Taped on February 5th from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. Michael Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Dark matches for the night included Ron Waterman defeating Rico Constantino, and Val Venis taking a match over the blue chipper Randy Orton. Coming out of Monday Night Raw, we've got a triple header of matches to build No Way Out around: Jericho vs Austin for the Undisputed Title, Triple H vs Angle with the Mania Title Match on the line, and Rock vs Undertaker because they needed something to do. As unenthusiastic I am about that lineup, it means the machine is attempting to make people care about the PPV. Also, the nWo will be LIVE in Milwaukee to inject the WWF with a lethal dose of poison!
The Rock is out first, dressed to compete. Please tell me this isn't going where I think it's going. We recap Monday Night on Raw when Undertaker cost Rock the match by smashing him over the head with a lead pipe. Rock wants to reciprocate what Undertaker said about "beating respect into him" and says that Undertaker's match with Maven is going to wait... then he's interrupted by Booker T. Yup. They ARE going there. Booker says there's nothing worse than a "sucka with a big ego" like the Rock has. Booker says he's the one who beat Triple H last week and he'll be the one that makes an example of the Rock. Rock says he can dig it. If Booker wants to be in the movies so badly, they can make a movie right now and it'll be called "The Rock whooping your candy-a$$ all over LA."
Earlier today, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley met with "Dr. Richards" to discuss the news on Stephanie's pregnancy. Dr. Richards produces the results of the ultrasound ("it's a picture of the baby!"). I so desperately want to hit fast forward, but I'm suffering for the sake of making sure I don't miss anything. Stephanie reminds the viewers that they'll be renewing their vows on Monday. "That's smashing."
Kurt Angle comes to the ring with a baby stroller. I can only take one guess who pitched the idea for this storyline. Angle seems sure of himself about going to WrestleMania (and presumably challenging for the Undisputed Championship). Angle says he deserves the title shot because Triple H cheated, and Mr. McMahon agreed with him. He says beating Triple H is a "gimme". Unfortunately, his announcement is overshadowed by the announcement of Stephanie having a baby. "I've never felt sorry for a baby before, not until Monday Night." He says Stephanie will be a great mom, but imagine Triple H being your father. "Even as a fetus, the kid is smarter than his dad." Angle says Triple H isn't a man, he's "something else… literally" because of his drooping brow and knuckle-dragging. Angle says he knows what the baby will look like and whips out a stuffed Gorilla with a fake nose. Wait... please tell me that isn't official merchandise, because it has a Triple H shirt stitched on! Angle has a gift for the baby: bananas. How did THIS not get pulled? Maybe not for being offensive, but for being beyond stupid. Triple H has enough of the nonsense and comes to the ring. He must mean business, because he doesn't come down to entrance music. He nails Angle with a right hand and slams the stroller on him.
Chris Jericho comes out for our next "heel needs to talk down the babyface" segment. We just sat through the painful segment with Angle, so I apologize if I'm not wetting my pants with excitement for this one. You'd think after last Monday when he beat the Rock for the SIXTH TIME, he would begin to get the recognition and respect he deserves, BUT NO, anywhere he goes, it's all about Steve Austin whooping his a$$ at No Way Out. Jericho says to hell with that and calls Steve Austin out to the ring.. and it's Will Sasso from MadTV doing the Austin impression. WOW. TWO UNFUNNY HEEL TALKS FOREVER SEGMENTS SEPARATED BY 8-MINUTES. THANK YOU, WWE! THANK YOU! The real Stone Cold comes out, sending Jericho running, then does a bit with Sasso before laying him out with a Stunner. I'm supposed to spend $30 for a PPV based on this dreck?
Al Snow hypes up Maven for his upcoming match with The Undertaker.
Ric Flair comes across Chris Jericho in the halls and tells him as a possible prelude to WrestleMania, it'll be Chris Jericho vs. Triple H tonight in a Non-Title Match.
Jerry Lawler is in the ring to MC the posedown between Billy & Chuck and Stacy Keibler & Torrie Wilson. We get 10-minutes to hammer home the point that in 2002 WWE, vague male homosexual behavior is something we should be disgusted about and/or dislike, while it's perfectly fine for two women to be sexy together under the same circumstances. Torrie and Stacy "win", then Stacy gets butt-hurt that Torrie is getting more attention. Add "women acting catty or bitchy over shared spotlight" to the list of dumb crap this segment taught me.
Mr. McMahon is on the phone when Triple H appears in his office. Hunter tells Vince that he blew out his quad to put money in Vince's pockets. When that happened, Vince told him he was a tired race horse being sent to the glue factory. He's put himself through the pain of rehabbing for the sake of coming back early and guaranteeing his shot to headline WrestleMania. He earned that shot by beating 29 men at the Royal Rumble, and then Vince decided he can take that away from him for the sake of "that little a$$ kisser, Kurt Angle." I should note "a$$" has been bleeped all night long except for this segment. With that out of the way, Hunter says that Stephanie asked him to speak to Vince about walking Stephanie down the aisle for the renewal of their vows on Raw. Vince says "he'll think about it", so Hunter tells him he'll never be near his grandchild. McMahon retorts by changing tonight's Main Event to Triple H taking on Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle in a handicap match.
Jonathan Coachman catches up with the Rock backstage, asking if they're even. Rock says no, Taker cost him his shot at the WWF Championship. Undertaker attacks from behind and chokeslams Rock onto the hood of a limo. Taker adds insult to injury, giving Rock a tombstone on the roof. "WHAT A SICK, SICK HUMANBEING!" Michael Cole is still over the top with selling some of this.
"Feel So Numb" by Rob Zombie is the official theme song of No Way Out.
Final Thoughts: Babyface Triple H is already reaching the point of being a tired act, and he's only been back for six weeks! This storyline with his strained relationship with Stephanie would be fine if either could perform well in their role, but Hunter is a bland babyface and Stephanie doesn't hit a stride as a heel until a solid decade later, so we're forced to watch shows built around two people doing a complicated "one's a heel, one's a face" storyline that involves a non-wrestler and neither is knocking it out of the infield, let alone the ballpark. The rest of the show is the same tired mess that Raw was on Monday. I'll give Undertaker and Rock a little credit for trying to take their rivalry more seriously than the comedy filled nonsense to hype Angle/Hunter and Jericho/Austin at No Way Out, but it's still not a match I've had in my list of must-see rivalries.
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