No Way Out was a PPV event that I could liken to a roller coaster. It had some unbelievable peaks – and some not-so-great down moments.
The thing to remember was that for some of that down time, legitimate reasons were in play.
But hey, let’s start with the fun stuff, right?
Both Elimination Chamber matches definitely bore the “peaks” distinction, each for different reasons. To be honest, I was so sure about the outcome of Smackdown’s match that I would have bet good money on the result. I also had a pretty good idea, although not bet worthy, of how Raw’s match would go. But thanks to some great work by the writers – and especially by the men inside those cages – it didn’t make these matches any less exciting.
I was also very excited by the scientific discovery that seemed to be revealed during these matches! It seems the space-time continuum is in complete flux inside these Elimination Chambers. So, not only did Eric Bischoff come up with a completely sadistic match – he’s also invented a structure that somehow changes everything we know about space and time.
Ok, enough sarcasm. In case you’re wondering, I’m of course referring to the “four-minute time” for each chamber to be opened. Well, on a whim, I decided to be anal and time the bouts using a stopwatch with lap capability. This gave me the ability to start when the first bell rang, hit the time when each countdown hit zero, and still manage to give the benefit of the doubt by eliminating the time it took from the buzzer hitting to each door being opened.
The results, you ask? Well, in the Smackdown chamber, the doors opened at 4:31, 4:37, 4:24 and 4:31. For the Raw chamber, the results were 4:21, 4:10, 2:48 and 4:05.
But who’s counting? It’s all for the sake of the drama, right?
As I said, both EC matches were truly amazing – but I’ve got to give the edge to the guys from Raw.
Raw’s chamber had several positives, aside from the usual excitement of the match. For starters, Umaga came in and dominated a great portion of the match. In fact, it took Sweet Chin Music, a Lionsault, a Pedigree and a Swanton Bomb from the top of one of the chambers to finally put the man out. I saw this as a great thing as it went a long way toward reestablishing Umaga as a dominant player on Raw.
The next element that showed so well in this match was the teamwork involved. The competitors in the Raw match worked very well together, and to this writer it seemed the match not only went off without a hitch – but was done in spectacular fashion.
I wasn’t expecting Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels to start this one off, but they did put on a pretty good show of one-upsmanship to start things off. Then entered Umaga, who had one of the more impressive moves of the night when – while holding Jericho up for a Samoan Drop, got HBK up on top of Jericho and nailed them both with a double Samoan.
JBL was next out and didn’t last long in the grand scheme. He was nailed by a Code Breaker from Y2J on his way out the door. He didn’t let that stop him from having an influence on the match – introducing a couple of chairs into the ring, and one of them to every other competitor except Triple H.
Another nice twist thrown into the mix was the fact that Trips delivered a Pedigree and pinned his friend and DX cohort HBK. Of course, we should have seen that coming after the bit backstage where they agreed they’d go through each other to win the match.
One more thing that definitely gets props from me tonight – Jeff Hardy may have been slated to lose this match, but he sure came out on fire and made his mark on things before he went out in the end. His status as a powerhouse was solidified even more when he kicked out from a pin attempt after a Pedigree – not something we see often. It took a Pedigree onto a steel chair to put him away. Yes, fans – Jeff Hardy is in main-eventer land to stay for a while.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say Raw’s EC match definitely hit the high scale on Sean O’Mac’s satisfaction meter.
Let’s not sell Smackdown’s chamber short, however. This match had some great moments as well, and surely left a certain new, and attractive, friend of Sean O’Mac’s very happy with the result! (And since she’s an avid reader, I have to be extra cautious with my grammar!) Undertaker and Batista carried the match in my opinion, and it certainly didn’t hurt matters that they were the first in – last out. All this despite what was certainly an “oops” moment when Big Daddy V sent Taker toppling out the door to the chamber and down to the floor below. The Dead Man appeared to have tweaked his arm a bit in the fall, but was right back into the thick of things pretty quickly.
Runjin Singh also took a topple when, while hanging onto the door and shouting instructions or something, Taker hit him with a big boot to knock him down. Singh (Kapoor) appeared to have legitimately injured his knee on the fall, so we’ll hope that wasn’t too serious.
One thing is for certain, the fans have no mercy. The “you can’t wrestle” chants were loud and clear when Khali entered the fray – and rightly so. Yes, wrestling fans, I’m still down on him and don’t think that’s going to change. You can’t just take a monster giant, say “go hit people,” and expect to make a star out of him.
I will say this for the Smackdown chamber, they had me doubting my predicition at one point. When Hornswoggle popped his head up and tossed in the shileighleigh to Finlay – well, it had me wondering. The pondering didn’t last long, however, as a blow from Finlay to Batista sent him into a rage and Finlay didn’t last long after that.
So as far as the EC matches go, they were great fun to watch. But if you wanted things to be somewhat predictable, then all is right in the world. Taker and Trips will be going to WresleMania in pursuit of gold.
For the first time, I’m dishing out some props tonight to what was otherwise a down moment of the PPV. A wounded Rey Mysterio came out despite his torn bicep and obvious pain to take on Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship. We all knew better. It wasn’t a long match, and you know with an injury that should require surgery, Rey isn’t taking down the champ this night. But you’ve got to respect the hell out of any of these athletes when they come out despite injuries, especially one this severe.
As for the next title bout on my mind – as disguisting as it was to see a match end like that, it really was the perfect ending to the match with John Cena and Randy Orton tonight.
In case you missed it, a frustrated Orton decided to take the “coward’s way out” of the match and slapped the referee to get disqualified. The champ still paid dearly for it as an even more frustrated Cena took out his anger by dishing out an FU followed by an STFU until Orton passed out.
This match started a bit slow, but the turning point seemed to be when both competitors shot into the ring at the same time to beat a 10-count. From there, it got a bit more interesting – but the crowd is what really sold the match. The dueling chants were loud and proud in this one as we heard “let’s go Cena” and “let’s go Orton” several times. The way the thing ended, however, definitely left things open for a suspected triple-threat match at WrestleMania – no way is Cena going to take this “victory” laying down.
The ECW title was also up for grabs as the challenger, CM Punk, took on Chavo Guerrero. Punk has definitely had Chavo’s number lately, winning several matches and destroying a guitar courtesy of Chavo’s head. So the result should be obvious, right? No way is Punk winning this thing.
The pair did put on a pretty good match, however, and despite Chavo getting a clean win I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this rivalry.
Slick Ric lived to fight another day by making Mr. Kennedy tap out to the Figure Four. The match had its good and bad moments. Yes, Flair has slowed with age (but you know I still love the guy!) but it seemed that Kennedy wasn’t always on the right page tonight. There were moments when planned moves just weren’t sold right. For instance, the first time Flair went for the Figure Four, Kennedy was supposed to counter – which he did. But it seemed as though Flair had to wait an eternity for Kennedy to make his move.
I know there was another moment, I believe after Flair escaped from an attempt at a Green Bay Plunge, that time seemed to take too long before Ric hit a chop block on Kennedy. The blame for that one probably falls on Flair, however.
Nevertheless, the match had good moments and I’m still a Flair Homer who loves watching these last moments of a historical career. Yes, I can be objective – but I’m still going to soak it in until WrestleMania.
A last major turn to note – the return of The Big Show. We knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when and where. Well, the man showed up to cheers – looking rather trim for him – following the Edge/Mysterio match. The cheers quickly turned to boos however when, after noting that he was faster and meaner than ever, he went after the injured Mysterio. Rey’s friend, Floyd Mayweather Jr., jumped into the ring from his ringside seat (well, not in a single bound anyways) and came to Mysterio’s rescue. After a bit of jawing and shoving, Big Show got down on one knee mocking Mayweather.
The boxing champion responded by nailing Show with a few very legitimate blows, bloodying up the big man, before Mayweather and his posse scattered from the ring and into the crowd. Big Show, looking very angry, gave chase but was intercepted by Shane McMahon. I’ve got to give credit to all involved here. They did everything possible to make this bit look as legit as possible, and even my imagination started wondering if Shane was truly stopping an angry Big Show after perhaps Mayweather dealt out a bit more punishment than was planned.
Well, I didn’t ponder that one very long, mind you. Sean O’Mac knows better. But they did a great job selling it.
So, I guess we’re going to see a boxing match at WrestleMania, folks!
Overall, No Way Out did a great job of accelerating fans down that “Road to WrestleMania.” Yours truly surely can’t wait for the biggest PPV of the year to arrive, and the developments should make for some interesting Raw and Smackdown episodes until then.
Now, thank goodness for DVR. I’m off to watch the new Knight Rider movie! See you tomorrow fans!
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