PPV REVIEW: WWF No Way Out 2002

February 17, 2002
Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Back in 1998 as the much-revered Attitude Era was hurtling towards its zenith, the World Wrestling Federation began to promote a card they simply called In Your House: No Way Out 

That was until somebody realised that if you initialized No Way Out you would, of course, get NWO. 

They also realised that it probably wasn't a good idea to remind people -even subliminally- of the New World Order, the renegade group of cool heels who played a large role in WCW kicking the WWF's ass for such a long time, and thus the event was renamed to In Your House: No Way Out of Texas.

Fast-forward four years later, and the WWF had not only crushed World Championship Wrestling and bought them out, but were now planning to launch their own version of the New World Order featuring the very same three men who started it all.

So there was perhaps no event more fitting for the group Vince McMahon had described as a "lethal dose of poison" to make their debut than right here at No Way Out 2002.

Let's head down to Milwaukee and review the show, shall we?

The New World Order Has Arrived

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - The New World Order make their WWF debut
Unlike most shows, there was no special opening video package tonight.

Instead, we got a brief graphic of the No Way Out branding before the familiar nWo porn music struck up as Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan sauntered onto the first WWF appearance in years.

In case you’re wondering, we hadn’t seen Hogan in the company since King of the Ring 1993 while Hall and Nash had last appeared at In Your House 7 - Good Friends, Better Enemies.

The nWo originals were here to protest the fact that they’d been called ‘poison,’ ‘cancer’ and even ‘company killing bastards,’ insisting that they were only back in the WWF as fans because they loved the company.

Although it was a bit anti-climatic after weeks of hype, it was still a fun segment for sheer novelty of seeing the three not only back in a WWF ring but back together at all.

The crowd clearly felt so too, and were torn between booing the three heels and being overjoyed at seeing them back.

Indeed, when Hall took to the mic to utter the immortal ‘hey, yo’ he got a huge ovation and there’s no way his first words after that -“we’re not the bad guys”- weren’t very deliberate.

Nothing much happened here, but it was sure fun for the novelty of having the nWo on WWF TV.
00.10.24 - ANNOUNCERS

Tag Team Turmoil
Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert vs. Christian & Lance Storm vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy w/ Lita) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley vs. Billy & Chuck vs. The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw)

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - Stacy and D'Von Dudley
Winners earn a tag team title shot at Wrestlemania 18

Tag team turmoil basically meant winner stays on, with Scotty & Albert kicking things off against Christian & Lance Storm before The Hardy Boyz arrived to send the Canadians packing so that they could have another classic showdown with The Dudley Boyz.

The Hardyz/Dudleyz portion was easily the best part of the match, but it eventually gave way to The APA vs. Billy & Chuck which was less good.

The latter team had been getting a not insignificant push as of late, so it was surprising to see then fall at the hands of Farooq and Bradshaw who had spent most of the last few months just hanging out and playing cards.

It was a strong start to the show, but not the greatest match in the world.
Your Winners: The APA

Out in the back, WWF Co-Owner Nature Boy Ric Flair started to talk to Michael Cole about the New World Order only to be interrupted by The Undertaker.

The two had been getting in each other’s way in TV recently and were clearly heading towards a full blown feud.

Goldust vs. Rob Van Dam

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - Goldust vs. Rob Van Dam
Since returning at the 2002 Royal Rumble, Goldust had set his sights on Rob Van Dam, cutting a series of weird promos about him before attacking on Raw.

It was a convincing return for Goldie but you have to wonder who RVD had annoyed to be lumbered with this feud.

The Whole F’N Show had been one of the most popular acts in the company in 2001, so it was bizarre (and not in a Goldust way) to see him in a midcard feud that clearly had no future.

Despite not being higher on the card, RVD still put the effort in and gave us a solid match against a clearly motivates Goldust.

The two worked well together and gave us some fun spots en route to Van Dam’s inevitable frog splash win.
Your Winner: Rob Van Dam
WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - The nWo offer Steve Austin a beer

Backstage, the nWo tried to give Stone Cold Steve Austin the gift of a six-pack of beer.

However, The Texas Rattlesnake wanted nothing to do with them, ensuring this was probably the only time in his life he turned down a beer.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Tazz & Spike Dudley vs. Booker T & Test

This is another match that was more enjoyable than yours truly thought it might be.

With Tazz and Spike Dudley still pitted as the underdogs who kept surprising everyone by winning matches and Test and Booker T reforming their on-again/off-again partnership simply because there was nothing else for them to do, all four men put on a fun but forgettable contest which came to an end when Test got angry at Mike Chioda and pushed him, only for the ref to push him straight into Tazz.

The Brooklyn native slapped on the Tazzmission and that was all she wrote.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Tazz & Spike Dudley

Out in the back, The Rock spoke to Jonathan Coachman about the moment on TV where The Undertaker tombstoned him on top of car.

The Rock was ready to get his revenge on ‘Taker later in tonight’s show, but first, this:

Brass Knuckles on a Pole Match for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion William Regal vs. Edge

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - William Regal stretches Edge
You can make your own Vince Russo jokes here if you want to.

While you do that, I’ll focus on this match, which was certainly no joke.

Hard-hitting and violent, it wasn’t the best of the many matches Edge and William Regal had together, but it was still a decent effort.

The only problem with it was that you really got the feeling you’d seen Edge and Regal do everything they could do together, which took most of the appeal away.

At the end, Edge finally got his hands on the brass knuckles but champion Regal pulled a second pair out of his pants, struck the challenger with them and won the match.

It wasn’t bad, but I do hope that’s the last time I have to watch these two wrestle each other for a while.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: William Regal

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - Lillian Garcia interviews Kurt Angle
Backstage, Lillian Garcia reminded us that the build towards Kurt Angle vs. Triple H tonight has been overshadowed by more McMahon family drama as Stephanie McMahon and The Game had split up.

Tonight, Stephanie would be the special guest referee, but as Angle spoke to Lilian, he promised us that the reason he was so confident had nothing to do with Steph and everything to do with him being an Olympic Gold Medalist.

It was a convincing promo from Angle, who seemed to be the only one who cared about his match with Hunter.

Before we got to that one, we had a video look back at the recent rivalry between The Rock and The Undertaker.

This started when The Dead Man got mad about The Great One commenting on Maven eliminating him from the Royal Rumble and wound up with the aforementioned tombstone onto the car.

The Undertaker vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - The Undertaker rides into battle against The Rock
Now we’re talking.

After a so-so undercard, the first of tonight’s three main events delivered in spades.

Compelling from start to finish, The Rock and The Undertaker wasted no time laying in each other and were pretty relentless as they went back and forth in a solid contest.

After a very good performance from the two main event legends, we got run-ins from Flair and Vince McMahon, the latter of whom had been an ally of ‘Taker in recent weeks.

This all led to the Nature Boy blasting ‘Taker with a lead pipe, setting up their Wrestlemania 18 match and giving The Rock a win.
Your Winner: The Rock

Over at WWF New York, Mr. Perfect stood on stage wearing a leather jacket and no shirt because apparently nobody had told poor Curt that it wasn’t the 1980s anymore.

Nothing interesting happened here. He basically insulted the crowd and said the word ‘perfect’ a lot.

It was pretty pointless.

Up next, Triple H would take on Kurt Angle with HHH’s ‘Mania title match on the line, so we got a video to remind us of that fact.

Kurt Angle vs. Triple H

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - Triple H laughs at Stephanie McMahon getting hurt
Special Referee: Stephanie McMahon

This wasn’t as good as the last match and there were times when it seemed to lag a little, but it was still a good effort made all the more enjoyable by Kurt accidentally knocking out his ally Stephanie McMahon on at least two occasions.

The Game looked to have the match won on multiple occasions but in the end Kurt Angle beat him thanks to two chair shots and an Angle Slam.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Apparently, that meant Kurt was now heading to Wrestlemania to challenge for the title.


Turn That Sumbitch Sideways

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - The Rock poses for a photo with the New World Order
Backstage, The Rock graciously posed for a photo with Hulk Hogan, who said The Great One was his son’s favourite wrestler.

So far, so pleasant, but then Hogan insulted The Rock so The People’s Champion gave it to the nWo with both barrels.

“You, Chico, Razor Ramon, you take that camera and you shine it up real nice. Then you, Big Daddy Cool Diesel, you turn that sumbitch sideways and then you, Hogan, shove it straight up ALL YOUR CANDY ASSES!”

That was definitely the most entertaining backstage segment of the show.

Finally, it was time for our main event:

World Wrestling Federation Undisputed Championship
WWF Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE / WWF No Way Out 2002 - The New World Order attack Steve Austin
This was a good match that was hampered by the fact that it felt as though the crowd were just waiting for the inevitable nWo run in.

It did eventually happen, of course, but you got the feeling the audience may have reacted more to the match had the ending not been so predictable.

Add in the fact that this was the third match in a row that relied on ref bumps, and it took the shine off what was otherwise a strong match.

Speaking of red bumps, with Earl Hebner napping in the corner, Austin made Jericho tap to the Walls of Jericho then hit him with the Stone Cold Stunner for what could have been the kind of five count that King Kong Bundy would have been proud of.

It was at this point that Hall, Nash, and Hogan turned up and got their asses kicked by Austin until the numbers game proved too much for him.

They left, and Jericho once again retained his title via nefariousness
Your Winner and Still Undisputed Champion: Chris Jericho

Afterwards, the New World Order returned to the ring where Hall hit Stone Cold with the stunner before they broke out the spray paint and daubed their group’s name on the Rattlesnake’s back like it was 1996 all over again.

I’m not going to lie, WWF No Way Out 2002 was a pretty underwhelming show.

The New World Order had been billed as a ‘lethal dose of poison’ that would destroy the World Wrestling Federation from the inside out.

Instead, they turned up, goofed around and gave us an unconvincing run in. Sure, the novelty value made this show worth watching, but it has to be said that the most entertaining thing that happened as a result of the NWO’s return was The Rock making fun of Diesel and Razor Ramon, which I’m not sure was supposed to be the case.

As for the matches, most were decent but sadly nothing really stood out as being a must-watch match.

The road to Wrestlemania 18 rolls on..

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  1. Would have been better if the nWo debuted in the main event when the screen turns black and white and the music hits. Would have been awesome.