Before I delve into my thoughts regarding last night’s WWE No Way Out pay-per-view, I want to point out that I successfully predicted six out of the seven matches in my preview in terms of what I thought would happen. I was less successful in predicting what I thought should happen, but that just goes to show that Vince McMahon thinks he knows the product and what the fans want better than I do and on that he and I will just have to agree to disagree. As to whether or not predicting so many of the matches correctly means that it was a good show is also left up to debate for another day. Today, I want to post my thoughts on the show itself, of which I have many.
In the main event of last night’s show, John Cena defeated Big Show in a steel cage match with Vince McMahon subsequently firing John Laurinaitis as the General Manager for Raw and Smackdown which was then followed by Cena putting Laurinaitis through a table. I said in my preview that if John Cena won I would not watch Raw tonight because I found it way less interesting for him to win and for Laurnaitis to be fired than for Big Show to win and have John Cena fired and kept off television for a significant period of time. Obviously I was just blowing smoke because as a superfan who even watched Raw, Smackdown and Survivor Series on my honeymoon, I will most certainly watch Raw tonight. However, that doesn’t mean that I am happy with yesterday’s outcome.
The WWE has done a great job of building up the John Laurinaitis character for the last year and it seemed like the revolving door mentality of Raw general managers was finally going to end. They had also done an okay job of making John Cena slightly more interesting by having him lose two of his last three PPV matches (against The Rock and Laurinaitis). Unfortunately, after getting his ass kicked all around the cage for nearly 15 minutes last night, Super Cena made a triumphant comeback and escaped the cage, albeit with help from Brodus Clay and a host of other Superstars who tried to stop Big Show from escaping while Cena was knocked out.
So where does it all go from here? If Laurinaitis returns in some capacity (perhaps as the manager for Big Show or in a storyline where the WWE Board of Directors says that he can have his job back if Brock Lesnar defeats Triple H at SummerSlam) then I am okay with last night’s finish. If Laurinaitis is replaced by someone groundbreaking and earth shattering then I am okay with last night’s finish. In addition, where does John Cena go from here? The Rock is off filming a movie, the WWE Championship picture is already crowded and Lesnar is being booked against Triple H for his next match. So what happens next with Laurinaitis, the general manager position and John Cena will all determine whether or not last night was the correct booking. Given my past experience with WWE, I’m not holding my breath.
As I predicted, the match of the night was the triple threat match between CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane for the WWE Championship. And, as I predicted, Punk retained his title by pinning Kane and we are still left in the dark as to where AJ’s allegiance truly lies. Talk about completely nailing a prediction top to bottom. Throughout the night, AJ visited each of the three competitors backstage to wish them luck. She kissed Punk and Bryan on the cheek, but Kane grabbed him and planted a long kiss on her before walking away. The match itself was awesome and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time because I really didn’t know how it would end but knew that I would be happy no matter what. Towards the end, with Bryan knocked out after being hit with the GTS, Kane went for a Tombstone Piledriver on Punk when AJ appeared out of nowhere. Punk shoved Kane into her, knocking her to the floor, and when Kane turned back around Punk hit him with the GTS for the pin and the win. After the match, Kane scooped up AJ in his arms and walked her up the ramp while Punk celebrated in the ring, but AJ was smiling right at punk the entire time. I’m curious to see where things go from here because the situation between the three Superstars, as well as AJ, seems to be far from over. And as far as I’m concerned, that is perfectly fine with me. However, if I was in charge, I would move Bryan back to Smackdown to feud with Sheamus and save Punk/Bryan for Wrestlemania season. Iron Man match at Wrestlemania 29, anyone?
The first match of the night was between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler, and between it being the first match of the night and starting off with Ziggler with his back to Sheamus, I was terrified that it would end up being a quick squash match. Instead, despite the fact that Sheamus won, Ziggler metaphorically wrote the book on how to look good in defeat. Hopefully this is not the last time Ziggler challenges for a world title and hopefully the next time is not too far into the distant future.
Christian defeated Cody Rhodes to retain the Intercontinental Championship in what I thought was the second best match of the night. Having Christian retain was the right decision so long as he goes on to take on all challengers while restoring the title back to its former glory AND Rhodes goes on to be featured in more main event and world title matches.
As I predicted, Layla successfully defended the Divas Championship against Beth Phoenix. The weird part of the match for me was when Layla put on Beth’s crown and started mocking her. It was completely out of character for Layla and had no place in that match. In fact, given that the Divas were given a significant amount of time for that match, it could have easily been one of the best Divas matches in recent history if not for that weird segment. With Kharma nowhere to be found and the title still around Layla’s waist, where the division goes from here is anyone’s guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if Layla wasn’t even on Raw at all tonight.
The Tuxedo Match between Santino Marella and Ricardo Rodriguez was what it was – a mockery of the United States Championship. Did anyone out there actually buy the PPV because of that match? No. So if Vince is insistent on having the match at all, why have it on the PPV? The only good thing about the match is that I used it for my first bathroom break.
There were three unannounced matches on the PPV, which completely blows my mind. Not that anyone on the fence would have decided to buy the PPV if any of those three matches had been announced in advance, but unless Vince McMahon is literally booking matches on the fly, what is the harm in announcing them even online a few days before the show?
Of the three matches, I used one for my second bathroom break (Ryback defeated two local jobbers), one was Sin Cara defeating Hunico and the third would have been awesome if not for being completely illogical and having a terrible finish. That third match was a fatal fourway tag team match to determine the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Championships. First, one half of your Tag Team Champions is legitimately injured, so how are they going to defend the titles. Second, Primo and Epico never got their rematch after losing the titles so they are technically the #1 contenders by default. But, putting those two inconsistencies aside, featuring four dynamic tag teams on the PPV and having those teams fight for a chance to fight for the titles does more for the tag team division in one night than the WWE has done in years. Unfortunately, the ending to the match was a prime example of one step forward but two steps back.
After losing the titles a couple of months ago, Primo and Epico signed on with Abraham Washington and his All World Stable. The day they signed with him, which was announced via recorded footage only on the WWE website, was the last day we saw or heard from them until last night. So when AW cost them the match, not letting Epico save Primo while he was getting pinned, I didn’t care. When AW celebrated in the ring with the winners and the new #1 contenders, the Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young), I didn’t care. I didn’t care because the WWE had spent literally no time investing in the storyline of Primo and Epico signing with AW, so why would I care that he turned his back on them and aligned with another team? Furthermore, PTP has been a tag team for something like three weeks. Even if they somehow win the titles in their match against the champs, I have no vested interest in a tag team that was just put together this month and so I have no interest in seeing them fight or, or especially win, the titles.
The only other news to come out of last night’s PPV was that Triple H challenged Brock Lesnar to a match at SummerSlam instead of fighting through lawsuits and lawyers in a courtroom. I am 100% in favor of this match taking place IF and ONLY IF Brock Lesnar wins. If Lesnar loses his second match since making his return to the WWE, this time to a guy that only wrestles once or twice a year, then he can just go away and not even bother showing up for Wrestlemania next year. After all, how can I believe that he could defeat any opponent at Wrestlemania (especially The Rock or The Undertaker) if he loses his first two matches since coming back?