WWE No Way Out 2000 was the second PPV of that year with Triple H defending the WWE Title against Mick Foley in a Hell in a Cell match.
They stopped using the No Way Out name after that until a random June 2012 PPV with the No Way Out name and that was the last time WWE used it.
This came at a time when WWE’s top guy “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was out for most of the year after major neck surgery. Even though Austin wasn’t there, business was strong for WWE in early 2000 with this show doing 480,000 PPV buys. That’s the third-best buyrate number for a No Way Out event trailing the 2001 and 2002 events. It was above average for WWE PPVs in 2000.
WWE No Way Out
February 27, 2000
From Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut
This show earned a TV-14 rating and “V” for Violence.
The opening video packaged focused on the big WWF Championship match with Triple H facing Cactus Jack with Jack’s career on the line.
It was a packed house with the pyro going off and signs all over the crowd. The announce team is Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
Kurt Angle entered with the European Championship in his hand and a microphone in hand. Angle said that once he defeats Jericho to become the Euro-Continental Champion and like the Hartford Whalers, he’ll leave Connecticut, but unlike the Whalers he will return one day to give this town the hero they deserve. What a nice guy.
Chyna entered first since she had nothing going on at the time and she was an ally of Chris Jericho at this point.
Chris Jericho was up next with the Intercontinental Championship. The crowd was loud for Jericho. His popular was growing every week. Jericho welcomed us to “Hartford is Jericho” and called Angle “Kirk Angel” again while adding that he’s a jackass. Jericho said that he had an “I” of his own and that’s the Intercontinental Championship.
Analysis: Great promos from both guys. It helped get their characters over early in their WWF careers.
Intercontinental Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle
Pre-match notes: Jericho was the face Intercontinental Champion while Angle was the heel challenger. Angle’s European Championship was not on the line.
Jericho with a hip toss, Angle with a slap, Jericho slapped back and Jericho with a clothesline. Angle with a drop toe hold that sent Jericho into the ropes. Jericho with a back body drop that sent Angle over the top to the floor. Jericho hit his springboard dropkick that knocked Angle off the apron to the floor again. Angle took control on the floor with a punch followed by a whip into the barricade. Angle whipped Jericho into the announce table, Jericho sent Angle into the ring post and Jericho went for a clothesline leading to Jericho hitting the ring post because Angle moved. Jericho came back with a moonsault off the steps onto Angle on the floor. That was impressive. Jericho went up top, Angle tripped him up and Angle hit a belly to belly suplex off the middle ropes for a two count. Angle with a suplex for a two count. Angle slapped on an armbar on Jericho with fans chanting “Angle sucks” at Angle. Jericho off the ropes leading into a double arm hook into a backbreaker. Jericho came back with a German Suplex for a two count. Angle with a single arm DDT working on that left arm of Jericho. Jericho whipped Angle in and hit a spinning heel kick followed by a running bulldog by Jericho. Running forearm smash by Jericho got a two count. Jericho caught Angle and hit a Powerbomb for two. Angle countered a Jericho pin attempt into an armbar leading to Jericho getting to the ropes. Jericho whipped Angle into the turnbuckle, Angle took it sternum first and Angle hit the Olympic Slam for a two count. Angle was shocked by it, so he grabbed the IC Title from ringside. Referee Tim White tried to take the title from Angle, so Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho on Angle, which led to Angle crawling to the ropes to break the hold. The action spilled to the floor with Angle trying to hit Jericho with the European Title. Chyna got involved, Angle swung the title at her and Jericho shoved Angle into Chyna, so the referee left the ring to check on Chyna. Jericho with a suplex that sent Angle into the ring right by the IC Title. Jericho went for the Lionsault off the ropes, Angle grabbed the IC Title and hit Jericho in the head with it or at least that’s what Jericho sold. I think it was more like Angle hitting the chest. Anyway, the ref never saw it. Angle covered, the ref slid back in and Angle covered for the victory at 10:13.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Kurt Angle
Analysis: *** That was a very good opening match with Angle winning his second title in his WWF career. This was a lot of fun to watch with a hot crowd. The action went back and forth with the spot with Chyna hurting Jericho and leading to Angle doing the smart thing with the title. That was a very creative finish even though it makes no sense for the referee to focus on the person not even in the match. It was early in their WWF careers and both went on to win pretty much every title there is to win while having Hall of Fame careers. It’s pretty amazing that Angle won two titles in his first four months (he started in November 1999). It showed how much faith Vince McMahon had in him already.
Post match, Angle celebrated with the Intercontinental and European Titles. Referee Earl Hebner went into the ring to talk to Tim White about what happened. White yelled at Hebner about it, so they got into an argument.
Analysis: It would lead to a triple threat at WrestleMania with Jericho and Chris Benoit involved with both titles on the line.
The Dudley Boyz were interviewed by Michael Cole in the interview area. D-Von said that they will become the WWF Tag Team Champions. Bubba said that the people should get ready for another title change and said they had two words for them: 3D.
The New Age Outlaws made their entrance as the six-time WWF Tag Team Champions with JR calling them perhaps the greatest tag team in the history of the company. They did their promo full of catchphrases with fans chanting along even though they are heels.
The Dudleys were up next. They went into this match looking to become WWF Tag Team Champions for the first time. They gained a lot of momentum as a heel team after their debut in September 1999.
WWF Tag Team Championships: New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley)
Pre-match notes: The Outlaws were heel champions and the Dudleys were heels too. The Outlaws were the more popular of the heel teams.
Dogg with his punching routine on Bubba leading to a full nelson slam by Bubba. The ref Teddy Long was distracted and D-Von jumped off the ropes with a headbutt to the groin of Dogg for two. The Dudleys made some quick tags, Dogg got a sunset flip on D-Von and D-Von came back with a clothesline. Bubba tagged in with a clothesline on Dogg for a two count. D-Von back in with a running back elbow smash on Dogg. Bubba back in with a body slam followed by Gunn distracting the referee leading to Dogg punching Bubba in the groin. The ref didn’t see that. Dogg hit a suplex off the middle ropes. Gunn got the hot tag against D-Von with a back body drop on both Dudleys and a Fameasser on D-Von, but Bubba pulled Gunn out of the ring. Dogg with a knee drop on D-Von and the ref counted the pin (why would he count when Gunn was just legal?) for two. Bubba pulled Gunn off the apron and hit him with a lead pipe to the shoulder. The ref didn’t see that either apparently. D-Von punched Dogg in the back into the ref, then Bubba went back in and the Dudleys hit 3D on Dogg for the pinfall win at 5:20. The legal man was clearly Gunn and the referee totally ignored that fact. The announcers didn’t mention it either.
Winners by pinfall and new WWF Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz
Analysis: ** It was a decent match that was hurt by neither team being faces, so the crowd wasn’t into it that much. The refereeing by Teddy Long was poor in this match. I know a ref is supposed to be distracted at times, but he did some things poorly. The title change led to a good reaction, though. It was a smart move to put the titles on the Dudleys because they were on fire as a team gaining a lot of momentum and getting big reactions from the fans.
The Dudleys left with the gold while JR commented that he doesn’t recall a WWF PPV where two title matches started a show and two titles changed hands.
Meanwhile back in the ring, the New Age Outlaws discussed what happened. A replay aired of the key spots leading to the Dudleys win.
Analysis: This led to a long absence for Gunn because he had a torn rotator cuff injury to his left shoulder. He would miss the next eight months and be back in October.
Kurt Angle was shown celebrating with fans while walking around with his two titles.
Mark Henry and Viscera got into a fight backstage on Heat, so that leads us to this match. Oh shit. Please no.
Mark Henry vs. Viscera
Pre-match notes: Henry is the face and Viscera is the heel. Viscera hit a splash on Mae Young on Raw, so Henry wanted revenge for it. This match is not going to be good.
Henry with a running shoulder tackle on Viscera, but then Viscera came back with a spinning heel kick. Viscera hit a clothesline that sent Henry over the top to the floor. Viscera with a hard whip that sent Henry hard into the steel steps. Viscera set up the stairs against the ring post and whipped Henry into the steps again. Viscera rolled Henry into the ring lead to “boring” chants. A Samoan Drop connected for Viscera. Mae Young made her entrance leading to cheers, so I guess fans don’t think an old woman is boring. Viscera hit a belly to belly suplex. Mae went into the ring and Viscera shoved her down. Viscera went for a splash on Mae, but Henry hit a shoulderblock. Henry with a body slam on Viscera and that was enough to pin him to win at 3:44.
Winner by pinfall: Mark Henry
Analysis: 1/2* Awful match as expected. Henry avenged the attack on Mae with the win. My favorite thing about it is that it was short. I’ll give them some credit for working hard, but it was boring to watch.
Chris Jericho was interviewed by Lilian Garcia in the backstage interview area. Jericho said that if Kirk Angel aka Kurt Angle keeps celebrating then Jericho is going to stop it.
Billy Gunn was shown in the locker room with a doctor talking to him. A replay aired of Bubba hitting Gunn in the left shoulder with the lead pipe. Gunn was shown again favoring his left arm.
Analysis: As I mentioned earlier, Gunn needed shoulder surgery, so the attack from Bubba was done to explain it.
The Hardy Boyz entered for a tag team match with their manager Terri Runnels joining them. Terri missed about one month after being put through a table by Bubba Ray Dudley with a Powerbomb. A clip aired from earlier on Heat with Terri going to the APA to buy their services as protection for the night.
Edge and Christian made their entrance as the opponents of the Hardys. They entered by going into the ring through the crowd. The APA duo of Bradshaw and Faarooq walked down to ringside to protect Terri.
The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy) w/Terri vs. Edge & Christian
Pre-match notes: Both teams were faces. The E&C heel turn was coming soon. This was a number one contender’s match with the winners earning a tag team title shot.
The Hardys did some tandem offense early as Jeff and Matt hit leg drops on Christian at the same time. Matt with a back body drop on Christian for a two count. Matt worked over Christian with some chops and when Christian was on the floor, Jeff whipped Christian into the barricade at ringside. Jeff back with a running leg lariat against the turnbuckle on Christian. Jeff with a slam followed by a springboard moonsault for a two count. Matt and Jeff hit a double team front slam on Christian for two. Matt went for a powerbomb, Christian slipped out and hit a neckbreaker. Jeff tagged in, he jumped off the top and Christian got his feet up to block. Edge tagged in with clotheslines for both Hardys, a spin kick by Edge on Matt and Christian hit a springboard cross body block on Matt on the floor. Edge got a rollup on Jeff for two. It was time for Edge and Christian to work together to isolate Jeff as Christian hit a drop toe hold on Edge leading to a headbutt to Jeff’s groin, which was good for a two count. When Jeff tried to get going, Edge stopped him and Edge hit a piledriver for a two count. That’s not a move that Edge did that often. Edge slapped on a headlock on Jeff to ground him in the ring. Jeff came back with a hurricanrana. Jeff charged again, he got to Edge’s shoulders and Edge hit a huge Powerbomb on Jeff. That was close to a slip up, but they got through it fine. Christian hit a powerslam on Jeff and brought Edge back in for another chinlock. Edge and Jeff each grabbed the other guy by the hair leading to a double takedown. Christian stomped away on Jeff, so Matt jumped off the top with an elbow drop leading to Jeff getting a two count. Edge slammed Jeff to prevent a tag. Edge up top and Jeff countered his attack with a dropkick to the ribs.
Matt got the hot tag against Christian with Matt connecting with punches, a body slam on Christian and a neckbreaker on Edge. Matt with a headlock into a slam on Christian for two. Jeff up top and he hit a cross body block on Christian. Matt with a body slam on Christian after Edge was tossed out of the ring. Matt up top with a leg drop and Jeff up top with a splash at the same time. Edge broke up the pin attempt. Hardy charged in for Poetry in Motion and Edge blocked it with a Spear. Matt with a Twist of Fate on Edge. Matt with an atomic drop on Christian, Terri went on the apron while Jeff was on the top rope and Terri shoved Jeff off the top into the barricade at ringside. Heel turn from Terri! Matt wondered what she was doing. Matt went for a move on Christian, but Christian shoved Matt into the ropes, Terri slapped Matt and Christian hit the Unprettier on Matt for the pinfall at 15:05.
Winners by pinfall: Edge and Christian
The win by Edge and Christian meant that they were the #1 contenders to the WWF Tag Team Titles.
Analysis: ***1/2 That was an awesome tag team match. People remember the ladder matches the most because they were great, but they could have some damn good regular matches too and they proved that here. I’m glad that they were given 15 minutes to show what they can do because if it was half of that it would have left me wanting more. I didn’t remember the heel turn from Terri, so it surprised me when it happened. The chemistry between Edge, Christian, Jeff and Matt was great. The last few minutes were a bit chaotic with all four guys in the ring, but they booked the finish well.
Edge and Christian looked at Terri with puzzled looks on their faces. Terri raised Edge’s hand. Edge left with Christian while Terri left on her own with the APA guys wondering what was going as well.
Matt grabbed Terri by the hair, so the APA guys saved Terri with Bradshaw hitting a clothesline on Matt. Faarooq pinned up Jeff, I think he was going for a Dominator, but he ended up slamming Jeff hard right on the back of his neck. Ouch! The APA boys left. The Hardys were left in the ring selling the attack.
Analysis: Good post match angle aside from Jeff landing hard on his head. This would eventually lead to the Dudley Boyz vs. Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania 2000.
Edge and Christian were interviewed backstage by Michael Cole. Christian said he knew they were going to win, but he never expected it like this. Edge said that all that matters is they got the victory and they are going to WrestleMania after the championships.
Analysis: The heel ways of Edge and Christian were set to begin and it was among the best things on the show.
Big Show was interviewed in the locker room by Lilian Garcia. Show called for the Royal Rumble footage again that showed Rock’s feet hitting the floor first, which led to this match taking place at No Way Out. Show said that he guarantees he’s beating The Rock and going to WrestleMania.
There was a clip from Heat showing Big Boss Man and Prince Albert with a cheap attack on Tazz to set up this match.
Big Boss Man (w/Prince Albert) vs. Tazz
Pre-match notes: Boss Man and Albert were heels while Tazz was a face that wasn’t getting over that much. Weak rivalries like this didn’t help Tazz.
Big Boss Man and Tazz got into a fight on the floor. Tazz grabbed Boss Man by the arm. They went into the ring with Boss Man working over Tazz with punches and a splash. Tazz came back with a clothesline and an overhead suplex. Tazz slapped on the Tazzmission, so Albert went into the ring to attack Tazz leading to the DQ finish at 1:22.
Winner by disqualification: Tazz
Analysis: 1/2* A quick match with an obvious finish to continue to tell this story that nobody seemed to care about. Feuding with Boss Man was not good for Tazz since it was so low on the card.
Post match, Albert picked up Tazz with a two handed Chokeslam to take out Tazz. Boss Man grabbed the nightstick and hit Tazz in the ribs with it. Albert with a slingshot that sent Tazz’s throat into the middle ropes. Tazz came back with punches. Boss Man and Tazz kept on attacking Tazz as the segment ended there or so it seemed until Tazz came back with punches. Boss Man grabbed the nightstick and hit Tazz in the head with it, which broke the nightstick. Tazz sold it like he was out. Tazz got back up and tackled Albert. Referees and officials went into the ring to try to break it up.
Analysis: This feud was boring. The story was that Tazz kept on fighting back even after taking a beating. That nightstick shot to the head looked nasty. Albert’s alliance with Boss Man was dropped shortly after as T&A with Trish Stratus was formed.
Kurt Angle was shown in another part of the arena with a megaphone where he was surrounded by fans.
The video package aired showing the highlights of the Kane and X-Pac feud. They were allies, X-Pac turned on Kane and then Tori turned on Kane to join X-Pac as his girlfriend. Paul Bearer brought Kane back into the WWF and Kane hit a Tombstone on Tori for revenge. Kane won a handicap match against Triple H and Big Show thanks to some help, so Kane earned this match. On the last Smackdown, X-Pac shot fire in Kane’s face using a flamethrower. It was a good build to this match.
X-Pac made his entrance first with Tori looking great in the green and black colors of DX. The replay aired again of X-Pac shooting fire into Kane’s face.
No Holds Barred Match: Kane (w/Paul Bearer) vs. X-Pac (w/Tori)
Pre-match notes: Kane was the face and X-Pac was the heel.
Kane was aggressive early with a backbreaker followed by a clothesline that sent X-Pac over the top to the floor. X-Pac and Torie tried to leave, but Kane stopped X-Pac with a punch and a whip into a guard rail. X-Pac tried to climb a cage that was by the set, Kane grabbed him and X-Pac shoved Kane into the cell. Kane grabbed a trash can and hit X-Pac in the head with it. Kane whipped X-Pac into the guard rail that was there. They made their way back to the ringside area with Kane sending X-Pac into the guard rail. X-Pac got the ring bell and hit Kane in the head with it. Bearer prevented X-Pac from using a chair, so Tori saved X-Pac with a slap for Bearer. That led to Bearer chasing Tori around the ring. Kane got back into it, he went up top, X-Pac kicked him down and X-Pac hit a bronco buster against the turnbuckle. Kane sat right up leading to a clothesline. X-Pac ran the ropes and connected with a dropkick to the knee. X-Pac tripped up Kane while working on the leg, but Kane came back with a kick that sent X-Pac out of the ring. Kane sent X-Pac back into the ring where X-Pac hit a jumping side kick to knock down Kane. X-Pac went up top, Kane sat up, X-Pac jumped, Kane caught X-Pac and X-Pac hit a low blow. X-Pac with the X-Factor on Kane. Bearer on the apron, so X-Pac punched him down. Kane with a boot to the face to X-Pac. Kane back up and this time he connected with the top rope clothesline. Tori was on the apron, JR wanted Kane to give her a Tombstone again and Kane hit a Chokeslam to X-Pac. Tori jumped on Kane’s back, so Kane gave Tori a Tombstone for the second time. Kane picked up the steel steps that were in the ring, X-Pac dropkicked the steps into Kane’s face and X-Pac covered to win while holding onto the steps on Kane’s throat at 7:50.
Winner by pinfall: X-Pac
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match. It was surprising that it was not a longer match like you would expect for a stipulation match like this. I was surprised by the result because Kane was the face seeking revenge and X-Pac got the advantage on Smackdown. The ending with the stairs to the throat of Kane was a bit weak looking although I give them some credit for being creative with it.
The Radicals foursome of Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero were interviewed by Michael Cole asking them if they were nervous about their first WWF PPV event. The Radicals all spoke confidently about how they were going to win. Eddie said he’ll be there for moral support and he had some steel pipe with him.
The Too Cool group of Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay entered to a good ovation. Rikishi has white tape on his left ankle to sell the injury he’s been dealing with for a few weeks.
The Radicals foursome made their entrance with Eddie Guerrero joining them with Eddie having his left arm in a sling because of the elbow injury he suffered a few weeks earlier.
Rikishi and Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty) vs. The Radicals (Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko) w/Eddie Guerrero
Pre-match notes: Rikishi and Too Cool were the faces. The Radicals were the heels.
A brawl took place to begin with Eddie going in the ring with his steel pipe, but Rikishi got it from him and hit Eddie in the left elbow with the pipe. That led to Eddie leaving and the bell rang to start the match.
Sexay with a block of a superplex leading to a front superplex on Saturn followed by a missile dropkick. Sexay with an enziguri kick on Saturn. Benoit tagged in leading to Sexay hitting a bulldog for two. Scotty tagged in as Too Cool hit a double team elbow on Benoit. Suplex by Benoit that sent Scotty chest first onto the top rope, but Scotty came back with a suplex followed by a moonwalk. Rikishi aka Rawkishi to JR with punches, a running clothesline and he drove his ass into Benoit’s face leading to big cheers from the crowd. Rikishi picked up Benoit leading to Malenko coming in with a kick to the leg to give the heels the advantage. Saturn tagged in, Rikishi limped around and hit a kick on Saturn. Scotty tagged in with a bulldog on Saturn, but Malenko stomped the Worm attempt with a clothesline. Benoit with a running forearm followed by a belly to back suplex on Scotty for a two count. Snap suplex by Benoit got a two count. Malenko back in with a low dropkick to the face, a corner clothesline and butterfly suplex for a two count as Sexay broke up the pin. Saturn back in with a flying knee attack off the top on Scotty. Benoit was in next with a suplex attempt, Scotty countered and landed on top, so Malenko kicked Scotty in the back. Saturn with a slingshot dive into the ring for a two count. Malenko with a knee drop, Benoit back in with a clothesline and they did a spot where the back of Benoit’s head hit Scotty’s head, so both guys were down.
Rikishi got the hot tag against Malenko with Rikishi cleaning house with punches, a double clothesline, a running splash on Benoit and Saturn back to back. Rikishi picked up Saturn and hit the Rikishi Driver. Sexay told Scotty to tag in, so Scotty did the W-O-R-M leading to a chop on Saturn. That move was so popular with the fans. Malenko, who was the legal man, hit a chop block to the leg of Rikishi again. Benoit suplexed Scotty out of the ring. Rikishi with a belly to belly side suplex on Benoit. Malenko hit another chop block on Rikishi’s leg. Sexay back in the ring with a leg drop off the top on Saturn. Benoit jumped off the top with a headbutt to Sexay. The foursome of Benoit, Saturn, Sexay and Scotty did cross body blocks over the top to the floor. Malenko tried to working on Rikishi with a splash to the leg, but Rikishi managed to kick him in the balls. Rikishi kicked Malenko into the post. Rikishi hit a Rikishi Driver on Malenko. Rikishi pulled Malenko to the ropes and hit a Banzai Drop for the pinfall win at 13:30.
Winners by pinfall: Rikishi and Too Cool
Analysis: ***3/4 That was a great tag team match with a lot of action, great work by the heels and the build to the hot tag got people excited about the last few minutes. It was textbook tag team wrestling. Rikishi was put over strong because he was selling an injury and still got the win for his team. That made sense for the story although I thought at the time that it was a mistake that The Radicals lost their first PPV match. The story was fine, though, because it was about Rikishi getting revenge after The Radicals hurt Rikishi’s left leg. Rikishi did an awesome job of selling the entire match, so his performance stood out to me.
Post match, Rikishi and Too Cool did their post match dance routine with JR calling Rikishi’s ass “the most famous dimples since Shirley Temple.” Nice line. The crowd loved it.
Kurt Angle was shown continuing his celebration as the new Intercontinental Championship.
The video aired to set up The Rock vs. Big Show with the winner getting a WWF Title match at WrestleMania. To make a long story short, Rock won the Royal Rumble while Big Show complained that Rock’s feet hit first in the Rumble match. Show was right, so he was granted a singles match with Rock with the winner going to WrestleMania for a WWF Title shot.
Big Show entered first looking like he was in pretty good shape with JR hyping him up as a threat that was just 28 years old at the time of this match.
The Rock got the biggest pop of the night as the fans chanted “Rocky” for him before his music played. The ovations this guy got were on another level from everybody else in this era except Steve Austin, who was out for most of 2000. Rock’s popularity was never in doubt. Rock was 27 years old at the time of the match and nearly 28 years old, so he was born in 1972 just like Big Show.
Big Show vs. The Rock
Pre-match notes: Show was the heel and Rock was the face.
The winner of this match gets a WWF Title match at WrestleMania…in theory. Most of you know what happened there.
Rock hit a DDT to start the match. Rock wanted a Rock Bottom, so Show elbowed him in the head to send him to the floor. They battled on the floor with Show sending Rock over the barricade at ringside. If the referee Earl Hebner counted them out then the match would be over, but Hebner went into the crowd with them. Show with a clothesline on the floor. They went back towards ringside with Show hitting a Gorilla Press Slam that sent Rock throat first into the top of the barricade. They went back into the ring with Show connecting with a headbutt followed by an elbow drop. Show hit a powerslam on Rock for a two count. Rock left the ring, drank some water and spit it in Show’s face. Show came back with a hard whip into the steel ring post. Back in the ring, Rock connected with a side Russian legsweep for the two count. Rock with a DDT for a two count. Show got back into it with a sidewalk slam for two. Show grabbed a steel chair from ringside, he brought it into the ring, Rock avoided the chair (if Rock got hit with it he would have won the match) and Show threw Rock into Hebner, who bumped to the floor. Show with a boot to the face. Show wanted a Chokeslam and he connected with it, but there was no referee to count. Referee Tim White took over, but Earl Hebner pulled White out of the ring. They had an argument earlier in the night. Shane McMahon made his return to the “No Chance in Hell” song and the fans cheered him huge. Rock hit Show in the head with the chair. The fans were going crazy. Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Big Show. Rock bounced off the ropes, Shane into the ring, he grabbed the chair and hit Rock in the head with it! That was an awesome spot with Shane diving across the ring with the chair to connect with Rock’s head (Rock did get a hand up to block). Shane left the ring and sent Tim White into the ring to take over. Show covered Rock with one arm and White counted the pin to give Show the win at 9:33.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: ** The match was just average stuff with a lot of heat and I liked the intensity shown by both guys. It was nice to see that this was more of a competitive fight rather where they were fighting for something on the line. Show was still learning how to have good matches while Rock was capable of having great matches. I thought Show was a much better worker about a decade after this. The big thing about this match was Shane McMahon helping Big Show, which came out of nowhere because Shane was off TV for a few months and then he returned for this to help Show win.
Post match, Shane raised Big Show’s hand as the winner of the match with Jim Ross ranting about it and wondering why Shane screwed The Rock like that. Show and Shane left up the ramp while Rock was in the ring with an angry look on his face while saying things like “son of a bitch” to react to the shocking finish.
The announcers talked about it with both men being shocked by what Shane did. Replays aired of Shane’s attack with the chair leading to Show getting the win.
The video package aired for Triple H vs. Cactus Jack in a Hell in a Cell match with Jack’s career on the line for Triple H’s WWF Title. It was built up well with some great promos from Mick Foley talking about how he guaranteed that he would jump off the cell onto Triple H while Triple H said that his dream was to be a part of the WWF without Cactus Jack in it.
Analysis: It was one of the most anticipated rematches ever after having one of the best WWF Title matches ever at the Royal Rumble one month earlier.
There was a shot of Kurt Angle in the parking lot singing “I am the Champion” to the tune of “We Are The Champions” as he got up to his car. Chris Jericho and Chyna showed up to attack Angle. They put Angle in the trunk and left.
Analysis: It was a way to continue the story of Angle celebrating his title win a lot more than most people would. It fit Angle’s gimmick.
Triple H entered as the WWF Champion with his storyline wife (and future real life wife) Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley by his side. Hunter had perfected his water spit while on the apron entrance by this point. Hunter’s left leg was taped up a lot because of the cut he dealt with at the Royal Rumble. He bled a lot from the leg on that night.
Cactus Jack entered to a very good ovation. He had on the “Wanted” t-shirt and the red flannel shirt as usual. The Hell in a Cell structure lowered while both guys were in the ring. In future years, that would change with the structure lowered before the wrestlers entered the ring.
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon Helmsley) vs. Cactus Jack
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel WWF Champion that I’ll refer to as Hunter when I write about the match. Jack was the face challenger that was putting his career on the line at just 34 years of age.
The match began with Jack going over to the cell door and realizing that there were several locks on the door, which will make it difficult to open the door. Jack was in control with a running forearm. They battled on the floor with Hunter sending Jack into the side of the ring apron. Back in the ring, Hunter worked over Jack with punches. Hunter slammed his knee into Jack’s face and Jack sent Hunter over the top to the floor. Hunter kicked a chair of Jack’s hand and sent him into the cell. Jack was on the apron, so Hunter hit a running knee that sent Jack into the cell. Hunter whipped Jack knees first into the steel steps, which was a bump Jack did all the time. Hunter remained in control as he whipped Jack into the ring post. When Jack got back up, Hunter whipped the steel steps into Jack’s head. Hunter used the chair to hit the steps while Jack was underneath them. Back in the ring, Hunter with a stiff chair shot to the back and a hard chair shot to the head. Hunter with a DDT for a two count. Jack got his hands on the steel chair, he hit Hunter in the groin with it and then a DDT onto the chair by Jack. The most shocking thing about this match so far was that nobody was bleeding yet. Jack with a Russian legsweep that put the back of Hunter’s head onto the steel chair. Jack unloaded on Hunter with punches while putting him on the chair, but Hunter came back with a drop toe hold onto the chair. Hunter with a clothesline that sent Jack over the top to the floor. Hunter sent the back of Jack’s head into the cell. They battled outside the ring again with Jack hitting a catapult that sent Hunter into the cell. Triple H came up bleeding after blading himself, so he was busted open with the bloody head. There’s the expected blood in the match.
Jack continued on offense as he whipped Hunter into the cage repeatedly. Jack grated Hunter’s face against the cage. Jack whipped the back of Hunter hitting the cell with JR saying that Triple H’s face was the “proverbial crimson mask, which was a phrase JR liked to use. Stephanie had a concerned look on her rich face. Jack went to the second turnbuckle, he had the chair in his right and jumped off with an elbow smash using the chair. That looked brutal for Hunter to take. Jack threw the steel steps at Hunter, who moved and the steps busted open the side of the cage. The crowd cheered wildly because they realized the cage was busted open. Jack went running into the cage and then bumped into the barricade at ringside. Jack whipped Hunter through the cage. Jack was bleeding from the left arm.
Analysis: I thought that was a creative way to get out of the ring. Prior to this, nobody did a spot like that to break open the cell, so give them credit for being creative with it.
Jack hit a pulling piledriver onto the announce table, but the table did not break. Jack tried to climb the cage, but Stephanie grabbed his legs to stop him. Jack grabbed the barbed wire 2×4 piece of wood and hit Hunter in the head with it. Hunter tried to leave through the crowd, but Jack left him. Hunter climbed up the cell, so Jack climbed up after him while bringing the 2×4 barb wire with him. Hunter grabbed the barb wire wood while on the cell and grated it against Jack’s head. Hunter stepped on the hands of Jack and Jack bumped off the side of the cell through the announce table. Jack was about 3/4 of the way up the cell, so that was a nasty fall. It was a higher bump from what Shawn Michaels did at Badd Blood 1997. JR said “Cactus is broken in half” and called for help for Mick. Hunter posed on the cell with the barbed wire 2×4 as if he won the match from that with fans chanting “Asshole” at Hunter. Jack was moving again and got back to his feet. Jack was bleeding from the head after the barb wire shot to the head. Jack tried throwing two chairs on top of the cell, but three times he tried and it failed. Jack went up on the cell again where Triple H was waiting with the 2×4 barb wire to the back. Hunter hit Jack two more times with the barb wire. Jack with a low blow kick to the groin. Jack with punches while on the cell. Jack punched Hunter on the cell again and Hunter broke three a corner part of the cage. Jack with a suplex on Hunter on the cage. Jack with a double arm DDT on the cell. Jack grabbed the barb wire 2×4, he lit it on fire and he hit Hunter in the head with it. Jack put the barb wire 2×4 on the cell and Hunter hit a back body drop that sent Jack through the cell and it led to Jack breaking part of the ring for his fall. The fans chanted “holy shit” for that. It was a gimmicked spot that we had never seen before. JR was freaking out asking for somebody to help this man. Here’s an image of what it looked like with Jack in the ring.
Hunter crawled his way down the broke part of the cell and got into the ring with Jack. JR told Hunter to get it over with. Fans chanted “Foley” as Hunter looked at the crowd with a shocked look on his face. Hunter kicked Jack’s hand leading to Jack moving back to his feet. JR: “That crazy son of a bitch is moving.” Hunter decked Jack with a couple of punches to the head. Hunter picked up Jack and hit a Pedigree in the center of the ring. Hunter covered and Hebner counted the one, two and three. Triple H retains the WWF Championship at 23:57.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: ****1/2 That was an outstanding match full of violence and it’s one of the best Hell in a Cell matches in WWE history. They followed up on the Royal Rumble match well by using some of the same spots that worked in that much, but then they cranked it up even more by having Jack light the barbed wire bat on fire. The battle on the cell was really cool because the previous HIAC matches didn’t have that much action on top of the cell, so it made this match stand out a lot. I don’t think it was a five-star match because it was slow at times and I just feel like it was a notch below what they did at the Royal Rumble. It’s still one of the best WWF Title matches ever. I was not surprised by Triple H getting the win.
After the match was over, EMT’s went down to the ring with a stretcher. Hunter called for the cell to be raised, so it was and a bloody Hunter left with his wife Stephanie smiling at the sight of a fallen Cactus Jack.
Analysis: That match result meant that Triple H would defend the WWF Title against Big Show at WrestleMania. I don’t think anybody watching believed that was going to be the match to main event WrestleMania, but that’s what it was when the show ended. There would be twists on the road to WrestleMania, of course.
Replays aired of the crazy fall that Cactus Jack took through the cell and into the ring that was gimmicked so that it broke when he went through it. That was smart of WWE to set it up that way. It’s still an impressive bump.
Jack was getting helped by The EMTs, but he threw a neckbrace away because he didn’t want the help. JR said that there are a lot of jerks and asses in this business, but Foley is one of the finest men he has ever known. JR said that Foley’s career was over. In theory, I guess. Not in reality.
The fans gave Mick Foley a standing ovation as he slowly walked to the back with fans chanting “Foley” for him. Foley turned to face the crowd and the cheers got louder. JR thanked him for the great memories. The show ended with Foley walking away.
Analysis: It was a great sendoff for Mick Foley. Yes, he wrestled in the main event of WrestleMania one month later and wrestled several more times after that over the next decade, but this was the end of his career as a full-timer.
This event had a run time of 2:36:23 on WWE Network. Most WWE PPVs in that era ran 2:45, so they might have edited something out.
Five Stars of the Show
- Cactus Jack
- Triple H
- Edge and Christian
- Hardy Boyz
This event gets a score of 8 out of 10.
It’s a great PPV with one of the best main events of the year and all of the drama surrounding that match. Plus, there were two very good tag team matches in the three-star range that could have been a lot better if they came up with better finishes. The night also had some turns with Shane McMahon’s shocking assist to Big Show and Terri turning on the Hardys as well. There were some bad matches too, but at least they were kept short, so I don’t think they hurt the show much.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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