Presented LIVE on TNN from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV. Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Last week on Smackdown, Ric Flair turned down Mr. McMahon's proposal to purchase his stock in the company, even though he signed the contract first. Looks like the WWF is getting an injection of nWo poison! Randy Orton and Rico Constantino defeated Brock Lesnar and Ron Waterman in the only match that wasn't taped for TV. Yeah, these OVW guys were being used a lot to warm up the crowds.
After a lengthy recap of recent events, we open backstage where Michael Cole is standing by with Ric Flair, the man who technically signed the contract selling his shares of the WWF to Vince McMahon, and should be taken to the cleaners in a court of law for trying to destroy the documents with witnesses in a public setting. Cole asks if Flair had second thoughts, but Flair stands by his decision. Time for Vince to inject the poison that is the nWo.
TONIGHT: The Rock and Steve Austin take on Chris Jericho and The Undertaker!
Triple H comes out unexpectedly, and he's dressed to compete. We recap Thursday Night Smackdown where Kurt Angle relentlessly attacked Triple H after their match. He grabs the microphone to address Kurt Angle. He tells Kurt that he made two mistakes, he didn't get the job done and he screwed with the wrong guy. He's waited four days and he won't wait longer, calling Angle out to the ring RIGHT NOW... but he gets Booker T instead. He calls Triple H a loser and promises he can do it again.
Triple H is steamed, looking for Kurt Angle backstage. He should be fined for putting his hands on referee Jack Doan.
Chuck and Billy enter the women's dressing room uninvited as Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler argue over who owns the lipstick. Billy says who wants to look at any of these women when they can check out the 12 months of Billy and Chuck calendar. Torrie and Stacy, who were catfighting over lipstick 30-seconds ago, now act like besties, and accept the challenge from Chuck and Billy to a posedown on Thursday. Billy tells them it gives them a few days to get a tan and do something about their makeup.
Triple H is still wandering the halls and comes across Mr. McMahon's guarded dressing room. Kurt Angle pops out to inform Triple H that they'll meet in the ring at No Way Out, and Mr. McMahon added the stipulation that Hunter's title shot is on the line.
The celebration is short-lived, as Goldust's music plays and he pops up on the jumbo-screen. He offers congratulations to RVD as the rising star he's talked about. Unfortunately, his dreams won't come true, because they're about to be shattered, courtesy of the man whose name he will never forget.. Goldust sneaks up from behind, blitzing RVD with a flurry of boots and right hands. He traps RVD's legs in the ropes and connects with Shattered Dreams to cap off the big reveal.
Triple H is pacing in his dressing room as the camera awkwardly pans Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. She's ignorant to everything he's talking about, focusing only on the big announcement she has for later tonight. Were they trying to film her looking sexy? I don't get the camera work in that segment at all.
Michael Cole tries to get a word from The Undertaker and gets bullied for his troubles. Have I mentioned I hated American Badass era Undertaker? He promises to teach the Rock the word "respect", and then he'll move to Steve Austin. Chris Jericho interrupts and makes sure no one respects Undertaker more than he does. He wants Taker to remember this is a tag team match, not a handicap match, and wants to remind everyone he's the Undisputed Champion. Have I mentioned I hate "Background World Champion" booking?
Tazz and Spike Dudley are WALKING.
Mr. McMahon comes out, and the smile that was on his face on Thursday Night is no longer present. Ric Flair was supposed to do the right thing and sell his stock in World Wrestling Entertainment, "but the lying S.O.B. changed his mind." We watch the replay and again, RIC FLAIR SIGNED THE DOCUMENT IN PUBLIC. He could've marked an "X" and it would've counted the same. Vince demands the two-faced liar come out and explain himself. Flair comes out, looking prepared to throw hands. McMahon says that down deep, Flair knows he's a liar. WHAT A BOMBSHELL. Flair didn't change his mind because of the nWo hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles, it's because he's selfish. He got a taste of being as powerful as Vince McMahon and couldn't give it up. Flair says he changed his mind because of the fans. Lawler: "What?! He's a liar!" Vince has a graphic on the jumbo-screen with Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, and implies they'll arrive at NO WAY OUT. I should point out the crowd POPPED because, despite being disciples of the main heel, Hulk Hogan hasn't been seen in the WWF in nearly 10-years, and people always liked Hall and Nash.
Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Arn Anderson gossip around the water cooler about what is happening between McMahon and Flair.
NEW European Champion Diamond Dallas Page is hanging around WWF New York (soon to be known as "The World").
Jonathan Coachman is standing by with The Rock. Rock has an announcement of his own, and it doesn't concern the nWo, it concerns The Undertaker. Taker cost the Rock the chance to challenge for the Undisputed Championship, so now the Undertaker gets to go one-on-one with the Great One. Is Undertaker mad because the Rock mentioned Maven eliminating him? Maybe it's because he had Coach dance the Charleston like never before. The Rock isn't "The Undertaker's Champion", he's "The People's Champion." The Rock rambles a little bit, how he can go out and prepare for his tag match after singing a verse of his favorite song, "Viva Rock Vegas" and entertain the Millions and Millions of the Rock's fans, or he can just walk away. Rock teases leaving before taking the microphone from Coach and hitting the catchphrase. Rock is Rock, but this was a little all over the place trying to sell their match at No Way Out.
Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley makes her way to the ring, and my goodness, we've had an abundance of talking segments tonight and 2 of the 4 matches featured (so far) had non-finishes. We've also had roughly 15-minutes of bell-to-bell action in a 60 minute window (and that's before hitting the timer to start this segment). She wants her husband to join her in the ring for THE BIG SURPRISE. She had an epiphany and Jim Ross was right, their marriage is falling apart. There's one way to prove their love for each other. In one week on Raw, they will renew their wedding vows! She wanted to wait until they were in Las Vegas, where they got married in the first place (the wedding that was first teased as Hunter sexually assaulting Stephanie, until swerve, she was either in on it the entire time, or enjoyed it enough to fully support Hunter's actions). Hunter calls it a dumb idea and asks why they need to put everything about their lives in front of the world. Stephanie whines about the fans, triggering a disparaging chant. Hunter beats around the bush and declines, so Stephanie digs down deep in the bag of desperation and says they need to do it because she's pregnant. After a long pause, Hunter accepts the news with a smile on his face. This storyline is starting to make me hate life again.
Back inside, Jericho with an inside cradle for two. Austin pops out of the corner with a double-leg takedown and throws more right hands. Jericho avoids a charge into the corner and Austin smacks his shoulder on the post. Jericho with a flying double axe-handle for two. Whip to the ropes, Austin hangs back to avoid a dropkick and puts Jericho in the Walls of Jericho. Taker with the save and quickly backs away as the Rock tries to enter the ring. Taker with a lengthy chin-lock (at least as far as this era of pacing). Austin fights free with body blows (and of course the crowd chants with every blow). Whip to the ropes and we get a clothesline double-down. Rock with the hot tag, running wild on Jericho with right hands and an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Jericho's counter is countered with the spinning DDT. Rock with a spine-buster and sharpshooter, but Taker saves again. Austin clears Taker out, then Jericho does the same with Austin. Rock with a clothesline to knock Jericho over the top rope, and we've got all four men brawling at ringside. Back inside, Jericho sweeps the legs of the Rock and applies the Walls of Jericho. Austin in with the Stunner but Taker pulls the referee out before finishing the count. Rock Bottom to Jericho and still no referee. Taker pulls out a lead pipe and KO's Rock with it. Jericho crawls on top as Taker sends Hebner back in the ring to make the three-count at 13:24. Jericho with his 4th or 5th cheap victory over the Rock in the last 3-months, otherwise a solid TV Main Event. ***
Final Thoughts: Boy am I ready to move on from some of the key storylines, specifically the crumbling relationship between Triple H and Stephanie (and we're still a solid 2-months away from blowing that off!). The Vince/Flair saga continues, and I've seen them share the ring far too much since the turn of the year, not to mention the few weeks closing out 2001. No Way Out is starting to come together, and I can't say I'm terribly excited for anything announced except the curiosity factor when it comes down to the nWo making their first appearance.