After a longer than three-year hiatus, WWE No Way Out returns this Sunday night, live from the IZOD Center in New Jersey.
The scheduled card includes a tuxedo match, a steel-cage match, four titles on the line, as well as the pre-show and no doubt at least one other unannounced matchup.
Triple H will also make an appearance to address Brock Lesnar and the lawsuits that come with him.
Winners, losers, twists and turns—every match and more are predicted here, so let’s get into it.
Don’t expect much out of the pre-show except for a glorified squash match. Clay remains undefeated under his Funkasaurus gimmick, and this won’t change in a mere pre-show.
Otunga will mount some offense to make it longer than Clay’s usual matches, but it will end with Clay’s patented running cross-body and the pin.
As you may have suspected, it’s merely some pre-show entertainment with nothing riding on it. The Funkasaurus will beat up Laurinaitis’ lackey to some applause.
The Funkettes will dance with some kids in the ring, and then it’s time to truly get started.
In a similar fashion to the pre-show, this tuxedo match is merely a bit of attempted fun.
Rodriguez will spend most of the match being embarrassed and gradually stripped, with Santino eventually hitting the Cobra.
With no real significance here, there’s again no reason for a heel win, so Santino will claim the victory—if you can really call it that.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to look out for is the tuxedo Santino wears.
Beth Phoenix and Layla had a solid showing in their latest one-on-one encounter at Over the Limit, so expect another strong match from the two.
Given the suspicious circumstances of an injured Phoenix losing the title to Nikki Bella just before the twins’ departure from the company earlier this year, it does seem like it’s just a matter of time before Phoenix regains the title.
It won’t be tonight.
Layla has been impressive since her return and will likely remain on top of the Divas division for a little while longer.
It took Phoenix three pay-per-view attempts to knock off Kelly Kelly last year, and we’ll likely see similar here.
For now, it’s Layla’s time.
Christian and Cody Rhodes are likely to put on the best pure wrestling match for the evening.
The prize is the Intercontinental Championship, which recently could be mistaken for a hot potato.
After Rhodes lost the title to Big Show at WrestleMania, he then regained it at Extreme Rules before Christian returned and claimed it at Over the Limit.
The belt needs some stability, and Christian can provide that.
Rhodes has had an excellent run as champion, but it’s time for him to move up and pursue some major championships.
Christian will hit the last big move and pick up the victory here.
Sheamus and Ziggler will put on another standout match for the night. While it’s nice to think that Ziggler will claim the gold, it’s also plain unlikely.
Given the circumstances leading up to this match, with Alberto Del Rio’s injury and the quick replacement, don’t expect any change.
Gone are the days when WWE would whimsically give the title away with such a late change to the card.
Del Rio should make his return soon and will continue to feud with Sheamus for the title. Ziggler’s time is still to come.
When it comes to current storylines in the WWE, everything AJ does is at the top. With her prominence over the last week of programming, there is no way she won’t be a deciding factor.
She will interfere, she will distract, and she will determine the winner—whether deliberately or inadvertently. She will also probably leave with whoever claims the belt.
CM Punk has held the title for the better part of the last year. Indeed, since Money in the Bank last year, no one really remembers Del Rio or Cena’s short reigns. It has all been Punk.
It’s time for him to loose to change up the status quo. Daniel Bryan is a deserving champion, and Kane deserves one final title run before he retires after six months of putting guys over.
Kane or Bryan—it could go either way.
AJ will decide.
Yet again, Ryback will interrupt the ramblings of two nobodies to a chorus of Goldberg chants.
It doesn’t really need to be said, but he’ll dominate them for a few minutes before putting them away together.
He’ll demand to be fed more, and everyone will be thinking it's about time he was fed somebodies and not nobodies.
Ryback will play the role of filler, as always.
When it’s announced that a big name like Triple H will merely be talking at a pay-per-view, you instantly suspect something will happen.
He can’t just ramble on uninterrupted, and nor should he. Someone will come out, and there will either be two people talking or a fight. Let’s hope for the later.
Either Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar or both, need to be there to build up the upcoming SummerSlam match. Triple H can’t do it alone.
Whether Heyman simply argues with him about lawsuits or Lesnar does what he does best, something needs to happen to avoid this being a dull segment.
WWE Creative knows this.
If you learn only one thing from WWE in 2012, it has got to be that Cena is not permitted to take time off.
His marriage can fall apart, he can have financial troubles, he can lose his passion, and he can get hurt, but Cena will still be around.
Even if it’s "wrestling" Michael Cole or Laurinaitis, Cena will still be there.
Cena will not be fired at No Way Out, which in turn suggests that Big Show will lose and Laurinaitis will be terminated.
It makes sense, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that Big Johnny won’t still be around in some fashion afterwards.
In 2010 it was the Nexus. In 2011 it was CM Punk and his pipe-bombs. And 2012’s big summer storyline is yet to appear.
The time is nearing, and while the major turn will take place on Monday Night RAW, the seeds will be sown here at No Way Out.
Whoever ends up involved in the big angle—be it Lesnar, Triple H, Heyman, Laurinaitis or Vince McMahon—the first steps towards it will occur tonight.
No Way Out will be a fairly average pay per view, not quite at the level of WrestleMania and Extreme Rules, but similar to Over the Limit.
Christian and Rhodes or Sheamus and Ziggler will steal the show, amidst a fair amount of filler and merely-for-fun matches.
In all, don’t expect any drastic twists or turns or even many title changes. No Way Out will merely hold us over until bigger and better things at Money in the Bank and Summerslam.