In 2005, No Way Out was a Smackdown exclusive pay-per-view. The February show had Wrestle Mania hype already going on, but the Blue Brand still had to deliver a top-notch event.
Everybody tried their best, but this show is not very memorable. This was your standard (C-grade) Smackdown show. Nothing major happened, yet nothing was too terrible.
What were the highlights? Let's find out!
The Smackdown brand held a special talent show for many of the new divas. It was dragged out all night and served no purpose.
Some of them did not last much longer in the company. Others showed some personality, but it just took up too much pay-per-view time.
If you need a good laugh or two, search for the segments.
Booker T vs. Heidenreich was thrown onto this show at the last minute.
WWE still thought Heidenreich was going to be a major heel. Booker was still a good face in the middle of the card on the Blue Brand.
Neither man had much momentum in 2005. This quick match ended in a disqualification. There isn't much more to add here.
Funaki was the reigning Cruiserweight Champion. His title win was a nice moment of "thanks" for his years of service. I can't imagine he was set for a lengthy run.
At No Way Out, he defended his gold in a huge Cruiserweight Open. WWE loved to just throw all of these guys into one match.
It was fun, but it always lacked any real meaning. Just like in 2004, Chavo Guerrero cheated to win the title at No Way Out.
Batista won the Royal Rumble a month prior. The Evolution member had to choose which champion he would challenge at Wrestle Mania.
Would he face Triple H on Raw? Would he move to Smackdown and go against JBL?
I doubt many actually thought we would get Batista vs. JBL at Mania. It was still a fun ride to get to his face turn, and beat Triple H.
Even with that, Batista was invited to No Way Out. Since the brand extension still meant something, it was interesting to see a Raw talent show up on a Smackdown event.
He teased going after JBL, but it was not meant to be.
I highly suggest everybody watch that video I posted.
Luther Reigns delivered one of the greatest promos that is never discussed. It is a "forgotten" classic. He came through big time there.
WWE spent three weeks making this man seem like a legitimate threat. He actually looked like a man ready to battle the main event wrestlers on the Blue Brand.
Just like Batista, he had been in the background for a while. Not anymore!
At No Way Out, he was given a huge opportunity to be his own man. Outside of that legendary promo segment, his build was going very well.
Who did he face at this pay-per-view?
Then Undertaker beat him in ten minutes.
Luther was never given another chance to shine. He was given a huge match with Taker and lost clean in the middle of the ring.
I agree with the finish, considering Mania was up next. It was just disappointing to see such great energy put behind one man for three weeks, only to see nothing happen again.
The Basham Brothers defended the WWE Tag Team Titles against Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. This was the perfect match to begin the show.
It featured a clear heel team taking on two beloved faces. You can't get a much better pairing than that.
The real story here was Eddie and Rey teaming together. The two did not have much of a story going, but they certainly did in the months to come.
On this night, we saw new tag team champions crowned in a great match. As reigning title holders, they would wrestle one-on-one at Wrestle Mania a couple of weeks later.
It was finally John Cena's time.
You could see where WWE was heading for Wrestle Mania by late 2004. Clearly, JBL was holding the gold to drop it to the next top face.
In that same breath, there was nobody but Cena to get that honor. Everything just lined up. After a tough 2004, WWE had two major stars ready to explode in John Cena and Batista.
Their moments were coming at Mania. First, Batista won the Rumble. Now, Cena had to find a way to earn the other title match.
After a tournament to find the No. 1 Contender to the WWE Champion, it all came down to John Cena and Kurt Angle. Again, it was not very hard to see where this was headed.
Angle was feuding with Shawn Michaels, and Cena was about to be the face of the company.
After a nice back and forth battle, the "kid" from West Newbury, Massachusetts was going to the WWE Championship match at the biggest show of the year.
WWE dropped the ball here.
The main event was JBL defending his WWE Championship against Big Show. The match was built up as the first ever Barbed Wire Steel Cage match in WWE history.
That is fine. It was a fitting stipulation. The champ had always found a way to escape with the gold. Locking him in a cage with Show was a perfect hook to buy the pay-per-view.
Sadly, WWE showed the structure many times leading up the event.
Clearly, it was just a normal cage with some barbed wire on top. It wasn't overly barbaric. It wasn't special. It wasn't very dangerous. It was just the usual cage with some wire on top.
Like WWE did with the Elimination Chamber in 2002, I would not have shown it in full until the pay-per-view began. If fans wanted to see what all the fuss was about, you had to purchase the event.
Tease a few drawings or outlines, but do not reveal the entire structure!
As usual, WWE came through.
I was not excited for this "dangerous" barbed wire steel cage match. It was clearly a cheap tactic trying to sell extra pay-per-views, without any real difference.
However, the finish to the match more than made up for it. As expected, JBL found a way to leave with the title one last time.
Big Show gave him a choke slam from the top turnbuckle through the ring!
As Show exited the cage, fans cheered him on. Right as he left the structure, the bell rang and JBL was announced as the winner.
What happened was when he went through the ring, he had crawled right onto the floor. Since his feet were on the ground, he retained.
It was a clever ending to a lackluster show. Even with that, everything was set for WWE to deliver an excellent Wrestle Mania XXI. They did just that...
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