In this edition of Retro Review, we are going to be taking a trip down memory lane by revisiting the iconic wrestling event that was No Way Out 2002.
No Way Out was brought to us on February 17th 2002, live from the Bradley Centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with an impressive attendance of 15,291 excitable professional wrestling fans.
I personally look back at this show with great fondness, as it was a triple main event pay per view.
Let’s take a little look at the card before we get into our Retro Review!
- First up, we had the Tag-Team Turmoil match; this was a multi tag-team elimination match including Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert vs Christian & Lance Storm vs The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) vs The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) vs Billy & Chuck vs The Acolytes aka The A.P.A. (Bradshaw & Farooq).
- Singles match: Rob Van Dam vs Goldust.
- Tag-Team match: Tazz & Spike Dudley vs Booker T & Test for the WWE Tag-Team Championships.
- Next up, We had a brass knuckles on a pole match: Edge vs William Regal for the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
- Followed by the first of three main event matches: The Rock vs The Undertaker.
- Second main event match of the night, to determine the #1 contender to the WWE Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania 18: Triple H vs Kurt Angle – with Stephanie McMahon Helmsley as the special guest referee.
- The final main event: Chris Jericho (Champion) defending against Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Undisputed Championship.
Wow. It has been 18 years, and I am so pumped to revisit this show. But first, what is not mentioned above due to not being an official match, was the arrival of the N.W.O.
The N.W.O. (New World Order) was a three-man faction, consisting of ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They were an integral part of the storyline for this show. Vince McMahon (Chairman of the WWE) has told us fans previously that he was going to inject poison into the WWE in attempts to kill his creation, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The poison being the N.W.O. In November of 2001, four months before this show, Vince McMahon became (on-screen) co-owner of the WWE alongside the Nature Boy, Ric Flair. McMahon went above and beyond to compromise Flair. At this point, McMahon promised that he would not bring in the feared N.W.O. (originally from World Championship Wrestling, W.C.W.) as long as Flair would sell McMahon his 50 per cent share of World Wrestling Entertainment. Needless to say, Ric Flair would not back down, leading to McMahon cutting several promos over the next few months teasing the arrival of the N.W.O.
Now that we’re all caught up let’s get to it.
This is, No Way Out 2002.
As we were warmly welcomed to the sold-out Bradley Centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by good ole’ J.R, Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King‘ Lawler, The N.W.O.’s entrance music hit, wasting no time.
‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall began to walk down the ramp and make their way to the WWE ring. As the trio were walking to the ring, Jim Ross uttered the phrase ‘the poison has arrived’ that phrase has stuck with me, as a wrestling fan, ever since. I saw that as such an icon sentence. As the N.W.O. originated in W.C.W. (World Championship Wrestling), and ran rough-shot throughout that company, the N.W.O. had now entered the mighty realm of WWE, And Jim Ross was more than hesitant in welcoming the trio to the company. J.R. went on to mention that Vince McMahon regretted the decisions to introduce the N.W.O. into the WWE but felt it had to be done. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler went on to reiterate the fact that the reason that Hogan, Hall and Nash were now in the company, was all down to Ric Flair.
The 6’10” Kevin Nash was the first member of the trio to grab a microphone to address the WWE Universe. Nash started by claiming that he wanted to set the record straight and cleanse the N.W.O.’s reputation. He continued by acknowledging that fact that the word poison has been associated with the trio. Nash then went on to question ‘what awful thing did we do?’ (in such a falsely innocent tone) to receive such backlash and negative treatment from both the fans and the roster backstage. Nash attempted to pander to the audience stating he and the N.W.O. only want a chance to prove to the fans that ‘not only can we do it, but nobody does it quite like us’.
The floor was then open for Scott Hall. (Pictured above to the left) Hall opened by stating ‘We’re not the bad guys’ (which to a hardcore wrestling fan would be a clear reference to Halls’ previous character in the WWE. ‘The Bad Guy’ Razor Ramon). Hall continued to say that he, Hogan and Nash are fans of the sport of wrestling and that they don’t want any trouble. Halls’ speech was short and sweet.
‘Hollywood Hulk Hogan’ then took the microphone, to reiterate what Hall and Nash had just said. That being that the N.W.O. were not in the WWE to kill it, they were in the WWE to make it better. Hogan went on to personally thank Vince McMahon for the opportunity.
I don’t want to project my opinions of the N.W.O. in this promo on to you. But this was 2002, and the N.W.O. can not be trusted!
Now let’s get to the in-ring action!
Tag-Team Turmoil Match – The winners of this match would earn a WWE Tag-Team Championship Match at WrestleMania 18
So, as mentioned above, this was a multi-tag team elimination match, including six tag-teams overall. The structure of this match was that two teams would begin the match when one team was eliminated another tag-team will enter the match and that would continue until there was only one team remaining.
The match started with Scotty 2 Hotty & ‘The Hip-Hop Hippo’ Albert locking up with the team of Christian and Lance Storm in two on two competition. This was an exciting start to the match with Scotty 2 Hotty’s energy being so infectious; his in-ring style was so agile and fast-paced, which made it so exciting to watch. Scotty’s tag partner, the 6’8” Albert briefly entered the ring to show his brute strength, swinging his opponent, by the legs around in circles. Soon after, Scotty would be back in action, perform his signature move in the WWE ring, The Worm. Scotty would simply perform the dance move ‘the worm’ and then deliver a strong chop to the chest of his downed opponent. Soon, off the distraction from Storm, Christian was back on his feet to deliver his finisher move to Scotty, One – Two – Three! Christian and Lance Storm eliminate Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert. The next team to enter the match were off to a rapid start, running to the ring with pure adrenaline. It was the returning Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff Hardy, accompanied by Lita (a former WWE Women’s champion). The Hardy Boyz and Lita were collectively known as Team Extreme. The Hardy Boyz were in the ring in a matter of seconds and immediately brought the fight to Christian and Lance Storm.
The Hardy’s quickly enforced double-team moves to their opponents, getting the quick advantage in the opening moments of their match. Storm had several close two count pinfall attempts over Matt Hardy in this match proving that Christian & Lance Storm were not going to be taken lightly. Jeff Hardy soon got the tagged into the match, and Jeff’s explosive wrestling style was soon on display. Jeff soon hit Storm with two of his signature leg-drop moves, with a close two count pinfall attempt of his on that was quickly interrupted by Christian, saving the match for his team.
The action continued in the ring, as Matt Hardy entered to fight off Christian, Christian and Storm then Attempted a double team attack on Matt. Yet, Matt escaped, causing their opponent’s double team attempts to backfire, Matt then got Storm in position for his signature move the ‘twist of fate’ while Jeff Hardy was climbing the turnbuckle to the top rope in anticipation to hit the downed Storm with his signature move, the ‘Swanton bomb’ (a frontward flip driving his back into the chest of his opponent) One – Two – Three! The Hardy Boyz eliminate Christian and lance storm and are one step closer to going to WrestleMania 18 to challenge for the WWE Tag-Team Championships. The next Tag-Team to get involved in this high stakes wrestling match were Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley aka The Dudley Boyz (Accompanied by Stacy Keibler) who have had a great series of rivalries together and who’s wrestling style completely compliment the other. These two teams are incredible to watch. This match was more physical than the other battles we have seen so far, that would be partly due to the brawling wrestling style of Bubba Ray Dudley as he fought it out with Jeff Hardy. Bubba would attempt a senton (a diving move from the top rope landing directly onto his back), but Jeff moved out of the way just in time to avoid what would have been a thunderous shot to the ribs. Soon, Matt and D-Von made the tag in for their respective teams, becoming the legal men in this match.
Both Hardy’s then performed a double-team move to D-Von gaining the advantage, until Jeff would slide out of the ring, Matt would be in position for his signature ‘twist of fate’. Until, Stacy Keibler, who was Dudley’s manager in this match and accompanied them to the ring, pulled Matt off of D-von, by the back of the head, in attempts to save D-Von from possibly losing the match. Lita (who accompanied the Hardy’s) immediately jumped in the ring to attack Keibler. Lita took down Keibler with a rugby-like tackle. Bubba Ray was then back in the ring and laid his hand on Lita. He pulled Lita up and was met with a diving forearm to the back of the head by Matt Hardy. Bubba Ray quickly performed his ‘Bubba Bomb’ trademark mark to Matt Hardy. However, Bubba was unaware that Lita was waiting on the top turnbuckle, to deliver a devastating hurricanrana to Bubba Ray, taking him down, and flinging Bubba directly out of the ring. Next, in typical Jeff Hardy fashion, Jeff jumped to the top rope, closest to were Bubba Ray just fell to the outside of the ring and delivered a Swanton bomb to a standing Bubba Ray, Jeff having absolutely no concern for his own body with that move. Back in the ring, Matt rolled up D-Von for the victory. One-Two-Three! The Hardy Boys eliminated the Dudley Boyz from this match.
After being eliminated, in frustration, The Dudley’s delivered their 3-D (elevated slam) double team move to the already helpless Jeff Hardy on the outside, Leaving Matt as a one-man team in this match. Next, The second to last Tag-Team in this match, Billy and Chuck ran to ring to immediately take out Matt Hardy after all the damage had previously been inflicted by The Dudley’s, One-Two-Three! Billy and Chuck take out the Hardy Boyz. Finally, the power-house duo, The A.P.A, Bradshaw and Farooq enter the ring to make quick work of Billy and Chuck. Farooq beats down Chuck for a short period until Bradshaw entered the ring to flex his muscles and throw his weight around before delivery his signature ‘clothesline from hell’ (driving his arm into the throat of his opponent at full speed, flipping his opponent inside out). One-Two-Three! The A.P.A. were victorious and earned the right to go to WrestleMania 18 to challenge for the WWE Tag-Team Championships
Winners: Bradshaw and Farooq – The A.P.A.
Backstage Promo: #1
Michael Cole was shown backstage asking Ric Flair for his opinion after seeing the N.W.O. arrive earlier in the night. Flair went on to express that he did not believe a single word that comes out of the mouths of Hogan, Hall or Nash. Flair stated that the N.W.O. need to show respect.
The Undertaker then immediately entered the frame, questioning what authority to Ric Flair have on demanding respect. Undertaker then went on to imply that Flair should spend less time focusing on the N.W.O., and spend more time paying attention to who has got their eyes of Flair, himself.
Rob Van Dam vs Goldust
Next up on the card, we had Rob Van Dam taking on Goldust in singles competition. At the time, Goldust had been involved in a rival with Van Dam. Two weeks prior two this match, Goldust jumped Van Dam from behind by entering the ring, through the crowd, towards the unsuspecting Van Dam to deliver the attack. Van Dam was out for retribution against Goldust and looking to settle the score. As soon as Van Dam entered the ring in this match, Goldust brought the fight straight away, showing his aggressive attitude in this bout. The moment that Van Dam began to fight back and seem to get one up over ‘The Bizarre One’, Goldust started to play some mind games by getting out of the ring and imply that this match was of no importance to him, by walking back up the ramp.
Goldust proved to dominate most of this match, with his brutal strength. Any time that Van Dam will build up any momentum, Goldust would should his opponent down instantly, this was such an impressive performance from Goldust. The audience in attendance did attempt to will Rob Van Dam back into this match as the sold-out crowd chanted R-V-D in unison. Unfortunately, this was not enough, as Goldust continued to beat down Rob Van Dam. However Van Dam went to hit Goldust with a low blow, this gave Van Dam the momentary advantage that he needed to get himself back into the match.
Van Dam’s signature moves were soon on display as Van Dam delivered his signature Rolling Thunder, which was quickly followed by his finishing move, the 5 Star Frog Splash. Van Dam attempted the pinfall, but Goldust kicked out at two! Van did not let this slow him down though, as he continued to battle it out with Goldust, delivering strong forearms to the head of his opponent, soon followed once again with the 5 Star Frog Splash. One-Two-Three! Van Dam picked up the victory in this singles match against Goldust.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Backstage Promo: #2
We saw Stone Cold Steve Austin making his way through the backstage corridor until he is stopped in his tracks, by the N.W.O. At first, it seemed that the N.W.O. were looking to intimidate Austin with the three on one encounter. Scott Hall, surprisingly pulled out a six-pack of beer from being his back as a gift to Austin. Steve Austin’s initial response was to mockingly accept this gift, then immediately throw it over his shoulder, showing that he didn’t care, and wasn’t going to stand for any of the antics that the N.W.O. were trying to pull. Hulk Hogan then backed down and told Hall and Nash to ‘let the man through’. Austin walked right through the N.W.O., but the N.W.O. stared a hole right through the back of Austin, as he did so.
Tazz & Spike Dudley (c) vs Booker T & Test for the WWE Tag-Team Championships
The team of Booker T & Test were former Tag-Team Champions at this time and were looking to regain the Championship in the match against the Tazz and Spike Dudley. During the match, Test and Booker T would dominate Spike Dudley and isolate him from his Tag-Team partner, Tazz. Spike was remarkably resilient in this match, he was much shorter than his opponents, but the fight within him was ten times as big. Spike managed to deliver a D.D.T. to the head of Booker T and got the tag to Tazz. Tazz brought the fight immediately with his hard-hitting style to the team of Booker T and Test. As the match went on, there were many close pinfall attempts, until what seemed to be in an instant after Test got frustrated and pushed the referee, Tazz locked in his choke-hold submission move to defeat Booker T and Test and retain the WWE Tag-Team Championships.
Winner: Tazz & Spike Dudley
Backstage Promo: #3
The cameras cut to the backstage area, where we had The Rock, who was about to be interviewed by Jonathon ‘The Coach’ Coachman. The Coach started by reminding us that ten days ago, the Undertaker delivered a Tombstone Piledriver to The Rock on top of a limousine. Coach then wanted to know what The Rocks physical condition was, regarding his upcoming match with The Undertaker.
The Rock went on to tell us that The Undertaker tried to end Rock’s career by delivering the Tombstone Piledriver to him on top of a limousine. Rock explains that the attack was due to Undertaker thinking that The Rock disrespected him. Rock stared down the camera lens to tell The Undertaker that he has no idea what it is like to be disrespected by The Rock. Rock went on to deliver a line that would give any fan goosebumps.
You see Undertaker, for ten days straight, ten days straight. Not one, not two, not seven, eight, nine. Ten days straight. The Rock sat at home and thought about one thing and one thing only. The Rock wasn’t thinking about respect, The Rock wasn’t thinking about his injured neck. The Rock was thinking about coming here and whooping your candy a** all over Milwaukee.
The Rock then lowered his tone of voice to say that tonight at No Way Out; The Undertaker is precisely what he says he is. ‘Dead Man Walking’. Rock then delivered his now-classic catchphrase ‘If you smell what the rock is cooking’.
I literally have goosebumps typing this.
Edge vs William Regal (c) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
This match was a brass knuckle on a pole match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It was set up because William Regal was always a dirty fighter and would sneak brass knuckles into a match by hiding them in his trunks. The objective of this match was simply to retrieve the brass knuckle from the pole; then the superstars had the option to use the weapon, in order to win the match. Edge started this match strong by bringing the fight to Regal from the word go and seemed to remain in charge of this match though out. Regal then reverted to his dirty tactics and began to have Edge exactly where he wanted him. At one point, Edge had a golden opportunity to win, as Regal was on the outside of the ring after a previous attack. Regal managed to get back to the turnbuckle in time to push Edge off of the top rope and drive him to the outside of the ring. Regal continued to punish Edge in this match before he began to climb the turnbuckle to retrieve the brass knuckles.
It was a back, and forth battle between the two up until Regal retrieved the brass knuckles from the pole. Regal was suplex by Edge from the top rope, and the brass-knuckled went flying out of the ring. Edge soon delivered a spear! his signature move (pictured above), Then exited the ring to pick up the brass knuckles. Edge got hands on the weapon and rolled back in the ring. At this point, the dirt fighter, Regal pulled a pair of his brass knuckles out from his trunks and socked Edge right in the face, to pick up the One-Two-Three! Regal retained his WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Winner: William Regal
Backstage Promo: #4
We had Lillian Garcia interviewing Kurt Angle, in anticipation for what would be the second main event match of the night. Kurt Angle would take on Triple H to determine the #1 contender to the WWE Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania 18. Stephanie McMahon would also be the special guest referee for this match. The backstory to this match is that Triple H and Stephanie were engaged to be married, Triple H wanted out of the relationship and Stephanie lied about being pregnant to keep Trips around. Needless to say, there was some bad blood between the former couple. However, Kurt Angle had a good relationship with Stephanie. Angle went on to advise Lilian Garcia during the interview that he had full confidence in himself for the upcoming match and full confidence in Stephanie to do a fair and honest job as a referee. Angle went on to imply that he was better than Triple H in every way, by flaunting his Olympic Gold Medals, that we all know the won with a broken freaking neck. Oh, It’s true. It’s damn true.
The Rock vs The Undertaker
Two absolute legends and icons in the world of professional wrestling. The Rock and The Undertaker. Undertaker made his way to the ring to the Limp Bizkit track ‘Keep Rolling’ driving his motorcycle to the ring. The Rock, however, did not waste any time with his usual entrance. He ran to the ring and ran with a purpose. Rock slid into the ring and began the lay the smacketh down on The Undertaker. The Rock immediately took Undertaker off his feet, with a foray of right hands to the temple of The Undertaker, followed by a hard-hitting flying clothesline. This offence with only temporary as the 6’10” Undertaker took physical control of the match. The Rock attempted to regain control but was met by a powerful sidewalk-slam from The Undertaker.
There was a lot of star power in the match, but the match was relativity slow placed at times. The two superstars brought the fight into the crowd, to the excitement of the fans, getting to see their favourite wrestlers up close and personal. That didn’t last too long though as The Undertaker manhandled The Rock and led him back into the ring. There were many pinfall attempts from The Undertaker with The Rock always kicking out at 2. The Undertaker became more and more frustrated each time. Undertaker soon locked in a bear-hug submission move, which lasted many minutes, and led us to see the almost lifeless body of The Rock, until Rock temporarily powered himself back into the match, feeding off of the fans cheering him on.
The Rock landed a couple of forearms to the face of The Undertaker before planted his opponent, head first in the middle of the ring with a D.D.T. Rock immediately followed up with a kip-up (if you don’t know what a kip-up is, it is where a person would transition from a prone position to a standing position very quickly, and it makes for great excitement during a wrestling match). The Rock very quickly hit Undertaker with a spine-buster, leaving Undertaker laying on the ground, this set The Rock up to perform his finisher move, ‘The Peoples Elbow’. However, The Undertaker countered this by grabbing Rock by the throat in preparation for his signature move, The Choke-slam, which was met by yet another reversal by The Rock. The Undertaker eventually overpowered Rock and successfully hit the Choke-slam on to The Rock. Undertaker once again attempted a pinfall, yet again The Rock kicked out at 2!
The Undertaker was clearly frustrated; he left the ring and went and sat on his motorcycle, where he obtained a led pipe that was concealed in it. The Undertaker jumped back up onto the apron to cause damage to The Rock. Ric Flair (50% co-owner of WWE) then interrupted and began to chop The Undertaker, forcing him to lose grip of the led pipe. When The Undertaker made it back into the ring, this distraction was enough to assist The Rock, as he soon locked in the Sharp-Shooter submission move. Next up, Vince McMahon (50% co-owner of WWE) ran to the ring to cost The Rock the match. The Rock slowly walked over to McMahon and pulled him into the ring; The Rock knocked out McMahon. Once again, the distraction technique worked, as The Undertaker propped The Rock up on to his shoulder to perform the Tombstone-Piledriver. McMahon was being attended to by the referee, to the ref did not see that when Undertaker was about to perform the Tombstone-Piledriver, Ric Flair jumped back into the ring with Undertakers led pipe and clocked Undertaker right between the eyes with the pipe. This lead to the Rock performing his signature ‘Rock Bottom’ to Undertaker. Pin Fall attempt by The Rock. One-Two-Three! The Rock wins!
Winner: The Rock
Triple H vs Kurt Angle – with Stephanie McMahon Helmsley as the special guest referee
The second main event match of the night was now upon us. This was Triple H vs Kurt Angle to determine the #1 contender to the WWE Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania 18. Stephanie McMahon (the soon to be ex-wife of Triple H) was the first to enter the ring, with such an arrogant attitude. Howard Finkel (ring announcer) announced Stephanie to the ring with his marital name, Stephanie McMahon Helmsley. Stephanie soon corrected the announcer and forced him to reintroduce her as simply, Stephanie McMahon. Both Kurt Angle and Triple H made their way to ring, and the action was underway.
Kurt Angle started the match with two swift, pinfall attempts, with very fast counts from Stephanie McMahon. Triple H kicked out. Triple H knocked Angle to the ground and furiously approached McMahon regarding the fast pinfall counts. Angle took advantage of this by grappling Triple H to the ground when his back was turned. Angle continued to attack Triple H while he was up against the corner turnbuckle of the ring. We could then hear McMahon cheering on Angle, proving that this match was not going to be called fairly. Triple H made a comeback in the match, powering over Kurt Angle. Angle made his way back to his fit and charged toward Triple H, who was near the ring rope. Triple H moved out of the way, which cause Angle to knock the special guest referee out of the ring, McMahon was left unconscious on the outside of the ring.
The action continued in the ring as Triple H delivered forearm after forearm to the face of Kurt Angle. The match was momentarily left without a referee, McMahon was receiving medical attention outside of the ring, which brought a huge smile to the face of Triple H who now felt that he had a fair chance in the match without getting screwed over by McMahon. As the fight was going on in the middle of the ring as we could see Stephanie McMahon being carried backstage, Triple H waved goodbye to his ex-wife with a menacing grin. Replacement referee Tim White then slid into the ring. It looked like we were in for a fair wrestling match. Kurt Angle was taking advantage of Triple H by enforcing dirty tactics in attempts to defeat Triple and H and become the No. 1 Contender for the WWE Undisputed Championship.
These two competitors continued to bring the fight to one another. Triple H hit Kurt Angle with his trademark high knee running strike following by a spine busted. Triple H went for the pinfall, but Angle kicked out at 2. Kurt Angle felt he needed to something to save himself in this match, so he decided to punch the referee Tim White right in the back of the head, and left the referee unconscious in the middle of the ring. Angle then hit Triple H with his signature move, the Angle-Slam. There was no referee to count the pinfall, until the injured Stephanie McMahon came running to the ring, all the while holding her injured neck. This looked like Kurt Angles chance to steal the match! Stephanie proceeded with the quickest pinfall count in professional wrestling history, yet Triple H kicked out at two! That didn’t stop Angle, as he hooked Triple H’s led to attempt the pinfall again, once again Triple H kicked out at 2! Triple H would not give up.
Angle started to throw a tantrum by slamming his hands down on the mat in a frustration manner. Angle then dived onto Triple H and began to lay his fists into the face of his opponent. This was followed by Angle’s fishing submission move the Ankle-Lock. Triple H quickly reversed this move and kicked Angle away with cause Angle inadvertently incapacitate Stephanie McMahon once again! Triple H followed up by spiking Angle face first into the mat with a destructive D.D.T. Triple H instinctively went for the pin, there were no referees around to count the pinfall. The crowd bellowed on unison, One-Two-Three! Triple H would have won the match right here! Triple H tried to pull referee Tim White back up to his feet, but Kurt Angle had made his way back to his feet and knocked Triple H from behind, led to Tim Whites limp body falling out of the ring. Angle followed up with a German-Suplex to Triple H. Angle began to frantically look around, then left to ring to retrieve a steel chair, Angle was ready to decapitate Triple H with a chair shot to the head. Angle swung for the fences, Triple H ducked and then hit Kurt Angle with his finishing move, The Pedigree. We needed a referee!
Just as Triple H landed his finishing move, we could see Tim White getting back to his feet, in the corner of the screen. There was some hope! Triple H covered Kurt Angle for the pinfall, Tim White rolled back into the ring and counted, One-Two.. until Stephanie McMahon dove onto the back of Tim White a delivered an elbow-drop! McMahon kicked White out of the ring, turned around, and locked eyes with Triple H. Triple H had enough of Stephanie and put her in position for his finishing move. The Pedigree. Kurt Angle saved McMahon from disaster by driving the steel chair into the back of Triple H. Angle quickly followed up, wasting no time by hitting Triple H with his Angle-Slam, covered Triple H for the pinfall and Stephanie proudly counted for the One-Two-Three!
Kurt Angle picked up the victory and with the assistance of Stephanie McMahon, became to No. 1 Contender for the WWE Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania 18.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Backstage Promo: #5
The Rock was backstage in his locker room. The N.W.O., Hogan, Hall and Nash approached The Rock. Hogan started by asking for a photograph with The Rock, for his son. Hogan turned his back on The Rock and said ‘so much for the people’s taste’ under his breath and began laughing with Hall and Nash. The Rock swiftly told Hogan to repeat himself.
The Rock interrupted himself before Hogan could respond and said ‘It doesn’t matter what you just said, The Rock was being a man, taking a picture for you son, no problem.’ Rock then brought his attention to Scott Hall, mocked Halls previous character, Razor Ramon. In classic fashion, The Rock continued the insult being telling the N.W.O. to shine the camera up, turn it sideways and shove it straight up all your candy a***s. The N.W.O. was not off to a good start in the WWE.
Chris Jericho (c) vs Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Undisputed Championship
The final match of the night was Chris Jericho vs Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Undisputed Championship. Austin’s eyes were dead set on the Championship, and Austin was looking to become a seven-time World Champion. The winner of this match would go on to WrestleMania 18 to defend to Championship against the fresh No. 1 contender, Kurt Angle. Chris Jericho defeated the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night to obtain the Undisputed Championship months prior to this. In the weeks leading up to this match, Austin had been playing a lot of mind games with Jericho, by pretty much stalking Jericho and keeping Jericho looking over his shoulders. Chris Jericho started the match with an insulting slap to the face of Austin. Austin responded with his trademark middle finger gesture to the Undisputed Champion. The action was underway with Jericho’s athleticism and Austin brawling style both on display.
Austin began to deliver forceful chops to the chest of Jericho, following by repeatable driving Jericho’s face into the turnbuckle in the corner of the ring. Austin was relentless with Jericho’s chest, continuing to chop Jericho until welts would form on Chris Jericho’s chest. Austin controlled this match, not allowing Jericho to show any defence. Austin dragged Jericho outside of the ring, once again chopping the chest. Austin rolled Jericho back into the ring, and as he charged towards his opponent, Jericho sidestepped Austin and threw Austin over the top rope to the floor outside of the ring. It was the first time in the match that Chris Jericho had a moment to catch his breath. If Jericho wanted to retain his Championship, he was going to have to take advantage of the situation.
The Champion followed Austin outside the ring and began to deliver some chops of his own to the chest of Austin. Steve Austin attempted to gather himself by walking up the ramp, away from the ring. Jericho ran up towards Austin straight away, knowing that this could be a vital moment and that he had to continue to attack to the Texas Rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin flipped the switch and brought the brutal attach to Jericho up on the ramp. Austin lured Jericho up to the stage and threw Jericho’s body into the stage, causing serious damage. Austin carried Jericho back to the ringside area, seemingly in complete control of the match at this point. Austin attempted to drive Jericho into the barriers, but Jericho responded with a reversal and more hard-hitting chops to the chest of Austin.
The two superstars made their way back into the ring and fought towards the corner turnbuckle, Austin propped Jericho up onto the turnbuckle. He performed a super-plex (suplex from an elevated height) to his opponent. Austin then performed the exact same move from the opposite turnbuckle on the other side of the ring, causing massive damage to the back of Chris Jericho. Austin then performed a third super-plex. How was Chris Jericho still standing? Jericho somehow gained an advantage in the match, knocking Austin onto his back, which allowed Jericho to drive his arms into the face of Steve Austin. Jericho continued the assault, desperate to retain the WWE Undisputed Championship. Austin then had a burst of adrenaline as he brought the attack to Jericho once again. In weeks before this match, Austin went on records to say that he ‘needs’ the WWE Undisputed Championship. Both of these men were desperate to be Champion at WrestleMania 18. Jericho locked in a choke-hold around the neck of Austin, grounding his opponent. Austin, feeling the energy of that fans, fought his way back into the match, knocked Jericho to the ground and attempted to performed Jericho’s signature move the Walls of Jericho to Jericho himself but it was reversed. Jericho found himself back in the driver seat and hit Austin with the Lionsault (leapfrog somersault).
Jericho would not let his momentum slow down as he brawled with Austin, then locked in his signature move the Walls of Jericho to Austin, desperate for the victory. Austin refused to tap out, crawling toward the bottom ring rope in hopes to grab the rope to force Jericho to release the move. Austin did manage to scramble to the bottom rope and wrap his hand tightly around it. The referee forced Jericho to release the submission. Jericho rolled out of the ring, grabbed his Championship and brought it into the ring. Austin anticipated that Jericho was going to pummel him with the Championship across the face, so he leapt onto Jericho taking him down. Austin grabbed Jericho and slammed him down to the mat onto of the Championship belt with a spine-buster when the referee wasn’t looking. Austin needed to take instant advantage in order to pick up the victory. Austin covered Jericho for the pinfall, Jericho somehow kicked out after a long two count! It had been such a close match, and there was no way of guessing who was going to go to WrestleMania 18 as the Undisputed Champion.
Austin attempted his signature Stone Cold Stunner, but Jericho reversed, then Jericho attempted a running bulldog, but Austin reversed and Jericho inadvertently knocked the referee out cold! Austin was unaware that the referee was incapacitated and locked Jericho into the Walls of Jericho and Jericho tapped out, Austin should be Champion! Austin had technically won the match, but there was no referee to officiate the victory. Austin was looking around for a referee, then from behind, Jericho towards Austin with the Championship belt in hand. Austin reversed the attack and delivered the Stone Cold Stunner! Austin had this match in the bag and was seconds away from being the new WWE Undisputed Champion. Then, like a pack of dogs, The N.W.O. charged to the ring to assault Stone Cold Steve Austin, Austin fought off Hogan, Hall and Nash, three on 1 for as long as his possibly could until the numbers game became too much and Austin was left beaten in the middle of the ring. As the N.W.O. slid out of the ring, Jericho slid back into the ring with a referee under his shoulder, Jericho covered Austin after the brutal attack from the N.W.O. to get the slow One-Two-Three! count from the referee Earl Hebner, once the referee counted three, he collapsed. Jericho retained his Championship and stole the victory thanks to the N.W.O who left Austin lifeless in the middle of the ring. What a match! What bunch of cowards the N.W.O. are.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Jericho scurried away after the match. The N.W.O. were not done with Austin. The N.W.O. continued to attack an already helpless Stone Cold Steve Austin. Once Hogan, Hall and Nash were through with the beat-down, hogan retrieved a black spray-paint tin from under the ring, The N.W.O. went on to shamelessly brand the Texas Rattlesnake, by spraying the letters N-W-O on the back of Steve Austin.
The poison had been injected into the veins of the WWE.