Wednesday, June 14, 2023

WWF No Way Out 2000

The 2000s were an interesting period in wrestling. It was a period that saw WWF rises to its highest profits at the time, even with their top star on the shelf. It was a period that saw WCW - once on top of the wrestling world for eighty-ish weeks - begin its steep, maddening decline. It was a period that saw the cult favorite ECW get national television exposure on a network that was clearly using them in hopes of securing a bigger promotion to run on their channel. To the common fan who lived through the period, it was a boon of wrestling material.

The year 2000 is probably my favorite year of WWF. The edge of the Attitude Era was still pretty much in full swing and still as edgy as ever, even with the architect of Attitude having long since jumped to the competition. 2000 was where WWF finally got around to fixing its wrestling problem, with the timely arrival of former disgruntled WCW wrestlers as well as the grooming of some true wrestling machines to compliment the big names that kept the crowds coming back for more. In essence, it was the total package. Great angles, great wrestling, and great talent.

So yeah, I'm all but willing to revisit these PPVs... most of them. We've already covered the Royal Rumble 2000 years ago and that Royal Ramble post still holds up. So we'll be diving into the next major show, No Way Out 2000, which saw reigning WWF Champion Triple H put his title up on the line against Cactus Jack inside Hell In A Cell, and if Cactus were to lose, he'd be forced to retire. Clearly, the stakes were high in this main event, so let's check it out.

Kurt Angle defeated Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho to win the title in a pretty solid opening match. Jericho's pretty good at what he does and Angle shows signs of greatness during his early months on the job. Both guys would go on to become pretty big deals, I think.

The Dudley Boyz defeated WWF Tag-Team Champions The New Age Outlaws to win the titles and pretty decisively too. I remember being pretty surprised that the Dudleyz would actually beat the Outlaws here and even watching it here, I'm shocked that the match barely lasted five minutes. By the way, the Dudleyz only debuted a few months prior and for them to get a title run - however brief since they'd lose them at Mania 2000 - this early in their run had to mean something.

Mark Henry defeated Viscera in a short battle of the hefty boys...hey, you try coming up with something witty about two fat fuckers beating the fat out of each other. At least, it was short.

Edge & Christian defeated the Hardy Boyz to become no. 1 contenders to the tag titles in a pretty good match, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who has seen many of their matches together because these guys always have fucking good matches. The Hardyz go after Terri, who was at ringside, but the Acolytes beat them up. I don't recall that going anywhere, because Mania had that triangle match and such.

Tazz (yes, with two Zs so they could copyright the name) defeated Big Bossman via DQ when Prince Albert (the same Albert who coaches NXT today) runs in NOT EVEN A MINUTE into the match. Tazz fights off both guys because he's tough and shit. Yeah, the shine was off Tazz not even a month later and they'd never do much with him outside of maybe one match with HHH. It goes to show that not everything in WWF 2000 was top-tier shit.

Kane defeated X-Pac in a no-DQ match. Kane and X-Pac were former tag-partners before they reformed DX and X-Pac turned on Kane... and then that Tori woman got involved and she sided with Kane for a bit before turning on him to join X-Pac and then that continued for a bit. So they have this no-DQ match and... what can I say? It was fine. Kane's a big dude, X-Pac's a little dude, There's some weapons and dirty deeds done. No complaints.

Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty) & Rikishi defeated The Radicals (Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Chris Benoit) in a pretty awesome six-man match that saw Rikishi piu Malenko with his butt splash move... and then Too Cool and Rikishi dance.

The Big Show defeated The Rock with an assist from Shane McMahon and his chair to win Rock's Wrestlemania title shot... which would turn into a four-way, but that's besides the point.

WWF Champion Triple H defeated Cactus Jack in a Hell In A Cell Title Versus Career match to retain the title and had this been Mick Foley's last match as he had intended it to be... holy fuck, what a way to go out on.

No Way Out 2000 is a great show, though time has certainly lessened its significance. What would've been the perfect swan song for a long career of blood and sweatsocks turned into the first of many Terry Funk-like retirements. And revisiting this one revealed some rather dire stuff here and there. Still, the good stuff was really good and did its job of outweighing the bad stuff, which wasn't really all that bad so much as it was just there. Two PPVs in and 2000 WWF was on its stride.

Sadly, Wrestlemania 2000 was right around the corner. Turns out third time wasn't a charm.

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