What’s up guys? It’s George here with a review of tonight’s WWE PPV, No Way Out. I’ll be covering all of WWE’s PPV’s for Wrestling Rambles from now on, so I’ll try to make the reviews as fun and entertaining as possible. I’ll also include brief recaps of the matches (not play-by-play) and the pre-shows (where I can), as well as give my thoughts on the show and what the match of the night was.

Let’s get right into a brief recap of the live pre-show, exclusively from WWE’s YouTube channel.

Pre-Show Match: Brodus Clay vs David Otunga

The YouTube exclusive match was between everyone’s favourite dancing machine, Brodus Clay, and Pat Patterson’s favourite Oily Boy, David Otunga. A definite plus about this match was that I discovered my new favourite colour was lime green. We had some smokin’ hot Funkadactyls in lime green catsuits! Aww yeah!

The funniest thing about this whole experience was that Tony Chimel botched Otunga’s entrance. Instead of saying “Harvard Law Graduate”, he said “Larvard Haw Graduate!”. Another Chimel appearance on Botchamania is secured! He must get royalties or something from them!

Anyway, the match itself was your usual formulaic Brodus Clay match really. Otunga tried to work on Brodus’ injured knee and at one point, he’d wrapped it in the ropes and hit a pretty sweet neckbreaker, but only got a 2-count. The finish came when Otunga had Brodus in a side headlock and Brodus powered up to his feet, throwing him off the ropes and he knocked Otunga down 3 times, before connecting with a Samoan Drop. Otunga rolled out of the ring and deliberately got himself counted out.

Winner: Brodus Clay

Thoughts: It was fine for what it was, but nothing special. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t get the whole David Otunga thing. He looks great, but Christ he doesn’t know how to wrestle. He’s been a part of WWE (and their developmental territory) for around 4/5 years. If he can’t put a match on by this stage, WWE might as well cut their losses.

Next, we got a video package hyping the 1,000th Raw, which is only 35 days away. You excited? Nah, me neither. I’m dreading it actually. Anyway, they had a superstar choose their favourite moment from the previous 1,000 episodes of Raw. Tonight’s episode was chosen by Mr McMahon-in-law, Triple H.

His favourite moment was one that was filled with emotion and no, it wasn’t the show with the Katie Vick doll! He picked his return to Raw in January 2002. Trips mentioned that he’d been out for 9 months with a torn quad. He hadn’t, he’d been out for 7 months (May 2001 – January 2002). Doesn’t bode well when a company executive can’t count properly! He said he was scared before going out there, in case he didn’t get a reaction. As we all know, the crowd exploded at the sight of The Game and he said that “he’d never felt more amped in his life!”

The last part of the pre-show was a backstage interview with Josh Mathews and John Cena. Josh asked Cena if this would be his last night. We got the same reply from Cena that we always get when he’s “fighting against the odds”. He said that he knew what was at stake. He mentioned tweeting earlier in the week “If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?” Way to ruin my favourite Lynryd Skynryd song John-Boy! Thanks!! He said the tweet blew up social media. (It didn’t!) Cena hyped up the crowd, saying that tonight’s going to be a historic night because somebody’s getting fired. He says it’ll shake the WWE to it’s foundation. The face of the WWE will change forever and there’s no way out of that. Ah, Mr Cena, you’re so clever. Working the name of the PPV into your promo. That’s the kind of thing that gets you to the top of the card! Sarcasm, my dear friend, I’ll need you tonight!

With Cena’s promo, the pre-show ended and we moved live to the pay-per-view.

No Way Out PPV Recap

We head live into the arena after the usual excellent video package from WWE. The commentators are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T. Cole goes over the stipulations for the main event and reminds us that tonight, somebody’s gettin’ fired!

Opening Match: Sheamus (c) vs Dolph Ziggler

The reigning champ and franchise player on Smackdown, Sheamus, comes out first to a decent pop from the crowd. His challenger, internet darling and smark fave, Dolph Ziggler comes out next, accompanied by WWE’s resident cougar, Vickie Guerrero.

As Ziggler makes his way to the ring, we see a recap of the fatal-4-way from Raw, where Ziggler pinned Swagger. Lawler says “I can’t believe he pinned his friend!” No Jerry, they aren’t friends, they were a team thrown together last minute. Damn I hate Lawler right now. He adds nothing to the broadcast. He was worse later, but we’ll get to that in just a bit.

As the bell rings, Ziggler gets Vickie up on to the apron and tells her “this is my time now, you got that?!” He tells her to kiss his cheek. Shades of Wrestlemania as Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick early doors, but Dolph ducks it and rolls out of the ring. The crowd is probably 60/40 in favour of Ziggler at this point, and nothing’s happened!

The match was a really competitive outing between two of the WWE’s best young superstars. It was better than their match on TV a couple of weeks ago, which was a great match itself, but this was a more well-rounded effort. Both men had their turns in controlling the match, but Dolph showed up tremendously well. He connected with a sick DDT that got him a really close nearfall and got the advantage by working on Sheamus’ shoulder.

Towards the end of the match, it looked more and more likely that Ziggler was going to get the win. The crowd was solidly behind Ziggler at that point. Everyone on TV, and in the crowd, could hear the audience chanting “Let’s Go Ziggler!” It was really loud, but then Jerry Lawler, who suffers either from selective deafness or he’s just not paying attention, tells us they’re chanting “Let’s Go Sheamus!” No Jerry, they weren’t!

The finish came when Ziggler connected with a top-rope X-Factor on Sheamus, but the champ kicked out. Ziggler looked like he landed awkwardly and grabbed his knee in pain as he went for the sleeper but Sheamus countered into the Irish Curse backbreaker. He hit another couple of big forearm shots to the chest on the apron, but Ziggler fought back and went for the sleeper again. Sheamus turned it into White Noise and got hyped up. Sheamus nailed Ziggler with the Brogue Kick for the win at around 15 minutes.

Winner (and STILL World Heavyweight Champion): Sheamus

Next, we see a backstage segment, where Big Johnny is trying to talk to Vince McMahon and apologise for what happened on Raw. Vince just ignored him and went into his locker room. Josh Mathews approached Big Johnny for an interview and asked him if he felt under any pressure. Laurinaitis said that he steers the WWE ship to success and he rips into Josh, calling him a failed wannabe wrestler and a useless commentator. He has a show to run, tonight, tomorrow and into the future and storms off.

Tuxedo Match: Santino Marella vs Ricardo Rodriguez

Santino comes out first, wearing a tux that looks suspiciously like Harry’s tuxedo from Dumb & Dumber. Ricardo came out next, with what can only be described as epic theme music. It’s my new favourite WWE theme. I want to hire a band to follow me around playing it, it’s that good.

The match itself served a purpose. It was comedic filler, where they both started ripping parts of their clothing. Sleeves, pockets, the usual. Santino had the advantage early on, but Ricardo took over and basically de-trousered Santino before Marella gained control and removed Ricardo’s tuxedo to win the match and reveal that Ricardo wears white briefs, with Alberto del Rio’s face over his ass. Read into that whatever you like, I won’t judge you!

Winner: Santino Marella

Matt Striker is backstage with CM Punk. He asks about AJ Lee. Punk says the match tonight isn’t about AJ. It’s about his WWE Title. AJ walks up and gives him a kiss on the cheek for good luck. Punk says thanks but luck is for losers and walks off as she smiles at him.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Christian (c) vs Cody Rhodes

If you’ve never read any of my articles before, then I’d better say that Christian and Cody Rhodes are two of my favourite wrestlers in the company. They’re extremely under-rated as workers in my opinion. I think that the whole point of this feud is to use Christian to prepare Cody Rhodes for the main-event scene.

Christian’s a tremendous worker in his own right and working with someone of his experience can only benefit Cody in the long-run. Coming out of the feud looking credible against a former World Champion will help Cody seem like a legitimate main-event threat.

This was yet another tremendous wrestling match between two great talents and I think they’ll feud from now until Summerslam, until there are more main-eventers that Cody can work with. Once their storyline is done, Christian will probably move on to a feud with Damien Sandow or Antonio Cesaro and Cody will likely feud with Randy Orton or someone like that.

The finish of the match came when Christian went for a spear but Cody scrambled out to the floor and back in the ring. Christian went for a roll up again but Cody sat down on his shoulders for a 2-count. Christian then connected with a Killswitch out of nowhere for another close 2 count. Christian went up to the top rope and tried to connect with a frog splash, but Cody got his knees up. Christian blocked an attempted Beautiful Disaster kick and tried for another Killswitch. Cody blocked it and missed the Disaster Kick again, before Christian nailed him with a spear to get the win.

Winner (and STILL Intercontinental Champion): Christian

Fatal-4-Way Match for #1 contender’s match for the WWE Tag-Team Championships: The Usos vs Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs Primo & Epico vs PrimeTime Players

I’m so happy they’re devoting actual PPV time to the tag-team titles these days. We had a title defence on the last PPV and now we’re getting a match to determine the next opponents for Jimmy Boom. I just wish that this match had been promoted instead of feeling like an afterthought.

I’m a big fan of three teams in this match. The Usos are definitely the most over of these four teams and they stand out more than the others, but hopefully, it’s a sign that WWE is going to spend more time developing their tag-team division. It’s needed it for a long time.

The match got a fair amount of time, especially by recent standards. The finish was unique. The Usos took out Titus with a pair of kicks and both dove through the ropes to take out several guys on the floor. In the ring, Primo got a 2 count on Kidd. Darren Young got a blind tag from Kidd’s back, so Kidd kicked him to the mat, but got dropped by Primo. Tyson went up to the top rope with Primo and hurricanrana’d him into the other guys on the floor. Everyone’s down on the floor as the crowd chants “Holy Sh*t!”

AW rolled Primo in the ring where Young’s still recovering. Young dropped Primo with a press slam into his knees for the win.

Winners (and new #1 contenders for the Tag-Team Titles): PrimeTime Players – Titus O’Neil and Darren Young

After the match, AW entered the ring and raised the hands of O’Neil and Young. Epico and Primo argue with AW. Epico drops AW with a right hand. O’Neil and Young attack them from behind and clean house. AW raises their hands again as a new group is formed.

We get a look back at happenings in the feud between Brock Lesnar and Triple H. Triple H’s music hits and out he comes to a big pop.

Triple H talks about how he’s not really a corporate guy – he’s a fighter and an ass kicker. Triple H says Brock Lesnar thinks he’s also a fighter and an ass kicker. Triple H says the last time he saw Lesnar in the ring, he got jumped from behind and his arm broke. Triple H says his arm is feeling a lot better and in a few weeks, it should be 100%. A few weeks after that, he should be back in fighting shape. Triple H says that brings us to the middle of summer some time and proposes a fight for SummerSlam. Get rid of the lawyers, the lawsuits, all the legal junk. Get rid of the fat balding manager, referring to Paul Heyman. Triple H says this is about them two doing what they do – being fighters. Triple H says he wants to fight Lesnar bad. Triple H gets all angry and declares he wants to fight. Triple H says or Brock can be happy with being a quitter. Triple H says he will be waiting and drops the mic before walking to the back.

Daniel Bryan is backstage warming up when AJ Lee appears. She wants to talk but he’s not trying to hear it. AJ says after all that they have been through, she hasn’t gotten over him. AJ wishes him good luck tonight and kisses him before walking off.

Divas Championship Match: Layla (c) vs Beth Phoenix

This was a match announced on WWE’s website over the last week, which must’ve came about after the mixed-tag match they had with Santino & Ricardo. Watching the Divas division makes me sad just now. They’ve got three top-class wrestlers, another couple of improving ones and that’s about it. Remember the glory days of Mickie, Trish, Lita, Victoria, Molly Holly, Jazz and Ivory. That’s when WWE’s roster was full of wrestlers, not swimwear models. Not that I don’t like looking at them, but their matches tend to be the wrong side of good.

The match started off with both women exchanging holds and Beth telling Layla that she couldn’t lace her boots. Beth’s headband fell off and Layla put it on, trying to unsettle her. It worked for a while until Beth gradually took control. The finish came when Beth went for the Glam Slam but Layla fought out and slammed Beth for a 2 count. Beth got Layla up for a big powerslam and covered her for 2. She pressed Layla over her head and held her, but Layla turned it into a big DDT from up high for another pin attempt. Beth picked Layla up and rammed her back into the corner. Layla came back with a neckbreaker out of nowhere for the win.

Winner (and STILL Divas Champion): Layla

AJ finds Kane backstage and wishes him good luck, then kisses him. She goes to walk off but Kane pulls her back and kisses her back. They kiss for about a minute before Kane walks off, leaving AJ looking confused. Poor Kane, he’ll never learn will he? Saying that, he’s got form with the ladies! He could rival Vinnie Mac for the role of the Hugh Hefner of the WWE!

Sin Cara vs Hunico

This is something like the 947,459th time they’ve wrestled and this match was no different so I’m not going to spend too much time on it. It was less than five minutes long and the crowd barely reacted for either man. I’m sorry to say it, but it doesn’t look like this Sin Cara experiment is going to work. Something needs to change. I don’t know what that is, but he’s just not connecting with the crowd.

These guys work well together but I’ve seen it so many times now that I just don’t care anymore. Sin Cara was worked over for the whole match by Hunico, but he connected with his faceplant finisher out of nowhere to get the relatively quick and uneventful win.

Winner: Sin Cara

WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (c) vs Daniel Bryan vs Kane

This match was probably the hardest one to call on the entire card. Each man has beaten the other in recent weeks and the addition of AJ into the mix was a genius idea. I shuddered when I first heard it, but now I’ve gotten used to it, I kinda like it. Maybe that’s cos I dig crazy chicks too, but that’s a story for another time!

The crowd was split here between Punk and Bryan, just like they normally are, but the longer the match went, they seemed to be behind Bryan more. If WWE are truly about “People Power”, then tonight was the perfect opportunity to give Bryan the title without hurting Punk too much. I thought that the finish would involve AJ and it did.

The end of the match, which was a tremendous effort by each man involved, came when Bryan had the YES Lock on Punk, who reversed it into a pin and got a 2 count. He went for the GTS on Bryan and hit it, but Kane pulled Bryan out of the ring and stopped the pin from happening. Kane flew off the top rope and connected with a big right hand on Punk. Kane went for a chokeslam but Punk turned it into a DDT for 2. Punk went back to the top rope and hit an big elbow drop on Kane for another 2.

Punk went for GTS but couldn’t get Kane up, so Kane nailed him with a big boot. He chokeslammed Punk and covered him for a close 2 count. Kane had words with the referee and went for a Tombstone but Punk was able to slide out of it. AJ ran down and got on the apron, but Punk shoved Kane into her and she landed hard on the floor. Kane looked concerned, but the distraction cost him as he turned around into a GTS from Punk, who got the win.

Winner (and STILL WWE Champion): CM Punk

After the match, AJ is laid out on the floor. Kane scooped her up and carried her off to the back. As he’s got her over his shoulder, AJ looks back towards Punk celebrating in the ring and winks at him.

Ryback Squash Match (AGAIN)

There’s been a worrying trend in WWE lately, and it’s the frequent squash matches that Ryback has. They’re fine for TV, but not when I’m paying for a PPV event. Just my opinion. Anyway, this was your standard Ryback squash match. Two guys who looked like broomsticks came out and cut a promo about how they’d beat Ryback and they started singing Linda McMahon’s old theme song.

Ryback came out and squashed them in double-quick time, before saying “FEED ME THREE!” Please God, if you do, make sure it’s on TV and not PPV. Thanks.

Winner: Ryback

Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs Big Show (Somebody called John will be fired)

I thought that last month’s “main-event” was boring, until I saw this one. I just can’t care about this feud. We’ve seen it too many times and it’s got to the point now where John Cena is more important than the WWE Title. 7 of the last 8 PPV main-events have featured John Cena and not the WWE Title. That isn’t right. Superstars come and go, but the titles stay. Why should we care about them if WWE don’t?

Anyway, the story going in here was that if Cena lost, Big Johnny would fire him. If Big Show lost, Vince would fire Big Johnny. Simple as that. So, we all know what the result’s going to be don’t we? Well, it might surprise you, so read on.

Vince stopped Laurinaitis after he hit the ringside referee as Cena tried to leave the cage. Vince shoved Laurinaitis on his ass and opened the door for Cena, but Laurinaitis got up and pushed Vince into the door. Show brought Cena back into the ring and chokeslammed him for a close 2 count. Cena ducked a knockout punch and it hit the referee instead, knocking him out cold. Cena tried for an Attitude Adjustment, but couldn’t it and Show dropped him with a knockout punch.

Then, out of nowhere, Brodus Clay came down with a steel chair and opened the door. He dares Show to walk out of the cage and fight him. Clay shuts the door as Show starts to climb the cage. Clay is going to meet Show with the chair, no matter which way he escapes. Clay motions to the back and here comes Santino Marella and Alex Riley. They climb the cage but Show knocks them off and right back to the floor. Zack Ryder comes down to climb the cage but Show knocks him off with a right hand. Kofi Kingston runs down next and makes it over the top of the cage but Show grabs him. Kofi fights Show off with kicks from the top of the cage. Kofi stops Show and kicks him back to the mat. Kofi drops back to the floor, as both Cena and Show are down in the ring.

Cena connects with the AA on Show as Laurinaitis looks on. Cena covers Show but the referee is still knocked out. Clay stands guard at the door so Show can’t get out. Cena climbs the cage to escape it but Laurinaitis swings the crutch at him. Clay backs Laurinaitis off and holds him, allowing Cena to fall to the floor.

Winner: John Cena

After the match, Cena tells Clay he can let go of Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis swings the crutch but Cena ducks. Cena picks up Laurinaitis for the Attitude Adjustment and holds it as Vince tells Ace he’s fired. Cena puts Laurinaitis through the Spanish announce table with the Attitude Adjustment as the crowd pops. Cena’s music hits as Vince walks off to the back and that’s pretty much the end of the show.

Overall Thoughts on No Way Out

The show was above average, but parts of it didn’t feel PPV quality. I could’ve done without the Ryback & Sin Cara squash matches, but I say that most months and it still happens. You could tell just how thin the roster was tonight but I liked the logic of the booking. The best matches involved the newer stars like Ziggler, Rhodes and Bryan, but Punk and Cena were solid too. It was a good PPV, not great.

Match of the Night

It was close between the two “big titles”, but for me, Sheamus vs Ziggler stole the show. They opened the card and the crowd was HOT for Ziggler. He showed tonight why he belongs higher up the card and I just hope management saw the reaction of the crowd towards him. He deserves better than he’s had this year and this should be the start of a sustained main-event push for him.

Well, that’s my first WWE PPV review done and in the books. Hopefully you enjoyed the style of the recap. It’s a work in progress, so if you’ve got any suggestions, hit me up on Twitter and I’ll try to work them into the Money in the Bank preview next month!

As I’m writing this, it’s nearly 6am in the morning, so I’m gonna head off now! I’ll be back with the next edition of FATP later today, so until then, thanks for reading and I’ll see you pretty soon!

Peace out,

George

Twitter: @georgec1982

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