Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE No Way Out 2003 Review - February 23rd, 2003

WWE No Way Out 2003 
February 23rd, 2003
Montreal, Canada 

WWE Champion: Kurt Angle (since 12/15/02)
World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H (since 12/15/02)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (since 2/6/03)
World Tag Team Champions: William Regal & Lance Storm (since 1/20/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Billy Kidman (since 11/17/02)
WWE Women's Champion: Victoria (since 11/17/02)

Jerry Lawler & Jonathan Coachman are on commentary to start. JR is out due to injury after the match with Eric Bischoff on Raw last week. 

1) Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy 

This turned out to be better than anticipated. The crowd was hot for it which added to it a lot. Jeff flung himself around and took some wild bumps including a powerbomb off the top turnbuckle which stung me through the screen. Jericho locks in the walls of jericho following it and forces Hardy to tap.

Match rating - ***

Post match, Shawn Michaels runs down to stop Jericho from attacking Hardy post match. The Montreal crowd fucking cheers which shocks me considering this is the first PPV back in Montreal since the screw job in 1997. Christian runs down to attack Michaels, but HBK fired up and takes them both out to a ruckus crowd. Weird.

Kurt Angle is backstage with Team Angle. He tells Benjamin & Haas that Canada is full of jealous people because they have no Olympic heroes. He then says he has a plan that may give them an advantage in the trios match later tonight. 

Triple H and the rest of Evolution arrive in a frozen limo cause it’s snowing outside and shit. 

2) William Regal & Lance Storm (c) vs. Rob Van Dam & Kane - Raw World Tag Team Title Match 

Regal seemed to get knocked loopy early on and wasn’t able to do much after, and what he did do looked off. Van Dam gets isolated and Kane gets the hot tag only for the Unamericans to turn his mask backwards cause him to accidentally choke slam RVD which costs them the match. After the match, Kane is confused and RVD is upset. 

Match rating - **1/4 

3) Billy Kidman (c) vs. Matt Hardy - Cruserweight Title Match

“Shannon Moore is addicted to BJ.” -Taz
“Yeah, banana juice.” 

Kidman uses his speed to have the advantage early on only for the heavier Hardy to ground him and wear him down. The premise of this is pretty simple considering Hardy had to drop weight to get this title match and they did a great job telling that story in the ring. Hardy wins the title after a Twist of Fate off the top rope DAMN. 

Match rating - **1/2 

Backstage, officials are checking on Edge who has apparently been ambushed or something and is unresponsive. Brock and Benoit are there checking on him, as well as Stephanie. 

4) The Undertaker vs. The Big Show (w/ Paul Heyman) 

Taker circles the ring on his motorcycle several times to start. The build to this has been a little plodding at times, but the story of Taker never getting his hands on Show until now has made it feel like hell is gonna break loose when he does.

And the start to this match sends it directly in that gear as Taker flips out of the ring and starts trading shots with Show on the floor. That set the stage for a great brawl between these two with Show dominating most of the contest. He beat Taker down and head butted him to the point that they both bled. 
Taker begins his comeback and A-Train runs down to shut him down, but TAKER DIVES OVER THE TOP ROPE ONTO TRAIN AND HEYMAN. Awesome spot. Taker locks Show in the triangle choke and the ref calls it. 

Match rating - ***1/4

Backstage, it’s become clear that Edge is going to a local medical facility and won’t be coming tonight so Lesnar & Benoit are told by Steph they will have to go it alone.. next. 

Meanwhile, in the office of Bischoff & Morley. Mr. McMahon shows up and says if anyone interferes in Bischoff’s match with Stone Cold later tonight they will be fired on the spot. 

5) Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, & Charlie Haas

As mentioned before, this was supposed to be 3 on 3, but Edge got hurt in an attack backstage so he's out and it's a handicap match. This still rules, though. Angle plays the chickenshit and avoids Brock early until he's able to jump on him from behind on the apron and put him in a chokehold, but BROCK CARRIES HIM OVER AND INTO THE RING ON HIS BACK only for Shelton to superkick the hell out of him. Loved the little stuff here like that. Angle uses this to maintain control of Brock and they isolate him for a while.

Benoit gets a hot tag and things break down for a minute before the numbers catch back up to Lesnar & Benoit. Benoit gets isolated which builds to the awesome Lesnar hot tag. Shit breaks down again and we got our finish which is pretty clever. Benoit taps Haas out to the crossface whilst Brock nails Angle with an F5. Benoit & Lesnar win and it leaves you with the question of what would happen if Brock hit an F5 and covered Angle after? His ass wasn't getting up here, but Benoit had already made Haas tap so we'll have to wait til WrestleMania to find that out. 

Match rating - ***1/2

6) Triple H (c) vs. Scott Steiner - World Heavyweight Title Match

The most disappointing hyped story continues here with another lackluster match. The crowd is oddly behind Triple H and is booing Scott Steiner. Not sure what the deal with that is, but yeah. Flair gets involved several times, Steiner still is able to overcome so Flair calls Orton & Batista out. Steiner takes care of them, though. It's enough of a distraction for H to hit Steiner with the belt behind the ref's back, though. And that's all she wrote.

Match rating - *1/2

7) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff

"I came here to see a man get his ass whooped." -GOOD OL JR YUP

Jim Ross joins Lawler & Coach on commentary for this spectacle. And that's exactly what this is. Behind the scenes, Austin had walked out of the company almost a year earlier after refusing to lose to Brock Lesnar on free television. Since, they turned this into a storyline where Bischoff wanted to get Austin back on Raw to hopefully boost the ratings and save his job after Vince threatened to fire him. He gets Austin back, but now Vince says they have to wrestle.

Austin hits the ring to the insane, amazing pop you'd expect and proceeds to beat Bischoff's ass for like five minutes and it is fantastic. The crowd is going ballistic and so is JR. This was many moons before JR became bad and annoying like he is as of this writing in 2021 so I was eating this up. Austin hits three stunners and pins Bischoff. THE RATTLESNAKE IS BACK!!

8) The Rock vs. "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan

This is more of an angle than anything. It goes like 10 or 12 minutes, but nothing notable happens until afterwards. I mean, Rock looks great here in his new heel role. He takes Hogan's bandana and mocks him a lot throughout the match. The lights end up going out and when they come back on, Hogan is laying in the ring bleeding.

Vince McMahon walks down the ramp and basically, Vince helps Rock win and the referee, Sylvan Grenier, is in on it too. I had no idea this was how they debuted Grenier! He was another one of those obscure guys that I remember on Smackdown when I first started watching as a kid so this was wild to see in that regard. Yeah, Rock wins and he celebrates with Vince and Grenier.

Match rating - **

After the match, Vince rips off his shirt and has a Hulkamania shirt doctored up mocking Hulk's catchphrases. For instance, the word "nothing" is covering the "whatcha gonna do?" text lmao. Vince mocks Hogan and stuff to add insult to injury and really got the fire going for what is going to be their WrestleMania match in a month or so. Show closes with Vince standing and staring at a bloody Hogan.

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