It was a memorable night in New Jersey thanks to WWE’s No Way Out PPV though not always for the right reasons.
On the pre-show, Brodus Clay defeated David Otunga when Otunga walked away from the match for the count-out, offering a cold stare back at the big man. Clay and the Funkadactyls didn’t really care and got their dance on afterward to heat the crowd up as the show began.
Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler after Brogue Kicking Ziggler’s head some 20 feet away from his body. As much as I want to see Ziggler hold a world title for a while, watching El Dolpho sell finishers like grenades going off in his face has yet to get old. A great match despite the somewhat predictable ending. The “let’s go Ziggler” chants that overtook the arena for much of the match are a wonderful sign that he’s getting some much-deserved appreciation for his in-ring skills.
Santino Marella def. Ricardo Rodriguez in a “Let’s Kill Ten Minutes” Tuxedo Match. Marella disrobed Rodriguez after attacking with a hidden right foot Cobra. I don’t even want to explain further but, in the words of the crowd, “BOR-ING”.
In what may have been the sleeper match of the night, Christian def. Cody Rhodes to retain the Intercontinental Championship after an intense back-and-forth contest that culminated in a sudden Christian spear for the win. Like Ziggler, Rhodes has started to get enough love from the crowd for his wrestling and character abilities (including what remains the best sh*t-eating grin in the business) that it may soon become tricky work to keep him heel.
In an unadvertised match, the Primetime Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neal) defeated the teams of Primo and Epico, Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd, and Jimmy and Jey Uso to become number one contenders to the tag team championships currently held by Kofi Kingston and the possibly injured R-Truth. Young picked up the win for his team after manager AW betrayed Primo and Epico by keeping them from breaking up a pin. Also worth noting, the hyper-athletic Kidd seems unable to spend even a moment on TV without his Twitter fanbase freaking out over it for at least ten minutes, which by WWE standards means he should be main eventing every pay-per-view for the next six months. Get on this, WWE! Then again, considering the awesomeness of his Hurricuranna from the top-rope down to the floor it’s hard to begrudge his rabid followers TOO much.
Layla def. Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship in a crisp, fluid, occasionally (intentionally!) funny match. Layla, who put some decent comedy chops on display in mocking Phoenix throughout the match, has improved in the ring to the point where she looks like a viable contender against Phoenix rather than coming off like one of Ryback’s much better-looking jobbers. My one beef with Layla in the ring right now is that her Neckbreaker seems to come out of nowhere every time, and needs a little more style to look like a finisher and not a lucky transition move. And Lay-Out is a lame name for a finisher that reminds me of using Photoshop.
Sin Cara def. Hunico for the 8,304th time. I like both of these guys a lot, and I’m grateful for Hunico getting a slight uptick in TV time, but it’s time for something new. You can only have Sin Cara 1 fight Sin Cara 2 so many times, right?
Triple H said some crap. Fittingly, his grumble-inducing entrance began just as halftime started in the NBA Finals, which meant I didn’t have anything to distract me as he went on. The gist of it is that Hunter is going to get beaten down by Brock Lesnar at Summerslam because the guys in the back and the business and attitude and Jell-o pudding.
Ryback beat on two more dudes (Dan Delaney and Rob Grymes—I checked). I’m warming up to the various trash-talking scrawny guys they bring on to take Ryback on, although no one is going to top Willard Filmore and Rutherford “PS” Hayes from last Monday. Ryback broke out a top-rope move at No Way Out and his clotheslines are more fearsome than JBL could ever have pulled off. His offensive repertoire is fantastic, but I want to see what he looks like when he gets really angry, and for that to happen, a Jack Swagger or a Tensai is going to have to get the best of him once or twice so Ryback can have a reason to really go nuts. That will be fun. Until then, three guys for Hungry Hungry Ryback next time.
Technically AJ wasn’t in the WWE Championship match between Kane, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk, but they really should just go ahead and give the belt to her as a reward for quietly developing the most mysterious and intriguing character on WWE TV, even though with her every appearance the commentators can’t come up with better lines than but she’s a woman!! And she is totally crazy-poofs!! The wrestlers in the ring performed well, even Kane who managed not to slow things down too much, but the story of the match suffered as everyone seemed to spend the first fifteen minutes of it waiting for AJ to come around and do whatever she was going to do. Eventually Punk picked up the pin after Bryan was taken out and AJ accidentally/on purpose put herself in harm’s way to distract Kane. Related thought: might Kane’s flirtation with AJ over the last few weeks actually represent the healthiest relationship with a woman he’s ever had on WWE TV?
One more thing before we move on: Props to AJ and Bryan for putting together the coolest PPV promo poster I have seen pretty much ever.
John Cena defeated Big Show in an overlong, gimmicky cage match featuring interference by—deep breath—John Laurinaitis, Vince McMahon, Clay, Marella, Alex Riley, Zack Ryder, and Kofi Kingston. I was half hoping for a total squash in the same way that Big Show destroyed Kingston last week, but people don’t do that to Cena. After that very fast forwardable match, which easily got overshadowed by the end of the Heat-Thunder game, Big Johnny got “fired”–excuse me, FIIIAAAEEERRRRRRRREDD–and put through a table, so tonight on RAw he’s going to be promoted to Assistant Consulting Consultant and will do essentially the same stuff he’s always done.
Make sure to tune in tonight at 9:00 PM EST and check out the aftermath on one of the final two-hour shows before things head to a three-hour block next month!
PHOTO CREDIT – WWE