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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TEAM COVERAGE: SD! presents
WWE No Way Out PPV Preview
February 18, 2006

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

 

What do ya know?

SmackDown!'s got a PPV this weekend, and the staff of Online Onslaught dot com have assembled to come up with at least a half-dozen different ways of saying "I don't even know if I'm gonna watch this crap on Sunday."

Way to be, WWE!

 
But what do you expect when your main event has a grand total of no storyline or motivation behind it other than the Undertaker's ridiculous-looking super-powers indicating some kind of vague, nebulous interest in having the World Title? 

What do you expect when your semi-main event has only one sensible and compelling outcome, but where all insider signs point to WWE willfully ignoring that fact to deliver the opposite outcome as a flagrant "Fuck off" to their fans?

What do you expect when all but one of your remaining matches has a backstory that is measured in days, instead of in weeks or months? Hell, one of the undercard matches has a backstory that won't even be 48 hours old once the PPV starts on Sunday night. Great work, Writer Monkeys!

But what the hell? This is ostensibly all part of the Road to WrestleMania, and the staff of Online Onslaught dot com take great pride in showing up to polish WWE's turds for it! Marvel as we once again accomplish that feat in our comprehensive Team Coverage Preview of WWE's No Way Out pay-per-view!

We ride:
 

KURT ANGLE vs. THE UNDERTAKER
World Heavyweight Title Match

The story here? There isn't much of one.

Angle came over from RAW to save SD! after the brand suffered massive roster depletion, and won the World Title. Then he finished off former champ Batista's planned feud with Mark Henry, and most people figured at that point, the writers would actually start crafting a title reign that would be Kurt's (instead of Batista's-by-proxy).

But all they came up with for Kurt was having the Undertaker show up at the soul-crushingly retarded climax of the Royal Rumble PPV to shoot cartoon lightning towards the ring, causing it to explode while Kurt was standing in it. Then Taker made the International Symbol For "Me Want Da Belt." And because Kurt doesn't back down from a challenge, we had ourselves a title match.

Thrilling, huh?

The closest they came to having a story was when the two babyfaces decided to join forces against their mutual enemies, Mark Henry and MNM. In a 2-on-3 Handicap Match, Angle and Taker were clearly playing a game of one-upsmanship. Angle, after blind-tagging himself into the match, scored the win for his team (and, in what passes for storytelling, also scored the Psychological Win over Taker, or something). But then the one-upsmanship continued after the match, until Taker played his Trump Card, by Tombstoning Mark Henry.

For some reason, this had the effect of terrifying Angle. Ummm, Kurt? Unless you were planning on morphing into a 400 pound black man before the PPV, the Tombstone has exactly zero (0) relevance to your match against Taker. A lazier effort from the creative team, I cannot imagine.

Taker's one of the best big men wrestling's ever seen, and Kurt's just flat-out one of the best. These two have never had a big, PPV main event showdown, and you know they'll want to bring it. In the absence of a storyline or well-defined reasons for wanting to fight (even though this is about the World Title, Taker never even cut a promo really explaining why he's sudden so gung-ho about the belt again, creating the TNA-esque lack of sizzle, here), I'm not so sure it's the showcase they would have imagined for their first big match. But by sheer force of their personalities, I'm sure they'll get the crowd nominally into this, and I'm sure they'll back that up with plenty of solid action. But I'm still having a hard time getting really fired up for it...
  

The OOutlOOk
Angle wins: 6 votes   --|--  NO CONTEST: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Angle d. Undertaker.
A few words of warning before I start: I do not watch Smackdown! I haven't read any recaps to find out what's going on. I will not be seeing the PPV this Sunday, and I'm at the point where I really don't give a shit if my prediction percentages tank.

That said, this is one match I'd really like to see, and I'll tell you why. I still remember a few years back when Smackdown! was still kicking ass and Angle and Brock Lesnar were running the show. The Undertaker had gotten himself a title shot with Angle, and the two of them had a brilliant twenty-minute match that became my favorite free TV match of the year. Taker chain-wrestled, for Christ's sake! Angle is the perfect opponent for him (well, he's the perfect opponent for anybody, but still), and I'm pretty sure that this match will kick a sizable amount of ass. And though I am a Taker apologist and have always liked the guy, I don't see him winning here. Angle v. Mysterio for the title at Wrestlemania is just too good of an opportunity to pass up. Angle wins.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Angle d. Undertaker.
I really have NO idea why this match is taking place. Yes, I saw the whole "ring explodes, causing Tazz to unexpectedly yell 'Holy Shit'" thing at Royal Rumble, but I mean, why play this card now?

I am not, by any stretch, an Undertaker fan anymore, but I do believe he can be used well as a special attraction. Let him duke it out (and subsequently crush) an up and coming heel once or twice a year; that's fine. DON'T let him fight for a title he shouldn't be competing for, against a newly-turned fan favorite, right before Angle has to (possibly) fight ANOTHER fan favorite at WrestleMania. I would have given JBL the spot here because (a) the month or so of feuding would have been great for them and (b) it just makes more sense from a booking perspective. Even a rematch with Mark Henry, as dreadful a match as that would have been, had more momentum creatively.

But instead, we're stuck with this steaming pile of shit, which I'm sure to plunk down money to watch because... I WATCH ANYTHING WWE THROWS AT ME! Anyways, Angle retains, somehow, and goes to Mania. Nuff said.

The Cubs Fan Says... Angle d. Undertaker.
Undertaker wrestles so rarely and sporadically, it's tough to picture him as champion - he couldn't disappear every other month if he had the belt. Weirdly, I'd be much more into this match if Kurt Angle was still Batista.
Matt Hocking Says... Angle d. Undertaker.
PyroFalkon Says...  NO CONTEST.
Still haven’t watched SmackDown! in a long time (what’s it been, two years?), but I do know a couple truths. I know that you never bet against the Undertaker in any PPV match, especially not a Wrestlemania match. This ain’t Wrestlemania, but it is the run-up to it.

Now, by the same token, I’m pretty damn sure Angle will keep the belt. I mean, the Undertaker doesn’t need any title, and considering how little he works during the year, it would be pointless for him to have it. Even if he is going to be a weekly character from here to Wrestlemania, his having the belt is just silly and doesn’t solve anything.

I’m going over different scenarios in my mind, but I cannot see any finish where the Undertaker should take the belt. If someone interferes, the ref doesn’t see it, and Undertaker wins that way, it makes Taker look weak and passes the belt off to, again, someone who doesn’t need it. This isn’t a gimmick match like a Buried Alive or Casket Match, so having Taker job won’t be anything special like they always book it to be. I just can’t envision Kurt going over cleanly…

I don’t know. Unless Kurt or Taker DQs themselves, which seems highly unlikely, I just don’t think this one will have an ending. It’s bad to end a PPV on a draw, but that doesn’t mean it’s never been done.

Jeff J. Snider Says... Angle d. Undertaker.
After seeing how quick Taker was on Smackdown Friday night, I have nothing but high hopes for this match. Kurt Angle could carry a retarded sloth to a good match -- heck, he ALMOST got a good match out of Mark Henry! -- but I don't think he will even need to be Superman here. I expect he and Taker to both be at the top of their games, but in the actual wrestling and in the psychology. I don't see them putting the title on Taker at this point in his career, and I don't think there is room for a DQ or other unsatisfying finish, since the champ has an opponent lined up for Wrestlemania. So I expect Kurt Angle to pull this one off.
Rick Scaia Says... Angle d. Undertaker.
With the complete and utter lack of a storyline here, I just can't see there being any intentions of changing the title. If WWE -- for whatever reason -- was going that direction, you have to think they'd have put a bit more effort into making this match seem like a big deal.

Or even a middlin' deal.

And plus, purely from a Thinking-Too-Hard Perspective, this is NOT the time of year when you want Taker holding a world title... man's got an Undefeated WrestleMania Streak to maintain, and for dramatic purposes, it's probably better if you don't have a world title in possession of a guy who cannot possible lose in the main event of the biggest show of the year.

So it just makes a lot more sense to have Angle retain and move on to whatever it is he'll move on to... and then Taker quietly segues into a sidebar feud that he can win convincingly at Mania.

 

REY MYSTERIO vs. RANDY ORTON
Rey's WrestleMania Main Event Title Shot On The Line

Rey -- against all odds -- won the Royal Rumble 3 weeks ago as part of his effort to honor the memory of his late friend, Eddie Guerrero.

Randy Orton -- fresh off a series of matches against Chris Benoit in which Orton enthralled the crowd and inspired them to chant "boring" at him three weeks in a row -- was the last man Rey eliminated in the Rumble. Which made Young Randall so very angry.

So for the past three weeks, Randall has called the diminutive Rey's win a "fluke," and made several comments-of-questionable-taste about the Ghost of Eddie Guerrero's involvement in Rey's run to WM. It's cheap heat, but hey, with Orton, you gotta take what you can get, and the cheap tactics have worked better for Orton than most anything else he's tried in the last 2 years since the end of the Foley feud.

And all while deriding Eddie's Memory, Orton also pulled an old chestnut out of his waxed ass: his Density. Ummm, I mean "Destiny." I thought it was a stupid and lazy concept 2 years ago, and I think the same thing today. But at least coming out of the wordhole of a douchebag heel, all this talk of "destiny" (instead of talking about possessing actual talent or ability) fits a bit better. Orton's Density is the same as it was 2 years ago: to be the World Champion. And Orton figured the fastest way to accomplish that was to somehow get his hands on Rey's WM Title Shot.

Bafflingly, all he had to do was ask, and Rey immediately agreed to put the title shot on the line in a match. Seriously: who's writing this shit? It's one thing for a babyface to not back down from a challenge; it's another for him to be cast as a retard. And it wouldn't have been hard to do an angle or promo in which Rey is given a compelling, believable reason to putting his precious title shot on the line. But WWE just decided not to do it. Dolts.

Ominously, Rey has actually physically dominated Orton so far in this "feud" (although Orton's cheap tactics mean he's leading in the Verbal Tauntery category)... Rey even brought about the one-week return of Concussed Idiot Randall Orton. That would seem to bode ill for Rey's chances of continuing his dominance at the PPV, where it matters.

Then again: Rey's got the Ghost of Eddie Guerrero on his side. And supposedly, both Eddie's widow and Chavo Guerrero will be at ringside cheering Rey on at the PPV. You can't tell this story and bring Eddie's wife into things so that she can sit there and watch Orton crap on her husband's memory, can you? Can you?

I dunno. I wouldn't think so, but this is WWE, where -- as the saying once went -- Anything Can Happen. Even things that are mind-numbingly stupid and in poor taste. The only "out" that should even be considered is classless assface Randy Orton getting his comeuppance in front of Eddie's family, and courtesy of one of Eddie's best friends. But why am I not exactly rushing out to bet on this outcome?
  

The OOutlOOk
Rey wins: 4 votes   --|--  Orton wins: 2 votes
NO CONTEST: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Rey d. Orton.
This is the only match on the card where I have an inkling of the story going into it: Orton's been bad-mouthing Eddie Guerrero and in general acting like a bitch. And I hear Chavo's going to be ringside.

This is a scenario where Rey has to win. There is no other option, and I'm not saying this because I can't fucking stand Randy Orton. When a heel says something as outrageous as, "The recently departed and much-beloved Eddie is burning in hell," he needs to lose. It's like that time when Triple H kept saying that Booker T wasn't worthy of the World Title and made thinly veiled racial insults, so Booker had to win to prove Trips wrong. And so at 'Mania that year.... okay, bad example.

But honestly, if Orton wins this one, I'll eat a bug. Rock on, Rey-Rey.

Canadian Bulldog Says... NO CONTEST.
Yes, I made the same bold (read: dumb) prediction for Edge vs. John Cena last month, and that turned out to be another one of Bulldog's rousing picks. But if not for some kind of no-contest here, how ELSE do you set up Mysterio-Angle-Orton for WrestleMania with the title shot clearly on the line?

I think Orton and Angle would make a decent WrestleMania co-main event, but where does that leave Mysterio? Barring an "Eddie Tribute Match" with Chris Benoit, I don't see anything else viable on the horizon. Plus, Rey CAN'T lose his shot now, can he? I mean, Vince & Co. surely had this in mind when they started exploiting Eddie's death, didn't they?

I hate to say it, but the outcome of this match could have huge consequences going forward if they fuck it up. I had no problem with Orton getting the shot over Rey -- Randy Orton has improved a LOT... but then they made him start taking shots at Eddie Guerrero. Even in Vince's mind, this has got to be the only logical conclusion.

Right?

The Cubs Fan Says... Rey Mysterio d. Orton.
There's no way this is actually going to happen - all the plugged in people who'd know are 99.99% sure it's going the other way, so I'm basically for .01% accidental fluke. Rather be wrong than right, I guess.
Matt Hocking Says... Orton d. Rey.
PyroFalkon Says...  Orton d. Rey.
Even with the ghost of Eddie behind him, I don’t have the confidence that WWE management has the confidence to put Rey Mysterio in the main event at Wrestlemania. We know they value Orton though.
Jeff J. Snider Says... Rey d. Orton.
This is simple: if Mysterio doesn't win, then shame on WWE for letting him win the Rumble in the first place. Mysterio vs. Angle is an amazing match for Wrestlemania. Mysterio could win the title and be a convincing champion, because he has perfected the underdog-overcoming-odds act over the years. In addition, now that WWE has announced that Vicki Guerrero will be in attendance at No Way Out, I have to believe that Rey will be "avenging" Eddie to pay tribute to his fallen friend.
Rick Scaia Says... Rey d. Orton.
Let me make this perfectly clear: All signs point to Orton winning in "WWE Think." But I refuse to believe WWE could be that willfully stupid. Not only would they be pissing away the one believable assault on the main event made by Rey (who, as outlined before, kind of NEEDS the "gimmick" of winning the Rumble to get that sort of shot), but they'd be turning around to give that main event slot to a guy who was deemed unworthy of the spot one year ago and who has made no demonstrable improvements in the interim.

Of course, just because this decision is indefensible from any rational perspective doesn't mean that WWE won't do it. In fact, let me spell out how I sorta suspect things COULD go on Sunday.... remember that "favor" Booker T owes Orton? Well, Orton cashes it in, and Booker helps Orton beat Rey. Orton goes on to stink up the join in SD!'s WM Main Event, and the Ghost of Eddie Guerrero has to settle for helping Rey win the US Title from Booker without ever getting revenge on Assface Randy Orton for all those naughty things he said. That's almost flawless WWE Think, folks. It fits together in an almost perfectly uninteresting, unsatisfying, and underwhelming fashion, just the way WWE likes it.

But I flat-out refuse to believe this will happen. And even if it does, I want to be on record as predicting the significantly less-lame finish. I want WWE to live up to MY standards instead of living down to theirs.

Here's how it SHOULD happen: have Booker make the run-in, but have him eventually be neutralized by Chavo (who is supposedly gonna be at ringside), and in the chaos, Rey can score the win over Orton and continue living his dream. Meantime, Booker's interference sets up a deal where it's basically a Rey/Chavo vs. Orton/Booker mini-feud where you can do all sorts of tag and/or singles matches to mark time on TV (and on house show line-ups, since if your WM22 main event is Rey vs. Angle, you will NOT take a special, face-vs.-face match out on the road). When Rey needs to start focusing on hostilities with Angle, it'd be easy to slide Benoit into that slot as a fellow Eddie-ally (assuming that one on-going aspect to Orton's character is gonna be crapping on Eddie's memory to make sure he's generating SOME kind of fan response). The US Title would even be in the mix among those four, which could get very interesting.

And most importantly: Rey going on to WrestleMania is the only (ONLY~!) justifiable "out" to all this stuff WWE has done with the Ghost of Eddie Guerrero. Their use of that storyline has already bordered on classless, but cutting Rey's run to WM off in this fashion would also render the dubious storytelling utterly pointless and unnecessary. If WWE opted to push all those cheap buttons with Orton's character, it had goddamned well better have been for a reason and with a goal in mind.

One other than "Randy Orton is a vapid man-bimbo but if we feed him these lines, people will actually boo him."

That leads me to shirk conventional wisdom and arrive at the conclusion that -- unless WWE believes that making asshatted creative decisions that basically DARE their fans to stop caring -- the only reason and the only goal that makes any sense here is sending Rey Mysterio on to WrestleMania to hold up half of a main event match that people might actually be interested in.

Prove me right, WWE. Prove me right. Let all this underground buzz about Angle vs. Orton at Mania be your stupid idea of swerving the "smarts." Swerving us right into not even wanting to watch this damned PPV. But swerving us nonetheless.

 

BOOKER T vs. CHRIS BENOIT
US Title Match

These two have been feuding for what feels like its been six months... thing is, for the past two months, Booker's been injured, so they really haven't had a chance to finish things off with a bang.

Benoit was the US Champ last fall when Booker (at the insistence of his increasingly-pushy wife, Sharmell) staged a Friendly Challenge for the title. And with an assist from his wife, Booker took the title. Booker claimed ignorance of Sharmell's interference, but of course, it turns out he was lying, and the revelation of his and Sharmell's cahooting launched a heel turn for Booker.

After Booker retained his title in sketchy fashion a few times, a Best of Seven Series was scheduled to determine, once and for all, who was the deserving US Champ. Booker was holding a 3-to-1 lead in the series when a groin injury sidelined him in December. Booker was allowed to pick a surrogate to finish the series for him. Booker selected Randy Orton, who promptly lost 2 matches to even the series at 3-to-3... but in the rubber match, Orton got plenty of outside assistance to steal the win, and then he handed the title over to Booker T.

In exchange, Orton is owed a "favor" from Booker, and to the best of my memory, hasn't cashed it in yet (as mentioned above in my Nightmare Scenario).

For the past month, Booker has held the US Title, but has not defended it as he's nursing his injury. Instead, he's done some of SD!'s Finest Commentary in frequent appearances during Benoit's matches. He's also been behind more than a few sneak attacks on Benoit which seemed to indicate Booker's not as injured as we've been led to believe.

As a result, Teddy Long ordered this Final Rematch between the two for the US Title. And No Substitutions are allowed; if Booker doesn't wrestle, he loses the title. 

I honestly expect that this will be the best match of the night: it'll have plenty of action, but it's also the one match with two personalities fans can connect with and cheer or boo and with a strong, established storyline that plays to the strengths of those personalities.
  

The OOutlOOk
Booker wins: 4 votes   --|--  Benoit wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Booker T d. Benoit.
Okay, I'm tired of this feud, and I haven't even watched any of it. Good god, this is still going on? In a case like this, I ask myself what I would do if I were booking things (short version: Benoit is awesome, and thus he wins), and then predict the opposite. So Booker walks away with the title, and goes on to feud with the Boogeyman or some other stupid shit.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Benoit d. Booker T.
This is probably the toughest one for me to pick. WWE got very lucky with Booker's injury, in so much as it created a unique twist to the storyline. Booker deserves a proper, injury-free run. But if Benoit loses this, it REALLY hurts his credibility going forward. I'm thinking that a Benoit-JBL match could be part of WrestleMania, which leads me to believe that Benoit is the pony to bet on here.
The Cubs Fan Says... Benoit d. Booker T.
I guess you could save Benoit finally getting his win back at
WrestleMania, but I just don't think you can keep the status quo on this for another six weeks. Benoit wins and moves onto face someone else, and Booker gets the joy of facing the Boogeyman.
Matt Hocking Says... Booker T d. Benoit.
PyroFalkon Says...  Benoit d. Booker T.
Uhhh... because I like Benoit more? 
Jeff J. Snider Says... Booker T d. Benoit.
I believe that WWE would have put the title on Benoit in the original Best of 7 Series if a) Booker hadn't gotten hurt, and b) Benoit's contract status had been more concrete. I think that after these past few months of Booker getting the best of Benoit (albeit by proxy), the time has come for some vengeance, and Benoit takes the title back here.
Rick Scaia Says... Booker T d. Benoit.
This one could certainly go either way, and I'd not mind one bit. But simple logic has to come into play:

If WWE had plans for Benoit as US Champ, they should have just had him win the Best of Seven Series so he could defend the title in the ensuing month (which Booker's not done). The final blow-off match with Booker would still have been there waiting for him. But they put the belt on Booker a few weeks ago, and I have to assume that means that's where WWE intends to keep it.

Putting the belt on Benoit and then having Booker immediately win it (in cheap fashion) in their final showdown would have made sense. But putting the belt on Booker, and then promptly having him never defend it, so as to put the belt back on Benoit in their final showdown, defies all logic as near as I can tell.

Plus, being completely honest, SD!'s been doing Benoit no favors on the booking front the last month, while Booker is increasingly coming off as one of the stars of the show (even without wrestling). To me, it creates a sense that Booker could do more with the US Title in the near term (going back to what I laid out above, he could quickly find himself in the mix with Chavo, Rey, and even Orton again) than Benoit could (who has been "feuding" with the talented-but-not-exactly-top-level Fit Finlay the past few weeks).

Of course, this being WWE, logic and good sense don't really come into play, now do they? All I can say is that, at least in this case, they can pick whichever outcome they want, and I'll be happy... I'm honestly expecting a strong match, and know full well that whichever of these guys walks out with the US Title will continue to entertain me in the coming weeks and months.

 

GREGORY HELMS vs. ALL OTHER CRUISERWEIGHTS
Cruiserweight Title Match

A month ago, Kid Kash challenged The World to come after his Cruiserweight Title. And much to his surprise, Gregory Helms showed up from RAW, and outlasted everybody to take the belt.

Since that time, Helms has declared himself to be the greatest CW Champ Ever, and has -- in general -- not endeared himself to any of his new SD! co-workers. On a recent edition of SD!, he made the same basic boast that got Kid Kash in trouble last month... 

Helms' boasting was overheard by the CW Lockerroom, who swarmed, en masse, after Helms defeated Scotty 2 Hotty in a successful title defense. They laid a beating on Helms.

But Helms' boasting was also overheard by Teddy Long, who decided to let Helms prove his boasting by putting him into a PPV match against all SD!'s other cruisers. At present, there's no indication whether this will be a battle royale or gauntlet style or what.... but the opposition to Helms looks to include: Kash, Funaki, Scotty, London, Kendrick, Guido, and the Mexicools.

The quality of this match will be heavily dependent on the format and the amount of time it gets to develop. It does seem like some of the handcuffs have come off since the New Year, and if these guys get to go at full speed, this could be a nice little treat.
  

The OOutlOOk
Helms wins: 1 votes   --|--  Super Crazy wins: 1 vote
Kid Kash wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Helms wins.
I can tell you this much: this match won't be given nearly the amount of time it deserves. It will last approximately three minutes when everyone would be able to easily make it twenty. The extra time will go to backstage footage of Vince McMahon doing something boring and unnecessary. Or perhaps to the Boogeyman, which will be just as useless but possibly more entertaining in a train-wreck sort of way.

I never know what the hell WWE is planning on doing with the CW belt (probably throwing darts on a board with all the cruisers' names on them), so I'll just stick with the champ and say that Helms keeps the title.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Helms wins.
I would have saved this for Mania, personally, because we just HAD this match at the Rumble, plus they could have at least taken some time to build this up properly. But then again, this is the cruiserweight division we're talking about. I'd be shocked if they don't somehow turn this into a showcase for the mini's.

Helms has finally got some direction again, and maybe he can use it to give a much-needed heel edge to the title. Kid Kash was starting to get that, but injuries obviously got in the way. Otherwise, I don't really see, say Funaki or Psychosis or whoever walking away with the belt.

If we're lucky, maybe we get a showdown with Paul London near the end, setting up for what could be a great little match at WrestleMania.

The Cubs Fan Says... Super Crazy wins.
They could do anything they wanted and it's have the same exact meaning, so I'll just pick Super Crazy to win because Super Crazy is awesome.
Matt Hocking Says... Helms wins.
PyroFalkon Says...  Kid Kash wins.
I hate these cruiserweight gauntlet matches. They’re fast enough that we get enough flippity-floppity action, but too short to develop an actual in-ring story. And making it look like the cruisers can be beaten in 20 seconds by another cruiser, it just cheapens the whole division.

All right, the champion never retains in these (Gregory Helms is the champion right now, right?), and of the list of morons that seem to be in it, I don’t like anyone’s chances but Kid Kash. I still don’t know who the hell he is, but if memory serves, he held the belt last, and this would probably help out the feud, or something.

Jeff J. Snider Says... Helms wins.
I really think this match has only two possible winners: Helms and Kash. The other guys are all either part of tag teams or not championship material at this point. I have no idea what they have in mind, but it seems to have more to do with Helms than Kash, so I am going to guess that Helms retains here.
Rick Scaia Says... Helms wins.
I haven't got a fricking clue.

Without even knowing the rules of the match, it's hard to start trying to envision what WWE wants to accomplish with it. Is this going to be designed as a showcase for Helms, where he proves himself to be the best? Or a fluke-y deal where a surprise winner can sneak in and steal the title?

Like I said: no clue.

So let's try process of elimination.... London/Kendrick and the Mexicools should be out, since I'd really rather make use of them on the tag team front. Kash and Guido are out because they are heels and one of them winning the title wouldn't lend itself to a nature Rematch Feud with Helms. That leaves Funaki and Scotty. Or as I like to call them, Jobber and Jobbier. Scotty actually just got squashed by Helms already this week, and also, he gives me the gripes, so I'd cross him off the list.

So Funaki or Helms? What the hell, I'll say Helms, who comes out as a strong heel, which is something you could make use of heading into WM22... an almost invincible heel is just what you need to get fans to care about a plucky underdog babyface making his assault on Helms' title. It's just a matter of figuring out which of SD!'s massively under-utilized cruisers to plug into that role. But a strongly-booked Helms would make it easier for fans to latch onto him, no matter how jobbery he might seem at first.

 

MNM vs. MATT HARDY/MYSTERY PARTNER
Tag Team Title Match

It seems like this "open challenge" thing is the new favorite crutch of the lazy SD! creative team. Because 2 weeks ago, Melina got in on the fun and issued one of them on behalf of M and N 

Then, later on in the night, Melina issued an invitation to Matt Hardy to perhaps join MNM.

This week, Matt Hardy accepted one of Melina's offers. The Open Challenge to the tag team champs. Which isn't the one Melina was hoping he'd accept.

So Matt's coming to No Way Out with a Mystery Partner of His Choosing. I'm sure WWE wouldn't mind if fans started envisioning a return of the Hardy Boyz. But then again, WWE wouldn't mind if its fans all had the intelligence of house plants, too. Which is about what you'd have to have to be hanging your hat on the Return of Jeff Hardy.

Let's just say that even if Matt's partner is a total load who only has a job because his brother is a big muckity-muck (not that that'd ever happen!), this still shouldn't be TOO hateful a match. MNM are excellent at what they do, and Matt can eat up a bunch of minutes as the Babyface in Peril. The only question is: once fans see the Mystery Partner, will any of them give a shit?
  

The OOutlOOk
Hardy/Partner win: 4 votes   --|--  MNM win: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Hardy/Mystery Partner d. MNM.
Oh, whatever. I don't know who the mystery partner will be. Jeff Hardy with his trusty sidekick, Vicodin Man? Road Warrior Animal? La Parka? Apathy McWhogivesashit? I'll be fucked if I know, by why bother with all this mystery partner stuff if Matt isn't going to win? Throw the poor guy a bone and put a belt around his waist. It's a meaningless belt, but maybe he's easily distracted by shiny things (I'm betting the writers are, anyway.)
Canadian Bulldog Says... MNM d. Hardy/Mystery Partner.
I don't think anyone on the face of this earth (except for maybe Pyrofalkon) thinks that Hardy's partner won't be Animal. What would be a great twist (and something that has been discussed at length on the OO message boards) is if Hardy turns on Animal, giving MNM the win. I can't see them giving the straps to Matt Hardy and friggin' Animal this close to WrestleMania, but then again, I totally didn't see the whole Heidenreich/Animal dynasty happening, either.
The Cubs Fan Says... Matt Hardy/Mystery Partner d. MNM.
Matt and Animal doesn't seem particularly appealing as a team, but having teams which aren't particularly appealing win the tag team titles in their first match is exactly what they do. Even if the titles aren't on the line, the new team still wins.
Matt Hocking Says... MNM d. Hardy/Mystery Partner.
PyroFalkon Says...  Hardy/Mystery Partner d. MNM.
Uhhhh... because the fans like Matt more?
Jeff J. Snider Says... Hardy/Mystery Partner d. MNM.
Note: The following assumes that Hardy's partner will be Animal.

Why put Hardy and Animal together if not to win the titles one more time? Would I rather see London and Kendrick challenging for these titles? Absolutely. But that's not an option. I don't think Hardy and Animal will be champs for longer than a month, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a five-day title reign, but I expect them to win this match.
Rick Scaia Says... MNM d. Hardy/Mystery Partner.
OK, let's get this out of the way: Matt's partner will be Road Warrior Animal. You can, as the Canuck Mutt says, bank on it.

And the world simply isn't ready for another crap-ass title run for Animal. The world is ready for him to have this be a farewell tour before retiring and accepting induction into the Hall of Fame in 2 months.

A lot of people (myself included) see the value of Animal teaming with Matt coming from a potential Matt heel turn... but if it comes, it won't be for a bit, as Hardy/Animal are on booking sheets together for the next 6 weeks. But at the end of that mini-run? Hey, who knows....

I really do like the idea of a frustrated Hardy turning on Animal, though... which means that the best way to get there is to have MNM get the better of the two here at the PPV. And then again in a rematch or two. Because otherwise, what the hell is there for Matt to be frustrated about? Keep them title-less, and Matt can start whining, "But you won the titles with fricking HEIDENREICH!!!! Why not with me, Matt Hardy, the Angelic Diablo and Haver Of Gay Nicknames?!?"

For the good of all mankind, MNM must win.

 

BOBBY LASHLEY vs. JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD

A month ago, Lashley decided to step things up a notch in terms of Schedule Strength, and stepped into the ring with JBL when JBL issued one of those ever-popular Open Challenges. And then, thanks to a distraction from the Boogeyman, Lashley actually scored the win.

JBL didn't like that. And it turned out Lashley wasn't entirely satisfied, either. So last week, wanting to prove his win was no fluke, Lashley challenged JBL to a rematch. JBL -- good chickenshit heel that he is -- waffled. But Jillian Hall immediately accepted on JBL's behalf.

And I guess somehow that equals a PPV-worthy match-up. I think I speak for all of us when I say that throwing six midgets into a random match would hold roughly the same kind of box office appeal as this afterthought....
  

The OOutlOOk
Lashley wins: 5 votes   --|--  JBL wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Lashley d. JBL.
Remember when betting against JBL in a PPV match was a stupid move? Well, the Boogeyman happened, so I won't make that mistake again. At least I'm picking a guy who has an actual upside, as opposed to a Darth Maul wannabe who's so godawful he's being mentioned on VH-1's Best Week Ever.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Lashley d. JBL.
Why, out of anyone on the SmackDown roster, have they turned JBL into the official whipping boy? I'm still in shock (literally; I'm typing this from my hospital bed) over his quick loss to The Boogeyman last month; seriously, what the fuck was up with that? JBL is talented, a decent brawler, and has TONS of charisma; his fit into the whole JBL character has been nothing short of amazing. So they respond by burying him? I had no problem with him losing to champions like Cena and Batista; that made perfect sense, and he didn't lose a whole lot by jobbing in those situations. But now he's losing to everyone. It's just silly.

And by the way, I have no problem with the continued push of Lashley. He has a great look and has handled himself pretty well in the ring so far. It IS about time that he started beating upper-midcarders; maybe he even faces Booker T at Mania? I'd just rather they feed him someone of the Orlando Jordan, Mark Henry or William Regal caliber, not JBL. His big win over JBL should be a huge deal, not an afterthought.

In closing, I'd just like to say "J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L!"

The Cubs Fan Says... Lashley d. JBL.
It never works out when a manager accepts a match the wrestler didn't want, so I'm guessing Jillian's toast by next Friday. JBL needs to actually win an important match at some point, but I don't think it's going to be here.
Matt Hocking Says... JBL d. Lashley.
PyroFalkon Says...  JBL d. Lashley.
JBL hasn’t been fired yet? And how the hell did he end up facing Lashley? Maybe I should start reading Jeff’s recaps, yeah?
Jeff J. Snider Says... Lashley d. JBL.
Will JBL be Lashley's first real loss? What purpose would that serve? I think Lashley needs this win a lot more than JBL does. I think Lashley DESERVES this win more than JBL does, too. If they plan to create a superstar out of Bobby Lashley, this is the first big step to getting there.
Rick Scaia Says... Lashley d. JBL.
Lashley's on his way up. JBL's on his way down. You figure it out.

To be honest, a part of me is kind of sad that they haven't done more to protect JBL's character the last two months or so. This match with Lashley (and Lashley's win) would have meant a lot more if JBL had beaten the freaking Boogeyman last month (and then taken his ritual humiliation afterwards, at least able to claim that he scored the "W" before the stupidity kicked in).

But hey, JBL's like the anti-Jericho: he can keep on losing matches, but his mic work will ensure that people are interested in seeing him lose even more matches. And unless this is the start of some sort of long-term storyline, I figure you gotta have JBL lose here, and let Lashley move on to his next victim.

And if he needs it, JBL can "get his heat back" by firing/berating Jillian for accepting the match on his behalf without consulting him first. Nee haw.

 

EXTRAS/CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Only six announced matches, and not a one of them includes the Boogeyman... which means that the trOOps have at least ONE little bonus brain teaser to try to figure out as they give you their final thoughts about what they expect to see at No Way Out.
  

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Their names might not sound like it, but trust me, they're Americans. And they're more interesting than Rick's stupid midgets. 
If this doesn't tell you how little I care, nothing else will: I'll be watching Olympic ice dancing instead of this PPV. Ice dancing, people. Yeah.

In the meantime, The Boogeyman will show up and do something stupid. Midgets will make an appearance, and Rick will for some reason think that they are hilarious (seriously, dude, I will never understand your "midgets = unfailingly funny" stance.) And Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto will be the first Americans to medal in ice dance in 30 years. Go team USA!

Canadian Bulldog Says... JBL! JBL! JBL!
It would be nice - if they're indeed headed in this direction - to have some sort of backstage confrontation between Chris Benoit and JBL. "J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L!"

You just KNOW we're gonna get us some Boogeyman somewhere in the show. Maybe he'll start spitting worms into Palmer Cannon's suit pocket or something. "J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L!"

Eddie's family will, reluctantly, make an appearance in Rey's corner. Like most of you, I wish that they hadn't gone down this route. Orton and Mysterio told a nice story already, they didn't need the extra B.S. "J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L!"

I can't say I'm looking forward to he 2006 version of No Way Out. The last few years had actually been pretty good, especially for a "B" level show in between two big PPV's. In 2002, you had the nWo debut, which was at least something different. Then in 2003, you had the fun Heel Rock vs. Face Hogan encounter. 2004 was easily my favorite one, with the scene-stealing Eddie Guerrero-Brock Lesnar match. Even last year, a kind of iffy show on paper ended with the surprisingly good barbed wire cage match with Big Show and....

"J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L! J-B-L!"

The Cubs Fan Says... Urge to buy PPV fading.... fading... fading.... gone.
They need some filler, so I suspect they'll add something like Gymini vs the Dicks to the show. Tatanka will beat someone - maybe Sylvan, since he seems to exist again - on Heat and we'll all be very bored.

Only the two top matches have any meaning, though I guess you could count the US Title too. With neither match looking great and the outcomes without mystery, I can't think of a reason why I'd buy this PPV.
Matt Hocking Says... So Cold.
-Pre Show will probably see a juniors match or some shit.

-Added Late to the card will be a Boogeyman v. Jordan rematch, which Jordan will win.

-Ken Kennedy will sword fight with Paul Burchill

-Mizzark Henry will eat a whole trough full of gummy worms.

-It's 6 degrees outside and I'm not feeling well.  I'm going back to bed.  Goodnight folks!
PyroFalkon Says...  What to do on a lazy Sunday? How's about not watch a PPV!
Boogeyman will be doing his thing, I’m sure. Probably not in a match, but as long as he smashes another clock over his head, who cares, right?

This Sunday will be interesting to me, because it will be the first week in a long time without football. Even in the one-week break between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, they were showing highlights and clips of Super Bowls past. This week, nothing. I could exercise to try to burn off the weight I gained from the holidays in preparation for baseball officiating, but my lazy fat ass just doesn’t want to. 

I’ve taken up college classes since the Royal Rumble, and I guess I could focus on my term paper. It’s going to be about “controversy in advertising,” although I’m going to approach it from a slightly different angle than most people would. And among the things I’m going to mention is GoDaddy’s retarded strategy, especially the fact they invented a “clever” word called “GoDaddy-esque” to describe their commercials. I guess being GoDaddy-esque means using a too-fake chick to test out all the joints of her body on camera while shallow men pretend to be turned on, and then riding the FCC complaints to fame and fortune. Do you realize that Pepsi complained last year that the GoDaddy ad reduced the viewers of their own ad because it was so offensive that people stopped watching that block of commercials? Idiots. But because you can breathe “GoDaddy” in the same sentence as “Pepsi,” obviously GoDaddy must be really cool, right? RIGHT??? I still think 99% of America who’s heard “GoDaddy” doesn’t even know what it is. I also still think (and hope) that once the Playboy spread comes out, Boobies gets the axe.

Hm, that got a little long. The point is, I’m not watching No Way Out, and neither should you. Maybe if enough people stop putting down money for retarded PPVs, WWE will get the message. Here’s hoping.

Jeff J. Snider Says... Hey, guys: ONE of us should be the optimist, right? 
I just realized I picked faces in four of the five matches that have a heel in them. For that reason, I am guessing that either my Mysterio pick or my Benoit pick is wrong, but if I went and changed one of them, it would be the other one, and I would miss them both, so I will leave them as they are. As I mentioned in my Smackdown Recap (PUT A LINK THERE PLEASE, RICK), this week's show did a lot to build anticipation for this PPV. I expect Taker/Angle to steal the show, and I expect a couple other very solid matches. Maybe Benoit and Booker can recapture some magic. Orton has the potential to have a decent match, and maybe Rey can carry him a bit. Any match with London, Kendrick, and the MexiCools in it has great potential. Lashley is always a blast to watch, and JBL is a good opponent. The only match that doesn't intrigue me is the MNM/Hardy match, but even that should be reasonably solid, since three of the four participants are above-average workers.

Bottom line: this should actually be a fairly enjoyable PPV, even if they did most of the build-up in the past week.
Rick Scaia Says... What if the Boogeyman finds Orlando Jordan's Secret Gay Ice Dancing Midget Lover in a closet? Is that anything?
Late Addendum: dagnabbit, E, I have never said "unfailingly funny." I just stand by the belief that anything can be made MORE funny with midgets. Imagine any scenario. Now imagine it with midgets, instead. It's always at least a LITTLE funnier the second way! Hell, even *I* might check out Olympic Ice Dancing if it was contested solely by midgets; it's already pretty ridiculous in its regular form, but as done by midgets? That'd cross over the line into Comic Gold! Gold, I tells ya!

The problem, of course, is that I'd have no idea where to start looking for enough Gay Midgets to populate a full Olympic Field of Ice Dancers.

But I digress. Back to my prepared comments:

While there are only six matches, all but one of them could easily eclipse the 15 minute mark without offending the senses. The top three matches could all get up closer to 30 minutes (depending on if Taker brings his Working Boots, and depending on how many extracurriculars they weave into Rey/Orton to pad out the drama). 

With WWE's hard-on for over-playing utterly unnecessary video packages eating up additional TV time, I'm not necessarily sure you have room in here for any extra matches. But you do have a bunch of guys who've been entertaining parts of SD! lately who should at least get some face time.

First and foremost, obviously, is the Boogeyman. Folks love him. Don't know why, but they do. His most recent target seems to be Orlando Jordan. Don't know where you go next with it, but maybe Boogeyman can be hiding in a closet, where he conveniently finds Orlando Jordan's secret gay lover? Oh, the many "worm-juice" related single entendres we could enjoy if only Boogeyman finds himself involved in OJ's bixexual make-over.....

Second: I'm digging Fit Finlay. But without a match in which he can showcase he sweet-ass offense, I'm not sure what you do with him. I just know I would prefer if it didn't involve five midgets teaming up to get sweet, sweet revenge on him. Unless the revenge failed, and Finlay got to whack the hell out of them all... and then stole Super Pokry's ham. Those Irish, they loves them the fightin', the drinkin', and the Boiled Meats!

Thirdly, and finally: there's no excuse not to find Ken Kennedy some place on the show to amuse us.... last few weeks, it seems like he's been interacting mostly with Pirate Paul Burchill, so maybe there's another skit along those lines?

We'll see how it goes.... it's not like there aren't a few matches on this show that oughta be fairly good. It's just that WWE continues to fail in every measurable way to make me care. The match on the show where I care most about the outcome (Rey/Orton) is also the one where I most dread that good sense will fail WWE, and they'll do the unthinkable. And I'm supposed to get fired up about dropping some coin (either for the PPV or for shitty Hooters food) so I can show up and let WWE plop out a steaming pile of shit in front of me? Nuh uh.

Still haven't made a decision yet as to whether or not I'll see this show (anybody out there who wants to twist my arm about handling the PPV Recap, you can feel free to drop me a line and assist my decision making)... and that's just not the excitement level I want to be at here in the middle of the Road to WrestleMania.

Bleh.

 

That is all. One way or another, OO will have full results of the show at some point proximate to midnight on Sunday, so come on back for that. And then again on Monday for any additional thoughts and fall-out.

Later on, folks....


  
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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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