Canvas Critiques #4 – WWF No Way Out 2000
Hot off of the heels of a rocking Royal Rumble, the WWF’s next PPV effort rolled into Hartford, Connecticut for what promised to be another night of violence, drama and great matches. The Monday night wars were as good as over, and Vince’s product was streets ahead of his counterparts down South.
The Radical foursome of Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit had joined the promotion after getting their releases from WCW. They were booked pretty strongly for the most part, the only blemish being an injury to Eddie after he cocked up a Frog Splash. They debuted as faces, but then wound up siding with Triple H and DX as heels. Speaking of DX, they got one over on Kane after Tori turned on him, hooking up with X-Pac. Kane made a big return alongside Paul Bearer a couple of weeks later, even Tombstoning Tori in the process, and looked dominant in his pursuit of X-Pac.
Big Show, new haircut an’ all, kept pestering Triple H to award him the ‘Mania title shot because Rock’s feet hit the ground first at the end of the Rumble. After several attempts at providing sufficient proof, HHH finally granted his request and the stage was set: Show got his match with Rock, and the winner will meet the Champ at Wrestlemania.
Elsewhere, Kurt Angle’s great start to his pro-wrestling career continued with some fine performances, while the tag team scene was seriously hotting up, with the holy trinity of teams- Edge & Christian, the Hardyz and Dudleyz- all getting plenty of coverage on the shows.
But after the quick results, we start with one of the most brutal rematches the WWF/E has ever put out.
Kurt Angle, already European Champion, pinned Chris Jericho to win the Intercontinental title, thus becoming Euro-Continental Champion.
The Dudley Boyz defeated The New Age Outlaws to win the Tag Team titles.
Mark Henry pinned Viscera.
Edge & Christian defeated The Hardyz after Terri turned on them, though Edge & Christian were equally puzzled at Terri’s actions. She’d also hired the Acolytes (who had recently formed the APA) for protection, and they took out the Hardyz post-match.
Tazz defeated Big Bossman by DQ after Albert intervened.
X-Pac defeated Kane.
Too Cool and Rikishi bested The Radicalz (Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko).
Big Show defeated The Rock after Shane McMahon returned and cost Rock the match.
Triple H retained the WWF title against Cactus Jack in the Hell in a Cell match. Mick Foley was forced to retire as a result of the loss.
Mick’s (first) last stand- HHH/Cactus II, Hell in a Cell.
The sequel to the Royal Rumble street fight had plenty to live up to. 2×4′s wrapped in barbed wire, thumb tacks, bucket loads of blood; Those were just some of the elements that made the first installment of Triple H vs Cactus Jack great, so how on earth could they possibly top it?
A giant cage isn’t a bad way to try. Oh, and that 2×4 in barbed wire, why not set it on fire?
Of course, the main stipulation that got coverage prior to this barbaric sequel was that if Mick Foley lost, he’d consequently lose his career. After falling through the top of the cell and right through the ring below, the crowd knew it would soon be curtains. Despite somehow mustering the willpower to get up from the fall, the Pedigree moments later was enough to conclude a fantastic, violent and dramatic main event.
As retirement matches go, this would’ve certainly been a good one to bow out with, but it’s also the type of performance that made you hope it wouldn’t be the last time we saw Foley compete. Mick has received criticism in the past for not honoring the stipulations of this match, but the critique normally comes from the same people who were hoping to see him defy the result here in the first place.
Perhaps coming back so soon afterwards (for the Wrestlemania main event) wasn’t the best tonic and maybe it should’ve been saved for an event further down the line, but I’m certainly glad this isn’t the last we ever saw of him as an in-ring performer.
As for Triple H, it was another top quality effort from him in what is arguably the finest run of his whole career. It was Foley’s night from an emotional standpoint, but HHH played a big part in terms of the manner in which that emotion spilled out. A brilliant Hell in a Cell match from two of the WWF’s best at the time.
D-Generates make way for the new generation- Outlaws drop the tag titles
The New Age Outlaws had previously been one of the most popular acts in the entire business. It’s been reported before that the duo were third in total merchandise sales only to Stone Cold and The Rock during their peak run.
But while they were making waves in DX, a new breed of tag teams were forcing their way into the upper echelons of the division. Edge & Christian and The Hardyz were great babyface teams who had been turning in some terrific high flying displays. Then the Dudley Boyz came along started putting people through tables and generally kicked as many backsides as they possibly could.
The Rumble told its own story in terms of how tag team wrestling was changing in the company. In the actual tag title bout, The Outlaws defended against The Acolytes in a match that just never got off the ground. Earlier that night, The Hardyz and Dudleyz blew the roof off of the Garden after a riveting tables brawl.
It was time for The Outlaws to pass the torch, and it was passed to the Dudleyz, who would become the new heel foil for the other two babyface teams doing battle later in the night. Gunn’s shoulder injury meant the bout probably wasn’t as good as it could’ve been, but you can’t deny Bubba and D’Von didn’t deserve the belts. Easily the most notorious duo around at that point, they just had to have the titles.
The Outlaws never teamed in the WWF again under that name as fully active wrestlers. They did feature in the same team once or twice in multi-man tag matches, and even reformed the team under different names in other promotions upon leaving the WWF, but ultimately this was their last hurrah as we knew it. But recently they’ve been working with the WWE as road agents and have actually reformed the team during house shows, leading many to suspect we may see them reunite on television again as a one-off. I’ll be watching when it happens!
Shane, game changer- Show upsets The Rock with a little help from a McMahon.
While no one doubts Big Show’s credentials as a main event talent, The Rock seemed like an absolute lock here to defeat him and move on to a program with Triple H for Wrestlemania. But thanks to Shane McMahon’s return and his chair shot to Rocky, Show actually pulled off something of an upset victory
Rock is arguably one of the most unselfish main eventers ever, and here’s a good example of why. By Show winning and surprising everybody, it made everyone want to tune in and find out what Rock would do in order to get his Wrestlemania spot back. It left plenty of questions to answer, least of all why would Shane do such a thing. It’s great forward thinking that adds intrigue. We knew Rock was going to Wrestlemania anyway, we weren’t stupid, but not knowing how he’d get there made for good TV.
The match itself is one of Big Show’s best of his career, and he actually had some good chemistry with Rocky. The feud brought the best out of him both in and out of the ring while it kept Rock on good form heading into ‘Mania the next month.
Kane and X-Pac’s brawl was a good continuation of their recent rivalry. Kane was stupidly over and it’s almost a shame for him that all the Wrestlemania plans were as good as set in stone, because it would’ve been a great time for them to capitalize on his good form by giving him a run with the gold. It’s almost a shame for X-Pac too, because if the main event scene wasn’t already so stacked he’d wouldn’t be far away either.
Edge & Christian’s collision with The Hardyz was a fun watch. While the tag title match earlier in the night had featured the heel vs heel dynamic, this one pitted two babyface teams together in combat. They were given roughly 15 minutes to go out and tear the house down, and the chemistry was there for all to see. Terri’s return and subsequent heel turn made for a good talking point, and it also gave the APA a chance to get some airtime, which is never a bad thing!
Kurt Angle wins yet more gold, this time defeating Chris Jericho for his Intercontinental title. Already the European Champion, it was another feather in the Olympian’s cap and another career milestone for him. It was also another sign that the company were increasingly getting behind him. Only four months removed from his debut at Survivor Series ’99, Kurt had now won two titles and had even looked strong in TV matches against big stars like The Rock. The match itself with Jericho was good, albeit slightly sloppy in places, but still very watchable all the same.
Mark Henry vs Viscera wasn’t actually too bad as big-man brawls go, with lots of stiff shots thrown in by both parties. This was a follow-up from the infamous Mae Young pregnancy angle, where Viscera nailed Mae with a big splash and nearly scuppered poor Mark’s chances of fatherhood (maybe that’s why Mae only gave birth to a hand rather than an actual child?) Oddly, considering Viscera may well have scuzzed up Mark’s baby plans, they were teaming together on ECW around 7 years later!
Tazz’s altercation with Bossman and Albert didn’t last long, which is probably for the best I’d say. I can understand trying to get Tazz over in the WWF as someone who wouldn’t stay down, but there’s two problems here with that: 1) Bossman and Albert were not the people to try and pull this off, and 2) People already knew he was a beast from his ECW days. And even if they didn’t, they didn’t need to try to rebuild him as such, because he already looked dominant on his Royal Rumble debut as it was. Head scratching.
The six man tag was a blinder, featuring the typical fluency and efficiency we became accustomed to from the workers involved, who had all collectively bounced off of each other very well since the Radicalz arrived on the scene. It was a great way for the former WCW stars to get the ball rolling in their new surroundings and it also elevated their rivals to the point where they were no longer just a comedy trio, but guys who could actually get down and dirty when it mattered.
The 411: WWF shows in 2000 were absolutely great most of the time, and this is just as you’d expect. The main event delivered in spades, while we had a shock (the good kind) in the conclusion to Rock vs Show. Kurt Angle and the Dudley's title victories were also moments you could look back on and see how pivotal they were in their respective careers, even if the matches themselves weren't classics. Tazz getting stuck with Bossman and Albert aside, this PPV is perfectly watchable from start to finish with some superb action taking place. Go seek, go watch.
|Final Score: 8.0 [ Very Good ] legend|