John: Welcome to the WWE No Way Out Preview. There are six announced matches on the PPV portion on the show with a pre-show match also announced. There’s also an in-ring promo by Triple H that is being advertised for the PPV. My prediction is he’ll say “this business” at least three times. Count them. You’ll see. Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling’s resident Smackdown reviewer Andrew Johnson and our former Smackdown writer who is now a retro PPV reviewing kind of guy, Christian Michael. Let’s roll.

Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga (Pre-show)

Andrew: I find it admirable that the creative team has finally heard indifference coming from their fans and they’re actually trying to do something with Brodus Clay. The only step forward he’s made in the past two months is adding children to his post-match celebrations, and there is something very Sandusky about the whole thing that leaves me uneasy. Giving him a match on a PPV pre-show that should go longer than three power moves and a fat guy splash is long overdue, and it’s a shame it’s against someone that isn’t even remotely capable of carrying a cape on his shoulders without it slithering off due to the excess baby oil, let alone a match. I love Otunga as a character/real life lawyer, but I don’t have a lot of faith in him as a ring general. Maybe this can end with Otunga not throwing a single punch, and instead serving Clay with a summons for the civil suit “The Case Of The Missing Funkateers.”

Winner: Brodus Clay

Christian: At least WWE had the good sense this time to put Clay’s squash match on the pre-show. I was getting tired of his squashes airing during the PPV. Solid choice to get the crowd going since Brodus’ act is over with the kids. He sorely needs a feud though. There’s only so much dancing Funkasaurus I can handle.

Prediction- Brodus Clay

John: The good thing about this match is that we don’t have to see either Clay or Otunga wrestling on the PPV portion of the show. I’m okay with that. I’m not a hater of either guy, but not a huge fan of either. I’m somewhere in the middle. Does that make sense? Clay wins of course.

Winner: Brodus Clay

Intercontinental Title Christian vs. Cody Rhodes

Andrew: I don’t want to over-hype this match in my writing, because I’m afraid it won’t stand-up to my insane expectations. All I’ll say is this: two of my favorite wrestlers are having a believable, entertaining feud for my favorite WWE title ever (especially now that it has the Carlito and Shelton’s Mama stink off of it and actually looks like something worth having again). If this match sucks or ends with someone getting Rybacked, I’m officially done. DONE.

Winner: Christian

Christian: I am probably most looking forward to this match. Christian is one of my favorites and I’m pumped to see him live. If given time these two could steal the show. I want to see both of these guys in the World Title picture but I think WWE is going to see what Cody has. Christian retains and the Intercontinental Title becomes the workhorse title again and Cody sets his sights on Money in the Bank next month.

Prediction- Christian

John: This is, in my opinion, the end of Cody Rhodes’ nearly one year run of being either the IC Champ or the guy that’s going up against the IC Champ. Next month is Money in the Bank and as I’ve said all throughout this year he’s my pick to win one of the MITB briefcases (even if there is only one instead of two.) Christian’s a good choice for IC Champ because he’s a very good in-ring performer that is also one of the better talkers and as a veteran he makes everybody else around him better. These are two of my favorite guys in the entire company. If they get a chance to have a 15 minute match like I expect then it will be very good. I have Christian retaining while Rhodes moves on to bigger and better things…I hope.

Winner: Christian

Tuxedo Match: Santino vs. Ricardo Rodriguez

Andrew: I know a lot of people are against this match for a series of reasons. Here are a few I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook:

– “Santino/Ricardo tuxedo match? On PPV? WHAT DA HAYELL?”

– “Why isn’t this match for the United States title? #fail”

– “Can’t they find another way to fill the Mexican quota because ADR is out?”

And here are my responses:

– These two have been consistently entertaining lately. Not laugh-out-loud funny (LOL for the kids) but at least they aren’t taking up event time to talk about Brock Lesnar breaking their arms so bad they need to get super revenge with sledgehammers. (BTW f**k you and your lame Booker T quote. Die in a fire.)

– Because Ricardo isn’t a contender. I know this is all made up bullshit, but at least try and understand you shouldn’t get a title shot for slightly annoying your opponent because you failed to roll you R’s properly and wore a Justin Bieber t-shirt.

– You’re racist.

Winner: Santino

Christian: In the (not so) immortal words of The Miz “Really?” There are so many talented wrestlers on the roster that could benefit from a ten minute match on PPV but we get this instead. I’m going to be at the PPV and I’m going to be in the bathroom during this one.

Prediction – Santino

John: I have no problem with either guy. I think both of them are very funny. Does that mean I think they should be having a tuxedo match on PPV? No. It does not. If you’re going to put Santino in matches like this it would be better if the US Title was on somebody else. It’s not like he’s raising the status of the title by being its champion. This will be a comedy match. Perhaps somebody will help Ricardo win, but it’s more likely that Santino humiliates him again.

Winner: Santino

Divas Title: Layla vs. Beth Phoenix

Andrew: Full discretion: I had no idea that this match was happening, and I had to look up who the Divas Champion is.

That says a lot about what I think of this match. It has nothing to do with the people involved; I think Beth is great, and I’ve had more unexplainable book covering moments because of Layla than anyone else in Diva history. The problem also isn’t that I’m apathetic, because that could (theoretically) be easily fixed with a little effort in the story. I think the problem lies in the fact that I have no faith in WWE following through with the promises they’ve made concerning the Divas division (Kharma being the prime example) and thus have given up on it completely. It’s not apathy. It’s indifference.

Winner: Whatever

Christian: These two had a good match at Over the Limit but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to care about this match. Beth lost at the PPV and there’s hardly been any interaction between these two. WWE should just drop the Divas division if this is how they’re going to treat it.

Prediction- Layla

John: I like Layla in terms of her talent and also because she’s really nice to look at, but I don’t think she’s connecting very well as a babyface performer. Last month she beat Beth Phoenix clean to keep her title. Why do the match again? I think it’s happening because they’ve realized she’s not connecting with the audience and are planning on putting the title back on Beth. The Kharma returning is happening soon I hope. When she does, she’ll be a babyface going after the heel champion Beth Phoenix. I’d rather see Beth vs. Natalya over anything else right now, but for whatever reason they don’t want to go there. Weak.

Winner: Beth Phoenix

World Heavyweight Title: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler

Andrew: I’m sure a lot of you are excited for this match, despite the fact that merely two years ago you couldn’t find a comment section or message board that didn’t have “OMG f**king Nick from Spirit Squad is a future main-eventer THE WORLD IS OVER”. On paper I guess I’m excited too, but in reality I’m a little hesitant. The main reason being that while Ziggler is fantastic, he’s not exactly the ideal opponent for Sheamus.

Dolph’s strengths lie in his ability to make wrestling moves look painful. Currently there is nobody better than him at this. He makes his opponents look like a million bucks with how he sells their moves, and because of that he’s often seen as a guy that can have a good match with everyone. The problem is that Sheamus usually doesn’t have good matches with people that sell well, because they sell his moves too well.

I don’t think I’m making much sense.

There needs to be a level of believability in a wrestling ring. While it’s a lot of fun to watch someone flip upside down after a powerful clothesline, it’s doesn’t make me think the guy throwing it is really powerful. It just reminds me how good the other guy is at flipping. Sheamus is the kind of guy that works well when he’s throwing hay-makers and forearms and can be stiff as hell. That’s why his matches with bigger guys always seem better; to an extent he’s actually fighting them. When he’s against smaller guys who aren’t strikers like Daniel Bryan, it almost looks cartoonish. If you need a reference go to YouTube and watch any match between Sheamus and Kofi Kingston/Evan Bourne/John Morrison.

So while I’m glad Dolph is getting the main event push, I’m not overly excited for this match. Who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised. I would love to watch Sheamus hit the brogue kick and think “Wow, Sheamus is really powerful” and not “Wow, Dolph can really sell a jumping big boot.”

Winner: Sheamus

Christian: I’m really excited for this one. It sucks to see all the injuries/suspensions but Dolph is in a spot where he belongs. He is, in my opinion the best in ring talent in WWE. Sure, you can argue Daniel Bryan or CM Punk but he is in those guys’ class. In fact if I had the power to book one match for WWE it would be a Bryan/Punk/Ziggler Triple Threat Match. Let’s not shortchange Sheamus. He is a good worker, made even better with a great worker. There’s no heat on this match because of Alberto Del Rio’s injury but it should be a hell of a bout. I’m really tempted to pick the upset but I think Dolph will end up getting his title by winning next month’s Money in the Bank. Sheamus is the babyface and he’ll have his fans but I suspect a very vocal following for Ziggler as well.

Prediction- Sheamus retains

John: While the Alberto Del Rio concussion injury is unfortunate, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that this will be a better match than Sheamus/Del Rio. After Ziggler won the #1 Contender match on Raw, people were saying “it’s about time” he got pushed like this. While I agree he deserves a push like this, he was a part of the WWE Title match at the Royal Rumble too. I saw him main event a house show in February. Zigger’s not a top guy officially until he has a reign with one of the two big titles, but he’s right on the doorstep. There are few people in the company that deserves it more than him. What I expect from this match is 15-20 minutes of very good in ring action, a lot of nearfalls for both guys and for Sheamus to walk out still as the World Heavyweight Champion. I’d love to think Ziggler can win the title, but I think that’s very unlikely considering Sheamus is a champion that the company wants to build around going forward.

Winner: Sheamus

WWE Title: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

Andrew: I have to give credit where credit is due; Kane is really making this work. Originally I thought his addition into the fold would feel forced, but for the most part it looks like he belongs there now. And, I think we have a 5 foot erection making machine to thank for that. AJ has taken a ridiculous concept and really ran with it. Although, I think calling her a “crazy chick” is a little overboard. Because the things she’s doing aren’t crazy. The most “out there” thing she’s done so far is wear CM Punk’s clothes and kiss Kane while he wore his veal mask. That’s not “crazy chick” behavior. It’s a little weird and a tad concerning, but not crazy. It leads me to assume that the people calling her that have never really dealt with a truly crazy ex-girlfriend, because I’ll take “wears my t-shirt and follows me around looking fervid” over “I killed my goldfish because I named him after you, can we get back together” any day.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Christian: WWAJD? That is the prevailing question in this match. What will AJ do? Her first love is Bryan. She thinks Punk is like so totally cool and we’ve seen her hop up on Kane and make out with him. I’m very interested in her and the way her character has developed. Equal parts because it’s a good story, she’s hot and two of the best wrestlers in the company are involved. You always have to be weary when two men are feuding over a title and they add a third man to the mix. It’s usually to get the original challenger the title without the Champion losing. Punk has been WWE Champion since November. That’s a hell of a long time especially with the WWE has been switching the titles in the last six years or so. Should be a fun match. Kane can hold his own in the ring so he shouldn’t slow the match down too much. AJ will factor into the decision. Just how and why I haven’t figured out yet.

Prediction- Daniel Bryan wins the WWE Championship

John: Congrats to Kane for going from the Youtube match against Zack Ryder last month to being a part of the WWE Title match here. He’s an inspiration to all of those that are forced to wrestle on the Youtube match. I actually like his involvement in this match, though. I didn’t at first, but the key to this whole thing working is the excellent work of AJ Lee, who is proof that crazy chicks make everything better. She’s really been an interesting addition to the Bryan/Punk story, which is something I really like because it’s extending the feud that is one of the better feuds of the year. The match should be pretty good since obviously Punk and Bryan are two of the best in-ring performers while Kane is somebody that can have quality matches with the right opponents.

The difficult thing about this one is picking the winner. I think we can eliminate Kane as the new WWE Champion just because that’s not something that a guy in his mid 40s needs to be at this point in his career. In the case of CM Punk, he’s been WWE Champ since November, which means he’s held the title for over 200 days to this point. It’s been very impressive. It’s also a time where it’s very likely that he could drop the title. That brings us to Daniel Bryan, who has been my pick to win this match since they added Kane to it. Why? Because Kane will be there to take the pinfall as Bryan gets the win and becomes the new WWE Champ. My other feeling is that AJ helps Bryan win. It may seem accidental at first, but I think in the long run we’ll see her get back to Bryan as a heel tandem that holds the WWE Title. By doing that, we can get more Bryan/Punk matches out of it with Punk as the challenger while AJ does everything to keep the title on her man.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs. Big Show

Andrew: I have a lot to say about this whole mess, but I think I’m going to save it for my Smackdown review (which will be up Saturday) but here’s a quick one-sentence summation of how I feel about the match and the storyline surrounding it;

This is stupid.

Winner: John Cena

Christian: John Cena has not had a Championship Match since Vengeance in October but every PPV since then (except TLC because he didn’t have a match) he’s been in the main event. It’s almost as if being Cena’s opponent is more important than being WWE Champion. Or at least that’s the way WWE is booking things. We’ve seen Cena/Show before. I’m not overly excited for this one. Does anyone really care that is Cena wins Big Johnny gets fired? Or of Show wins that Cena gets fired? The last 47 times Cena has been fired he’s still been on RAW every week. Absence makes the heart grow fonder but yet he’s never absent. He even said after the Lesnar match he was going away for awhile and they quickly dropped that. Maybe a “firing” would be good for him. It might make people appreciate him more when he comes back. The only thing is right now, WWE is really hard up for main event talent. Can they make it until say, SummerSlam for a Cena return? I think they can get by and they should try. God Forbid the man ever gets hurt. You need to see what else you have.

Prediction- The Big Show

John: I’m apathetic towards this entire feud. I would be okay with it if they just had a cage match without stipulations. With the stipulations added that Laurinaitis is fired if Show loses and Cena is fired on Raw if he loses (based on what Laurinaitis said on Smackdown), the stakes have been raised a bit. The problem is that they’ve used these “you’re fired if you lose” stips so many times and they never stick. They’ve even thrown Vince McMahon back into this storyline despite the fact that he was removed as company CEO why? Because he fired John Cena! Now he wants to fire Laurinaitis. I’m as confused as you are believe me.

The match is taking place inside of a steel cage so it should be a physical brawl. While neither guy is the best worker in the company by any means, they have had some good brawls together in the past. I realize I’m being optimistic with that statement, but that’s just how I am.

With regards to a match result, there are a number of possibilities that could happen. One of those possibilities is a Vince McMahon heel turn to reveal that he’s on the side of Show & Laurinaitis, which would then lead to somebody like Triple H saving Cena’s job on Monday. I have no idea, really. I just think a Cena win is more likely because last month ended with the Big Show “surprise” heel turn to help Laurinaitis win, so it would be foolish to have a similar kind of ending on consecutive PPVs. I think Cena will win. I don’t think Laurinaitis will be fired or taken off television anytime soon, but we’ll see what happens with that down the road.

Winner: John Cena

Final Thoughts

Christian: I’ll be attending this PPV even though, truth be told if I was staying home I would skip this one. The NY/NJ crowds are always hot and there are some matches that I want to see on the card. Triple H will be there to further his issue with Brock Lesnar so maybe something awesome will come of that. Either way I’ll be there enjoying myself. Follow me on Twitter @Christian_973 as I’ll be Tweeting my thoughts throughout the night. Or if you’re there and want to buy me a beer, that’s how you can reach me.

John: It’s an average PPV with the chance to be below average if things don’t work in some of the matches. I think the WWE Title and World Title matches will be excellent while Christian/Rhodes can be great if they get enough time, but I don’t think there’s any compelling story related to this event. It’s one of those events where if you miss it you’re probably not missing a whole lot.

I’m excited about Money in the Bank in July because it’s a big PPV every year. I’m excited about the historic 1,000th Raw on July 23 because it’s being billed as a huge event. No Way Out doesn’t compare to those for me. It just seems like another PPV because the calendar says it’s time to do another PPV.

I won’t be watching No Way Out live due to the fact that I’ll be watching game three of the very exciting NBA Finals, but Thomas Briggs will be covering the event for TJRWrestling.com Sunday night starting at 8pmET. You can read along with Thomas if you’re watching live. My recap and analysis of the event will likely be posted on Monday before Raw airs.

Follow all of us on Twitter at the following places.

Andrew – @TheAEJohnson

Christian – @Christian_973

John – @johnreport

If you want to send an email, send it to me at thejohnreportnet@yahoo.com and I’ll make sure the other guys see it too.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy No Way Out.