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WWE No Way Out PPV Preview
February 18, 2005

Compiled by Rick Scaia
Featuring All Your Favorite OnlineOnslaught.com Semi-Stars


Last year, No Way Out was the absolute high water mark for the SmackDown! brand... whether it was a fortuitous and coincidental convergence of matches, or just the by-product of the "Road to WrestleMania" aura, SD! was never better in 2004 than at No Way Out... 
Which leaves us to ponder just how No Way Out 2005 will fit into the on-going rehabilitation of present-day SD!... the line-up certainly seems to have some interesting possibilities, and no real gaping holes that you just KNOW will suck (well, at least, not at the top; there is one probably late-addition match, and then also some crap with the Useless

Divas that doesn't look promising, but those are the absolutely bottom-of-the-totem-pole). And yet, even with a dearth of holes, not a whole lot about SD! screams "I am a compelling reason to drop $35," either.

This year's No Way Out has all the pieces to be a step forward, and an improvement from the last SD!-only PPV in December... but I think you can look at the line-up and hope that this is improvement that continues throughout 2005, because if No Way Out is the best SD! has to offer this entire year, we've got 10 long months ahead of us, kids.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. SD!'s more over-riding problems are an issue for another time... for now, we're here to discuss, in detail, all of the possibilities at Sunday's PPV. Not only will I run down the backstory of every match in my patented "Making It Even Better Than WWE's Writers Did" style, but the full deployment of trOOps is here to weigh in with predictions, analysis, and generally snarky comments.

We do it mostly for you, the Loyal and Discerning Home Viewer, but also partly to prove that we are smarter and better-looking than the Swine at WrestleLine, who will be competing against us once again this month. And who, with the 2005 series tied at 1 PPV apiece, had best prepare to weather the absolute best, most concerted team effort OO has to offer!

So with no further ado, here's is our full 10-person detailed and comprehensive look at Sunday's WWE No Way Out pay-per-view...

Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match for the WWE Title

So, it has come to this... a barbed wire steel cage.

Oh, don't get me wrong, the JBL/Show feud has been far from epic, and it's not like this brutal blow-off match flows logically within their storyline. These two have spent the last 2 months on disputes over Useless Divas more than they have in disputes over the WWE Title.

But still: it has come to this. Because JBL's reign as champion has, itself, become a story, and has (regardless of caliber of opposition or caliber of storytelling) taken on a life of its own. Even GM Teddy Long seems to sense it, and after nearly 8 months (!), he wants to put JBL in a match where there's no chance for the cheating, chicanery, and flat-out luck that JBL has relied on to retain his title for this long.

Honestly: somebody will have to check my math on this, but since the start of the "Hogan Era" (basically modern day wrestling), how many guys can claim they've held that title for 8 consecutive months? Hogan, Savage, Warrior... and I think Diesel had it for about a year, too. Now, along with those names, we can add JBL to the list. Baffling. But it does explain why something as complex and unique as a barbed wire steel cage has been called into play by Teddy Long...  the shenanigans must stop. This far, no farther! And Teddy Long will be the one who makes JBL pay!

In addition to the mostly-silly JBL/Show storyline (which again, was predicated on useless divas up till the Royal Rumble, and which has more recently involved feigned drug trips and blow-up Godzillas... although as I noted last Friday in my column, the blow-up Godzilla thing was actually pretty funny... if nothing else, it was a better actor than Amy Weber), there's another subplot here: Batista will be in the house.

WWE actually used a press conference earlier this week to announce that, and JBL spent last night on SD! bitching about it. He claims that he had nothing to do with the limo attack on RAW, and knows that Batista will be out to get him Sunday at No Way Out. Batista didn't do anything to assuage those concerns when he decimated JBL's limo and took out JBL's cabinet last night on SD!... but the thing about Batista is that he's a smart cat: something stinks here, and one must assume that if *we* can tell that somebody like HHH is behind all of Batista's recent grief, then Batista can tell the same thing.

Still: that doesn't necessarily preclude the guy doing some purely recreational ass-kicking, either. He'll be ringside for the main event, and could very well figure into things. My only request: Big Man, that vain "fixing the hair and adjusting the tie" crap you did last night? Leave it. OK, it was an attempt to be funny and casual, it's just that the failure of glossed-up toolbox Randy Orton means there are certain affectations you need to leave alone. Like those. Just sit there, drink a Heineken, and when the time's right, toss your two cents in.

Asking Show and JBL to go more than 15 minutes or so could get messy, and 3 other matches on this card should probably run longer than the main event (Cena/Angle, tag title match, CW title match) if WWE's wise... but with Batista as a late match bonus feature, and with the interesting possibilities offered up by the gimmick of the barbed wire cage (if nothing else, it ups the carnage, and when all else fails, MORE BLOOD is tried and true way to fix a JBL match... just ask Eddie Guerrero), they have enough tools here to entertain. It might not be an OMG WORKRATE~! classic, but if booked wisely, there's no reason this has to suck, either. There's a lot of stuff they can do here so it's not JUST Show and JBL trying to stretch 8 minutes worth of ability into a 20 minute main event...

The OOutlOOk
JBL wins: 10 votes   --|--  Big Show wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... JBL d. Big Show.
Just a quick word of warning: the only Smackdown! I have seen in the past month and a half was the last half of last night's show. I'm completely talking out of my ass with all these predictions. I also got three hours of sleep last night. These will be short.

I like the Big Show and see a title run for him at some point in the future, but there's absolutely no reason to take the belt off JBL at this point. He's gotten too good at what he does, and it would be incredibly stupid for him to lose his title one month before WrestleMania after such a long reign. I don't really know how good this match will be, but I expect plenty of blood, so that should make up for any shortcomings. I don't expect many, and these two will try their hardest to give us a good main event, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Canadian Bulldog Says... JBL d. Big Show.
I think the outcome of this is pretty obvious (unless they do a Russo-esque swerve between now and Mania, but I doubt they'd be THAT dumb, given how long Bradshaw has held the f'ing belt now). So it comes down to how they'd do it. The safest approach is to have The Cabinet somehow interfere, disputing the point of having a barbed wire cage match, but whatever... The alternative would be to have Batista dramatically rip down the cage, stare down JBL and accidentally nail Show (or, have Show accidentally nail Batista). But I think that kind of a payoff would only work if Show was jumping to Raw (and as a heel, to boot) post-Mania. OR.... you could have Batista do his staredown with JBL, only to have Triple H cause of sort of distraction and finally turn on Big Dave, but that just sounds far too overbooked.... So I vote for the first scenario.
The Cubs Fan Says... JBL d. Big Show.
This is a boring matchup. Because of the way the NWO tournament has been scheduled - final not set till the last hour of the last major lead in show - they've not left themselves any time to hint towards the less obvious WrestleMania combinations could happen. I don't even know if it'd be possible with, say, Kurt Angle vs Big Show, but Big Show vs John Cena lead off last year's WM, and it would've been nice to give Show a chance to promise revenge in a rematch to make you thinking he could actually be there. He's not, of course.

Anyway, boring match. The WWE, not being dummies, realizes this and is trying to make it interesting by coming up with a unique gimmick for the boring match to happen in and while I could see barbed wire doing that for some, barbed wire as a top of the cage ornament seems unlikely. It seems no different than any cage match where escape doesn't get a victory. JBL will still find a way to bleed a bucket, I'm sure. 

If we come out of No Way Out with the impression we'd like to see more barbed wire cage matches like this in the future, these two have easily exceeded expectations.

Matt Hocking Says... JBL d. Big Show.
There are two things one must predict when coming into this match:

1) Who will win?
2) How will the barbed wire stipulation play into the finish or the match in general.

The answer to number one is, of course, JBL. The WWE has done everything they could to promote the hell out of Bradshaw as their champion, and he's going to continue on this run until Mania. So Bradshaw is going to win. But how do you get him there? Well, the thing doing these PPV previews is that it allows me to engage in a little fantasy booking and put it under the guise of predictions.

Batista watches with great interest on the sidelines throughout the entire match, as Big Show Dominates the match. The Bashams and Jordan attempt interference, but are stymied by the barbed wire, but Enter the Dudleyz who 
have issues with Show and aren't afraid of no barbed wire. There's the setup for the ECW PPV. With their help, JBL picks up the win, and they raise the cage. He's celebrating, when Dave hits the ring and nails the OSPREY BOMB TO JBL~!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... JBL d. Big Show.
Talking about wrestling shouldn't be a chore. So why does this feel like one? Oh I know, because I'm required to put more thought into this show than the actual writers have. As for this match, it's obvious who's winning here. JBL has once again been put into an "impossible situation" that everyone knows he'll be able to overcome. They seriously must think we're stupid if they believe that by putting JBL in another elaborate gimmick match will make it seem more likely that he'll lose. Batista's presence will be felt at the show, but ultimately I do not feel that he will be involved in the outcome to this match. Here's why: 1)They're not going to have him lose heat by helping JBL win. 2) They're not going to have him lose heat by doing something stupid and "accidentally" help JBL win. 3) Doing anything to affect the outcome would leave unresolved issues since we know Batista's going to stay on RAW anyway.
Jeb Lund Says... JBL d. Big Show.
It would be especially daft to have a poor wrestler like JBL hold the belt for this long but somehow lose it a month before WrestleMania. I'd laugh, but I think WWE theoretically can be that daft. But they won't in this case. And while we're here, is it too much to ask that WWE speed up time on the Road to WrestleMania. It's not that I'm quivering in anticipation of the show. I'm just sick of doing doubletakes at the letters JBL and worrying that someone's complaining about how much I suck or should lose the title.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... JBL d. Big Show.
I would have batted 1.000 at the Rumble if I hadn't submitted my predictions before it was revealed that WWE had already sent advertising for NWO featuring JBL and Show. Won't make that mistake again. :-)

It's JBL vs. Cena at Mania, all the way down Telegraph Road.
PyroFalkon Says...  JBL d. Big Show.
I said last time that I canít see JBL losing the belt in anything but a singles match. While I still believe that, I donít think itís the right play here. JBL should win this one, because the match type is so special. He needs to lose in a simple match so he canít blame the gimmick for his loss.

I kinda like the idea that JBL loses the thing at Wrestlemania 21, which will give the crowd the ďfeel good momentĒ that is richly deserved for the big one. This is not Wrestlemania, so this is not the time.

Big Danny T Says... JBL d. Big Show.
Smackdown is anything if not predictable this past month, and the obvious showdown they want us to see at Wrestlemania is Cena vs JBL, so expect "Bradshaw" to pick up the duke here.
Rick Scaia Says... JBL d. Big Show.
Part of the fun of doing these PPV Previews is always getting down here into my little beige-colored box and unleashing some Fantasy Booking. Problem is, WWE seems to have booked itself into the kind of corner out of which there is only one path. And when bludgeoning obviousness is the key attribute of your top few matches, it makes it hard for even ME to fire up the old imagination and come up anything truly interesting...

Bottom line, JBL is going to WrestleMania with the title. He's held it this long, and they'll want it to be special when he loses it. This isn't that time. It's too bad, too, because 3 months ago, I would have INSTANTLY endorsed Big Show as the guy to beat JBL. He was hitting his stride in terms of his best-case-scenario ring work (coming off the injury hiatus, it took a while to find that "giant, but not boring" groove again), and was peppering in plenty of personable promos, too. And then all the crap with the Useless Divas made his ascension to title contender a joke, and now, here's Show stepping up as the challenger on the disposable pre-WM PPV... here's hoping WWE regroups and gives Show another shot down the line.

What can we do to make this match interesting? Well, there's the barbed wire, but I have a feeling that's just gonna end up being a cheap excuse for JBL to wear some kind of padded sweatsuit or something for cheap heat, and then maybe thanks to that gimmick, JBL will get the better of Show and briefly use some lengths of the wire to get the better of Show (hey, it might be brutal, but it beats the patented JBL 10 minute Main Event Headlock). And then there's Batista. It SEEMS like it'd be tough for him to get involved given the cage... but you know he'll get in there. Between a powerhouse like Batista and the posterboy for breaking cages and rings that is Big Show, the two of them oughta find a way to make escaping/entering the cage a bit easier. Maybe take out a section of the cage... and then that'd also open the door for JBL's cabinet to interfere to set up the cheap win that I honestly think you have to suspect will be coming.


For a WWE Title Match at WrestleMania 21

This is a tournament final... after the Royal Rumble, GM Teddy Long decided he could wait until Batista decided which title he wanted to fight for, so he made a tourney in which the winner would wrestle for the WWE Title at WM21; and if Batista decides he wants in, well, playa, then it'll have to be a three-way match.

If you were a True Believer, you'd probably look at this and think that the deck is stacked insurmountably against Cena. Cena wrestled two matches to get to the finals (including just last night in a grueling semi-final win over Booker T), while Angle got a bye into the finals and only had to wrestle one match (a truly excellent contest against Rey Mysterio).  Angle's focused, seriously, and a former champion, while Cena's the upstart US Champ with a lot still to prove. Angle's got back-up (in the form of Luther Reigns and Mark Jindrak), Cena's got nothing but the absolutely 100% flaming gay marketing concept (oh, it hurts me even to type these words) "The Chain Gang." And hell, Angle's gonna be working in his hometown on Sunday night (no hotel bed, no Denny's meals), while it's another night on the road for Cena.

WWE has long coveted a chance to do an extended storyline with these two: the humorous Cena and the deadly-serious Angle are not only natural enemies, but could also have made for a unique Odd Couple. But circumstances have really prevented that from ever happening. Angle's degenerative neck condition has limited his ring time, and even this past summer, and GM Angle made John Cena his #1 target, there was never any real follow-up (because when Angle returned to the ring, he had to deal with Eddie Guerrero and Big Show, and by the time he could've squeezed Cena in, Cena was off to make a movie)...

So here, we get this promising match-up, just with no real back story: it's a tournament final, luck of the draw. Serious, proven veteran Angle vs. the young jester Cena. Assuming JBL retains the WWE Title, both guys already have established issues with him; if anything, Angle's are a bit more pressing after he found himself in a 3-way feud over the title in December and January (and he's also the guy who has drawn not one, but TWO, decent matches out of JBL, which is a big plus).... but Cena's had the start of something possibly bigger, when he got the better of JBL and a week later pinned JBL's Chief of Staff to advance in this tourney. You could conceivably say either guy could win, and make for a reasonably viable WM contender to JBL...

Of course, with Kurt Angle seemingly more focused on and proud of what he did to RAW's Shawn Michaels, it seems like he might have other fish to fry at the Granddaddy of 'em All. Which means all signs point to Cena... and that, my friends, makes this a serious make-or-break match for him. Cena's character has been in a steady decline for the past 18 months (or longer), and his ring skills have stagnated in that time... just as WWE's decided to turn Cena into a signature star, he's started to show enough cracks that perceptive fans have started rescinding their notion that Cena's the "more talented Randy Orton." So here it is: a chance for Cena to prove he deserve his impending push... if you can't have a kick-ass match with Kurt Angle (even a 75%-healthy Kurt Angle), then maybe you need to go back to the drawing board for a bit. I look forward to seeing what these two deliver on Sunday night....

The OOutlOOk
John Cena wins: 9 votes  --|--  Kurt Angle wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
I'm sick of Cena (and that's just after what little I've seen of him recently), but I must admit, his exchange with Kurt Angle last night was very good. He's capable of great things on the mic, but I think he's hamstrung by having to come up with a new rap every week, along with his embarrassing pandering to the fans. If JBL wins the title match, then Cena will win this one, and you have your WrestleMania main event. The match should be really good, but I have trouble watching Angle wrestle these days. The poor guy is two suplexes away from becoming a paraplegic. I love you, Kurt, but you need to retire.
Canadian Bulldog Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
Another fairly obvious outcome. I've been predicting since late-last year that it would boil down to JBL-Cena at Mania, and I'm not about to stop now. The only question remains is: does Shawn Michaels interfere? I'm going to go out on a limb and say no for two reasons. One: it affects the Raw-cameo-shots quotient too much for my liking, and two, Angle can become Cena's first decent challenger post-Mania. HBK can show up on SmackDown next week, or Angle on Raw. They did the right thing by starting Michaels-Angle the Rumble (or even Survivor Series, if you caught the brief comment by Edge). They have time to let it simmer.
The Cubs Fan Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
Nice stab at trying to build something quick from their first match to this match. Since everyone knows the finish, what's going to be interesting here is how they get there, and how they balance giving Cena a big victory while not pissing off Angle's hometown fans.
Matt Hocking Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
I don't care if it IS Kurt Angle, the WWE isn't going to run with a heel/heel Mania main event, plus Cena is probably the right guy to win the title from JBL. Whether or not you like him, and I know many here at OO don't, he's still what sells for the Smackdown brand. Ruck Fules or No Ruck Fules, John Cena is still super over with the paying fanbase, and that's 
who'll be buying WrestleMania. We'll be doing that whether Cena's in the main event or not. Besides, Angle's got a ready made feud with HBk, so Cena needs this one more anyway.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
This is equally a gimme as the main event. Angle has issues with Shawn and Cena has been dubbed the chosen one, whether the IWC likes it or not. These two have had decent outings in the past, so I'm hoping that the same will hold true here. I would be very surprised if Cena wins clean and on his own, however. First, as I mentioned Angle has issues with Shawn and I would be very surprised if Shawn didn't show up here to interfere to return the favor of Kurt costing Shawn a win at the Rumble. Secondly, despite being chosen to main event WM, I'm not sure anyone is convinced that Cena is up to Angle's league yet. To me, it just doesn't seem convincing that he could beat Kurt straight up 1-on-1. 
Jeb Lund Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
Pretty much a no-brainer. The only thing i think might happen is that Cena may need some extracurricular assistance, setting up Angle and Bradshaw messing with his mind by calling him a fraudulent #1 contender before 'Mania.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
This will be a good match, as much as many of us have grown weary of Cena. But it'll be less fun to watch given that we're 99 44/100 percent certain of the outcome.
PyroFalkon Says...  Kurt Angle d. John Cena.
I just don't see the use in even setting up the theory that Cena will be a double champion. I like Cena more than the other writers at OO, but even I will admit he's not ready to even conceivably hold the big title for SD. Sorry, ain't gonna happen.
Big Danny T Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
John Cena, for whatever reason, is considered Smackdown's golden boy. Kurt Angle has a date with HBK at Wrestlemania. Put this particular equation together, and you have John Cena making the scene at No Way out and moving on to the main event (or at least Smackdown's) at Wrestlemania.
Rick Scaia Says... John Cena vs. Kurt Angle.
More obviousness... the Cena/JBL dynamic was established the Thursday after the Rumble, and that's got the Stink of "WWE's Idea of a Money Match" all over it. And anyway, Angle's got this little thing with Shawn Michaels to deal with at WM21. Cena's the no-brainer choice here.

Irony of WWE's decision to go full-force with Cena's push only after turning him into a totally lame caricature aside, it sort of seems like the general WWE populace is still behind Cena in a way that they are not (or never were) behind Orton, so I can't get too pissy, huh? I'll just have to cheer for JBL in the eventual WM21 showdown, and weep quietly to myself over what I've been forced to do.

Outcome notwithstanding, there are a few things to speculate about in this one: mostly, Will Shawn Michaels make an appearance? My instinct as a fan would be to DEFINITELY want to see such a thing, as it would seem logical coming off of Shawn's ominous promo on Monday. My instinct as somebody trying to figure out WWE's motivations, though? I'm torn: it'd be the quickest and easiest way to set up Angle/Michaels at WM if HBK showed up... but they might also be thinking "we've already got Batista here, why overdo it?" or "if we're giving Cena the superman push, he shouldn't need Shawn Michaels' help"... so I can't puzzle that on out. I'll just say: if it was me doing the booking, Shawn would show up and do to Angle what Angle did to him at the Rumble, and to hell with being all worried if it slightly reduces Cena's bad-assery. If his fans haven't turned on him for his past 3 months of awful, patronizing promos, they won't turn on him for taking a little assist from Shawn Michaels.

Also: just a quick bit of mental gymnastics... if Cena wins, what becomes of the US Title? I've been in such denial over Cena getting his ticket punched to WM21 that I hadn't really stopped to think about that till just an hour or so ago. I'm just gonna go on record as saying that if Cena wins the WWE Title in his first try, I'm almost gonna consider that a mistake (if nothing else, if Batista wins the World Title, you should consider leaving the belt on JBL to keep some balance for the WM PPV; and on top of that, Cena DOES have a lot invested in that customized US belt)... but if he does end up winning the WWE Title before dropping the US Title, I'm a big fan of a US Title tourney... and if such a thing happens immediately after WM21, that's just about when Carlito should be ready to go again, and I'm telling you: Carlito strikes me more and more as a bona fide superstar-in-the-making. Another idea I just had: Carlito succeeds in impeaching Teddy Long, and a new Carlito-friendly GM just STRIPS Cena of the US Title before he even gets to WM (going back to the ill-gotten way he won it from an injured Carlito, RIGHT HERE, in DAYTON, OH!), and puts the US Title up for grabs in another match (maybe even one involving Carlito, if he can beat the doctor's prognosis back to the ring).

Just a few interesting ideas to toss your way, since fantasy booking the actual No Way Out outcomes themselves is kind of dry, bland work...


In A Very Special Restaurant Quality Slobberknocker Match

Let's not sugar coat things: this is a treading water match because Undertaker doesn't have anything better to do.

But let's not shortchange things: when inserted into the "Undertaker's Lamb" slot, Luther Reigns sure as hell decided to step up and make the most of it.

The result: a match that is FAR from compelling as a selling point of a PPV (it's more a Thursday night caliber match), but which is intriguing in it's own way... will WWE and Luther follow-through in such a way that his stock continues to rise, or is this just another Undertaker squash? I mean, *I'm* curious about that, so I can only assume there are some other interested parties out there.

This situation arose when Kurt Angle decided he wanted to get a bye into the finals of the #1 Contender Tournament... so he sent Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns out to interfere with the Undertaker vs. Rene Dupree first-round match; the two managed to orchestrate a double count-out, when Luther latched onto Taker's leg and wouldn't let him get back into the ring to break the count.

Not so thrilling, right? Well, that's when Luther stepped up and delivered the kind of promo some of us have long suspected him capable of. A week later, Captain Angle was congratulating his team o a job well, done, and Luther just took over the conversation and announced, "What I did last week, I didn't do it for you... I did it for ME." And then he proceeded to cut a killer promo in which he ran down the many horrifying situations he's been in (knife fights, jail time, the whole nine) and the many horrifying things he, himself, is capable of doing if necessary. It was pretty intense stuff. The upshot of all of it? That Luther's been through hell and back again, and he's not afraid of anything or anybody. Not even the Dead Man.

Of course, as awesome as the promo was, WWE's handling of Luther since kind of undercuts it: rather than having Luther stand up to Taker in any way, shape, or form the last two weeks (even doing the VERY simple things I outlined in my column last Friday), Luther's made a liar out of himself by walking away from Taker and only attacking him from behind. I think there would have been better ways to make Luther seem like an actual worthy foe for Taker, because as it stands, it sure feels like he's Just Another Victim. We'll have to see...

WWE's proven that they don't mind giving Taker ricockulous amounts of TV time against untalented hosses... with the slightly more-capable Luther, 10-12 minutes would not be totally un-doable... maybe even longer. If Luther has Jindrak in his corner, that only increases the amount of time and extracurricular craziness we can use to make this a surprisingly entertaining little brawl.

The OOutlOOk
Undertaker wins: 7 votes
Luther Reigns wins: 3 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Undertaker d. Luther Reigns.
Last month, I guessed that Taker would lose his match due to interference from Snitsky. There was interference, but Taker still managed to win. I started off thinking that Luther would win via cheating or interference (from Jindrak, I would assume), but I've learned my lesson. Taker does not lose PPV matches.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Undertaker d. Luther Reigns.
The Cubs Fan Says... Undertaker d. Luther Reigns.
This is a weird build up. Luther does promos about how he doesn't fear anything anymore including Undertakers, and then he's acts in fearful ways of the Undertaker. I don't think we're supposed to think he's a boastful liar, but his actions haven't matched his motivations.

If Luther makes something of this match, it could springboard him to a more consistent role. If he doesn't, it's going to be quickly forgotten in the midst of a billion similar Undertaker matches. Nothing to lose here. Good shot for him.
Matt Hocking Says... Undertaker d. Luther Reigns.
Pretty straightforward here. Is Luther Reigns inexplicably becoming a top player on Smackdown? Yes. Should he be going around beating The Undertaker? No. This is pretty obviously a sidebar to give both guys something to do at this PPV. In matches like this, the safest bet is to go with the more established guy, and not only that, but this is Taker, and Taker doesn't job to no Luther Reigns. Expect some Heidenreich-ference though.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Undertaker d. Luther Reigns.
Luther's promo a few weeks ago, gave me a slight bit of hope that he might have some worth in the company. But anything that Luther has built over the past couple of weeks will able be taken away Sunday. Even if Jindrak is at ringside, I still don't see that being enough to overcome the anti-jobbing power of the Taker. The only thing that could combat that power is the awesome run-in power of Heidenreich. But it seems like plans have changed so I don't see him being involved in this match, thankfully.
Jeb Lund Says... Luther Reigns d. Undertaker.
I still deeply suspect that WWE still wants to put Snitskrieg and Heidenreich together as a team against the brothers of destruction. It ends two dull long storylines in one neat package, and it keeps any of those guys from ruining someone else's match. I figure Heidenreich can cost Undertaker the match. Or, failing that, Reigns just wins straight-up. I can't think of anything else for Undertaker to do: might as well let him keep his streak alive and kill Reigns at 'Mania instead. Either way, it seems silly to have Undertaker win here. I mean, what else does he have on the table?
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Luther Reigns d. Undertaker.
I think we have ourselves the makings of a Luther Reigns push, so he needs a win here, even one by nefarious means. Undie has repeatedly dispalyed his willingness to build up the new guys. I like Reigns more than most of the big guys. Not that I'm expecting any OMG out of this one.
PyroFalkon Says...  Luther Reigns d. Undertaker.
After Luther's *ahem* STIRRING interview on Byte This!, I just have a feeling. A feeling that this is going to be really, really stupid and somehow make Taker job yet again on a PPV. Have I mentioned that I don't watch SmackDown! anymore?
Big Danny T Says... Undertaker d. Luther Reigns.
Ahh, Buttercup, you showed us some of that ass-kickery that we all know you're capable of a couple weeks ago in that scintillating promo, but unfortunatley, the object of your ass-kicking ways is the Undertaker, and, well, I just don't see you going over the Dead Man. Not yet.
Rick Scaia Says... Undertaker d. Luther Reigns.
Luther Reigns should win this match. No matter WHAT the plan is for WM21, Luther Reigns should win this match. Only that way does Luther have any upward mobility at all. And even with a loss (if it's done right), Taker would lose almost nothing.

If Taker's still heading into the Tag Team Crossbrand Match of Suck, he doesn't need to win here. Heidenreich can show up and interfere (augmenting existing interference from Jindrak; but let's just hope that Heidenreich is not distracted by Jindrak's glossy metrosexual goodlooks!), and Luther can get the win that way. And then he can get out of dodge, and let the wheels continue in motion for the Taker/Kane vs. Snitsky/Heidenreich dealy.

Did you hear the one about WWE considering a "legend vs. legend killer" match where Taker faces Orton? Well, I suspect it's a load of crap, and furthermore, it's a match I'd put on the docket for WrestleMania *22*, after Orton gets traded over to SD! this year and can spend a year re-establishing himself as the heel legend killer. Doing it this year makes no fricking sense; if they WERE gonna do it, they shouldn't have killed off Orton's Concussed Idiot gimmick, since they could have used that to explain Orton showing up at No Way Out and inexplicably attacking Taker... 

Even if they don't really know WHAT they're doing yet with Taker at WM21, the one option you might want to keep open is having Luther as an opponent. Think about it: Luther (with help from Jindrak) scores the win over Taker, and Taker wants to avenge that loss... he puts his undefeated WM streak on the line against a man he's not yet beaten... it could be something. Not a LOT, but something.

So of course, I've just spent 4 paragraphs telling you why Luther should win the match. But I still predicted Taker. Why? Because Undertaker does not lose PPV matches. At least, not to somebody so much lower than him on the totem pole as Luther is. Taker will win, Luther will gain nothing, and anything they do from a storyline/WM21-set-up perspective will all be done post-match. After Taker's notched his precious "W."



WWE Tag Team Title Match

This match has got "sleeper" written all over it.

Although it was rather hastily signed just last night, there are actually vestiges of storyline here that go back MONTHS, and which tie together in quite an intriguing fashion. In December, Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam's on-again/off-again partnership finally netted them the WWE Tag Team Titles, and they immediately began fending off challenges from ex-champs Kenzo/Dupree, as well as from the Basham Brothers... and from [cue dramatic music] Eddie Guerrero and Booker T.

The culmination of all that jockeying for position was just a big-ass four-team elimination match for the tag titles... and in that match, Rey eliminated the Booker/Eddie team by pinning Eddie, and the match finally boiled down to Rey/RVD vs. the Bashams. Except it was really both Bashams vs. Rey, because JBL's evil henchmen managed to isolate on RVD behind the refs back, and went to town on his knee with a steel chair. RVD had to be stretchered out in the middle of the match, leaving Rey to fight alone. And try as he might, he could overcome the numbers game, and he dropped the titles to the Bashams.

Now, RVD remains on the shelf (both in storylines, and in real life, as he's finally gotten surgery for a serious knee problem), and Rey still wants to get his revenge on the Bashams... so he has turned to his erstwhile amigo, Eddie Guerrero.

But are they really amigos? In at least one singles match and two tag matches that I'm remembering (including the 4-way that I mentioned above), Rey has pinned Eddie Guerrero. Eddie has not, in the last 2 months, scored a single decision over Rey. And while Eddie has always ended up swallowing his pride and given Rey the friendly smile and handshake after their matches, it's been pretty clear that he's kind of peeved by the situation.  As far as Rey is concerned, the handful of minor episodes he's had with Eddie are just good-natured, easily-forgotten things, since, hey, it IS Eddie's gimmick to Lie, Cheat, and Steal... but there is definitely an alternate interpretation: that rather than deal with his jealousy/insecurity over losing to Rey opening, Eddie is repressing that, and it could all come out at a rather inconvenient time.

Such as when the two are on the cusp of winning tag titles, and with WrestleMania looming on the horizon. Well, the former would be a mighty inconvenient for Eddie to lash out at Rey... but now that I think of it, the latter sure seems to be the opposite, no?

Eddie and Rey are pure gold; one of the Bashams is really, really good, too (sorry, I can tell them apart, but I still don't know which is which). Workwise, these guys could carry 15-20 minutes, if asked, and it'd be awesome. And the possibilities for Eddie and Rey on the storyline side? Makes it all the tastier...

The OOutlOOk
Bashams win: 9 votes  --|--  Eddie/Rey win: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
Fuck, I dunno. I hear that Eddie and Rey are experiencing some subtle tension, so why not go the whole nine yards this time around? Either Eddie turns on Rey for getting spanked in his last few matches with him, or there's some miscommunication that causes them to lose. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, bake for a half an hour at 350, and you have a kickass WrestleMania match.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
You kind have to launch the turn by Eddie to make it an effective matchup at Mania. Frankly, I'm kind of surprised they've waited as long as they have. The unfortunate thing to this is that they did a similar storyline last year involving Eddie and The Bashams. So given all that, I'd think the Bashams are going over.
The Cubs Fan Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
The problem with SmackDown! is Eddie and Rey are logistically unable to win the tag titles, because they're needed for more important action than the tag team titles currently rate. The tag titles are always the path to get many people on the WrestleMania card in a meaningless match, while Eddie and Rey are going to be counted to carry a meaningful match (or two) for SD! at the show. These two things don't go together, and it wouldn't seem to help anyone for a quickie double switch.

I wish I'd talk more about storylines and less about meta, but there's not much to dig into here. Rey should be mad at the Bashams for putting RVD out of action, but he kinda got over it and forgot it till it became necessary for the writers again. Tough to care about the grudge when the people involved don't.
Matt Hocking Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
The Basham Brothers do what now, Matt? Firstly, I don't see any legs on even a temporary alliance between Rey and Eddie as far as being a tag team goes, and the Bashams are not only an actual tag team, but their retaining the titles here allows for The Cabinet to look strong going into the main event. I think some kind of screw up by Eddie, forshadowing a possible heel turn, costs them the match, and sets up a possible Eddie/Rey/Booker three way at Mania.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
On paper, I don't have a problem with this match. But like most of the matches on this show, they've done nothing to prepare us for this match. Yes, Eddie and Rey have done a little bit of tagging over the past couple of months, but nothing to merit being called #1 contenders. I would like to think that they have some purpose to this match other than throwing all of them onto the show. That purpose, I've decided, is to have Eddie turn on Rey. I'm not sure if it will be a full blown turn or just a tease, but things will not end well by night's end for these two friends. I have to figure that they'll do the break-up in order to give both of these guys something to do for WM.
Jeb Lund Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
Okay, either Eddie and Rey are having a mutual-respect blowoff match together at WrestleMania, or they're in the tag division for the next couple of months. Because of that, I can't see why you'd have the Bashams lose one month before WrestleMania. Either Rey and Eddie lose here, thus 
precipitating the disgreement that would lead them to wrestle each other at  'Mania, or they win the belts a month from now for a feel-good moment on the bigger stage.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
The best match of the night is probably right here. I'd personally give Eddie and Rey the belts and put them in a program with the Dudleys while I rebuild the rest of the tag division. But you know how things go. The Bashams out-cheat Eddie with the switchereenaroonie.
PyroFalkon Says...  Eddie/Rey d. Bashams
Eddie and Rey winning the tag belts would be wrong for too many reasons, but I just can't see them losing this match. Then again, I never thought Jericho would job to Muhammad Hassan, so who knows.
Big Danny T Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
The Bashams, despite being the tag champs, J"B"L's Co-Secretaries of defense, and being on TV every week, still have the aura of "Who?" about them. And no, not Jim Neidhart. Eddie and Rey would be popular champs, but who would they be facing? More rematches against the Bashams? Team Angle? And both of these guys could lose from here to the next century and still be over. A PPV win over Eddie and Rey would do the Bashams a world of good here.
Rick Scaia Says... Bashams d. Eddie/Rey.
My thinking is simple: the Dudleys are coming back, and will be in a WWE Tag Title Match at WM21. And when the Dudleys come back, it's gonna be really hard for WWE to get the fans to boo them. So therefore: Bashams vs. the Duds at WM21, it is.

That means the Bashams have to retain here to slather at least a THIN layer of legitimacy on their title reign. And it's doubly cool since Eddie and Rey have a built-in excuse to lose... they aren't totally on the same page. Eddie is harboring secret ill-will against Rey, and I suspect that at the first accidental miscommunication, it'll come bubbling up, and by the end of the match, it might be outright festering. And when that happens, it'll be really hard for Eddie and Rey to overcome the Bashams, who, themselves, are ALSO known for some rather effectively lying and cheating.

I'm not necessarily sure if you have Eddie pull a full-out heel turn on Sunday night, but you have to at least consider the possibility. Better, in my opinion, would be to have Eddie keep the Prick Dial down around 6 or 7... just enough that Rey has no choice but to quit ignoring Eddie's episodes as "good natured lying, cheating, and stealing" and actually call him on the carpet for it. And as the two head towards WM, of COURSE I'd love to see them make that match, and to have Eddie go into it as a tweener, but come out still a babyface (once he FINALLY gets his long-lusted-for win over Rey, the pissiness evaporates, and everybody's friends again).

Need I remind you that I am also a big fan of marrying SD!'s mutual respect/tweener storyline to RAW's own similar story (Benoit vs. Jericho), setting up an actual crossbrand tag match people would want to see: Eddie and Benoit vs. Rey and Jericho!


Elimination Match for the Cruiserweight Title

The switch on the Random Match Generator has been flicked into the "ON" position, folks.... which is sad, because WWE's total lack of attention on the Cruisers since December has hamstrung an already-underpromoted division. Instead of following up on Funaki's feel-good win over dastardly Spike Dudley, I don't think we've seen hide nor hair of the CW Champ until these past two weeks.

And two highly entertaining, but storyline-free, matches aside, there's just nothing here to get an average fan to care. That's criminal, considering that these six could well have the second or third best match of the night.

For whatever it's worth, these six HAVE all been in the same ring together, but it's kind of a "cart before the horse" deal. AFTER Teddy Long had randomly signed this PPV match, he made a six-man tag match with these guys on last night's SD!. In that match, Funaki once again pinned Spike Dudley to re-assert his supremacy over the division. His partners London and Moore SORT OF celebrated with him, but also were giving the CW Title a good solid looking-over. That should be an interesting dynamic... and it goes without saying that the closest thing to a Pressing Issue in the Cruiserweight Division is the rivalry between former champ, Spike, and the man who unseated him, Funaki.

Per WWE's announcement, this will be conducted under Elimination Rules; I think that's gonna mean all six guys start at the same time (not "gauntlet rules"), but only two men are legal at once, and yadda yadda yadda, you get the idea...  Given that we need to see five eliminations, and given what these guys can do if you cut them loose, I think we could be looking at about 15 minutes or so of total gOOdness here.

If WWE so desires. Heaven forefend that the cruisers cut into valuable Evening Gown Competition Time...

The OOutlOOk
Spike Dudley wins: 5 votes
Paul London wins: 4 votes
Funaki wins: 1 vote
(No Other Superstars Received Winning Votes)

Erin Anderson Says... Paul London wins.
I have no idea what's going to happen with the cruiserweights. WWE doesn't seem to know, either, so I just decided to go with the guy in this match that I like the most. London is awesome, and he deserves a title just for taking that sick bump last month at the Rumble. And in three sentences, I have just spent more time planning this match than WWE has.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Spike Dudley wins.
I'm still puzzled as to why they gave Funaki the title in the first place. The only thing I could come up with was to get a big pop in Japan, but that CAN'T be a legit reason... anyways...

Spike is clearly the best choice to carry this division, save for maybe Billy Kidman once he's healthy again. Dudley can have a good match at Mania against Chavo, London or whoever they throw his way. Plus, he has a marketable character, something most of these cruisers aren't given the time to pursue.

The only X-factor here is the returning Dudley Boyz. Ideally, I'd like to see them against The Bashams at Mania, but that kind of insinuates them turning on Spike. If that happens, how does Spike win the belt? Hell, you know what: WWE didn't put a helluva lot of thought into this match, so either will I.

The Cubs Fan Says... Funaki wins.
The Six Way will probably be a fun match; these things usually are and that's why they use them as card filler. However, I really hate to see it on the card, because it's an illustration of the complete lack of effort in this division (and to be fair, the whole midcard.)

This match really should be Funaki vs London for the title (or Funaki/Akio), with Long proving he watches Velocity by rewarding one of the feuding duo a title shot for the performance. Juvi and Kidman had all those neat matches (and I'm not sure we're at that level of neat), but at some point, they stopped being opening card filler and started meaning something as far as the titles. If Akio/London is going to be remembered by most, it's got to start meaning something.

It's also a really bad sign, because if they're going to the multiple cruiserweight match one month out of WM, they're unlikely to be at WM. Hope Shannon is saving his money and not counting on a big bonus.

They could go any in direction here - each of them have the same meaning. Status quo is the easiest, so I'll pick that here. The Cruiserweight title has essentially been zombified since Spike beat Rey after the turn. It's a shame they waste it like this.
Matt Hocking Says... Paul London wins.
I'm going out on a limb with this one because I don't care and I'm not entirely sure the WWE does either. Nothing is served by leaving the belt on Funaki, and everybody else hasn't really been spotlighted in anything resembling... uh... anything. Don't get me wrong, Chavo and Spike are worthy 
choices, but I can't see a good reason for giving either one of them the belt, except maybe putting it on Spike now that the Dudleyz will be back. Then again, the best reason I can come up for as to why I think London will win it is so that the WWE can thank him for nearly killing himself and not getting hurt at the Rumble. Which is about as good a reason as any, I guess.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Spike Dudley wins.
Normally, I should be excited over a match like this. However, once again, there has been no build leading up to this match. Even worse, half of these guys haven't even been on Smackdown for months. This is truly a pickem. There's nothing wrong with Funaki as champion, but he just isn't setting the world on fire. I figure the only reason why he was given the strap was that he could have a big match for the Asia trip. You can eliminate Shannon Moore and Akio as they'll never amount to anything. That leaves Chavo, London and Spike left. By the way, did I miss something or why isn't Kidman part of this match? Of these guys, Spike has the most potential for future storylines with the Dudleys due back sometime soon. I'll say it comes down to Spike and London. Spike gets a heelish win to set up a rematch between the two at WM.
Jeb Lund Says... Paul London wins.
I don't really care much about this match but I suppose I have to make a guess. I'd hate to see Chavo buried with a one-month reign. Spike really only works as a dictator when his brothers are around. Akio won't ever get any respect, and Funaki had his fun token run, but I'd like to see something else. I could dig Moore winning, but I'd rather see London take the title here, then go defend against Moore at WrestleMania. Those two could have matches for the next 4 months and make every one of them entertaining. I'm picking London based on the rubric that I've seen more Paul London is HOTTTT avatars and sig files from girls. Apparently he is more popular. Okay.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Spike Dudley wins.
I see The Boss returning here with help from Los Dudleys. SD! needs them back in a serious way. hell, bring the rest of the famn damily with them.
PyroFalkon Says...  Spike Dudley wins.
Four of the six guys involved in this match definitely won't get it. All that's left are Spike and Chavo, andÖ er, I'm picking Spike for no real reason.
Big Danny T Says... Paul London wins.
What? Where did this come from? Well, we all know that this has the potential to the the show stealing match on the card, but I'd be surprised if it got more than 5-6 total minutes. As for the winner: Paul London gets his reward for taking the Bump of the Rumble by walking away with the title here. (Actually, I just rolled a 1D6 and his number came up, but it would be sweet, wouldn't it?)
Rick Scaia Says... Spike Dudley wins.
I don't know, folks. I want to make a "and I just put more thought into predicting this match then WWE put into promoting it" joke, but that's been done at least twice already...

Process of elimination: Shannon Moore and Akio won't win just because they hardly ever get off Velocity, and nobody cares about them. Funaki won't retain because WWE completely dicked him over by not doing anything to follow up on his feel good win over Spike Dudley at Armageddon; there was a window of opportunity to get some value out of Funaki, but WWE pissed it away to focus on abducted diva storylines and other crap. Funaki today is back to being little more than Shannon Moore with costume jewelry.

That leaves 3 possible winners. Paul London, just because he fricking kicks all kinds of ass and deserves a chance to show it. And probably deserves some kind of reward for that sick Rumble bump. Chavo, because he can bring phenomenal heelishness, which is something very valuable when it comes to making fans care about CW matches. And Spike, who was the previous champ, and was fricking AWESOME as "The Boss," but who then kind of lost his focus once his brothers went away and he was the boss of nothing.

And what was that I said about the Dudleys coming back? Oh yeah.... so even though I think the Duds immediate future is as babyfaces, you can't just have them return and forget that they WERE heels when last we saw them. They have to at least start out that way... so here's what I do:

This elimination match is 1000 kinds of fun, and it comes down to Spike Dudley vs. Paul London... and that's when Bubba and D-Von re-appear. To the crowd's chagrin, they actually DO follow The Boss' orders, and help him turn the tide and win the CW Title. But then, inside of 2 weeks, Spike's cocky bossiness becomes insufferable, and the Duds tell him "Yuck Fou." The Duds go off and pursue the Bashams for the tag titles, and Spike is left to prove just how good he is without his brothers' help. And how is standing at the head of the line? Paul London. London vs. Spike becomes your "money" feud for WM21, and after Spike cheats his way to wins of London in the weeks leading up to the show, London FINALLY gets his win (and his due reward for the Rumble bump, and for the fact that he's got all kinds of untapped personality that WWE hasn't made use of yet) on the grandest stage of them all.

I think that'd work out really well, if WWE gave them enough Thursday night TV time to tell the story, and let people see that Paul London is basically like AJ Styles, except with charisma. 


In A Very Special "May Or May Not Happen" Match

From "no real story, but at least it's officially announced" to THIS: another step down the Compelling Reasons to Buy Continuum...

To my surprise, Booker/Heidenreich has NOT been officially announced as of this Friday afternoon rewrite...  not only is the PPV line-up a bit thin, but Booker's a guy who you'd almost certainly want to find room for, and this match SEEMED to be set up with a little backstage skit last night on SD!.

Basically, Booker was still steamed after losing to John Cena, and noticed Heidenreich sitting in a corner laughing at him. The two went nose-to-nose, and for all the world sure SEEMED like they wanted to fight each other at some point in the near future.

With only five announced matches, this seems a veritable lock to be added to the PPV, although the backstory is woefully thin... still, Booker's hopefully a strong enough babyface to get at least SOME heat on the match. And we can only hope that whatever they decide to do with this match is done quickly enough that it ends before fans remember they don't give a shit about Heidenreich...

The OOutlOOk
Booker T wins: 6 votes --|-- Heidenreich wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Heidenreich d. Booker T.
Okay, I got nothing here. Heidenreich wins because I hate him, and because WWE hates Booker T.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Heidenreich d. Booker T.
See, this is the right type of match for Heidenreich right now that will help him BUILD to an eventual match/squash with Undertaker. But instead, they played things in reverse, and now this match serves no purpose. It's too bad, because I really do think they have something decent with Heidenreich. He's not a great worker, but he's not nearly as poor as people make him out to be. The other side of this coin is... what the hell does this say about Booker T? Here is a guy who should have been World Champion two years ago (I still believe that) and they haven't managed to book him properly ever since. If Book ends up jobbing to Heidenreich, the match should mean something, but it doesn't. Sad situation...
The Cubs Fan Says... Booker T d. Heidenreich.
Wishful thinking, but I'm hoping they've given up on Heidenreich here, at least to the extent they don't need Booker to lose to him to build him up anymore. They seem to feel the feud with Undertaker is over - Heidenreich would've been a much more likely DCO opponent than Rene Dupree in the tournament if they felt otherwise - so maybe it's about time to start salvaging whatever value Heidenreich has in him, and start using it to payoff other people.
Matt Hocking Says... Heidenreich d. Booker T.
Of all the thrown together matches in all the PPVs in all the galaxies, we are stuck with this one. It's almost blasphemous to pick against Booker T here, but then again, at least once a PPV, the WWE does something completely and totally insane, and Hnnrnnr needs some momentum going into his big cross brand PPV match, and it seems like this might be just the match to pick that up. So as crazy as it may be, I think Heidenreich cheats to win.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Booker T d. Heidenreich.
As of 1:30 Friday afternoon, WWE.com has not made this match official. However, most seem to feel that it will happen. And given the number of matches announced, it probably will. Why God why? There's no reason people should have to pay to see this match. I gotta figure that the company holds Booker in a little bit more esteem than Heidenreich (Let's hope so at least) and because of that, they'll give Booker the win. Let's face it, Booker hasn't had a decent win in a while. Give your audience something to cheer about and have Booker win pretty convincingly. If they don't, I might do bodily harm to myself.
Jeb Lund Says... Booker T d. Heidenreich.
I can't bring myself to say that Heidenreich wins this one. I just can't. It hurts too much. Booker has to win here. Of course, the WWE probably disagrees with me. But that's my call.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Booker T d. Heidenreich.
Let's call this one a wedding present for Booker. Long life and prosperity.
PyroFalkon Says...  Booker T d. Heidenreich.
The fuck? How did this match happen? It's really fun trying to figure out how the WWE arranges certain matches when I don't have UPN. I really need to stop complaining about it and just upgrade my satellite package.
Big Danny T Says... Booker T d. Heidenreich.
Like the Rick, I too was concerned that they were going for the Snitsky/Heidenreich vs. 'Taker/Kane match at WM, and if I still felt sure that that was the case, then I'd have picked Hrrnenerrrer. BUT I also noticed that they seem to be moving away from something like that on Raw. Of course, that could be just because WWE was spinning it's wheels, but I'll put out a little bit of hope that the WWE is willing to give Booker a consolation prize for putting Cena over in their #1 contenders match.
Rick Scaia Says... Heidenreich d. Booker T.
It's this simple: *if* this match happens, then the winner will be determined by one easy heuristic... if the craptacular Snitsky/Heidenreich vs. Kane/Taker match is still on for WM, then Heidenreich must win this one.  If it's off, then Booker will win.

And despite the last 2 weeks of TV seeming to indicate that said tag match has been tabled, I live in fear that we're being mis-directed. I'm just gonna go ahead and pick the worst... and if I'm wrong, I'll actually be happier than if I'm right.

Here's one time when I WANT you to prove me wrong, WWE. C'mon, Hollywood Hacks, I double dog dare you!


A Likely Waste of Time and Energy

Yes, this is pointless, but no, I can't really work up any real moral outrage. If anything, I give this pointless display of T&A my tacit approval... because if WWE got it through their thick skulls to keep the Useless Eye Candy Divas on SmackDown! doing things like this, and emphasized the physically capable women a bit more on RAW, I'd be a very happy camper.  I don't have a problem with the T&A, I merely have a problem with it when it undercuts the chances of success for other parts of the show that I like more (in this case, women like Trish and Molly actually reminding us that they are good at stuff related to wrestling).

So what's the deal here? I don't really know. I think they said something like there will be three events (swimsuit, evening gown, and talent?), that Veteran Divas Torrie and Dawn Marie will oversee the event, and that the fans will determine the winner.

The four "rookie" divas are: Joy Giovanni, Michelle McCool, Rochelle, and Lauren. Those last two, I honestly don't know what's going on... wasn't Rochelle originally a Useless RAW Diva? And I don't think I've ever seen this Lauren before in my entire life. Where the hell'd she come from? Further: why the hell should I care?

Seriously: even if I say SD! is where you should stick the Useless T&A, haven't we learned that just random babes isn't the solution to anything? Torrie will be more over than the 4 "rookies" combined, and that's a serious problem...

In any case, I don't really know a lot about these rookies, so I made a Very Special Visit to WWE.com to do research, and I came up with these tidbits of profile information to help YOU decide which of these women is the least objectionable....  I swear, I did NOT make any of this up (the girls submitted this information on their own). I only edited it slightly for length (OK, and maybe for my own amusement):

Lists Her Credentials As: "Licensed Massage Therapist" and "Special Friend of Big Show's" [again, NOT making this up! This is a REAL credential! I only changed it to be punctuated in a grammatically correct fashion!]
Why You Should Vote For Her: "Just like Big Show is going to defeat JBL for the WWE Championship inside of the Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match, Iíll defeat these other three girls and be named SmackDown!ís hottest new Diva, because I know I can bring the most Joy in the long run." [OMG~! A Pun~! A subtle plug for an actual PPV wrestling match~! Joy is so SMRT~!]

Lists Her Credentials As: "Actress on Guiding Light" and "Homecoming Queen" [HOMECOMING QUEEN?!? Does she want to get a job with WWE, or be accepted as a pledge to Kappa Delta Skank?]

Why You Should Vote For Her: "Fans should vote for me because of the four, I have the most wonderful body, Iím sweet, bubbly, funny, silly, and gorgeous." [She forgot to mention modest. Christ, get over yourself, honey; it's not like you're competing against The Women of the Department of Motor Vehicles.]

Lists Her Credentials As: "Gymnast" and "Kick Boxer"
Why You Should Vote For Her: "All the other girls are really beautiful, and Joy already has a lot of fans out there, so this oneís gonna be tough. But I donít like to lose, and I really think Iím the total package. Itís easy to go and parade around the ring in skimpy clothes, but itís a different thing to go out there show some athletic skills inside the ring, like I plan on doing here shortly."

Remember, not only did I not make any of this up, but you can go back to May or June 2004, and discover that I've been championing Michelle McCool for a good long time, even though I didn't even know why at first. Read those four capsules again, and tell me how ANY sensible, half-intelligent person over the age of 13 would have any reason to vote for anyone OTHER than Michelle as the rOOkie of the Year...

Of course, this means she will lose. Because while she might be starting to give me the ol' Raging Erection of the Brain, she'll probably do the least to plumpen the wangs of socially-awkward pubescent hornballs who should probably just go on a hunt to find dad's Playboys if they're in such dire need of anonymous boobs and vapid blank canvases of women (wait, NOT blank: HEAVILY PAINTED, if we've learned anything about WWE's idea of prettification). Fricking WWE and their goddamned useless divas...

The OOutlOOk
Michelle McCool wins: According to Common Sense
Some Other Bimbo wins: 99% of the Time

The Staff of OO says... Rick doesn't pay us enough to actually make official predictions for shit like this. But for whatever it's worth, if you want a prediction that has absolutely nothing to do with what belongs on a good wrestling show: we WILL all go ahead and pick the mighty University of Dayton Flyers to crush the hated Xavier Musketeers in a special nationally televised Grudge Match (Saturday, 2pm, ESPN; your Humble Webmaster may well be visible in the first row or two).



Five announced matches, one likely match, and one silly T&A contest... sounds like a pretty full slate, no? 

Well, it might be, but the trOOps like to dazzle you with their additional thoughts, general overviews, and predictions about stuff that might not fit into any of the above little boxes. And plus: I didn't know about the Rookie Diva Crap when I bugged the trOOps to get me their predictions... so this is where some of them will chime in about that.


The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... There are many reasons why I am the Undisputed Lady and Mistress of Online Onslaught dot com, and Stacy Keibler is not. The following opinion is just one of them.
I hear there's a Rookie Diva Contest. This will not be worth it unless one or more of them get naked (and this is coming from a straight female.) This is a pathetic waste of PPV time for a useless fucking bunch of idiot slutbags who do nothing but waste valuable oxygen. Wearing too much makeup, bouncing around in high heels, having fake boobs and an inability to speak English fluently does not count as talent. And I don't care if saying this is getting old or repetitive, because I refuse to beaten into submission by WWE into accepting that valuable time on a fucking wrestling show is being wasted on these pathetic famewhores who are willing to humiliate themselves for a buck. I refuse to accept that because it is fundamentally unacceptable. These are women who, in ten years' time, will be passed out in the bedrooms of their trailers in a puddle of their own vomit after a coke binge because their fifteen minutes of fame has passed them by and their precious looks have faded away and left them destitute and lonely, forced to work in seedy strip clubs for twenty bucks a night. And I relish that mental image, because all of them fucking deserve it.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Needs More Kane?
I am writing this on a Tuesday afternoon, so its certainly possible that the card will change between now and Sunday...

I've heard there's going to be some sort of segment featuring RUD (Random Useless Divas) of some sort, so you've got that goin' on. Perhaps Spike regains the title he should have never lost in a bonus match against Funaki, maybe even with the help of the returning D-Von and Bubba Ray (frankly, I think they should be building to a Dudleyz-Bashamz match at Mania as the only tag team match left on this brand)... Batista showing up is a given here, and I'd also expect SHNITSKY and Kane to make for a little bit of cross-brand mayhem. As I said, Shawn Michaels probably would detract from all the Raw stuff, so I'd leave him. But if he shows up, I wouldn't be shocked. Oh, and we can't forget the requisite Hardcore Holly tag team match, giving, say, Kenzo and Rene something to do with their time.

I will say this: the top two matches here look surprisingly strong for a SmackDown show. No Way Out was definitely my favorite SmackDown-only show last year, and with all the hype for WrestleMania, this one should be more of the same...

The Cubs Fan Says... Moolah and Mae are Rookies?
I follow SD!, though not as strong and as frequent as I once did, but I still occasionally make charts and lists to explain to others what's
going on. I know who Joy is, because they randomlly attached her to Big Show. I know who Michelle is, because she was the killer in Diva Dodgeball and "stretching assistant" has to be dumbest idea for a character based on a likely real occupation. I have absolutely no clue who these other two girls are - Rochelle and the Other One. They could pull off masks and outfits on Sunday to reveal themselves as Mae and Moolah and I wouldn't be (too) surprised, because they don't seem like real actual people who've been on SmackDown! - it feels like an inside joke I need explained.

Why you'd put people on television when you have absolutely nothing for them to do, I can not begin to understand.

Hopefully, one year, they'll figure out a way to make this February PPV seem less like a pointless weigh station on the road to WrestleMania. They haven't done it this year.
Matt Hocking Says... Playing it Safe? Or Crazy Like a Fox?
I feel for the WWE here, though this a bed that they've made for themselves to lay in. The PPV line-up with the exception of the top two matches, is lacking seriously in PPV calibur action, which all but insures that it will fall short of the suprisingly entertaining No Way Out 2004. However, there are some possible highlights depending on how well they book the extra curriculars in the Main Event and how much crazy, zany cruiserweight action, but overall it's just a means to an end getting to WrestleMania.

However, it makes predicting this particular PPV a little harder because you never know when the WWE is going to decide that, because this is a "boring" PPV they're going to try pulling something crazy in an effort to spice things up. Especially here on the Road to WrestleMania. I don't see them doing it in any of the matches where I made a "safe" pick, but then again, that would be where you'd want to do it. That having been said, I don't think they will, because I really doubt they want to mess with their own plans right now. But then again, I'm not the one writing this stuff, so 
what do I know?

Other Stuff:

-On Heat, Orlando Jordan will beat somebody. I don't know. Nunzio.
-Teddy Long will present a big gift of some sort to make Batista feel more welcome on RAW, whether it be dollah dollah bills, y'all or a big stuffed bear, I don't know. Whatever it is, JBL will complain about it, and Long will tell him to hollah.
-John Cena will perform a rap comparing Kurt Angle's gold medals to testicles.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... As if you weren't already worried enough, allow me to invoke the memory of THE REDNECK TRIATHLON~!
While they haven't announced the Booker match, they have bothered to announce this craptacular Rookie Diva competition. What's the prize? Who the hell cares? I'm sure there isn't even one. They say they are three portions to this just like the Redneck Triathalon from a few years ago. That means I can drink heavily while watching this show and have three opportunities for pee breaks. If I was forced to pick one, I'll say Joy. Not because she has any value, but since she, for some unknown reason, gets a lot of TV time already would be the most logical choice for this show. For the live crowd to have to endure this makes me almost sympathetic to the people of Pittsburgh. I said, almost.

I've mentioned the Shawn and Batista issues, so I won't rehash them here. The only other thing that is probably a given is an interaction between Teddy and Carlito. After all, we do need to have something Cool happen on this show.

Also, it now seems like we're gearing toward Orton vs. Undertaker at WM. If they want that to be anything worthwhile, they may plant the seeds here. But I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what they will do. So, most likely nothing will happen.
Jeb Lund Says... Nothing.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Forget Heat! *I* am wrestling on the pregame show!
I'll actually be watching this event, and on the big screen no less. NWA-ECCW is staging a pre-PPV event at a local movie theater (the SilverCity Coquitlam, if you're around), with Yours Truly in action against an opponent yet to be mangled. Remember, just like beer, there's no such thing as bad wrestling if it's free.

I predict there will be a massive Tenderfoot Time-out during the Diva Challenge. Which, given SD!'s track record of late, will happen during the Cruiserweight match, while Carlito and Teddy Long argue on the OvalTron and Doink the Clown (w/ Dink) throw confetti around ringside.
PyroFalkon Says...  There is a 98% chance of me deciding I'm 75% likely to order No Way Out. But there's only a 15% chance of that happening.
Okay, I was 98% sure that I wasn't getting Royal Rumble, but I did. I'm now 104% sure I won't get No Way Out, but considering I have no other way to keep tabs on SmackDown!Ö Then again, I need to save my money. Bloody taxes.

I really wish I had something more interesting to say here, but I don't. Except that starting this Monday, all stats will be shown for our PPV Battles! I just want to stay over .500 this year. Speaking of which, this is a quote from the mass e-mail Rick sent us for our PPV card:

"And if it's at all possible, I just ask for you all to bat 1.000!"

So it's not like we're under pressure to perform or anything. This is Valentine's Day all over again, but hopefully I won't be disappointing someone this time.
Big Danny T Says... Obstacles are made to be overcome.
I'm not sure how much interferance Batista can give through a steel cage topped with Barbed wire, but obstacles are made to be overcome, and look for him to deliver a spinebuter and powerbomb late in the match, just to show people who's boss.

I'd be willing to bet that HBK might be in the house sunday night as well to deliver a superkick at the right moment during Angle/Cena.

I'd also throw in that there might be some Diva action, possibly a "humorous" backstage skit.
Rick Scaia Says... Finally, sweet, sweet closure.
As tends to be the case when I finally get down to this last beige box after writing both the match previews and then adding in all my own predictions, I don't have a WHOLE lot more to say.

Here's maybe a quick bullet list of predictions for the weekend that I have and which don't really fit anywhere else:

  • Dayton 72, Xavier 66.  And I will be drunk before gametime on Saturday afternoon. Hell, for 3 of the past 5 ESPN games versus Hated Xavier, I didn't even bother going to bed on Friday night, and was still working on my Friday drunk come tail-gating/pre-game boozing time on Saturday morning.  I'd make a joke that I'm getting older and don't have the chops, anymore... but the sad truth is: I could do it. If I wanted to. Which I probably don't. Because I live my life by the credo "Just because I CAN do something, it does not follow that I SHOULD do something." 
  • Carlito Cool and his petition will make an appearance. My ideal scenario: he once again propositions Batista ("Hey yo, Big Mang, if you're gonna be coming to SmackDown!, maybe now you should finally take an interest in who will be your general manager!"), and Batista again gets a chance to show off his casual likeability in a little skit before commencing with the intense ass-kicking in the main event.
  • If I get stuck watching this show at Hooters, I will either die a little bit inside by repressing all my hilarious mockery of the NASCAR idiots who had assembled for the Daytona 500, or I will die a little bit outside if I dare to let that mockery out and those assclowns decide that I must be punched for daring to opine that "Anybody who actually has a sticker of the number 3 with angel wings is a fucking retard."

Yeah, that's about as rambly and off-topic a tangent as I feel like resorting to... it'd only get worse from here. So I'm done.


So there you have it... WWE's No Way Out PPV covered from just about every imaginable angle. If we didn't think of it, then it isn't worth thinking of!

As always, you're encouraged to check out the PPV on Sunday night... but if the aforementioned NASCAR crap-a-thon, or the NBA All-Star Game command your attention instead, then you know you can count on OO to have your back. My immediate post-show recap of No Way Out will be published at some point proximate to midnight on Sunday night.

See y'all then!

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.




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