Welcome back to my new series of columns reviewing past WWE shows, hopefully you read and enjoyed my review of the 2002 Royal Rumble, and you join me again to read about the PPV that followed on from the Rumble, No Way Out 2002.
Just a quick note for any newbies, the format of the reviews will be quite simplistic, I had envisioned a full play-by-play transcript of every punch, kick and move, but there’s only so much I believe you good people are willing to read, so I’ll try to condense it into manageable sizes for you to enjoy. For a quicker assessment you can always see the standardised “star rating” and verdict that will be after every match.
There will also be pre-show happenings, both any action or interviews on Sunday Night Heat beforehand that I can get hold of, and every match will have the events that brought us to the point of the contest, backstage attacks, scything promos, or any previous matches between the opponents.
Oh, and in case you didn’t realise, the initials of No Way Out are NWO. A fact that we were reminded of constantly in the build-up to this PPV.
NO WAY OUT 2002
Date: February 17th 2002
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Yikes, no opening video package, no nothing. I couldn’t even find a video of the match on Sunday Night Heat beforehand, and to be honest after reading it was DDP vs. Big Bossman and it finished with a disqualification, I didn’t try very hard. We are thrust straight into the BANG, BANG, BANG PYRO TIME! and we are six year tape delay in the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, and the crowd seem cautiously optimistic about tonight’s show…
But suddenly my screen goes black and white, and here come the nWo, making their first appearance in the WWE as a unit, with Nash and Hall making their return after six years, and Hogan after nearly nine. They were being labelled as “poison” in the lead-up to this, and this word would just be repeated ad nausium throughout the show. The crowd don’t seem to agree though, as all three men get a huge ovation on their way to the ring for our PPV opening interview. Hogan gets the first chant, which would set up his near-immediate face turn. Nash speaks first, explaining they’re here to set the record straight. He wonders why they’re not liked backstage, when they’re not poison or self-serving, and being accused of it hurts their feelings. They just want a clean slate, to prove to the fans that nobody does it better than the nWo. Mic handed to Hall who kicks off with a “Hey Yo” to the delight of the fans. He continues the shoot-aspect of the interview by talking about “marks”. In the funniest bit, Hall says that they just want to have a beer with the boys, causing Nash and Hogan to immediately tell him no.
Hogan gets the mic and the crowd goes NUTS, with the loudest “Hogan” chant yet. He re-iterates that they’re not there to kill the WWF, but to give the fans what they want, and they want a chance in return. However he soon starts praising Vince McMahon for the opportunity and the crowd don’t know what to do. Hogan then asks God to bless Vince (boos), the fans (cheers) and America (cheers). JR tries to tell us what to think by pouring scorn on the nWo’s comments, and thus ends the segment. Well, it doesn’t actually, as JR keeps on going for another two minutes. 11 minutes in total that, and whilst I can understand the decision to put three big returning names on first, but you’d think they would’ve tried to pop a big rating on RAW instead.
How do you follow that? With THIS!
Tag Team Turmoil
How It Came To This
Well… it’s just a load of tag teams with nothing better to do. There was no real build-up to the match other than some of the competitors fighting each other in standard tag matches with no purpose. The only real underlying tension is between the APA and Billy and Chuck, but you wouldn’t even call that a real feud. They fought on RAW on the 4th February in a three-way match for the Tag Team Titles, but they both ended up losing to the champions Spike and Tazz.
Oh yeah, we’re only getting bigger names as Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert are the ones to follow the nWo. WOW. In the first Tag Team Turmoil mini-match they’re taking on Lance Storm and Christian. We’re told that the winners of this match get a title shot at WrestleMania, but if I remember correctly that turns out not to be the case. Scotty and Storm start, with Scotty getting a nearfall with a roll-up. Tag made to Albert who presses Storm into the air with ease. GIANT SWING to the incoming Christian, and then a vicious bicycle kick to the face of Storm which gets a 2 count. Christian distracts Albert, allowing Storm to hit a jumping calf kick. Christian and Storm double team Albert, but he runs straight through them with a double clothesline. Tag to Scotty who elevates Storm over the top. Christian reverses a facecrusher into an attempted diving reverse DDT, but Scotty reverses back to hit a superkick. Storm back in to throw Scotty out, and Albert’s attempt at a double avalanche fails. Scotty back in, he facebusts Christian, and HEY! He’s in perfect position for a WORM! How fortunate was that? W! O! R! M! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo-wait a minute, here’s Storm to interrupt, but he gets a slap in the face as a result. Christian back up and he delivers the Impaler. Storm holds back Albert and Christian gets the three count. (2:56)
Next out are the Hardy Boyz with Lita by their side and Matt has a nifty hat. Jeff and Matt take control immediately, and hit a double atomic drop. Matt with a scoop slam and to the second rope, but Storm shoves him off. Jawbreaker from Storm and another nice kick to the face of Matt gets two, before Christian comes back in, but a charge ends up with him getting hung up on the top rope. Tag to Storm, tag to Jeff, and he’s a WEIRDO ON FIRE! Russian Legsweep on Storm! Matt takes Christian outside, as Storm catches Jeff in the Canadian Maple Leaf, but Matt saves. Storm misses a dropkick on Jeff and connects with Christian’s face instead. Twist of Fate to Storm! SWANTON BOMB! Three count is academic. (4:46)
Here come the Dudley Boyz with Stacy Keibler and their past is immediately brought up. The Hardys take control with a Poetry in Motion, but Bubba stops a second attempt. D-Von with a powerslam for a two count, before Bubba is tagged in. Bubba surprises absolutely everyone with a leglock on Jeff, but Matt interrupts. D-Von beats Jeff down in the corner, before hitting a cyclone elbow for another two count. Bubba back in with a scoop and a slam, before heading to the second rope. But he takes too long and Jeff fights back with a lowish blow, only for Bubba to fight him off to the mat. Bubba then misses a senton splash (as usual), and there are tags to Matt and D-Von. Clothesline to D-Von! DDT to Bubba! YAAAAARGH LEGDROP to D-Von! Legsweep/Side Effect by Matt and Jeff to Bubba! D-Von sent out but Stacy interrupts a Twist of Fate, causing Lita to get involved and a catfight ensues! The dust settles and Bubba hits a Bubba Bomb on Matt, only for Lita to get involved again with a Lita-canrana on Bubba! Jeff then dives out to the ramp with a senton on Bubba, leaving Matt and D-Von in the ring. D-Von goes for the Saving Grace, but Matt reverses into a quick schooloy roll-up (with a grab of the tights) for the three count! (8:52).
The Dudleys aren’t happy, and after D-Von slugs Matt down, they give Jeff a 3D on the ringside area! Billy and Chuck are the next entrants, and they take advantage of the situation with a double-team on Matt, but he fights back by avoiding an avalanche and hitting a side effect on Chuck. But the numbers game takes its toll, and Billy sends Matt into a superkick from Chuck, before nailing the Fameasser to get the three count! (9:25).
And here come the final team, the APA, which of course is the only simmering tension coming into this match. Slugfest between Billy and Bradshaw on the outside, before Faarooq comes off the second rope with a diving shoulder block on Chuck. Bradshaw tags in and clubs away, but meets the turnbuckle before getting a discus punch from Chuck. Chuck tries a crossbody off the ropes, but you CAN’T CROSSBODY BRADSHAW, and he hits his patented fallaway slam. Tag to Faarooq and they hit a double shoulderblock, Faarooq then covering for a two count. Billy comes in illegally and delivers a neckbreaker to Faarooq. Double team beatdown in the corner, before they send Faarooq out of the ring to continue their assault. Bradshaw isn’t happy about this, but I’m too preoccupied looking at Chuck’s pigtails. Yikes. Faarooq fights back and avoids a Fameasser by hitting a spinebuster instead. Referee starts counting out both men and gets to six, but Faarooq gets the tag to Bradshaw! Clotheslines to some! Big boots to others! Billy reverses a whip to the corner, Bradshaw moves out of his way though and as Billy staggers back… BANG! CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL! Billy sells it superbly and nearly turns himself inside out in the process. Bradshaw covers and you KNOW it’s over. The APA get the victory and “move on to WrestleMania”!
Verdict: A bit jumbled together as all Tag Team Turmoil matches are, but it wasn’t too bad once it got going. In many ways it was just nice to go back in time to an era when there were so many viable tag teams, and this match didn’t even include two more that were to compete for the World Tag Team Titles later in the night.
Michael Cole is backstage with Ric Flair to get his thoughts on the nWo’s arrival. He calls their statement “crap” and that the whole of the locker room can’t wait to teach all three of them the meaning of respect. And as if on cue, The Undertaker cuts in to discuss respect with Flair. He then threatens Flair and tells him he’s got his eye on him.
Goldust vs. Rob Van Dam
How It Came To This
After his return to the WWF as the second entrant in the Royal Rumble, Goldust began a series of cryptic messages to a “special individual”, usually in the style of using famous movie quotations. Goldust finally revealed himself…. better change that, Goldust finally revealed his target by attacking Rob Van Dam on the 4th February RAW, before hitting him with the Shattered Dreams kick to the turnbuckle/groin. Since then RVD gained some measure of revenge with two consecutive attacks that sent Goldust scurrying away.
Goldust enters with the usual gold glitter falling from the ceiling, as the announcers basically state they have no idea what this match is about, but they do mention that sons can be very different to their fathers… RVD comes out to a big pop, but he forgets to do his RVD thumb posing. Goldust attacks literally as RVD gets into the ring and knocks him outside, before dropping him face first on the apron. Back inside and RVD’s educated feet start teaching a lesson, followed by his shoulder thrust, back flip combo. Snapmare sets up a handspring moonsault for a 2 count, and Goldust bails and begins to walk away, but changes his mind halfway down. Goldust lures RVD to the ropes and drags him out, but his attempt to introduce RVD to the barricade gets reversed and Goldust is sent into the crowd. RVD sets him up for his apron dive to the security barricade, and connects after an R,V,D thumb pose. RVD goes to get back in but gets met by a Goldust knee, and Goldust then dives from the second rope to the outside with an elbow smash. Back inside and Goldust connects with a butt thump for a 2 count, before whipping RVD into the turnbuckle twice. He then sets RVD up on the top rope, and bends him back first over the ring post.
He continues to work on the mid-section of Van Dam, before tossing him into the ropes, which catapult him into Goldust’s waiting knees. A knee drop follows that for a 2 count, so Goldust does the catapult knee again, before heading to my least favourite hold, the chinlock. Goldust applies the hold for 20 boring seconds, gets up, and applies it again for another 20 seconds. Another break, and another trip to resthold city for another fifteen seconds, but RVD gets out, only to walk into a clothesline for a two count. RVD blocks an arm drag with a backslide for a long 2 count. A slugfest ensues which RVD eventually wins with a spinning heel kick. RVD sends Goldust to the ropes and gets a monkey flip, before heading up top for a flying kick and a two count. A scoop slam sets up some rolling thunder, but again he only gets two. RVD sends Goldust into the ropes, Goldust heads to the mat to deliver an uppercut, but RVD counters that with a somersault splash. RVD wastes little time in heading to the top rope, but a Five Star Frog Splash misses, and Goldust nails a DDT for a two count. Goldust signals for the Curtain Call, but RVD reverses and catches him with another spinning heel kick for a close two count. Goldust stops a charging RVD with a boot to the face, but RVD counters a bulldog, and follows that up with a windmill kick to the face. RVD up top again, and this time the Five Star Frog Splash connects! Cover made, 1, 2, 3!
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Verdict: Not bad for the time given, although that resthold spot in the middle really annoyed me. Goldust seemed to be in pretty good shape for someone who hadn’t had a meaningful singles match in a long time, and RVD’s varied offense is always fun to watch. Could’ve done with a little longer, but it was difficult to warrant it considering the lack of build-up it was given.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is WALKING backstage when he comes across the nWo. After an awkward silence, the nWo run through Austin’s nicknames, but they don’t want to fight, they just brought him a gift – some beer. But Austin ain’t thirsty, and he throws the beer away. Hogan tells Nash and Hall to let Austin through, and they stare at him menacingly as he walks away.
WWF Tag Team Title Match
Spike Dudley & Tazz (c) vs. Booker T & Test
How It Came To This
Booker T and Test formed a tag team back in the Alliance days, but whilst they were able to win the WWF Tag Team Titles on one occasion, they only teamed up occasionally. The lead-up to this match is shaky to say the least, Booker T and Test actually lost to the APA in their only tag match since the Rumble, but Test defeated Spike on Heat, Booker defeated Tazz on the RAW before No Way Out and Spike defeated Booker on the SmackDown! before No Way Out, the same show that this match was announced.
Test attacks Tazz before he gets in the ring, before dragging him in and slugging away. Test chokes Tazz with his foot in the corner, before stomping him and dragging him into the corner. Tazz fires back with a back elbow and a clothesline, and makes the tag to Spike. Spike heads up top and connects with a missile dropkick, then a dropkick to the knee of Booker T. Test intercepts him and goes for a powerbomb, but Spike reverses into a seated senton, and levels Booker with a right hand. Test again goes for a big move with a gorilla press, but Spike reverses that to a Tazz-assisted sunset flip, but Booker is distracting referee Jack Doan. Test takes control and tags in Booker, and they set Spike up for a big kick to the head whilst he’s on Test’s shoulders. Tazz comes in to stop the double-team but is sent out, and Booker takes control of Spike, hitting him with some stiff chops and a nice clothesline. More double-teaming, and Test comes in to choke Spike on the middle rope. Test then sends Spike to the corner and follows with a clothesline two times in succession, before mocking Spike to tag Tazz, but then knocking Tazz off the apron. Scoop slam to Spike in the centre of the ring, but Test misses an elbow drop. Spike sent to the corner but meets an onrushing Test with a headbutt to the midsection. Spike goes for the Dudley Dog, but Test tries to throw him on the top rope instead, only for Spike to miss and hits the apron HARD. That looked painful. Booker heads outside to stomp away on Spike, before throwing him back in for a Test 2 count, Spike grabbing the bottom rope. Booker tagged in, and he goes for the Scissors Kick.. and connects! But instead of the cover, here comes the Spin-a-Rooni! Booker covers, but Tazz breaks the pinfall attempt. Booker sets Spike up on the top rope, but takes too long taunting Tazz, and catches Booker with a tornado DDT. Both men down, and they crawl to their respective corners, tags made to Test and Tazz! Tazz unleashes the clotheslines, before hitting a northern lights suplex to Booker for two. Tazz ducks a Big Boot from Test and sends Booker out of the ring, then tries for the Tazzmission on Test but he can’t get it. Spike comes in and hits a Dudley Dog to Test which gets a two count from Tazz. Spike sends Booker into the ringpost on the outside, whilst Test blocks a charge from Tazz and gets a 2 count with his feet on the ropes. Test isn’t happy and shoves the referee, who shoves him straight back into a Tazzmission! Test taps out almost immediately, and the champs retain!
Winners: Spike Dudley & Tazz
Verdict: Spike and Tazz’s underdog run as champions continues, and whilst their matches always seemed to have a certain formula to them (Spike gets beaten on, Tazz comes in for the win), they were beginning to have a good chemistry. But you can’t always fool the crowd, who weren’t into this match at all, Tazz’s hot tag at the end was met with near silence. Also, Test overthrowing Spike with that attempted drop on the top rope didn’t help this match’s rating.
THE ROCK is chatting to Jonathan Coachman backstage, and Coach asks Rock about his physical condition following The Undertaker’s attack on him two weeks ago, which culminated in a Tombstone on top of a limo roof. The Rock asks Undertaker if he knows what it’s like to be disrespected, and that ever since Undertaker attacked him, all he has been thinking about is coming back to “whoop his candy-ass all over Milwaukee”. The Rock promises that The Undertaker is exactly what he says he is; a Dead Man Walking. If you smell what he’s cooking.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Brass Knuckles On A Pole
William Regal (c) vs. Edge
How It Came To This
This feud goes back all the way to Vengeance 2001, the first of the three PPV matches between these two that Edge won to defend his WWF Intercontinental Title. Their second match was at the Royal Rumble (I hear someone did a great review of that show) where Regal won the Intercontinental Title with the help of his brass knuckles. Since the Rumble, the two men have been battling with each other, with Regal’s knucks being the centre of attention. Regal attacked Edge’s ribs and locked in the Regal Stretch until Edge bled from the mouth. Edge’s ribs were taped for the last week, but he was still able to Spear Regal on both the RAW and the SmackDown! before No Way Out.
Just for the record, I hate any kind of “on a pole” matches, so this match kicks off on a bad foot for me. Regal gets checked beforehand, but Edge attacks Regal before the referee is finished, and they brawl around the ringside area. They head into the ring and Edge hits a clothesline and a suplex, before heading for the knucks. Regal gets up, but Edge maintains control with a back body drop for a 2 count. Regal attacks Edge as he goes for the knucks and climbs himself, but Edge interrupts and knocks Regal down with a dropkick. They head outside and Edge introduces Regal’s head to the ring steps, and then sends him over the barricade into the crowd. Edge follows after him and stomps away, before heading back into the ring to go for the knucks. But Regal gets back in, only to get kicked away by Edge, who connects with a dropkick from the second rope. Regal comes back with a shot to the ribs, and drops Edge on the top rope, before stomping away at the ribs of Edge. Regal applies an abdominal stretch to continue the work on the ribs, the crowd start up a “Regal Sucks” chant, and after thirty seconds in the hold, Edge gets out of it with an arm drag. Edge sends Regal out of the ring and again goes after the knucks, but Regal catches him and sends Edge flying head-first into the security barricade. Regal heads over and gives Edge a Butterfly Powerbomb on the outside! Edge rolled back in, and its time for the Regal Stretch! Edge is bleeding from the mouth, but manages to survive 48 seconds in the hold, before making it to the ropes. Regal covers for two, and heads up to try and get the knucks, but Edge shakes the ropes enough to cause Regal to fall groin-first on to the top rope. Edge now going for the knucks, but Regal meets him there and attempts to powerbomb him off the apron, but they botch it big time and both of them fall to the outside in comical fashion. Referee checks on both guys after that, and amazingly they show a replay of that horrible spot. The referee starts counting, but Edge gets up and goes for the knucks, only for Regal to meet him on the apron again. Regal knocks him down and gets the knucks! But Edge grabs him and nails a super back drop off the top rope! The knucks are now on the mat, and they both crawl towards them, but Regal knocks them out of the ring. Edge ducks a Regal left hand and hits the Edge-O-Matic for two. Regal comes off the ropes and gets Speared! But Edge doesn’t go for the cover, instead heading outside for the knucks, but as he comes back in, Regal punches him in the ribs and once in the head, revealing that he has another pair of knucks! Regal covers, and there’s the three count!
Winner: William Regal
Verdict: As I said to start, items on a pole match aren’t going to win any favours from me, and the fact that they spent all that time going for the knucks, only for a different set to be used at the end made it even more pointless. I can appreciate the psychology of Regal working on Edge’s injured ribs throughout the match, but that botched powerbomb spot loses this match a few more points.
Lillian Garcia is our third interviewer of the night as she stands by with Kurt Angle to discuss his match with Triple H later tonight. Angle says that Stephanie McMahon being the referee will not have any input in how the match goes. His gold medals prove that he is the best in the world. He speaks directly to HHH, telling him he would’ve been a lousy father, and tonight Angle is going to be HHH’s “daddy”.
The Rock vs. The Undertaker
How It Came To This
It all started when The Rock mocked The Undertaker for being eliminated from the Royal Rumble by Maven. Taker considered that an act of disrespect, and that he is sick and tired of The Rock thinking everything is a joke. Taker Chokeslammed The Rock to cost him a match against Kurt Angle, and on the SmackDown! following that tried to destroy Rock’s throat with a steel chair. However The Rock turned it around, and was able to Rock Bottom Taker through the announce table. The RAW following that, Taker KO’d Rock with a lead pipe during a tag match, so in retaliation The Rock cost The Undertaker the Hardcore Title, as his interference allowed Maven to score a huge upset and win the belt. Taker was understandably unhappy about this, and attacked Rock backstage that same night, before Tombstoning The Rock onto the roof of a limo. The Rock did not appear on TV again until tonight, but Taker continued the feud he was building with Ric Flair in that time.
Undertaker rides his bike out as my DVD plays a crappy cover of Rollin’, The Rock comes out to a huge ovation and SPRINTS to the ring to start the attack on Taker. Big clothesline on Taker, but Taker comes back with an attempted chokeslam, only for Rock to punch his way out. But Rock gets over-enthusiastic and runs straight into a big boot that gives Taker a 2 count. Taker slows the pace with some deliberately placed punches and kicks, and grinds his forearm into Rock’s face. Rock fires back some punches, but an uppercut from Taker knocks him back down. Rock goes for a neckbreaker that doesn’t go quite right, and Taker gets back control and chokes Rock on the middle rope. Rock is bullied into the corner, and Taker hits some more elbows and punches, but Rock fires back with some punches of his own, only to run into a sidewalk slam from Taker that gets a two count. Chinlock from Taker that lasts 32 seconds of resthold boredom, Rock punches out but Taker maintains his control with a well placed knee and an elbow. Rock suckers Taker into a big boot attempt, only to duck and get him caught on the top rope. Rock then clothesline Taker over the top, and the fight moves into the ringside area. Rock sends Taker into the ring steps, then drags him around to the announce desk. Rock starts setting up the Spanish table, but Taker fights back and crotches Rock on the security barricade. Taker takes a seat on the ringsteps to shout some abuse at The Rock, and chases the referee away. Big right hand sends Rock into the crowd, and the fight moves into the fans. Taker tries to send Rock into a wall, but Rock reverses and Taker is sent into a door. They head back to the ringside area, with Taker throwing Rock over the barricade. Taker places Rock on the apron, and drives his elbow into the side of Rock’s head, before heading on to the apron himself and dropping a leg across his throat. Back into the ring, Taker covers Rock twice for two counts, then a third time after some right hands, again for two. Back to the chinlock we go, but only for 13 seconds, and Rock fights back with right hands, but Undertaker telegraphs The Rock and nails him with a running DDT for a two count. Taker locks in a bearhug, another one of my least favourite holds, which saps one minute and 37 seconds of my valuable time before Rock fights his way out of it. A clothesline keeps both Taker and Rock down, and the referee starts counting both men out, which means more dead time. Both men back up and trading punches, but Rock gets the upper hand and nails a DDT, nipping straight back up and hitting the spinebuster! Is it time… PEOPLE’S ELBOW! But Undertaker sits up and goozles Rock, only for Rock to low blow him right in front of the referee. Taker reverses a whip and grabs Rock by the throat again, and connects with a Chokeslam! 1, 2, but Rock kicks out! Taker heads out of the ring and sits on his bike, before grabbing the referee and sending him into the ringsteps. Hilarity ensues as he can’t find the lead pipe he’s looking for “you should’ve bought a Harley!” – crowd. Taker finds his pipe and heads to the ring, but Ric Flair runs down to try and intervene, but Taker big boots him in the skull! Taker heads back into the ring and aims to hit Rock with the pipe, but Rock takes him down and locks in the Sharpshooter! The referee is back in, but here comes Vince McMahon to distract The Rock, who releases the hold and heads over to bring Vince into the ring. Spit punch to Vince! Taker attacks Rock from behind and sets up for the Tombstone, but Flair comes in and nails Taker with the pipe! Taker staggers back… ROCK BOTTOM! Rock covers, 1, 2, 3! Vince can’t believe it, Flair heads backstage with Taker’s lead pipe in his hand, and The Rock celebrates to his millions and millions of fans.
Winner: The Rock
Verdict: Despite the really fun overbooked finish, the preceding 12 minutes were absolutely dire. More restholds than I’ve ever seen in one of Rock’s matches, including that ridiculously long bearhug. The finish goes some way towards compensating for it, but I would expect much better from these two in a PPV match.
Who’s at WWF New York? Why it’s Mr. Perfect! He appears to be drunk as he takes off his jacket to show us perfection. I don’t think anything he said made any sense at all.
#1 Contendership At WrestleMania
Triple H vs. Kurt Angle
Guest Referee: Stephanie McMahon
How It Came To This
Ugh, I don’t wanna have to recap this, but needs must. Triple H won the 2002 Royal Rumble after overcoming eight months of rehabilitation on a torn quad. Kurt Angle, who was runner-up, was not pleased about this, and began attacking HHH to prove he was better than him. Vince McMahon gave Angle the opportunity to fight for the #1 Contendership at WrestleMania at this at No Way Out. And then it got ugly. Stephanie announced to the world that she wanted to renew her wedding vows to Triple H. HHH refused. Stephanie countered by telling HHH she was pregnant, which made HHH very happy. Stephanie hired a fake doctor to confirm the news, until ARN ANDERSON~! delivered a video tape to HHH. The video was from Linda McMahon, and showed that the doctor was in fact an actor. The wedding vows went ahead, but HHH called her a “no good lying bitch” and destroyed the wedding set and Pedigreed Vince McMahon. Stephanie then inserted herself as the special guest referee, and thus we have this match.
Stephanie enters first in a referee’s shirt that certainly enhances her… curves. She demands Howard Finkel announce her as “Stephanie McMahon” instead of “Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley”. Angle out next to the “You Suck” chants, and HHH’s entrance wastes 2 minutes and 23 second of my life. Stephanie shows HHH her referee badge as Angle starts some roll-up with fast counts from Steph, who then doesn’t count a HHH roll-up. Angle attacks HHH in the corner with Stephanie cheerleading, but HHH comes out with a choke takedown, and stomps a mudhole in Angle to loud WHAT? chants. HHH turns an arm wringer into a clothesline, and the crowd start chanting “take your shirt off”. That’s a new one. Angle goes for a clothesline, but HHH ducks and he takes Stephanie out! Timekeeper Mark Yeaton asks for a new referee, whilst in the ring HHH back drops Angle and sends him over the top rope as well. HHH laughs at Stephanie’s pain, but Angle heads back to the ring and unleashes some chops, but HHH telegraphs Angle and hits a neckbreaker. Tim White is our new referee and he counts a near fall. HHH waves goodbye to Stephanie as she is taken away, and gives Angle a ten punch combo in the corner. Angle ducks a clothesline though and begins the rolling German suplexes, HHH blocks a third, but it’s not enough and Angle connects with it. Angle gets two from a cover, and stomps HHH out of the ring. Back in, and Angle connects with a back elbow for another two count, but an “Angle Sucks” chant distracts him , and HHH is able to take control, only to walk into a belly to belly suplex from Angle for another two count. Another belly to belly gets a 2 count, and then a third belly to belly gets a third two count in quick succession. Angle stomps HHH whilst he’s down, and when HHH is back up Angle locks in a sleeper hold. It’s locked in for a whole minute until HHH tries to free himself, and eventually does so, but Angle unleashes a series of right hands to keep in control. HHH manages to overpower him though and hits a powerbomb out of the corner, and both men are down. HHH wins a slugfest when they’re both back up, and connects with a high knee to Angle. Angle tries to charge HHH, but HHH reverses it to a spinebuster for a two count. HHH then telegraphs Angle and hits a facebuster for another two count. Angle heads out of the ring to back away from HHH, then attacks Tim White. HHH hits a neckbreaker, but the referee is out again, and Angle takes advantage to hit a blatant low blow. Angle Slam! And here comes Stephanie! Angle covers, but can only get two counts as Stephanie isn’t counting fast. But then, THE STRAPS COME DOWN! ANKLE LOCK! But HHH sends Angle into Stephanie, and we have our third ref bump. HHH nails Angle with a DDT, but there’s no referee again. Tim White’s back up, but Angle kicks HHH into him and we have ANOTHER ref bump. German Suplex from Angle on HHH, and Angle heads outside to grab a steel chair. HHH ducks a chair shot and nails a PEDIGREE! HHH covers, Tim White is getting back in, but Stephanie drops an elbow on him when he reaches two! Low blow from Stephanie to Tim White! Ref bump number FIVE! HHH stares Stephanie down, Stephanie points to her breasts/referee badge, but HHH goes to Pedigree her! Angle is back up though with the chair, and WHACKS HHH in the back! Another shot to the head and HHH is out! Angle poises, and nails an Angle Slam on HHH! Cover by Angle, and Stephanie counts the three! Angle and Stephanie celebrate up the ramp as HHH dribbles in the ring. JR is not happy, but Lawler is happy that Angle is going to WrestleMania!
Winner: Kurt Angle
Verdict: Well this was always going to be overbooked from the start, but five ref bumps throughout the match is going a bit too far. The constant refereeing changes and Stephanie related “drama” overshadowed the match completely, which wasn’t all that bad. But any match where the story is more referee-based isn’t going to be more than ** in my book.
Angle heads backstage and gets straight in his car and leaves the arena.
Meanwhile, the nWo have caught up with The Rock. Hogan wants to take a picture with The Rock for his son, who has “no taste”. The Rock ain’t happy, and he tells “chico Razor Ramon” to shine that camera up real nice, Big Daddy Cool Diesel “Toot toot” can turn it sideways, and Hogan can “eat his vitamins, say his prayers and stick it up their candy asses”. Really short segment, but really funny.
And elsewhere, Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho is WALKING!
WWF Undisputed Title Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
How It Came To This
Chris Jericho defeated Steve Austin at Vengeance 2001 to become the first Undisputed Champion with a lot of help from Vince McMahon and Booker T. Jericho defended his title against The Rock at the Royal Rumble, whilst Austin finished fourth in the Rumble match itself. Austin then defeated Kurt Angle to win the right to face Jericho at No Way Out. Jericho brought out comedian Will Sasso dressed as Austin to mock him, which only resulted in Sasso getting a Stunner. Jericho attacked Austin both before and during a match with The Undertaker, but Austin got some revenge by attacking Jericho after a match against Kane, nailing Jericho with a Stunner and pouring a beer over him.
Austin enters first to a loud ovation, and makes me happy as the challenger should always enter first. Jericho enters with his mega cocky entrance, as I wonder again why they didn’t introduce one belt for the Undisputed Championship earlier than they did. The two combatants stare each other down, and Jericho gives Austin a one-finger salute, which is duly returned by Austin.
A lock-up gets backed into the corner, a second gets broken early, and eventually fists are thrown, Austin knocks Jericho down and sends him out of the ring, Austin chases him back in and delivers a back elbow. Austin leads Jericho to the corner and viciously chops away at Jericho’s chest, then begins beating his head into the top turnbuckle to loud “WHAT?” chants. Austin then gets sent into the middle, and then bottom turnbuckle, before Austin knocks him down again with a clothesline. Suplex from Austin, then a second suplex, before more chops in the corner, but Austin gets telegraphed by Jericho and hits a neckbreaker. Jericho stomps away, and starts delivering his own brand of knife-edge chops in the corner, and then delivers a back elbow too. Jericho to the top rope, but he gets caught by Austin with a shot to the gut, and Austin clotheslines Jericho outside. Jericho gets introduced to the ring post and then the ring steps, and Austin chops away at Jericho even more. Back in the ring and Austin gets Jericho in a corner once again to deliver some shoulder thrusts, but a whip and a charge by Austin ends with him getting sent shoulder-first into the ring post. Jericho follows Austin outside and gets in some chops, and the brawl moves to the entrance ramp. Austin takes control with some hard right hands, and he sends Jericho into the trailer truck being used as a set, and then into it a second time. Jericho gets sent into some random equipment lying around, and hey, he has some Goldust glitter on his back!
Jericho turns the tables and drops Austin on the security barricade, and finally they head back into the ring. Jericho heads up top, but Austin falls back onto the ropes and he loses his balance. Austin climbs up too, and delivers a picture perfect superplex off the top rope. Austin then drags Jericho to the opposite corner to hit another superplex. Over to a third corner they go, and yep, here’s another superplex. A cover from Austin gets two, before Austin unloads some more chops in the corner, and then sends Jericho from pillar to post, but Jericho reverses a whip, only to walk into a clothesline. Jericho gets some control back with an undetected low blow, and he starts unleashing some more chops to Austin’s chest. Austin ducks a clothesline, but Jericho is able to catch his legs and attempt a Walls of Jericho, but Austin uses his leg strength to block it. Back to the chops for Jericho, but Austin fights back and hot shots Jericho on the top rope, and drives his elbow into the chest of Jericho for a two count. Jericho reverses a whip and sends Austin out of the ring, and Jericho goes to meet him by the announce tables, before sending him into the barricade. Jericho grabs a chair, but the referee takes it from him and Austin gets a shot in. Jericho takes back control and sends Austin into the announce table, before the action heads back to the ring. Jericho sends Austin off the ropes and hits a back elbow. Jericho goes for a Lionsault, but Austin moves, only to come off the ropes and get caught in a sleeper hold by Jericho. Jericho keeps it locked in for one minute and 18 seconds, but Austin eventually punches his way out. Jericho goes for a dropkick but Austin blocks it and goes for a Walls Of Jericho, but get gives up and tosses Jericho into the turnbuckle. Jericho reverses a back drop, Austin goes for a stunner, Jericho reverses that but gets knocked down by a clothesline. Jericho gets back up, but is taken down by an Austin spinebuster. Jericho comes off the ropes looking for a crossbody, but Austin catches him and nails a powerslam for a 2 count. Jericho sends Austin into the corner and follows up with a facecrusher, before hitting one Lionsault, and then a second, but Austin is able to kick out at 2. Jericho chops Austin in the corner and whips him to the opposite corner, but Jericho ends up meeting the ring post in the same way Austin had earlier. Austin tries to connect with a Lou Thesz press, but Jericho blocks it and applies the Walls of Jericho! 35 seconds of lower back pain is finally relieved by Austin when he reaches the ropes, and a frustrated Jericho heads out to grab the WWF title belt, but Earl Hebner gets knocked down as he gets back in, and I believe we just set a record for ref bumps. Austin takes advantage to hit a spinebuster, with Jericho’s back landing on the title belt. Austin goes for a Stunner, but Jericho reverses that into the Breakdown on the title belt for a two count. Jericho clotheslines Austin in the corner, but a second attempt sees him clothesline Earl Hebner AGAIN. Hebner goes out of the ring, Jericho gets caught by Austin and he locks in the Walls of Jericho! Jericho taps out after just seven seconds in the hold, but there’s no referee. Austin releases, but Jericho grabs the title and goes for Austin’s head, but Austin counters with a Stone Cold Stunner! Again no referee, but more importantly here come the nWo! Right hands to Hall! Right hands to Nash! Right hands to Hogan! But soon the numbers game wins out and they take Austin down with some hard punches. Hall then hits something resembling a Stunner, whilst Jericho grabs the referee and sends him into the ring. Jericho covers… 1…………2…………..3!
Jericho wins! But we’re not done here, because the nWo head back into the ring and start taking turns assaulting Stone Cold. Austin fights back at Hall, but Nash and Hogan swiftly take care of that. Hall hits another one of his Stunners, and Hogan heads under the ring to get some… spray-paint! Hall takes the cans as Nash and Hogan stretch him out, and he sprays nWo on Austin’s back. Well it looks like nWc because Austin’s tights get in the way. The nWo head backstage, and the show goes off the air!
Winner: Chris Jericho
Verdict: A solid match, if nothing spectacular throughout. The constant chopping got a bit repetitive after a while, but there were some decent nearfalls to keep people guessing. The nWo’s interference at the end wasn’t great, particularly as they didn’t do that much to warrant Austin lying down for over 15 seconds.
OVERALL SHOW VERDICT
For the show before WrestleMania, this card seemed horribly rushed together. Aside from the three main-event calibre matches at the end, the rest of the card was barely touched on in the TV shows leading up to the PPV, which meant the crowd didn’t really care until the Rock/Undertaker match.
The matches for the most part were unspectacular, we had a couple of horrible botches which thankfully didn’t cause any injuries, but everyone who competed just seemed to be giving 50%. Austin and Jericho have had much better matches than this one, Rock and Undertaker was slower than me getting out of bed on a Sunday morning and Angle and HHH was too overbooked. When you book three main events for one show, they have to deliver, and these didn’t come close.
Join me next time at WrestleMania XXV weekend when I’ll have a review of WrestleMania X8 (sometimes perfect timing does come along!), so I’ll see you then.