Main Event

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February 23, 2003

 

Co-Main Events: Triple H vs. Scott Steiner for the World Heavyweight Championship (RAW) and The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (SmackDown)

After the WWE roster was split ito separate brands in 2002, the 2003 edition of No Way Out was the only one to feature both RAW and SmackDown Superstars. In turn, 2003 is the only No Way Out to feature a Double Main Event: Triple H vs. Scott Steiner from RAW and The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan from SmackDown.

After a lengthy battle over which brand he would sign with, Scott Steiner chose RAW and immediately went after World Heavyweight Champion Triple H. The champion was able to defeat the newcomer at the Royal Rumble in Steiner's first WWE match, but because of a disputed finish, Steiner was granted a re-match at No Way Out

Early in the match, Steiner worked the champion's leg and applied the Figure-Four Leglock, but an irate Ric Flair at ringside broke up the move and allowed the champion to make a comeback. The combatants went back and forth, with Steiner using his signature suplexes to keep the champion off-guard. Eventually, the challenger locked in the Steiner Recliner, but Evolution members Randy Orton & Batista ran out to distract Steiner. The challenger took out both men, but fell victim to the Pedigree, and Triple H scored the victory to retain the gold.

Meanwhile, on the SmackDown side of things, WrestleMania X8 saw The Rock defeat Hulk Hogan in one of the most memorable matches in WWE history. Nearly a year later, the two men had run different courses; Hogan had won both the WWE Championship and World Tag Team Championship, while The Rock spent most of the year away from the ring. At No Way Out, they hooked up in one of the most anticipated re-matches ever.

Early in the bout, Hogan fell victim to the Rock Bottom, but was able to escape the pinfall attempt. The two men then took turns beating each other with Hogan's weightlifting belt, and a chair got involved. After the referee stopped Hogan from using the chair, Rock came back, and hit a pair of People's Elbows. He went for the pin, but Hulk kicked out and began to "Hulk Up."

Just as Hogan was about to claim victory, the lights went out. When they came back on, the referee was unconscious, and Mr. McMahon was at ringside. Hogan, who had an intense rivalry brewing with McMahon at the time, turned his attention away from The Rock to stalk his adversary. The referee, who was thought to be unconscious, slipped Rock the aforementioned chair, and he subsequently used it to knockout the Hulkster for the victory. After the match, Mr. McMahon revealed that he, The Rock and the referee were all in cahoots and had set up Hogan.

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