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Dames' Diatribe on WWE No Way Out 2003

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Guest TSMAdmin

The Dames' Diatribe on WWE: No Way Out 2003



Welcome back everyone to this month's WWE Diatribe.


First off, I'd like to apologize for having this up later than normal, but I just HAD to see the Series Finale of HBO's Oz, although I found it somewhat disappointing. Also, throw in the fact that this is the first 3 hour PPV that I've had to cover since I've found employment and so I've had to divide my Diatribe time into two days.


Tonight is the No Way Out PPV, which is generally used as a set up to Wrestlemania, yet this event features 3 big name returns to the ring and a rematch from last year's most emotional match at Wrestlemania 18.


Let's get right to it!


As always, I include the match from Sunday Night Heat, shown on TNN this week instead of MTV.


Bonus Heat Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble (w/Nidia)


Match Background: This match, once an anticipated match when Noble was Cruiserweight Champion, was tacked onto Heat as an afterthought. There hasn't been a real feud brewing between these two, but when Rey joined WWE, everyone believed that he would be the one to unseat Jamie Noble from his reign as champ. Rey's former WCW tag partner Billy Kidman was the one to do so and since then, no one's really cared about Noble, which is sad because he's a hell of a talent. He went on a losing streak for a bit, including a loss to Rey on Smackdown a few months back, but has gotten a few wins in recent weeks, even though they completely dropped the Nunzio/Noble storyline and relationship.


The Match: The first thing shown is a recap from Smackdown where Noble almost killed Torrie on a botched powerslam, allowing Nidia to win a Paddle on a pole match. I really hope that Torrie doesn't interfere in this match. They lock up with Noble and Rey exchanging quick pinfall attempts and armwringers before Rey is able to come off the top with a head scissors takeover. Cole mentions that Jamie Noble was the longest running WWE Cruiserweight Champion in WWE history...which saddens me when you think about the true history of that title. He then takes Noble over the top with a 'rana, following it up with a 'rana on the floor after jumping off the apron! Rey comes off the top, but Noble nails him right in the midsection with a dropkick for TWOOOOO!! Montreal is back at their old gimmick of saying "TWOOOOO" at every two count that they originated a few months ago on Raw. Noble then hits a gut buster for another TWOOO, putting Rey in a surfboard stretch afterwards. Rey is able to power out of it and dropkicks Noble onto the 2nd rope, setting up the 619. He runs towards the ropes to get some momentum, but Noble had the move scouted, gets up and clotheslines Rey on his way back! Noble misses a top rope legdrop, allowing Rey to come back and hit a springboard cross body for TWOOO! Rey goes for another cover after a bridging pin but only gets a TWOOO out of it. Powerslam by Noble gets a quick TWO count and he follows it up with an Electric Chair for another two count. Noble goes for the Tiger Driver, but Rey maneuvers out of it and hits a LOUD enziguiri to Noble, setting up the 619! He goes for it, but Nidia trips him up and Rey turns his attention to her, pulling her onto the apron. Noble catches Rey from behind and tries to hit a back suplex, but Rey flips over and dropkicks Noble into the ropes, and into Nidia who's knocked to the ground and sets up the 619! He finally hits the move and goes for the West Coast Pop (Springboard 'rana), but Noble moves out of the way. Doesn't matter though, as Rey hits a 'rana on Noble and gets the pin to a large pop!


Winner: Rey Mysterio


My Opinion: The match was decent between these two, but the match could have been a lot better if they were given more time, especially if Noble was allowed to work his psychology mojo. The match was only about 5 minutes long, but the crowd is definitely red-hot in Montreal, which always makes things just seem better. *1/2


Live from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the PPV now starts with the usual cool video package ...but The Coach's voice greets us to the show instead of Jim Ross or Michael Cole. He then tells us that Jim Ross suffered a concussion at the hands of Eric Bischoff and so he won't be broadcasting tonight. In terms of calling the in-ring action, Jonathan Coachman is more than capable of holding his own. I'm sure that we'll see Jim Ross tonight, probably to do a run-in the Austin/Bischoff match just for fun.


Just a quick note on the intro. Usually, I associate all of the themes used on the PPV's with wrestling whenever I hear them on the radio or just listening to them on my Winamp. I can't do it with this month's theme, as whenever I hear Evanesence's "Bring Me to Life", I picture Elektra training with her sais. TSM's very own Dr. Tom reviewed DareDevil by the way and you can find it right here. I enjoyed it a bit more than he did though and I've aleready seen it twice.


We go right to the first match of the night....


Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho


Match Background: Prior to last month's Royal Rumble, Chris Jericho confronted Shawn Michaels about his legacy and he's simply a shell of his former self. This lead to Michaels challenging Jericho to enter himself into the Royal Rumble as the number one entrant in order to upstage Michaels performance in the '95 Rumble. However, Michaels was number 1 and Jericho was number 2 and to the surprise of everyone involved, Jericho eliminated Michaels in the first few minutes of the match. HBK ran down later on that night and cost Jericho the Rumble, distracting him and allowing Test to throw him over the top rope, down to the floor. A Test/Jericho match was set for tonight's PPV, but due to Test and Stacy having heat with management, the match was scrapped. A few weeks ago, Jeff Hardy was trying to re-establish himself, as a heel, but failed miserably each time. Shawn Michaels came down to the ring to give him a pep talk, which was punctuated by Sweet Chin Music after Hardy charged at him. SOMEHOW, this lead to a mutual partnership between HBK and Jeff Hardy, almost in a mentor/student relationship and they faced Chris Jericho and Christian on Raw this past week. Jeff Hardy got the pin on Chris Jericho, making Y2J absolutely furious and the match up is set for tonight.


The Match: Shawn Michaels is NOT in the corner of Jeff Hardy tonight for the record as apparently he's been banned from ringside. He may just be avoiding stepping foot in Montreal due to his last appearance there at Survivor Series '97. Speaking of the infamous screwjob, The Coach and Lawler bring it up even before Jeff Hardy even comes down to the ring. They lock up, with Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho trading armwringers, but Y2J then slaps Hardy down. Jeff pops right back up and gets a flurry of right hands, following it up with a back body drop on Jericho. Jeff Hardy gets a head scissors on Y2J, but Jericho comes back with a clothesline. Jericho plants Jeff Hardy down with a back suplex as the crowd chants "Y2J" for their fellow Canadian wrestler. Jericho gets some chops in the corner, but eats boot as he charges at him again. Jericho heads to the outside, but Hardy then comes off the 2nd rope with a twisting somersault like an Asai moonsault. Jeff throws Jericho back in and hits an Arabian Press for TWOOO! Jericho bails off an irish whip, but Jeff nails him with a baseball slide. Jeff tries to run the safety rail, but Jericho ducks and sends him into the steel steps. "Let's go Jericho" chant as he hits a vertical suplex on Mattitude's sibling. The crowd pops for him as Jericho poses for the crowd. Hardy gets a roll up off a bodyslam for TWO, but Jericho knocks him down again and gets a surfboard stretch. Jeff tries to fight out of it, but Jericho pulls him back down to the canvas by his red colored hair. More chops in the corner by Jericho, but he misses another charge, driving his shoulder into the ring post. Jeff comes back with right hands, a flying forearm and an UGLY Jawbreaker for TWO. Sloppy dropkick by Jericho gets a TWO count again. LOUDER "Let's Go Jericho" chant erupts now as he hits the bulldog and goes for the Lionsault, but Jeff Hardy gets the knees up. DDT by Jeff Hardy gets a TWO count. Jeff Hardy goes up top and hits the Whisper in the Wind and hits it SOLIDLY for the first time in months for a two count! They blow an enziguiri spot, but cover for it nicely as Y2J puts on the Walls of Jericho as the crowd cheers on! Hardy makes it to the ropes (to resounding boos) but Y2J knocks him down and heads up to the top. Hardy pops up and climbs to the top, hiptossing him down! Jeff Hardy hits the Swanton Bomb and goes for the cover, but Jericho puts his foot on the rope! Jeff Hardy really should learn to hook the leg after that move! In a nice play off of their Raw match a few weeks ago, Jericho pulls the referee in Hardy's way, allowing him to go for the Walls of Jericho for a second time, but gets rolled up for TWO. Jericho gets irish whipped into the corner, but comes back with a cross body...but he's NAILED in mid air by a Jeff Hardy front dropkick! He hits a reverse version of the Twist of Fate (Old School Expulsion) and heads back up to the top, where he misses the Swanton this time. Jericho sees the opportunity and hits the Lionsault for ONE...TWO....NO!! Jericho goes for a back suplex, but Jeff Hardy wriggles out of it and gets a sloppy roll up for two. Jericho comes back with his Sleeper Drop neckbreaker, puts his feet on the ropes but only gets a two count out of it. Y2J gets more frustrated and heads back up to the top, mocking Jeff Hardy, but ends up crotched. Jeff goes for a top rope 'rana, but Jericho leaps off with him and hits a powerbomb! He puts Jeff into the Walls of Jericho, pulling him to the middle of the ring until Jeff Hardy taps out.


Winner: Chris Jericho


He refuses to let go of the hold until Shawn Michaels comes down to the ring (to a chorus of BOOS) as he attacks Jericho. Christian, Chris Jericho's tag team partner and native of Canada, comes down to help Y2J to a pop! HBK ends up hitting a double DDT on them, clotheslining Jericho out of the ring and nailing Sweet Chin Music on Christian as the boos turn into cheers for some of the crowd. "Sexy Boy" begins to play as Montreal gives him a loud mixed reaction.


My Opinion: This was probably Jeff Hardy's best singles match in months. He wasn't as sloppy as usual, although he let a few gems slip in, but for the most part, Jericho carried him to a decent match. Jericho definitely didn't need to job going into Wrestlemania and I thought the clean tap out was a nice touch as Jeff Hardy doesn't have much to lose. The crowd was very vocal in this match, cheering the Canadian heels and shunning Michaels because of Survivor Series '97, but came around afterwards and cheering him on after he disposed of Vitamin C. It looks like we will have Jericho/HBK at Wrestlemania this year. **1/4.


We go to the back where Kurt Angle is trying to prep Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas for the match tonight. He gets MAJOR heel heat at the start of the promo as he says "Guys, we're not in America, we're in Canada, and this country is full of bitter and jealous people who have none Olympic Hero's of their own...at least none worth mentioning". He then tells them that he has a plan to give them an early advantage....


A limo arrives in the back with Triple H and the rest of Evolution getting out of it. The camera pans out to see Austin's pick up truck in the parking lot as well...


William Regal & Lance Storm vs. RVD and Kane for the World Tag Team Championship


Match Background: This match was announced on Raw, probably because RVD and Kane are the only babyface tag team on Raw left besides The Dudleys. This past Monday, RVD faced Lance Storm in a one on one match, which saw RVD hit the Five Star Frogsplash for the pin. That's pretty much all that's gone on between the two teams as of late, although RVD has history with both Storm and Regal. Last year at Wrestlemania, RVD defeated William Regal to win his 1st Intercontinental Title (R.I.P). RVD and Regal have hooked it up a few times since with nothing noteworthy taking place, however. RVD and Storm have also faced each other a few times in the past year or so, but their most memorable match took place at ECW's Barely Legal in 1997. The match is memorable mostly for Lance Storm delivering the worst chairshots of all time to RVD, getting booed by the crowd mercilessly in the process. Kane is just there with no real history between him and the Tag Team champions. RVD and Kane haven't been getting along well as of late though and we may see one of them turn heel by the end of the night.


The Match: RVD gets a solid pop on his way to the ring, but Canadian Lance Storm's pop is nullified by the boos for his tag partner William Regal. The match starts with Storm and RVD going at it at a rapid pace. Storm cartwheels out of a monkey flip, but falls victim to a leg sweep, spinning legdrop and a kick before tagging out to Regal. RVD gets a loud pop for all of that before Regal comes in and tries to work on the arm, but RVD is able to get his spinning wheel kick and split legged moonsault for TWOOO. RVD tags Kane in the middle of a monkey flip on Regal, allowing Kane to come in and drop an elbow for two. A big body slam by Kane gets a broken up two count. Storm tags in and gets press slammed by Kane before he gets sent into the corner and eats a bucket full of right hands. A replay shows that Regal hit the back of his head on that body slam and that's probably why he tagged out so quickly. Big powerslam by Kane sets up Rolling Thunder, but Regal rolls Storm out. RVD jumps over the top onto Storm, but didn't hit flush. With Storm back in, RVD hits a slingshot legdrop to the back of the head for two. Regal's back in now, only to get RVD shoulder tackles and a kick off the top rope. RVD jumps to the top for the Five Star Frog Splash, but gets shoved to the guard rail by Storm. An "RVD" chant starts up as he's thrown into the ring, but Regal welcomes him back with a Half Nelson Suplex. My best friend Keith likes to call that a "Hello, Goodbye" suplex. Kane breaks up the cover before the ONE count and Storm comes in to work over RVD some more. Storm heels it up, yelling at the ref about the fact that he has all of five seconds to choke RVD if he wants to! NICE dropkick by Storm gets a TWOOO. Regal comes in and gets a series of TWOOO counts on RVD. Regal goes for a Half Nelson Suplex again, but RVD counters it and gets a sunset flip, but falls victim to a blind tag and a hard kick to the back of the head by Lance Storm. Storm gets a DDT for TWOOO. RVD gets a desperate roll up on Storm for two and goes to tag Kane but he's cut off by Regal. Storm circles around and pulls Kane off the apron as RVD gets rid of Regal and goes to the corner. With no Kane to tag, Regal grabs him by the leg...but gets a twisting kick by Van Dam and he makes the Hot tag! Kane comes off the top rope with his top rope clothesline and goes for work on both Regal and Storm. KANE IS ON FIRE! No, not literally and not again. Sideslam by Kane on Regal gets a broken two. Kane goes for the chokeslam, but Storm jumps onto Kane's back and shifts Kane's mask around! RVD gets a blind tag in and hits a jumping kick onto Regal! Storm shoves RVD into Kane, who still can't see, and proceeds to chokeslam his own partner! Regal covers....ONE...TWO...THREE! After the match, Kane and RVD argue, with RVD walking out in disgust. Wow, this fits EWR perfectly. "Opponent mis-communication" -> "Losers Argue".


Winners: Regal & Storm


My Opinion: The match wasn't anything special and was for the most part, RVD playing the face in peril. Storm and Regal retaining was probably the best thing here, but sadly, other than 3MW and The Dudley's, there are no other tag teams on Raw. WWE should really take the opportunity to build up some lower midcarders and team them up. It looks as if we'll be seeing RVD vs. Kane at Wrestlemania....but who will be the heel in that match up? *1/2


In the back, Josh Matthews is with Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore. Josh asks him about his diet and losing 10 pounds in 2 weeks, which Hardy attributes to his Mattitude traits. He cuts the interview quickly to confront his brother Jeff in the back. He tells him that if he was still a Mattitude follower, he wouldn't lose every match that he's in. Jeff responds by slapping Matt. Shannon is actually able to calm Matt down and let him know that his match is next. I'm not sure what the purpose of this was, unless Jeff is going to jump to Smackdown in the near future.


Matt Hardy (w/Shannon Moore) vs. Billy Kidman for the WWE Cruiserweight Title


Match Background: As Shannon Moore's mentor, Matt Hardy was in his corner when Moore faced WWE Cruiserweight Billy Kidman. After the clean win, Kidman was attacked by Matt Hardy. This lead to a match the following week where Kidman upset Matt Hardy. Shocked and dismayed, Matt Hardy made a vow to lose weight and become a Cruiserweight in order to face Kidman at No Way Out for his title. He faced Kidman's former WCW tag partner, Rey Mysterio in a match two weeks ago, but lost due to dehydration from excessive dieting. This past week, Matt and Shannon took on Kidman and Rey, with Hardy pinning Kidman with the Twist of Fate. Earlier that night, he made weight and so the match up was made for No Way Out: Matt Hardy vs. Billy Kidman for the Cruiserweight title.


The Match: I hate Kidman's theme so much, I'm going to like it in a few weeks because it'll be a heel to me. Matt Facts: Matt is annoyed by Snow and Ice. Matt takes hot tea with Milk & Sweetener. Dames Facts: Dames doesn't drink coffee. Matt Hardy starts the match off with an armdrag on Kidman and then doing jumping jacks to taunt him. A body slam later and Mattitude is flexing for the Canadian crowd. Kidman gets a pair of armdrags of his own and a 'rana. They fight over an armdrag with Kidman going over the top but landing on the apron. Matt then whips Kidman into the ring post! That gets a replay and deservedly so. Matt drives the elbow into Kidman's chest a few times before getting a TWOOO count. Back elbow followed by a legdrop gets another two count for Matt. FISTDROP~! for TWOOO! Kidman tries a small comeback but gets cut off by a hangmans neckbreaker. Matt puts on a straightjacket stretch, but Kidman fights out of it. Matt goes for the Side Effect, but Kidman turns it into a roll up for a close two! Matt gets up and tells me he loves being a heel by poking Kidman in the eyes and hitting a neckbreaker for two. Matt jumps across the back of Kidman while he's on the ropes and gets a two count. Sick sign in the crowd: Great White Fears Pyro. I'm surprised that got through security. Matt puts a front face lock on for a few seconds but Kidman comes back with a sleeper. Matt counters the sleeper with the Ricochet (back suplex into an elbowdrop) and gets two. Matt goes for a single leg, but Kidman jumps up and hits an enziguiri! Kidman gets up and nails Hardy with a few clotheslines and a Rydien Bomb for two. Kidman comes off the ropes but DEVOURS a clothesline, served with a side of hurt by his host, Matt Hardy. Matt then goes for the "and now we go here" 2nd rope legdrop and gets it for two...because that's never pinned ANYONE EVER. Matt goes for the Twist of Fate, but Kidman pushes him off and hits a NICE dropkick, sending Mattitude to the outside! Kidman with a plancha to the outside! Kidman throws Matt back in and comes off the top, getting kicked in the gut on the way down for a Twist of Fate attempt, but Kidman gets a double leg takedown and a close two count. Shannon Moore gets on the apron and Matt shoves Kidman into him, knocking him down. Matt seizes the opportunity and hits the Side Effect for TWOOO! Matt goes for a back suplex but Kidman flips over and hits a tornado bulldog, using Shannon Moore's body! Kidman comes off the top with the Shooting Star Press, but Matt moves out of the way with his superior intellect and brain matter and gets the Twist of Fate, complete with Kidman's face first "is his neck broken?" selling! ONE...TWO...NO!!! Matt Hardy CANNOT BELIEVE IT! He puts Kidman on the top rope and sets Billy up for a superplex, but Kidman knocks him down! Kidman tries to position himself on the top, but Moore makes sure he stays crotched on the top rope and Matt gets up in time to take over again. Matt Hardy on the top rope...SUPER TWIST OF FATE~! ONE...TWO...THREE! Matt Hardy is the NEW Cruiserweight Champion!


Winner: Matt Hardy


My Opinion: I really liked this match and I wish it could have gone longer. Kidman's selling of the Twist of Fate scares me man, it really does. For the most part, this was a relatively clean victory too. As talented as Kidman can be in the ring, Matt Hardy and his character can really do a lot for the Cruiserweight Division. He is probably at the current moment the most over Cruiserweight in WWE with the exception of Rey Mysterio. If booked correctly, he could help make some new babyfaces in the division. The possibilities are endless...and he's a good worker. **1/2.


In the back, we see Stephanie McMahon running down the aisle as Edge has been knocked down and out and his partners for tonight's match try to revive him. For those of you who just don't get it yet, that was Team Angle's plan. For those of you unaware, the angle to take Edge out of action was done because Edge needs major neck surgery ala Steve Austin and Rhyno and will be out for about a year. Oh, expect a main event push when he comes back, along with tons of video packages and a new theme. At least, that's what I'd expect.


We now go to a video package for the following match...


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


Match Background: The night after The Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar in the Hell in the Cell match at No Mercy, The Big Show attacked him and threw him off of the Smackdown stage. He made his return at the Royal Rumble and called out The Big Show on the next Smackdown. Paul Heyman, Big Show's manager, tried to make peace with The Undertaker, telling him that The Big Show is sorry for what he did. He tried to make it up to 'Taker by sending him a singing telegram in the form of Brian Kendrick (Spanky of Ring of Honor fame), but 'Taker wasn't trying to hear it, powerbombing Kendrick down with The Last Ride. The next week, Paul Heyman tried to give him another gift...Brother Love (Undertaker's first manager) who came out of a wooden crate. Undertaker tombstoned his former manager, still wishing to get his hands on the Big Show. Heyman gave him another crate the second week, with Chris Kanyon making his return to WWE by dressing up like Culture Club frontman Boy George and singing the 80's hit "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" 'Taker wanted to hurt HIM, however, and Kanyon's welcome back present was a demolition via steel chair shots to the head. This past week on Smackdown, there were two crates in the ring...one smaller than the other. The smaller crate contained a puppy dog, which Undertaker then proceeded to chokeslam in the ring! Just kidding about the chokeslam. As Undertaker opened up the second crate, which turned out to be empty, The Big Show attacked him from behind and chokeslammed The Undertaker down, setting up tonight's match.


The Match: Show is wearing an Andre The Giant-like half singlet tonight. I don't think he's worn anything like that since his days as The Giant in WCW. They begin brawling on the outside with Undertaker getting the advantage with his right hands. He tries to jump onto Show off the apron, but gets caught and driven into the steel post. Show then whips Taker into the barricade before he sends him back into the ring. As Show slides into the ring, Taker actually hits a dropkick to the head! He hits Show with a few elbows to the chest and then hits a legdrop off the apron onto Show's chest. 'Taker picks up a steel chair and goes after Show, but ref Brian Hebner tries to interfere. This gives Show the opportunity to punch the chair back into 'Taker's face. Show takes over in the corner, hitting him with hard forearms but eats a boot when he charges at him. A second missed charge leads to 'Taker trying to bodyslam Show, but Show is too damn FAT and falls onto 'Taker for a two count. Tazz relates to the crowd that if he can't bodyslam Show, he can't Tombstone him. Show picks up The Undertaker and hits a vertical suplex...that was QUITE a visual. About five or six lazy elbow drops by Show leads to a TWOOO count. 'Taker fights back and charges at Show in the corner, but gets caught in the DREADED Bearhug of The Big Show. This is probably the least active the crowd has been all night. 'Taker fights back and comes off the ropes....right into a sidewalk slam by Show for TWO. Show follows that up (slowly, of course) with a few headbutts. 'Taker BLADES OFF THE HEADBUTTS...which suddenly wakes up the crowd, who start chanting "Taker". 'Taker comes back with some punches in the corner and hits an avalanche on the bigger Show before going for a chokeslam unsuccessfully. 'Taker comes off the ropes with his jumping clothesline for two. Wow...this match is VERY slow. He goes "old school" on Show with the rope walk and goes for the chokeslam again, but this time, Show puts HIS hand around 'Takers throat as well. The ref gets hit lightly and 'Taker takes the opportunity to hit Show in the Mom and Daddy Buttons while Hebner isn't looking. He comes off the ropes with a DDT for TWO. 'Taker proves that he's been smoking lots of drugs during this vacation as he attempts a Last Ride on Show, but Show counters with a spinebuster for two! Big Show then hits the worst Snake Eyes this side of Kevin Nash as Cole says that he utilized it to "perfection". Big Show picks up 'Taker for a bodyslam, with 'Taker slipping out from behind and putting on his "Takin Care of Business" Dragon Sleeper. Heyman gets on the apron to distract the ref, so Taker lets go of the hold and goes after the former ECW owner. While Hebner is distracted, A-Train runs down to the ring, but 'Taker nails him before he can get into the ring. 'Taker FLIES with a Tope Con Hilo onto A-Train for a pop! THAT woke the crowd up! In actuality, Train didn't exactly get the full brunt of it and was mostly 'Taker going splat next to him as he grazed A-Train, but hey...that's not the point, right? 'Taker gets into the ring with this CRAZY look in his eyes as the crowd is starting to really come alive and he signals for the Tombstone! He goes to pick up Show, but he was playing possum and he chokeslams 'Taker down!! Show goes for the cover, but 'Taker grabs a hold of Show's arm and puts on an MMA-like submission. I believe that's either a Keylock or a Triangle Hold. Help me MMA fans, Help me! Drop me a line and let me know. He chokes Show out and the ref stops the match!


Winner: The Undertaker


After the match, Taker comes back into the ring with a steel chair to extract his revenge on Show, but A-Train comes back in and hits the Derailer (the former Baldo Bomb) on him.


My Opinion: Let's be honest, no one really expected this match to be a ***** classic. The beginning portion of the match was slow and quite heatless, but the crowd got into it more and more as it continued. At least the issue between Show and Undertaker is over, but we have 'Taker vs. Albert to look forward to now. Yay. Looks like UT won't be losing that Wrestlemania streak this year. *1/4. Better than it had any right to be.


In the back, Brock and Benoit help load Edge into an ambulance as Stephanie McMahon tells them that their match is next.


We now go into Eric Bischoff's locker room where he's training with Chief Morely and discussing who can interfere on Bischoff's behalf. In walks Vince McMahon, who tells him that anyone interfering would be fired on the spot, to Bischoff's dismay. But...what about guys who technically don't work for the company yet? Hmmm...


Team Angle & Kurt Angle (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit


Match Background: Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle have been at odds ever since Armageddon, where Kurt Angle used Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Title in an elaborate plan to win the belt and screw over Lesnar. At the Royal Rumble, Brock won the right to face Angle at Wrestlemania for the WWE title. That same night, Chris Benoit took Kurt Angle to the limit in a classic match (one that I rated *****) and received a standing ovation from the Boston crowd. Benoit and Edge had been teaming up against newly crowed WWE Tag Champs Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas, aka Team Angle, coming out on the short end of the stick because of Angle's interference. On Valentine's Day, Kurt Angle tried sucking up to Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon, but she then announced the 6 man tag match for tonight. Brock was simply focused on the WWE title and Angle himself and wanted to wrestle him this past week on Smackdown, but Angle made some stipulations for Lesnar. In order to face him, he'd have to go through the other two members of Team Angle, which he did. Their "match" lasted about 7 seconds before Heyman and Team Angle interfered for the DQ and Benoit and Edge made the save. This match was originally supposed to be a 6 man tag, but due to the angle that took place earlier where Edge was taken out of action, this match will now be a 3 on 2 handicap match.


The Match: We head to the ring where Tony Chimel announces the Handicap stipulations. Team Angle is SHOWERED with "You Suck" chants as they come out wearing Red, White, Blue and Championship Gold. The chant has now somehow morphed into "You Suck WHAT!?" The place JUST ERUPTS for the Canadian Crippler, Chris Benoit and Brock Lesnar. The match starts out with Benoit and Benjamin locking up and jockeying for position until Benoit gets a shoulder tackle and goes to work on Shelton. Haas comes in and gets a few boots in the corner of Benoit before succumbing to a back body drop by the Crippler. Brock comes in and puts the boots to Haas, following it up with shoulder tackles in the corner. Brock tosses Haas to his corner, asking for Angle to come into the match...but Kurt calmly steps off the apron onto the floor. Haas comes back at Brock only to get press slammed by Brock. Benjamin comes in and receives the same from Brock. Angle actually misses his cue as Haas whips Brock into the ropes and Brock waits for a second before Angle can grab him from behind. He puts on a chinlock while standing on the apron, but Brock uses his power and walks into the ring, taking Angle into it with him. Shelton Benjamin comes in to save Kurt and NAILS Brock with a superkick to the face, letting Angle wrestle free. Haas tags Angle in now that Brock is down. He puts on another rear chinlock on Brock as the replay shows just how well Shelton NAILED that kick. Brock tries to ram Angle into the corner to get separation, but Angle hangs on to the hold. Benoit leads the crowd on to cheer Brock on as he gets to his feet with Angle on his back and rams Angle into the turnbuckle, finally getting the WWE Champion off of his back. Benjamin and Benoit come into the match and he just goes BUCK WILD on Team Angle, snap suplexing Haas ONTO Benjamin and German suplexing Angle back to Pittsburgh! Benjamin is then the recipient of Rolling Germans and Benoit goes for the HEADBUTT~!, but Haas holds onto Benoit and Angle hits his pop up top rope suplex! Angle gets up and takes the straps down, cuz he means BUSINESS, but Brock grabs him from behind and puts on a rear chinlock of his own to a pop! When was the last time a resthold got a pop!? Benjamin charges, however, and knocks Brock down to the floor! Shelton goes to work on Benoit in the ring now before tagging out to Haas. Benoit gets an overhead belly to belly suplex from Haas for TWOOO before Angle comes in. Angle puts on a front face lock off a snap mare as the crowd chants "Lets Go Benoit". Benoit starts getting up...and chops Angle before getting a quick roll up for two. Angle and Benoit begin trading pinfall attempts, but Angle wins this encounter with a German suplex. Haas tags in and gets a cheap shot on Brock as Team Angle go for their double team move where Shelton leapfrogs over Haas to land on Benoit. Benoit gets up and TATTOOS Shelton's chest with vicious chops! Shelton gets a drop toe hold on Benoit and pulls him back to the corner, preventing the hot tag to Brock. Benoit is able to get a mule kick on Shelton and tags in the former WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar! He runs over Team Angle with overhead belly to belly's and gives one to Kurt Angle as well! With Brock working over Haas, Angle goes for the Angle Slam, but Brock gets out of it and attempts the F5! Shelton makes the save by dropkicking Brock and Angle falls to the outside! Benjamin goes over the top with Brock as Benoit comes in and German suplex's Haas! Angle comes back in...and gets the Anklelock on Benoit! Benoit reverses into the CROSSFACE~! It's reversed again into the Anklelock....and again into the CROSSFACE~!, but Team Angle makes the save. Benoit is able to lock the CROSSFACE~! on Haas, but Shelton tries to break it up. Brock runs in and throws Shelton to the outside as Benoit puts the hold back on! Brock gets a hold of Kurt Angle....F5!! Haas taps out to Benoit and the match is over!


Winner: Chris Benoit & Brock Lesnar


After the match, Brock taunts Angle while holding the WWE Title.


My Opinion: I really don't understand the point of putting Brock and Benoit over here as Kurt Angle needs momentum going into Wrestlemania. He's been booked to be Brock's inferior in every way and the outcome for next month's title match is set in stone. Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit, two men, defeating the WWE Champion and the WWE Tag Team Champions in a Handicap match? Give me a break. At least Angle wasn't pinned by the F5 and Benoit received the hometown tap out. **3/4.


Triple H (w/Ric Flair) vs. Scott Steiner for the World Heavyweight Championship


Match Background: Upon Steiner's arrival to the Raw brand, he demanded a title shot against Triple H, which took place at the Royal Rumble. In the match, Steiner was practically booed out of the building after using the same overhead belly to belly suplex the ENTIRE match and blowing every other spot that he tried to do. Triple H won the match via DQ to make matters worse. The next night on Raw, Batista and Randy Orton joined Triple H and Ric Flair in beating down Steiner and declared themselves a new group named Evolution. Steiner then defeated Chris Jericho the following week on Raw to become the number 1 contender for HHH's title and the rematch is tonight.


The Match: Montreal knows exactly what they're doing as they begin to boo Steiner during his entrance. HHH gets more of a mixed pop for his entrance and he comes down to the ring with Ric Flair only. His left thigh is taped up as he's still injured....and has been for months. They go nose to nose as Hebner takes the title away from Triple H and the "You Screwed Bret" chants start. My seven year old niece walked in at this point, gets completely disgusted by Scott Steiner's body and runs out. They begin brawling in the corner, but Steiner gets the advantage by immediately going after the taped up leg of HHH. Surreal moment as the crowd pops when HHH turns the tides in the corner...and then boos Steiner again as he takes over again. HORRIBLE looking elbow drop gets one as Steiner gets off to do his push ups to boos. He goes to rip off the bandage on HHH's leg, but he takes forever to do so. He's unsuccessful, but keeps on the leg to boos, still. "Steiner sucks" chant! T-bone suplex by Steiner, followed by a figure four by Big Poppa Pump. Flair rakes the eyes of Steiner to a pop! Steiner chases Flair and nails him, making him even more of a heel tonight. HHH knocks Steiner down though as the "You Screwed Bret" is directed at Earl again, but even louder this time. These guys are moving in SLOW MOTION. HHH throws BPP into the steel steps and follows it up back in the ring with a neckbreaker for TWOOO. "BORING" chant by the crowd and I hope that Vince is listening. I wouldn't be surprised if Steiner really does get fired tonight. HHH ducks a clothesline and gets another neckbreaker for TWOOO. SLOW slugfest in the middle of the ring is followed up by a BPP overhead belly to belly suplex, pissing off the crowd as they remember last month's debacle. HHH tries to use the ropes to pin Steiner, but Hebner sees it and won't count. The crowd is SOLIDLY behind HHH as he shoves Hebner to try and get him DQ'ed. Hebner shoves HHH back to another chorus of boos allowing Steiner to attack from behind. They blow an Irish whip spot, resulting in the crowd booing even louder than before, so Steiner gets his spinning belly to belly suplex! Steiner gets another overhead belly to belly suplex and I'm going to take off 1/4* every time he uses one. Steiner goes up top and hits a Samoan drop onto HHH for a broken two count as Flair comes in. Steiner puts on the Steiner Recliner....so Flair calls down and asks for the rest of Evolution to come down to the ring. Steiner dispatches them quickly and nails Flair, but HHH sets up the Pedigree. Steiner simply STANDS UP, looking like he wasn't even cooperating and nails him with punches as the crowd LASHES OUT. Randy Orton gets thrown off the top by Steiner as HHH goes to the outside. BPP throws Orton out as Hebner sends Evolution to the back. HHH uses the title on Steiner as the ref is distracted for the ONE...TWO...NO. The crowd is DYING for this to end! They get up...and HHH hits the Pedigree out of nowhere for the pin to a pop!


Winner: Triple H


My Opinion: Steiner is just DONE. This crowd booed Steiner from the get go and I hope they sent a message to Vince loud and clear. This match was slow, plodding and worst of all, sloppy. Steiner botched a few spots too. Somehow, this was worse than last month's match and I'll be the first to admit that I overrated that match. - *1/4 from me.


In the back, Bischoff heads to the ring as the Raw roster, particularly those who weren't on tonight's PPV, are sitting in front of the monitor. Test mouths out to Bischoff, who says nothing and keeps on walking...


A video package is aired for the following match...


Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff


Match Background: Back in June of 2002, Stone Cold Steve Austin left WWE after a dispute with management and the creative team. Raw GM Eric Bischoff was confronted by WWE Owner and Chairman, Vince McMahon and was given 30 days to turn the lackluster Raw show around. For some reason, Bischoff figured that bringing Austin back to WWE would definitely allow him to keep his job, despite Vince's hatred for Austin. Bischoff then went on to try and find him in Texas, to no avail. On the end of Bischoff's "30-days" (it was more like 3 weeks), Vince McMahon fired Eric Bischoff, but not before Bischoff fired WWE announcer Jim Ross, who is Steve Austin's closest friend. Before Vince was able to name the new Raw GM, Ross and Bischoff came to the ring with news that Stone Cold Steve Austin would agree to be at No Way Out. Vince then gave Bischoff his job back because of it...but with one condition: Bischoff would have to get down on his knees and kiss Vince's ass, literally. Bischoff simply couldn't do it and so Vince made a match between Bischoff and Austin for No Way Out as a condition of employment for Bischoff. This made things worse for Bischoff as he has quite a storied past with Austin. When he was "Stunning Steve" in WCW, Eric Bischoff fired him after Steve suffered an injury. He even went on to say that Austin would never make it in the business and wasn't marketable...which fueled Austin to become the star that he is today. This past week on Raw, Bischoff faced Jim Ross one-on-one, forcing the announcer to compete...in order for Bischoff to prepare for No Way Out. With Bischoff utilizing his martial arts background, he defeated Jim Ross, even going as far as breaking a "cinder block" over his head (it was gimmicked), busting Ross open. Steve Austin will not be happy when he faced Bischoff and unleashes all of the pent up frustration that he's carried since he was fired from WCW in 1994.


The Match: Before the match, Jim Ross comes down to the announce table, joining Coachman and King. Bischoff comes down solo, as the stipulation from earlier won't allow any interference at all. Easy E takes the STICK~! and he asks for the fans support against Austin. Bischoff wants to forfeit the match, but the GLASS SHATTERS AND THE CROWD GOES CRAZY! Stone Cold walks down the aisle, wearing his usual vest and jean shorts as Jim Ross begins his usual dose of verbal fellatio. Eric takes the mike again after Austin poses for the crowd....but Austin attacks him in mid sentence and starts beating the hell out of him! He listens to his "watch" before he starts choking Bischoff with his vest. Mudhole stomping in the corner gets LOUD "WHAT" chants with every kick! Austin is just LOVING this! I can just imagine how much he's wanted to do this over the past few years. More mudhole stomping gets LOUD "What" chants, but the ref tries to separate and gets the finger for it, to a pop. Bischoff comes back with a rake to the eyes and a kick to the stomach, which Austin no-sells by smiling at him and you just KNOW he's LOVING THIS! Bischoff tries to run, but gets caught by Austin who chops him to Hell! He grabs a fans drink and throws it into Bischoff's face! "Austin" chant as they go back into the ring and Austin hits Bischoff with the Stone Cold Stunner! Austin goes for the cover...ONE....TWO...NO! Austin picked Bischoff's shoulder up...TWICE and then complains to the ref to count faster! HAHA!! ANOTHER STUNNER!! ONE..TWO..NO! Austin's at it again, playing with him! A Third Stunner gets the victory and Jim Ross goes INSANE!!! Jim Ross does the best Jim Ross impression ever as he exaggerates his excitement for Austin! JR WILL NOT SHUT UP! Austin gets Bischoff ANOTHER Stunner as J.R. wants him to do MORE! Austin leaves the ring and teases coming back in, but decides that Bischoff's had enough.


Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin


My Opinion: DUD, but a fun one. It's good to see Austin back and in a good mood. JR going absolutely ballistic was hilarious as he did everything he's impersonated with. I'm sure that Austin loved every minute of it tonight.


The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan


Match Background: Tonight marks the rematch of last year's Wrestlemania marquee match, The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan. Last year, a babyface Rock defeated a heel Hogan clean in Toronto, with the crowd VERY vocal and supportive of Hogan. The reaction he received that night and his match with the Rock lead to a showing of respect between the two men and Hogan turned face, dropping his then-stable mates in the NWO and going solo. Since then, these two men haven't crossed paths much. Hulk Hogan sat out for several months, returning a few weeks ago after a loss to Brock Lesnar prior to SummerSlam this past year. At SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar faced The Rock for the WWE Championship, defeating him clean and getting a babyface reaction from the Nassau crowd despite being the heel in the match. Most people speculate that this is mostly because The Rock has gone "Hollywood", spending more time making movies than wrestling. After SummerSlam, The Rock went off to make another film and the backlash of this was truly felt during the Raw 10th Anniversary special when he was heavily booed while cutting a promo via satellite. Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon brought back Hulk Hogan for one last comeback run in order to out do Raw GM Eric Bischoff, who was trying desperately to bring back Stone Cold Steve Austin to the fed. This angered Steph's father and employer, Vince McMahon, who simply despises Hulk Hogan. Hogan challenged Vince to a match and struck him down with a punch, but Vince didn't accept...making a match between Hogan and The Rock for tonight. The Rock then appeared via satellite displaying a "holier than thou" attitude. This past week on Smackdown, The Rock appeared live and confronted Hulk Hogan, but not before asking the crowd to decide whether or not to boo him. They responded with loud boos and later on that night, a condescending Rock spat in Hogan's face after a disingenuous attempt at a handshake. Most of the build up for this match has been about their past encounter at last year's Wrestlemania and Rock's new attitude.


The Match: The Rock enters first with a brand new Titantron of a helicopter flying over Hollywood before it hits his new, remixed theme. This thing was pretty damn long so I hope that they shorten it for TV. The Rock is BOOED HEAVILY upon his entrance to the arena, wearing his traditional tights. Montreal becomes UNGLUED as Hogan comes down the ramp to Voodoo Child. "Hogan" chant by the crowd annoys The Rock, who mocks them at ringside. Hogan turns his back on The Rock to play to the crowd, allowing Rocky to slip in from behind, but Hogan turns around and starts to wail on him. Rocky's in ultra selling mode tonight, selling each punch like a pro. Hogan goes for the Big Boot, but Rocky slips out of the ring. Sign in the crowd: "Bret Hart OWNS Hogan". Amen. Hogan goes to the outside where he nails Rocky with some more right hands, but Rocky gets the advantage once they get into the ring, putting the boots to Hogan. Hogan actually BUMPS OFF ROCK'S PUNCHES and I honestly can't remember the last guy he did that for! He tries to drive Hogan's head into the turnbuckle, but Hogan turns the tables on him and does it to Rocky 10 times. Hogan does one of Rocky's spit-take punches and Rock goes over the top rope to the floor. Rock pulls Hogan down, throat first, onto the top rope but it looked pretty bad. Rock sets up for the Rock Bottom...and GETS IT! ONE...TWO...NO! The match just started, so I can forgive that. Rock gets up and puts Hogan's red bandana on, also taking the weight lifting belt off of Hogan and whipping him with it, just like Hogan did to Rock at WM 18. Heel Rock displays his awesomeness by taking a break to drink some bottled water, but gets clotheslined by Hogan as he turns around! Hogan takes the belt back and whips Rocky a few times, complete with full oversell. Hogan goes for a clothesline off the ropes, but Rocky ducks and hits a DDT. He nips up immediately and starts to "smell" the crowd's boos, which get louder IMMEDIATELY. Rock drags Hogan into the middle of the ring and just STICKS IT to the fans by putting on his horrible version of the Sharpshooter. I wouldn't be surprised if the bell rang RIGHT NOW. Hogan makes it to the ropes, so Rocky pulls him back to the middle of the ring...but Hogan flexes his legs and powers out of it, sending The Great One to the floor. Hogan starts hobbling around ringside and gets a Rock clothesline to put him down. Rock is just GREAT at taunting the crowd with his condescending mocking. Rock picks up a steel chair and swings it at Hogan, but hits the ring post instead. Hogan picks the chair up and hits Rock in the back once. Rock goes back into the ring, as does Hogan with steel chair in hand, but the ref tries to take it away and Rock sneaks a low blow in. Rock gets his spinebuster....and hits the People's Elbow! He goes for a second one immediately and does a Hogan pose before nailing a second for the ONE...TWO...NO! Hogan is up and starts Hulking up! Hulk becomes impervious to pain and selling and hits the Big Boot. He hits the legdrop...ONE...TWO...THE LIGHTS GO OUT! When they come back on, no one is in the ring besides the ref, Hogan and Rock and the ref is knocked out! Vince McMahon comes down the top of the ramp to "You Screwed Bret" chants and while Hogan is distracted by Vince, the "unconscious" ref wakes up and hands Rocky the steel chair! Hogan turns around....and gets CLOCKED by Rocky! Hogan's busted open by it and starts to get up slowly. It takes him almost a FULL MINUTE to get to his feet, but Rocky is there to greet him with a Rock Bottom! The ref counts....ONE...TWO...THREE as Michael Cole cries "Screwjob"!


Winner: The Rock


After the match, The Rock, Vince and the ref raise each others hands. You know, I wasn't even paying attention before, but this ref is kinda jakked. Vince shakes Rock's hand at the bottom of the ramp and gets back into the ring as the ref and Rocky leave the arena. Vince walks in and shoves Hogan back down as he tries to get up. McMahon takes off his dress shirt to reveal a Hogan shirt, touched up to read "Whatcha Gonna Do? NOTHING" on it. He begins mocking Hogan to the live crowd and rips the shirt off in Hogan like fashion. Damn, that is one diesel old man. I'm always amazed at the shape he's in for his age. He walks up to the top of the ramp and flexes one last time as we go off the air.


My Opinion: I love watching Hogan job. I can watch a highlight reel of just three counts. I was at Wrestlemania 18 so I can't exactly be objective on the crowd heat for this match as compared to last year's, but in my honest opinion, it wasn't nearly as hot. What made last year's 'Mania so special was the fact that Hogan was a heel and was cheered HEAVILY in a DOME stadium. Plus, this arena is a lot smaller than the Skydome and that affected the crowd heat as well, obviously. The match itself wasn't as good as last year's match, either but still deserved its main event slot. Heel Rock is a great sight to behold and he MADE this match what it was. The ending of the match was a clever and new way to do a screwjob, but it was a screwjob none the less. The lack of a clean pinfall in this match also hurt it. Either way, the crowd heat made this match better than it was, just like last years. *3/4.


Overall: While the PPV wasn't terrible, there weren't any stand out matches and none that were at least ***, IMO. It served as a decent set up to Wrestlemania, but that's all. There was a lack of backstage segments tonight, which I found odd. Notorious by their absences tonight were The Guerrero's, Nathan Jones and Sean O'Haire, who I figured at least would get a vignette. The crowd really made this PPV better than it was and had they not been so vocal and active, this PPV would have definitely been a downer.


Well, I'll see you guys next month for Wrestlemania 19!


'Til Next Time,


The Dames, Damian Gonzalez


Any questions, comments, hate mail, fan mail, whatever....send it all to [email protected]


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