No Way Out (2003)
23 February 2003
No Way Out (2003)
No Way Out (2004)
WWE Raw, WWE SmackDown
"Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence (feat. Paul McCoy)
Centre Bell, Montreal, Canada
No Way Out (2003) was the fourth annual (fifth overall) No Way Out pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was presented by Starburst, took place on February 23, 2003, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec and starred the promotion's Raw and SmackDown! brands.
The main event from the SmackDown! brand was a rematch from WrestleMania X8 between Hulk Hogan and The Rock, which Rock won by pinfall after Sylvain Grenier, the referee of the match, allowed Rock to hit Hogan with a steel chair, which proceeded to a Rock Bottom. The main event from the Raw brand was a World Heavyweight Championship match between Triple H and Scott Steiner, which Triple H won via pinfall, after he hit Steiner with the championship belt and a Pedigree. The main match on the undercard from Raw was the encounter of Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff, which Austin won via pinfall after three consecutive Stone Cold Stunners. The main match on the undercard from SmackDown! was a six-man tag team match between Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Charlie Haas, and Shelton Benjamin) and the team of Brock Lesnar, Edge, and Chris Benoit, where Edge was unable to participate in the match due to injury. The match, however, was won by Lesnar and Benoit via submission, after Benoit forced Haas to submit to the Crippler Crossface.
On the January 23 episode of SmackDown!, SmackDown! General Manager Stephanie McMahon announced the return of Hulk Hogan to the WWE. During the returning segment of Hogan, the WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon, came down to the ring to insult Hogan, resulting in Hogan challenging McMahon into a match, however, Hogan then proceeded to attack McMahon, which led to McMahon accepting Hogan's challenge, he however, instead booked a rematch from WrestleMania X8 between Hogan and his representative, The Rock at No Way Out, the following week on SmackDown!; thus the beginning of the Rock-Hogan feud on the SmackDown! brand. During the weeks leading to No Way Out, both Rock and Hogan cut promos on who was the better wrestler. The feud intensified on the February 20, and final episode of SmackDown! before No Way Out, however, where, during a segment, Rock attempted to shake Hogan's hand, and then spat water into Hogan's face.
At the Royal Rumble, Kurt Angle successfully defended the WWE Championship against Chris Benoit while Lesnar won the Royal Rumble match to earn a WWE title shot at WrestleMania XIX, lastly eliminating The Undertaker. On the January 23 episode of SmackDown!, Kurt Angle confronted his protégés, Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin), about their losses that night, as Benjamin was pinned by Edge, while Haas was pinned by Chris Benoit. The next week on SmackDown!, Haas and Benjamin were booked in a tag team match against Edge and Benoit, where Angle interfered in Haas and Benjamin's behalf, which led them to pinning Edge and Benoit for the win. The next week on Smackdown, Haas and Benjamin won the Tag Team Championship against Los Guerreros. The next week on SmackDown!, General Manager Stephanie McMahon scheduled a match between Team Angle (Angle, Haas, and Benjamin) against the team of Lesnar, Benoit, and Edge at No Way Out, thus the official start of the Team Angle-Team Lesnar feud. On the February 20 episode of SmackDown!, Angle battled Brock Lesnar. But, before the match began, Angle stated that Lesnar had to defeat Haas and Benjamin before wrestling Angle, which Lesnar did. As Lesnar then battled Angle, Paul Heyman, who was at ringside, interfered and hit Lesnar with a steel chair, disqualifying Angle.
On the January 20 episode of Raw, Eric Bischoff announced about how Stone Cold Steve Austin walked out on Vince McMahon during the summer of 2002 with no explanation and that he'd like to give Steve Austin an opportunity to give his side of the story. Bischoff also invited Steve Austin to appear at next month's No Way Out. The next week, Bischoff stated that Austin has agreed to tell his story in the Raw magazine. On the February 3 episode of Raw, Bischoff headed to Texas, to sign Austin to the Raw brand. But, he was unsuccessful in doing so, as he couldn't locate Austin anywhere. The next week on Raw, Bischoff (kayfabe) fired Jim Ross, after Bischoff stated that it was Ross' fault that Austin hasn't signed yet to the brand. Vince McMahon, who the previous week stated he would fire Bischoff and Chief Morley for how they ran Raw the last couple of weeks, asked Bischoff if he'd signed Austin yet, which prompted Bischoff to say no. J.R. informed McMahon that Austin would be at No Way Out, which led to McMahon booking a match between Bischoff and Austin for the event.
At the Royal Rumble, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Scott Steiner. Steiner defeated Triple H by disqualification, after Triple H brought a sledgehammer in during the match. In result, Triple H retained the World Heavyweight title. The next night on Raw, Steiner was put in a match against Batista, where Batista was disqualified after Randy Orton interfered. After the match, Triple H, Ric Flair, Orton and Batista all attack Steiner, which led to Triple H Pedigreeing Steiner. On the February 3 episode of Raw, Triple H formed a stable known as Evolution with Flair, Orton, and Batista. That same night, Steiner defeated Chris Jericho to face Triple H at No Way Out for the World Heavyweight title.
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, Rey Mysterio defeated Jamie Noble on Sunday Night Heat. The first match was between Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho. Jericho forced Hardy to submit to the Walls of Jericho to win the match.
Next was a World Tag Team Championship match between Kane and Rob Van Dam and William Regal and Lance Storm. After Storm pulled Kane's mask, preventing him from seeing, Kane executed a Chokeslam on Van Dam. Storm pinned Van Dam to retain the title.
Main event matches
In the fifth match, Team Angle (WWE Champion Kurt Angle, Charlie Haas, and Shelton Benjamin) faced Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match. Before the match, Edge was attacked backstage and it was announced he was unable to compete, thus make it 3-on-2. Lesnar and Benoit won the match after Benoit forced Haas to submit to the Crippler Crossface.
Next was a World Heavyweight Championship match between Scott Steiner and Triple H. After Evolution (Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista) interfered, Steiner attacked them and caused the referee, Earl Hebner, to eject them. Triple H hit Steiner with the title belt and executed a Pedigree to retain the title.
The final match on the undercard was a match between Eric Bischoff and Steve Austin. Before the match began, Bischoff offered Austin a chance to forfeit the match, but Austin attacked him instead. Bischoff attempted to escape by running around ringside only to be attacked once again by Austin. As Austin rolled Bischoff back into the ring, he performed the Stone Cold Stunner on Bischoff. As Austin pinned Bischoff, Austin deliberately broke the pinfall to perform two more Stunners on Bischoff to win the match.
The main event was the WrestleMania X8 rematch between Hulk Hogan and The Rock. The Rock executed a Rock Bottom on Hogan and applied two consecutive Sharpshooters. Hogan performed a Big Boot and a Leg drop but as the referee counted the pinfall, the lights in the arena went off. As the lights came back on, the referee, Sylvan Grenier, was unconscious, allowing Vince McMahon to distract Hogan, which allowed the referee to hand a steel chair to Rock, which he hit Hogan with. The Rock executed a Rock Bottom to win the match.
On the February 27 episode of SmackDown!, Vince McMahon announced that The Rock had chosen to be part of the Raw brand, thus making him Raw exclusive and ending the Rock-Hogan feud. On the Raw brand, The Rock began a feud with Steve Austin, as on the March 3 episode of Raw, Rock challenged Austin to a match at WrestleMania XIX, however, General Manager, Eric Bishoff, announced that if Rock defeated Booker T the following week on Raw, he would have the choice to either face Austin or have a World Heavyweight Championship match against Triple H. The following week on Raw, Rock announced that instead of facing Booker T, he would choose his own opponent, in which he chose The Hurricane. During the match, however, Austin came out to the ring and distracted Rock, which allowed Hurricane to Roll-up Rock into a pinfall; despite losing the match, Rock chose Austin as his WrestleMania XIX opponent. At WrestleMania XIX, The Rock defeated Steve Austin via pinfall.
After No Way Out, Vince McMahon continued his feud with Hulk Hogan, in which he proclaimed that Hulkamania was dead and proclaiming a new 'mania; McMahonamania. On the March 6 episode of SmackDown!, Hogan informed McMahon that Hulkamania was not dead and that McMahon had nothing to do with creating it. McMahon informed Hogan that he did not hate Hulkamaniacs or Hulkamania, but he hated Hogan; McMahon explained that he hated Hogan, because he left WWE and went to work for Ted Turner's promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW). McMahon also stated that he hated Hogan for the fact that Hogan testified against him in his steroid trial. McMahon challenged Hogan to a match at WrestleMania XIX, to the stipulation that if he beats Hogan, he will never wrestle again and stating he would kill Hulkamania. On the March 20 episode of SmackDown!, the contract signing between McMahon and Hogan's match at WrestleMania took place. During the contract signing, McMahon attacked Hogan from behind with a steel chair. The attack led to McMahon stabbing Hogan with a pen in the forehead and forcing him to sign the contract in his blood. At WrestleMania XIX, Hogan defeated McMahon after three Leg drops.