A simple question. How do you close come to ruining a perfectly good pay-per-view main event? A simple answer. Have a 7’2″ tall, 500-pound uncoordinated ox carry out a pointless run-in. Such was the case at the WWF’s No Way Out pay-per-view airing from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Challenger, The Rock, and WWF World Heavyweight Champion, Kurt Angle, were wrestling a dynamic match when from out of nowhere The Big Show stuck his nose in. It was bad enough that The Rock and Angle had to follow a ferocious, bloody contest between Triple H and Steve Austin. To have The Big Show put a noticeable pause in their momentum almost sabotaged what The Rock and Angle had put together. To make matters worse, the conclusion of the match came off as very awkward too.
At approximately seven minutes into the main event, The Big Show (with his entrance music announcing his arrival to everyone involved) choke slammed Angle, The Rock and the official. As mysteriously as he came in, The Big Show left. No explanation was offered by the announce team as to why Big Show decided to do what he did. Angle covered The Rock but there was no referee to slap the count. He was being carried out by two of his colleagues. When one of the officials remembered that there was a WWF World Title match going on, he clambered into the ring to assume control.
The Rock, who surprisingly didn’t make one reference to himself during his short pre-match promo (Whew!), cracked Angle upside the head with the title belt. Angle kicked out. What followed next was The Rock and Angle escaping each other’s finishing moves. Angle popped out of the People’s Elbow and was able to make his way to a corner so he could remove the turnbuckle pad exposing the steel bolt underneath. Angle hit his Olympic Slam. The Rock powered out of that. Angle was thrown into the bolt and The People’s Champ caught him with a Rock Bottom. Though viewers couldn’t see because of the positioning of the camera, Angle was said to have lifted his shoulder off the mat before the three count was laid down. The referee appeared to have made a judgment call in order to save the finish of the match turning what should have been a three count into a two count. So, The Rock gave Angle another Rock Bottom taking the WWF World Heavyweight Title from Kurt Angle.
Commentator and WWF Vice-President Jim Ross confirmed that The Rock would be going to WrestleMania to face “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as many insiders and fans had speculated would happen. What could cast some doubt over J.R.’s statement are The Big Show’s run-in, which could possibly indicate that he feels he should be in the WrestleMania main event and not Austin, and the fact that Austin lost his No Way Out bout with Triple H earlier in the broadcast. Could we be seeing a four way match or a mini WWF World Heavyweight Title tournament at WrestleMania? It’s too early to say. WrestleMania is still more than a month away and anything can happen between now and then.
Austin and Triple H’s Two-Out-Of-Three-Falls event on the show can only be described as extraordinarily cruel. Both competitors didn’t fare too well in the “ungimmicked”, first fall portion of the match, however, they sure did go all out after that. Triple H and Austin flubbed many of their moves leading up to the first fall. In the final sequence, Triple H climbed up to the top rope looking to deliver an axe-handle or some such move. With Stone Cold standing mid-way in the ring, there was no way Triple H could’ve leapt that far. Triple H landed on his feet, received a kick to the gut and a Stunner. Austin collected the first fall at 12 minutes and 22 seconds.
From this point on, things got real ugly. Austin suplexed Triple H not once but twice on the steel rampway. Breaking a television monitor over The Game’s head, Austin threw three or four steel chairs into the ring. As Triple H lay prone on the canvas, Stone Cold beat him over and over again with a steel chair. Swiping it from underneath the announce table (What? Are J.R. and Lawler the keepers of the plunder now?) Austin brought a 2×4 wrapped with barbed-wire into the ring and used it on Triple H’s head.
In a unkind spot, Triple H was backdropped from J.R. and Lawler’s table through the one used by the Spanish announce team. Like Austin, Triple H pulled out a sledgehammer out from it’s hiding place behind Lawler and J.R.’s desk. That announce team is sure hardcore. Back in the ring, Austin failed at a Stunner and Triple H dropped him with a sledgehammer to the head and a Pedigree winning the second fall at 28 minutes and 11 seconds.
Down comes the steel cage for the third and final fall. Austin and Triple H used the barbed-wire 2×4 and the steel cage on each other. Stone Cold kicked out of the Pedigree. Triple H escaped the Stunner. Austin, holding the 2×4, and Triple H, holding the sledgehammer, swung and connected with each other simultaneously. Triple H fell on top of Austin to score the third fall. Austin then Stunned Triple H from behind.
- The next WWF pay-per-view is WrestleMania on April 1st.
WWF No Way Out Results
Raven (champion) versus The Big Show (challenger) (WWF Hardcore Title Match)
- As Big Show lumbered through the curtain, the silent but deadly Ninja woman attempted to whack him with a 2×4. Crash Holly, dressed as a popcorn vendor jumped in as did Steve Blackman, Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn. Since when did Billy Gunn become “hardcore”? Doesn’t he still have a beef with RTC? The Ninja was caught off by Molly Holly. Gunn Fame-Assers Raven to win the belt at 3:22. Raven pins Gunn at 4:12 to take the belt back. The Big Show choke slams Raven at 5:04 to win the title. Before leaving, Big Show choke slammed everyone. A confounding debacle.
- Winner: …and new WWF Hardcore Champion…The Big Show at 5 minutes and 4 seconds.
- Match Rating: 3 / 10.
X-Pac (challenger) versus Chris Jericho (champion) versus Eddie Guerrero (challenger) versus Chris Benoit (challenger) (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)
- This bout will probably be forgotten in the post No Way Out hype though it was a darn skillful and well wrestled bout. Lots of cool little spots throughout to marvel at. Justin Credible did a run-in for X-Pac at 6:55 to lay a double team on Chris Benoit. Benoit was pushed as a face by the announce team so it may just be a matter of time before the Radicals are split up. Benoit and Guerrero turned on each other many times. Jericho does a neat roll-up in the confusion to retain the title.
- Winner: …and still WWF Intercontinental Champion…Chris Jericho at 12 minutes and 16 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- Vince McMahon and Stephen Regal chat. McMahon blames the forthcoming Stephanie and Trish match on him. McMahon tells Regal…”You’ll know what to do when the time comes.” Regal has no bloody idea what McMahon means.
- Test is hanging out at WWF New York and enlightens us with his scintillating remarks about the Stephanie – Trish feud. Test? Nash? Who can tell the difference?
- A Raw Is War commercial airs (in case you didn’t know when it was on) as well as one for the new WWF CD (in case you didn’t know it was on sale).
Trish Stratus versus Stephanie McMahon
- Sure, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Still, these two have no business being in the wrestling ring. I dread the day a non-wrestler gets seriously hurt in one of these throwaway, time-waster bouts. Trish gets her shorts pulled down (she’s wearing a g-string) and spanked by Steph. Regal appears at 7:27 to plug the ref. He places Trish over Steph. Changing his mind he places Steph’s leg over the rope so the pinfall is halted. Regal punks the ref again and has it out with Trish. Trish slaps him. Regal takes her down with a clothesline move and puts Steph on top of Trish for the pin.
- Winner: Stephanie McMahon at 8 minutes and 31 seconds.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
Vince McMahon is upset with Regal’s decision backstage. It will be Vince and Trish against Regal and Steph on Raw. Great. That’ll be a barnburner to be sure. You just know that Linda is bound to show up. Whoopie.
Steve Austin versus Triple H (Two Out Of Three Falls Match)
- Winner: Triple H at 39 minutes and 28 seconds.
- Match Rating: 9 / 10.
Jerry Lawler versus Steven Richards
- Way bad and cheesy to boot. No nudity either. Lawler is wearing his leopard skin outfit. Ouch! The Cat mistakenly hits Lawler with the WWF Women’s Title knocking him out. Richards pins him. Right To Censor puts The Cat in a bag and carries her off.
- Winner: Steven Richards at 5 minutes and 32 seconds.
- Match Rating: 3 / 10.
The Undertaker, Kane (challengers) versus The Dudley Boys (champions) versus Edge, Christian (challengers) (WWF Tag Team Title, Tables Match)
- Meng and Rikishi attack Taker and Kane at 10:46 to take them out of the match. The Dudleys 3-D Christian through a table to keep their straps.
- Winners: …and still WWF World Tag Team Champions…The Dudley Boys at 12 minutes and 8 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
The Rock (challenger) versus Kurt Angle (champion) (WWF World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Winner: …and new WWF World Heavyweight Champion…The Rock at 16 minutes and 55 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
- Total Event Time: 2 hours and 41 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 8 / 10.