No Way Out 2002: If An Invasion Happens And No One Cares, Does It Matter?

No Way Out 2002
Date: February 17, 2002
Location: Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 15,291
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This show is important for one reason: the NWO. Flair had bought half of the company and Vince hated it so he decided to poison his own company by way of the NWO. Tonight is their debut but no one is really sure where they’re going to do it at. The main event is Austin vs. Jericho for the title. Other than that we have Rock vs. Taker and Angle vs. HHH with Stephanie as referee with the winner getting the shot at Mania. Other than that (which is a lot already) there isn’t much. Let’s get to it.

Surprisingly enough we open with the NWO. I wouldn’t have bet on them starting the show but this works. At least they’re not making us wait. The set has the big semi-truck look to it which would become a part of the Rock vs. Hogan feud in one of the dumbest segments I can ever remember. We’ll get to that someday.

In this case the NWO is just the three original members. Hall of course looks like a freaking idiot as he tends to do. Nash opens us up and says they have a ton of heat with the boys. Naturally we use some slightly insider terms with these guys. We get the innocent act from them as they say there’s nothing wrong with them and they’re here to make it better. This of course takes about 5 minutes to get through.

Hey Yo gets a big old reaction. Hall throws out the term marks to continue shoving the whole we’re insiders thing down our throats. Hogan goes last and says the same thing for the most part. He’s kind of half booed and cheered, allegedly being choked up. They thank Vince, who even when he brought them in called them poison. It’s rather amusing given how he and Vince are today. The whole opening segment took ten minutes which is rather surprising to me.

And now, nearly 15 minutes into the show we start the wrestling.

Tag Team Turmoil

The idea here is you have six total teams. Two randomly selected teams start us off and have a match. The winners stay alive and face the next randomly selected team. Last team standing wins and gets a tag title shot at Mania. The match wound up being a fatal fourway with three of these teams so it’s not like it mattered anyway. Scotty 2 Hotty/Albert vs. Christian/Lance Storm start us off with Storm and Scotty starting us off.

We go REALLY old school to get a giant swing from Albert. The faces take over here on the Unamericans. Scotty goes to the floor as no one has a counter for Albert. Christian, somehow the only one of these that means anything anymore, takes the Worm. Ok no he doesn’t as Storm tries to kick him in the face. The distraction results in an Unprettier (Killswitch to you modern fans) to end him.

Hardys are next. It’s kind of a mess here as we have a bunch of matches all in a row which is a fun idea but at the same time it’s a bit hard to keep track of the whole thing or review it either. The announcers argue the NWO issue which at least makes sense here as this match isn’t ending for another four falls. I usually hate that but Ross and Lawler tend to be much better about staying on topic.

Pretty much a mess of a match here that isn’t bad or anything. After about four minutes the standard double move from the Hardys take out the Canadians. Nothing great here but I’ve seen worse as usual.

Enter the Dudleys and the GORGEOUS Stacy. Her in the camo shorts and tied off top was absolutely stunning. Jeff and Bubba start the usual good match between these two teams as Bubba locks in an ankle lock of all things on Jeff. Edge and Christian were almost done as a big time team at this point so they were waiting on various teams such as Billy and Chuck to take over etc.

The Hardys try a combination legsweep/side effect which works ok at best. Twist of Fate attempt on Bubba but Stacy comes in, only to get speared down by Lita. I’ll give Lita this: she threw PUNCHES instead of those weak spanks or hair pulls you see more often than not. SWEET Litacanrana to Bubba. Huge dive over the top by Jeff as we crank it WAY up. Matt rolls up D-Von to end this way too early. I’d love to see these guys go at it some more, which is why this era was awesome for tag wrestling.

3D to Jeff on the floor as Billy and Chuck come out. This is about 4 months before the wedding which was one of the best shocks I’ve ever seen. Matt has to fight on his own and gets taken down by a superkick that almost connected and a Fameasser ends him.

The APA is the last team and I think I know who wins here. The boys in red beat up the APA for awhile before pure power takes over. How weird is it to think that Bradshaw was about two years away from a huge world title reign? This slows WAY down as we go from Hardys vs. Dudleys to this. Billy and Chuck didn’t really know what they were doing yet despite being long time tag wrestlers.

Fameasser is caught in a SICK spinebuster from Farooq. I love that move. Semi-hot tag to Bradshaw who cleans a few rooms. HUGE clothesline to Billy ends him to give the APA the win. Billy and Chuck would get the belts by Mania and it would be these two plus the previous two teams in one big mess of a match that wound up sucking to the shock of no one.

Rating: C+. Kind of a mess but not bad. The issues with these matches tended to be having too many quick falls, but here they protected that with the 3D on the floor which makes the double pin make sense. That’s a nice perk on it and the match worked pretty well. Having a 15 minute match helps this too as it’s usually like 9 minutes, which is far too short. This was fine though and kind of fun to watch.

Ad for Mania, which of course they make seem like a religious experience. Mania 17 got close I guess. We even get a Savage clip in there.

Ric Flair is here with the blonde highlighted Cole who you want to punch even harder than you do today. Taker shows up to whine at Flair. They would have a bad Mania match out of this.

Rob Van Dam vs. Goldust

No title or anything here, even though RVD was on the poster. Goldie had a crush on RVD or something. His finishing move is a neckbreaker so you can tell how much of a chance he has here. We get a thinly veiled reference to Dusty as they point out how weird it is to have Goldust be Dusty’s son. BIG reaction for RVD as we’re close to his hometown to a degree. Goldie jumps him during his spinning intro and it’s on early.

It’s kind of weird seeing Goldust as a heel but you’re getting it here. Van Dam gets on a small roll so the Oscar based guy runs away. He tries to leave in true heel fashion but comes back so Lawler can make movie jokes. We get American Pie references and JR won’t say if he saw it or not. Spinning leg to the back of Goldust when he’s on the railing. A flying elbow off the apron misses Van Dam but who cares I guess?

Flying back to the face gets two. In kind of a cool move Van Dam is on the top and gets punched. Goldust then pulls him back so that Van Dam’s back is driven into the top of the post and then pulled down on. Painful looking move at least. This is a rather boring match as for some reason they’re giving RVD a match here for nothing other than to build him up, but of all people they feed Goldust to him? Is this really the best idea?

A chinlock is applied to further deinterest this match. Lawler makes more and more dump jokes here to fill in time. RVD hammers the mat which isn’t tapping for reasons of it not being the finish I guess. If you can’t tell this is rather boring. Backslide gets two for RVD. Jumping kick to the face gets two for RVD as you can feel the ending coming soon. Rolling Thunder gets two.

Five Star misses and RVD takes a DDT. Goldust does an interpretive dance to signal the neckbreaker….which is now the reverse suplex into the slam which has been his more well known finisher by the same name (Curtain Call). Stepover spinwheel kick sets up the Five Star to end this boring match.

Rating: D. This got 12 minutes on a PPV? Did RVD smoke a bit with the writers beforehand? This wasn’t anything more than a long Raw match would be and for some reason it was the second match on a PPV. Just a total WTF here as there was no apparent reason for this but they gave it time anyway. RVD gets wasted here despite having the spot on the poster. Pointless match.

Ad for the British PPV Rebellion, which I think we’ve done but if not I might do a marathon to get through them.

Austin runs into the NWO, having one of his few on screen appearances with Hogan ever. They all talk about how great Austin is and have a present for him, a six pack of beer, which Austin throws away. It’s kind of weird for some reason seeing the other three guys being taller than he is for some reason. As pointless as this seemed to be, seeing Austin and Hogan on screen is to say the least special.

Tag Titles: Booker T/Test vs. Spike Dudley/Tazz

The big guys are the challengers here. There are only one set of belts at this point so for some reason they decided that these two are the best choice for the titles. That’s just bizarre but whatever. Their combined weight is 398lbs. That’s just amusing. Test and Tazz fight as do the others. Test and Booker were champions back in the Alliance days I believe. Spike comes in with a missile dropkick off the top to take care of Test.

We get kind of a Hart Attack from the challengers but with a side kick instead. Tazz of course stands there and watches it happen instead of making a save or even attempting a save. Why save your tiny partner I guess? Spike as usual takes a beating which is what he is made for it seems. Axe Kick kills him pretty much and we get a spinarooni.

VERY weak hot tag to Taz who puts Booker on the floor. Test goes for a cover but yells at the referee when it’s two and walks into the Tazmission for the tap out. For the life of me I don’t get the point in putting the titles on these guys and then keeping them with these two for so long. A more traditional team would win them soon afterwards with Billy and Chuck.

Rating: D+. Pretty weak Raw level match here that didn’t have much at all going for it. Again Taz and Spike were nice for awhile but in matches like this it was just stupid. I mean really, beating Booker and Test clean? Would anyone buy that at all? I certainly didn’t and thankfully they would lose the belts soon after this.

Rock rants about Taker tombstoning him on a limo a few weeks back. It turns into a rant about respect with Rock in fine form. Oddly enough Coach can almost look him in the eye.

Mania is in four weeks.

Intercontinental Title: Edge vs. William Regal

This is brass knuckles on a pole. Edge was on the verge of one of the hottest streaks I can remember in a long time. Allegedly he was going to jump to Raw at Survivor Series and win the first Elimination Chamber but Shawn and HHH decided they were the right choices to steal the show there. He would have won it in 2003 but he hurt his neck and never really has been the same.

They fight in the aisle to start as Edge goes for the pole early. Before you make your Russo jokes, he actually did come back around this time as an advisor. Second rope dropkick by Edge to take Regal down again. Regal takes over with some cheating as the fans chant USA. Fortunately for my sanity we shift to REGAL SUCKS. Butterfly powerbomb on the floor and Edge is in big trouble.

Regal Stretch goes on and Edge is bleeding from the nose. Another powerbomb in the ring and it’s all Regal at this point. Edge gets a small break but both men hit the floor. Kind of a slow match so far as neither can really get a continued advantage but it’s not horrible. Regal goes for the knuckles but Edge pulls him down in a belly to back suplex. Regal pulled them down with him though and the Canadian gets them. Regal has his OWN knucks though and he pops Edge with them to end it.

Rating: D+. It’s ok I guess but this just kind of dragged for awhile. Regal would drop the belt to RVD at Mania so it’s not like this was part of a long title reign for him. Edge losing is a bit stupid given how hot he was but if they wanted to go with RVD then that’s understandable. Regal never really clicked as a major threat but this was fine for what it was, which isn’t much I guess.

Don’t Try This At Home.

Lillian suggests Angle has Stephanie in his corner which he denies. He also says he didn’t get his medals out of a box of Lucky Charms. The WHAT chants are really annoying here.

We recap Rock vs. Taker which started when Rock made fun of him for being eliminated by Maven in the Rumble. Taker said Rock didn’t respect him which was his big thing at this point. Rock cost him the Hardcore Title to Maven on Smackdown, so Taker gave him a Tombstone on a limo.

The Undertaker vs. The Rock

Rock sprints to the ring and we’re on fast. Taker wins a slugout and takes over. I’m not sure if these two have ever had a truly good match but maybe they’ll surprise me here. We hit the chinlock very early which is kind of surprising. We are LIVE which is a box that pops up for no apparent reason. Big boot misses and Rock takes over.

This is really rather boring so far. We hit the floor for the standard brawling and Rock gets crotched on the railing. They head to the back kind of, fighting through an exit door of some kind. I’m not sure why but I just cannot get into this match. It’s not working for me at all as they’re going very slowly with almost nothing but punches and strikes. Just as I say that we hit a bearhug by Taker.

I’ve never liked the spot where on the third drop the face’s arm drops and then snaps back up. It fell, meaning that should be a submission. Rock comes back with, of course, punches. A DDT and spinebuster set up the elbow attempt which is the only overly long spot that I actually like. It doesn’t hit but Rock low blows Taker to keep the advantage. Ah there’s the chokeslam.

That only gets two so Taker goes and sits on his motorcycle. And there goes the referee, allowing Taker to pull out the pipe he hit Rock with a few weeks ago. Flair comes out for the save which ticks Taker off, prompting him to just kick Flair in the face, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite moves/responses in wrestling.

Sharpshooter goes on and here’s Vince for no apparent reason other than Flair hates Taker so Vince likes him I guess. Rock goes after him, allowing Taker to set for the Tombstone. Flair hits him in the head with the pipe which doesn’t put him down, but the Rock Bottom does. Well that makes sense, as well as ends the match.

Rating: D. I know that’s low but this just wasn’t very good. With 85% or so being punches and the WAY overbooked ending, this just never got going at all. It’s kind of a mess, feeling like it had a long, as in over ten minutes, worth of setup before we got to the meat of the match. The problem is the meat of the match wasn’t working at all either, making the whole thing just not very good at all.

Perfect is at WWF New York, where he appears a bit intoxicated. Ring rat jokes follow.

We recap Angle vs. HHH which never really got a big blowoff in 2000. HHH threw Angle out to end the Rumble so Angle complained about it. What exactly does it mean to go Olympic on someone? Stephanie and HHH were “divorcing” at the time, but Stephanie said she was pregnant. Since this is wrestling though, it was a fake. They were going to renew their wedding vows but HHH found out earlier. Wasn’t this supposed to be about Angle too? Stephanie is referee tonight.

Kurt Angle vs. HHH

Ok so at least we get Stephanie in a leather halter top for a referee shirt and TINY leather shorts. Yep she’s gorgeous. Angle gets a LOUD You Suck chant. Allegedly Stephanie and Angle are sleeping together. Stephanie keeps trying to get quick counts on HHH and the fans think she’s a crack whore. This is for the shot at Mania if I didn’t mention that. We hear about how HHH has no chance, but if you believe he’s not going to Mania you’re an idiot.

Belly to back suplex to HHH but since he didn’t spin slightly it’s not an Angle Slam. Angle goes for a big clothesline but takes Stephanie’s head off instead, sending her to the floor. Tim White comes down, making Stephanie more or less pointless. Granted seeing her in clothes liked that made the match already. Couple of sweet belly to belly suplexes with Angle in control.

We get a sleeper and the fans chant boring which I can’t say I disagree with. Angle gets a little pissed off which makes him a bit more awesome. Ten punches in the corner but HHH counters with a powerbomb of all things. We hit the floor with Angle running away. And then Angle just hits the referee from behind and even with HHH in front of him, that’s not a DQ. Low blow puts HHH down again and there’s the Angle Slam. Stephanie bounces back to ringside and gets two.

Ankle lock is kicked off and down goes Stephanie again. DDT hits Angle but there’s no referee. Does everything have to be overbooked tonight? Angle goes for a chair shot but HHH gets a nice Pedigree. Referee comes back but Stephanie drops an elbow on him and kicks him low. End this please. Two chair shots and an Angle Slam….sends Angle to Mania??? Ah apparently there was a rematch the next night with Stephanie barred from ringside where HHH won, making this rather pointless but whatever.

Rating: D+. It’s better than the last match but not by much. This wasn’t really very good as the overbooking completely took me out of things. It’s not a horrible match but the whole Stephanie aspect just hurt it a lot. Angle and HHH never really clicked as main event guys in their matches against each other and this was no exception. Just not a very good match, but more due to the booking than the people involved.

Angle speeds away for no apparent reason.

Same Mania ad as earlier.

The NWO comes in to be all nice to the Rock and Hogan asks for a picture for his son. Rock of course out talks all of them and cuts one of his promos about Diesel and Ramon. You can’t say he’s not confident here. The Rock vs. Hogan moment was I think the next night.

No real story to Austin vs. Jericho. Austin beat Angle to get the shot and wants the belt. A standard back and forth attack sequence ensued.

WWF Title: Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho

They have a stare down and flip each other off. Feeling out process to start as Jericho runs. As George Foreman said though, you can’t run forever. Jericho is caught and Austin lays waste to him in the corner. In a nice spot Jericho hooks the ropes to avoid a clothesline so Austin just keeps his arm out and runs forward to send him to the floor. Pretty much a worthless opening five minutes.

We head up to the stage or entrance area in this case. Ross says there can’t be count outs because the referee isn’t in the ring. Why can’t they be? Does the referee lose his refereeing powers outside of the ring? Back in the ring now and you can kind of tell that no one really believes the title is changing here. Austin is just not the huge star he was a year ago, although you could say that about the whole company and you would be right.

A low blow allows Jericho to take over and Austin goes to the floor. Ross’ earlier comment is negated as Jericho has to slide into the ring to break the count while the referee is on the floor with them. Ross follows that line up by saying this might be the most important match in Austin’s career. Austin gets a powerslam in the ring as NOTHING of note is going on here. Walls go on as it’s just a Boston Crab here due to neck injuries.

Jericho goes to get a belt but he gets knocked into the referee. This means nothing as he pops back up to count two for Austin. Breakdown is the counter to the Stunner into the belt for another two into a nice pop. Jericho taps to the Walls but, say it with me, no ref. Stunner ends him again and here’s the NWO for the beatdown and Jericho gets the pin for the easy retaining.

Rating: D+. Boring match overall but it had some decent spots. The NWO running in was kind of pointless but it set up the odd choice of Austin vs. Hall at Mania. This wasn’t horrible, but it REALLY needed to be about 5-8 minutes shorter. 20+ minutes of this to just set up the NWO run-in just didn’t do it for me. Could have been worse, but Austin had lost a step by this point and it was clearly starting to show.

More beating down follows and Austin winds up getting spraypainted.

Overall Rating: F+. This was just a bad show overall. I’m not entirely sure how to rate this as it certainly didn’t feel as bad as the ratings I gave it, but this was still pretty bad. With guys like Benoit and Eddie gone at the moment there just wasn’t a lot of talent to go around in the upper midcard spots. The three main matches all more or less sucked due to overbooking and the undercard wasn’t much better.

Just a total mess of a show where nothing of note happened other than a more or less worthless NWO debut. This era wasn’t kind to the company and this show proves that. I mean really, RVD vs. Goldust on PPV? Just a more or less terrible show and definitely not worth seeing.


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1 comment

  1. chris says:

    No way out was an ok show. The nwo thing was stupid, Trying to recapture old magic. Problem was

    1. Hogan couldn’t be a villain coming back to the wwf.
    2. Nash never had any magic and sucks
    3. Hall could never lay off the booze
    4. No one cared.