Review for No Way Out 2000, Febuary 27, 2000, Hartford, Connecticut
Fresh off tearing the house down at the Royal Rumble, Cactus Jack and Triple H were ready to do it all over again in a huge rematch, only with the stakes raised. Not only would this one be a Hell in a Cell match, but Mick Foleys career would be on the line.
This PPV opened with, and this is no exaggeration, what I'd consider to be the greatest promo ever. Mick Foley talks over footage about his dream to main event WrestleMania and how this is last chance, and how in his way is a man who may be the best in the industry today, but he is no Cactus Jack. "Fifteen years I've been chasing this dream, dozens of fractures, hundreds of stitches, countless nights I've bled. You may say, 'this is no dream, this is a nightmare.' Maybe, but it's MY nightmare, AND I DECIDE WHEN I WAKE UP!" Amazing promo.
Hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: Chris Jericho vs Kurt Angle
Chyna is with Chris Jericho and even gets her own entrance for some reason. Kurt was the European champion but he wanted a real belt, so he's challenging for the IC title. Grappling exchange turns into slaps and moves to the floor following a Jericho springboard dropkick. They fight outside and Jericho gets a lionsault off the steps, kicking Kurt in the face. Back in, Angle crotches and hits a super belly to belly for 2. Angle goes to a chinlock and the crowd tells him he sucks. Jericho comes back with a backbreaker for 2. Angle comes back with a German suplex for 2. DDT gets 2 and Angle works the arm. Jericho blocks a blind charge with a leg lariat. Flying forearm gets him 2. Angle tries a rana but it's blocked into a double powerbomb for 2. Angle suddenly catches a cross armbreaker but Jericho makes the ropes. Series of reverals leads to an Angle Slam, but it only gets 2. Angle grabs the IC belt, but Jericho gets him with the Walls of Jericho. Angles makes the ropes. They fight on the floor and Angle grabs the European title. Chyna gets wiped out, and that distracts the referee, so Angle nails Jericho with the belt on a lionsault attempt, and gets the pin at 10:12. Referee Earl Hebner comes out to tell Tim White what happened but he didn't care and let the decision stand.
Nothing flashy here, this was a pretty good opener, nothing more, nothing less. Result was a surprising one at the time. (***1/4)
WWF TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: New Age Outlaws vs The Dudley Boyz
Billy Gunn tore his rotator buff and needed surgery so the result of this shouldn't be in doubt and I can't see him doing much in this match. Bubba gets a full nelson drop and they do the wassup spot. Road Dogg basically just takes a beating for a few minutes and tags Gunn, who comes in and nails a fame asser on D'Von for 2. Bubba pulls him out and nails him in the shoulder with a lead pipe, and there's your injury angle. Back in and a 3D finishes the Road Dogg at 5:19.
Pretty much a squash match and rightly so. Injury or not, the Outlaws were about to be (if they weren't already) rendered yesterdays news by the new generation of tag teams (Dudleys, Hardys and Edge & Christian). (*1/2)
Viscera vs Mark Henry
Viscera splashed Mae Young who was pregnant and the father was Mark Henry, which gave us that stupid 'Mae Young gives birth to a hand' angle, if you don't know, you don't want to. JR warns us this probably this probably won't get a very high star rating. Crowd chants boring immediately. Mae Young does a run in and almost gets splashed but she moves and Henry hits a bodyslam for the pin at 3:45.
Well at least it was quick (DUD)
Edge & Christian vs The Hardy Boyz
Terri is the Hardys manager, and has paid the Acolytes for protection. All the girls pop when the Hardys take their shirts off. Christian gets double teamed, and Edge gets a tag, he comes in with a head of steam hitting both Hardys with his offense. Christian takes out Matt with a plancha. Now Jeff takes a beating as Edge and Christian used frequent tags and tandem offense. Matt sneaks in a big elbow drop and his brother has an opening. Once Matt gets an official tag, the match breaks down to something more exciting. Edge counters Poetry in Motion with an awesome spear. He eats a Twist of Fate though and Jeff sets up for a Swanton once he’s up. Terri shoves him off the top and into the guardrail. She also slaps Matt and Christian hits the Unprettier for the win at 15:16. Terri celebrates with Edge & Christian, who are confused and leave. The Hardys want answers but the Acolyes beat the shit out of them with Faarooq hitting a ridiculous dominator on Jeff.
Okay, the Terri stuff never worked, that was such a weird pairing with her and the Hardys. The match was excellent, though. If you thought these two teams could only do spotfests at this time, check this out. (***3/4)
The Big Show tries to convince us that he shouldn't have to face The Rock and he should be going to WrestleMania because he was the rightful winner of the Royal Rumble. He shows footage to plead his case. It's funny because he's totally in the right but no one cared because The Rock was cool, as he said "it doesn't matter if The Rocks feet hit the floor first"
Big Bossman vs Tazz
Bossman has Albert with him. This isn't a match, they just brawl a bit and Tazz locks in the Tazzmission and Albert runs in the for DQ at :44. Post match they beat on Tazz excessively but he keeps fighting back, it goes on for way too long and didn't work, because Tazz was the offensive powerhouse, not the punching bag that kept fighting back. (DUD)
NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH: Kane vs X-Pac
Kane has Paul Bearer with him, and X-Pac has Tori. Quick backbreaker and a clothesline sends X-Pac scurrying, but Kane chases him and they fight at the entranceway. Kane stalks him back to ringside and drops him on the railing. X-Pac grabs the ringbell and nails him with it. Bearer and Tori get into a chase. Back in the ring and X-Pac gets the kick combo and Broncobuster, which is basically shrugged off by Kane. X-Pac works the leg, but they badly blow a dragon screw legwhip. I mean, it wasn’t even close. They go outside and back in again, where X-Pac hits a leg lariat and goes upstairs. Kane catches him, but X-Pac scores a low blow and X-Factor. He nails Paul Bearer and Kane sits up. Flying clothesline and chokeslam follow. Tori comes in and gets tombstoned, Kane grabs the stairs but X-Pac kicks them on top of him and picks up the pin at 7:47.
This was a short, energetic brawl. I enjoyed it and didn't mind the shenenigans. This probably should've been at WrestleMania, though, instead of the random tag match they were in. (**1/2)
Radicalz are interviewed, Eddie lets us know he'll be out there for moral support and reveals a lead pipe concealed in his sling.
The Radicalz vs Rikishi & Too Cool
Radicalz are wearing matching colors, though Saturn is wearing white boots and somewhat ruins the coordination. Brawl before the belt and Eddie tries to use the lead pipe so the referee throws him out. Grandmaster Sexay starts out with Saturn, and Benoit quickly comes in and gets bulldogged for two. Scotty 2 Hotty suplexes Benoit and brings in Rikishi, who gets a stinkface on Benoit, I always hated that spot and I hated that it got over. He goes for the Rikishi Driver, but Dean clips him from behind. Radicals work the ankle and Rikishi has to tag out. Scotty takes the heat as the Radicalz take joy in kicking his ass. Everything they do looks great, these guys are so ahead of everyone else in the midcard and it's so obvious. Rikishi gets the hot tag and cleans house. He also allows Scotty to hit the WORM but then has his bad leg chop blocked twice. Sexay nails the Hip Hop Drop but Benoit breaks the pin with a diving headbutt. Too Cool, Saturn and Benoit all go out during a brawl. Malenko is confident how that Rikishi is down, but he turns things around and hits the Banzai drop on Malenko at to win at 12:43.
I feel like the finish should have been Rikishi's bad ankle collapsing and Malenko getting the pin. The result was a head scratcher but the match was excellent and I can't fault the work of anyone involved in this. The Radicalz were amazing and Too Cool and Rikishi more than held their end. (***3/4)
NO. 1 CONTENDERS MATCH: The Rock vs The Big Show
Rock slaps Show, so they brawl outside and through the crowd. Rock slaps the taste out of his mouth, triggering a brawl. Show blocks a Rock Bottom, and they take it to the crowd. Rock backdrops Show over the barricade, but Show picks him up and drops him on it. Back in, powerslam gets two. Show boots him around for a bit. Rock comes back with a Russian legsweep for two. DDT gets two. Show hits a sideslam for 2. He grabs a chair but Rock comes back. Ref is bumped and Show hits a chokeslam for 2 as a second ref, Tim White, runs in. He and Hebner get into a shoving match. Shane McMahon joins us to a huge pop. Rock nails Show and goes for the People's Elbow but Shane comes in and waffles him with a chair shot and Big Show gets the pin at 9:40.
Not much of a match, but the finish was a surprise. (*1/2)
HELL IN A CELL MATCH THE WWF TITLE AND MICK FOLEY'S CAREER: Triple H vs Cactus Jack
The door is pretty clearly chained shut here, preventing Jack from reaching the top of the cage. Jack hammers HHH to start, then futilely tries to open the door. They fight on the floor, then back in where HHH gets the upper hand. Facebuster, but Jack backdrops him to the floor and grabs a chair. HHH uses the knee and sends Jack crashing into the cell. He tosses Jack into the stairs and into the ringpost. Jack gets up, so HHH tosses the stairs and nails him right in the head. HHH pounds away with a chair on the stairs. Back in HHH batters Jack with a chair. DDT gets 2, and a couple more attempts also do. Cactus gets a low blow and a DDT on the chair for 2. Russian legweep on the chair gets 2. Jack seats HHH in the chair, but charges and takes a drop toehold into the chair for 2. Back outside, HHH rams Jack into the cage a couple of times. Jack responds by slingshotting him into the cage, drawing blood. Jack rubs him into the mesh. Jack drops an elbow with the chair. He tosses the stairs at HHH but he ducks and they break through the cage, and Jack has made himself a door! HHH is sent crashing out of the cage and gets piledriven on the announce table. He climbs the cage, but Steph pulls him down. Jack shoves the timekeeper aside and finds the the 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire. HHH takes a shot with it in the face, and climbs to the top to escape, and the crowd starts to buzz. Jack follows, and gets shoved off onto the Spanish table. Crowd lets HHH know he's an asshole. Jack blades. He tries, and fails, to toss a chair onto the roof, apparently he could do it at full strength during the day but after about 15 minutes he just didn't have the strength. He gives up and climbs up and nails HHH with a 2x4. They slug it out on top, with HHH teasing a fall through the cage. Foley suplexes him and DDTs him. Lawler asked earler what could be a worse than a 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire, and that would be answered; A FLAMING 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire. HHH gets nailed with it and Jack goes for a piledriver on it but HHH counters with backdrop and Jack goes flying through the cell into the ring, which is gimmicked and breaks through. Crowd chants "holy shit" for that. Well, that's it, Jack is dead. HHH drops down and kicks at Jacks hand to make sure he's dead, but like Michael Myers, Jack isn't really dead yet. He comes back and crawls out of the wreck, but it's an empty comeback. HHH has had enough and kills him for real with the pedigree to finish at 23:57 and rip the hearts of everyone watching. Cactus gets a standing ovation in what was, at the time, a pretty emotional ending the show.
Jim Ross did an amazing job putting over the drama here and importance of this match, this was one of his finest performances. This was one of those career matches where you had no idea who was going to win, I remember watching this back in 2000 and my heart sank when Foley went through the cell, at that point it was academic. It wasn't quite as good as the Rumble street fight, but it was a great sequel and great match in it's own right. It was a perfect retirement for Foley, except that he ruined it by returning at WrestleMania 2000 a month later and putting on a shitty performance (which he's admitted he wasn't prepared for and didn't want to do, but Vince talked him into it, and I can't blame him for that). (****1/2)
The WWF were in a hot period here and it was only going to get hotter. This was an excellent show, most of the midcard was good and the crap was kept short. The main event was great, and one of the best Hell in a Cell matches ever. You can't really ask for more here out of a PPV than that. Thumbs up.