With that in mind, we need to get back to our Head to Head competition here! Unfortunately we missed Over the Limit, but we are back and ready to go for Sunday’s No Way Out PPV! Here is how we see it playing out!
Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga
JIM: They seem to be making Clay a bit more focused in his matches, and then do the fun stuff afterwards. I hope they keep that up. Clay is turning into a modern day Junkyard Dog, and that’s not a bad thing (except that I think the ceiling on Clay could be higher if they don’t pigeon hole him too much here). Otunga is best served as Johnny Ace’s lackey, and not in a prominent role in the ring, so to me, no chance Otunga wins here, Clay all the way!
TOM: How can you not get behind the “Funkasaurus?” I think the match being the on-line pre-show bout is good, as WWE wants to get people into that concept and Brodus is a good talent to draw them in. He gets the W here.
Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
JIM: This match was added this week on WWE.com. This probably goes on between the title matches and the Steel Cage as a “breather” bout. Santino winning is the only thing that makes sense. Frankly, I’m kind of bored…Santino is the US Champion, he shouldn’t be feuding with a ring announcer/lackey. Either move Santino into an actual feud over the title, or get it off of him, please.
TOM: Fun gimmick, especially because Ricardo is the one who is always dressed well. But, I am with Jim on this…Santino deserves better, the United States Title deserves better. Santino gets to excel at the comedy bit and gets the win, but let’s hope there is something more in store.
Intercontinental Title Match
Christian (C) vs. Cody Rhodes
JIM: At first I was going to complain about Rhodes not being on TV this week to push this match, but he was on a promotional tour in Turkey apparently. I do question the wisdom of sending him over there the week of a PPV, with a match to build to, but it tells you how little the company values the Intercontinental Title, which is a sad statement. Long gone are the days of Greg Valentine, Tito Santana, Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat and the Honky Tonk Man making the title actually mean something. They don’t care…so why should I? Christian wins, and WWE goes back to not caring.
TOM: Cody is one of my favorites to watch in WWE. He could (and probably should) be in a higher profile match on Sunday, but WWE just doesn’t build up its talent as they have done previously. A good re-match from last month, but the title is not switching back. Christian wins.
Divas Title Match
Layla (C) vs. Beth Phoenix
JIM: Layla has been a dud as champ so far, but that is more on the WWE booking of her in my eyes, her matches have been ok, but they just don’t seem to have a direction for the Divas right now. Get the belt on Beth and go back to a dominant Divas champ, having her destroy everyone until Kharma comes in and we get a big Divas Title showdown between the two. Beth Phoenix for the win here!
TOM: I am surprised that they are running this match again. It has likely been years since back to back PPV events featured the same Divas Title Match. I am going to go with Layla to retain her title here.
World Title Match
Sheamus (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler
JIM: Ziggler fills in for Del Rio here who has a concussion. Why they don’t push Ziggler more often is beyond my understanding (and Tom’s too I know). I mean, he’s been beaten cleanly by Sheamus twice in the last few weeks, and now we’re to believe he has a shot at winning the title? Yeah, not a chance. I get that they can’t plan for injuries…but don’t bury your good workers so far that when they are needed, they look like jobbers. No chance in hell Ziggler wins here. Sheamus by brogue kick.
TOM: As Jim stated above, I really just wish WWE would get behind Dolph Ziggler for 6-9 months or more. The guy is oozing talent and could do SO much, but he is stunted by the system instead. I think this is the match of the night , but Sheamus isn’t losing.
WWE Title Match
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
JIM: I hate to sound so negative in this preview, but it’s how I’m feeling. Punk and Bryan have a really good match last month, and there is this subplot of crazy girl AJ playing in as well, and a controversial ending to boot. So, that nicely builds to a rematch here right? Nope, WWE has to muck up the water and insert Kane into a spot he doesn’t belong. Why in the heck did this story need Kane? What has he added except one more person for crazy AJ to fawn over? And does that help anything? Have Kane get smitten with AJ, have him stand in a trance on the outside watching her, and let Punk and Bryan do what they do best, and what they should have been left to do here, have a great match. I honestly could go with either Bryan or Punk as the winner here, as I think Bryan as WWE champ would be great as well. But, I think Punk hangs on to the title here.
TOM: I feel a little different than Jim on this one. This is actually one of the better (if not best) stories going on right now. Did adding Kane do anything to make this more meaningful? Probably not, but those involved and in creative are making this at least worth investing in and I care about how it plays out more than anything else on this show. I think Bryan and AJ have actually been in cahoots the whole time and it will lead to him winning his 2nd World Title – YES! YES! YES!
Steel Cage Match
The Big Show vs. John Cena
JIM: Smackdown Spoilers within, so be warned. They have changed the stipulation to this match, now if Show loses, Johnny Ace is fired, but if Cena loses, Cena is fired. Well, nothing like telegraphing the winner again most likely. Unless they are going to rehash the “Cena gets fired” angle from the Cena/Barrett feud, no chance John Cena loses here. Johnny Ace gets canned as GM, but sticks around as a character. He’s been listed as “Special Advisor to the Board of Directors” or something like that in future bookings, so he’ll still be around, but we can get a new GM (and hey, let’s get someone new, not Teddy Long again ok?). Cena wins here.
TOM: Much like Jim, the Smackdown Spoilers caused me to scratch my head. Does that actually add drama to the match? I really wonder how many of the “WWE Universe” buy what they are being sold on a weekly basis. I think WWE really has the shot to make Big Show a top level heel again here and here could move into a feud with Sheamus while ADR recovers. On the flipside, if Cena gets fired as he did back in the Barrett-Orton storyline of a few years back and come back in short order, then it is another step towards making storylines and stipulations meaningless once again. I want to go with Show here and WWE to make him a killer heel. That could have happened without the added stip. Cena is still John Cena and he’s too valuable for WWE to lose in a “firing angle.” Cena gets the win.
There they are! Jim and Tom differ on a few matches, so the tie currently in our competition will be broken. Check back next week, as we will have our REACT article from No Way Out and an exclusive ROH Interview ahead of the “Best in the World 2012” iPPV!!!