Smackdown sure did add a little spice to No Way Out didn’t it? We already knew if Big Show lost that Vince McMahon would fire John Laurinaitis. But now Johnny Ace plans to fire John Cena if he loses because Cena punched Laurinaitis (and looked like he hurt his hand in the process). I thought Show would win from the beginning and I’ll stick to my guns. John Cena is due for some time off anyway. Let’s see how right I am and watch some No Way Out, in real-time!
Ziggler/Sheamus got an abbreviated version of Ziggler’s short feud with CM Punk, with the Show Off getting a cheap win over Sheamus on Smackdown to provide the smallest glimmer of a chance that he can actually pull of the upset. It should be kept in mind that Ziggler was the WWE’s fourth choice to face Sheamus, after Jericho and Orton got suspended and Del Rio got injured, so a little repetitiveness can be excused here. Of course this all but guarantees the Sheamus will retain the title, but at least Ziggler got some more much deserved time in the spotlight.
These two opened up the show with about as strong of a match as you could have asked for. If you thought for even a second that Ziggler would win then you havent been watching very long. Ziggler stepped up his game for the PPV and really had the crowd popping for him by the end. Sheamus was solid as well, but it wasn’t far enough removed from the matches they had just a couple weeks ago. Good match, but not much better than the one I saw twice before. It took a long time for Ziggler to get back to this level after he lost to Punk, and I just hope he doesn’t get pushed back quite as far this time. Sheamus is Sheamus. We’ll see who’s healthy or not suspended for Money in the Bank next month. Anybody know what’s up with Wade Barrett?
Tuxedo match time. I still don’t get why Santino needs to carry the US Championship if all he is going to do is get into feuds with ring announcers and managers. Give the belt to someone who needs it. As for the match, as much as I enjoy a Finkel throwback, this doesn’t need to be part of a PPV in 2012. The crowd seems to agree. They milked it for wait too long, and watching two guys take each others clothes off just isn’t doing it for me.
The second real match of the night was Cody Rhodes vs Christian for the Intercontinental title. Christian really plays the crowd too much. He tries so hard to get a pop and it just isn’t coming. If you have to ask the crowd to clap with you all the time it isn’t going to happen. He acts (and looks) like an aging rock star trying to get the crowd to remember him. I’m not a big fan of either guy here, but they sure can work a match. There was enough here to keep me entertained, but not enough that I’ll remember any of it in the morning. Two missed disaster kicks lead into a spear and Christian retains. I still find it interesting that Christian uses Edges spear (including taunt) to finish matches. I wonder when someone will try a stunner in a match. So now both men are somewhat left with no clear path in front of them. No one immediately comes to mind to challenge Christian next. If they want to keep Ziggler moving forward giving him a shot at the Intercontinental title (and more importantly, a win) would work well. I’m just about done with Rhodes though. If they can’t find room for Miz, I don’t see how he fits in either.
With some time to kill before Triple H comes out, WWE decided to prove that they actually do have a tag team division by having a Fatal Four way tag match to determine the number one contender. The participants are Epico and primo, Kidd and Gabriel, Prime Time Players, and the Usos. Right now I’m worried that the intros will be longer than the match. Usos easily have the best repertoire of moves to work with, but regardless the crowd is absolutely dead. The stupid tuxedo match got more pop than this. No heels, no faces, just eight people nobody cares about. Tag team matches are supposed to be super uptempo exhibitions. This is moving at the same pace as a Divas match, only with more people outside the ring. At least some of the Divas are pretty. The Prime Time Players get the pin over Epic or Primo (I never looked into who was who) with the help of A&W root beer management or something. Titus and Young are the new big heel tag team I guess. Boring match with not nearly enough spots considering how many people were involved. They sure did milk their victory though.
Triple H makes his not so long awaited return to talk about who else but Brock Lesnar. He’s pissed about being sued, he doesn’t like Lesnar, so guess what he wants to do? He wants to fight him, and he wants to do it at Summerslam. So that pretty much means it’ll be Triple H vs Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. Can we even talk about Money in the Bank for five minutes before looking ahead to August? MITB was the PPV that started the whole Punk revolution. You’d think it would be treated as more than a stop on the way to Summerslam. I think the saddest thing out of all of this is that this announcement could be the biggest thing to come out of this PPV. The matches aren’t exactly breaking any ground.
On to the Divas match. So they had the tag match to cool the crowd off Christian Rhodes, which was followed by Triple H talking for 10 minutes. Now were getting a Divas match? Not much of a middle card here. We haven’t even gotten to Ryback yet. So the big moment of the match was Layla stealing Beth’s headband and dancing around the ring, because the Divas matches were being taken way too seriously. Layla actually controlled most of the match and pulled off the win. Another loss for Beth Phoenix who’s taking a step back lately. Layla on the other hand is really getting a push. It sets up nicely for
Mable Kharma if she ever comes back.
Sin Cara vs Hunico in another match we’ve seen twice already. Hunico is actually showing some of his move set here. Good to see Sin Cara get smacked around a little. Sin Cara won anyway though, on some moves that don’t look nearly as impactful. It’s weird that he’s getting this kind of push again. It’s also weird that he needs his own lighting for his matches. So far we’ve only seen one match that we haven’t seen already in the last month, and that was only because we don’t care about anyone that was in the tag match.
Finally time for the triple threat match. AJ had been visiting Punk, Kane and Bryan throughout the night, so it has to turn into something here. Of course Kane was a bit more creepy and forceful with her, which opens things up to have him be more involved in the finish one way or the other. They were trying their best to make up for the last hour or so of the show. Each man is hitting a big move one after the other. The pacing of triple threat matches always seem off for me . The action is good here, but anytime someone takes a bump they are out of it for five minutes. The highlight midway through was a Daniel Bryan double dropkick, closely followed by Kane and Punk combining to performing the Road Warriors finisher, the Doomsday Device. Bryan, who had been gaining momentum and had full control of the crowd at one point, got caught in a GTS but Kane pulled him out so that Punk couldn’t pin him. With Bryan knocked out it turned into Kane vs Punk one on one, and after all the hoopla about AJ, she finally comes to the apron only to be immediately knocked off by Kane going into the rope. Kane was briefly distracted with concern for the psycho, just long enough for Punk to deliver a GTS on him as well, securing the win and retaining the title. Still concerned with Cray-J, Kane carried her off as she gave the ol’ crazy eye to Punk. Looks like Kane just got got! Bryan again found a way to lose without really losing, and Kane now has a legit reason to beef with Punk. I’m not shocked Punk won, but it seemed as good a time as any for him to lose it to Bryan. I’ll never complain about someone keeping the belt for two long though.
Ryback match to kill the crowd. 2 local twigs, rinse and repeat. There is nothing to say anymore. He does have new tights with all of his catch phrases.
Big Show vs John Cena in the steel cage close it out of course. Cena has both of his hands taped. I’m guessing he really did hurt his hand on Lautinaitis’ face, and taped both to make it seem like it’s not to cover an injury. Sure enough, Cena opens up trying to slug it out, making use of the taped knuckles. No effect though as Show just tosses him around. Early on this is very similar to the Cena/Lesnar match. Show is completely dominating but he’s out to injure and not to win. Essentially we’ll be one Super-Cena move from having Johnny Ace fired. Big Show teased a choke slam off the top rope which could have been the move of the year if he actually did it. Instead he ends up going for a flying elbow off the actual top rope (Undertaker style) but missed. Plenty of height though. Shades of a young Paul White. Cena keeps going for pin. I can’t stand how these matches can end via pin fall now. What’s the point of having it in a cage then? Soon enough McMahon and Laurinaitis both started to get involved, and Vince inadvertently slammed the cage door in Cena’s face. A WMD to the ref, a choke slam to Cena, and suddenly Show is the only man standing in the cage. Show makes the move to get out, but Brodus Clay leads all the faces that he beat up this month to come out to keep Show from escaping (talk about No Way Out!). Kofi Kingston finally delivers the blow to take him down and we’re back to even again. Cena gets Show to walk into an Attitude Adjustment to knocks him out but still no ref. Now it’s a race to get out of the ring with Big Show headed for the door while Cena goes over the top (sure are a lot of ways out!). With some help from the faces, Cena gets over the top first to take the win. Overall a better than I anticipated to be honest. The show ends with Vince belting out a big fat “YOU’RE FIRED” followed immediately by Cena hitting an AA though the Spanish announce table to wrap things up. Pretty much what everyone wants to happen to Michael Cole.
Overall it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. Nothing really happened outside of the main event. No titles changed hands (all held by faces btw) and not many storylines went anywhere knew. All we really did was bridge the gap between now and MITB. Triple H announcing the match at Summerslam we already knew about should not stand out so much on a PPV.
We are left with a couple of questions moving forward. Who will be the new GM? Is Big Show leaving for a while? Will Vince McMahon be staying at all? Hopefully some of this will reveal itself Monday night.
Oh yeah, Brodus Clay did Brodus Clay stuff to David Otunga on YouTube.