September 13, 2009
No Way Out 2003, February 23, 2003, Bell Centre, Montreal, QC
Announcers: The teams of: Jonathan Coachman & Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole & Tazz
Well, tonight the WWE returns to Montreal for the Breaking Point PPV, so hereís a look back at a previous PPV from that city. Itís not the most well known show from Montreal, but perhaps Iíll get to that one in time. Meanwhile letís get right in to No Way Out 2003.
Opening Match: Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy
At this point they were building a feud between Jericho and Shawn Michaels for Wrestlemania and Shawn had been acting as something of a mentor to Jeff, so the result is this matchup here. Jericho has also demanded that Shawn be banned from ringside, which Raw GM Eric Bischoff has agreed to. Clean break opens things up and then they go into a sequence of trading holds which ends with Jericho slapping Jeff. Jeff responds by knocking Jericho around, then nailing a backdrop and headscissors. Jericho comes back with a clothesline and back suplex followed by some chops. He misses a charge and goes out which leads to a springboard sommersault by Jeff to the floor. Back in, Jeff gets a springboard legdrop. Jericho bails, but takes a baseball slide anyways. Jeff misses the running rail dive and Jericho then drops him on the stairs. Thereís definitely a sizeable pro-Jericho part if the crowd tonight, but Jeff isnít really being booed or anything and does have his supporters too. Jeff rolls through a slam attempt and gets 2, but Jericho is right back on him with a dropkick and rear chinlock. Jeff gets up, but Jericho drags him down by the hair. He misses another charge in the corner, hitting the post this time. Jeff slugs away and hits a flying forearm (Shawn Michaels influence?). He then hits a Codebreaker, but itís before Jericho adopted that move. It only gets 2 and then Jericho gets him with a dropkick. Bulldog puts Jeff down, but the Lionsault hits knees. Jeff gets a DDT for 2, and then connects with Whisper in the Wind for another 2. Ensiguiri misses and allows Jericho to hook the Walls. Jeff struggles, and does eventually make the ropes for the break. Jericho goes up, but Jeff slams him off leading to the Swanton, which hits, but Jericho gets his foot on the ropes at 2. The ref gets in between them, which lets Jericho take advantage and try for the Walls again, but Jeff cradles him for 2. Jericho gets sent to the corner and tries to leap back off, but gets hit with a dropkick. Jeff goes up for another Swanton, but this one misses. Lionsault hits, but only gets 2. Jeff escapes a slam and gets a rollup for 2 and Jericho in turn gets his own (with his feet on the ropes of course) for 2 as well. Jericho goes up, but gets crotched. Jeff tries a rana, which is countered to a powerbomb and that leaves Jeff easy pickings to be put back in the Walls again. He struggles, but this time thereís No Way Out and he gives up at 13:00. After the bell, Jericho wonít release the hold though, so Shawn Michaels runs out for the save, but in turn he gets jumped by Jerichoís running buddy Christian. Shawn gets booed initially, but after he makes his comeback and clears Jericho and Christian from the ring the fans switch and start cheering. As for the match, it was a pretty good one and a really good way to open the show. ***1/2
Back in the locker room, Kurt Angle give Haas and Benjamin a pep talk in preparation for their six man later on against Lesnar, Benoit, and Edge. Apparently he has a plan, but just as heís about to reveal it, the camera cuts to the parking lot where Evolution is arriving. HHH has a confident look on his face for his match later with Scott Steiner.
World Tag Team Championship Match: William Regal & Lance Storm vs. Rob Van Dam & Kane
Regal and Storm are doing the foreign patriots gimmick, representing the UK and Canada respectively, but donít get any sort of a positive reaction here. Strom and RVD start out. RVD gets a monkey flip with Storm landing on his feet, but RVD kicks him down anyways. Tag to Regal who trades wristlocks with RVD for a bit but then takes a spin kick and split legged moonsault for 2. Tag to Kane with RVD monkey flipping Regal out of the corner and Kane hitting a legdrop for 2. Slam gets 2 with Storm saving. Regal seems legit dazed for a moment and Storm has to steal a tag to keep things going. Replay shows that Regal landed on the back of his head on that bodyslam. Storm takes a press slam, followed by a clothesline for 2. Tag RVD and Kane uses a powerslam to setup Rolling Thunder, but Storm rolls out. They then change plans and Kane whips RVD over the top right onto Strom. Back in, a slingshot legdrop gets 2. Strom tags Regal, who appears to be okay now. He takes a series of kicks from RVD, who then goes up, but gets shoved off into the barrier by Storm. Storm then gets him back in where he takes a half nelson suplex. Tag to Storm who stomps RVD down for 2. Dropkick gets another 2 and then Storm tags Regal who drops a knee for three separate 2 counts. RVD gets him with a sunset flip, but Storm got the tag before he got Regal over and so Storm hits a DDT for 2. Legdrop gets another 2 before RVD comes back with a rollup for his own 2. Regal gets a tag and cuts off RVD. Kane then goes after Storm on the floor and misses a chance to tag, but it kind of ruins the effect when he gets back and gets the tag anyways moments later. So now Kane is the house afire, destroying both Regal and Storm at will. Side slam on Regal gets 2 with Storm having to save by jumping on Kaneís back. While there, he twists Kaneís mask around. RVD steals the tag and hits a spin kick on Regal, but Storm shoves him in to Kane, and while blinded by the mask being turned, Kane chokeslams his own partner. Regal covers and gets the 3 count to retain the Titles at 9:21. After the match, Kane and RVD argue with RVD walking out on him. Nothing special here, but it was pretty decent. **
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Billy Kidman vs. Matt Hardy Version 1 (w/Shannon Moore)
Did you know that Matt is annoyed by snow and ice and that he takes hot tea with milk and sweetener? Finally Iíll be able to sleep at night. The setup here was that Matt had lost a match to Kidman on Smackdown, so he decided to lose the necessary weight and get revenge by taking Kidmanís championship away. Matt stars by mocking Kidman after an armdrag. They trade hammerlocks with Matt slamming out of it, but then taking two armdrags and a rana. Kidman gets tossed to the apron and then sent to the post. Matt then drops some elbows on the apron and gets a 1 count. Elbow off an Irish whip, and fistdrop also get 1ís. Neckbreaker gets him closer with a 2. Kidman slides through on a whip and gets a cradle for 2, but then he takes another neckbreaker for another 2. Rope straddle also gets 2 and then after a brief Kidman comeback gets cut off, the Ricochet gets another 2. Now Kidman gets a real comeback with an ensiguiri and a couple of clotheslines to setup a sitdown powerbomb for 2. Matt comes back out of the corner with a clothesline and then hits the 2nd rope legdrop for 2. Twist of Fate is blocked and Kidman dropkicks him to the floor. He follows with a dive and then goes back in, but Matt kicks him coming off the top. Kidman gets a cradle anyways and gets 2. Moore gets on the apron and Matt shoves Kidman into him to setup the Side Effect for a 2 count. Moore is on the apron again, but this time Kidman uses that to his advantage and pushes off him in hitting a bulldog. He goes for the Shooting Star Press, but Matt moves out of the way. Twist of Fate hits, but Kidman kicks out at 2. Matt then sets Kidman up for a Twist off the top, but gets shoved down. Moore gets involved again, grabbing the leg, and thatís all the time Matt needs as he gets back up there and hits the Twist off the top for the 3 count to win the Title at 9:33. Pretty good match, although as usual no one cared because they were simply taught not to care about this division. **1/2
The Big Show (w/Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker
Show tossed Taker off the stage a few months back so Taker could take some time off, but now heís back and looking for revenge. Taker goes right after him on the floor, but gets caught coming off the apron and run to the post. Back in, Taker catches him and then drops some elbows on the apron. He grabs a chair, but the ref intervenes and Show takes advantage by punching the chair back in Takerís face. Itís a good thing he got the chair up too because otherwise this one would be over. Show gets some choking in the corner. He sends Taker to the corner, but misses a charge. Taker tries a slam, but Show falls on top for 2. Show goes to work on the back as the announcers mention that all of Takerís finishers (Tombstone, Last Ride, Chokeslam) all involve lifting the opponent and are rendered useless by an injured back. Show drops elbows for 2 and then hooks a bearhug. Taker fights out of that, but runs right into a side slam for 2. Show uses headbutts to bust Taker open. Taker fires back and gets some bodyblocks in the corner. He sets up the chokeslam, but canít get it and instead gets headbutted down. Show misses a clothesline and Taker hits one of his own for 2. The ropewalk hits and sets up another chokeslam try, but Taker still canít get him up. Show shoves the ref away, but that allows Taker to hit a low blow and DDT for 2. Now he sets up the Last Ride, but Show shoves him off the ropes and nails a spinebuster for 2. Snake Eyes, followed by a clothesline also gets 2. He sets up a press slam, but Taker counters and takes him down with a dragon sleeper. Heyman distracts the ref, so Taker lets go and goes after him, but now A-Train comes out as well. Taker knocks him down and then dives on both he and Heyman. Back in the ring, Taker takes the chokeslam, but when Show moves in for the cover, Taker hooks him in a triangle choke. This was one of the first times Taker used that move and itís not over with the crowd at all although the announcers are putting it over big. Indeed the crowd seems pretty surprised when Show goes out and Taker is declared the winner at 14:07. The finish was different, but it did fit in well with the established story of Taker having to find something different to do with the rest of his arsenal neutralized. **
Backstage we see Edge getting hauled out on a stretcher. Noted amateur paramedic Stephanie McMahon says sheíll take care of him because Lesnar and Benoit have to go for their match next. Perhaps not coincidentally, Edge goes on to be out of action for over a year.
Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff and Chief Morley plot out what theyíre going to do to Steve Austin later on, but then Vince McMahon shows up and declares that he wants to see this match be one on one and anyone who interferes will be fired on the spot. This puts a worried look on Bischoffís face.
Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, & Charlie Haas (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit
Edge was supposed to be the third man on the babyface team, but heís out and so this will now be three on two. Angle is the WWE Champion at this point and Lesnar won the Royal Rumble last month so theyíre set to face off at Wrestlemania with this match acting as a preview of sorts. Haas and Benjamin are also the current WWE Tag Team Champions if that matters to anyone. Shelton and Benoit start by trading holds. Benoit gets sent off and hits a shoulderblock. He works Shelton over but takes a knee and Shelton tags Haas. Haas is met by a backdrop and clothesline and then Benoit tags Lesnar. Lesnar hits a suplex and hiptoss, and then demands that Haas tag Angle, but Angle want none of it. The distraction does allow Haas to attack, but then he takes a press slam. Shelton takes one too before Angle grabs Lesnar from the apron. Shelton then Superkicks Lesnar to finally put him down. Now Angle wants the tag and hooks a rear chinlock. This lasts awhile until Lesnar runs him to the corner to break. Tags to Shelton and Benoit with Benoit nailing clotheslines on both Shelton and Haas. He backdrops Shelton and then suplexes Haas onto him. Triple Germans on Shelton sets up a trip to the top, but Haas grabs the leg and Angle takes him down with a belly to belly suplex. Lesnar tries to get involved, but Shelton knocks him off the apron and he lands pretty hard on his shoulder but doesnít seem and worse for wear for it. Benoit gets caught in Team Angleís corner now. With Angle in, he and Benoit go into a nice fast series of pinfall reversals which ends with Angle hitting a German suplex for another 2. Haas and Shelton get some double teaming in now. Benoit comes back with some chops, but Shelton trips him up to prevent the tag. Eventually though, Benoit is able to kick him away and make the hot tag to Lesnar who destroys everyone. It quickly turns into an all out brawl with finishers being teased and broken up before finally Benoit hooks the Crossface on Haas. Lesnar, meanwhile, hits the F5 on Angle, but before we can see if he could have kicked out, Haas taps to the Crossface at 13:18. Neither Haas nor Benoit were the legal man at the time, but Iíll forgive that. Another good match here and this is a good way to get Wrestlemania opponents in the ring for a preview without giving too much away. ***
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H (w/Ric Flair) vs. Scott Steiner
Here we have a rematch from the classic they had at Royal Rumble where HHH got himself disqualified in order to hold on to the Title. He took a severe beating after the match so in the time since then, HHH has recruited Dave Batista and Randy Orton to form Evolution so that he has people to watch his back. HHH comes in with his leg all bandaged up, so Steiner goes right for it. The crowd here is very solidly behind HHH and very solidly against Steiner, but no effort is made by them to switch roles at any point. Steiner drops an elbow and then does the pushups to big heel heat. He then rips the bandage right off the leg and keeps working it over. The crowd chants ďSteiner sucksĒ as he rams the leg to the apron. Figure four is hooked but Flair rakes Steinerís eyes to break it. This draws Steiner out after him and he gets a shot in, but HHH then knocks him off the apron and into the stairs. Back in a neckbreaker gets 2 as the crowd now chants ďboringĒ. Another neckbreaker by HHH gets another 2. It breaks down into a slugfest with Steiner then hitting a belly to belly suplex. HHH then gets the boot up on the charge and tries a rollup with his feet on the ropes, but Earl Hebner wonít count. HHH shoves him, which gets the best positive reaction of anything in the match so far. Hebner decides against calling the DQ though because he knows that HHH would be more then happy to retain his Title that way, so HHH shoves him right down drawing another big pop. This has let Steiner recover though and he gets a backdrop and belly to belly for 2. HHH gets sent to the corner and goes over and out with Steiner following and sending him to the post. Back in the ring, another belly to belly gets another 2. He then sets HHH on top and hits a Samoan drop from there for 2 as Flair pulls him off to make the save. Steiner Recliner is hooked so Flair calls for the troops forcing Steiner to break the hold and fight off himself, Batista, and Orton. He clears the ring and Hebner goes to eject Evolution from ringside, but that lets HHH nail Steiner with the belt. It only gets 2, but then HHH just anti-climactically hits the Pedigree and that does get the 3 count to end it at 13:02. I havenít watched Rumble 03 in a long time, but I seem to remember the match there being much worse, which is saying something because this one was pretty brutal on its own. This would also mark the end of Steinerís run as a main eventer only two months after he was brought in with tons of hype. For the match, I will generously call it a DUD.
Eric Bischoff vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
This is Austinís big return from walking out on the company last spring as of course all was forgiven once they needed him for Wrestlemania. Here heís set to get revenge on the man who fired him from WCW all those years back, although considering how huge he became and how much money he made in the WWF, shouldnít he really be thanking Bischoff? Austin never appeared on TV in the buildup, so instead Bischoff beat up Austinís buddy Jim Ross (which is why we have Coachman doing commentary here in the first place), who returns to the announce table to watch the match. Bischoff pleads for Austin to accept a forfeit win, but Austin wants nothing to do with that and attacks. He beats the hell out of Bischoff at will until Bischoff comes back with a rake to the eyes and a karate kick which is just no sold anyways. Austin beats him up on the floor for a bit and then gets him back in for a Stunner which only gets 2 after Austin lofts Bischoff up. He does the same thing on a second Stunner before finally finishing Bischoff off with a third one at 4:24. Austin got a great reaction on his return here and of course beats Bischoff up some more after the match. For what it was, there was nothing wrong with it, but still itís only a DUD.
Main Event: The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan
Almost a year after their famous Wrestlemania X-8 match, they face each other again here tonight. Rock has turned heel upon his return here based on fan resentment towards him becoming successful in Hollywood and wrestling less and less as a result and is just awesome here as he settles back into the role like he never left it. Hogan, like Austin, had also walked out on the company the previous year over booking issues, but was also welcomed back because Vince was stoked about the idea of wrestling Hogan at Wrestlemania. Rock starts out with some stalling, and when he finally gets in he goes right back out to avoid a big boot. Rock wonít get in, so Hogan eventually chases and gets some shots in, but Rock stomps him coming back in. At this point the announcers acknowledge our referee for this match, Sylvain Grenier who is working the main event on his first night in the company. Good for him as that obviously means heís got what it takes. Hogan blocks a shot to the buckle and rams Rock in there ten times before knocking him to the floor. From there Rock drops him on the ropes and then he hits a Rock Bottom out of nowhere. Hogan kicks out at 2 and that spot drew surprisingly little heat. I guess the fans figured there was no way the finish was coming without involvement from Vince. Rock then puts on Hoganís bandana and steals the weight belt so he can whip Hogan repeatedly. Hogan comes back with a clothesline and gets some belt shots of his own. He sends Rock off the ropes, but gets kicked and hit with a DDT. Rock applies a Sharpshooter (tons of boos for that), but Hogan makes the ropes. Rock drags him back to the middle though where Hoganís arm drops twice before he powers up and breaks it. At least they didnít go with That Finish for this match. Rock gets sent to the floor with Hogan following, but Rock nails him with a clothesline and rams him to the table. He grabs a chair, but misses and Hogan is able to get it and use it himself. In the ring, Hogan still has the chair, with Grenier trying to get it away and in the struggle Rock nails a low blow. Spinebuster hits to setup not one, but two Peopleís Elbows, but Hogan kicks out at 2 and starts to Hulk Up. He hits three punches, the big boot and the legdrop, but the lights mysteriously go out. When they come on, Grenier is out and Hogan is pacing around all confused. Now Vince shows up, making it clear the lights going out was his call. With Vince distracting Hogan, Grenier, who is only pretending to be out, passes Rock the chair and Rock nails Hogan with it. Rock Bottom follows and that gets the 3 count at 12:36. Vince closes the show by revealing a defaced Hulkamania shirt and then ripping it off to mock Hogan and setup their match at Wrestlemania XIX. This really lacked the atmosphere of Wrestlemania X-8, plus here it just felt like they were going through the motions knowing that the purpose here was to setup Vince/Hogan rather then to be anything epic. I liked their WMX8 match, but this one just sucked save for some moments of heel awesomeness from Rock, and the finish was just stupid. DUD
Well, the show started out in a great little groove with the first five matches all hitting ** or better, but once we got to the three top matches, everything just fell apart. HHH/Steiner and Hogan/Rock are both pathetic as main events, especially in this time period as they had some great wrestlers on the roster. You could argue that Hogan/Rock at least had storyline purpose, but at the same time who really cared about Hogan vs. McMahon? Apparently not too many people as with that as the most heavily hyped match, Wrestlemania XIX went on to become the least successful WM of the 2000ís. So with that and an undercard that was good, albeit ultimately meaningless, Iím going to go Thumbs Down for No Way Out 2003, and suggest that thereís not even a single match or two here worth seeking out.