December 7, 2009
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

No Way Out
February 17, 2002
Bradley Center
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 15,291
Buy Rate: 1.10
Announcers: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler

Sunday Night Heat
Diamond Dallas Page (Paige Falkinburg) defeats Big Boss Man (Ray Traylor)

Pay Per View

Fun Fact: After Vince McMahon’s loss to Ric Flair at the Royal Rumble, McMahon started to crack. He was devastated that Ric Flair had effectively taken over his company. On the 1/24 Smackdown Vince spent the show talking in the mirror to himself, saying he has to give the WWF, “his creation”, a dose of “terminal Cancer.” At the end of that show he spun his chair around, and the letters “NWO” were painted in white on the back of the black chair. Then video vignettes would air at intermittent times of the three NWO members. On the 1/28 Raw, Vince told Ric Flair to sell his half of the company or the NWO would be on its way. Flair begged Vince to not do this, and then played one of the WWF’s greatest video packages: The History of WWE piece done to Kid Rock’s “Lonely Road of Faith.” It was one of the first times that the WWF really embraced their history to the public, and they’ve been doing it ever since.

Fun Fact II: Well what to say about our 3 returning “heroes”. We’ll start with the Outsiders, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. The former Razor Ramon last was on PPV at the Good Friends, Better Enemies show in April 1996, losing a hard fought match to Vader. On the May 26, 1996 episode of Monday Nitro, during a match between The Mauler Mike Enos and Steve Doll, Scott Hall came out talking like Razor Ramon. That ended quickly when lawsuits were about to be handed out by the WWE. That was during the show, and at the end of the show he would confront Eric Bischoff and warn him that next week, he would bring “the big man”. Sure enough the following week he would be back with his partner, Kevin Nash. The former Diesel’s last PPV match was at the same Good Friends Better Enemies show when he lost a WWF Title match to fellow clique member Shawn Michaels. Both these guys would cause havoc in WCW during their tenure. They would be tag team champions, as well as win singles crowns. Nash would be a multi-time world champ, and Hall would win the US Title. Despite tremendous financial success, not all was roses with Hall and Nash. Hall would battle personal demons throughout his tenure, often ending off screen and in rehab. His alcohol issues would even become part of storylines. Nash’s vice was power, not booze as both men would be involved in the worst backstage promotion politics in the history of the business, but more on that later in the year when another WCW character makes his WWF debut. Their appearances in WCW would be galvanized by the third charter member of the NWO. Read the next fun fact.

Fun Fact III: The third member of the vaunted NWO was Hollywood Hulk Hogan. After his ugly departure from Stamford in 1993, Hogan began starring in Thunder in Paradise on TNT. It was during that time that Ric Flair brokered a meeting between Hogan and Eric Bischoff, the head of WCW. Soon, a deal was reached and Hogan was the WCW Champion, knocking off Flair. Hogan and his cronies would dominate WCW for the next year and a half, but in early 1996, his act was already wearing thin on the fans. After dropping the WCW title, Hogan decided to take some time off to freshen up his character. During that time, Hall and Nash showed up and began to invade WCW. They soon began promising the debut of a third man and at the 1996 Bash at the Beach, that third man was revealed to be Hogan. Fully embracing his new heel Hollywood persona, Hogan quickly became the most hated man in wrestling. He was hated by the smart fans for his backstage politicking and poor workrate and he was hated by the non-internet fans as well due to his heel shtick. After a two years of dominance and a brief retirement, Hogan returned to once win the WCW title in the infamous Fingerpoke incident on the 1/4/99 Nitro. By this point, Hogan was starting to become stale again so he ditched the black and white and turned back to his Real American roots. After a brief spike in interest, Hogan and WCW as a whole began to fade as WWF surged. After Eric Bischoff was fired in late 1999, WCW snagged Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera from the WWF and put them in charge of creative. Right out of the box, things went south for Hogan as Russo and Ferrera vowed to focus on elevating young talent and using the aging WCW stalwarts to put them over. After Hogan had a brief feud with Billy Kidman where he lost matches without really putting Kidman over, Vince Russo finally decided he had enough. At Bash at the Beach 2000, Hogan pulled a power play backstage and rumors swirled that he was refusing to drop the title. So, Russo set up one of his infamous worked shoots and had Hogan go out to the ring to lie down for Jeff Jarrett. Hogan was told it was all an angle and he would take some time off to recharge and then return and feud with Jarrett over who the true champion was. Things didn’t go quite that way though, as Russo went to the ring and totally ripped Hogan apart in a shoot interview, even trashing on Hogan’s lack of hair. Hogan was not pleased and immediately sued Russo and WCW. BATB 2000 was his final WCW appearance, four years after his heel turn. In 2001, Hogan and Jimmy Hart tried to start up their own promotion called the XWF. As soon as things were getting off the ground, Vince came calling for Hogan to save his sagging business once again and Hogan couldn’t turn him down. Nine years had gone by but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

*** Right as the show began the lights started to flicker and in something we never thought would happen in this or any other lifetime. Out come Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and yes…Hulk Hogan. The New World Order makes its WWF debut. They get into the ring amid expected cheers. All three men would pretty much say that they know no one likes them, and that’s expected. They just want to make a legitimate impact and make the World Wrestling Federation better. The entire promo was dripping in insincerity as the three men talked about wanting a clean slate and wanting to be in with the boys. The cheers for Hogan were odd to say the least. This won’t be the last time we’ll see these men tonight. ***

1) The Acolytes win a Tag Team Turmoil match

Eliminations:
Lance Storm (Lance Evers) & Christian (Jay Reso) defeat Albert (Matt Bloom) & Scotty 2 Hotty (Scott Garland) when Christian pins Scotty with an Unprettier at 2:56
The Hardy Boys beat Lance Storm & Christian when Jeff Hardy pins Storm with the Swanton Bomb at 5:40
The Hardy Boys beat the Dudley Boys when Matt Hardy pins D-Von Dudley (Devon Hughes) with an Inside Cradle at 9:56
Billy (Monte Sop) & Chuck (Chuck Palumbo) beat The Hardy Boys when Billy pins Matt Hardy with a Fameasser at 10:17
The Acolytes beat Billy & Chuck when Bradshaw (John Layfield) pins Billy with the Clothesline from Hell at 14:05

Fun Fact: The Hardy Boys had been off TV since their return at the Royal Rumble. They had fought on house shows since January and going forward they are back on TV full time.

Fun Fact II: Towards the end of the Invasion storyline, Chuck Palumbo was kicked out of the Alliance. In response, he defected to the WWF, and began teaming with Billy Gunn. After the Invasion ended, the duo were turned heel and a storyline began in which Palumbo and Gunn became affectionate toward each other, subtly hinting of a homosexual relationship, but not outright saying it. The duo adopted matching red ring gear and bleached their hair with Chuck beginning to wear pigtails.

Scott: Our opener is a solid enough match but a really strange ending. If you look at the teams involved, the freshest one is Billy & Chuck, formed together towards the end of the Invasion. The Hardy Boys are back together and look great as always. Lance Storm & Christian are a pretty fresh team of good young Canadian talent. Even Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert were a fresh cool team. So who wins this match? The oldest, stalest, and most worn out team of the bunch wins, of course. Bradshaw needs to break out on his own and be a singles competitor, and Faarooq needed to walk away. He was stiff, injured, and broken down. So they become the #1 contender, but use it before Wrestlemania and we see another such match like this next month in Toronto. A good enough match, but I have no idea why they would have a broken down team like the APA win when the other four teams are fresher and more talented. Grade: 2

Justin: Our opening bout is a multi team affair to determine the top contenders for the tag team straps. Scotty & Albert kicked things off with Storm & Christian and Albert was actually still pretty over at this point. All four men kept a quick pace until Christian was able to pin Scotty to eliminate them. The Hardys come out next to a loud pop and are finally set to be back in the groove full time. They execute some great teamwork before polishing off Storm. The Dudleys were up next and the four men would put on their usual solid match, working in all the old spots. The highlight came when Stacy and Lita got into a catfight. Matt would eventually pin D-Von as the Hardys looked to be rolling. Billy & Chuck were out next and easily move on after the Dudleys assault Jeff and polish him off with the 3D on the floor. The APA was out last and they were as stiff as always. The match would slow down a bit and the crowd would ebb and flow with the pace of the match. A huge Clothesline from Hell would finish the match and give a shocking win to the aging APA. As Scott said, an APA win didn’t seem to make much sense here, especially with the red hot Hardys and the fresh Billy & Chuck in the mix. Alas, they pick up the win and become the number one contender for the tag belts. Grade: 2

*** Ric Flair and Undertaker have a brief confrontation backstage. ***

2) Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) defeats Goldust (Dustin Runnels) with the Frog Splash at 11:06

Fun Fact: On the 2/4 Raw, after RVD defeated Bubba Ray Dudley in a match, a Goldust vignette came up on the Titantron and Goldust cut a promo on RVD, then snuck into the ring and attacked him. On the 2/11 Raw, RVD attacked Goldust during his match with Rikishi. Goldust had been making veiled threats about attacking a major rising star and many net fans assumed he was talking about the Rock before the reveal occurred.

Scott: Rob Van Dam was on such a roll once he debuted in mid-2001 during the Invasion. He lost at No Mercy, but still looked strong at the end of the year, but here he faces someone who, although we’re happy is back, shouldn’t be in this spot. I thought the natural opponent, if you were going to pick from the two returning stars, was Mr. Perfect. Come on, what a great storyline Mr. Perfect vs. Mr. Monday night would have been to start just after the Rumble? Mr. Perfect looked great at the Rumble while he was going toe to toe with the big studs of the promotion. Goldust looked good, but was in the beginning with the other afterthoughts. So why put RVD in a feud with Goldust, when logistically it really didn’t make any sense? The match itself wasn’t bad but I found it dull and the crowd was a little flat throughout. I think the whole specter of the NWO backstage kind of flattened the undercard for some reason, and it would continue for the next couple of matches. Sure the crowd picked up when he hit the Frog Splash, but otherwise the match was nothing special. Grade: 2

Justin: RVD was still mightily over with the crowd despite being pushed down the card a bit to battle Goldust here. While it was a step down for RVD, though, it was a big match for the returning Goldust. He had worked himself into good shape and earned a contract after the Rumble and was out to prove his worth here. He works hard and takes all of RVD’s signature spots. Goldust would finally ground RVD and methodically work the back. The crowd actually stays in it for the most part, mainly trying to rally RVD. The finish was solid and the bout told a nice, simple story. While it wasn’t the biggest win of his career, the victory was still a solid PPV win for RVD as he rolls towards Wrestlemania. Grade: 2.5

*** Backstage, the NWO runs into Steve Austin and they place nice, with Hall even offering Austin a six pack of beer. ***

3) Spike Dudley (Matt Hyson) & Tazz (Peter Senerchia) defeats Booker T (Booker Huffman) & Test (Andrew Martin) to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Tazz forces Test to submit to the Tazmission at 7:17

Scott: This is a complete 180 degree turn from their match with the Dudleys last month at the Royal Rumble. There they were fresh underdogs who just beat the big bad bullies, the Dudley Boys, the crowd was hot for them, and they responded with a big win. Here however, they’re facing a decent but heatless Booker/Test team, and now Tazz and Spike feel like just another team. The match had a similar feel to the previous match. It wasn’t bad at all, in fact I’ve enjoyed Tazz’s in-ring run here, as he’s carried the major portion of the matches while Spike is mostly in peril. However the crowd wasn’t totally into it, again feeling maybe the NWO would come in and interfere or something. They just didn’t totally embrace it. That affects the whole package, and it gets an average grade. This experiment was nice, but it was time for the run of the plucky underdogs to come to an end. Grade: 2

Justin: Tazz and Spike are still the champions and still over with the fans. Test and Booker are former champions during their time in the Alliance and they decided to team back up and try and recapture the gold. Tazz and Spike were thought to be short term champions, but they gelled and got over so the underdogs became the standard. Test and Booker would use their size to dominate Spike for the majority of the match before a brawl broke out towards the closing moments. After being quiet for most of the match, the crowd wakes up for the Tazmission and gives the champs a nice pop as their miracle run continues. Test and Booker would go their separate ways here but continue to flounder a bit in the mid card as the year goes on. Grade: 2

4) William Regal (Darren Matthews) defeats Edge (Adam Copeland) in a brass knuckles on a poll match to retain WWF Intercontinental Title when Regal uses a second pair of knucks at 10:25

Scott: Since losing the IC Title to Regal at the Royal Rumble, Edge and Regal have gone toe-to-toe with every show from then till now. It’s been a pretty solid rivalry and the matches have been good. This one finally has the crux of the storyline as the focal point: The brass knuckles. They helped Regal win the title last month in Atlanta, and this month he helps himself to them again. This time they’re on a pole and Edge actually gets them. Of course that’s not good enough for Regal, so he pulls a second pair out and whacks Edge out of referee’s view, and retains his title. It’s a pretty good match, and one that was done simply to set up another person to take Regal out at Wrestlemania. I think we know who that person is, and his initials are…well let’s just say he already wrestled tonight and beat Goldust. As for Edge, he takes a back seat to have an unusual feud with another superstar with effectively nothing to do. Grade: 2.5

Justin: The crowd wakes up a bit here as a fired up Edge comes out to regain his gold from Regal. This has been a solid feud that I think time has been good too. At the time, many people didn’t think these two meshed and thought the feud was a bit flat, but looking back the matches were pretty stiff and entertaining and both men worked hard. Early on, it was a usual pole match with a lot of back and forth action. Regal finally slowed Edge up and began wearing him down, punctuating the beating with a sick powerbomb on the floor. Regal would continue to work the midsection to set up the Regal stretch. Once the knucks hit the mat, the two men had a fun battle over them. Edge eventually started bleeding from his mouth due to being busted up inside and Regal was able to put him away when he pulled out a second pair of knucks. After running for three months, this feud was finally over and Regal leaves with the IC belt around his waist as Edge was left to contemplate his next move. Grade: 2.5

5) The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) defeats Undertaker (Mark Callaway) with the Rock Bottom at 17:25

Fun Fact: This started innocently enough when the Rock made fun of Undertaker for getting eliminated at the Royal Rumble by the rookie Maven. Taker didn’t take too kindly to being disrespected or the Rock’s jokes in general. On the 1/31 Smackdown Rock put Taker through an announce table with a Rock Bottom after a tag match. On the 2/4 Raw Taker hit Rock in the head with a steel pipe during a tag match between Taker/Jericho and Rock/Austin. The big turning point of the feud was the 2/7 Smackdown when Rock helped Maven defeat Undertaker for the Hardcore Championship and later in the show Taker tombstoned Rock on the roof of a limo.

Scott: During the Attitude Era, there were so many combinations of wrestlers that put on outstanding matches. Rock and Undertaker, did not. Their match at the 1999 King of the Ring was memorably bad, mostly because Taker was in awful shape physically. When Taker came back in 2000 he was in brutal shape, but he and Rock were on the same side then, as were they during the Invasion of 2001. Now Taker is the heel feeling disrespected, and Rock is well…Rock. I felt this match wasn’t that great the first time I watched it, but for some reason watching it again I feel that they gave 100% and really made the match watchable. Taker is definitely out of his funk from 2000-01 where every match was a slow and unwatchable. Rock wins and prepares himself for what will be the biggest match of his career. Taker moves on to a big match against the greatest of all time. If you get a chance, watch this match again and see if you think that it’s better than what a Rock/Taker match had been in the past. Grade: 2.5

Justin: With a new attitude, Undertaker had also begun utilizing a new weapon of choice: the lead pipe. He used it to work the Rock over in the weeks leading up to the match and it would come into play here once again. Throughout the match, Jim Ross was sure to discuss the McMahon/Undertaker alliance that had been forged. Rock’s pops were slowing up at this point and he was actually even booed at certain points in this match. The match started hot and was hard hitting as they eventually brawled around the arena, which felt a bit overbooked here. Taker would finally battle back and things would expectedly slow down a bit as he worked Rock’s back. Despite that pace in the middle, Taker was finally able to work a faster match overall due to his improved conditioning during this period. The fans would get back behind work during his comeback, which was impeccably timed as always. Taker finally got desperate and grabbed his pipe, but Ric Flair came down to stop him. Taker was able to fight Flair off and knock him down with the pipe. This opening allowed for Vince to make an appearance, but Flair would recover and smash Taker with the pipe. Rock would take advantage and hit the Rock Bottom to pick up the win. I definitely agree with Scott in that this was a much better watch after multiple viewings and the overbooking helped cover for the lack of chemistry between these two. Rock now moves on to a mega feud while Taker turns his attention to the man that cost him the bout tonight. Grade: 3

6) Kurt Angle defeats Triple H (Paul Levesque) to earn a WWF Championship match at Wrestlemania with an Angle Slam after a chairshot at 14:40

Fun Fact: Triple H made his big return at the 1/7 Raw at Madison Square Garden and then won the Royal Rumble to get his Wrestlemania title shot. However he had been distant from his wife Stephanie since his return and no mention was made of her owning ECW and the Invasion. Triple H didn’t want to deal with her nonsense and wanted to focus on his match at Wrestlemania. On the 1/29 Smackdown, Stephanie said there was no tension in their marriage and that she’s found a way to prove that Triple H still loves her. On the 2/4 Raw, Stephanie said that, to prove to the world that they really did love each other, she and Triple H would renew their wedding vows the following Monday. Triple H responded by saying it was a dumb idea and it didn't need to be on live TV, even if it did happen; moments later, after she started to cry, Stephanie admitted that she was pregnant. After some hesitation, Triple H became ecstatic upon hearing the news. So they would renew their vows and have a new child in the family. However on the day of the ceremony, the 2/11 Raw from Jonesboro, Arkansas, Triple H was given a video tape from Linda McMahon via Arn Anderson. Linda would call Triple H when he put the tape in and it was revealed that the doctor was an actor as the tape showed him in a travel commercial. Stephanie lied about the baby to keep Triple H close. So during the ceremony, with Steph’s bountiful breasts popping out, Triple H said that he’s going to say exactly what she truly is…A No Good Lying Bitch! He hit the line perfectly and Steph was stunned. Triple H uncovered the plot, destroyed the set and Pedigreed Vince. Stephanie let out an evil howl and immediately inserted herself as the special referee for this match, which Kurt Angle got a couple of weeks before due to the fact he felt screwed at the Rumble.

Scott: This match was a complete shock, but then again it wasn’t. Sure the stars were aligned for Triple H to win the match, dispatch of Kurt and move on to Wrestlemania to face Chris Jericho or Steve Austin. Although with Stephanie as referee you knew some shenanigans were going to occur, and they did. So Triple H indeed loses the match and his Wrestlemania title shot. Now let’s turn back the clock 2 years. The Rock had his title shot, but thanks to a McMahon he lost the shot to Big Show at No Way Out in Hartford. That did two things: create a big upset, and create intrigue for the title match that night. We saw what happened after that, so once the shock wore off I realized Triple H would get it back at some point, but it was just a question of when. The match wasn’t bad, but again this was like Rock and Undertaker in that they never seemed to click in the ring. Their problem usually was that their storyline would wreck the flow of the match and make it average, when it could have been very good. There is too much Triple H/Stephanie bantering and it led to the match having no rhythm. Once again just like in 2000 we have a big upset, but will that change the result of our next match? Grade: 2.5

Justin: For the third year in a row, Triple H and Kurt Angle are embroiled in an emotional PPV match with a lot at stake. The jilted Stephanie was the referee here and you just knew she was going to make her presence felt throughout. Triple H is just way too big here and it is still affecting his ring work as he is much slower and stiffer in his movements. Kurt had some great heat on him here as he looked to take Hunter’s Wrestlemania title shot. Steph would fast count Triple H every chance she got and Kurt would use all of her distractions to control most of the match. Eventually, though, Kurt would accidentally knock Steph out and it was then Hunter’s turn to take over. Steph would be taken away and after some back and forth she made her return, much to the dismay of the fans. Fortunately for them, it would be short lived as she gets knocked out again. Hunter would nail the Pedigree but Steph recovers in time to break the count and screw her husband. Kurt would take advantage one more time by using a chair and hitting the Angle slam to steal the match and title shot. The match was solid and had a surprise finish as Hunter is now out of Wrestlemania and Kurt ascends to the main event throne. The question now, though, was if Kurt would survive with his title shot in tact until the WWF arrived in Toronto. Grade: 2.5

*** Backstage the NWO runs into the Rock and one of the funniest backstage segments of the decade goes down. After the NWO makes nice and Hogan gets a picture with the Rock for his son, Hogan makes a comment about his son’s taste to Hall and Nash. Rock overhears him and proceeds to rip all three men apart, bringing up Razor Ramon, Diesel and Hogan’s demandments. It was fantastic stuff. ***

7) Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) defeats Steve Austin (Steve Williams) to retain WWF Undisputed Title after a Scott Hall stunner at 21:34

Fun Fact: Steve Austin defeated Kurt Angle on the 1/28 Raw to earn the shot here. Jericho came out after the match, but he was met with a Stunner to officially kick off the build up. They would spend the next few weeks landing shots on each other and battling each other in tag matches, but the build up was pretty basic overall.

Scott: Our main event is a fresh match of two guys who haven’t met in the ring often. They did meet in the main event at Vengeance but both guys had wrestled already and were spent. Now they were both fresh and ready to go. Austin is still cranking, and Jericho has done his best to be a credible Undisputed Champion. His match with the Rock at the Royal Rumble was awesome, but by then the two of them were in perfect chemistry. Austin is a little different than Rock, with more strikes and a slower pace due to his cranky neck. Still Jericho did a good job being the heel and dictating the pace against Austin. Sure Jericho has been around for over a decade, but this is relatively new to Y2J: Actually main eventing a big time show with one of the all-time greats. Of course who is it that we haven’t mentioned in a few matches? Remember the six pack of beer? Sure enough as Austin is about to finish Jericho off out comes the NWO to beat Austin down. Hall hits Austin with a Stunner and Jericho escapes with the Title. Afterwards Hogan, Hall and Nash beat Austin down and spray painted “NWO” on the Rattlesnake’s back. This would begin Austin’s Wrestlemania storyline, but it would also be the genesis of his issues with the company’s creative direction of his character. For now, Austin’s screwed, and Jericho heads to Wrestlemania. Grade: 2.5

Justin: After an interesting and historic night, it was main event time. Jericho had been a hard working champion and he had looked pretty good working with the selfless Rock, but things take a turn for the worse here. As Austin was starting to feel pain in his neck again, he began to become paranoid about his spot on the card. He felt like he was starting to fade a bit as Triple H and Rock were top dogs on the face side along with him. Therefore, Austin wasn’t fully giving of himself here and almost seemed afraid to let Jericho ever really get control of the match or be made to look weak. It was even somewhat worked into his character as JR kept hammering home that Austin was a “drug addict for the title” and would do anything to take the gold. He does out pop the Rock on this night, though, as he receives a huge ovation upon his entrance. Despite not really getting much here, Jericho finally seems like a legit main eventer and looks the part of top champion. Austin would control for a while and the usual main event style brawl would seep into the match. In a sick little series, Austin would take Jericho down with three superplexes, but the champion would not give in. Jericho would then get his chance at some offense and the crowd actually stayed with the match the whole way through. The problem with this portion of the match is that it seemed more like Jericho was hanging in there than controlling. Despite retaining the belt, I would venture to say this match hurt Jericho’s credibility as champion, credibility that he had worked hard to earn since late last year. Austin would pop Jericho with the belt and got a super close near fall. Jericho would look weak again when he tapped and got pinned with a Stunner when the referee was out. Finally, the NWO would reappear and jump Austin. Austin would then fight off all three men for a few minutes before they finally put him down and give Jericho the cheap win. The NWO would strike again after the match and beat Austin down to the end the show. For the first time since his rise to the top, Austin is really starting to get paranoid about his legacy and his spot and he took it out on Jericho and the NWO here. He made Jericho look weak throughout and also made the reputedly badass NWO look weak by fighting all three of them off after a 20 minute championship match. The match itself was entertaining, but the politics behind it really leave a bad taste in your mouth. Grade: 2.5

FINAL ANALYSIS:

Scott: The prelude to Wrestlemania XVIII had its good points and bad points. The shocking and exciting debut of the NOW, and in particular Hulk Hogan’s return to the WWF after 9 years, added some sizzle to the show, and the last three matches were all very entertaining. The undercard however had very little energy because of the New World Order. With every match the crowd seemed to think that these guys were going to come out and raise havoc. So essentially they held their breath and sat on their hands. The Tag Turmoil match was good, but with all this new influx of teams around, why give it to the stale APA? They end up using this title shot before Wrestlemania, so in the end it didn’t matter but that was strange. The RVD/Goldust match wasn’t bad but I thought they should have put Mr. Perfect in this role instead as that would have been a great match between old school and new school. You knew the clock was ticking on Tazz and Spike as tag champs but the match here was ok. Edge loses his rematch with William Regal and he moves on to defend his belt at Wrestlemania. Edge takes on an unusual feud from here, but he would be vaulted back up a notch shortly. The last three matches with the “big six” were good but not great, again because these matchups, except Austin/Jericho, usually don’t give you five star matches. Again the specter of the NWO tempered the energy of the matches, until finally they made their presence felt in the main event. I’ll grade down the middle on this one: Not a terrible show, but even with the huge debuts in the beginning the energy level was tempered and hurt the matches. Final Grade: C+

Justin: Well, this is a fairly historic show based on the return of Hogan, Hall and Nash but outside of that moment, there isn’t much more to write home about. The matches were all solid as none were bad and none were great and each bout clocked in between a two and a three for a grade, so that about sums it up. Kurt Angle has to be the big winner here as he nabs Triple H’s Wrestlemania title shot and as of now, he is set to face Chris Jericho in Toronto. Speaking of Jericho, after months of Rock putting him over and making him a star, Steve Austin starts to chip away at him by making him look weak all throughout their match. Austin’s paranoia will only grow worse with each passing weak and Jericho’s credibility would take a huge hit as well during that time. The Flair/Vince feud continued as they got involved in the Rock/Undertaker match. Rock picked up the win thanks to Flair, and we just know that isn’t going to make the American Badass very happy. In regard to Flair and Vince, something has to give in their struggle, and it will eventually come in the form of a major restructuring of the company. Overall, the show is entertaining enough, but definitely won’t blow you away. The Rock/NWO promo was the true highlight of what should have been a monumental show. Final Grade: C

MVP: Kurt Angle
Runner Up: NWO
Non MVP: Steve Austin
Runner Up: Triple H

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