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WWF No Way Out of Texas
15th February 1998
Compaq Centre, Houston, Texas
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
This was the first of the No Way Out pay per views as we march along the road to Wrestlemania. The main event for Wrestlemania would pit Stone Cold Steve Austin against Shawn Michaels with Mike Tyson serving as the guest enforcer. Instead of a title filler match, Stone Cold would captain a team to go up against D-Generation X, however, Shawn Michaels would not be competing due to the back injury he’d experienced at the Royal Rumble. A mystery partner would take his place. Elsewhere, Kane would take on the beast (not Brock Lesnar) from the Rocky Mountains, Vader.
The video package focuses on the idea that the Superstars will not make it out of Texas in one piece. We are welcomed to the show by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, they remind the television audience that Shawn Michaels is unable to compete tonight.
‘Marvellous’ Marc Mero & The Artist Formally Known as Goldust /w/ Luna vs. The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher)
Sable gets a massive pop which upsets Mero. Mero orders Sable to the back before the match even begins. Strong heat for Mero! Goldust is dressed up as Marilyn Manson. Mero and Mosh start the match. Mero with some jabs in the corner and he hits a back elbow. Elbow drop by Mero and he throws more jabs at Mosh. Whip to the corner and Mero charges but misses. Goldust and Luna help Mero to his feet and he re-enters the ring. Tag to Thrasher and he hits a second rope clothesline. Tag top Goldust and he drop toe holds him as he was coming in. Thrasher blocks a monkey flip attempt and hits a clothesline. Tag to Mosh and he hits a dropkick. Slam by Mosh and Thrasher suplexes Mosh onto Goldust for 2 as Mero breaks. Mero distracts the ref which allows Thrasher to land some shots on Goldust. Dropkick by Mosh and he tags Thrasher. They hammer away on Goldust and Mero blind tags in. He hits a kneelift and follows with an elbow drop for 2. Headlock by Thrasher and he gets sent to the ropes where he hits some shoulderblocks. Goldust low-bridged Thrasher to the floor and Luna lands some shots on him. Goldust drops Thrasher face first onto the steps and back in, Mero stomps away. He drops Thrasher into the ropes and tags Goldust. Clothesline by Goldust and he hits a kneedrop for 2. Tag to Mero and he hammers away on Thrasher. Snapmare and Mero locks on a chinlock on a now bloody Thrasher. Thrasher fights out so Mero hits a knee to the midsection. He stomps away in the corner as a loud “Mero Sucks” chant breaks out. The match is decent, although nothing special. Both teams take their turns controlling the match but the heels take control. That is until Sable comes back out to ringside against Mero’s wishes and gets into a fight with Luna outside. During the chaos, the referee does not notice the legal Mosh, who had been taken out by a TKO from Mero, swapping with Thrasher. An unsuspecting Mero is rolled up by Thrasher allowing the Headbangers to pick up the upset win. WWF officials come out to keep Sable and Luna apart. Mero and Sable argue and Sable shoves him down to a huge ovation!!!
Winners: ‘Marvellous’ Marc Mero & The Artist Formally Known as Goldust via pinfall
Rating: * ½
Nothing special, but it did do its job in highlighting the issues amongst the heels.
Kevin Kelly and The Jackyl are on the Superstar line. The Jackyl predicts a cataclysm of mythical proportions in tonight’s main event. You’ve got to love Jackyl’s charisma.
Michael Cole is standing by with Owen Hart. Owen says he doesn’t care who the mystery partner is. He tells Stone Cold to stay out of his way and promises to bust Triple H’s legs.
Sunny is introduced to the crowd as the guest ring announcer. She received a massive pop because she was so fucking hot!!!
WWF Light Heavyweight Championship
El Pantera vs. Taka Michinoku ©
Before the match began, Brian Christopher made his way to the ring to provide commentary. He had a rivalry going on with Taka after he defeated him at the December pay per view. Spinning heel kick by Taka to start and Pantera comes back with an arm drag sending Taka to the floor. Pantera follows out with a summersault plancha to the floor. Back in, Pantera hits a hurricanrana and charges but misses and falls to the floor. Taka follows out with a springboard crossbody to the floor!!! Back in, Taka sends Pantera to the corner and follows with a corner forearm. Basement dropkick by Taka and they head to the apron. Pantera comes off the top with a headscissors off the apron on Taka. Suicide dive by Pantera drives Taka hard into the barricade and Pantera follows with a double stomp to the back. Back in, Pantera hits a double underhook back breaker and he grabs the Camel Clutch. Taka makes the ropes to break and Pantera kicks Taka hard in the back. Mexican surfboard by Pantera and he releases after being caught with his shoulders on the mat. Taka charges but Pantera backdrops him all the way to the floor. Pantera follows with a Tope Con Hilo onto the back of Taka. This was a decent enough match that was fast paced and saw some high flying manoeuvres. The crowd is behind Taka, but they really couldn’t care less about his opponent though. After some quick back and forth, Taka comes out victorious as he pins Pantera following the Michinoku Driver After the match, Brian Christopher wants to go in the ring and confront Taka but Lawler stops him. This allows Taka to hit a springboard crossbody to both on the floor. Lawler and Christopher recover and go after Taka but he bails into the crowd to escape.
Winner and STILL WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku via pinfall
Great match. The Light Heavyweight division had a ton of potential in its early days but come the end of ’98, it was treated like a joke.
Back in the Superstar Line area, Kevin Kelly is getting a quick word with Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie. Cactus and Chainsaw were both on laptops which was a pretty funny sight. I highly doubt Terry Funk knows how to turn a laptop on let alone use one! They look forward to getting revenge on the Outlaws after they threw them off a stage in a dumpster on a recent episode of Raw is War.
The Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau & Pierre Carl-Ouelett) vs. The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas)
Well this is odd. Both teams were heels! The Quebecers had recently returned to the company minus their old awesome entrance theme, but they wouldn’t stick around for long. This is pure filler, although both teams have recently cost the other matches on Shotgun Saturday Night heading in to this PPV. Jacque and Phineas start the match. Dropkick by Jacque but Phineas comes back with a poke to the eye. Tag to Henry and he goes to the ropes but Pierre hits him from behind. He tags in and goes to work on the arm of Henry. Henry returns the favor and grabs an arm bar. Pierre comes back with a drop toe hold and he tags Jacque. The match is quite basic and the crowd just could not care less about either team, both of whom have seen better days in the past. The Godwinns take control for much of the match with their usual double teaming offence. There’s just not much at all to say here. In the end, Phineas pins Pierre after the Quebecer is taken down with a clothesline from Henry to pick up the win for the hog farmers. After the match, The Godwinns attack the Quebecers with buckets.
Winners: The Godwinns via pinfall
This went on for far too long. 11 minutes in fact. All 4 guys had seen better days. Pretty funny seeing Jacque with long hair though!
Doc Hendrix questions the New Age Outlaws about the 4th member of their team. The Outlaws didn’t know who it was and they just want a little respect. They vowed to get to the bottom of it.
A classic ‘Attitude’ promo is playing. “This is who I am, this is what I do”, loved these promos.
Jim Ross interviews Jim Cornette and NWA North American Champion, Jeff Jarrett. Jim Cornette warns Bradshaw that Jeff Jarrett could end his career tonight with the Figure Four. Jarrett talks himself up to be the world’s greatest wrestler.
NWA North American Championship
Jeff Jarrett © /w/ Jim Cornette, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson & Barry Windham vs. Bradshaw
The North American Champion makes his way out to the ring along with Cornette, Windham and the Express here, but the referee only allows Cornette to stay at ringside after Bradshaw rushes to the ring and cleans house. Jarrett tries to attack from behind but Bradshaw catches him and hammers away. Back in, Bradshaw hits some stiff kicks to Jarrett and he hits a hiptoss. Chops by Bradshaw and he hits a big boot. He clotheslines Jarrett to the floor and he rams Jarrett and Cornette’s heads together. Bradshaw goes after Cornette but Jarrett attacks him from behind and they head back in. Dropkick by Jarrett and he hits a leaping clothesline. Jarrett is reversed to the corner and Bradshaw charges but eats elbow. Second rope dropkick by Jarrett gets 2. Jarrett chokes Bradshaw in the ropes and Cornette gets some choking in as well. Bradshaw chases after Cornette and walks into a Jarrett clothesline for 2. Small package by Bradshaw gets 2 and he blocks a Jarrett sunset flip attempt. Whip to the corner and Bradshaw charges but eats boot. Jarrett goes to jump on Bradshaw in the ropes but misses and gets crotched. Cornette clips Bradshaw in the knee with the tennis racket and Jarrett jumps onto the leg of Bradshaw. Kicks to the leg by Jarrett and he goes for the Figure-4 but Bradshaw kicks him away. The match here is nothing special, although I’ll admit that it was better than I remembered it being. Cornette turns the tide for his man by providing a distraction after Jarrett spends the early part of the match being beat up by the challenger. At one point in the match, Bradshaw gets some payback when he gets his hands on Cornette and whips him into Jarrett. Shortly after, Jarrett grabs his manager’s tennis racket and nails Bradshaw with it, triggering the disqualification. Post-match, Bradshaw gains possession of the racket and goes after Jarrett with it, only for the rest of the NWA crew to head back down to ringside. The numbers game gets the better of the former Blackjack as he is beat down once again until the Legion of Doom rush to the ring and chase off the NWA
Winner: Bradshaw via DQ
Rating: ** ½
The match was a lot better than what I remembered. Surprisingly, Bradshaw and Jarrett had some good chemistry together so much so I believe the feud should have played out longer in my eyes but the NWA angle was dropped not long after this and Jarrett returned to his “Double J” country singer gimmick. It’s J-A-Double R-E-Double T, nostalgia kids!
We now head to Michael Cole, who is standing by with DX members Triple H and Chyna in the back. Triple H says that they don’t need anyone to replace Shawn tonight and they will compete in a handicap match since nobody deserves to team with them. Cole tells him that WWF management have said that they will assign a partner. Triple H says he doesn’t care so long as they stay out of the way out there.
A video hyping Westlemania 14 is playing. It focuses on Mike Tyson’s return to the ring.
The Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Rocky Maivia, D’Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa and Mark Henry) are standing by with Doc Hendrix. The Rock tries to take the mic and upstage Faarooq but Faarooq sternly tells him that he’s the leader and everyone needs to fall in line with him. As Faarooq is talking, Rocky is pulling faces and bragging about being the champ!
The Nation of Domination (Faarooq, Rocky Maivia, D’Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa and Mark Henry) vs. Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson and The Disciples of Apocalypse (Skull, Chainz & 8-Ball)
This match is labelled the War of Attrition and was being advertised as an elimination tag match before being changed to a regular ten man tag here. The match is obviously an extension of the issues between Shamrock and Rock over the I.C title. Rock is still the reigning I.C champion here after retaining the title last month in controversial fashion at the Rumble. Skull knocks Brown down to start but he comes back with rights. Whip to the corner and Skull hits a corner clothesline. Punches in the corner but Brown breaks with a reverse atomic drop. Leg lariat by Brown but Skull comes back with a spinning heel kick. Big boot by Skull and he tags Shamrock. Brown rakes the eyes but Shamrock comes back with a back elbow. Tag to Kama and Chainz and Kama hammers away. Chainz comes back with a big boot followed by a slam. Elbopw drops by Chainz and Kama rakes the eyes to come back. Tag to Henry and he wants Johnson, so Chainz obliges with a tag. They slug it out and Henry hammers the back. Johnson comes back with a slam and Brown tags in who attacks Johnson from behind. He goes for a suplex but Johnson counters with a sit-out Gordbuster. Brown goes up and hits the Frog Splash as Johnson was going for the tag. Tag to Faarooq and Johnson catches him with a spinebuster. He goes for the Pearl River Plunge but Rock breaks it up. Tag to 8-Ball who cleans house. Powerslam by 8-Ball gets 2 and Shamrock tags in. Leg lariat by Shamrock but Faarooq goes low to come back. Tag to Rock and he hits a DDT for 2. The match is actually pretty good considering some of the guys you have in here, and I found this to be really enjoyable. There are plenty of tags made during this one, and of course we get a few moments in which the match breaks out into total chaos. During the brawl that breaks out, Shamrock manages to catch Rock in the ankle lock and has him tapping out to a HUGE pop from the crowd. After the match, Rock and Faarooq argue and Rock shoves him. The rest of the Nation have to hold Faarooq back and Rock goes outside of the ring to collect himself. Rock re-enters the ring and the Nation does their pose to show they are still united but tensions remain.
Winners: Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson and Disciples of Apocalypse via submission
Rating: *** 1/2
A really fun match that had good heat. Both teams worked hard. The victory for Shamrock set up a re-match at Wrestlemania for the Intercontinental championship. D’Lo was the workhorse in this match, helping to cover up the limitations of his opponents.
Michael Cole is with Stone Cold Steve Austin who gets a massive pop from the Texas crowd. Austin says he doesn’t care about who the mystery partner is and says it’ll mean something to kick some ass in Texas.
A video package airs highlighting the Vader/ Kane feud.
Vader vs. Kane /w/ Paul Bearer
At this point in his career, Vader has moved into the role of putting new talent over, so he’s really just been put into this feud so that Kane can destroy a giant monster en route to his inevitable showdown with the Undertaker upon his return. I think Vader had a lot of potential as a face, but there were other guys on the roster that would be moved up the card, so it’s not as though he could have done more at this point. He could certainly still go in the ring though, so this match is pretty decent. Kane barely sells any of Vader’s offence, but that’s fair enough since it establishes him as an indestructible force as he has been since debuting back in October. Right off the bat, they brawl both in and out of the ring. Vader slugs back but Kane hammers the midsection to take back control. Slam by Kane and he chokes Vader in the ropes. He snaps Vader’s neck off the ropes again but Vader comes back with an avalanche. He clotheslines Kane to the floor and back in, Kane hits a DDT. Whip to the corner and Kane charges but eats a stiff lariat. Vader hammers await in the corner and hits another avalanche. Kane goes for a chokeslam but Vader goes low and hits a short arm clothesline. Big Splash by Vader and he goes up for a moonsault. He connects but Kane sits right up! Vader clotheslines Kane to the floor again and follows out. They brawl on the floor and Vader is reversed into the steps. Vader grabs a fire extinguisher and sprays Kane in the face!!! Back in, Vader hits a Jackknife Powerbomb and he knocks Paul Bearer off the apron. Kane sits up again and hits a chokeslam. He finishes off Vader with a Tombstone for the victory. After the match, in retaliation for the fire extinguisher, Kane drills Vader with a wrench! Vader is out cold as medics come out to check on him.
Winner: Kane via pinfall
Rating: * ½
The match was decent but the story was fantastic. Kane was such an invincible monster that he another monster look human in comparison. It was weird seeing someone no-sell for Vader but it wasn’t as if they were making Vader look bad. If anything, he was great. He made Kane look great. A great example of how to book a monster.
Video package of the main event.
Non-Sanctioned, Anything goes match
Triple H, New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) & ???? /w/ Chyna vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie
The time is here and the mystery partner is about to be reviled. Is it someone from WCW? A returning Superstar maybe? Just who is good enough to replace Shawn Michaels? Well, that guy turns out to be………..Savio Vega. Sure it made sense since the Boricuas had recently been recruited to take out Austin by DX, but it’s still incredibly underwhelming since the WWF were teasing a huge mystery partner throughout the course of the show. He gets absolutely no reaction in stark contrast to the other participants in the match.
Cactus and Chainsaw bring out a bin full of weapons for this match. Austin beats on Billy Gunn to start and he hits a thesz press into some rights. Elbow drop by Austin and he hits a reverse atomic drop. He goes for the Stunner but Gunn bails. Austin cleans house with a trash can lid and he clotheslines Triple H for 2. Everyone brawls on the floor and back in, Cactus nails Dogg with a cookie sheet. Charlie sends Dogg into a table in the corner and Owen powerslams Gunn through the table!!!! Sharpshooter by Owen but Triple H breaks with a clothesline. Owen goes for a hurricanrana but Triple H blocks with a powerbomb. Charlie beats on Savio with a trash can lid but Triple H attacks him with a trash can. DDT by Triple H gets 2 as Owen saves. Enzuigiri by Owen and he hits a spine buster. Sharpshooter by Owen but Dogg breaks with a chair. He sets up two chairs and POWERBOMBS CHARLIE THROUGH THE CHAIRS!!!!! The ref finally gains control as Gunn piledrives Charlie onto a trash can lid for 2 as Cactus saves. Tag to Triple H and he stomps away on Charlie in the corner. Tag to Vega and he hits some rights. Dogg comes in and hits a back suplex for 2 as Jack saves. Headbutts by Charlie and Austin TOSSES A TRASH CAN AT A CHARGING BILLY GUNN!!!! My God that was hilarious. Billy sold it like he’d been shot! Triple H comes in and hits a reverse atomic drop on Charlie. Tag to Vega and he grabs a standing front facelock. Charlie tries to fight to the corner but Dogg stops him. Owen tries to come in but the ref forces him back to the corner. Triple H nails Charlie with a chair a few times and Charlie falls to the floor. Back in, Charlie collides with Dogg and tags Cactus who cleans house. He hammers away on Dogg in the corner and he puts a broken piece of table again Dogg in the corner. He sends Gunn into the broken table and follows with a Double Arm DDT for 2 as Savio saves. Missile dropkick by Owen to Vega and Cactus grabs a double mandible claw to the Outlaws!!! Triple H goes low to break and Cactus comes back by clotheslines Gunn to the floor. He follows out and Gunn catches him with a DDT on the floor. Gunn slams Cactus on the floor and he nails Cactus with the steel steps. Back in, Triple H suplexes Cactus for 2. He hammers away and tags Gunn. Wishbone to Cactus and Savio starts wrapping Cactus in barbed wire!!!!! Triple H nails Cactus with a chair and Vega follows suit. Gunn goes to hit Cactus with a chair but misses and hits Road Dogg!!!!! HOT TAG TO AUSTIN!!!! He cleans house and sends Vega flying to the floor. He stomps away on Triple H in the corner and hammers away on Gunn. A Stone Cold Stunner to Road Dogg ends this wild wild match!
Winners: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie via pinfall
Rating: *** ½
This is a pretty chaotic brawl. There’s no disqualifications, so everyone brings a bunch of weapons into the war. Although I don’t get why they have to tag if it’s a no DQ match. Alas I’m nitpicking, as aside from that logic, the match is lots of fun and a good way to showcase three of the rivalries heading into Wrestlemania. It could have been better if Michaels was in a condition to compete, but since that was off the cards, all eight men did a great job in putting on a solid main event that kept the crowd going wild throughout. There’s a few impressive spots mixed in such as Road Dogg powerbombing Funk through a set of chairs. Of course Cactus goes the most insane as he brings barbed wire into the match and ends up getting tangled in it before taking an assortment of chair shots. I also have to say that with Shawn out of the match, Triple H did a good job as the de facto leader of the heel team which perhaps was the first sign of him being able to hang in there with the big guns.
After the match, Austin takes out Billy Gunn with a stunner. Chyna enters the ring and confronts Austin!!!! She shoves him and flips him off!!!! OHHHH!!!! Austin doesn’t take too kindly to that, he waits for her to turn around..STONE COLD STUNNER TO CHYNA!! WOW. He salutes the crowd as the show comes to an end.
Best Match: Triple H, New Age Outlaws & Savio Vega vs. Stone Cold, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie – It was a toss up with this match and the 10 man tag. I went with this one because it was such a fun brawl and showed signs of what the future hold for the WWF during this period.
Worst Match: The Quebecers vs. The Godwinns – Time had passed these guys. The fans were silent throughout.
Attitude Era Moment: Cactus Jack wrapped in barbed wire – Foley always put his body on the line for the enjoyment of the fans. That would be trademark throughout this period and his career.
Top 5 Superstars:
1. Stone Cold – Throwing a trash can full force at Billy Gunn cemented it for me. The fans loved him and he made the main event so much fun to watch.
2. Triple H – He picked up the ball and covered for Shawn as the D-X leader. He did well out there.
3. Mick Foley (Cactus Jack) – Once again, he put his body on the line for the fans. The Barbed wire stuff was sick and it got the fans going.
4. D’Lo Brown – He was the workhorse of his team. He covered the limitations of his opponents and some of his teammates too.
5. The Rock- He was slowly turning into the cocky Rock persona that we all know and love. He was also outstanding in his match too.
Stone Cold – 25pts
Shawn Michaels – 23pts
Bret Hart – 18pts
Undertaker – 14pts
The Rock – 11pts
Mick Foley – 9pts
Triple H – 4pts
Owen Hart/Taka Michinoku/ Ken Shamrock – 3pts
Vader/ D’Lo Brown– 2pts
British Bulldog/ Kane/ Terry Funk – 1pt
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 5.5
It was a pretty fun show to tie things over to the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania. There was nothing overwhelmingly great about his show aside from the two mutli-man tag matches, especially the main event! The future was looking bright for the World Wrestling Federation. Not the greatest show but it was fun to watch and it done a nice job of building feuds already set up for Wrestlemania.
Pay Per View Rankings
One Night Only – 7.5
Royal Rumble ’98 – 7
Summerslam ’97 – 6
No Way Out of Texas’ 98 – 5.5
Ground Zero – 4
Survivor Series ’97 – 4
Bad Blood – 3
D-Generation X – 2.5
Up Next: WWF Wrestlemania 14