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PPV Preview:  The nWo at NWO!
February 15, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


The WWF's February pay-per-view was dubbed "No Way Out" back in 1998, while the New World Order was still riding high on the hog in WCW...  needless to say, the fact that the WWF would promote a PPV with the initial NWO raised eyebrows.

But it was never known whether it was an intentional attempt to piggyback on the name recognition of the nWo, a sort of back-handed jab from the WWF, or just a flat-out coincidence.  Online pundits such as myself just used it as an excuse to come up with lame headlines such as "Finally, an NWO Worth Observing" (it helps if you remember that we'd taken to refering to WCW's nWo as "Not Worth Observing").

But now, four years later, there could not possibly be any more fitting PPV title.  The New World Order is coming to the WWF, and they are doing so at No Way Out.  It's wacky how things work out, isn't it?

Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall will all return to the WWF, the promotion that turned all three into viable stars before they defected to WCW.  Amidst smart fan speculation that the aging trio will not fit into a WWF product that is more athletic, faster paced, and more exciting than what Hogan, Hall, and Nash are perceived to be capable of performing, there is still an undercurrent of expectation.

The nWo may drag down the in-ring work (but if they're motivated, they won't drag it down that much), but the storyline possibilities are endless and intriguing.  This time, the nWo is in Vince McMahon's pocket, and right now, Vince is really pissed off at Triple H, so that's about as sensible a target for the Black and White as any.  But hell, with Vince's goal being the death of the WWF, anything is possible.

We'll finally find out just what the future holds for the nWo on Sunday night.

Oh, and there's some wrestling matches, too.  Including a big Triple Main Event.  Yeah.  Can't forget about the wrestling!

Here's the rundown of what you can expect Sunday night at the WWF's No Way Out PPV...

CHRIS JERICHO vs. STEVE AUSTIN (Undisputed WWF Title Match)

This is the match on the card that I think has been built up the best, and the one that I am most looking forward to.  Or maybe it's just cuz I really like these two guys.

Jericho's been outstanding as the Fed's lead heel the past few months, and on Monday, he really shone.  Attacking Austin both before and after Austin's match with the Undertaker, and leaving Austin unconscious in a pool of his own beer was just the touch the feud needed to become a worthy PPV main event.  For fans like me who like the bad guys, it was a end in and of itself; in a broader perspective, having the bad guy get the better of the good guy means the majority of fans are even more interested in seeing this match in hopes that Austin will get revenge.

For his part, Austin followed up with a quality performance last night on SmackDown!, doing his level best to add some more sizzle to the feud.  Or maybe to add some stink to it, to use his terminology.

Jericho's been holding the strap since unifying the WWF and WCW Titles back in December, and while he's shaken the stigma of being a "transition champ" in many fans eyes, the perception is still that Jericho's time with the title will end no later than WrestleMania.  And with the insertion of the nWo into storylines, it could come even sooner.  The anticipated Jericho vs. HHH WM main event could be scuttled in favor of a HHH vs. nWo match-up, which would make an Austin win on Sunday likely.  That way, we'd finally get the big blow-off match to the Austin/Angle feud in the Mania main event.

In fact, as much as I love Jericho's work and as much as I'd love to see him main event at WM, that's the scenario that I personally favor (it just makes the most sense).  Still, the WWF prefers to go into WM with a heel holding the title and a babyface leaving with it, so I bet they stick to their guns.  If nothing else, knowing that both outcomes are workable means more drama for us fans.

My Prediction: gotta go with Jericho getting the win.  Not because it's the scenario I prefer, but because I think that's more in line with what the WWF wants to do leading into Mania.   

TRIPLE H vs. KURT ANGLE (#1 Contender's Match)

These two are just continuing a rivalry that goes back a year and a half, and which has added depth considering that HHH has split from Stephanie McMahon, who Angle once tried to seduce.

And what's this?  Stephanie is right smack dab in the middle of these two again:  she's the special ref for this match.

Storyline-wise, things got a lot less silly on Monday, when Stephanie's pregnancy was exposed as a ruse and HHH ceremoniously dumped her.  It's still a bit soap-opera-ish for me, but this match has every bit as much potential as the main event.  In fact, it might even be a better worked match between two incredible performers.

But because of Steph and the stacking of the deck against HHH, the focus here will, I'm sure, be on the storyline over the ring work.  It doesn't seem possible for HHH to win out over the odds, what with his scorned wife as the one who would have to count the fall for him, but somehow he'll have to.  At least, he'll have to if things are going to hold form for WM.

My Prediction:  somehow, some way, HHH will get the win over Angle.  It'll probably involve a ref bump and another official coming in to make the count...  just a guess.


It isn't a match, but it's every bit as big a drawing card as any of the contests scheduled for the show.  The WWF returns of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall is nothing to sneeze at.

It's completely unknown what role the three will play at the show, although it's confirmed they'll all be there.  Will they be visible throughout the show (maybe backstage with Vince?)?  Will there be some sort of grand entrance and promo from the three?  Will they remain invisible until making some sort of sneak attack, and save the grand entrance for RAW?

It's worth going over a few possibilities, I guess.

With Vince's stated goal being the death of the WWF, it'd be very possible that the nWo would strike in the main event to prevent Steve Austin from winning the WWF Title.  Afterall, to kill the WWF, Vince would want to keep the Title in the hands of a weak-drawing heel, rather than his top super-duper-mega-star, right?  That's one way to go, and would set up Austin vs. nWo (probably against Hogan) for WrestleMania...

Then again, Vince is now back with Stephanie, which means he's got a vendetta against HHH.  But the deck's already stacked against HHH in his match, so I can't envision them piling the odds even higher...  but maybe a mini-swerve is in order:  Nash and Hall come in and HELP HHH win that match, and later reveal that they want their former Clique buddy to join the nWo.  HHH, of course, rejects the offer and goes on to face Jericho at Mania.  Could work...

It also wouldn't surprise me if -- in the name of causing utter chaos -- the nWo got involved in other matches on the show.  Nothing kills a promotion faster than constant run-ins and non-finishes!  Actually, an Outsiders attack during either the tag title match or the #1 Contenders tag match would be cool.  It'd establish Hall and Nash for future tag title shots, anyway.  Attacking the Rock's not out of the question, either, and it could also set up another "recruitment" angle, with the nWo wanting fellow 40-year-old, the Undertaker, to join up.

We'll just have to sit back and see...


It's not the best promoted match on the card, and it's not gonna be the best worked, either...  but somehow, this still manages to qualify as the third prong of a Triple Main Event.  Well, not quite in my eyes, but that's what Jim Ross says, and I'm a WWF puppet, right?

Rock has missed a lot of TV time in the last month doing re-shoots for "The Scorpion King" and then resting up after being burnt-out by the schedule.  That's left the WWF to hype this feud basically based on a handful of incidents.

With Undertaker's gimmick being all about getting respect, it was an easy thing to just randomly start jawing with the Rock.  Things didn't really pick up, though, until the Rock attacked Taker in the middle of a Hardcore Title defense, allowing Maven (for the second time in a month) to get the better of Taker.  The other big incident was Undertaker's response to that disrespect:  he attacked the Rock backstage, and Tombstoned him on the top of a limo.

To me, that's a lot of storytelling short of being a PPV main event caliber feud...  but at least what they did do was pretty cool.  I likes me the spots on the top of cars.  Anyone else remember D'Lo getting Pearl River Plunged on the top of some sedan back five years ago?

My Prediction: I'll go with the Rock, here.  Gives the babyfaces the 2-to-1 edge in the big Triple Main Event!  

WILLIAM REGAL vs. EDGE (Brass Knuckles on a Pole Match for the Intercontinental Title)

William Regal's been the IC Champ for a month, now.  And in that time, I don't seem to be able to recall a single decisive, clean win.  And that's not a bad thing.  It's a good thing.

Regal's cheating ways have him well on the way to Honkeytonk Man heat, where fans just can't believe this guy is still the champ, and will line up to watch someone try to take the title from him.  Former champ Edge gets the shot here, but he'll have to deal with the fact that the match will feature Regal's personal favorite tool for cheating his way to victory:  brass knuckles.

The nux will be on a pole, and the first man to grab them will be free to use them as he pleases.  To borrow a phrase, they'll be as legal as a wristlock.

I'm not a big fan of "Thing on a Pole" matches, cuz it usually means more time is spent doing teases of grabbling the thing from the pole than is spent actually wrestling.  We'll have to see how it works out in this case...

My Prediction:  I'm digging Regal's title reign, and I think it'll continue.  He'll use the nux to take the win (but not necessarily the legal nux from the pole...  that bloody cheater!).


A month after his return and two weeks after revealing his desire to kick Rob Van Dam's ass, Goldust still hasn't really shown any of that genuine weirdness that made him such a guilty pleasure of a character back in 1996.

Sure, he still quotes movies and dresses like a freak, but how about bringing back stuff like the usher delivering mysterious notes to future victims?  You can leave the homo-erotic stuff at the door if you want, but WEIRDNESS is necessary for Goldust to work.  Not Luna-era Goldust weird, but Marlena-era weird.

Instead, what we're left with is a flimsy premise for this feud, in which Goldust wants to crush RVD because RVD is such a popular rising young star.  And Hollywood stardom is Goldust's thing.  

I like the idea of this feud and think it'll probably be a solidly-worked match, but they just haven't done a whole lot with it:  just the flimsy premise followed up by a few run-ins.

My Prediction:  RVD's been tough to beat since debuting, and I see this as more a one-off thing than the start of an extended feud.  RVD wins.


Against all conventional wisdom, the seemingly make-shift team of Tazz and Spike has held the tag titles for over a month.  They've turned back the challenges of the Dudleys, Billy and Chuck, and...  oh, I guess that's about all the heel teams on the roster.  Still, they've turned back all challengers, and that's good.

So here they've gotta face another makeshift team.  This little feud has been built up mostly via singles matches between the partners, underscoring the make-shift-ness of the teams.  Booker split singles matches against the champs this week, beating Tazz, but losing to Spike.  Prior to that, Test had gotten a singles win over Spike on Heat.

It could well be a quality match, but the Fed hasn't done a whole lot to get the fans involved in this one.  This is the match on the card that seems mostly likely to suffer from a dead crowd.

My Prediction:  Tazz and Spike win again.  I say that mostly just because I'm fully anticipating the Outsiders going after the tag champs so that they can toss Spike like a javelin, just like they did to poor Rey six years ago.


The entire tag division is kind of a mess, if you didn't gather that from my take on the tag title match.  The Fed's got these other six teams standing by, and of them, I think fans only really buy into three:  the Duds, the Hardys, and the APA.  Me personally, I like the idea of the Storm/Christian team since they'll always deliver quality ring work, and will sheepishly admit that I find Billy and Chuck hilarious in an ambiguously gay way.

But my personal tastes don't enter into it.  Though I grant that even if the fans only really buy into three teams, they'll probably be more into this match than the tag title match.  The six teams means potential for lots of action and trainwreck spots, which will pop the crowd.  Plus, the Hardys coming back after ANOTHER four week disappearance from TV should spark some interest (as will Lita, who always gets big responses for hitting her highspots).

My Prediction:  it'll come down to Dudleys vs. Hardys, just as it so often has.  I'll take the Duds, since that sets up what should be a decent blow-off to the Tazz/Spike vs. Dudleys feud at WM.

That's a seven match card, which -- even with the added attraction of the nWo's return -- seems a little light to me.  It sure seemed like they could have set up a Jazz vs. Trish Stratus return match for the Women's Title if they wanted to, but there hasn't been a peep about that since Jazz won the title.  Wouldn't be hard to just throw that match out there in an impromptu fashion on Sunday, though.  We don't want to have a TOTALLY Diva-Free PPV, do we?

Kane and Dallas Page are also without anything to do on Sunday night, so perhaps they are leading candidates for another impromptu match?  Other than that, the roster available for extra matches includes mostly Heat-level guys.  I'd love any excuse to get Tajiri or the Hurricane onto the PPV, but I don't see it happening...

As is now my monthly custom, I will now bitch briefly about Time Warner Cable and their ridiculous policy of requiring a pricey upgrade to Digital service just to have the privelege of ordering PPV.  Time Warner Cable are assholes.  There; enough bitching.

This means I will once again be viewing the PPV either at a friend's house or at a local tavern, which in turn affects you, The Home Viewer, because it means I still can't do my Real Time PPV results on the Ticker.

It also means that OO's post-show recap will be delayed about an hour.  Expect a full recap of the event at about midnight (eastern) on Sunday night, right here at OnlineOnslaught.com, with additional coverage (including Scott's PPV Rant) to follow on Monday.


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.

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