Friday, July 18, 2014

Through the Years: No Way Out 2002

No Way Out 2002
February 17th, 2002 – Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Royal Rumble 2002 was a very good way to start the new year. I remember WrestleMania X8 being good, not great and I, of course, remember this No Way Out show for the return of the nWo. I never agreed with the decision to bring them back as it was beaten to death in WCW, so doing it again in WWE was something I wasn't interested in. Still though, we had Chris Jericho as Undisputed Champion and some guys who were very good to great in the ring, so let's see if No Way Out can be another good show in 2002.

A familiar chord strikes as the nWo comes out to a massive pop. The entrance reminds me of the semi that Hollywood Hulk Hogan would eventually use to nearly kill The Rock. Kevin Nash is so cool because he uses terms like “heat” and “marks”. Scott Hall wants to share a drink with the boys but Nash advises against it. Hogan talks like a face as they all did and they just want a chance. I know that I normally am against promos to open Pay-Per-Views but it made sense here as the nWo was what everyone wanted to see.

Tag Team Turmoil
The APA d. Billy & Chuck, Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert, Christian & Lance Storm, The Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz
 in 16:39
Scotty and Albert start against the future UnAmericans. Scotty and Storm start until Albert gets the tag and slams Storm. Christian runs in and CESARO SWING! Albert bicycle kicks Storm but Christian breaks up the count. Scotty and Christian become the legal men and Scotty hits a superkick. Albert and Storm end up outside as Scotty gets ready to release his worm. Storm interrupts, allowing for the Unprettier and the 3 in 2:56. The Hardy Boyz are out next to a big pop. Storm and Christian stop the Hardys momentum and slow things down until Matt hits Christian with the EDDIE GILBERT hot shot. The Hardys are in control from there on and win with the Swanton in 3:15

The Dudley Boyz with Stacy Dudley are next in a match we've seen hundreds of times. Poetry in Motion works once, but the Hardys go to that well one too many times and it backfires. Dudleys in control now but Matt manages to hit a second rope leg drop. Double team move from the Hardys until Stacy gets involved. Lita takes her down as the crowd pops. Bubba Bomb to Matt before Lita takes out Bubba. Matt now reverses a D-Von move into a school boy and wins it after 4:40. The Dudleys decide that ain't cool and beat up the Hardys post match. Billy, Chuck and their fantastic theme song are out next. Jeff ate a 3D outside, so Matt is alone in the ring. He fights hard but can't beat two guys and he takes a pin in 1:10. 

The last team to enter is the APA. They brawl for a bit until Billy and Chuck get the upper hand. They work over Faarooq in the corner for a while. Bradshaw eventually gets the hot tag and murders Billy with a vicious Clothesline from Hell in 4:10. I don't understand the booking here. Billy and Chuck were the team on the rise but they lose to an APA team that is past their prime. Regardless, the whole thing wasn't great. It didn't feel like it took 16 minutes which is a plus. **

Michael Cole is standing by with the Nature Boy, Ric Flair. He says that the minute the nWo gets out of line, he can see the locker room putting them in their place. The Undertaker interrupts him and is watching him, as part of the run towards their WrestleMania match.

Rob Van Dam d. Goldust in 11:08
I've always been a huge Goldust fan, and RVD was the man at this time so hopefully this is good. It's crazy to think that both of these guys are still active. No offense to Goldust, but this is a bit of a demotion for a guy who was red hot in 2001. Goldust attacks at the bell but RVD uses a kick from out of nowhere to turn the tide. Snapmare, spinning leg drop and ridiculous cartwheel back flip by RVD causes Goldust to regroup outside. Goldust pulls RVD out but ends up taking a spinning leg drop on the guardrail for his troubles. Goldust hits a bionic elbow and sends RVD back into the ring. Goldust hits Naomi's future REAR END for two. It obviously works better when you have a massive backside. Goldust puts RVD on the top, goes out to the steps and pulls back on RVD's face in a spot I've never seen before. He focuses on RVD's back and drops a knee on him. REST HOLD time! RVD creatively gets free and both guys are down. Spinning heel kick, monkey flip and flying kick from Van Dam, whose offense comes in bursts. Rolling Thunder gets him a near fall. He misses the Five Star and eats a DDT. RVD kicks out, so Goldie goes for the Curtain Call but RVD counters. Goldust misses a bulldog, take an enziguri and the Five Star Frog Splash to get the three. Solid little match. Surprised they got over ten minutes but they made it work. Nothing spectacular, but what it should've been. **3/4

Steve Austin is backstage with his “What?” shirt and he runs into the nWo. They seem to sarcastically say hello and offer him a six pack. Austin tosses the six pack and they let him walk on by. That was rude of Austin. I hear those nWo guys are super trustworthy.

Tag Team Championship
Tazz and Spike Dudley (c) d. Booker T and Test
 in 7:19 to retain the titles
Good god the tag team division was suffering. Tazz and Spike weigh a combined 398 pounds. That has to be a record. Test starts by abusing Tazz in the corner. Spike gets tagged and hits two dropkicks before countering a powerbomb from Test. Tazz punches Test into a rollup from Spike that gets, like, a seven count but the referee is distracted by Booker. Seriously. Booker and Test botch a double team move. Test and Booker now work over Spike for a while. It's basic heel tag team stuff. SPINAROONIE! Spike hits a weak looking DDT and makes the tag to Tazz. NAPOLEON RAMPAGE! It's what I've been waiting for. Tazz cleans house and Spike hits the Dudley Dog on Test. Tazz pins and gets a near fall before Test tries to get a pin with his feet on the ropes but the official catches him. He argues with the ref and gets put in the Tazzmission. Test taps out and Spike and Tazz somehow remain champions. Average match. Nothing bad, nothing too good. **

The Rock cuts a promo about how he's going to beat The Undertaker. He calls The Undertaker a dead man walking. 

Brass Knuckles on a Pole for the Intercontinental Championship
William Regal (c) d. Edge
 in 10:22 to retain the title
William Regal has a new theme, which is so much better than the one he used the last two months. Things start outside as Edge is desperate to go into WrestleMania in Toronto as Intercontinental Champion. Inside, Edge hits a suplex and goes for the pole, but Regal stops him. They trade blows in the ring until Regal throws Edge on the apron and he nearly gets to the pole. Regal stops him again and they fight into the crowd. Back in, Edge hits a missile dropkick but ends up getting thrown onto the top rope. Regal puts on an abdominal stretch that makes sense since Edge has rib injuries. Regal uses the ropes for leverage. Edge breaks free and nearly gets the brass knuckles but Regal shoves him to the outside. Regal butterfly bombs him on the outside, but he has yet to climb. He puts Edge, who is bleeding from the mouth, in the Regal Stretch. Another butterfly bomb inside and he gets a near fall. I thought they couldn't “win” until after they got the brass knuckles. On the apron, Regal tries a third bomb but Edge reverses it into a botched hurricanrana. They struggle to get up and Regal gets the knuckles but takes a belly to back suplex off the top. Regal kicks away the brass knuckles but Edge hits an Edge-o-matic and Spear. He gets the knuckles from outside, but Regal sneaks a pair out from his trunks and knocks out Edge with them. Another disappointment between two guys I truly like. Not bad, the stipulation was odd. It made sense with the storyline, but not within the match. **1/2

Lillian Garcia interviews Kurt Angle, who is confident tonight because he is a gold medalist. He earned them and didn't get them out of a box of lucky freakin' charms.

The audio during the build up video for Rock vs. Undertaker gets terribly low. 

The Rock d. The Undertaker in 17:28
The Rock sprints to the ring because this match is intense, or supposed to be at least. A fist fight starts this off and the Rock wins with a big clothesline. Man, I hate how Rocky throws his punches. Rock hits an ugly looking neckbreaker before Undertaker takes control. I feel like this could've been a big feud, but it was thrown on a rather filler PPV and quickly forgotten. Anyway, Undertaker works a plodding offense until they head outside and the announce table is open for business. Taker crotches Rock on the guardrail, then sits down and talks trash to him. The fight goes deep into the crowd as we've given up all hope of a countout finish. Back at ringside, Undertaker drops a big leg on the Rock while he lays on the apron. The Rock hasn't done anything in forever as Undertaker puts him in a bearhug. Rock fights out and hits a DDT. Undertaker stops the People's Elbow, but takes a low blow. More Taker offense as he hits a chokeslam but Rock kicks out. Undertaker throws the referee into the steel steps and goes to use a pipe but Flair shows up and stops him. Undertaker no sells and big boots Flair. Rock ducks the pipe, hits a spinebuster and tries the sharpshooter. Vince McMahon runs down and Rock levels him. Flair hits Undertaker with the pipe and the Rock is all “I'll take it” and hits the Rock Bottom. Decent brawl, but it went too long and was too one-sided for too long. Could've been better. **1/4

Mr. Perfect is at WWF New York and man, I still wish that we got Kurt Angle vs. Perfect at WrestleMania. He seems messed up and very drunk here, so maybe that's why we didn't get it. He makes fun of the customers. 

The video package for Triple H/Angle shows the whole angle where Stephanie McMahon lied about being pregnant. Then Triple H knocked her down and her nipple showed. That's not part of the PPV.

Number One Contender's Match
Kurt Angle d. Triple H
 in 14:42
Stephanie McMahon is the extremely hot referee for this contest. I never liked when a WrestleMania title shot is one the line before WrestleMania. Anyway, Stephanie announces that she dropped Hemsley from her name. I'll never understand why a heel guest referee doesn't quick count everything, pull a Montreal Screwjob or call a quick DQ. She partially shuts me up by doing quick counts on two Angle rollups. Small “she's a crack whore” chant breaks out before it turns to “take your shirt off”. If she did, this PPV would easily be a 10/10. Early on, Angle misses a clothesline on Triple H and hits Stephanie with it. She falls to the outside. Stephanie is helped to the back as HHH hits a neckbreaker. Suicidal Tim White is out as Angle hits three Germans for a near fall. Triple H goes for a clothesline but gets caught in a belly to belly suplex. Angle gets a near fall, hits another, gets a near fall and hits a third for yet another two count. Sleeper hold from Angle and HHH eventually breaks it but doesn't get on the offensive. Angle goes for ten punches in the corner but is caught with a powerbomb. They get up at the count of nine and slug it out before HHH hits a high knee. Angle runs into a spinebuster for two. Angle makes HHH chase him outside and when he gets in, nails Tim White from behind. Angle hits the Angle Slam and Stephanie returns but she's too hurt to fast count so Hunter kicks out. Ankle Lock but HHH kicks off and Angle crushes Stephanie. DDT but there's still no referee. He tries to wake Tim up, which allows Angle to hit another German. He gets a chair, HHH ducks and hits the Pedigree. Tim White slowly gets in and counts but Stephanie drops an elbow on him and kicks him in the balls. HHH goes for the Pedigree on Stephanie but Angle takes him out with the chair and, after an Angle Slam, wins. Not as good as Royal Rumble 2001, but still solid work. Also, none of this mattered as HHH still went to the title match at Mania. **3/4

The nWo run into the Rock now and Hogan asks for a picture with him because Rock is Nick Hogan's favorite wrestler. He says something under his breath and The Rock goes off on the three of them. This is must see because Rock is hilarious in it. One of his comedic moments that stands the test of time. 

Undisputed Championship
Chris Jericho (c) d. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
 in 21:35 to retain the title
Austin and Jericho goes face to face at the bell and Jericho gives him the finger. Austin replies with one of his own and they lock up. Right hand by Jericho only gets a smile from Austin. Austin lights up Jericho's chest with chops. He rams Jericho's head into the corner, earning a “What?” from the fans each time. More chops as Austin is taking Jericho around the ring with them. Now chops from Jericho before failing on a top rope move. Austin clotheslines the Champion outside and continues to pound away out there. Things go up the the aisle as Austin throws Jericho into the truck a few times. Back in the ring Austin hits three second rope suplexes for a near fall. Austin is literally beating Jericho from pillar to post. Out of desperation, Jericho shoves Earl Hebner and hits a low blow. I've seen about a hundred chops in this match as Jericho fires away with some on Austin. He goes for the Walls of Jericho but Austin blocks it. Austin rallies back and we see the EDDIE GILBERT hot shot. Seriously, I never noticed how often that spot was used. Jericho side steps Austin and sends him outside. They brawl outside for a bit and Jericho misses the Lionsault inside. He puts Austin in a sleeper because it must REST HOLD TIME! Austin busts out and spinebusters Jericho before hitting a powerslam for two. Jericho reverses a whip and barely connects with the Lionsault so he does it again. He gets the Walls locked on but we all know that face Austin doesn't tap. Just ask Bret Hart. Jericho grabs the belt and accidentally hits the ref. Austin hits another spinebuster, this one on the belt but Austin kicks out. Jericho then counters the Stunner into the Breakdown on the belt but Austin kicks out now. The ref goes down from a clothesline and Austin makes Jericho tap to the Walls. He follows with a Stunner but out comes the nWo. Austin beats them down until the numbers game becomes too much. Jericho covers after the beatdown and retains. A pretty damn good match that gets its score bogged down due to it being yet another dirty finish. ***1/4

I don't understand why the nWo didn't attack Jericho too if they were here to “inject poison and kill the WWF”. Taking out the Champion would be kinda vital. Anyway, the nWo beat on Austin more and spray paint him.

Overall: 5/10; Mediocre. The definition of a filler show. It was clear that this was just to establish the nWo and kill time between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. A show with nothing under two stars and only one over three. Passable show with nothing being a necessary watch.

NXT/Superstars Report

NXT opened with a tag team match. The main problem that NXT has suffered from is a lackluster tag team division. The divas on NXT get more shine than the ones on the main roster and there are singles stars, but the tag division has been The Ascension and nothing more. However, both the Vaudevillains and Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady have shown some potential. Not only that, but the Legionnaires interrupted to distract Big Cass and allow the Vaudevillains to win. Solid little match and tag team wrestling is heating up in NXT.

CJ Parker met Xavier Woods in the next match and one of my tweets appeared at the bottom of the screen for the third straight week. Giving myself a pat on the back here. The match was decent as I'm not a big fan of Parker's ring work, but he makes his character work which is important. Not much of note here but CJ Parker won.

Divas on NXT are easily one of highlights. Next week, it's announced that Summer Rae gets her Women's Championship match against Charlotte in the explosion of the BFFs. The seemingly forgotten BFF, Sasha Banks, was in action against the upstart Alexa Bliss. A few weeks ago, Bliss beat Banks and shortly before that, she upset former Divas Champion Alicia Fox during the Women's Title Tournament. Alexa blows glitter in her entrance the same way that Stardust blows stars. Sasha, is in my opinion, the best worker of the BFF group and she won here with her sick new submission move. Seriously good stuff.

Tyler Breeze was interviewed in awesome fashion backstage. He says that he hasn't rushed to his title shot because he injured his finger during a devastating hand modeling incident. Just great writing right there. They aired his music video once more and it's still pretty fantastic. Adam Rose defeated Jason Jordan in a return to NXT. They say that Jordan's partner, Tye Dillinger, who you may or may not remember as Gavin Spears from ECW in 2009, is injured. Adam Rose still hasn't done much to impress me in-ring wise, but I do think the character works. Added bonus, Jojo from Total Divas Season 1 was a rosebud and it's always fun spotting rosebuds you recognize. 

Devin Taylor interviews Kalisto when he's interrupted by the Vaudevillains. They arrive to their theme and stay silent while Kalisto speaks. Funny stuff. He says he will get a partner to face them next week. Main event time as Sami Zayn went one on one with Tyson Kidd. I always knew this would be a great match and it was. Tyson Kidd does still struggle in his promos, but he's doing some fine work down in NXT. This is probably the happiest he's been in a long time. Meanwhile, I don't think Sami Zayn can have a bad match. He once again stole the show tonight and should have an extremely bright future. He would win a hard fought match in about 11 minutes with the Koji Clutch. Great main event.

After last week's episode not being great, NXT returned to form with a really good episode. The only way to follow up NXT for me, is to enjoy some of the endlessly adorable Renee Young on commentary during Superstars. The show opened with a match between two Total Divas, Naomi and Rosa Mendes. The WWE is going to give Mendes TV time heading into the new season of Total Divas, so prepare for some bad matches. This one wasn't terrible though and the right girl won as Naomi got some momentum before her match with Cameron on the Battleground kick off.

Because it's Superstars, it was filled with a lot of Raw and Main Event recaps to fill out the hour, since there are only two matches on Superstars. In the main event, Ryback and R-Truth went at it. Man, look at how far Ryback has fallen. At least he's gone on record saying that he's very happy with Curtis Axel and they're making the best of it by becoming an entertaining tag team. Another solid little match that Ryback won. Superstars was decent as I'd expect. There are no photos that I could really find for this match, so I leave you with some Sting because I'm about to pre-order WWE 2K15.

That's all for now folks. Follow me on Twitter @the_kevstaaa