it seemed like something that could have been very special given the past history between these two, and while it didn’t result in a disastrous feud, most would classify it as a disappointment. They even tried to build up all the hate and intrigue they could between the two with sneak attacks and violence leading up to this ladder match. I like the idea of this match being a ladder match between the two masters and was looking forward to re-watching.

The match starts out furiously on the floor with Christian meeting Edge on the ramp. Minor nitpick but why did Christian come out first? After only a minute of action, the first ladder shot is interjected as Edge baseball slides the ladder into Christian. Both competitors go out into the crowd and Christian gets hip tossed into the hockey boards outlining the arena. Christian gets backdropped into the ringside area. Christian has taken most of the huge bumps so far. I understand the storyline in the regard that Edge needs to maintain his composure to be successful, but so far he is making the IC title holder look like a complete chump. Christian gets his first impact move of the match when he elevates Edge into a ladder perched between the steps and guardrail.

Both guys stand on top of this ladder and Christian gets crotched so his time on offense was extremely short-lived. Unique move as Christians slingshots the ladder into Edge’s chin on the outside. Edge is in trouble on the floor and it looks like Christian has finally taken the advantage nearly seven minutes into the match. We get our first climb and I was happy to see Christian land on his feet off the ladder maintaining the advantage and teasing a bumping spot for down the line. A few rams of the ladder into the corner and Christian grabs his fateful friend, the steel chair. Edge gives what Ross calls “almost a snap mare” into the ladder and again Edge looks like the more resourceful brother in a lot of ways. Edge elevates Christian onto his shoulders and drives him down. Edge to me is honestly overselling here. I don’t want to harp on the guy but his fatigue does not match the punishment he has received in the match so far.

Edge gets irish whipped chest first into the ladder to help even up my punishment complaint. Now Edge can sell until his heart is content. Catapult into the ladder gets a nice reaction by the crowd. A second ladder gets inserted into the match up at this point. Both men start to ascend the ladders. Edge gives the Edge-O-Matic from the ladder. Ross is having an off night calling this match as he doesn’t know the names of any of these moves and seems disinterested in the whole feud. The crowd is really hot behind Edge as he scales up the ladder and you can hear them audibly grown as Christian gives him a reverse DDT from the ladder.

The match is now reaching a climax as Christian grabs two chairs in presumably setting up a conchairto. Edge is able to kick a chair into Christian’s face and Edge grabs a third ladder that he sets up between two chairs. Edge climbs on the top rope and splashes Christian.  He didn’t get as big air as he could have and very weak holy shit chant breaks out. Edge takes a nasty back bump off the ladder when Christians hits him with the ladder. My favorite spot of the match so far occurs here as Edge climbs the top rope and spears Christian off the ladder in a good desperation spot. Both men again are laying down selling the injuries which I can buy at this point. Heyman talking about E&C parents watching the match is a funny antidote. Both men scale up the ladders again and both men tumble to the outside. Christian gets back in the ring and SLOWLY scales up the ladder until Edge fires back with a chair and sets up a conchairto on top of the ladder allowing him to win the IC title for the second time.

I had a good many problems with this match overall.  I enjoy good selling and lengthening out the moves but the final 10 minutes of this match almost exclusively consisted of four spots.  On one hand, that is a good job selling the damage. However, I think in this instance it sucked a lot of the drama and interest out of the match and made the final stretch a chore to get through.  I tried to rationalize a reason for feeling this way and I think the root is still how Edge was acting in the early going.  Edge dominated the first portion of this match and didn’t receive enough damage in retaliation to build up sympathy heat for him in the home stretch.  I have enjoyed analyzing these Edge matches to see where he still has opportunities for growth around this era when they were championing for him to be a breakout singles star.  This match could have been an intense blow-off between “brothers” in their specialty match.  Instead it was a lackluster affair that didn’t have the hatred or creativity of previous matches that were trying to supplant.

Final Grade: **1/2