25 February 2001
Las Vegas, Nevada
Thomas & Mack Center
"Burning Tree" by WWF Production Theme
Thomas & Mack Center, Nevada, United States
No Way Out (2012), No Way Out (2009), No Way Out (2008), No Way Out (2007), No Way Out (2006)
No Way Out (2001) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It was the third such annual event and took place on February 25, 2001, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Seven professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card, which featured a supercard, a scheduling of more than one main event. The first saw The Rock defeat Kurt Angle in a standard wrestling match to win the WWF Championship, despite interference by The Big Show. The other main event was a Three Stages of Hell match, in which Triple H defeated Steve Austin two falls to one. The featured bout on the undercard was a Fatal Four Way match between defending WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and X-Pac, which Jericho won.
The main feud heading into the show was between The Rock and Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship. At SummerSlam, The Rock defeated Kurt Angle and Triple H in a Triple threat match to retain the WWF Championship. In a rematch at No Mercy (2000), Angle defeated The Rock to win the title after interference from Rikishi failed. At Armageddon (2000), Angle pinned The Rock to retain the WWF title in a Hell in a Cell, also involving Steve Austin, Triple H, Rikishi and The Undertaker. On the January 1 episode of Raw Is War, The Rock lost a #1 contenders match to Kane by countout after Angle interfered. A few days later on SmackDown!, Rock lost a non-title match to Angle by disqualification after attacking Angle with a steel chair. On the February 8 episode of SmackDown!, The Rock defeated The Big Show to become the #1 contender to the WWF Championship at No Way Out..
Another main feud was between Steve Austin and Triple H which began at SummerSlam (1999) when Triple H, after failing to win the WWF title from Steve Austin in a Triple threat match, involving Mankind, decided to hit Austin with a steel chair and targeted his leg with it. Austin would get his rematch at No Mercy (1999) against Triple H but lost after The Rock accidentally struck him with a sledgehammer that was meant for Triple H. At the Survivor Series (1999), Austin was booked into a triple threat match for the WWF Championship that also included then-WWF Champion Triple H and The Rock. Instead, however, Austin was run down by a car in the parking lot. The Big Show would replace Austin in the match and would win the WWF Championship. What followed was neck surgery by Dr. Lloyd Youngblood and a nine-month rehabilitation with the car angle as his reason for leaving. In September 2000 at Unforgiven, Austin made his official return and tried to find out who ran him down at Survivor Series the previous year. On the October 9, 2000 episode of Raw Is War, Rikishi finally admitted to being the driver because "he did it for The Rock." The following Pay per view, No Mercy, Austin was back to face Rikishi in a No Holds Barred Match. During the match, Austin motioned he was going to drive his truck into Rikishi, who by that time was a bloody mess. Before he could, he was stopped by officials and the match was deemed a no contest. Austin was then arrested and was later bailed by Commissioner Mick Foley. During a handicap match against Rikishi and Kurt Angle, Triple H came down with the apparent intention of teaming with Austin. After clearing the ring, Triple H smashed his sledgehammer over Austin's head, and revealed it was actually him behind the whole scheme by paying off Rikishi to run Austin over, devised to shield the WWF Championship from Austin and end his career. At Survivor Series, Triple H had plotted to run Austin down again during their match (thus repeating the events of the previous year's Survivor Series) but his plot failed when Austin lifted Triple H's automobile with a forklift, then let it drop 20 feet. On the January 8 episode of Raw Is War, Austin challenged Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship. The title match ended in a no contest when Triple H interfered and struck Austin with a Steel pipe. At the Royal Rumble, Austin got back at Triple H by interfering and costing him the WWF Championship against Angle. Austin went on to win the Royal Rumble match, last eliminating Kane.
Finally, on the February 5 edition of Raw Is War, Vince McMahon announced a Three Stages of Hell match between Steve Austin and Triple H at No Way Out to settle their differences. McMahon then instituted a "zero tolerance" decree and said that if either man attacked the other before No Way Out, Austin would lose his WrestleMania match and Triple H would be suspended for six months. After Austin signed his name on paper, Triple H struck him in the back of the head with the clipboard and assaulted him. He then revealed to an irate McMahon that he still had to sign the contract, which he then did. Although the two came close to attacking each other, they did not do so. The week before the event, Austin performed a Stone Cold Stunner on Triple H's wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley during Raw Is War, while Triple H performed a Pedigree on Austin's friend and Raw play-by-play commentator Jim Ross On SmackDown! as retaliation.
Before the event began, a dark match took place in which Rikishi defeated Matt Hardy by disqualification.
The event opened with Raven defending the WWF Hardcore Championship against Big Show. Tori, Crash Holly, Steve Blackman, and Hardcore Holly interfered in the match. Billy Gunn performed a Fameasser on Raven to win the title. Holly and Blackman attacked Gunn, allowing Raven to pin Gunn to win the title. Big Show executed a Chokeslam on Raven to win the match.
Next, Chris Jericho defended the WWF Intercontinental Championship against Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and X-Pac. Jericho pinned X-Pac with a Roll-Up to retain the title.
After that, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley faced Trish Stratus. William Regal interfered, leading to Stratus slapping Regal. Regal performed a Regal Cutter on Stratus, allowing Stephanie to pin Stratus to win the match.
In the fourth match, Stone Cold Steve Austin faced Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell match, in which the first fall was a Singles match. Austin targeted Triple H's arm, preventing Triple H from performing the Pedigree. Triple H targeted Austin's leg. Austin performed a Stone Cold Stunner on Triple H to win the first fall. The second fall was a Street Fight. Triple H attempted a Pedigree through an announce table on Austin but was unable to, allowing Austin to perform a Back Body Drop through an announce table on Triple H. Austin attempted a Stone Cold Stunner on Triple H but Triple H countered the move, hit Austin with his sledgehammer and performed a Pedigree on Austin to win the second fall. The final fall was a Steel Cage match. Austin attempted a Stone Cold Stunner on Triple H but Triple H countered the move into a Pedigree on Austin for a near-fall. Triple H attempted another Pedigree on Austin but Austin countered the move and performed a Stone Cold Stunner on Triple H for a near-fall. In the end, Triple H hit Austin with a sledgehammer as Austin hit Triple H with a 2X4 wrapped in barbed wire. Triple H fell onto Austin into a pin, meaning Triple H won the match two falls to one.
Next, Steven Richards faced Jerry Lawler. The Kat accidentally hit Lawler with a belt, allowing Richards to pin Lawler to win the match.
After that, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defended the WWF Tag Team Championship against Edge and Christian and The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane) in a Triple threat tables match. Rikishi and Haku interfered, attacking Undertaker and Kane. Bubba Ray and D-Von performed a 3D through a table on Christian to retain the title.
In the main event, Kurt Angle defended the WWF Championship against The Rock. Rock applied the Sharpshooter on Angle but Angle touched the ring ropes, forcing Angle to break the hold. Big Show interfered, performing Chokeslam on Angle, Rock and the referee. Rock hit Angle with the title belt for a near-fall. Angle applied the Ankle Lock on Rock but Rock touched the ring ropes, forcing Angle to break the hold. Rock performed a People's Elbow on Angle for a near-fall. Angle threw Rock into an exposed turnbuckle and performed an Angle Slam on Rock for a near-fall. Rock threw Angle into the exposed turnbuckle and performed a Rock Bottom on Angle for a near-fall. Rock performed another Rock Bottom to win the title.
After No Way Out, Steve Austin set his focus back to the WWF Championship and the new champion, The Rock. Austin won the WWF championship at WrestleMania X-Seven from The Rock in a No Disqualification match after Mr. McMahon handed Austin a steel chair to hit Rock with. The following night on Raw is War, Austin and Triple H truly laid their differences to rest by teaming up and assaulting The Rock following a steel cage match The Rock had with Austin.
Triple H felt that after he'd defeated Austin, there was no one left in the WWF to beat and that he had deserved to be in the main event at WrestleMania. The Undertaker then told Triple H that he'd never beat him and challenged him to a match at WrestleMania, which was made official by WWF Commissioner William Regal after Kane threatened to throw Stephanie McMahon over a balcony. Undertaker would go on to defeat Triple H at WrestleMania and improve his record at WrestleMania to 9–0. Their feud continued, however, with Steve Austin at Triple H's side as The Two-Man Power Trip and Kane at Undertaker's side. The two teams would face-off at Backlash where Austin and Triple H would come out victorious.