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[1999-10-17-WWF-No Mercy] Edge & Christian vs Matt & Jeff Hardy (Ladder)

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I liked this better than I expected to like it. Even though it was pretty much just a collection of highspots, that's what people want from these matches and they gave them that. I don't think this was one of the best matches in this genre, but I am still glad I saw it, and star-making matches always go a long way from me, which this is. Not one of the best matches of the year or anything like that, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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This is one of the matches that I point to as showing how a spotfest can be much more than just a spotfest. Yes, the match is driven by spots, but they are mostly inventive, hit clean, they sell the damage from them, don't waste time setting up overly intricate spots, and the match tells a nice little story about killing yourself to make it in the WWF. Also, deceptively simple; all reasons why I do think this is a MOTYC.

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One reason why these probably got over so well with the crowds is that it's just non stop. You can have two guys selling while the other two guys hit their spots, which you obviously can't do in singles ladder matches. Perfect time and place and perfect talent to use in this environment. It's ADD wrestling that makes sense.

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It's funny that this match was basically built around Terri but at the end of the match, she comes out of it over the least. Even despite Lawler going gaga over her. Good match with a bunch of nutty spots. Watching it in 2015, it's still looks as brutal even though these matches evolved over time.

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This match....this match is why I first truly fell in love with wrestling. I remember seeing it on tape soon after it happened. I was absolutely enthralled from here on in with the sport of kings. It is still a fun and innovative match for the time period where you barely had the ladder matches, much less on the tag team scale (at least in the big 2). I can still watch it every so often and see something a bit new in the match that I may have not seen before. That first leapfrog over the ladder...good grief. I had seen a couple of the "tournament" matches on Raw but this was much, much more satisfying that I could have imagined. It definitely helped to set the bar for what would be to come in the next 2+ years of tag wrestling.

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I guess this is one of the most influential WWE matches ever, inaugurating their real love affair with stunt show gimmick matches. They really won the crowd over with this when neither team seemed very over when it started. Funny to see something that ends up being so important in retrospect built around Terri. And boy Lawler wouldn't shut up about it. Fun match with cool spots we've seen many times since but were very innovative then.

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Best of 5 Ladder Match Final for $100,000 and the Services of Terri Runnels
Hardyz vs. Edge & Christian
So this was the breakout match of all four men. I certainly remember watching this PPV live with friends and we indeed went apeshit during this, as did the Cleveland audience. That speaks that no matter how violent and aggressive the landscape had gotten thanks to the risque Attitude Era and workhorses on WCW's undercard, the business hadn't experienced a match like this above the ECW stage.
When keeping that in mind, it's easy to understand why we all went crazy for this. We weren't accustomed to spots like a ladder being used for extra hangtime on a guillotine legdrop. Signature moves off of ladders. A ladder's legs being dropkicked as a means for the top of the structure to impact an opponent's genitalia. A ladder being stacked on another, then the structure being used as a catapult to attempt facial trauma.
Ultimately, this doesn't quite hold up a decade and a half later. A spotty style of ladder match was a work in progress and this match showed that. It lacked the pacing that these men and many others would go on to perfect in this environment, but that's totally understandable. This was the first of its kind and when taking all of that into consideration, all four men definitely earned the standing ovation they received from the fine folks of Cleveland. ***1/2

 

 

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I remember watching this live at a sports bar, and the place was going apeshit for the spots. It doesn't exactly hold up 17ish years later, still a great star making performance from all 4. Who would've thought the Hardys would be the team still going in 2017?

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Ditto to what everyone has said. It is still a worthwhile match.

 

It's simplicity is what makes it hold up pretty well. No one tries to build with the ladders or get too crazy. Its a mid card ppv match...both teams do their thing but keep it short and to the point.

 

Matches like this were instrumental in getting ECW fans to tune in or buy PPVs...more so than the Hardcore title matches or other gimmicks. ECW had RVD, Jerry Lynn, Super Crazy, Tajiri...guys that were redefining ECW with athleticism as well as using weapons, crazy dives, etc. These teams especially the Hardy's were WWF's answer to that...good call as history shows us.

 

This wasn't quite on par with what those ECW guys were doing at the time but, it was a good start.

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One thing I appreciated about this is that it took a concept no one cared about in the TIT and added four characters they weren't too fond of either and made them look like stars coming out. At the beginning, the crowd was politely cheering the customary ladder shots but by the end, the innovation had the crowd in a frenzy and you could see the appreciation and investment increasing with each new highspot. I think they will top themselves in the years going forward with these spectacle spotfests but this was a strong jumping on point. ***3/4 (7.6)

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Maybe not a MOTYC on a worldwide level but certainly the best WWF match, bad year or not. In addition to the crowd reaction getting louder and louder for every spot, I particularly liked the growing audience buzz in anticipation of some of the spots, like Christian hitting the inverted DDT off the ladder. Proof that this was at heart a wrestling crowd who knew what to "look for" in a wrestling match, even a stunt show like this, and not people just watching and reacting when someone got killed. Some really bold and innovative spots that are set up surprisingly organically, like the Jeff Hardy seesaw spot which sounds silly when described but is set up and executed perfectly. Same for Jeff leapfrogging the ladder into a legdrop, and even the neat finish with Jeff jumping from one ladder to the other. Suddenly, the WWF mid-card is getting some depth again.

 

(And man oh man was Lawler terrible here. We get it, Terri looked nice going up the ladder earlier. By the end his horndogging had me wishing someone more pleasant like Mark Madden was commentating on this.)

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Fascinating to see the reactions build with the spots here, as they really go from being nobodies to superstars over the course of the match. I think that energy is what helps the match hold up - the crowd's shock and surprise reminds you of how these spots used to be shocking and surprising.

 

Also, others have said it, but this really might be the nadir of Lawler's commentating. Good grief.

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Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz - No Mercy 1999 Ladder Match

The first of its kind, the car crash, stunt show, daredevil match. Call it what you want, it has gotten over as a staple of WWF/E TV. It is so strange to hear the Twist of Fate get no reaction or Fink call them "Christian & Edge". Undoubtedly, these four men went into this match as glorified nobodies and came out superstars. The first pop was Christina hitting a reverse DDT on Jeff Hardy from the ladder. Then they had them hook, line and sinker when Jeff Hardy vaulted a ladder and hit a legdrop. I liked all the ladder throws and even the Ladder teeter totter spot that would go on to destroy Joey Mercury's face in 2006 looked awesome.  This match had a lot of the silly spots that I hate such as splashing the ladder to hurt your opponent. It just hurts you a lot. The finish also left a lot to be desired why are Jeff and Christian on that random ladder oh so Matt could ricochet and knock it in such a way to have Jeff get on the main ladder to win the match. One of those matches where it didnt matter who won or lost, it mattered the match happened and it happened the way it did to create four new stars that would major players in pro wrestling throughout the next decade and invent a new genre of pro wrestling matches. ***1/2

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Although they would end up perfecting these kinds of stunt show matches, this clearly laid out the blueprint and got the audience to care about these four. This might be lacking a traditional face/heel dynamic, but they build up to the big spots well and they keep the selling consistent. The finish was pulled off exceptionally well, given how little room for error they had. Well worth a watch if you can stomach these kind of daredevil matches and it's probably the best match you're going to find in 1999 WWF. 

★★★★

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