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No Way Out:  nWo 1, DTA 0
February 17, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


The WWF's No Way Out pay-per-view started a bit unexpectedly:  with Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall getting cheered as returning heroes while cutting a humble, almost nauseatingly-babyface promo.

But rest assured things ended on a less surreal note, as the nWo returned to its old (and anticipated) form by attacking Steve Austin, costing him the WWF Title.  After that match concluded, the trio procured some spray paint, and tagged Austin with the nWo initials.  Ahhhh, just like the good ol' days!

The attack came not only after the show-opening babyface promo, but also after two backstage vignettes in which the nWo were sucking up to Austin and the Rock, trying to make it appear as though they were "big fans" who just wanted a chance to succeed again in the WWF.  The confrontation with the Rock was particularly hilarious, with Rock throwing the trio's old WWF personas back at them.

By retaining the WWF Title thanks to the nWo, Chris Jericho now heads to WrestleMania as the champion, where he is now slated to defend against Kurt Angle.  Angle beat Triple H to earn the #1 Contender spot, thanks in no small part to Stephanie McMahon, whose biased officiating figured strongly in the decision.

Here are your detailed results of the just-completed WWF No Way Out PPV:

-  Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall opened the show with a promo.  They were cheered strongly by the crowd, and played to the fans, trying to elicit sympathy for the treatment they'd received backstage (where they said they were considered a poison and a cancer).  After Nash opened the segment, Hall got a huge pop by simply uttering the words "Hey, yo," and then got a big laugh when he suggested maybe the nWo could have a few beers with the boys in the back.  Hogan closed the segment by again asking the fans to just give them a chance, and then thanked Vince McMahon for the chance to come back to the WWF.  The mention of Vince was about as close to a the nWo came to getting heel heat during the segment...

-  The first match was the tag team turmoil six-way match to determine new #1 Contenders to the tag titles.  The rules had two teams start the match, and then whenever a team was eliminated, another would enter, so it'd always be two-on-two.  First in were Lance Storm and Christian against Albert and Scotty 2 Hotty.  Storm and Christian eliminated Albert and Scotty in about 4 minutes.  The Hardys entered next, and were able to eliminate the Canadian duo with dispatch.  The Dudleys were the next team to enter, and were also eliminated by the Hardys.  However, the Duds were sore losers, and destroyed the Hardys after the fall.  That meant they were easy pickin's for Chuck and Billy, who eliminated the Hardys in about a minute.  The APA were last to enter, and after an extended sequence, Bradshaw was able to pin Billy Gunn after a Lariat From Hell.  The Acolytes go to WrestleMania for a shot at the tag straps.  With the exception of one jaw-dropping "Holy Shit" bump from Jeff Hardy, this was just business as usual:  good action, but a lack of any real drama or storytelling made it feel more like it was made for SmackDown! than something that belonged on PPV.

-  Rob Van Dam beat Goldust in their almost-grudge match.  Goldust jumped Van Dam early, and held the advantage for much of the match.  An extended sequence saw Goldust using a bunch of moves to target RVD's lower back.  Included in this sequence was a cool slingshot/bow-and-arrow type move that would probably have fractured the spine of a man less flexible than RVD.  After making Goldust look like a million bucks for the majority of the opening 10 minutes, RVD rallied.  He hit his step-through spinning heel kick and followed up with a Five Star Frog Splash for the win.  Good match.

-  Back to "made-for-Thursday-night" action, with a haphazardly booked tag title win for Spike Dudley and Tazz over Test and Booker T.  The duo held onto their titles in a somewhat disjointed contest that again lacked the sort of crowd heat you'd hope for in a PPV-caliber feud.  Spike Dudley spent the opening part of the match getting his ass kicked by the bigger challengers, but finally made the hot tag to Tazz.  The finish came when Test tried to use the ropes illegally for leverage.  However, the ref caught him and didn't count the fall; while Test was arguing with the zebra, Tazz got behind him and cinched in the Tazzmission for the submission win.  

-  William Regal successfully retained the IC Title over Edge in a Brass Knuckles on a Pole match.  Edge got out of the gate fast, but soon lost the advantage to Regal.  With Regal in control, the match actually picked up momentum; it seemed Regal was less interested in making plays for the knucks, and more interested in wrestling, which is something I was worried about coming into the match.  Regal hit a ton of moves, including a couple of underhook powerbombs that looked impressive.  At some point (didn't see how) Edge started bleeding from the mouth.  Finally, Regal was convinced Edge was out and went for the knucks.  He got them, but Edge shoved Regal off the top rope, and Regal lost control of them.  After a bit of back-and-forth, Edge chased down the knucks, and was ready to put them to use.  However, Regal had produced an extra pair of knucks from his tights, and used them to KO Edge for the pinfall win.  A better match than I had expected, and also a step up from last month's Royal Rumble match, I thought.

-  The Rock defeated the Undertaker in a match that saw both WWF co-owners get involved.  Rock stormed the ring to get things off to a fast start, but Taker eventually took control when the match spilled out of the ring and into the crowd.  Rock rallied, and seemed to have the match in control when he attempted a People's Elbow; but Taker countered with a chokeslam.  However, Taker got frustrated when the Rock kept kicking out of his pinfall attempts. Taker decided to take a lead pipe from his motorcycle to use on the Rock once the ref had been bumped, but Ric Flair came out to put a stop to that.  Flair's run-in allowed the Rock to regain the edge, but that, in turn, brought out Vince McMahon.  Rock decided to go after Vince, and while the ref was distracted by that, Flair grabbed the lead pipe and used it to whack the Undertaker.  A Rock Bottom later, and the Rock was the winner by pinfall.  Nothing memorable here, but it did manage to build up to a strong finish, I thought.

-  Kurt Angle defeated Triple H to earn the #1 Contender spot for WrestleMania.  For the second match on the card, my initial fears about a match were ultimately unfounded.  In this case, I was afraid that Stephanie McMahon's role as special referee would be too much of a distraction from the in-ring action.  However, he involvement was limited to two brief segments at the start and at the end of the match, leaving HHH and Angle to contest the majority of the match as a straight-up one-on-one affair.  Steph's first involvement was primarily limited to counting REALLY fast for Angle and not counting HHH's pinfalls at all.  Then, she was accidentally clotheslined out of the ring by Angle, and was replaced as ref for the next 15 minutes.  After the typically good action you'd expect from Angle and HHH, Angle blatantly attacked replacement ref Tim White, which opened the door for Steph to return.  Once she did, she again was openly biased towards Angle.  HHH finally got fed up and was getting ready to Pedigree her, but Angle attacked from behind with a steel chair.  Steph didn't call for the disqualification, however.  She allowed Angle's chairshots to continue.  Eventually, Angle hit the Olympic Slam and Steph made the three count.  Good match that found the right mix of action and storytelling...

-  Chris Jericho defeated Steve Austin to remain the WWF Champion.  After a match-opening staredown, Austin took the offensive and laid into the champ with flurries of chops and kicks (allowing the crowd to chant "What?" along with him).  Jericho was a punching bag for the opening minutes of the bout before finally waging a comeback.  A pair of Lionsaults and the Walls of Jericho weren't enough to keep Austin down, however, and Jericho eventually resorted to grabbing one of his title belts from the time keeper.  With the ref momentarily out of commission, Jericho tried to use the belt as a foreign object, but was reversed by Austin.  Austin even locked on the Walls of Jericho himself, but the ref was not there to hear Jericho tap out.  The ref also was not there to see the nWo run in and lay the smack down on Austin.  Austin fought them off at first, but eventually fell to the three-on-one attack (which culminated in Scott Hall delivering a Stunner to Austin).  Jericho and and the ref slowly recovered, and the former draped an arm over Austin while the latter counted to three.  After the match, Hogan, Hall, and Nash returned and tagged Austin with the nWo logo using cans of spray paint.  Really, really good match, but the jury is out on the finish...  if Austin vs. nWo works, then we applaud the finish as the start of something good (and as the continuation of Jericho's title reign).  But if it tanks (and the babyface heat for the nWo means this IS gonna be a tricky thing to pull off), then this is just another screwjob ending caused by the nWo.  

Fans who expected some sort of shocking splash by the debuting nWo probably walked away from No Way Out a bit disappointed.  But as a fan who just wants to be convinced that these three guys can find a niche in the present-day WWF, I think No Way Out was an effective show.  

The nWo, despite ending the show on a strong note, seemed to a good fit into the show.  They played earlier vignettes for laughs, and clearly weren't too concerned about wielding their backstage power to put themselves over as the stars of the show; the promo cut upon them by the Rock is proof enough of that.  This was a WWF-ized version of the nWo, and hopefully we'll see the group continue to fit in well with the WWF product so that we can build up to bigger, more shocking developments.

Also helping out tonight was the strong bell-to-bell performances in the top two matches.  There were significant holes in the opening half of the show, but the final hour or so was top shelf, in my own damned opinion.  If we just averaged everything out, it would probably be a Thumbs in the Middle type show, but you know how I like to give more weight to how a show ends.  A mild Thumbs Up call, as the show was an enjoyable -- if not particularly earth-shattering -- way to spend three hours.

Come on back to OO on Monday for more No Way Out fall-out, as well as Scott's PPV Rant and more.... 


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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