Although The Sleeper Hold will typically only be a once a week thing, we feel that for PPVs, we will hold special editions of the column. If you do not wish to have the results spoiled, in this case for No Way Out, before tonight’s Monday Night RAW, we are officially warning you now. Let me be the first to say though that this was one of the most solid PPVs, from start to finish, that the WWE has put on in a while.
Main Plot Overview: The Big Show vs John Cena was finally here. And yet another final match of the night with no gold on the line. I understand that Cena is the ‘golden goose’ as Big Show puts it, but with the WWE Championship being so hotly contended right now, I’m still a little disappointed in the rundown of the card.
Anyway, Cena and Show did a great job inside the cage, each hitting several big spots that showcased their limited skills in the ring. Big Show dead lifting Cena by his throat to the top rope and then missing with an elbow that shook the entire ring (not on purprose) were both great moments.
Outside the ring is where the real action took place though as Brodus Clay looks to finally move up in the world and stop dealing in dark matches and jobbers. His interference in the match cemented him as a face for some time as with a steel chair he prevented Big Show from escaping the cage and then prevented John Laurinatis from stopping John Cena from leaving the cage.
The match culminated in an unusual high note for a PPV as Cena AA’d Laurinatis through the Spanish announce table (it survived all but the last 30 seconds of the PPV…so close!) and McMahon uttered those two classic words: YOU’RE FIRED! The question now is who will take over as GM. Front runner is Teddy Long, but as long as its not the computer again, I’ll be happy.
Match of the Night: I was very tempted to give this to CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan vs Kane for the WWE Championship, but that match’s ending left a bitter taste in my mouth. Bryan wasn’t involved, AJ interfered, and although it was expected, it was only for two seconds as Kane immediately smacked into her by accident, he was distraught and Punk capitalized. A brilliantly executed match ended in about 15 seconds on a sour note.
No, the winner of Match of the Night goes to the IC Championship match between Cody Rhodes and Christian, where Christian retained. This match had everything you wanted from a mid-card match. A quick and frantic pace where each competitor countered and kicked out of the other’s best moves, and the ones that did hit mattered. This was easily the tightest match of the night and along with the fact that it helps the movement to re-establish the IC belt as something coveted by up and coming wrestlers, it was my hands down favorite match of the night.
Promo of the Night: It is rare for promos to be cut during a PPV as it is supposed to be the culmination of a month’s worth (if not longer) of storylines and so I thought about removing this category. But we had a couple of nice promos early in the night to promote later matches where Josh Matthews was belittled by John Laurinatis and AJ made Matt Stryker look like he was crazy, but the big one came from The Game. Yes, HHH reappeared and called out Brock Lesnar for a match at Summerslam in Los Angeles. I’m sure we’ll hear Brock’s acceptance of the match in the coming weeks, but it was good to see The Game again as he is still an expert with the microphone.
Shocker of the Night: The Divas’ Championship (I still wish it was ‘Women’s Championship’) match. Why? Because someone besides Natalya and Beth Phoenix showed they can wrestle (Kharma can too, but no one knows where she is still). Layla, who missed a year due to an awful knee injury, showed she can play with the big dogs in the ring. In a match that was longer than 95% of most other women’s matches, Beth and Layla pulled off a surprisingly entertaining and technically tight match that does the struggling women’s division proud. What had become a joke in recent years is once again starting to show promise with girls who actually know what they’re doing when they step in the squared circle and Layla has definitely won me over now. The talent may always have been there, but no one could see it when she was part of ‘Laycool’.
Move of the Night: Speaking of struggling divisions, the Tag Team division has been in shambles for a long time and part of the reason is you don’t have any real ‘tag teams’ anymore. Even Kofi and R-Truth isn’t a real tag team and it’s only a matter of time before they return to singles matches. But the WWE is still trying to fix what they broke almost a decade ago now.
So there was a Fatal 4-Way tag match between Epico and Primo vs Primetime Playas vs The Usos vs Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd. First off, I’d love to see Gabriel and Kidd stick around as a tag-team. And right there in that card, you have an okay foundation for your tag division. Everyone there is extremely talented in the ring. All you need is for some of them to work on their mic skills and start cutting promos that call each other out, which may have started with AW, Epico and Primo’s manager, jumping ship to Primetime Playas.
Anyway, I digress. Move of the night was hit by Tyson Kidd. This was an easy call as it elicited the only ‘Holy S***!!” chant of the night from East Rutherford, NJ, crowd (Mick Foley thumbs up). Kidd hit a hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle to the outside of the ring that threw his opponent into four of the other opponents who had stumbled outside the ring during a scuffle. This left only two men in the ring to let the match come to a conclusion, but also was easily the most death defying move of the night deserves to have a spotlight shone on it.
Most Disappointing Match of the Night: The overall card was very solid for No Way Out, but one match stuck out to me as kind of a stinker. It was the World Heavyweight Championship match that kicked the night off. Firstly, I understand you want to try to start the show off with a bang, but it seems more like a slap in the face of this particular title when you put it out first and then have those matches be some of the shortest of the night.
But the real reason why this match stunk was because ‘The Great White’ Sheamus didn’t hold his own against a much more technically sound Dolph Ziggler, but still won the match. I understand they are two completely different kinds of wrestlers, but if Kane can put on a good show with Punk and Daniel Bryan, Sheamus can at least sell a little better against Ziggler. Not to mention that several times during the match, moves were botched and it looked like the two of them were just crawling all over each other.
Sheamus is heading into dark waters if he is not careful because several times the crowd starting rooting for Ziggler, the heel, and it reminded me a lot of John Cena’s matches when he started to lose the crowd (which it seems he has finally won back almost completely).