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WWF No Way Out

February 17, 2002

by Samoa Rowe

-Follow me on Twitter: @SamoaRowe

-From Milwaukee, WI. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

-We kick things off with the re-debut of the New World Order consisting of Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. This was pretty surreal at the time, though it would have meant so very much more had they arrived about eight months earlier to save the WCW Invasion angle. Nash addresses the heat they have in the locker room, claiming that all they want to a clean slate. Hall says the n.W.o. are a bunch of marks who just want to work with the best WWF superstars. Hogan finally gets the mic and the crowd chants his name. He says they’re not here to kill the WWF, only to make it better. Hogan thanks Vince McMahon for this opportunity. This felt like a shoot, which I suppose is what they were aiming for.

Tag Team Turmoil:
Scotty 2 Hotty and The Hip-Hop Hippo Albert vs. Christian and Lance Storm

Storm locks up with Scotty, but finds himself overwhelmed. Albert tags and drops Storm with a press slam and delivers the giant swing to Christian. Albert is briefly isolated, but makes a lukewarm tag to Scotty. The match quickly breaks down and Storm saves Christian from The Worm. The Unprettier finishes Scotty at 2:55.

Jeff and Matt Hardy, accompanied by Lita, make their return after a short hiatus. The Hardy Boyz clean house. Matt’s leg drop is blocked by interference from Storm, shifting the momentum. Storm and Christian try to isolate Matt, but he quickly counters by dropping Christian on the ropes. Jeff gets what is supposed to be a hot tag and delivers some rapid fire offense. Matt saves Jeff from Storm’s Half Crab and a miscue results in Storm knocking out Christian with a kick. The Swanton Bomb finishes Storm at 6:11.

Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley, accompanied by Stacy, are the next team to square off with the Hardy Boyz. The fresh Dudley Boyz quickly gain the upper hand. Bubba counters a superplex but misses a splash off the top. D-Von and Matt get fresh tags, but Matt cleans house. Stacy saves Bubba from Matt’s Twist of Fate, but Lita pounces on her. Bubba attacks Lita and nails Matt with the Bubba Bomb. Lita sneaks in a Lita-carana. The match breaks down until Matt pins D-Von with a roll-up at 10:49. The Dudleyz are sore losers and deliver the 3-D on Jeff on the floor.

Billy and Chuck are the next team. With Jeff down and out, we’re left with Matt in a handicap match situation. Matt does a valiant job fighting off Billy and Chuck initially, but Billy’s Fame-asser ends it at 12:18.

Farooq and Bradshaw are the final team and initiate a brawl. Farooq nails a shoulder block on Chuck and tags in Bradshaw to continue dishing out punishment. Billy and Chuck successfully isolate Farooq for a while. Farooq counters with a Spinebuster on Billy and gets the hot tag to Bradshaw. Billy suffers the Clothesline from Hell and the A.P.A. win at 16:34. This was a typically frustrating Tag Team Turmoil match, as everything felt rushed and no one was in there long enough to gain anything from it, *½.
Winners: Farooq and Bradshaw

-Michael Cole interviews Ric Flair backstage. Flair isn’t buying the n.W.o.’s good behavior and claims the WWF locker room is ready to deal with them if they step out of line. The Undertaker interrupts and disrespects Flair for thinking he’s some sort of authority on respect.

Goldust vs. Rob Van Dam

RVD gets ambushed with a clothesline while entering the ring. RVD answers with a series of kicks. Goldust considers walking out but ends up pulling RVD to the floor for a brawl. RVD hangs Goldust on the guard rail for a leg drop off the apron. Goldust comes back with a diving elbow off the turnbuckles to the floor. Goldust wears RVD down for a bit in methodical fashion. RVD counters with knees to the thighs. RVD desperately administers a backslide pin and a thrust kick. RVD finally starts building some momentum with his patented offense, including Rolling Thunder. Goldust slides onto his back for an uppercut but suffers a somersault leg drop. RVD misses the Frog Splash and suffers a DDT for a near fall. RVD counters with a heel kick for 2. RVD blocks a bulldog and delivers the Five Star Frog Splash for the win at 11:02. Solid outing here, they showcased some surprisingly good chemistry in the final minutes, **½.
Winner: Rob Van Dam

-Stone Cold Steve Austin bumps into the n.W.o., who size him up. Hall offers Austin a six pack of beer as a peace offering. Austin says he ain’t thirsty and tosses the beer to the floor. Hogan instructs the others to let him pass.

WWF Tag Team Championship:
Spike Dudley and Tazz © vs. Booker T and Test

The challengers meet the champions in the aisle and Test rolls Tazz into the ring for some punishment. Spike tags and nails a missile drop-kick on Test. Spike gets isolated for a beating. Spike attempts a Dudley Dog but gets tossed to the floor by Test. Booker nails the Scissors Kick on Spike, who retaliates with a DDT counter. Tazz gets a hot tag and goes on a clothes lining spree. Tazz throws a Northern Lights suplex on Booker but gets caught by Test. Tazz manages to drop Booker and set up Test for the Dudley Dog from Spike. Booker pulls Spike to the floor but gets driven into the ring post. Test argues with the referee, easily allowing Tazz to apply the Tazzmission for the win at 7:15. Paint by numbers outing here, though Spike’s bumping created some good sympathy, **.
Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: Tazz and Spike Dudley

-Jonathan Coachman interviews The Rock about Undertaker’s recent attempts to end his career. The Rock says that Undertaker has no idea what it’s like to be disrespected by The Great One, and all he’s been thinking about is whipping Taker’s candy ass all over Milwaukee. Rock says that Undertaker truly is a “Dead man walking.” Rock’s interviews were so good and I took them for granted.

Intercontinental Championship (Brass Knuckles on a Pole match):
William Regal © vs. Edge

The referee searches Regal for more brass knucks and Edge takes the opportunity to jump him. They exchange moves in the ring and take turns trying to climb the pole. Edge takes the brawl into the crowd. Edge climbs the pole but has to settle for a missile drop-kick. Regal counters and drops Edge gut-first on the ropes. Regal works over the midsection, using the ropes for leverage on an abdominal stretch. Regal nails a double underhook power bomb on the floor! Edge is bleeding from the mouth as he gets trapped in the Regal Stretch. Regal goes for the knucks, but Edge crotches him on the turnbuckles. Edge counters a power bomb on the apron and they both tumble awkwardly to the floor. Regal finally gets the knucks but Edge immediately superplexes him. Edge desperately nails the Spear and fetches the knucks. It turns out Regal did indeed have a second pair of knucks hidden in his tights and he clocks Edge for the win at 10:47. This might have been a really good match without the stipulations hindering it, not to mention the eye-rolling finish, **.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: William Regal

-Lillian Garcia interviews Kurt Angle backstage. Angle is offended by Garcia’s suggestion that he’s confident due to Stephanie McMahon being the guest referee for his match with Triple H. Angle says he’s only confident due to being better than Triple H in every possible way. Angle reminds us that he’s a Gold Medalist and plans on walking out of No Way Out as the #1 contender.

The Undertaker vs. The Rock

The Rock sprints to the ring and immediately takes the fight to Undertaker. An overzealous Rock runs into a big boot, shifting the momentum to a more methodical Dead Man. Rock counters with a sloppy neck breaker, which Undertaker shakes off. Undertaker neutralizes a Rock comeback with a sidewalk slam. Rock dodges a big boot to take the brawl to ringside. Taker turns it around by crotching Rock on the barricade. Rock reverses an Irish whip to send Undertaker through a door into the lobby. Undertaker directs the brawl back to ringside and delivers his leg drop on the apron. Rock throws some punches, but suffers a DDT in the ring. Cue the bear hug! Rock fights out both men need a moment to recover. They trade wild punches until Rock scores a DDT. Rock’s spinebuster sets up the Peoples’ Elbow, but Taker blocks. The Rock low blows but takes a choke slam anyway. Undertaker sits on his motorcycle and throws the referee into the steps. Taker pulls a metal pipe off his bike but Ric Flair runs in to stop him. Taker nails Flair with a big boot and takes a swing at The Rock, who ducks. Rock applies the Sharpshooter, but Vince McMahon runs in to distract the ref. Rock pulls Vince into the ring but Undertaker goes for the Tombstone. Flair clocks Taker with the pipe, allowing Rock to nail the Rock Bottom for the win at 17:21. The overbooked nonsense at the end actually helped this one, as beforehand I was shocked by just how flat and boring it was, **¼.
Winner: The Rock

-Mr. Perfect is hosting the pay-per-view party at WWF New York. Perfect insults the people in the crowd and poses for the camera.

Triple H vs. Kurt Angle (Special Referee: Stephanie McMahon)

Triple H is the most recent gullible baby face to put his Royal Rumble title shot on the line against a conniving heel. HHH argues with Steph and Angle almost wins it early with an inside cradle. The crowd chants “She’s a crack whore” as Triple H keeps halting his momentum due to arguing with his ex-wife. Angle misses a clothesline and dumps Stephanie over the ropes. Triple H is thoroughly amused by Steph’s injury. Steph is carried out while HHH and Angle trade offense. Angle delivers some rolling German suplexes to finally gain some momentum. Triple H fights out of a sleeper and counters with a power bomb. Triple H mounts a comeback with a knee lift and spinebuster. Angle gets desperate and shoves the replacement referee down. Angle delivers a low blow and the Angle Slam, and Stephanie runs in just in time to count the near fall. Steph is too hurt to do a fast count, which further infuriates Angle. Triple H counters the Ankle Lock by kicking Angle into Stephanie. HHH nails a DDT and tries to revive the second ref, but Angle hits a German suplex. Kurt gets a chair but misses and takes the Pedigree! Stephanie elbow drops the referee to prevent a 3 count! HHH goes for the Pedigree on Stephanie, but Angle saves her with some chair shots. The Angle Slam ends it at 14:37. The match was a lot more fun than I was expecting, but the crowd didn’t really care for it, other than chanting sexist stuff at Stephanie, **¾.
Winner: Kurt Angle

-Kurt Angle heads right to the parking lot, gloating his victory all the way. He tells a staff member to tell anyone who asks that he’s heading to Wrestlemania!

-Rock is recovering in the back when he’s approached by the n.W.o. Rock poses with Hogan for a picture for Hulk’s son. Hogan insults Rock under his breath, sparking Rock to tell them off.

-Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho confidently struts around the backstage area.

Undisputed WWF Championship:
Chris Jericho © vs. Steve Austin

They talk some smack and flip the bird at each other. They feel one another out and Jericho slaps the face. Austin chases Jericho and bats him around to “What” chants. Jericho desperately hits a sloppy swinging neck breaker. Series of chops by Jericho, but Austin counters an axe handle off the ropes. Austin pummels Jericho around ringside. Jericho sidesteps Austin and takes a turn batting him around the ring. They brawl to the stage, where some tractor trailers are conveniently parked for head smashing. Back to the ring, Austin counters with a superplex (all the while continuing to throw dozens of chops). Austin hits a second and third superplex. The action continues with MORE CHOPPING! Jericho retaliates with a blind low blow and finally has an opening to build some momentum. Austin cuts the comeback short, because heaven forbid Jericho ever get to look credible during his title reign. Jericho almost regains control, but the Lionsault misses. Austin fights out of a sleeper and catapults Jericho into the ropes. The Stunner is blocked, but Austin settles for a spinebuster. Jericho attempts a pair of Lionsaults from a startling distance, but hits them. Jericho counters into the Walls! Jericho grabs the WWF title but Austin shoves him into the referee. Austin spinebusters Jericho onto the title! Jericho retaliates with the Breakdown onto the belt. The ref gets knocked down again as Austin counters with a Boston Crab, and Jericho taps! The ref is still down! Austin nails the Stunner but the n.W.o. charge the ring and attack him! Jericho revives the ref to watch him cover Austin for the win at 21:29. This was a lethargic main event that never quite made it out of second gear. Austin didn’t seem interested in treating Jericho like an equal and the finish was pretty lame, **½.
Winner and still Undisputed WWF Champion: Chris Jericho

-The New World Order continue beating up Austin after the match, and despite Flair predictions, no one else from the locker room comes out to stop them. They spray paint the n.W.o. logo on his back.

Final Thoughts: The WWF was creatively bankrupt during this time. Pretty much every match on this show was the culmination of an insta-feud that was set up a few weeks earlier just to fill time before Wrestlemania. Jericho was having a disastrous title reign and was being undercut at every turn. Triple H was bombing hard as a top baby face, despite having the Match of the Night at a whopping **¾ here. Everything about this show was so flat, uninteresting, and frustrating considering the talent and storyline opportunities from recruiting the n.W.o. Thumbs down and good riddance to this era of the WWF.

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