Date: February 5, 2004
Location: Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
Somehow we’re just over a week away from No Way Out which has really snuck up. Last week’s great battle royal saw Eddie Guerrero become #1 contender, which could set up a heck of a match with Brock Lesnar. That being said, his win came at the expense of Kurt Angle, who probably won’t be happy with being eliminated last. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the end of the battle royal with Eddie winning the title shot for the biggest match in his career.
Paul Heyman is in the ring to talk about how awesome last week was because it gave Eddie the chance to capitalize on an opportunity. That opportunity comes in ten days, but what about tonight? We’re coming up on Wrestlemania and need a #1 contender for that night, and anyone wrestling tonight will be in the running for that spot. That’s it for Heyman, who isn’t the kind of General Manager who will stand around talking all night.
Tag Team Titles: Scotty 2 Hotty/Rikishi vs. Basham Brothers
The Bashams are defending and get jumped from behind at the bell. You can’t even pose in peace around here anymore. Shaniqua offers a distraction though and Danny gets in a clothesline from the apron to take over. A double hot shot gets two on Scotty and Doug takes over in the corner. Some crossface shots to the jaw keep Scotty on the mat, followed by a neckbreaker for two.
Scotty gets in a clothesline though and the hot tag brings in Rikishi for some quick house cleaning. A superkick puts Doug down and Danny gets sent to the floor, leaving Scotty to load up the Worm. Shaniqua makes a save but has to be saved from the Rump Shaker. With Danny still on the floor, the Samoan drop to Doug gives Rikishi the pin and the titles.
Rating: D. Nothing to this one and I’m not sure how much better things are going to get with Rikishi and Scotty as champions. The Bashams just weren’t working and while they got a lot better once some of the S&M stuff went away, they were already ruined and there wasn’t much of a way around it. At least it was short.
And now, a look back at how last week’s battle royal was set up, along with a look at the battle royal itself. That seems random, but there might be a reason for it.
There was another match taped right around here that didn’t make air. Ernest Miller pinned Tajiri in a rather short match when he ducked the Buzzsaw kick and won with a rollup. It was pulled from the airing and Miller was released the next week. The video of the match, with commentary, is available online and it’s not that bad. It’s not even two minutes long and doesn’t have time to be that bad. Orlando Jordan ran in to save Miller from a post match beatdown at Akio/Sakoda’s hands and danced a bit after.
The match wasn’t great but I can’t imagine it was bad enough to warrant firing him over. The only other possible reason I can find that it didn’t air was a line from Tazz where he said Tajiri ate cats. I mean, that’s bad but they couldn’t edit the audio? Maybe they cut the match because they knew Miller would be gone soon but it’s still rather odd.
Dawn Marie and Paul Heyman come in to see John Cena. The show has been getting some complaints about Cena’s content so he’s off the show tonight to take care of the children. Heyman does want Cena to stick around tonight for the #1 contenders announcement. Cena hitting on Dawn while time Heyman complained about him was funny.
US Title: Big Show vs. Billy Gunn
Show is defending for the first time since winning the title in OCTOBER. Why is Gunn getting the shot you ask? Well he hit Show with a Fameasser last week in the battle royal. Nothing but that, but it was indeed a Fameasser. Tazz’s thought on the match: Show wants to keep the title. Gunn tries to use some quickness to start so a single knee to the stomach cuts him off.
A missed clothesline sends Show to the floor and Gunn tries some chops, earning himself a right hand to the head. There’s something cathartic about seeing Gunn getting hit in the face. Back from a break with another look at that right hand, which might be the high spot so far. It’s off to a cobra clutch in a match that doesn’t need a rest hold. Cole takes another opportunity to talk about how AMAZING Big Show has been lately, mainly focusing on him not winning two battle royals.
Another loud chop takes Gunn down again and Show hits a catapult, though it seemed to miss the target of the bottom rope and sent Gunn flying instead. The chokeslam is countered with a dropkick though and the Fameasser gets two. Gunn loads it up again (because that always works) but gets countered into something like a powerbomb (looked like it was supposed to be a chokeslam but Show’s hand was on the stomach) to retain.
Rating: D-. I waited nearly four months for that? This was exactly what you would expect from a Big Show vs. Billy Gunn match with Show throwing him around and Gunn….not really doing anything impressive but he’s tall and muscular so he gets to stay around. Having Show defend the title was almost a bad thing as having him never defend the thing was more entertaining than this way too long match.
The Chavos come in to see Heyman and rant about Rey Mysterio getting so much attention. Therefore tonight it’s Rey vs. Sr. and at the pay per view it’s Rey vs. Jr. Sr. isn’t sure but Jr. believes in him.
Here’s Eddie Guerrero for a chat with Michael Cole. The fans are very happy to see Eddie but before he can say anything, here’s Brock Lesnar to cut him off. We get a long staredown with only the EDDIE chants making any noise. Brock congratulates him on getting his title shot at No Way Out and mentions winning the Royal Rumble in a line that is clearly dubbed over.
The thing Eddie needs to remember though is that Brock wasn’t in the ring. Brock lists off all of the names he’s beaten and Eddie doesn’t scare him. We hear about Steve Austin giving Goldberg a ticket to the show, more or less saying they’re fighting at Wrestlemania without being specific. Eddie is impressed because he doesn’t have that kind of a resume. All he has going for him is overcoming one obstacle after another because he doesn’t listen to people like Brock.
For years, Eddie has been told that he’s too small or that he couldn’t overcome his personal demons to get his children back. He’s beating those demons by the grace of God because he hears the voices of people like Lesnar saying he can’t do it. All he sees in Lesnar is a big fat face of hatred and his next obstacle. At No Way Out, Brock is facing the Latino Heat inside Eddie.
Brock laughs it off and says Eddie is a no one, which earns him a right hand to the face. Lesnar gets knocked to the floor and Eddie keeps the title. Great promo here and they’ve built Eddie up to the point where he has to win the title, which would have seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.
Clip of Undertaker freaking Kane out. I see no need to air this on Smackdown. Maybe this is what they used to fill in the Miller time?
Jamie Noble vs. Billy Kidman
Kidman dropkicks him for an early one but gets kicked off the top, wrenching Kidman’s knee in the process. Noble cranks on the knee a bit until Kidman kicks him away and scores with an enziguri for two. A half crab keeps Kidman in trouble but here’s Nidia with Jamie’s wallet to give away money to the fans. The distraction lets Kidman hit the BK Bomb for the pin in a completely unique and never before seen ending.
Post break, Noble demands and is granted a match with Nidia at No Way Out.
And now, a music video for Rey Mysterio’s song from the Originals CD.
Again from Raw, Austin gives Goldberg a ticket to No Way Out. At least this is related to this show.
Torrie Wilson and Sable are announced for the Playboy shoot. They have different thoughts of two women in the same shot. Next week, an interview with the two of them! Like anyone watches this for the interviews.
Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero Sr.
Non-title. Chavo Jr. offers a distraction so Sr. can knock Rey into the corner to start. Some uppercuts have Rey in trouble Ry is right back with the springboard seated senton but Jr. saves his dad from the 619. The second attempt works just fine though and gives Rey the pin in a hurry.
Post match Jr. beats Rey down.
Dawn Marie rubs Heyman’s head but he’s worried about her having a wardrobe issue. And his hair.
Kurt Angle vs. Hardcore Holly
Angle takes him down into a front facelock with the ease that you would expect and a headlock keeps Holly in trouble. Cole actually tries to compare Angle and Holly’s resumes, which is as laughable as it sounds. Holly’s wristlock and armdrag are countered with a better armdrag as you can tell Angle isn’t going in full speed because it would turn into the squash that it probably should be. Holly elbows him in the face and kicks away in the corner but walks into a backbreaker. Some shoulders to the back in the corner keep Holly in trouble until he avoids a charge to send Angle into the post.
Back from a break with Holly hitting his dropkick for two and we hit the sleeper. That’s switched into a chinlock and then an armbar so Angle fights up in short order. Holly drops him throat first across the top first but Angle pops back up with the rolling German suplexes. The kick between the legs to Angle’s stomach sets up a top rope clothesline for two in what was probably Holly’s best chance. Holly gets the Alabama Slam for two more with Angle grabbing the rope. Angle reverses the full nelson into the Angle Slam and a pair of ankle lock attempts make Holly tap.
Rating: D+. This felt like a pro against an overzealous kid who thought they were ready for the big time. Angle was countering almost everything Holly had for him here and there was never any doubt in my mind that Angle was going to make him tap in the end. There’s no reason to buy Holly suddenly being at a main event level after his only only singles win since he’s been back is that street fight against Big Show last month. Hopefully this ends soon and Holly can go back to lower card matches where he belongs.
Angle’s music doesn’t even have time to play as Heyman comes out to make the #1 contender announcement. Before he can say anything though, here’s Big Show to interrupt. Show talks about how awesome he was in both Royal Rumbles but Angle says he was the last person eliminated last week. Angle is ready to compete against Big Show in any athletic competition to earn the spot. Save for pie eating of course.
After ripping off some Happy Gilmore lines verbatim, Heyman makes a #1 contenders match for No Way Out. Cue Cena to rhyme about both of them so they insist that the match become a three way. Cena threatens more rhymes so Heyman puts him in the match to avoid anything “indecent” being said. Posing ends the show.
Overall Rating: D-. This was really, really bad with a bunch of horrible matches and ONLY the Eddie vs. Brock segment being worth anything. No Way Out continues to look like a show that only exists because February needs a pay per view and will be, at best, a two match show. The midcard and beneath is just so bad around here right now and that’s the case with both shows. The main event is good, but with Cena just talking and Holly still getting fifteen minutes on a show, there’s not much even Eddie can do.
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