There are six announced matches on the pay-per-view portion of the show with a pre-show match also announced. There's also an in-ring promo by Triple H that is being advertised for the PPV. My prediction is he'll say "this business" at least three times. Count them. You'll see. Let's roll.
Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga (Pre-show)
The good thing about this match is that we don't have to see either Clay or Otunga wrestling on the PPV portion of the show. I'm okay with that. I'm not a hater of either guy, but not a huge fan of them either. I'm somewhere in the middle. Does that make sense? Clay wins of course.
Winner: Brodus Clay
Intercontinental Championship: Christian vs. Cody Rhodes
This is, in my opinion, the end of Cody Rhodes' nearly one-year run of being either the Intercontinental Champion or the guy that's going up against the champion. Next month is Money in the Bank, and as I've said all throughout this year he's my pick to win one of the MITB briefcases (even if there is only one instead of two).
Christian's a good choice for Intercontinental Champion because he's a very good in-ring performer that is also one of the better talkers and as a veteran he makes everybody else around him better. These are two of my favorite guys in the entire company.
If they get a chance to have a 15-minute match like I expect then it will be very good. I have Christian retaining while Rhodes moves on to bigger and better things…I hope.
Tuxedo Match: Santino vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
I have no problem with either guy. I think both of them are very funny. Does that mean I think they should be having a tuxedo match on PPV? No, it does not.
If you're going to put Santino in matches like this it would be better if the United States title was on somebody else. It's not like he's raising the status of the title by being its champion.
This will be a comedy match. Perhaps somebody will help Ricardo win, but it's more likely that Santino humiliates him again.
Divas Championship: Layla vs. Beth Phoenix
I like Layla in terms of her talent and also because she's really nice to look at, but I don't think she's connecting very well as a babyface performer. Last month she beat Beth Phoenix clean to keep her title. Why do the match again?
I think it's happening because they've realized she's not connecting with the audience and are planning on putting the title back on Beth. The return of Kharma is happening soon I hope. When she does, she'll be a babyface going after the heel champion Beth Phoenix.
I'd rather see Beth vs. Natalya over anything else right now, but for whatever reason they don't want to go there. Weak.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
While the Alberto Del Rio concussion injury is unfortunate, I don't think I'm alone in saying that this will be a better match than Sheamus vs. Del Rio.
After Ziggler won the No. 1 contender match on Raw, people were saying it's about time he got his push. While I agree he deserves a push like this, he was a part of the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble too. I saw him main event a house show in February. Zigger's not a top guy officially until he has a reign with one of the two big titles, but he's right on the doorstep. There are few people in the company that deserve it more than him.
What I expect from this match is 15-20 minutes of very good in-ring action, a lot of near falls for both guys and for Sheamus to retain the World Heavyweight Champion. I'd love to think Ziggler can win the title, but I think that's very unlikely considering Sheamus is a champion that the company wants to build around going forward.
WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Congrats to Kane for going from the YouTube match against Zack Ryder last month to being a part of the WWE title match here. He's an inspiration to all of those that are forced to wrestle on the YouTube match.
I actually like Kane's involvement in this match. I didn't at first, but the key to this whole thing working is the excellent work of AJ Lee, who is proof that crazy chicks make everything better. She's really been an interesting addition to the Bryan vs. Punk story, which is something I really like because it's extending a feud that is one of the better feuds of the year.
The match should be pretty good since obviously Punk and Bryan are two of the best in-ring performers and Kane is somebody that can have quality matches with the right opponents.
The difficult thing about this one is picking the winner.
I think we can eliminate Kane as the new WWE Champion just because that's not something that a guy in his mid 40s needs to be at this point in his career.
In the case of CM Punk, he's been WWE Champion since November, which means he's held the title for over 200 days to this point. It's been very impressive. It's also a time where it's very likely that he could drop the title.
That brings us to Daniel Bryan, who has been my pick to win this match since they added Kane to it. Why? Because Kane will be there to take the pinfall as Bryan gets the win and becomes the new WWE Champion.
My other feeling is that AJ helps Bryan win. It may seem accidental at first, but I think in the long run we'll see her get back to Bryan as a heel tandem that holds the WWE title. By doing that, we can get more Bryan vs. Punk matches out of it with Punk as the challenger while AJ does everything to keep the title on her man.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs. Big Show
I'm apathetic towards this entire feud. I would be okay with it if they just had a cage match without stipulations. With the stipulations added that Laurinaitis is fired if Show loses and Cena is fired on Raw if he loses (based on what Laurinaitis said on SmackDown), the stakes have been raised a bit.
The problem is that they've used these "you're fired if you lose" stipulations so many times and they never stick. They've even thrown Vince McMahon back into this storyline despite the fact that he was removed as company CEO. Why was he fired as CEO last year? Because he tried to fire John Cena! Now he wants to fire Laurinaitis even though story-wise he should not be able to do that.
The match is taking place inside of a steel cage so it should be a physical brawl. While neither guy is the best worker in the company by any means, they have had some good brawls together in the past. I realize I'm being optimistic with that statement, but that's just how I am.
With regards to a match result, there are a number of possibilities that could happen. One of those possibilities is a Vince McMahon heel turn to reveal that he's on the side of Show and Laurinaitis, which would then lead to somebody like Triple H saving Cena's job on Monday. I have no idea, really.
I just think a Cena win is more likely because last month ended with the Big Show "surprise" heel turn to help Laurinaitis win, so it would be foolish to have a similar kind of ending on consecutive PPVs. I think Cena will win. I don't think Laurinaitis will be fired or taken off television any time soon, but we'll see what happens with that down the road.
Winner: John Cena
It's an average PPV with the chance to be below average if things don't work in some of the matches. How they book the finishes to the two biggest matches will be key.
I think the WWE and World title matches will be excellent while Christian vs. Rhodes can be great if they get enough time, but I don't think there's any compelling story related to this event. It's one of those events where if you miss it you're probably not missing a whole lot.
I'm excited about Money in the Bank in July because it's a big PPV every year. I'm excited about the historic 1,000th Raw on July 23 because it's being billed as a huge event. No Way Out doesn't compare to those for me. It just seems like another PPV because the calendar says it's time to do another PPV.
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