WWE PPV Flashbacks: No Way Out - February 27, 2000

No Way Out
February 27, 2000
Civic Center, Hartford, CT

Travelling along the road towards the first Wrestlemania of the 21st century, the rivalry between WWF Champion Triple H and Cactus Jack was at a boiling point. The two had faced off in an awesomely brutal street fight at the Royal Rumble, but the score had not been settled leading to a rematch tonight. That rematch would take place inside the structure known as Hell in a Cell. The match will settle the rivalry one way or the other, as Cactus Jack will either leave as champion, or have to retire. Also on this show, the controversial result of the Rumble match was revisited, as the winner, the Rock, would put his title shot on the line against the Big Show. Time to get No Way Out 2000 under way. Don’t forget to leave all feedback at @Mpmcc91 on Twitter!

The opening video package is all about the Triple H/Cactus Jack rivalry, focusing on Mick Foley's dream of main eventing Wrestlemania. We head into the arena afterwards, as our commentary team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler get the show started.

WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Chris Jericho (c) w/Chyna vs Kurt Angle

Now this is how you kick off a PPV. These guys are two of the greatest performers of all time, but both were fairly new to the WWF (and in Angle's case, professional wrestling) at the time. I don't recall there being a major rivalry here to set this one up, as it was really more about Angle wanting to add more championship gold to his collection. More? Well, a few weeks before this show on Smackdown, Kurt Angle defeated Val Venis to win the European title, but that championship is not on the line tonight. Jericho became the undisputed I.C champ back at the Rumble and has since reconciled with former rival Chyna, who gets her own entrance here, but is in his corner. The two had formed an alliance in recent weeks. Anyway, this one kicks off with some back and forth exchanges between both men. They go to the outside early on in the process, but quickly return to the ring and put forth some awesome manoeuvres. After some great exchanges, Y2J manages to trap Angle in the Walls of Jericho, but the gold medallist manages to get to the ropes. They go back to the outside, with Angle attempting to whack Jericho with the title belt, but Chyna intervenes and gets taken out in the process. Jericho capitalises, bringing Angle back into the ring for the Lionsault, but as he connects, Angle is still holding the belt. Jericho goes head first into it, being taken out in the process. Ever the opportunist, Angle follows up by covering the champion, and scores the three at 10:14. A relatively short match between these two, but there was some awesome stuff here. Kurt Angle is the new Intercontinental Champion, and would go on to refer to himself as the Eurocontinental Champion due to his holding of the other belt as well. I liked the ending as it showed off Angle's intelligence, which was one of his famous three I's. After the match, Earl Hebner comes out and attempts to reason with Tim White, the assigned official, but the decision stands.
Grade: ***

Backstage we hear from the Dudley Boyz, who are the number one contenders to the tag team titles. They are still doing the Southern accents despite changing to their better known cameo attire by now, but that would be phased out soon enough. Bubba does most of the talking and says they will win the titles tonight. They are up next.

WWF Tag Team Championship:
New Age Outlaws (c) vs Dudley Boyz

An interesting little match here, with both teams being heels, although by this point the Outlaws were always getting face reactions, and the crowd is into their pre-match routine as usual. The match is also a changing of the guard of sorts in the tag ranks, as coupled with Billy Gunn working injured here and about to miss a number of months, this was effectively the end of the New Age Outlaws. Anyway, the Dudley Boyz defeated the Hardy Boyz in a number one contender match on Raw is War a few weeks ago to set this one up. They got into an altercation with the Outlaws in the weeks that followed, but the Outlaws managed to come back and put them through tables in a role reversal of recent weeks. They Dudleyz had moved on to driving women through tables by this point as well. Now, going to the actual match. It starts out as a brawl, and the Dudleyz soon take control, working over the Road Dogg, who for the most part has to carry this one for his side due to the previously mentioned injury. Billy comes in and hits the Fameasser, but Bubba responds by whacking him with a lead pipe, which would write the Ass Man off camera from here out. The Dudley Boyz follow up with the 3D to the still legal Road Dogg, which allows Bubba to make the cover and win the titles at 5:20. Nothing special here, as it was more a way to get the belts on the Dudley Boyz than anything else. Its notable for being the end of the Outlaws though.
Grade: *1/2

We see Kurt Angle in the crowd still celebrating his victory from earlier in the night before going to a brief vide highlighting the rivalry between Mark Henry and Viscera.

Mark Henry vs Viscera
So Mark Henry is dating Mae Young as part of the whole Sexual Chocolate thing, as we saw back at the Rumble. The rivalry here basically started with Viscera splashing Mae Young (ouch) so Mark Henry is out to get revenge on the fellow big man here. A few weeks after this show, Mae would famously give birth to a hand, but thats another story. Now everyone knows I'm a Mark Henry fan, but this match is flat out terrible. Thankfully its also kept short. Henry starts out on offence, taking shots at Viscera as we get going, but as the action heads to the outside, Vis turns the tide by sending Sexual Chocolate into the ring steps. He beats on Henry a bit until Mae Young intervenes to save her man, but gets shoved down in the process. Mark manages to capitalise with Vis distracted, and spears his opponent. Henry follows up with a body slam and pins Viscera at 3:44. Pure filler with Henry getting his revenge. I think this is probably his last PPV for a while, as he would be sent down to developmental shortly after.
Grade: 1/2*

In the back, Jericho says he doesn't blame Chyna for his loss earlier, but he promises to get some revenge on Angle in the future. Elsewhere, medical staff tend to Billy Gunn, who we are told suffered a shoulder injury. See you in a few months Mr Ass.

No. 1 Contender Match:
Hardy Boyz w/Terri vs Edge & Christian

Another interesting tag pairing here, as both these teams are faces, but that won't be the case much longer. The issue here is more about the Hardyz and their manager Terri. She was taken out by the Dudley Boyz back in January on Raw, being put through a table. Earlier in the night on Heat, Terri therefore hired the Acolytes to act as her bodyguards, unsatisfied that her team could sufficiently protect her. They are at ringside for this match as a result. Of course, the Hardy Boyz are insanely popular here and get a good pop on their entrance, with Terri in tow. Edge and Jeff start this one out and we get some really good back and forth between the two teams in the match. Thats no surprise considering along with the new champions, these teams would be the standard bearers of the tag division from here on out. The Hardyz actually act somewhat heelish in the match, talking a little trash and such, which is quite surprising considering where we are headed and how over they are. At the same time, Edge & Christian aren't clean cut faces either though, so I guess it balances out. Edge & Christian work over Jeff a bit, but Matt gets the hot tag and the Hardyz actually end up covering both their opponents simultaneously in the following chaos, but only get two count in either instance. The Hardyz build momentum, but as Jeff climbs the ropes to attempt a Swanton on Edge, Terri double crosses her own team, shoving him off. Matt confronts her about it and gets slapped by his manager, which allows Christian to follow up with the Unprettier to pick up the victory for his team at 15:05. Really good tag team action here, with E&C now in line for a future title shot. It was time to move Terri away from the Hardyz as they were getting over on their own, and the controversial outcome of the match would start a slow burning heel turn for Edge & Christian as I alluded to earlier. Really good stuff here. After the match, the Hardy Boyz go after Terri, but the Acolytes stop them in their tracks and lay them out.
Grade: ***1/2

Backstage we hear from Edge & Christian about their victory. Christian says they are happy to be getting a shot at the titles but say that they didn't expect to win it this way. Edge says that they took advantage of the situation just like the Hardyz would have. Who says the Ultimate Opportunist thing started with Money in the Bank? Haha. Elsewhere in the arena, we hear from the mid-heel turn Big Show, who complains about having to face the Rock to go to Wrestlemania, since he should have been declared the winner of the Rumble in the first place.

Tazz vs Big Bossman w/Prince Albert
Just an excuse to get Tazz on the card here, and whilst he's still pretty over, he's already fallen off the radar quite a bit in the month since his awesome debut against Kurt Angle at the Rumble. Bossman is well and truly back in the midcard now after his brief forte into the WWF title scene at the end of 1999, and this match was really just set up due to Bossman & Albert beating up Tazz on Heat before the PPV. This one starts out in the aisle as Tazz is out for revenge on his opponent. This is all Tazz, and he gets Bossman into the ring, takes him down and locks in the Tazmission less than a minute in. Before Bossman can submit though, Albert comes in to break the hold, which gets Bossman disqualified at 1:23. Tazz continues his winning ways, but there was no need to protect Bossman here. The Human Suplex Machine should have just destroyed Bossman, but his push was already coming to a halt. He would never really recover as an active member of the roster either. What makes it worse is that Bossman and Albert get the better of the new star in a post-match beating, but at least Tazz shows his heart by refusing to stay down. After taking a few nightstick shots from Bossman, Albert nails Tazz in the nuts. I can't remember the feud continuing as Albert would break away from Bossman after this and Tazz would move into the Hardcore division. Terrible booking here.
Grade: DUD (for the booking)

Up next we get a video package of the long standing feud between Kane and X-Pac, which has taken a few turns in recent weeks.

No Holds Barred Match:
Kane w/Paul Bearer vs X-Pac w/Tori

As you can see, there's been a betrayal and a return here. The twist in this feud really goes all the way back to an episode of Raw is War in December, where Triple H and Stephanie McMahon booked Kane in a match against the Big Show, with the stipulation being that if Kane lost, his girlfriend Tori would have to spend the holidays with X-Pac. Kane would lose the match courtesy of some DX interference and Tori was unwillingly forced to spend Christmas with X-Pac. Over the weeks that followed, Tori returned to Kane's side, claiming that X-Pac had treated her respectfully. On an episode of Smackdown after the Rumble however, Kane was in action against the Big Show once again when X-Pac came out and revealed he and Tori had hooked up over the holidays. Kane was shattered by Tori's betrayal, as the woman claimed X-Pac was more of a man than Kane would ever be. DX beat Kane down and had him sent to the insane asylum, but the Big Red Machine made his return during the main event of an episode of Raw is War. Whats more, he had Paul Bearer by his side, who was back on TV for the first time since Undertaker's hiatus back in September. Kane would take the fight to DX, and later that week on Smackdown got a measure of revenge on his ex-lover, laying her out with a Tombstone to bring us to this match. Its no holds barred, so one would assume this is the blow off, but the feud would actually go on from here. Kane goes right after X-Pac, which leads to the DX member attempting to flee along with Tori. Kane stops his former partner though, and the two brawl up near the entrance set, and through the crowd, with the Big Red Machine firmly in control. Back at ringside, the steps, the bell and a chair are brought into play, and Paul Bearer actually intervenes to go after X-Pac at one point. Tori pulls Bearer off, but he chases her around ringside which was funny to watch. Back to the action, X-Pac gets Kane into the ring and delivers the Bronco Buster, but it has little impact, with Kane sitting back up. X-Pac tries to fight back and counters a Tombstone with a low blow, following with the X-Factor. Kane manages to kick out, and goes on the offence, hitting the diving clothesline, but Tori gets up on the apron. Kane chokeslams X-Pac and then delivers a Tombstone to his ex-lover to a big pop. Wanting to do more damage on his opponent, Kane then grabs the ring steps, but at that moment X-Pac kicks them into his face, knocking the Big Red Machine out for the three at 7:50. This was okay, but not long enough to really be anything good between these two. X-Pac gets the last laugh once again in this feud, but Kane is still out to get revenge. Just a quick brawl here.
Grade: **1/4

Prior to our next match, the recently debuted four man unit of the Radicalz is interviewed by Michael Cole backstage. The group is comprised of Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn. Eddie is currently injured and has an arm in a sling, but had a pipe in his possession. Cole asks if they are nervous prior to their upcoming match, and the Radicalz are offended.

Rikishi & Too Cool vs Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn w/Eddie Guerrero
The Radicalz made their first appearance on WWF programming the night on an episode of Raw is War after the Royal Rumble, where they took a seat in the front row of the crowd as special guests of Cactus Jack. After Triple H blew off Cactus' plea to have them signed with the company, the four men joined in a beat down on the WWF Champion later in the show. Later that week on Smackdown, the Radicalz were placed in a series of matches against DX, culminating in Chris Benoit facing Triple H in a losing effort in the main event. Due to being unsuccessful, the four men were not signed to contracts, however they made an appearance on the next week's Raw, asking for Cactus Jack to come to the ring so they could thank him for the opportunity. The whole thing would prove to be a set up however, as following the appearance of Triple H, the Radicalz would jump Cactus, turning heel in the process and officially becoming WWF superstars. They would compete in an awesome ten man tag later that night opposite their opponents tonight, which is why this match is taking place. Now then, the Radicalz head to the ring to get this one going, but the faces take control thanks to the dominant Rikishi who is over as always here. Eddie attempts to intervene from the outside with the pipe, but he ends up being chased off making this a fair fight. Rikishi is on fire here, cleaning house and hitting the stink face on Chris Benoit. Scotty 2 Hotty comes in and goes for the Worm, but Malenko decks him and from there the heels take over. All three Radicalz work over the members of Too Cool until Rikishi gets the hot tag and takes out Perry Saturn with the Rikishi Driver. The match breaks down as all six men go at it, but in the end Rikishi picks up the win for his team following a Rikishi Driver to Dean Malenko at 13:30. Another good match here as this show continues to deliver. The Radicalz were a welcome addition to the midcard as all four guys knew how to go and would have great matches down the line. Strange to have them lose here, but on a heel heavy victory show I can see why Too Cool were victorious. Besides its not like they were hurt by losing to Rikishi. Good stuff.
Grade: ***

We see Kurt Angle STILL celebrating his victory in over the top Angle fashion before throwing to a video package highlighting the Rock/Big Show rivalry.

No. 1 Contender Match:
The Rock vs Big Show

The storyline here was pretty simply and marked the beginning of Big Show's heel turn. After coming up short due to the controversial finish of the Royal Rumble, Big Show protested the decision the following night on Raw is War, claiming he had footage showing Rock's feet clearly touched the floor before his did at the Rumble. He would constantly complain about this in the weeks that followed, and eventually Triple H & Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley decided that Show would face Rock here with the chance to go to Wrestlemania on the line. Show gets mostly boos here as he comes out with his newly cut short hair, whilst Rock gets the typical huge reaction that you would expect. They start out staring each other down, but Rock slaps Show in the face and that gets us under way. The two men brawl and quickly end up in the crowd, with Show dropping Rock onto the barricade as the action returns to ringside. Rock fights back which leads to Show grabbing a chair but he accidentally nails the ref before hitting Rock with a chokeslam. Referee Tim White runs out to count the fall, but Earl Hebner recovers and pulls him out, with the two officials ending up playing fisticuffs after their disagreement earlier in the I.C bout. Amidst all this, Shane McMahon makes his return to TV as he makes his way out to ringside. With the refs still going at it, Rock nails Show with a chair and follows up with the People's Elbow. Before he can connect though, Shane McMahon gets in and blasts Rock with the chair! Heel turn! Rock is out, and Show makes the cover to score a huge upset at 9:33. Big Show is going to the main event of Wrestlemania! This was just a plot twist to align Shane with the Big Show though, as we will see what happens next month as far as the title shot goes. The match itself was really nothing special aside from the shocking finish. After the match, Shane and Show leave together as JR & King wonder what is going on here.
Grade: **

We now get a video package highlighting the Triple H/Cactus feud. Then we see Kurt Angle who is continuing his celebration in the parking lot, singing "I am the champion". As he goes to enter his car, he's jumped by Jericho & Chyna who stuff him into the trunk.

WWF Championship - Hell in a Cell Match:
Triple H (c) w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs Cactus Jack

Alright, these two faced off in a highly brutal and bloody street fight last month at the Rumble, and its time for round 2. The following night on Raw is War, Triple H said that there wasn't enough room in the WWF for both himself and Cactus, so he was going to offer Cactus a rematch, in any match type he wanted, on the condition that Cactus Jack put his career on the line. And not just Cactus Jack - Mick Foley in general. If he lost, the fifteen year career of Mick Foley was over. Cactus would accept the challenge, and announced that the match would be contested inside the demonic Hell in a Cell match. I've already gone into the rest of the feud involving the Radicalz so I won't go back into that again. On Raw is War before this show, Cactus teamed with the Rock, Kane, Rikishi & Too Cool to take on Triple H, X-Pac, Malenko, Benoit & Saturn in an awesome ten man tag that you should go out of your way to find as well. Anyway, the Cell is lowered and Triple H gets some massive heat as he makes his way to the ring. Meanwhile, Cactus gets a huge ovation from the crowd, as the writing was on the wall that this would be his last match. Or so we thought anyway. He's going out in stellar fashion though. The match starts out as a brawl, with both men bringing weapons into play in the early going. Triple H destroys Cactus with the ring steps and repeated chair shots, but Cactus demands more and comes firing back with a DDT onto the chair to the reigning WWF Champion. Triple H briefly comes back and attempts a Pedigree, but Cactus catapults out of it, sending Triple H into the Cell wall and busting him open in the process. He goes to follow up with a shot with the steps to Triple H, but the Game ducks and Cactus ends up knocking down a section of the cage, giving an exit point to the cell as the crowd goes nuts. He beats a bloody Triple H to the outside and delivers a piledriver onto the announce table. Cactus them attempts to climb the cage, but Stephanie stops him. He instead goes over to the timekeeper area and pulls out the barbed wire bat that we saw at the Rumble! Triple H tries to beg the madman off before fleeing up the cell, only for Cactus to throw it up and go after him. Trips beats him to it though and smashes Foley in the head, which sends him crashing down off the top through the announce table below, a la King of the Ring 98. JR's call isn't as great this time, but the crowd is still going nuts! Shockingly, Cactus makes it to his feet before Triple H gets down there to capitalise, and they go back up. Back up there, Triple H whacks Cactus with the barbed wire bat once again, but Cactus comes back and takes it. The wire itself is not enough though, so he lights it on fire! He hits the Game with it and then goes for a piledriver, but Triple H backdrops out of it and Cactus comes crashing down through the roof of the cell. The ring was built to protect Mick this time, and the mat gives way in a neat looking visual. Triple H looks on from above before heading down and finishing the stirring Cactus off with a Pedigree at 23:59. Triple H retains the WWF Championship, and the career of Mick Foley is over after another awesome match between these two. Its not quite as good as the match at the Rumble, but thats really nit picking considering how good that one was and how good this one is. I liked the allusions to the previous Hell in a Cell match at the 1998 King of the Ring, even if they weren't quite as memorable here, but it still made for a great match and a fitting end to this feud. After the match, Cactus gets the standing ovation her deserves, with the crowd chanting Foley as we go off the air. Awesome match to cap off an excellent show.
Grade: ****3/4

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Another really good PPV from the WWF in the 21st century. The company was on fire at this point which was quickly putting any concerns about Austin being out to bed. Triple H is doing an excellent job as the top heel in the company, and he can thank Mick Foley for a lot of that. Coming out off this rivalry, he looked like an absolute star. The Hell in a Cell match was great, but we had a few other good matches here as well in the I.C title, E&C/Hardyz and Radicalz/Too Cool matches. The rest was nothing special, and the Tazz thing was outright ridiculous, but there is a lot of good here. The biggest surprise at the time here was definitely Show beating Rock, as all signs pointed to a Rock/Triple H feud heading forward. That was still on the cards, but with a twist at Mania as we shall see next time. Overall, a really good show continuing the momentum from last month.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Cactus Jack - a great performance from the Hardcore Legend in a match that was billed as his final hurrah. He'd be back in a month for his proper full time retirement match, but tonight was certainly his night.
2. Triple H - great showing in his first Hell in a Cell match. The feud with Foley got him over big time as the major heel in the company.
3. Kurt Angle - this was trickier as after the top 2 there were a bunch of people I could have given this to. Angle gets it for winning his first (and only) I.C title in a solid match and his over the top celebrations throughout the rest of the night. Get used to seeing him a lot in these awards. Oh its true!

FINAL GRADE: 8 out of 10

ALL TIME PERFORMANCE TALLY:
What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. No huge change this time around, although the Game edges ahead of the Rock for now.

Steve Austin = 84
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
Mick Foley = 38
Triple H = 35
The Rock = 33
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 25
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Chris Jericho = 5
Matt Hardy = 5
Jeff Hardy = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Christian = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Shane McMahon = 3
Edge = 3
Chyna = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Bubba Ray Dudley = 2
D-Von Dudley = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Test = 1
Big Show = 1
Kurt Angle = 1

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91. Thanks for reading.

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