Friday, March 16, 2018

WWF No Way Out (Of Texas) (Feb. 1998 PPV)

So here's a musing that's been hanging around for a couple years now and I may as well get it up there as a bit of a bonus to be published at precisely 3:16 P.M. Nobody is going to get that.

Fun Fact: The event was originally known as simply WWF No Way Out, but someone wisely saw that the initials for the event were very similar to WCW's very popular and very profitable stable (as demonstrated in the banner above), prompting the addition of "Of Texas" to the title. Funny how they didn't have that issue when No Way Out became the name of a February 2000 Pay Per View event. In any event, I bought the VHS tape of this thing when it was on sale at that HMV store (yes, kids. Canada has HMV stores) and long after it still bore any relevance. This was probably late-98 or 99 when I bought it. I honestly don't recall.

In retrospect, I doubt there was any need to actually watch this since the February WWF/WWE PPV was/is typically the filler show between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania... but I guess I really needed to see that big eight-man tag-team match or something. I don't know.

Marvelous Marc Mero and The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust (just go with it) defeated The Headbangers when Mero pins Mosh with a TKO (think Brock Lesnar's F5, but done by someone much smaller). Goldust had a weird phase early on that propbably would've made more sense if I were watching the shows at the time and on a regular basis, but somehow I doubt that because a lot of what Goldust did back in the day didn't make sense and trying to add sense to it is seemingly pointless and impossible. Mero had Sable at one point - you know, Brock Lesnar's future wife - but sent her to the back. She would later come back and have a catfight with Luna to set up that thrilling mixed tag match and Wrestlemania XIV. In any event, the match itself was pretty boring and I just didn't care.

Light Heavyweight champion Taka Michinoku defeated some masked fellow named Pantera to retain the title. The match was alright for the most part; not much to say here. Crowd didn't seem all that into it, but it's Texas so...

The Godwinns... fuck me, the Godwinns? They're the "farmer" gimmick tag-team... so they beat the Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau and Pierre Ouellet) and I don't care. No, seriously, I really didn't care. I was like giving this the Divas treatment, practically. I don't remember the Quebecers all that much during this time; other than that one time Pierre was in that Brawl For All thing that everyone seems to hate nowadays.

Bradshaw defeated NWA North American champion Jeff Jarrett via DQ when Jarrett struck Bradshaw with Jim Cornette's tennis racket. Long story short; the WWF and the NWA had a little agreement to feature a band of NWA guys headed by Jim Cornette, including then-NWA World champ Dan Severn and the Rock and Roll Express... Suffice it to say, it didn't last all that long and I suspect that has to do with the fact that, with perhaps the exception of Severn who had some UFC credentials to his name, the NWA faction was pretty much treated as a joke. I'd want to say that this was Vince Russo's way of shitting with Cornette, but then WCW and ECW would come along much later down the line and they'd be treated like complete garbage too, so it must've been that other Vince. But I'm now dwelling on speculation, so let's just keep moving.

There's an interview bit with Ron "Farooq" Simmons doing the talking with the Nation standing behind him and the Rock doing nothing but mugging to the camera. It's quite cute, actually, and if nothing else, provided a nicely little foreshadow to the future direction of the Nation.

Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, Skull, 8-Ball & Chainz defeated the Nation (Faarooq, D-Lo Brown, future "Godfather" Kama Mustafa, Mark Henry & Rocky Maivia) in a "Shit, We Have Nothing For You Guys, So Have A Ten-Man Tag-Team Match" when Shamrock made Rocky tap out to the Ankle Lock... you know, that move Kurt Angle totally rips off these days. Match was action-packed if nothing else, but beyond that, that's all I sort of expected here. Though, I would remiss if I didn't say that there was a slight hint of enjoyment to be had with this one because at least the Nation had vaguely interesting characters... that would be developed much later on, but still, it's something. Rock and Shamrock would have another match at 'Mania and Ron would be turfed from the Nation shortly afterwards.

Kane defeated Vader in a typical big man match; some feats of strength here and there, but otherwise slow and plodding. Vader's best days were clearly behind him at this point (and in another promotion... and perhaps in another country... um, yeah, this is getting awkward.) and this is just padding until we get to the first Taker vs. Kane match at Wrestlemania 14.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack & Terry Funk defeated Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, HHH, and mystery partner Savio Vega... because sure, why not? This match is "unsanctioned" by the WWF, but the WWF still has to assign a partner to the DX team to replace Shawn Michaels and let's be honest; even in VHS form, a bit player like Savio Vega was a bit of a letdown. I suppose in a perfect world, this would've been a good place to bring back Sean Waltman and give the folks a memorable moment on the show, but whatever.

In any event, the match is frantic, with lots of people beating the crap out of each other with various weapons and tools from the getgo. This takes about a good five minutes or so before everyone settles back into the standard eight man tag-team match, which still has its moments of sheer lunacy with the sick chair shots and barb wire usage. At the end of the day, you got a highly energetic brawl that was exciting and intense; something that is severely lacking in the modern-day WWE.

Oh... and Chyna gets in Austin's face after the match and receives a Kick! Wham! Stunner! for her troubles. Show over.

No Way Out Of Texas isn't a necessary show to watch if you're trying to follow the angles in 1998, because it is, for all intents and purposes, a filler show. But you know what? In spite of the show's duller moments, it was still a pretty fun watch and a good way to kill a couple hours if nothing else. The eight-man tag match at the top of the show was more than worth the purchasing of the tape way back when, so I guess it was fine.

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