michael dworkis previews the new jersey hosted ppv…
After three years, the pay-per-view title No Way Out returns to television. Last taking place in 2009, its main event saw two Elimination Chamber matches. In only the shocking and entertaining fashion best displayed by former WWE Superstar and current Hall of Famer, Edge, lost the WWE Championship in the first chamber match, but won the World Championship in the second by injuring Kofi Kingston and taking his place. Like him or hate him, Edge made No Way Out 2009.
This year we do not have the two Elimination Chamber matches, but we do get two championship bouts which will no doubt make the show.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion)
Alberto del Rio originally was scheduled to face the World Champion, but after getting clobbered in the head by The Great Khali, del Rio was sent home after being diagnosed with a severe concussion. I think this is lame, because I feel a concussion anytime I see Khali on TV.
In any event, someone I feel truly deserves a main event spot, Dolph Ziggler finally gets his due. For weeks they push this angle where he claims to be better than where he is. Gimmick or not, this is too true. He was so hot at one point, he became World Champion. Granted this was due to a technicality and lost the title 20 minutes later, nonetheless, he wore the World Heavyweight Title for one night, and I do say, it looked good on him. Ziggler up until this point was relegated to tag-team wrestling with partner Jack Swagger, and I just felt this was the only way to keep him busy until a main event opportunity rose. Do not get me wrong, I like Jack Swagger, and also feel he should main event again. However, the former World Champion really is in need of a gimmick change or some sort of push, otherwise he will remain in mid-card hell forever.
In order for Ziggler to once again don the World Championship, he must go through a man who has been tearing through everyone, The Celtic Warrior, The Great White, Sheamus. No doubt about it, he is on a roll, and one of the most popular superstars. Will Ziggler merely serve as cannon fodder for Sheamus, or will Ziggler once again shock the world and claim the title?
Really… Am I the only one who sees something wrong with the nickname “The Great White?”
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. C.M. Punk (WWE Champion)
First we start with a friendly feud between Punk and Bryan. Then for some reason a girl gets thrown in, and before that drama can devour this great rivalry, we get… Kane. Kane. Say it with me, Kane. At No Way Out, we have a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship, C.M. Punk defends against Daniel Bryan and Kane.
What is that Sesame Street song? “One of these things is not like the other…?”
I jumped on the bandwagon questioning the involvement of Kane. Trust me, I got mad when they threw the girl drama in the mix too, but that was easily ignored until recent events. Now, the girl, A.J. seems to now be the resident “Crazy Chick” (anyone remember Daffney from WCW?) who seems to have eyes for both Punk and Kane, yet this past week on Raw, she planted a big smoocher on the Big Red Monster.
What on Earth is going on? We already have seen show-stealing matches between former Ring of Honor mainstays Bryan and Punk, but why cause all this drama? Why add Kane and A.J.? Think about this, remember the Matt Hardy-Edge-Kane-Lita drama from 2004 and 2005? While not quite exact, is a similarity between these events. Will the involvements of Kane and A.J. take away from the Punk-Bryan feud?
No. Absolutely not. These two are so good at what they do, the match itself will not be adversely affected. Even with Kane, this will still be a great match. Do not forget that Kane is actually very good in the ring and his numerous Money in the Bank, Ladder, Cage, and Chamber match appearances should be a very sharp reminder of Kane can certainly perform well in a match. I think the addition of Kane should be welcomed and I expect some very interesting action this Sunday.
As for the crazy girl A.J., I still do not care. There will be a swerve, a betrayal, something just to shake up the outcome of the match. If that ruins the end of the match, so be it. Just remember the match itself. Do not let a bad finish ruin what will likely be a 20 minute mat-fest. I tell you, the fans to enjoy the show and do not get hung up by petty annoyances like A.J., even if she does cost Punk the belt.
There is one other, very important, and very special match taking place…
Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez – Tuxedo Match
Not since the glory days of Howard Finkel and Harvey Whippleman have we looked forward to an exciting no-holds-barred Tuxedo Match! How does one win such a contest you ask? It is very simple. Each competitor is wearing a tuxedo. To win, you must strip your opponent. Yes, you must aggressively wrestle and tackle each other, ripping, tearing, pulling harder and harder until the pants, shirt, tie, coat, whatever, comes flying off.
Ricardo Rodriguez, who lasted for a few minutes at the 2012 Royal Rumble is slowly seeing more in-ring action. This past week on Raw, he tagged with Beth Phoenix against the team of Santino Marella and Layla. It was not mentioned during the match, but Beth Phoenix and Santino had been in a relationship for some time, so perhaps seeing Rodriguez with Santino might have caused the superstar to reach deep down to search for some long-lost repressed feeling… and instead found his Cobra Sock. Rodriguez is the latest to become part of the comedic aspect of WWE, and when Santino ripped his tuxedo off on Raw to reveal a Justin Bieber T-shirt, even I laughed out loud.
Santino, oh, Santino. The United States Title is supposed to be a prestigious championship, worn by the likes of Harley Race, Terry Funk, Chris Benot, Dean Malenko, Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, and Bret Hart. Now, it seems more like the “comedian of the month” championship, having also recently been held by Zack Ryder, a man who was at the top of WWE just a few months ago, now only seen on the ‘C’ level program, WWE Superstars. This is not a title match at all, but I wonder if we will ever see Santino in a main event situation, like he was a few months ago challenging Daniel Bryan for the World Title in the Elimination Chamber. Santino can wrestle. I have seen this. I do not mind his comedy, believe me, his antics are great and probably considered one of the high points on Monday Night Raw. I just worry he will get stuck in the comedy routine, and then once he loses the title, fans may lose interest in the “Milan Miracle.”
Judging by who our two competitors are, we might see Joey Styles pop-up to yell “catfight!!”
Okay, the other match which I should give some attention to:
John Cena vs. Big Show in a Steel Cage Match with the stipulation if Big Show loses, John Lauranitis gets fired
We have a few other matches, the only one of which to really pay any attention to is the Cena vs. Big Show match. If Show loses, good bye to Big Johnny. On SmackDown, Lauranitis dropped the bomb, that should he retain his job, his first act will be to fire Cena. Cena then dropped a bomb of his own, a fist to the face.
I find that troubling, teasing a Cena firing, again. Every time Cena is in a match with such a stipulation, it is obvious he will win, and as of now, always does. His recent win over Brock Lesnar seems to have quickly become a forgotten memory. The biggest letdown of 2012 was Lesnar returning to destroy Cena. Lesnar beat up Cena for 20 minutes, and then Cena hulked up, hit his trademark moves, and thankfully ended the match. Is this what we will see again? Big Show beating Cena from one side of the Steel Cage to the other for 20 minutes, and then somehow Cena does it again, overcomes the odds, makes the comeback, survives the steel, and all those catchphrases, by winning the match.
What if that does not happen? What if Cena loses, and Lauranitis keeps his job? What if Vince McMahon himself interferes and costs Cena the match? What if, stipulation or not, either Lauranitis or McMahon fires Cena after losing to Big Show? Now that would make for some good entertainment. To build up a guy like Big Show just to job to Cena after a month of decimating mid-carders would be pretty lame. To have Big Show win the match, and somehow Cena is sent packing, well, that could make it interesting. Obviously Cena would be back after a week, or maybe a month, but it would still send all the teenage girls and really, anyone under the age of six home crying.
Triple H returns to talk about Brock Lesnar
Triple H makes an appearance following his “injury” where Brock Lesnar broke his arm. This will likely lead to a match at SummerSlam. I do not know how many people really care at this point, since the return of “The Next Big Thing” has been lackluster and already forgotten about. The match with Cena was a disaster and even having Paul Heyman show up did not help as much as WWE thought it would. Now, I loved seeing Paul Heyman back on television, he is that damn good on the mic. If Brock were to come back, then Heyman needs to return also as the mouthpiece. If you do not know who Paul Heyman is, then get your tuchas to google, or wikipedia, or WWE.com and start reading. Paul Heyman is one of the greatest managers, promotersand announcers of my generation. When talks, you listen. He built ECW. He came to WWE and everything changed. When Brock made his debut in WWE, Heyman was the mouthpiece. Stock in Brock skyrocketed. Should Brock really return to face off with The Cerebral Assassin, it is painfully obvious that Heyman needs to come back. Brock still has zero promo skills. His wrestling is fine, he can clearly maneuver around the ring. Just get Heyman back on the mic, and all will be well.
Cody Rhodes vs. Christian for the Intercontinental Title
This could be a good match, but not a long one. Both of these guys are great in-ring performers. Christian should retain, otherwise his return is another blah moment which results in people forgetting he even exists.
Beth Phoenix vs. Layla for the Diva Title
This might be a good match. Layla has some wrestling skills so I will give her that much. Call me when we get a Triple Threat Match between Phoenix vs. Natalya vs. Tamina, then I will pay more attention. Or if Awesome Kong comes back.
The YouTube Exclusive Pre-Show: Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga
Clay is on a roll, and I expect him to roll over Otunga. Maybe Clay will even throw the one suplex of the night, unless Punk and Bryan surprise me with more suplexes.
Speaking of suplexes, did anyone see Big Van Vader on Raw this past week?! Sure, it was simply to hype the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw, but damn, did he look good!
Questions to ask before this event takes place:
Will Kane and A.J. share their burning passions, or will their involvement in the WWE title match be a cheap fizzle?
Where is Wade Barrett? I know you are injured, but we need you back!
Is J.R.’s barbeque sauce Kosher?
Will Ryback face an actual opponent? If not, I am still waiting for WWE to call me back.
Will Orton and Jericho sponsor each other over their suspensions like they do at Alcoholics Anonymous?
Will Khali stop injuring people? Why does he still have a job? Why does Alex Riley, Camacho, Darren Young, Heath Slater, Hunico, JTG, Mason Ryan, Sin Cara, and everyone (except for William Regal) on NXT?