TJR Retro: WWE No Way Out 2004 Review by John Canton

The big news of the week in World Wrestling Entertainment is all about the brand extension 2.0 that is going to start in July. I figured it would be a good time to post a retro review of a Smackdown only pay-per-view event that I enjoyed a lot as a reminder of what we might get if WWE decides to do brand specific PPVs again.

No Way Out 2004 took place one month before WrestleMania 30. As I said, it was Smackdown only with the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar defending the gold against Eddie Guerrero. Lesnar started a feud with Raw’s Bill Goldberg at the Royal Rumble a month earlier and Goldberg said he’d be at this show. We also knew that Lesnar was going to face Goldberg at WrestleMania, so a title change was likely. I can remember being really excited going into this one.

In addition to the Lesnar/Guerrero match, there’s a damn good Cruiserweight Title and triple threat match on the show as well.

My review was mostly written live in February 2004. I can remember ordering the webcast version of the PPV for something like $14.95 and posting it on a site called The Oratory that I helped run. What I’ve done is included my detailed recap below while also adding in some new comments in blue that I’ve written today. Let’s get to it.

WWE No Way Out
San Francisco, California
February 15, 2004

The announcers are Michael Cole and Tazz.

After the WWE logo appears, Sable and Torrie Wilson walk out on the ramp. They come out holding hands to Sable’s theme song. They’re each wearing black dresses. Cole says the crowd is “late arriving.” Doesn’t look full to me.

(I remember looking it up after the show. Apparently the arena only has one main door to get in, so that’s why it took a while to get it filled up.)

Sable says “Hello San Francisco.” She says they’ve enjoyed the sights in San Fran and now it’s the fans turns to enjoy them. Torrie basically says that the superstars will give you their all. Sable then says there’s nothing they won’t do to put on a show for the fans. Worthless segment, unless you like two heterosexual women holding hands.

(They were in Playboy magazine at this time, so that’s why they did this opening.)

Video package is next highlighting Brock Lesnar and Eddie Guerrero. Good stuff as always. I think the focus of it was that Lesnar is going to be keeping his eye on Goldberg at ringside. The pyro signals to start the show.

WWE Tag Titles: Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty vs. The Bashams & Shaniqua
My Pick: Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty

This is a handicap match. Cole says they’ve teamed together for “five years” even though it was actually Scotty and Brian Christopher. Close enough I guess. The challengers are out first, followed by the champs. There is very little light in the upper part of the building. A lot less than normal. I guess it’s not close to a sellout.

Danny and Scotty start it out. Danny gets some forearms to the back. He chucks Scotty over the top, but he skins the cat back in with some chops. Into the ropes, flying headscissors by Scotty. Tag to Rikishi. Doug gets tagged in, eating some fists. Hip toss by Rikishi. Doug’s hiptoss attempt is blocked by a clothesline. Danny comes in and eats a clothesline. He hurls Shaniqua in, going for a stinkface. Doug saves her. He headbutts Rikishi, but he’s the one that gets hurt. Slam by Rikishi. Tag to Scotty. Into the ropes, double noggin knocker puts them down. Three minutes in and we’re already seeing a KO spot. I’m guessing this match ends quickly. Kip up by Scotty, setting up for the W…O…R…clothesline by Shaniqua. Big heat for that. Tag to Danny, double slingshot suplex by the Bashams. Danny drives Scotty to the corner, then clubs him down. Danny tags in Shaniqua.

Shaniqua with a bodyslam, then she taunts Rikishi. Scotty tries to fight back up, but she decks him with a forearm. Danny’s in. Scotty tries to tag Rikishi, but Danny holds him. Doug stops the tag from happening by coming in illegally. Doug gets tagged in. Sleeper. Scotty drops down to break it up. Shaniqua sets up Scotty for a powerbomb, but he counters with a backdrop. He tags Rikishi. Doug and Danny go at him, but he decks them with punches, superkick and a DDT. Shaniqua jumps on his back. He whips her down. Rikishi drags her over. He goes to give her the Banzai drop. The Bashams come in and double chokeslam him down. She covers for two. Scotty dives on the Bashams on the ground. Just Rikishi and Shaniqua now. She goes for a clothesline, but he reverses to a Samoan Drop. Into the corer, Rikishi drops down with the Banzai drop. That’s it after 8 minutes.
Winners: Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty

Analysis: *3/4 By the numbers match. Just a typical TV match to try to make it look like the champs were at a disadvantage, but they were able to overcome the numbers game.

(I liked the Bashams as a team, but Shaniqua wasn’t a very good performer. Her name is Linda Miles and she was a co-winner of Tough Enough, so they tried to do everything they could to get her over. It didn’t really work. Rikishi and Scotty held the titles for about two months when they dropped them to Charlie Haas and Rico. I don’t remember these tag feuds very well at all.)

They show Goldberg’s empty seat at ringside. They say that when he arrives, Josh Matthews will let us know.

Noble is Blindfolded: Jamie Noble vs. Nidia
My Pick: Noble

Long video package highlights their history from when they loved eachother to Noble’s mistreating of Nidia. Noble comes out first. Nidia, along with her new boobs, is next. She’s wearing a really tight white shirt, jean shorts and boots. Charles Robinson forces Noble to put on a black hood.

Noble charges at her, but she goes to the floor. She comes on the apron and slaps him. He takes the hood off, but gets warned to put it on. Nidia’s on the floor. She trips him up. Dropkick to the head for Nidia. She kicks him in the butt when he can’t see. And again. He lunges, but misses. Noble’s an inch away. He doesn’t realize she’s there. She pulls down his pants, leaving him in his white boxers. He puts his shorts back up and gets rolled up for two. He grabs her leg. She headscissors him down to the floor. Noble comes back into the ring. She taunts him mockingly. She’s dancing behind him. She kicks him in the butt again. He runs to the ropes, hitting his own neck on it. She trips him. Noble takes her down, holding her hair. She moves out so he ends up with her hair in his hands. Nidia kicked him down. She goes to the top. Noble lifts the hood up, slams her down. Then he puts her in a dragon sleeper choke. She taps out after 5 minutes.
Winner: Jamie Noble

Analysis: ¼* Not much of match, but the crowd enjoyed it. More of an angle than a match. It was fun and got Noble over as a cheating jerk.

(The first two matches featured men against women. I’m not sure why they were pushing that idea so much at this time. I guess they were trying to have an edgier product. Nidia was another Tough Enough winner that had a bit of a longer career than Shaniqua did.)

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviews Kurt Angle. He asks him why he attacked Cena & Show. He says the other two should be explaining themselves. Angle says he didn’t know who attacked him, but common sense means it’s either Cena or Show. If he doesn’t make it through the match, he’ll lose his Mania opportunity. Cena interrupts. He says he’s all about Mania. He says that if he’s gonna knock him out, he’s gonna do it right to his face. He slaps Angle. They brawl. Officials break it up.

(In terms of who was a face and heel here, Cena had just turned face a few months earlier. Angle was in heel mode.)

APA vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team
My Pick: World’s Greatest Tag Team

Haas & Benjamin are out first. They show Benjamin losing to Bradshaw, highlighting Bradshaw’s hurt arm. APA comes out next with Bradshaw wearing a bandage on his right arm.

Benjamin and Faarooq start out. Benjamin and Haas are wearing blue tights. Team Angle reunion! I hope. Faarooq knees him in the gut. Whip into the rope, Faarooq gets a back elbow for two. Tag to Bradshaw. Double shoulderblock by the APA. Swinging neckbreaker by Bradshaw. Shelton hits him in the arm. Tag to Haas. Whip in by Bradshaw, back elbow with the hurt right arm. Bradshaw with a hard whip into the corner. Tag to Faarooq, who drives his shoulder into Haas’ back for two. Hard whip into the corner. Another whip, Faarooq charges and misses. Haas works on the left arm. Benjamin drops it over the top rope. Hammerlock by Haas, then driving the knee into the left arm. They tag in and out twice, dropping knees onto the left arm. Haas grabs an armbar. Tag to Benjamin, who comes in with a springboard chop to the arm. He pins for two. Jumping armbreaker gets two for Benjamin. He pulls Faarooq over, tagging in Haas. He drops a knee to the arm, then grabs another armbar.

Bradshaw urges the crowd to cheer for Faarooq. Cole & Tazz note that the arena is now standing room only. Faarooq with a spinebuster. Hot tag to Bradshaw. Big boot to Benjamin, backdrop to Haas, slam on Benjamin and a toss of Haas over the top rope. Powerbomb on Benjamin gets two thanks to Haas saving his partner. Faarooq takes a shoulder into the post on the floor. Bradshaw charges in at Benjamin, but eats a back elbow. To the top, Bradshaw counters with the Last Call fallaway slam. Haas tosses him into the rope, Bradshaw ducks, Clothesline from Hell on Haas. He’s not legal. Benjamin with a superkick gets the victory after 7 minutes.
Winners: Haas & Benjamin

Analysis: *1/4 I think Haas & Benjamin are great. APA did okay, but at this point they’re not expected to have good matches. The right team went over.

(It was pretty basic with the veteran team putting over the younger guys. I loved the Haas/Benjamin team, but they didn’t stay together in WWE for long enough. A few months after this, Benjamin got drafted to Raw, received a decent singles push for years and they never became the great WWE tag team that they should have been. As for Bradshaw, if you would have told me he would be WWE Champion four months after this I would have said you were crazy. That was a total surprise. Simmons/Faarooq retired soon after this.)

Bill Goldberg is shown arriving through the crowd along with security. He sits in the front row. He’s wearing his own merchandise.
They show the video package that covers the reason for the Goldberg-Lesnar feud. They show some fans high-fiving Goldberg. He’s sitting in the corner of the ring, near the entrance way.

Paul Heyman comes out to the ring. He holds his ribs, staring at Goldberg sitting at ringside. Heyman asks Goldberg who he thinks he is. Fans chant his name. He says that while Goldberg was on the inferior brand at Raw, all he’s going to do is witness this event. Heyman spazzes on him, saying he’ll arrest Goldberg if he does anything.

Brock Lesnar walks down the aisle. Heyman tells Goldberg that they have a saying on Smackdown that goes like this: “Here comes the pain!” Lesnar gets on the mic to say that he came out here to prove that he’s not intimidated by Goldberg. Lesnar tells him to come at him. Heyman says stop. Lesnar says come at him. Lesnar says that Goldberg’s scared. Lesnar says that Austin would not get in the ring with Lesnar either. He tells Goldberg to sit there to “be the bitch that you are.” Goldberg goes in the ring. Heyman tells him to get back in his seat. They take off their shirts. The crowd is going nuts. Heyman distracts Goldberg. Lesnar goes at him with a shoulder tackle. Goes for a F5. Goldberg reverses it and hits Lesnar with a huge Jackhammer. The crowd is going nuts. Heyman yells for security. Goldberg puts his hands behind his back, letting security take him away.
It’s worth noting that Tazz and Cole both ripped on Goldberg because he’s not welcome there. The crowd, meanwhile, chanted his name. Very good segment right there.

(A good angle to build to the main event. Since Goldberg was Raw only in the brand extension, this was the best way they could further this storyline. The crowd was into this big time.)

Hardcore Holly vs. Rhyno
My Pick: Hardcore Holly

Lesnar’s still in the ring. Holly goes after him, but Brock slides out and to the back. Rhyno comes out next. They meet in the aisle way, brawling from the start. Holly was in control when I came back, tossing Rhyno to the floor. Holly comes out, but Rhyno rams him back first into the side of the ring. Whip into the corner, shoulder to the gut by Rhyno. Knee to the gut by Rhyno gets two. Forearm to the face by Rhyno. On the mat, Rhyno puts Holly into a leg/body scissors. Holly fights back to his fight. Rhyno hits a punch to the gut. Vertical suplex on the ropes, dropping Holly’s ribs across the top rope. Rhyno spits on him, then decks him with a punch. Holly counters something with a back suplex. Kick to the gut by Rhyno gets him two. Whip into the corner, Holly crumbles, selling the ribs. Boots to the gut for Rhyno. Another whip into the corner sends Holly down. Another strong whip. Holly fights out with a clothesline that sends them both down. Ref does a long count.

During the count, we hear some of the Spanish commentary. Can’t understand a damn thing. They get back up, exchanging punches with Holly winning. Holly gets a couple clotheslines. Dropkick for Holly gets two. To the top, Rhyno blocks him with a punch to the head. Superplex for Rhyno gets two. Holly reverses something into a reverse DDT. Rhyno shoves him into the corner, Holly comes out and Rhyno hits a beautiful spinning spinebuster. Rhyno hits a Gore. Holly rolls to the floor because it was near the apron. Ref is counting him on the floor. Holly gets back in at the nine count. Rhyno tries to whip him into the ropes, but Holly reverses through it and hits the Alabama Slam for the three count after 9 minutes.
Winner: Hardcore Holly

Analysis: ** Decent match. It was physical, it had good psychology and it had some believable near nearfalls as well. Nothing special, though.

(I don’t remember the match or why they were even having the match. Both guys were solid midcard performers, so I guess that’s enough reason to do it.)

Before the Cruiserweight Title match, the lights went out, the gong sounded and another Undertaker video played. The package ended with “In 28 Days, the dead will rise again.” Crowd loved it.

(That was done because the last time we saw Undertaker was at Survivor Series 2003 when Kane helped Vince McMahon win a Buried Alive match. That was the last match of the biker Taker gimmick. He sat at home until WrestleMania 20 when he returned to the traditional Undertaker gimmick to beat Kane.)

Cruiserweight Title: Rey Mysterio w/Jorge Paez vs. Chavo Guerrero w/Chavo Sr.
My Pick: Chavo Guerrero

Long video sets us up. The challenger comes out with his father. Mysterio is out next, along with Jorge Paez. The announcers list some of Paez’ credentials, mainly that he had 48 KOs in his career.

Lockup to start is won by Rey with an armbar. Chavo counters with an armbar, Rey rolls through and gets an arm drag to grab the advantage. Mysterio whips Chavo in, and then gets knocked down by a shoulderblock from Chavo. Chavo tries to take the mask off. Rey fights back with a dropkick, sending Chavo to the floor. “Chavo Sucks” chant by the fans. He slaps Rey, whip in, Rey counters with a boot and a headscissors. Mysterio counters something into a rollup for two. Into the ropes, Chavo seeks advantage with a flapjack. Seated dropkick gets him two. Slam by Chavo gets him two. Chavo gets an armbar. Mysterio fights out with back elbows. Springboard misses. He sets Chavo up on the middle rope. Rey hits the 619. He goes for the West Coast Pop, but Chavo Sr. holds his leg, which causes Rey to fall to the floor. Paez decks Chavo Sr. The referee, Jimmy Korderas, sends Paez to the back. Chavo checks on his dad. Rey’s in the ring and leaps onto him with a springboard crossbody on the floor. Springboard legdrop in the ring gets two. Good nearfall there.

In the corner, Mysterio gets a dropkick. Chavo’s whip in the corner, Rey slides out. Rollup gets him two. Rey charges him in the corner, knee to the face for Chavo. He sets up for the Swinging DDT. Mysterio fights out, climbs up for something. Chavo reverses into a top rope gutbuster! It was actually the side of Mysterio’s ribs. Awesome move. Chavo chops him hard in the right side. Small package gets him two. Abdominal stretch for Chavo. Mysterio counters it, falling on top for a lateral press that gets two. Chavo gets a variation of a single leg crab submission. Mysterio fights out with kicks. Chavo gets back on top with some kicks to the ribs. He works for some two counts, they’re holding hands, Mysterio gets up on his shoulders and rolls him up for two. Chavo quickly gets a gutbuster as we’re past the ten minute mark now.

Chavo grabs a wristlock. Mysterio fights out with kicks. Single leg is countered by Mysterio. Chavo lifts him up, Mysterio counters with a bulldog variation that gets him two. Hard knee to the gut gets two for Chavo. Chavo sets Rey up on his shoulders in a DVD position, but Rey counters with a sidekick to the face. Into the corner, Rey gets a headscissors, propelling Chavo shoulder first into the steel post. Ref counts them down. They exchange blows, Mysterio sneaks behind and hits him with a reverse Russian legsweep for two. Boot to the face, then a double kick to the face. On the apron, Rey grabs a headlock and DDT’s Chavo on the apron! Cool move with Rey falling to the mat. That gets him two. Into the ropes, springboard crossbody by Rey is ducked by Chavo. Chavo with a sitout gordbuster (reverse suplex) for a long two. Great nearfall. Chavo sets Rey up on top, but Rey fights out with a back elbow. Moonsault on a standing Chavo gets one…two…foot on the rope! Awesome nearfall. They exchange blows. Chavo sets him up into a reverse powerbomb type thing that puts Rey down facefirst. That gets him two. Mysterio headscissors him over. 619 for Mysterio. Mysterio goes for the West Coast Pop, but Chavo rolls through into that single leg crab again. Mysterio makes ropes. This match is awesome! On the apron, Mysterio fights back. Chavo’s in the middle, with the ref looking at him. Mysterio to the top and Chavo Sr. shoves Mysterio off the top, choking him on the top rope. Chavo rolls him up, grabs tights and gets the three count! Match was 18 minutes.
Winner: Chavo Guerrero

Analysis: **** Very good match. They were given time and they delivered. The psychology was great, the moves were different from the normal cruiser match and the nearfalls were perfect. The crowd was into the match from the beginning to the end. Both guys were really on their game while Chavo Sr. was perfect as a heel manager. I loved this match. Easily the best of the night.

(This was so much fun to watch again. It was a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with tights in case you were wondering. I really noticed the crowd this time around because they were so into everything they did. These two had so many matches over the years going back to their WCW days, so it’s no surprise that they had great matches. I can remember other awesome matches they had too. Chavo Jr. really stood out to me because this was one of his best performances. I’m not sure if it’s because of Rey or his dad being at ringside or uncle Eddie having a big night, but Chavo just seemed “on” for this whole match. Chavo Classic was entertaining as a manager too. Rey was outstanding as usual. Rey is one of my favorite guys ever and his first few years in WWE were outstanding.)

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviews Chavo. He says he’s a winner. Conveniently, they’re by Eddie’s dressing room. Chavo says that Eddie is addicted to losing. He says he’s the real champion of the Guerrero family. Really good promo from the new cruiser champ.

(Like I said, Chavo was on his game at this point in his career. I like heel promos after a big win.)

#1 Contender Match: Big Show vs. Kurt Angle vs. John Cena
My Pick: Kurt Angle

No video package. Angle comes out first. Show comes out next carrying the US Title. It’s not on the line, obviously. Cena is out last. Huge pop for Cena as he comes out to do a rap. He tells Kurt he didn’t knock him out and that he’d smack him. “You want to know who hit you. Here’s a clue. He smells like crap and he’s standing right next to you.” Another good line: “This ain’t no three-way dance, this is me serving two bitches.” There was more, but I don’t type fast enough. It was good, though, trust me.

Show and Angle start up with Show winning a shove off. Bodyslam by Show. Cena watches it, rooting on Show. Cena locks up with Show and then he gets shoved down. Angle laughs. Show shoves Cena down with his left hand. Angle and Cena exchange blows for a bit. Whip into the ropes, Angle hits a belly-to-belly overhead that is broken up by Show. Show tosses Angle into Cena, who was on the apron, and that sends Cena down, clutching his left knee. Angle punches Show, charges at him and eats a sidewalk slam for two. Show pounds down Cena. Slam by Show on Cena. Tazz says he picks Show to win. That pretty much ensures that he won’t. Headbutt by Show, then another big slam. Two legdrops on Cena. Angle grabs him before he can get a third. Show grabs him by the neck on the apron. Angle tries to German Suplex Show to the floor, but he holds on. Cena gets shoved into the ref, so Angle low blows Show. He pulls Cena out, then slams him headfirst into the steps. Back in the ring, Angle gets two. Angle pounds him with some punches and chops. Into the ropes, Cena gets a back elbow. Spinning slam gets two on Angle.

Cena goes for a punch on Angle, but it’s reversed into the triple German suplex for Angle. That gets one due to Show coming back in. Show whips Angle shoulder first into the steel post. Chop to Cena. Boot to the knee for Show. Clubbing forearm keeps him down. He steps on Cena. Another big chop for Show. Long vertical suplex for Show gets him two. Show misses something, so Cena dropkicks him in the knee. To the top, Cena hits an elbow. Angle to the top, he gets a dropkick that is broken up by Cena. Angle is tossed by Cena. Cena picks up Show and hits the FU on Big Show! Huge pop for that. Angle comes in for Angle Slam, but Cena slips out with a DDT. He covers Show for two. He charges Angle, but he ducks and Cena goes to the floor. Angle Slam on Big Show! One…two…no, shoulder is up. Cena comes in for FU, Angle counters with an ankle lock. Show is up, Chokeslam to Angle. Cena comes in for a school boy on Show for two. That looked awkward. Chokeslam by Show on Cena. Angle breaks it up at two. Angle puts Show in the ankle lock. Show kicks him off. Cena comes in, spinebuster and five knuckle shuffle. Cena picks Angle up, but can’t do anything because Show clips him. He picks Cena up, slamming his left knee across the top turnbuckle. Angle gives Show an Angle Slam over the top to the floor! Angle jumps on Cena, hooking the leg in the ankle lock! Cena taps after 13 minutes. Angle goes on to WrestleMania.
Winner: Kurt Angle

Analysis: ***1/4 Good match. The last six minutes or so was really outstanding. All three men did their jobs well with Angle carrying the majority of it. Triple threat matches are hard to do sometimes because it can get repetitive, but they told a good story.

After the match, the refs checked on Cena.

(That was an entertaining match. Cena did a good job of selling the knee injury – he was wearing a brace – and Angle capitalized to get the win. Angle was the obvious winner because Show was obviously set for a feud with Cena. Since the main event outcome was pretty well known at this point, the outcome of this match was clear. With the win, Angle went on to have a great match for the WWE Title against Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania 20. At the same show, Cena beat Show for the US Title in the opener. It was Cena’s first title win in WWE.)

There was a video package that showed how Eddie earned the title shot by winning a Smackdown only Royal Rumble.

WWE Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero
My Pick: Eddie Guerrero

Lesnar comes out first. Shouldn’t the champ come out last? Breaking tradition here. Eddie comes out in the lowrider, but since there’s a ramp he doesn’t go down the middle. Just the side. It should be noted that Eddie’s song still mentions Chavo in it. Maybe he can get a new song? Oh well. The crowd is really hot, chanting Eddie from the outset.

Hard lockup to start with Lesnar overpowering him. Eddie gets overpowered some more. Lesnar chokes him with his boot. Hard whip and a backdrop for Lesnar. He’s not selling the Jackhammer from before. Snap suplex for Lesnar. Lesnar buries the knees to the ribs. Lesnar charges him the corner, Guerrero fights out, but Lesnar hits another knee to the ribs. To the corner, Eddie goes for a headscissors. Lesnar blocks it with a STIFF powerbomb. That had to hurt. Overhead belly-to-belly suplex for Lesnar. There’s another one. Lesnar is great. Whip to the corner, Lesnar gets a leaping knee to the jaw. He stole a HHH move there. Uh oh, Brock, that’s not smart. Guerrero’s punches are thwarted with another knee lift. Another huge belly to belly suplex by Lesnar all the way across the ring to the floor. Guerrero comes in at around eight and Lesnar sends him to the ground again. Guerrero on the apron. Again, Lesnar knees him down. This is total domination so far. Shoulder to the gut for Eddie followed by a stun gun. He wraps Lesnar’s knee around the ringpost a few times. Lesnar reverses it the third time, sending Guerrero shoulder first into the post.

Back in the ring, Lesnar with a forearm to the back. Delayed Fisherman’s buster by Lesnar. Awesome move gets two. Lesnar gets a leg grapevine on the mat. Guerrero fights out after about 45 seconds. Jawbreaker by Guerrero. Gorilla press is avoided by Eddie, dropkick to Lesnar’s left knee. Eddie into the ropes, but Brock counters with a big clothesline. Stiff German suplex by Lesnar. He didn’t get a good grip on it. Lesnar kicks at the ribs some more. Shoulder tackle to the back of Guerrero. Headfirst to the turnbuckle followed by his patented shoulder tackles. Lesnar goes for another high knee. Eddie ducks and Lesnar goes over the top to the floor, clutching the left knee. Huge momentum move there. Springboard crossbody to the floor by Guerrero. They crawl back in at the nine count. Dropkick to the knee by Guerrero. Back suplex by Guerrero. Eddie charges at him, Lesnar catches him and drops him throat first onto the top rope for two. Lesnar verbally taunts him. Eddie counters him into some sort of ankle hold. He then grabs the STF. Great move. Crowd is going nuts. Lesnar fights out.

Eddie slams the knee into the mat. He stomps at the left knee some more. Figure four by Guerrero is blocked by Lesnar. Guerrero grabs the knee, Lesnar kicks him off. Seated dropkick to the head. Lesnar shoves him off again. Lesnar catches him, then tosses him with an overhead belly to belly. Crowd chants for Goldberg. Vertical suplex countered, Eddie into the rope and a flying headscissors plants Lesnar right on his head. Figure four by Guerrero. Crowd is cheering and “WHOO”-ing ala Ric Flair. Shoulders down for two. Lesnar drags him to the ropes about a minute after the hold was applied. We’re 17 minutes in now and the time is 10:18pm, so there’s lots of time.

Guerrero kicks him in the back of the knee, sending him down. Texas Cloverleaf by Guerrero. Then another STF by Guerrero, this time on the right knee. Lesnar fights out of the hold, hitting Guerrero with a release German Suplex. Guerrero charges the ropes, Lesnar catches him and hits a huge spinebuster for two. Another cover for two. Lesnar grabs the body scissors now, then turns it into a chinlock due to Guerrero fighting out. Guerrero uses his momentum to send Lesnar jaw first into the middle turnbuckle. To the top, missile dropkick is ducked by Lesnar. The momentum in this match has gone back and forth. One-legged suplex by Lesnar. Way to sell the left knee injury. Close-up of Lesnar shows a bloody knows. He tells Eddie to “just die” and locks him into a gut wrench on the mat, working on the ribs as he has all match. We’re past 20 minutes now. Guerrero gets to his feet after about a minute, so Lesnar just tosses him in a move we call the gut wrench suplex. Lesnar grabs him by the waist, rolling him on the ground for two unsuccessful pin attempts. Back to their feet, it’s a reverse bearhug now. The crowd chants for Eddie, which helps him out of it with some headbutts. Into the ropes, another dropkick to the knee and one to the head. Flying headscissors for Guerrero. Lesnar whips him into the corner, charge misses. In the center of the ring, Guerrero hits the rolling vertical suplexes, spinning the hips for three in a row. Eddie yells out, Hulking up. To the top, the frog splash is missed due to Lesnar sliding out of the way.

To their feet, Lesnar with a kick to the gut and he F5’s Guerrero into the referee, knocking Brian Hebner down. Not shocked to see a ref bump. Lesnar covers, but there’s no ref to count. Crowd chants Goldberg because they know what’s coming. Like the great heel that he is, Lesnar rolls to the floor, grabbing the title. He rolls back in as the ref is still down. The crowd starts yelling as Goldberg comes into the ring, Lesnar turns around and he gets speared by Goldberg. Goldberg leaves the ring. Everybody is down as the crowd is going bonkers. “Eddie” chant starts up. Guerrero crawls on top of Lesnar. The ref crawls over for the one…two…shoulder up! I thought that was it. Great nearfall. With Hebner still down, Eddie grabs the belt in his hand. Lesnar crawls up to his feet, turns around and the belt shot is ducked by Lesnar, who gets another knee to the gut. Lesnar picks him up for a F5. Guerrero reverses it into a DDT onto the belt – actually it was Lesnar’s hand that hit the title rather than his head. Guerrero throws the belt out. To the top, Guerrero with a Frog Splash. Cover. One…two…THREE! WHOO! YEAH! YES! Eddie Guerrero wins the match and is the new WWE Champion! Match was 30 minutes.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Eddie Guerrero

To celebrate, Eddie jumps into the crowd as they go BONKERS for him. He is handed the belt. He hugs his mom at ringside. He dances on the announce table with the WWE title. Tazz and Cole say they are shocked. They put over Eddie’s performance by saying he never quit.

He walks up the aisle with the title in his hand. He kneels on the apron, tears in his eyes, holding the title aloft in the air. Great moment there.

Eddie Guerrero wins WWE Championship

Analysis: ****1/2 I loved this match. It’s an early contender for match of the year. The psychology was fantastic with Lesnar working on the ribs while Guerrero worked on the left knee. It was fast paced, it was slow when it had to be and it had the kind of finish that people are going to remember forever. The only things that kept it from being higher rated is the ref bump and the interference. Other than that, this was outstanding wrestling.

(The crowd reaction for Eddie’s win was massive. It’s one of those things in wrestling that I’ll never forget because I was genuinely happy for this guy that went through a lot of difficult things in his life and reached the top of the wrestling business. This was also the perfect crowd for them to do the title change. Lesnar was terrific in the match as a bigger heel that had so much confidence in everything that he did. Too bad they didn’t have more matches because Lesnar left the company a month later and sadly Eddie died in November 2005. There was definitely a great chemistry between them with defined roles that suited them perfectly. In terms of my favorite matches, it’s definitely high up there because of the genuine feelings of joy that I felt when Eddie won that title.

After the show, they posted comments from Eddie on WWE.com:

“It’s unbelievable. I can’t describe how I feel. It’s my dream come true, more than my dream actually. I know all things are possible now. Even though this was a dream of mine, sometimes I wondered if it was too farfetched. You want to grab all your dreams with all your heart, but sometimes they seem so far away that you can’t. I think I
sold myself short in the past, and I hope my victory sends a good message to everyone out there. I really hope it does. Who’d ever expect a Chicano, 5’9″ and 220 pounds to win the WWE Championship? I’m just thankful and there are a lot of people behind it. I can’t take all the credit. You can ask God and others for all the help you want, but you better bring the shovel because you’ve got to do the work.”)

FINAL THOUGHTS
On the 1-10 scale I’ll give No Way Out a: 7.5

Best Match: Lesnar vs. Guerrero – ****1/2

Worst Match: Noble vs. Nidia – ¼*

This was a three match show. The first four matches on the card were nothing above average. They were just filler.

The main event was a match that needs to be remembered for years to come as a classic. I hope that it is. Personally, I’m so damn happy right now. I knew it was going to happen, but it’s still one of those genuine markout moments for me. I’m a big fan of Guerrero and I think anybody that really likes wrestling is a fan of this guy as well. It was the coming out party for a guy who has spent nearly two decades in the business that he truly loves. Forget about booking for a second here. Cherish the moment because stuff like this doesn’t happen all the time in the wrestling business. It’s a case of a good person earning something that he has worked his ass off for all these years.

Also, for Brock Lesnar, this was ANOTHER high quality match for him with a different opponent than what we’ve seen in the past. He proved that he can be amazing against a smaller, high flying opponent just as he is with more technical wrestlers like Angle or Benoit and bigger wrestlers like Show and Undertaker. He’s just working at a high level right now. There’s not much more to say.

(At this point we had no idea Lesnar was leaving the company one month later. It was shocking because of how good he was getting at pro wrestling.)

I liked the triple threat match for the most part. All three guys played their parts well. The finish wasn’t surprising at all, but I’m glad that it made sense with the booking.

The Cruiserweight Title match was the best Cruiserweight Title match that the WWE has seen in a long time. Hats off to Mysterio and Guerrero for putting in the extra effort to make it work.

I’d also like to say that I correctly predicted every match on the card. That means it was predictable. Also, if you read my PPV you would have seen that I nailed the main event exactly. I said ref bump, spear, frog splash for the finish. It’s nice to be finally be right for once!

(Yes I like to pat myself on the back! I’m glad that Eddie didn’t win right after the Spear. He had to do more damage and he did with the DDT.)

No Way Out Three Stars
This is where I honor the three best performers on the show. This is tough.

3. Rey Mysterio  – The little man was on fire tonight, busting out a lot of moves that we haven’t seen from him in a long time. He’s so consistently good as a worker that sometimes we forget how good he really can be. Tonight he proved it all again.

2. Brock Lesnar  – His promos were great and his work in the ring was at a very high level. It’s amazing that he has become so good so soon. It takes two to put on a MOTY contender and Lesnar was definitely up to the task.

1. Eddie Guerrero  – His moment. His night. I don’t know if he’s ever been as good. He was simply outstanding. This was his coming out party. And what a party it was.

No Way Out 2004 was more than just a hype show heading into WrestleMania. It was an example of Smackdown being the best wrestling show in the WWE. While the undercard stuff was pedestrian, the main stars of the show delivered in spades as they always seem to do. Once again, you need to check this event out if only for the VERY STRONG main event. We witnessed a classic tonight.

That’s all for No Way Out 2004.

Next up: King of the Ring 1996. Nearly 20 years later. Let’s see how it holds up.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – [email protected]

Twitter @johnreport

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