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Bell Centre – Montreal, Quebec – February 23, 2003
HEAT MATCH: Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble
They start with some fast-paced back and forth wrestling. Mysterio gets a headscissors from the second rope, and then monkey flips Noble to the floor. He follows with a hurricanrana off the apron. Back in the ring Mysterio goes to the top rope and Noble cuts him out of the air with a dropkick. Noble hits a gutbuster for two. Noble continues to wear Mysterio down but misses a legdrop from the second rope. Mysterio hits a springboard cross body block for a two-count. He follows with a leg cradle for two. Noble catches Mysterio with a powerslam for two. He follows with an electric chair drop for two. Mysterio comes back and goes for the 619 but Nidia grabs his leg to distract him. It backfires though as Mysterio dropkicks Noble into Nidia, knocking her off the apron. Mysterio then catches Noble in a hurricanrana with a cradle for the pin at 4:36. That was a perfect match to warm up the crowd.
MATCH #1: Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho
This was originally supposed to be Jericho versus Test, but someone realized that Test sucks so they changed the match. At least that’s my understanding of it. They start with some chain wrestling. Hardy quickens the pace, which is to his advantage. He hits a headscissors. Jericho cuts him off with a clothesline and follows with a belly-to-back suplex. He charges into the corner but Hardy moves and Jericho crashes all the way to the floor. Hardy follows with a twisting somersault senton to wipe Jericho out. Back in the ring Hardy hits a slingshot moonsault for two. They go back to the floor and Jericho tosses Hardy into the steps. Back in the ring Jericho hits a vertical suplex. Hardy comes back with a quick inside cradle for two. Jericho comes right back and continues the assault. Hardy avoids a charge in the corner and Jericho crashes into the ring post. He goes to work now, even hitting Jericho with a Codebreaker for two! How about that?! Jericho responds with an enziguiri. He goes for the Lionsault and hits nothing but knees. Hardy hits a DDT for two. He follows with Whisper in the Wind for another two-count. Jericho grabs an enziguiri attempt and locks on the Walls of Jericho! Hardy reaches the ropes. Jericho goes up top and Hardy leaps up there to hiptoss him down. Hardy removes his shirt to the shrieks of the ladies and then hits the Swanton Bomb. Jericho is fortunate enough to get his foot on the bottom rope. He goes for the Walls of Jericho but Hardy cradles him for a two-count. Jericho goes up top and Hardy slices him out of the air with a dropkick. Hardy hits the Fist of Twat and goes up top for another Swanton but this time Jericho moves out of the way. Jericho hits a Lionsault but it only gets two! He goes for a back suplex but Hardy slips out and gets a schoolboy rollup for two. Jericho hits the Flashback and puts his feet on the ropes but still only gets two. He goes up top and Hardy knocks him down. Hardy goes up and tries a super rana but Jericho counters with a powerbomb. Jericho then locks on the Walls of Jericho and Hardy is forced to tap out at 12:59. That was probably Hardy’s last good match in WWE before his exit a few months after this. It was a very solid opener with great back-and-forth action and a squeaky clean finish.
Jericho won’t release the hold so Shawn Michaels comes out to make him break it. Christian runs out as well to tip the scales back in Jericho’s favor. Michaels is able to catch both of them with a simultaneous DDT, and then hits Christian with Sweet Chin Music.
MATCH #2: World Tag Team Championship Match – Lance Storm & William Regal vs. Rob Van Dam & Kane
Storm and Regal have been the Champions since 1.20.03, and this is their third defense. RVD and Storm start the match. It’s Barely Legal Redux! They do some athletic, fast-paced back and forth and RVD gets the better of it so Storm tags Regal into the match. RVD keeps up the pressure, hitting Regal with the split-legged moonsault for two. He follows with a monkey flip while making the tag. Kane drops an elbow and covers for two. He presses the advantage and hits Regal with a bodyslam that legit knocks him out. Storm thankfully makes the tag as Regal is really messed up. The challengers work Storm over until Regal pulls him to the floor to regroup. RVD isn’t having it though, and he hits Storm with a somersault plancha. Back in the ring RVD hits a slingshot legdrop for two. Regal tags back in and RVD takes it to him, hitting the superkick off the second rope. RVD goes up top and Storm shoves him into the barricade. Back in the ring Regal hits RVD with the Regalplex and then makes the tag. The champions work RVD over and keep him away from Kane. Finally RVD makes the tag and Kane enters the ring with a top-rope clothesline on Regal. Kane turns his attention to Storm and has plenty of abuse for him too. The referee loses control. Storm rearranges Kane’s mask, and when RVD gets shoved into the Big Red Monster he can’t tell who it is and he accidentally Chokeslams him. Regal covers for the pin at 9:21. The match was adequate but the finish was somewhat clever.
MATCH #3: Cruiserweight Championship Match – Billy Kidman vs. Matt Hardy
Kidman has been the Champion since 11.17.02, and this is his eighth defense. Hardy is accompanied by Shannon Moore. They go back and forth to start, and Hardy takes first control by sending Kidman to the apron and ramming him into the steel post. Back in the ring Hardy continues to work on Kidman, hitting a neckbreaker for two. Kidman counters with a victory roll for two. Hardy responds with a modified Side Effect for another two-count. Kidman tries to use a Sleeper but Hardy counters it with another modified Side Effect for another near-fall. Hardy grabs a leg and Kidman is able to stand up and hit an enziguiri. Back on their feet Kidman unleashes a flurry of offense, including the Sky-Hi Powerbomb for a two-count. Hardy cuts him off with a clothesline and then hits the legdrop off the second rope for two. He tries the Twist of Fate but Kidman pushes off and hits a dropkick that sends him to the floor. Kidman follows with a house show dive. Back in the ring Kidman goes up top and jumps right into a boot to the gut. Hardy tries a Twist of Fate again but Kidman counters with a jackknife pin for two. Shannon Moore gets on the apron to distract the Champion, giving Hardy the chance to hit the Side Effect for a near-fall. Kidman comes back with a bulldog and then positions Hardy for the Shooting Star Press. Unfortunately it misses and Hardy hits the Twist of Fate but it only gets two! They fight to the top rope and Kidman knocks Hardy back down to the mat. Moore interferes again, giving Hardy the chance to go back up to the second rope. Hardy hits a Super Twist of Fate to win the title at 9:33. That was a rock solid match with an awesome finish.
MATCH #4: Undertaker vs. Big Show
Show is accompanied by Paul Heyman. He tries to hide on the floor but Undertaker goes right out and attacks him. Show comes right back and drives Undertaker’s back into the steel post. Undertaker fights back with a low dropkick of all things and goes on the attack. He goes for a bodyslam but Show falls back on him for a two-count. Now it’s Show who is in control. He uses a variety of submission moves and strikes, even busting Undertaker’s head open with a headbutt. After what seems like forever Undertaker fights back with strikes. Undertaker goes up for Old School and connects with it. The referee gets swatted and Undertaker takes advantage with a low blow. Undertaker follows with a DDT for two. He tries the Last Ride but that’s dumb and Show makes him pay for it with a spinebuster of all things. Show hits Snake Eyes and a hard clothesline for two. He goes for a press slam but Undertaker counters with a Dragon Sleeper. Heyman gets up on the apron and Undertaker chases him down. A-Train makes his way out and Undertaker launches himself over the top rope to take out both Heyman and the A-Train. Back in the ring Show catches Undertaker with the Chokeslam and when he covers Undertaker grabs him in the Hell’s Gate! Show passes out at 14:07. These two were both in a lull at this point and this was an incredibly boring match with a finish from out of nowhere.
Undertaker goes to attack Show with a chair, but A-Train comes to the rescue and hits the Derailer on the Dead Man.
MATCH #5: Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit &
Edge vs. Kurt Angle, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Edge was attacked backstage by Team Angle, so he is out of this match and it will not be a handicap affair. Angle, Haas and Benjamin are accompanied by Paul Heyman. Benoit and Benjamin start the match. They chain wrestle a bit and Benoit takes the first advantage. Benjamin is able to pull Benoit back into his corner and make the tag to Haas. Benoit fights back and tags Lesnar, who gets a nice pop. Lesnar gets briefly distracted by his desire to fight Angle, but he’s still able to throw Haas and Benjamin around with ease. Team Angle uses the numbers advantage to take Lesnar down. They isolate him briefly before he is able to make the tag to Benoit, who is a house afire. Benoit starts throwing German Suplexes at everyone, hitting three on Benjamin. He goes up top but Angle pops up and suplexes him down. Angle pulls the straps down and Lesnar grabs him from the apron. Benjamin comes to Angle’s rescue. Team Angle now isolates on Benoit, keeping him away from tagging his partner. After several minutes Benoit comes back and makes the tag. Lesnar is a house afire, throwing suplexes on everyone. The referee loses control and we wind up with Benoit and Angle alone in the ring. Angle puts on the Ankle Lock and Benoit reverses to the Crippler Crossface, then Angle reverses back to the Ankle Lock, then Benoit reverses back to the Crossface. Benjamin and Haas break it up. Benoit puts Haas in the Crossface and Lesnar runs interference as Haas taps out at 13:16. I thought it would be longer but this was perfect formula stuff with good crowd heat.
MATCH #6: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Triple H vs. Scott Steiner
HHH has been the Champion since 12.15.02, and this is his second defense. He’s accompanied by Ric Flair. The Game has his quad taped up so Steiner goes after it, mixing in some other punches and things. In an interesting twist, the crowd loves HHH and does not care so much for Steiner. That’s Canada I suppose. Steiner locks on a Figure-Four Leglock and Flair rakes Steiner’s eyes to break the hold. Flair pays for it though, as Steiner goes out to the floor and knocks him down. The distraction allows HHH to knock Steiner off the apron and get a reprieve for his injured leg. Flair continues to liberally interfere behind the referee’s back. HHH hits a swinging neckbreaker for a two-count. He hits a hangman’s neckbreaker for two. Steiner fights back with a belly-to-belly suplex. He then charges right into a boot in the corner. HHH tries a dirty pin but referee Earl Hebner catches him. He argues with Hebner about it and even shoves him, but there’s no disqualification. Steiner has recovered though and he unloads on the Game, hitting the twisting belly-to-belly suplex for two. He dumps HHH to the floor and hurls him into the steel post. Back in the ring Steiner hits ANOTHER belly-to-belly suplex. Steiner then hits the Super Samoan Drop but it only gets two when Flair pulls Steiner off the cover. Flair calls out Randy Orton, who gets decked, and the same happens to Batista. HHH goes for the Pedigree but Steiner clotheslines him over the top rope. Orton climbs to the top and Steiner slams him down and then heaves him over the top right onto Batista. Hebner finally decides to send Flair, Orton, and Batista to the back. With that distraction HHH is able to nail Steiner with the World Heavyweight Title belt. Steiner kicks out at two. HHH then hits the Pedigree and the Scott Steiner experiment is over at 13:01. That wasn’t quite the disaster that the Royal Rumble match was, but it certainly wasn’t good. Steiner was so limited and the necessity of the interference shows how much help this match needed.
MATCH #7: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff
Bischoff tries to weasel his way out of the match but Austin will have none of it. Austin takes Bischoff down and unloads on him with right hands. The crowd is losing their collective mind for the Texas Rattlesnake. Even the boys in the back are watching this match and enjoying it. Bischoff rakes the eyes and tries a martial arts kick but Austin shrugs it off. A frightened Bischoff tries to run away but Austin chases him to the floor and chops away. Austin throws a drink at Bischoff and then whips him right into the crowd. Back in the ring Austin hits a Stunner but pulls Bischoff’s arm up at two! Austin hits another Stunner and pulls Bischoff’s arm up again! HE this one more Stunner and this time he leaves Bischoff laying and gets the three-count at 4:25. Obviously it wasn’t much of match, nor should it have been. The crowd paid to see Austin destroy Bischoff and that’s what they got. The Michael Cole versus Jerry Lawler feud could have learned a lesson from this match.
MATCH #8: Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock
Hogan unloads with punches early so Rock takes a quick powder. After more stalling Rock suckers Hogan out of the ring and back in he’s able to take control. Hogan makes a brief comeback but Rock quickly cuts him off. Rock hits an early Rock Bottom but Hogan kicks out at two. He then puts on Hogan’s headband just to be a jerk, and also takes off his weightlifting belt and whips him with it. Rock gets too cocky though and Hogan wears him out with the belt. Hogan unloads with punches and Rock comes back with a DDT. Rock gloats about it, and I realize how much I miss heel Rock. He locks on the Sharpshooter. Hogan breaks out of it by kicking Rock to the floor. He follows him out but he’s all gimpy so Rock knocks him down with a clothesline. Rock continues the taunting as he slams Hogan’s head into the announce table. He goes for a chair shot but Hogan ducks and uses the chair himself. Hogan brings the chair into the ring and when referee Sylvain Grenier tries to get it away from him Rock hits Hogan with a low blow. Rock hits the spinebuster and the People’s Elbow, and then hits another one. Hogan kicks out and it’s time to Hulk Up! He hits the Big Boot and lands the Legdrop but the lights in the building go out. What the hell? When the lights come back on both Rock and Grenier are knocked out. Mr. McMahon makes his way out to taunt Hogan. It’s all a ruse, as referee Grenier hands Rock the chair, and Rock plasters Hogan with it. Rock hits the Rock Bottom and Grenier makes the count at 12:36. That was a far cry from their match at WrestleMania X8, but I do really enjoy watching Rock as a heel. There was a ton of stalling though and the finish seemed overdone.
After the bell McMahon taunts Hogan and then the “No Chance in Hell” song plays to end the show.
Tags: Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, No Way Out, Scott Steiner, Steve Austin, The Rock, triple h, WWE