In mere hours, WWE presents the return of the No Way Out pay-per-view event, live from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Although history shows that June WWE pay-per-views aren't always the greatest, tonight's No Way Out event hopes to prove otherwise with a confident card that could easily entertain if booked correctly.
Headlining the show will be John Cena vs. Big Show in a Steel Cage match, a feud that has been recycled more times than John Cena's held championships. However, the numerous suspenseful stipulations attached to this bout provide the necessary twists and turns needed to make this match feel intriguing.
If that wasn't enough to get you excited about this pay-per-view, then the WWE Championship match surely will. In a bout featuring the likes of defending champion CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane, the prestigious prize hangs in the balance as the treacherous and somewhat disturbing A.J. stands ringside.
Here, I am once again joined by the past, present and future of Bleacher Report to help me analyze tonight's electric pay-per-view with their intelligent insight on all things wrestling.
Without further ado, please allow me to introduce the recognizable talent of SiD, Daniel Massey and Nate Scaccia, otherwise known as the Evolution of Bleacher Report, for the most jam-packed prediction article ever conducted!
GSM: Of all the pre-show matches we've received thus far, this has to be the least intriguing. Sure, it's great to see Brodus Clay on pay-per-view and all being the major supporter of him that I am, but a match against David Otunga does no one any favors.
However, I do appreciate the effort to build this "feud" by having Otunga attack Clay this past week on SmackDown. Clay has yet to suffer a loss since returning earlier this year, so I have no doubt in my mind that his winning streak continues here.
SiD: This is apparently a pre-show match to put these two on the No Way Out card. Basically, this is going to end the same way as all of Brodus' matches end: Brodus makes the three-minute entrance with his ladies, the heel stands in the ring (or outside) laughing or reconsidering their life, and then a five-minute squash with the heel getting in a few punches in the beginning.
From that point on, Brodus will kill his opponent. This is exactly what's going to happen at No Way Out.
Massey: This pre-show hopefully won’t run over into the actual pay-per-view this time and it will look a little more professional and smooth than it did at Over The Limit 2012. Brodus Clay will be taking on Otunga this year, and, to be honest, I don’t care much for this match.
I fully expect Brodus Clay to win, as he is still on an unbeaten streak and it would be a waste for him to lose on a pay-per-view pre-show.
It is a fairly good idea to put Brodus Clay on before the actual pay-per-view starts, as he will likely get the crowd in a good mood when he wins with his dancing. This will set people up for what looks to be a decent pay-per-view card, allowing Brodus to retain his undefeated streak and shut Otunga up once again.
Plus, a heel won last month in the opening bout, so I’m sticking with The Funkasaurus.
Scaccia: The pre-show match is quickly becoming less and less interesting. One would think the WWE would want to put on an decent pre-show match to pull in fans at the last second and get a few more PPV buys. With pre-shows like this, that wont happen.
Brodus will beat Otunga with no problems. I hope the WWE pre-show matches at least become a little more interesting down the road.
Overall Consensus: Clay-4, Otunga-0
GSM: Were you wondering what would replace the originally planned Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho match spot at No Way Out? Well, here's your answer.
I feel embarrassed as a wrestling fan to even be calling this match, but I'll put my pride aside for a brief moment. Thankfully, this match isn't over the United States Championship, but that won't change matters.
You can flip a coin to decide who wins this match if you'd like, but I'll go with Santino Marella to pick up the victory. I'd love to see Ricardo pull out an upset win, though.
SiD: Apparently, Alberto Del Rio's golden announcer Ricardo Rodriguez gets a match at a pay-per-view event against the United States Champion, Santino Marella. Add the fact that it's a tuxedo match and you've got the formula for instant buy rates, right? Right?
I originally thought that this match was for the U.S. Championship, but that's not true. I wanted Ricardo to win the match and become the United States champ, but I don't think that can happen now.
Santino has made the U.S. Title a joke, in my opinion, but there's no doubt that he will win on Sunday, after embarrassing Ricardo Rodriguez, again. It's sad to see one of the most prestigious titles in the WWE being relegated to a prop.
Massey: It’s a tuxedo match. Santino will win. Take the U.S. title off him. That is all.
Scaccia: Why are we being tortured by this match? Better yet, why is this comedy act on a pay-per-view show? I would much rather see Ryback beat a gauntlet of 20 jobbers than watch this match.
Santino wins and he continues his reign as one of the worst United States Champions of all time.
Overall Consensus: Santino-4, Ricardo-0
GSM: In yet another match added to the card last minute in order to kill time, we have Beth Phoenix once again challenging Layla for the Divas Championship. Although both women are very good workers, it's hard to care about this match when the Divas are rarely featured on programming these days.
Layla will retain here, as dropping it back to Phoenix so soon would render her reign meaningless. Can we just skip to the part where Kharma returns?
SiD: This feud is being elongated now, but I think this is going to be their last match. These women have the talent to put on a good match, and they will just do that. If you notice it, the Divas division is improving slowly with the tag team division.
As far as the winner, it's obviously going to be Layla retaining her strap in this match.
Massey: Beth Phoenix should win this match without a shadow of a doubt. My obsession with Beth Phoenix is no secret and to see her as Divas Champion again would be amazing.
She should be the figurehead of the Divas division, but she is constantly losing to roll-ups and it makes her look weak. She should be booked as an unstoppable Glamazon, especially looking at her size (I sound like Vince, I know). Her muscular physique makes her perfect for the Championship.
Kharma may return tonight...
Scaccia: Hopefully this match gets a good five to seven minutes for the ladies to show off their skills. I expect Layla to retain because I think taking it away from her now would only hurt her return's momentum.
Let her hang on to the championship for another month or two, and then she can lose it in a feud.
Overall Consensus: Layla-3, Phoenix-1
GSM: I've enjoyed this feud thus far, as highlighted by the excellent video package that aired this week on SmackDown. Christian and Cody Rhodes are both solid workers and have a good match last month at Over the Limit.
This rivalry has been decently built so far, but I do indeed expect it to end here with Christian successfully retaining his Intercontinental Championship while Rhodes moves on to bigger and better things.
SiD: This is a classic case of a legend taking on a young up-and-comer in a great match. Christian, a 17-year-old veteran, takes on Cody Rhodes, who is a surefire future main event player in the WWE.
Following the footsteps of his father, Rhodes has all the tools to be a world title holder, and also a Hall of Famer. He's already been a two-time IC champion, and since Christian has returned from an injury and won the Intercontinental title recently, I expect him to go over here.
Cody Rhodes and Captain Charisma will have a great match with Christian winning with the Frog-splash so Cody Rhodes can step into the main event scene. Also, it shouldn't be mentioned here, but I really liked Christian's appearance at Slammiversary.
Massey: Christian is back where he belongs and he should stay there—the midcard. Cody Rhodes should stay there for the time being as well as he is the only Superstar I can think of that has had a flawless build-up that is reminiscent of the build most superstars used to receive.
Cody Rhodes is in the right place at the moment. He made the transition from tag team wrestling to singles competition in 2010. This means he has only been in the singles game for just over two years. Another couple of years and he will be a viable main event contender if he continues to be strongly booked on television.
He may well be ready for the main event in terms of skill now, but I believe a lengthy build will help him maintain that main event spotlight when he gets there, as opposed to dropping right back down as Jack Swagger and Sheamus once did—which leads me to my point.
Cody Rhodes should win this match to regain the Intercontinental Championship and continue to legitimize the championship to the glory that I can only compare to Chris Jericho. Jericho held the title a ridiculous amount of times before becoming WWF Champion, and it did him no harm at all—if anything, he was pushed to early.
Cody to win, but the feud should continue. Christian can help Cody improve.
Scaccia: Finally, what the fans actually want to see: a wrestling match! Christian and Cody Rhodes should put on a great match here. Give them ample time and they will have a chance to steal the show. I expect Christian to retain, which will allow Cody to finally move on to the main event.
Christian dropping the title would only hurt the title's credibility and prestige. Let Christian hang onto it for some time until an up-and-coming superstar is ready for a push.
Overall Consensus: Christian-3, Rhodes-1
GSM: There is both a positive and negative aspect to this matchup. First, it will be much more entertaining wrestling-wise than the original Sheamus-Del Rio title bout. However, it has absolutely no build due to Del Rio's abrupt injury, with Ziggler having no legitimate chance to walk out with the World title in the eyes of the viewers.
Ziggler has never defeated the Celtic Warrior, so there is no reason to believe that he'll be able to do it tonight after his recent losses. Nonetheless, this match will of course be enjoyable given the workers involved, but I definitely see Sheamus emerging victorious here with Ziggler possibly splitting from Vickie Guerrero following the contest.
SiD: Alberto Del Rio was originally scheduled to be in this match, but due to a concussion, he was replaced by Dolph Ziggler, the winner of a fatal four-way match between Christian, Khali, Swagger and Mr. Perfection.
So now, Ziggler gets a shot at the gold.
When ADR was the contender, I was nearly sure that he would win the gold and have a long run with the belt. But because he has been replaced, I don't think Sheamus will drop the belt here.
Ziggler will put on a show again, like he always does, and will lose to Sheamus in a competitive match, which has the potential to be the match of the night, if it can beat the WWE Championship match.
I think that Sheamus will defeat Ziggler cleanly to solidify himself as a main event player on SmackDown.
Massey: This World Championship match looks excellent on paper and I am hopeful it can deliver. I couldn’t be gladder that Alberto Del Rio is out of the title picture, as I think he lacks charisma and is one of the most boring characters I have ever laid eyes on.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy he’s injured, and his ring work is solid, but the man just can’t get over in my opinion. I just don’t see him as a viable main event threat. The man who has replaced him, Dolph Ziggler, will be able to put on a much better match with the Celtic Warrior.
I believe Dolph will prove he belongs in the main event scene once and for all, giving Sheamus a great match. I think it has the potential to be the most entertaining match on the card, a potential show-stealer. Sheamus will come out of this match a winner, either by a clean win or an interference by Jack Swagger/Vickie Guerrero.
Dolph Ziggler is too good to be stuck in the midcard any longer, and I doubt he will waste the opportunity he seems to have been gifted by fate. Must be his destiny...
Scaccia: After already seeing Sheamus beat Ziggler twice, the fans get to see this match for the third time. I would like to point out that when Ziggler won the number one contender's match, the Raw crowd gave him a great reaction.
The fans want Ziggler to turn on Vickie and after this match; I think it will happen in the coming weeks.
While I would love to see Ziggler win, it will not happen. Sheamus will be retaining. The best chance Sheamus has at losing would be if someone interfered in the match. Someone like Wade Barrett. But that is just my fantasy booking; I do not expect that to happen.
It is time to push Ziggler to the main event. He is ready for a major title reign; it just won’t happen tonight.
Overall Consensus: Sheamus-4, Ziggler-0
GSM: When Kane was first entered into this WWE title program, many fans (myself included) were disappointed to see him interrupt the singles feud between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
However, I couldn't have been more wrong, as this love triangle (so to speak) has turned out to be the most entertaining angle in WWE today.
While the WWE Championship might not be the major focus here, A.J. has played her role extremely well to the point where her involvement is enjoyable all by itself. What I love most about this match is that the possibilities are endless, but since Bryan has received the least amount of focus in recent week, he's my pick to walk out as the new WWE Champion.
SiD: Now, this is a match that I'm looking forward to. Some people are not happy that Kane is in the match, but I am excited to see the Big Red Monster added to this equation. With the wrestling ability of CM Punk and the real best in the world, Daniel Bryan, with the different wrestling style of Kane, this triple-threat match has the potential to be the best match of No Way Out. I'm also glad that A.J. has been mixed into the equation with the "crazy chick" gimmick.
Now, as far as who I think will win, I'm thinking that it's going to be Daniel Bryan, with some help from AJ. Look at this, she has helped Punk and kissed Kane. The only one who's left now is Daniel Bryan, and I'm pretty sure that he will walk out as champion.
If there's any hope of seeing the feud with Punk and Bryan continue past No Way Out, the latter will need to win the title in order to put Punk in chase mode.
Massey: A.J. is a big factor in this match and is what makes the outcome so unpredictable. CM Punk is likely to get screwed here, and I think Daniel Bryan is the most likely man to come out on top.
With CM Punk having a huge title reign lasting over 210 days, I don’t think it will do us any harm to see a title change, especially if the title changes hands to Daniel Bryan.
Kane will indeed be a dominant force in this match, but the focus is definitely on the other two superstars and A.J., so I do not believe he is a threat to the title in any way, shape or form. Though people may defend Kane’s involvement in the match, I still believe it is a bit random and unnecessary and will probably hinder the match rather than help it, despite the veteran instincts of The Big Red Machine.
Scaccia: I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the WWE and A.J. for the excellent build this match has received. I could not be more interested in this match.
All three men have a great opportunity to win the WWE Championship here, but in order to find who will win, you need to analyze A.J.’s role in this feud. Whose side is she on? Is she going to help CM Punk win? How about Daniel Bryan? Is she in love with Kane?
My best guess with her is that she has gotten inside Kane’s mind as an effort to distract him from the match. Kane will not be the winner here. That leaves us with Punk and Bryan. Punk has been champion for a long time now, so why would A.J. feel the need to help him win?
A.J. said that she still has feelings for Daniel Bryan, and I think she will help lead Bryan to victory. Daniel Bryan will be the new WWE Champion.
Overall Consensus: Bryan-4, Punk-0, Kane-0
GSM: The stipulation states that if John Cena emerges victorious, John Laurinaitis will be fired by Vince McMahon. However, if Big Show pulls out the victory, Cena will be fired instead.
As much as I dislike this rehashed rivalry and the wrestlers involved in it, they've done a decent job in building some sort of interest towards it. With the multiple stipulations attached to it as well as the fact that it will contested inside a Steel Cage, it could quite possibly be overbooking galore.
This, too, could go either way, but it'd seem illogical to take Cena off television for the time being with the roster being so thin at the moment. That being said, I expect for Cena to (yet again) defeat Show and send Big Johnny to the back of the unemployment line.
SiD: Readers, raise your hand if you are interested in this match. Let me count: one, two—yes, not many.
After Big Show turned heel for the nth time, WWE is describing this as the "darkest days in history." Seriously? Personal issues aside, this match being contested under a steel cage and having a stipulation adds to the flair of the match, but will not change the outcome. Cena and Show will have a 30-minute match, with Big Show dominating for most of the time.
In the end, it will be Super Cena defeating Big Show and relieving Mr John Laurinaitis of his duties. While this may seem a bad booking decision for Big Show's heel turn, this is obvious since it has been reported that Mr Laurinaitis will play a role of an on-air talent, instead of the former Executive VP of Talent Relations and the GM of Raw and SD.
There's another stipulation saying that Cena will be fired if he loses the match. That strengthens my prediction all the more, and I firmly believe that Cena will walk out of No Way Out as the victor.
Massey: If Big Show loses, Laurinaitis is fired; if John Cena loses, he’s fired. I can see Cena being fired here, but it would likely only last for a couple of weeks, as per usual.
Reading the dirt sheets suggests that Cena would benefit from time off to deal with divorce proceedings and personal issues, as well as nursing some injuries. On the other hand, if Laurinaitis was fired, we’d need a new Raw general manager, we’d lose a potential stable leader, and as annoying as I find Laurinaitis, I think him being fired tomorrow would be a bit boring.
However, I do think Cena will win and Laurinaitis will be fired. Teddy Long will likely replace Laurinaitis as Raw General Manager and Johnny may make a return later in the year.
I would like to see Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman make an appearance in this pay-per-view, and I predict it will be in this match. Maybe Brock could help Cena win by zeroing in on Big Show. Now there’s a feud revival I’d like to see.
In terms of the match, it won’t be technically great and will probably be quite slow, building up to a big climax where Cena lifts Big Show for the 1500th time and someone interferes.
Scaccia: Okay, I’m going to cut to the chase. Big Show and Cena inside a steel cage will be a slow match in comparison to the pay-per-view's other matches. If Show loses, then Laurinaitis is fired as GM.
While I would love to see Laurinaitis fired and replaced with someone like Stephanie McMahon or Paul Heyman, I do not think Show will be losing. If Cena loses, Laurinatis says that he will fire Cena on Raw. I think that is what will happen.
Cena will once again be “fired.” I wonder how long it will last this time?
Overall Consensus: Cena-3, Show-1
Overall, No Way Out looks to be like a missable pay-per-view, but it could easily exceed expectations by delivering a strong performance. As stated before, June WWE pay-per-views don't have the best track record as far as success goes, so hopefully No Way Out can snap that trend and prove to be something a bit more enjoyable.
If you're still on the fence of ordering the show, look no further than the WWE Championship match. All three wrestlers involved are solid workers and have the chance to steal the show, so that is the match I'm highly anticipating going into tonight's show.
Not only that, but you'll also bear witness to someone being fired by the time the night is finally over. Triple H is also slated to appear, so it will interesting as to what he'll discussing regarding the state of his arm injury and Brock Lesnar's current status.
Of course, expect the monthly Ryback squash match that will do nothing to further enhance his character or progress the story they're attempting to convey with him.
I'd like to thank SiD, Daniel Massey and Nate Scaccia for collectively participating in my No Way Out preview. All of them put in valuable time and thought into making their respective predictions. Drop a comment with your thoughts going into the No Way Out and be sure to enjoy your Father's Day by tuning in tonight for the one night of the year where there's only one way in, but no way out.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show that airs every Tuesday night at 9/8c for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.