Wrestling News, Analysis and Commentary

News  -/-  Recaps  -/-  Columns  -/-  Features  -/-  Reference  -/-  Archives  -/-  Interact  -/-  Site Info

Donate to Online Onslaught!
     Daily Onslaught
     Obtuse Angle
     RAW Satire
     The Broad

     Inside the Ropes
     OOld Tyme
         Rasslin' Revue
     Title Wave
Crashing the

     Smarky Awards
     Big in Japan
     Guest Columnists
     2 Out of 3 Falls
     Devil's Due
     The Ring
     The Little Things
SK Rants
The Mac Files
     Sq'd Circle Jerk
     RAW vs. SD!:
         Brand Battle
     Cheap Heat 
     Year in Review
     Monday Wars
     Road to WM 

     Title Histories
     Real Names
     PPV Results
     Smart Glossary
     Message Boards
     Live Chat 
     OO History

If you attend a live show, or have any other news for us, just send an e-mail to this address!  We'd also love to hear from you if you've got suggestions or complaints about the site...  let us have it!

WWE No Way Out
February 23, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


At the end of the night, the guys who have been busting their asses for the past eight months had done all the commendable ring work.  But it was the guys making their first PPV appearances in eight months who got all the glory.

The Rock, Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan all returned to action on tonight's No Way Out PPV, and all got huge responses from fans.  Rocky was hugely over as a heel in stealing a screwy win from Hulk Hogan in the main event; he was assisted by Vince McMahon and a crooked referee in a finish that was likely meant to play homage to the main event of the last PPV held in Montreal.  And Austin had a five-minute field day, decimating Eric Bischoff in a total squash in the semi-main event.

Supporting the glitz of the top level matches, the best work of the night came in matches such as Matt Hardy's Cruiserweight Title win over Billy Kidman, Chris Jericho's win over Jeff Hardy, and Chris Benoit/Brock Lesnar's defiance of the odds in a 2-on-3 handicap match win over Team Angle.   

Read on for full segment-by-segment details (with editorial thoughts tacked on in red italics, which you can feel free to ignore if you just want straight, unbiased results) of the just-completed WWE No Way Out pay-per-view:

  • Highlights of the live pre-PPV edition of Heat included: Chris Jericho pledging to assist Bischoff against Austin and asking to have Shawn Michaels banned from ringside during Jericho's match against Jeff Hardy...  an interview with William Regal and Lance Storm in which they put themselves over as a superior TEAM, as opposed to RVD and Kane being more singles wrestlers...  and Rey Mysterio beat Jamie Noble via pinfall in a good five minute match. 
  • The PPV opener had Chris Jericho beating Jeff Hardy.  This was good, fast-paced, and surprisingly tight.  At about the 8 minute mark, things really picked up, with Hardy and Jericho escaping the Walls of Jericho and a Swanton Bomb, respectively, by getting into the ropes.  From there, there were a ton of near falls and false finishes that did not end until Jericho took advantage of a missed Swanton to hit the Lionsault and lock in the Walls once again.  Hardy tapped out, but Jericho did not release the hold.  Shawn Michaels -- who was banned from interfering in the match itself -- came out to make the post-match save, and also had to fend off Christian when he tried to even the odds.  [An ideal choice for the opener: really good action for about 15 minutes, and it gave the live crowd a Canadian to cheer for, setting the stage for later "bizzaro world" cheer selections.  This wound up being way better than Jericho/Test would have been, and for about a dozen different reasons.]
  • Backstage: Kurt Angle pep-talked Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, telling them there was no way he wanted to lose to a walking gorilla and two canucks.  He proposed a plan to "gain an early advantage," but of course the camera conveniently cut away before he could elaborate.
  • William Regal and Lance Storm retained the World Tag Team Titles with a win over Kane and Rob Van Dam.  The match was briefly discombobulated when Regal was legit knocked woozy by a Kane slam, but eventually, they got Storm tagged in and moved on to Van Dam playing the babyface in peril for a few minutes.  The hot tag to Kane devolved into chaos, and in the mess, all four men were brawling, and Kane got his mask knocked askew by Lance Storm.  Kane was blinded when RVD was shoved into him, and he mistook him for one of his opponents.  Kane chokeslammed RVD, allowing Regal to score the pinfall at roughly the 10 minute mark.  [Good enough formulaic tag match, especially after they got on track after the KO of Regal; I really liked the creativity of the finish, as it plays into the lingering dissension between Kane and RVD in an innovative way.]
  • Backstage: Triple H and Evolution arrived by limo, and Matt Hardy briefly mocked Jeff Hardy's losing ways en route to the ring for the next match.
  • Matt Hardy defeated Billy Kidman to win the Cruiserweight Title.  Hardy really seemed "on" to me in terms of really playing up his heelishness, and by the end of the match, the crowd was into things.  The closing few minutes had Hardy exhausting his supply of moves (including the Twist of Fate), but not being able to keep Kidman down for a three count.  Kidman regained control, and was poised to deliver a Shooting Star Press, but was distracted by Shannon Moore just long enough for Hardy to join Kidman on the top rope and deliver a top-rope version of the Twist of Fate for the pinfall after 10 minutes of action.  [Absolutely nothing to complain about here.  Good action, big finish.  I'm also interested to see where they go with Tazz and Cole's speculation about Hardy possibly having difficulty STAYING under weight to maintain Cruiserweight status.]
  • Backstage: cameras rushed to find Edge knocked out in a hallway.  Brock Lesnar and Benoit were quickly on the scene, along with Stephanie McMahon and some medics.  The implication was obviously that Team Angle had something to do with this.
  • The Undertaker beat the Big Show in their grudge match.  At over 15 minutes, this was longer than I would have booked it, but it was actually quite entertaining for the most part.  The story of the match was basically that Undertaker could not use his trademark moves (like the chokeslam, powerbomb, or piledriver) on the massive Show, so he kept falling short of getting pinfall wins.  Show would then have long stretches when he was on offense, a lot of which looked impressive due to the fact that we're simply not used to seeing the Undertaker (normally considered to be a "big man" wrestler) tossed around so easily.  The ending spot saw A-Train come out for an attempted assist, but instead, he was tossed out of the ring, and then hit by an amazing no-hands plancha from Taker.  Back in the ring, Taker took a chokeslam from Show, but escaped a pinfall attempt by locking in a Triangle Choke (UFC-style) for the victory.  After the match, A-Train came into the ring and decimated Taker.  [This was surprisingly OK, and the only thing I might complain about is that the match could have been helped out even further by shaving maybe 5 minutes, trimming some of Show's more-repetitive/resthold-centric offense.  I like the idea of having Taker's moveset evolve with more MMA-style moves, but the closing segment with Show seemed kind of sloppy and awkward, and MMA/submission-style moves need to look crisp and brutally stiff.  I am trying to ignore the possibilities of A-Train vs. Taker in the name of keeping my positive outlook on this match.]
  • Backstage: Edge was put into an ambulance and will not be able to work in the six-man tag match tonight.  Steph told Lesnar and Benoit to get to the ring, cuz their match was next.  It is revealed that Steph gave them the option of choosing a new partner, but they decided to go it alone against Team Angle.
  • Chris Benoit and Brock Lesnar beat Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, and Charlie Haas, despite the 2-on-3 disadvantage.  Early psychology centered on Angle not wanting to get into the ring with Lesnar (who had his way with Benjamin and Haas), but finally some diabolical heel work resulted in Lesnar getting knocked down, and Angle finally stepped into the match to sustain the advantage.  After a few minute as a Face in Peril, Lesnar made the first hot tag to Benoit, who proceeded to hit some suplexes and gain a brief edge before entering substantial peril of his own.  At about the 10 minute mark, Lesnar was tagged back in, and was a massive House Afire, and things eventually broke down into mass confusion, with Benjamin and Heyman powdering out, Lesnar F-5'ing Kurt Angle, and Benoit locking Haas in the Crippler Crossface.  Benoit and Haas were the legal men at the time, so when Haas tapped out, that was the end of the 12 minute match.  [Exactly what you'd expect when you put these workers in the ring.  Really good stuff, even if shorter than I might have expected; honest, who books Taker/Show to go 15, and then shorts these guys?  Take five minutes from Taker/Show and give them to these guys, and you effectively improve both matches.  But still, I guess I've got no real complaints that'd hold up in a court of law, especially with the way they handled the Edge situation.  Rather than shoehorn somebody else into the match, they did it this way, and the result is that Lesnar and Benoit look even stronger at the end of the night.  Very effective.]
  • Backstage: Eric Bischoff is scheming with Chief Morley.  They are running down the list of assistants they will have for the match against Austin, and are also contemplating which stipulations they will add to the match... until Vince McMahon arrives and announces that Bischoff vs. Austin will be a straight-up one-on-one wrestling match, and any chicanery or interference will result in immediate firings.
  • Triple H pinned Scott Steiner to retain the World Title.  The crowd, which dabbled in pro-heelishness for their fellow Canadians earlier in the show, went off the deep end, here.  They rabidly booed every single thing Scott Steiner did, despite his babyface status.  I guess they haven't forgiven DUD-Zilla's Royal Rumble performance.  Things were actually lots better here tonight, with a better pace and more varied moveset from Steiner.  Instead of focusing on the gimmick that nothing HHH could do would hurt Steiner, this was more competitive, which no doubt was part of what helped things.  Still, Steiner was booked to look very strong, and seemed to have the match won when Randy Orton and Batista both decided to interfere.  They ran enough interference that referee Earl Hebner (who also got massive heel heat when he tried to restrain HHH, since fans haven't forgotten his role in the 1997 Montreal Screwjob) decided to eject all of Evolution from ringside.  However, while he was distracted by that piece of business, HHH was able to blast Steiner in the head with his world title belt.  Steiner kicked out after the belt shot, but HHH immediately followed up with a Pedigree for the win at about the 15 minute mark.  [Honestly, this was an order of magnitude better than the Royal Rumble.  Still a few instances of sloppiness, but more multi-dimensional and with the added entertainment value of seeing Steiner get booed mercilessly, instead of tentatively (like he was at the Rumble).  Other things I liked: (1) they cut about 10 minutes from the length of the Rumble match which effectively helped mask some of Steiner's limitations and resulted in a match that I would say was demonstrably tighter and which even the biggest cynic would have to admit at least sucked for a shorter amount of time... and (2) I figured they'd go super-screwy with the finish, but this was about as clean a "cheap win" as I can conceive, which I also appreciate.]
  • Steve Austin pinned Eric Bischoff after a non-stop five-minute ass-whipping.  Jim Ross, who had been selling the "concussion" from RAW and was replaced by Jonathan Coachman on commentary, joined the crew for this match and was more than a bit biased against Bischoff throughout.  Bischoff tried to beg off and settle things "like civilized men" before the match, but Austin was having non of it.  He didn't exactly dust off the Dean Malenko Big Book of 1001 Wrestling Holds, preferring to mount Bischoff for some punches here, stomp a mudhole or two in the corner there, and in general brawl like a bastard both in and out of the ring.  Bischoff's lone instance of offense -- an eyerake followed by a karate kick to the ribs -- was no sold by Austin with an evil, shit-eating grin.  Finally, Austin went for the Stunner.  But then, he assisted Bischoff in kicking out.  So he repeated the Stunner.  And then repeated the assisted-kickout.  Finally, after the third Stunner, Austin let Bischoff stay down for the three count.  After the match, Austin came back to the ring for a fourth Stunner, and then again for a curtain call to thank to massively enthusiastic crowd for their response to his return.  [I've always been a big Austin fan, and even those who had grown tired of him probably got some pleasure out of this one.  It's been a while since we've seen Austin's act, so it was kind of cool and fresh to see it play out as a 100% pure squashing of Eric Bischoff.  A good match? No.  A great segment?  Yes.]
  • The Rock pinned Hulk Hogan to keep an unblemished record against Hogan in one-on-one matches.  Rocky came out with a new, slowed down Evil Remix of his entrance theme, and did not get even a taste of cheers in his PPV return.  Hogan came out to a huge pop, but maybe not quite the one I would have expected given the way Canadians have responded to him in the past year (they were, I'm guessing, a bit spent from the Austin spectacle).  For the 12 minutes or so that this lasted, it was not necessarily a crisply wrestled match; but neither was the Rock/Hogan match at WM18, and people still loved that one.  Big boos for all of Rock's stuff (which he did with a heel zest that instantly made him a way more entertaining character than he was in his last babyface run), and big cheers for Hogan.  Predictably, Hogan kicked out after The People's Elbow and started Hulking Up.  He got so far as to land the Leg Drop o' Doom when suddenly, the lights went out.  When they came back on, the referee was KO'ed with a chair by his head, and Vince McMahon was up on the entrance ramp, feigning ignorance.  As Hogan was distracted by Vince, the "KO'ed" ref pushed the chair over to the Rock, who used it to plaster Hogan while the ref resumed his unconscious state.  Rock then hit the Rock Bottom, the ref magically awoke, and Rocky got the pinfall win.  After the match, Vince came into the ring and celebrated with both the Rock AND the referee (Sylvain Grenier, a Montreal resident who made his WWE debut as a referee on the pre-PPV edition of Heat, and who is actually a WWE developmental wrestler who was trained by the Rock's dad, Rocky Johnson), and then slapped Hogan around and posed over his prone body to end the PPV.  [You won't believe this, but I have witnesses:  when Grenier worked on Heat, I immediately sensed something amiss, since they generally don't hire referees who look big enough to be wrestlers themselves.  When this rookie ref showed up again in the PPV main event, I declared to my friends that Strange Things Were Afoot, especially after the announce teams took every chance to remind us that the last time a PPV was held in Montreal, there was a big screwjob ending.  When they finally said the guy's name, I recognized it as the name of a developmental wrestler trained by the Rock's dad, and sort of put the pieces together right there.  Still, the precise details of this Evil Ref/Screwjob Homage finish were handled creatively, and I didn't see it coming until it was a done deal.  Hogan/Rock was once again a wrestling match that would have Lou Thesz rolling over in his grave, but told a good enough story in a positively great atmosphere, and I've got no complaints.]

Between the actual wrestling in the first six matches ranging from surprisingly-acceptable to really good and the final two matches that were both massively entertaining without necessarily being predicated on workrate, I think No Way Out can stand as an unqualified success for WWE. 

There was enough here for the internet-addicted smark -- from quality work in a few early matches to the wink-wink-nudge-nudge of the Montreal Screwjob Memorial Screwjob -- and plenty for less-hardcore fans who just wanted to see Austin, Hogan, and Rock do their things.  Hell, on this night, I consider myself the former type of fan who was more than happy to let himself be entertained as one of the latter type.  And I'm not too proud to admit it.

A good, strong Thumbs Up show in it's own right, WWE No Way Out also did some nice work setting the stage for WrestleMania...  Vince/Hogan got a nice jumpstart tonight, the work between Lesnar and Angle also provided a nice tease of things to come, they sowed some seeds for intrigue in the cruiserweight division, and they even fed us what could end up being the start of RVD vs. Kane (which could be a cool way to revitalize one of those two as a heel).

More thoughts/fall-out tomorrow in OO...


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




All contents are Copyright 1995-2014 by OOWrestling.com.  All rights reserved.
This website is not affiliated with WWE or any other professional wrestling organization.  Privacy Statement.