NWK reviews WWF No Way Out 2002 (interesting)

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NWK2000
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NWK reviews WWF No Way Out 2002 (interesting)

Post by NWK2000 » Feb 18th, '20, 12:50

Feb 17, 2002, Milwaukee, WI
Intro


I'm gonna give the Wrestling Revolution, a dose of POISON...by reviewing this Pay-Per-View, almost 18 years to the day! The question is, does NWK have the antidote for post-Invasion creative stagnation? Let's find out.


The New World Order come out for a promo: Boy, do I have thoughts on this one. First of all, The NWO strolling out like they own the place, starting a WWF show the way so many episodes of Nitro began was brilliant. NXT could learn a thing or two about not waiting for the big reveal until the end of the show from here.

Now, I get what they were going for, The NWO has been perpetuated as poison on WWF TV, and the guys are going to come out and show us all that no, they're just average joes like us who are happy to be here, with just a hint of disingenuity so it makes you wonder where do they stand (which, is dumb in itself, as if the top heel faction from the other show isn't going to turn heel immediately, but let's just roll with it). The problem is, Hall and Nash deliver this with the subtly of a shotgun blast to the face. Their promos are disingenuous to the point of blatantly sarcastic, which is not the delivery this story needs. Then, they had the mic to Hogan, and he single handedly saves this angle from immediate failure. Like something out of a political speech, he asks God to bless Vince McMahon (boo) God bless the fans (yay) and God bless America (YAY!) Jerry Lawler brings this home on commentary by disuading Jim Ross' wariness by saying "Well, when Hulk Hogan says God Bless America I mean..." So you can thank Hulk Hogan and The King for keeping this angle above water.

Tag Team Turmoil (the winning team gets a tag title shot at Wrestlemania)
Lance Storm and Christian vs Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert vs The Hardyz vs The Dudleyz vs Billy and Chuck vs The APA



The match is your generic tag team gauntlet, knocked down a few points by The Hardyz and The Dudleyz (arguably the two teams the crowd are most interested in) given an angle midway through the gauntlet (The Dudleyz attack the Hardyz after a rollup elimination so that the Hardyz lose) so that The APA can get a win over Billy and Chuck.

4.5/10

Ric Flair interview by Micheal Cole: Great. He's not buying the NWO's BS and there'll be hell to pay from the locker room if they step out of line. I like the insinuation that wrestlers would all just jump the NWO, it's not something you see in modern wrestling anymore. Undertaker shows up to threaten Flair, who stands firm.

Rob Van Dam vs Goldust

This angle apparently began because Goldust attacked RVD from behind on Raw. This is one of those matches where the commentary team talk about other things, until they realize the guys are working their ass of and give the match the gravitas it deserves. This is your classic babyface vs heel story in which the babyface must overcome a wily veteran and build to his big move. RVD hits the Five Star Frog Splash and a good time was had by all.

These two work their asses off, and deserve to be praised as such.

8/10

Steve Austin meets the NWO: Perfect. The NWO offer Austin a six pack of beer, who defiantly throws the beer away because he knows the NWO is full of BS.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Tazz and Spike Dudley (c) vs Booker T and Test


Tazz and Spike play EXCELLENT underdog babyfaces against the much bigger Test and Booker...but a banana peel finish that involves Test being pushed into a Tazmission by a ref after Test push the ref knocks this down a peg.

5.5/10

The Rock promo on Undertaker: Great promo, but The Rock is very clearly on autopilot. He's got visions of Tinseltown dancing in his head.

Brass Knuckles on a Pole match for the Intercontinental Championship
Edge vs William Regal (c)


Regal is attacked during his pat-down by the ref, and the story quickly becomes that Regal is willing to grind Edge into dust in the traditional William Regal way, but Edge wants the knux. I like the inversion of say, the territory understanding of 'X on a pole' matches. We also get a botched Tiger Bomb off the apron in which neither man manages to die. The finish comes when the knuckles gets knocked off the pole, and Edge gets them after a sequence when he could've pinned , only for Regal to use a second pair because babyface Edge interrupted the pat down at the beginning of the match! This was awesome! It sets up Regal as the slimiest bastard in the company, and Edge as an early 90s Sting-esque babyface.

7.75/10

Kurt Angle promo: Kurt is an entertaining schlub heel, but the fact of the matter is they're rehashing the love triangle storyline between him and Triple from 2000, except there's no love triangle.

Undertaker vs Rock promo: The Rock mocks Undertaker for getting eliminated at the Royal Rumble by Maven, and now Taker is coming for blood. This leads to Rock screwing Taker out of the Hardcore Title, and Taker costing Rock the Undisputed Championship. This is exactly why I love Ruthless Aggression, because barely trained schlub Maven could be interconnected with The Rock and Undertaker, if only for a week.


Undertaker vs The Rock

Is it weird to anyone else that Undertaker, arguably one of the top five heels in the company at this point, still has a fun, bouncy Limp Bizkit song as his theme?

Nobody does babyface fire better than The Rock, who pegs it to the ring and immediately beats the shit out of Taker. They bump like hell for each other but Taker slows it down because he's a heel. The Rock fires back with big moves but Taker is right back on him. They subvert on the "bullying the referee leads to a momentum swing" from the tag title match and do it much better. Rock gets his momentum back, going to the outside, which leads to more of your typical brawl on the outside schanigans, which leads to both guys eying the Spanish announce table, which was a pivotal point in their feud on TV. They brawl in the crowd which takes away from the announce table storytelling from earlier in my opinion. Rock sells some more, but when they get back in the ring Rock teases a comeback but gets cut off again. Undertaker gets frustrated after one too many kickouts, attacks the ref, and spends entirely too long on his motorcycle trying to get a pipe lose, to the point where people are heckling him. This prompts both owners interfering because reasons, which allows Flair to hit Taker with a pipe to get net Rock the win.

And yes, I get it was justified because Taker attacked him first,but the fact of the matter is this was a good match marred by taking entirely too long to fire Checkov's gun (the Spanish announce table), interferences and weapons.

7/10

Mr.Perfect is at WWF New York: Bad. Perfect's doing an adonis/bodybuilder gimmick which was never what the gimmick was about.

Kurt Angle vs Triple H video package: Angle is mad that he was eliminated last by Triple H, and that Triple H denied him the opportunity to win on his first try. There's something about "on my first try" that is so perfectly Kurt Angle it's brilliant. Angle has an opportunity to win Triple H's title shot because Mr.McMahon is a shit. This is all needlessly intertwined with Stephanie McMahon's fake pregnancy. Because of Triple attack both his ex and ex-father in law, Steph is the special ref.

Winner faces the Undisputed Champion at Wrestlemania, with Stephanie McMahon as the special guest ref
Triple H vs Kurt Angle


Kurt Angle does the logical thing when he knows the referee will be fast counting. and goes for cradles. I love it. After a few distraction spot this goes into a slow slow match, and Stephanie gets clotheslined by accident far too quickly. We get a generic match no one cares about until Kurt decks the second ref, and Stephanie comes back out. I feel like we could've gotten where we needed to go without Stephanie looking like the Terminator with a Special Enforcer stip just fine but OK. Stephanie gets bumped again, and then elbow drops the ref from earlier. Triple H teases a Pedigree on Steph, which allows Kurt to use a chair and screw Triple H out of the Royal Rumble.

Why can't the babyface ever win their title shot back at the go-home PPV? This doesn't make the TVs before Mania any less confusing and convoluted. That aside, this match sucked. It was like the best of WCW in 2000, full of convolution and nonsense nobody could've cared about.

DUD

Kurt Angle leaves the arena: But at least Kurt channelling the ghost of Owen Hart in his gloating, boisterous way is entertaining, telling the parking attendant he's going to WRESTLEMANIA! WOOOOO!

The NWO meet The Rock: The NWO do a great job hamming it up, indicating that they are just happy to be there. Hogan takes a picture with Rock because Rock's his son's favorite wrestler. The NWO make some snide remark as they leave, which gives Rock the ammo to roast all three guys on their old gimmicks, including a hilarious "HONK HONK" that Maffew would bleed dry in Botchamania. The NWO look subtly furious, so you know something's gonna happen down the road. This was an AWESOME segment.

Jericho vs Austin segment:: Jericho unfortunately is in the MITB winner position, where he beat a guy to win the champion, so he's going to beat him again, but we all know he's a weiner.

WWF Undisputed Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Jericho tries to respond with the pro wrestling version of ropeadope, with wrist locks and drop downs, to which Austin just beats the shit out of Jericho with his bare hands. Austin does the "face full of turnbuckle" spot on all three turnbuckles, which I'm glad Matt Hardy aped later, because it's a fucking awesome spot. Jericho gets a neckbreaker but the ass kicking soon resumes, until Austin misses a shoulder tackle in the corner and Chris works the shoulder, but again, Austin goes back on the offensive relatively quickly. Jericho gets a more prolonged heat segment, but Austin's back into it. Jericho gets back into it, getting more heat than the last segment. A ref bump and a Breakdown (Skullcrushing Finale) onto the belt aren't enough to put Austin away. There's another ref bump, and Austin gets a phantom tap out and a visual pinfall before the NWO run down. It looks like Hall looks like the world's jankest looking Scorpion Death Drop as the heels bounce. Jericho picks up the scraps for the win.

I learned something critical in this match. What separates the top babyfaces of old (Austin, Hogan) and the babyfaces of today (Roman, Cena) is that the babyface is always presented as having the match in hand, so when they lose, it's a big deal, but when they win, it's the gratification you paid your ticket to see. That isn't to say the babyfaces should always bulldoze heels. Heels just have to take advantage of some unfair advantage (Andre being able to flatten Hogan after one botched slam at Mania 3) or they just have to work harder to beat down the babyface ( Bret Hart progressively grinding at Austin's legs/back until he passes out at Mania 13) There's an in between crowd, your HBKs, your Bret Harts, your Machos, your Seths etc, who's best matches as top faces relied on them selling and comingback but guys who should be booked like Hogan or Austin, like Roman or Cena, are booked like Bret and HBK. They sell forever, after we're lead to believe they're badass Supermen.

That rant aside, Austin vs Jericho was the equivalent of Bret vs Austin, where Jericho was Bret Hart, grinding at Austin's endurance, never losing his sniveling weiner exterior, and Austin had it in hand, until the NWO showed up. This is the best way possible to make Jericho look like a giant weenie, and Austin look like an invincible badass on his way to whatever program he has with the NWO.

8/10


Conclusion


The main event was awesome, and RVD vs Goldust was a sleeper hit, with Regal/Edge not far behind. For the exception of Triple H vs Angle, you can really tell they're trying to shake things up, despite my reservations about sagnation. New tag teams,, elevating stagnant tag teams like the APA, and even putting guys like Rock and Undertaker in storylines that involve guys like Maven, and as someone who grew up in this era, I can really appreciate that. We're on the road to Wrestlemania and it feels like anything can happen, and isn't that the greatest gift of all?
Up next on NWK Reviews
Matt Riddle's/Josh Barnett's Bloodsport
AAA When World Collide
WWE Wrestlemania 21
NWA-TNA Weekly Shows
WWE New Year's Revolution 2006

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