Thursday, 10 September 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF No Way Out 2001

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Event Poster
February 25, 2001
Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada

I'm not sure if this is the first time I've said this, but it certainly won't be the last:

Until the Invasion came along and made a big mess of everything, the World Wrestling Federation were enjoying one of the best periods in their history, at least from a creative standpoint if not a commercial one.

By the time No Way Out 2001 came around, they were just weeks away from hammering the final nail in World Championship Wrestling's coffin and winning the Monday Night Wars once and for all.

Meanwhile, their stacked roster was churning top quality show after top quality show, all leading up to what would eventually become the show widely regarded as one of the greatest Wrestlemanias of all time, Wrestlemania XVII.

Before that, however, there was this, another in a long series of awesome events from the WWF.







Don't believe me? Lets head down to the wonderfully named Paradise, Nevada and see what went down at No Way Out 2001.

Two Men, Three Stages of Hell

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Jerry Lawler called his last PPV with Jim Ross before leaving the company for a few months
Tonight's opening video was nothing particularly special. It focussed on the show's two marquee matchups:
  • The Rock challenging Kurt Angle for the WWF title
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin taking on sworn enemy Triple H in the first-ever Three Stages of Hell match.
After the usual fireworks and hoopla, we got a greeting from our announcers Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, then headed down to ringside for our opening match.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore ChampionshipWWF Hardcore Champion Raven vs. The Big Show

Two years ago to the month, Big Show had debuted WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre and went straight into the main event scene. Now he was floundering in the hardcore division which nobody ever really took seriously.
WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - The Big Show beat Raven for the WWF Hardcore Championship
As he made his way to the ring, Show was attacked by a mysterious masked ninja woman who would later be revealed to be Tori.
Show disposed of her and then marched straight into a decent though uninspired garbage brawl with Raven.
Things got better towards the end when Crash Holly (disguised as a popcorn vendor), Bob Holly, Steve Blackman and Billy Gunn all ran in to get them some.
Gunn was temporarily our hardcore champion but then Raven won it back and lost it to Big Show.
Though the first part of the match wasn’t all that brilliant, the final few chaotic minutes were enjoyable.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: The Big Show


WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Kevin Kelly interviews The Rock
Earlier in the day, WWF Champion Kurt Angle arrived in a limousine and was interviewed by Kevin Kelly. Responding to Kelly’s question about how he was feeling, The Olympic Gold Medalist insisted he wasn’t at all worried about facing The Rock later on tonight.
Back live in the arena, Lillian Garcia interviewed Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero.
The two Radicalz would be competing in a fatal-four-way along with X-Pac and Chris Jericho for Y2J’s Intercontinental Championship. In a solid promo both men insisted that although they knew it was every man for himself, it would be one of the two of them taking home the gold tonight.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - Chris Jericho puts Chris Benoit in the Walls of Jericho
Although we might have had a better match had Jericho defended the title in a straight singles match against any one of these challengers, it was still a solid and compelling match.

Everyone got their chance to shine and everyone looked impressive. Yes, that includes X-Pac.
Speaking of Pac, he was helped out towards the end by his buddy Justin Credible, who was last seen on WWF PPV as Aldo Montoya back at the 1996 Royal Rumble.
After a very good match, Y2J rolled up X-Pac to escape with his title in tact.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho
Backstage, Triple H was busy getting his wrists taped while his father in law tried hinting to Commissioner William Regal that he should prevent the match between Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus.
Regal, of course, didn’t get the hint and had no idea what to do.

Who’s The Biggest Trash Bag Ho?

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 - William Regal confronts Trish Stratus backstage
Cutting to WWF New York, Test was on stage and was the perfect person to ask for their thoughts on a match between his ex-fiancé and former manager.
Test was looking forward to seeing both women beat the hell out of each other to determine who was -in his words- the biggest trash bag ho.
Back in the arena, William Regal tried to stop Trish and her boobs from going to the ring but had no luck.
Killing time, we got adverts for Raw is War and the new WWF The Music Volume 5 CD.
Finally, it was back to the ring.

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs. Trish Stratus

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Trish Stratus ready for her match with Stephanie McMahon
This was surprisingly pretty good.
Ok, so it was never going to be a great match, but Trish was improving as a wrestler and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley was...
...Well, she put a lot of effort into it let’s put it that way.
Though the whole thing felt like it was building up to the spot where Steph pulled down Trish’s pants and gave her a spanking (to the obvious delight of the crowd), it was still pretty fun.
The end came when William Regal got involved and, after umming and ahhing about who to help, dropped Trish so that Steph could get the fall.
Your Winner: Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
After a sentimental commercial for Wrestlemania X-Seven, a furious Vince McMahon scolded William Regal backstage and booked the two of them in a tag match. The following night on Raw it would Vince & Trish vs. Regal & Steph.
A video package aired next to promote the HHH vs. Austin match. Michael Cole then asked Stone Cold if he was ready to enter hell, but Austin just looked at Cole as if he’d asked him if he liked beer.
He then walked off, ready for battle.

Three Stages of Hell Two-out-of-Three Falls MatchTriple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Steve Austin battled HHH in a Three-Stages of Hell Match
This was billed as two-out-of-three falls with each fall having a different stipulation, but it was also presented as if we would definitely see a cage match for the third stage of hell, so that pretty much spoiled the fact that we would see Austin and HHH score one fall apiece in the first two stages.

Fall 1: Standard Wrestling Match

The first fall was your usual one-on-one encounter. For Austin, that would typically mean a brawl through the crowd and all kinds of outside-the-ring shenanigans, but since they had to make this feel different from the upcoming street fight, it was kept mostly in the ring.
The fact that it proved to be a solid chunk of pro wrestling proved that Austin was still capable of having a very good wrestling match without resorting to all of his usual tricks.
Speaking of Stone Cold, he capped off the first fall by destroying HHH with a stunner for the three count.
First Fall Winner: Steve Austin

Fall 2: Street Fight

The second fall was even better.
A brutal, bloody and violent war of a match, this may have been a carbon copy of just about every main event from around this time period, but it was still exceptional stuff.
Predictably, The Game scored the three count thanks to the pedigree after a thoroughly gripping battle.
Second fall winner: Triple H

Fall 3: Steel cage match

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  A Bloody Triple H prepares to drill Steve Austin with Sledgehammer
Though the street fight was arguably the best chapter of this story, the cage match was still an engrossing affair with a heck of a lot to enjoy.
After beating each other to within an inch of their lives, both men struck each other at the same time, HHH using his sledgehammer and Austin with a Foley-inspired barbed-wire-wrapped board. They collapsed to the mat, with a dead Triple H collapsing like a sack of crap onto Austin.
One three count later, and I’m pretty sure Austin became the first Royal Rumble winner to lose at the February PPV before still headlining Wrestlemania.
Please correct me if I’m wrong on that one.
Your Winner: Triple H
Afterwards, both men did an excellent job of selling the war they’d been through by playing dead for a really long time. Austin still managed to get one last stunner in there for good measure.

The Kat Wants to be Naked

Up next, we were told that Jerry Lawler would be facing Steven Richards. This all started because Ivory was feuding with The Kat, who hadn’t been seen on PPV since she faced Terri in a Thong Stinkface Match at Summerslam 2000.
According to JR, The Kat just wanted to be naked and was fighting for her right to do so against Right to Censor. This got Lawler involved and here we were.
Backstage, Richards led Right to Censor in prayer.

Be the Ultimate Fanatic

A commercial then aired for a competition in which you could fly to New York and appear with Mick Foley on something called Ultimate Fanatic. I’ve never heard of that and obviously trying to Google it just brings up Ultimate Warrior stuff, so who knows what that was.
With that done, Tazz came down to join JR on commentary. Neither man mentioned the fact that they were feuding six months earlier.

Steven Richards (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Ivory) vs. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler (w/ The Kat)

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  The Kat wanted to get nekkidIf King wins, Kat gets naked. If Richards wins, Kat joins RTC.

This was an Ok match but there really went much to it. It was obviously just there to cool down the crowd after the incredible Three Stages of Hell and to that end it was at least highly effective.
After a few short minutes of inoffensive action, Kat accidentally blasted King with Ivory’s title belt.
Richards got the three count, denying the world of the Kat nekidness.
Your Winner: Steven Richards
Post-match, RTC kidnapped Kat. She would be forced to join the group the following night on Raw but would then be fired for real the next day, with Jerry Lawler also quitting the company in protest.

We’re Going to Put Those Boys Through Hell

Up next, a video package aired which showed Edge & Christian stirring things to get The Dudleyz beaten up by The Undertaker so that E&C could isolate Kane and destroy him with chairs.
Back live in the arena, The Undertaker told Michael Cole that tonight’s tag team title triple threat tables match wasn’t about the gold but about pain.
“We’re not just going to put those boys through tables,” said Kane. “We’re going to put them through hell.”

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Tables Match WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Undertaker & Kane

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Kane wore a rare all-black attire for his tag team match with The Undertaker versus Edge & Christian
Showing solidarity with his brother, Kane wore a rare all-black version of usual attire with only a hint of red on the mask. It looked pretty awesome, but wasn’t enough to help the Brothers of Destruction win the match even though they came pretty close.
Though it was messy in parts, it was also a lot of fun. Edge and Christian bumped like crazy, the champs got all of their spots in to the delight of the crowd, and Kane & ‘Taker did almost everything in unison, creating a kind of synchronised pro wrestling that worked for them.
Just when they looked to have the match won, however, the recently formed team of Rikishi and Haku came down to attack them.
That left The Dudleyz to put Christian through a table and retain their titles.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz
Afterward, Undertaker dropped a very obvious F-Bomb and was clearly upset about losing the match despite claiming that he didn’t care about the titles just ten minutes earlier.
Before the main event we saw the exact same Wrestlemania commercial aired that we’d seen earlier.
Out in the back, Kurt Angle walked, ready to defend his title.

Finally, The Rock Has Come Back... To Las Vegas

Backstage, The Rock warned Kurt Angle that his time as WWF champion was over. The Great One gave us none of his usual catchphrases, but was still as charismatic as ever.

World Wrestling Federation Championship WWF Champion Kurt Angle vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2001 -  Kurt Angle threatens to break The Rock's f'n Ankle
Damn, this was so insanely good.
It had a completely different vibe to it than the HHH/Austin match but it was still an absolutely riveting match with non-stop excitement from bell to bell.
At one point, The Big Show inexplicably came out and killed both competitors and the referee with chokeslams but that achieved nothing more than Mike Chioda being replaced with Earl Hebner.
Hebner and Tim White were carrying Chioda out of the ring when The Rock made a cover. Deciding that was more important than helping his colleague, Hebner hilariously dropped Chioda like a sack of crap. In the midst of all the drama it was a hysterically funny moment.
A little while later, Angle recovered from his chokeslam and cranked the ankle lock on his opponent.
“Come on, tap you son of a bitch!” Yelled Angle. “I’ll break your f**king ankle!”
Even more so than any of the actual wrestling moves, it was this intensity, this passion and emotion that match that made the match so amazing.
Eventually, the challenger made a comeback and hit two rock bottoms to regain the WWF Championship.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: The Rock
Post-match, Angle ran off crying while The Rock celebrated, his third straight Wrestlemania main event now secure.







All in all, No Way Out 2001 was an awesome show from beginning to end. The IC title match, the outstanding HHH/Austin match and that incredible main event all make this a must-see show.
In between those matches, everything else served a purpose and was entertaining in its own right.
After a wonderful start to the year with a very entertaining Royal Rumble, the WWF were on a roll in early 2001.




Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 
    More WWF No Way Out Reviews
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    1 comments:

    A great ppv for me..that was my first ppv of WWF and only has 10 in 2001. Great memories.

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    Retro Pro Wrestling

    New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.