No Way Out 2003

Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy
Y2J is in the midst of a feud with Shawn Michaels and has asked HBK to be banned from the building, which is helpful as Shawn isn’t the most popular man in Canada, especially in Montreal, the site of the 1997 screwjob. Montreal remembers Shawn, Montreal remembers. Incidentally, this is the first WWE PPV to occur in Montreal since that infamous November night. Jeff only has two months left of this first WWE run before getting fired for a litany of drug related problems. Who could predict his career path after this: a disastrous ROH match, a couple of years in TNA, a return to WWE, winning the WWE and World Heavyweight Title, more drug problems, TNA, more drug problems, Indy hero. It’s been a wild, and unconventional career ride, perhaps fitting of the personality of the man himself. The Canadian audience is a partisan one and get behind their boy Jericho. Jeff is a little sloppy and Jericho pays for it, getting busted hardway twice (on the head and the arm). Jericho’s ability to carry a match is evident and he calms Jeff down and focuses Hardy on his comebacks. It makes the match a lot smoother than the usual Jeff car wreck, but it’s considerably less fun. The crowd continue to support Jericho, cheering on his every move, despite his heel status and playing up thereof. The crowd politely pop Jeff’s comebacks too, giving the match a very positive vibe. They tease finishes both ways with a combination of roll ups and big spots. It’s a well-executed final third. Jericho even starts cheating and Jeff keeps on kicking out. Considering how messy Jeff was at this stage of his career, which is evident in a few minor botches, Jericho performs a minor miracle by not only keeping it all together but bringing a great finale. Jericho finishes with a super-bomb into the Walls of Jericho and the fans erupt.
Final Rating: ***½

 

Post Match, babyface Shawn Michaels runs in to save Jeff Hardy and gets booed out of the building. Christian runs in for the heel save and “babyface” Shawn clears the ring out. The superkick on Christian at least gets popped, but Shawn’s return to Montreal after six years away goes exactly as you’d expect. Never forget!

 

Video Control takes us backstage where Kurt Angle hypes up Team Angle. The gifted duo of Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas debuted at the start of the year as Kurt’s backup. They’re both highly accomplished wrestlers. Elsewhere, the recently formed Evolution, Triple H’s new Four Horsemen-inspired quartet of him, Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista, arrive at the building.

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