World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho def. Shawn Michaels (Ladder Match)

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October 05, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. — "Climb" was of the essence for World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, who needed a critical assist from Lance Cade to slither up the rungs and just barely win a tug-of-war atop the ladder to snag the dangling gold. (WATCH | PHOTOS)

Regarded as the Superstar who made the Ladder Match famous, Michaels headed into No Mercy with a distinct advantage given his public demolishment of Jericho one month earlier at Unforgiven -- the same night the champion snaked his way to the title. Though he would ultimately see defeat in this match, The Showstopper would first demonstrate how he earned his reputation.

The only way to win was to climb the rungs of a ladder and retrieve the World Heavyweight Title suspended above the ring. When not scaling it, HBK also used the hardware as weaponry to assail the individual he's warred with since April.

Possibly recalling the blow to the face his wife, Rebecca, suffered at SummerSlam, Michaels employed uniquely torturous methods in an attempt to maim the champion. Also a Ladder Match veteran, HBK's opponent retaliated with an equally brutal onslaught, even slamming shut the legs of the ladder with Michaels' neck nestled between them.

Just when it looked as if The Showstopper would become a two-time World Heavyweight Champion, Jericho's protégé tugged Michaels back down, only to receive Sweet Chin Music. Instants later, HBK and Jericho pulled at separate ends of the unhooked title at the ladder's peak. One forceful tug by Michaels brought Jericho head-on, knocking the challenger to the mat and giving the first-ever Undisputed Champion in WWE history a momentous win.

Days earlier, the WWE Universe found delight at Cade's expense as DX reunited on Raw to dispose of Michaels' former pupil-turned-enemy. On pay-per-view, however, Cade was the one happily celebrating his mentor's prolonged championship reign beside Jericho, whose smile was not nearly as broad after losing a tooth during the match.

Minus one of his teeth, the World Heavyweight Champion wasn't wearing his ordinarily boastful grin after his victory (and he angrily refused to comment on the dental damage). But that frown could also stem from Batista's win earlier in the night that earned him No. 1 contendership and, more importantly, a one-way ticket into combat for the gold.

While No Mercy concluded with the unlikely image of the crafty champion triumphant -- like a rat with his ultimate cheese -- Jericho's thoughts might have clouded by the vision of the World Heavyweight Title going from his desirous paws into those of The Animal very soon.

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