The history of the WWE event titled No Way Out featured shows for most of the 2000s. There were eleven shows with the name of the show that typically was the final PPV before WrestleMania. WWE would tie up loose ends of lingering storylines or make last-minute changes to the overall picture to set things in play for WrestleMania. The event was hardly a throwaway show as No Way Out often delivered great results.
We will look back at every event with the name to find out just how much success each show found. The best ones were must-watch content on the WWE Network with classic matches. Unfortunately, there are some shows with negative memories that should not be watched back any time soon. Enjoy this trip down memory lane as we break down every No Way Out show from worst to best.
11 No Way Out 2005 (JBL vs Big Show main event)
The Smackdown exclusive No Way Out event in 2005 created the worst in the show’s history. JBL’s WWE Championship was inching towards the end with few matches providing good results. Big Show and JBL had a lackluster Barbed Wire Cage match in the main event with JBL retaining.
WWE booked this as a B-show with very few matches of importance. John Cena defeating Kurt Angle to become the next contender for JBL’s title at WrestleMania 21 was the only match worth watching back as WWE dropped the ball on this night.
10 No Way Out 2003 (The Rock vs Hulk Hogan main event)
The triple main event of The Rock vs Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin vs Eric Bischoff and Triple H vs Scott Steiner provided strong interest heading into No Way Out 2003. Unfortunately, the show was a huge disaster with fans getting let down.
Austin’s return from a long absence to easily destroy Bischoff was the only positive of the three matches. Triple H and Steiner had one of the worst world title matches in WWE history essentially ending Steiner’s push. The finish to Rock vs Hogan featured a parody of the Montreal Screwjob to set up a Hogan vs Vince McMahon match.
9 No Way Out 2007 (John Cena and Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker and Batista main event)
No Way Out 2007 was essentially a one-match card designed to build interest in the WrestleMania 23 main events. Raw competitors John Cena and Shawn Michaels were forced to team against Smackdown rivals Batista and The Undertaker.
The Smackdown competitors turned on each other first as Michaels and Cena pulled out the victory for Raw. Mr. Kennedy vs Bobby Lashley was the only other relevant match on the card for the ECW Championship and that didn’t even get a real finish since it ended in a DQ.
8 No Way Out 2008 (Triple H vs Jeff Hardy vs Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho vs Umaga vs JBL main event)
The Elimination Chamber eventually became a fixture for No Way Out before WWE changed the show’s name. No Way Out 2008 featured Triple H winning his Elimination Chamber main event match to earn a WWE Championship match heading into WrestleMania 24.
The other Elimination Chamber match featured The Undertaker outlasting five other competitors to get a title shot against Edge at the big event. Edge had a fun five-minute sprint with Rey Mysterio earlier in the show to retain his title while Randy Orton and John Cena had a lackluster WWE Championship bout without a clean finish.
7 No Way Out 2012 (John Cena vs Big Show main event)
No Way Out 2012 was a mixed bag of fun bouts and disappointing performances. This was WWE’s first use of the show after giving it a break for a few years. One major change was the event taking place in June rather than the traditional February time.
John Cena defeated Big Show in a weak main event resulting in the firing of John Laurinaitis. The most memorable match featured CM Punk retaining the WWE Championship over Daniel Bryan and Kane with AJ Lee interfering. Other impressive bouts included Sheamus vs Dolph Ziggler and Christian vs Cody Rhodes.
6 No Way Out 2002 (Chris Jericho vs Steve Austin main event)
The big selling point for No Way Out 2002 was the New World Order making their return to wrestling in WWE. Steve Austin would be the first victim of the nWo as Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall cost him his WWE Championship match against Chris Jericho.
The two other main matches on the card featured Kurt Angle vs Triple H and The Rock vs The Undertaker in solid matches. WWE’s use of the nWo appeal carried the show as fans were left wondering when exactly they would strike again after their opening promo.
5 No Way Out 2009 (Edge vs John Cena vs Rey Mysterio vs Chris Jericho vs Mike Knox vs Kane main event)
WWE made huge changes ahead of WrestleMania 25 with the title matches at No Way Out 2009. Triple H opened the show ending Edge’s title reign to become WWE Championship for his upcoming feud with Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton.
Edge stole a spot in the later Elimination Chamber to end John Cena’s reign and become the World Champion setting up a storyline between them. Both Elimination Chamber matches were quite entertaining to make it a fun show.
4 No Way Out 2006 (Kurt Angle vs The Undertaker main event)
The main event of No Way Out 2006 carried the show with an instant classic. Kurt Angle was having arguably his best World Championship reign with outstanding matches. The showdown with The Undertaker saw both performers at the top of their game leaving the audience in awe.
Angle retained the title to move into WrestleMania 22 as the World Champion. Other fun matches on the card included Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton, Booker T vs Chris Benoit and a cruiserweight open. No Way Out was one of the better brand exclusive PPVs of 2006 for WWE.
3 No Way Out 2004 (Eddie Guerrero vs Brock Lesnar main event)
WWE pulled off one of the greatest upset stories in company history at No Way Out 2004. Brock Lesnar defended the WWE Championship against the much smaller Eddie Guerrero. Some interference from Goldberg helped Guerrero out as he won his first and only WWE Championship.
The emotion shown from Eddie and the fans made this a special moment still adored in WWE history. Another main event match on the show featured Kurt Angle defeating John Cena and Big Show to win a title shot at WrestleMania 20 in a fun contest.
2 No Way Out 2000 (Triple H vs Cactus Jack main event)
The first official No Way Out show took place in 2000 as the second WWE PPV of the new millennium. Triple H and Mick Foley as Cactus Jack main-evented the show in a vicious Hell in a Cell match. Foley put his career on the line and took the loss after some brutal bumps.
The rest of the card provided entertainment as well with Kurt Angle vs Chris Jericho, Kane vs X-Pac and the Hardy Boyz vs Edge and Christian all hitting home runs. No Way Out 2000 was considered better than the WrestleMania 16 the following month.
1 No Way Out 2001 (The Rock vs Kurt Angle main event)
The best No Way Out event in WWE history came in 2001 one month ahead of the legendary WrestleMania 17 show. Triple H scored a massive victory over Steve Austin in a classic 3 Stages of Hell match to put an end to their long feud in the best way possible.
The Rock would defeat Kurt Angle in the main event in another good match to regain the WWE Championship for a showdown with Austin the following month. Other fun bouts on the show included Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero vs X-Pac, Big Show vs Raven and a surprisingly fun Trish Stratus vs Stephanie McMahon brawl.