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Monday, 18 February 2008

No Way Out - Preview

Tonight is No Way Out, this year the only Pay Per View between the annual curtain jerker of the Royal Rumble and the main event Wrestlemania. We shall have to see whether No Way Out will prove to be a perennial mid-carder, or a surprise show stealer.

I thought the Rumble was a superb event. Although some of the undercard could have better, it was probably only a slight letdown because the quality of talent was so high, huge things, possibly too huge things, were expected.

I wrote in Fighting Spirit Magazine a couple of months ago about how Pay Per Views are far to frequent now, and I stand by this theory, despite the quality of the Rumble in Madison Square Garden. Three weeks is a very short build up, and when the next event after this is Mania, this seems like even more a lame duck Pay Per View.

The card is stacked though. Another Flair career decider, Orton v Cena and two Elimination chambers set up a decent looking show, despite doubt over Rey Mysterio’s participation in another contest. But with the rumoured Wrestlemania card taking shape, it seems possible to predict the outcomes of most contests..............or is it?

The main reason why I so loved the Rumble was that they sprung a major surprise with John Cena. There was not even a hint of a whisper about his sudden return, and it made it seem very special indeed. It was virtually set in stone, in many experts’ eyes, that Triple H or the Undertaker were nailed on to win the Rumble. But neither man did. Once again, The Game and the Deadman are tipped to end the night victorious. Will this be the case?

Let take a look at each match individually.

ECW World Title – CM Punk v Chavo Guerrero.
Not only does this title mean increasingly little – it is the only one defended on TV, Chavo was in the Rumble – but these guys have clashed loads of times already. It hardly sets pulses racing. Punk has hit a flat point in his development right now, but is still very over. I’d say that his destination is more likely to be the Money in the Bank ladder match for Mania, assuming they have one, and would be a very real candidate for winning it.

I see Chavo winning this, possibly with interference from somewhere within the Guerrero/Edgeheads faction.

In fact, throwing it out there, Punk is the only man with any current, or recent, issue with Edge apart from Mysterio and Undertaker. Perhaps Punk could be involved in the picture for Edge’s title? Just a thought.

Prediction: Chavo Guerrero.

Mr Kennedy v Ric Flair – Career threatening match.
I’ll go back to what I said for the Rumble, when I was looking at the booking of that. Then, Flair took on MVP, and I suggested (not predicted) a storyline for Flair.

It seems to me that you could do a great angle by having Kennedy win the match in controversial fashion. It pulls a swerve on those thinking that Flair will keep winning until Wrestlemania. You then have a Ric Flair Tribute on Raw looking back on his great career and highlights. You have Shawn and Hunter console Ric and plead with Vince not to make Ric retire. Vince then says he will close the show by openly firing Flair, but during his doing so, he is interrupted. Last time I said by Linda, but I’d now have Hornswaggle do it, with Finlay. Using Horny’s power as a McMahon, somehow, the decision is overturned because Flair’s leg was under the ropes or something. Vince goes nuts and we’d end the show with Flair putting Vince in the Figure 4.

However, the likelihood of WWE creative channelling my thoughts or reading my blog is pretty slim, so I’d say that, for now, Ric will win in very much the same fashion he beat MVP.

I’m a little worried about the rumours that Ric Flair will face HBK in his final match. I’d really like for Flair to put over an up and coming star in his last encounter, so unless they have Ric go over at Mania and retire somewhere down the line, I’m a bit disappointed that it might be Shawn to retire Flair. It doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, and Michaels doesn’t need the rub.
Prediction – Ric Flair

Smackdown/ECW Elimination Chamber – Undertaker, Big Daddy V, MVP, Batista, Finlay, Great Khali.
This looks anything but a classic, and hopefully will not be too torturous. I would guess that Khali, Big Daddy V, Batista and Undertaker will start in the pods, allowing the two WRESTLERS to open the match. I’d expect a big heel to be out next, followed by a face, then heel then face, to allow the reaction for the big cleaning of house.

Expect Finlay to have a strong showing, since he is involved with Vince at the moment, but not to win. They won’t headline Wrestlemania with Khali or V, and MVP is simply not at that level yet – although Money in the Bank could well beckon for him, depending on Matt Hardy’s progress. Its down to Taker and Batista, and you really do have to side with the Deadman here.

Prediction – Undertaker

Raw Elimination Chamber – Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Shawn Michaels, JBL, Chris Jericho, Umaga
The line-up in this chamber is far more appetising, and things could happen in any order really. I’d expect this to be a decent encounter, with only JBL really not in my mind a great worker, and it will be interesting to see where in the card they place this one.

Rumours continue that Jericho will face JBL at Mania, but with Jericho beating his rival on Raw last week, cleanly, I’m not so sure. It will be interesting to keep an eye on these two, and whether they affect each other’s progress in the match.

We can dust off the old McNichol Eliminator 2.0 (one more than Matt Hardy) here to get rid of Umaga, who will not be in a position to headline Wrestlemania. Jericho v Cena makes no sense, and we have just seen Orton v Jericho, so you can scratch Y2J off. JBL is nowhere near being ready for a match of that magnitude, so he’s out too.

That leaves Jeff Hardy, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. I’d say given that HBK v Cena was the programme last year, and that he was had a long run not long ago with Orton, that it won’t be the Showstopper.

Just Hardy and The Game left.

Common sense says it will be Hunter, doesn’t it? Triple H v Orton v Cena is the rumour, but The Game taking on either man in a singles would also make sense. As much as I would like to see Jeff Hardy given he nod, I just can’t see it. If they were going to go with him, big-time, they would have done it at the Royal Rumble.

I’d love for a big surprise. But I can’t see it. Hardy the most likely apart from the obvious, but as much as I’ve analysed this looking for another answer, I have to write the following..........

Prediction – Triple H

World Heavyweight Title – Edge v Rey Mysterio..............maybe
This match is in danger because of a possible bicep tear for Rey. I’m not sure whether it is a good thing for him to wrestle here or not.

On the pro side, this match has the potential to be good, and will be the match a lot of people have bought the PPV to see. Rey has a big following.

However, if he is not 100%, three things could happen. One is that he wrestles half-tilt, meaning the match is sub-standard. The second is that he wrestles too hard, making the tear worse. The third is that he breaks down mid-match, forcing a quick and untimely end to it.

Obviously it all depends on the severity of the injury, but if it is not right, I’d say that it is best he doesn’t wrestle at all. The WWE came up with a genius storyline when Triple H and Orton wrestled twice against each other after Cena’s injury. I don’t see why they couldn’t come up with another clever story for Edge to have an alternate opponent or something.

Knowing Rey, I’d say he’ll try to work through the pain, and since he isn’t going over anyway, they’ll likely cut the match a bit short and let Edge take the win he is scheduled for in any case.

Prediction – Edge

WWE Title – Randy Orton v John Cena

I’d say that they’d go with this as the main event, and although many are saying that a bullshit finish will take place, I’d be more inclined to guess that we will see a clean ending. And a new champion.

Logic dictates to me that if Triple H wins the Chamber, then he is due to face the champion at Wrestlemania. If Orton were to win, in whatever manner, there is no real sense in having Cena added to the match at a later stage. You lost, you had your chance, now skedaddle.

Orton losing, on the other hand, allows the use of the ole’ rematch clause, one which Orton’s character has effectively used before. I’d expect Cena to will this one clean, and for Orton to try to invoke his rematch clause for Wrestlemania, antagonising Triple H, and thus making for the triple threat that is expected.

Prediction - John Cena, cleanly.

Enjoy No Way Out, guys, I’ll be back in the minutes following the PPV with my live notes.

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