One thing that most sports programming does that WWE fails to do is keep the viewers updated on the participants' histories and stats, especially as it relates to the specific encounter they are showing.
If you're watching a Cubs/Cardinals game, you will probably learn how well Carlos Beltran has done against the Cubs throughout his career.
When the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs last season, we were constantly reminded that they had not won a playoff game in two decades.
And don't get me started on the statistical analysis currently being done on LeBron James' history in the NBA Finals.
With that in mind, I'd like to take a look at the confirmed matches for WWE's No Way Out 2012, making predictions based on the competitors' No Way Out histories. (Of course, I'll throw my own commentary in as well.)
*All information related to past matches was taken from Wikipedia, unless otherwise noted.
Unfortunately, this first match proves difficult to pull statistics for. To begin with, the match isn't technically on pay-per-view; it's the free pre-show match streamed live on YouTube.
Secondly, neither of these men have competed in a No Way Out pay-per-view.
We could look at the history of free pre-PPV YouTube matches, but there have only been two, the first won by the face (Santino Marella over The Miz), the second won by the heel (Kane over Zack Ryder).
So let's just use common sense and ask one question: is WWE ready to give Brodus Clay his first loss since debuting as The Funkasaurus? My guess: no.
David Otunga is essentially the "Executive Jobber," and WWE creative is still trying to tweak Clay's gimmick until he finds just the right niche.
Otunga is still a step up compared to most of Clay's normal opponents, and at least he's somewhat involved in the pay-per-view experience. I imagine both of these guys will be trying to grab a briefcase at the next pay-per-view.
Being that 2010 and 2011 did not have pay-per-views titled "No Way Out," Cody Rhodes has no experience from which to pull statistics. So let's look at Christian instead.
Christian: Overall NWO record: 1-2. However, every NWO match Christian has participated in was a Tag Team match.
In 2000, Christian and Edge defeated the Hardy Boyz in a No. 1 Contenders match for the WWF Tag Team Championship. In 2001, they lost to the Dudley Boyz in a Triple Threat Tag Team Tables Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship.
Then, in 2002, Christian and Lance Storm lost in a Tag Team Turmoil Match, won by The APA.
Based solely on that information, the prediction has to be a Christian loss; he's only one-for-three. He also lost his only championship match at this PPV.
Statistics aside, I still have to give this match to Cody. Giving Christian a brief IC reign upon his return was a nice way to make sure we knew to take him seriously, but I don't think WWE is done with establishing Rhodes as one of the best IC Champs of all time.
I see Cody getting the win here, and his third (and final) Intercontinental reign, while not as long as his first, will feature some of his best IC Title matches to date, starting with this one.
Since neither Santino Marella nor Ricardo Rodriguez have competed in a No Way Out pay-per-view, I consulted The Short History of the WWE Tuxedo Match for some insight.
On Monday Night Raw's second anniversary, Howard Finkel (who was accompanied by The Bushwhackers) defeated Harvey Wippleman.
In 1999, "The Fink" was at it again. Having been "brainwashed" by Chris Jericho, Finkel challenged Tony Chimel to a Tuxedo match in an attempt to regain his spot as the official ring announcer. Chimel was victorious.
On a 2009 episode of Raw, Hornswaggle defeated Chavo Guerrero in a Tuxedo match that was dubbed a "Sharp Dressed Man match" by guest hosts ZZ Top.
So, in the three official Tuxedo matches put on by WWE, the face has always been victorious, humiliating the heel. I have no reason to believe the WWE would take a different route for No Way Out 2012.
I do believe that Ricardo will eventually get the best of Marella, and will likely take the US title from him, perhaps alongside an ADR World Heavyweight Championship reign, depending on how soon ADR returns.
Again, since the 2010 and 2011 WWE pay-per-view schedules did not include an event called "No Way Out," we only have one match between these two that qualifies for this analysis.
Beth Phoenix: Overall NWO record: 0-1.
In 2009, Beth Phoenix lost a dark match to Melina for the WWE Women's Championship.
With the WWE Women's Championship being replaced by the Divas Championship, Beth Phoenix has a chance to make up for the loss she suffered three years ago.
As far as size and skill are concerned, Layla and Melina aren't that different, especially compared to the Glamazon. That being said, based on statistics, you've got to give the match to Layla.
Statistics aside, I pray that they give the belt back to Beth Phoenix until Kharma makes her return. I never have a good handle on what WWE is trying to do with this division, however, so that's not as much a prediction as a personal preference.
Daniel Bryan has never had a No Way Out match. The outcome of this match will have to be determined statistically by the other two performers.
CM Punk: Overall NWO record: 0-1.
Punk lost his only NWO match, an ECW Championship match to Chavo Guerrero. Not a great history to bring to the show, especially considering this is another championship match.
Kane: Overall NWO record: 3-4.
Two of those loses, however, were Tag Team matches. When Kane is on his own, he's gone 3-2 at NWO.
However, in every attempt he has made to capture gold at NWO (twice in Tag Team action, once as part of the Elimination Chamber), Kane is 0-3.
In 1998, Kane defeated Vader. In 2000, Kane lost to X-Pac in a No Holds Barred Match.
In 2001, Kane and the Undertaker lost to the Dudley Boyz in a Triple Threat Tag Team Tables Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship. In 2003, Kane and Rob Van Dam lost to William Regal and Lance Storm in a World Tag Team Championship match.
In 2007, Kane defeated King Booker in a singles match. In 2008, Kane defeated Shelton Benjamin in a dark match.
In 2009, he lost in an Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Edge won.
So, based solely on stats, what can we predict? A win for Daniel Bryan. CM Punk and Kane have combined for a record of 0-4 when it comes to championship matches at NWO.
Sure, Bryan's never competed at NWO, but this type of analysis suggests that Kane and Punk's stats are just too negative for them to overcome.
Statistics aside, I say the win goes to Kane or Bryan. I have no problem with Punk as WWE champion, but I think his reign is over. Obviously, AJ will be involved in the decision, and if I had to pick, I'd say Bryan gets the win so that we get another Punk/Bryan match at MITB, and Kane is left to fight for a briefcase.
WWE is clearly working with a fairly young bunch of athletes these days, as both competitors in the World Heavyweight Championship match have no NWO experience. Instead, let's see how the World Heavyweight champion has done each year.
You can count 2002's Undisputed WWF Championship match, since that combined the WWF Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. Champion Chris Jericho defeated Steve Austin that year.
In 2003, when the titles were separated again, World Heavyweight champion Triple H defeated challenger Scott Steiner.
In 2004 and 2005, the pay-per-view exclusively featured SmackDown stars. The WHC was on the Raw brand, so it was not defended at NWO again until 2006.
In 2006, champion Kurt Angle defeated The Undertaker to retain the title.
In 2007, World Heavyweight champion Batista teamed up with The Undertaker to face Tag champs Shawn Michaels and John Cena, only to turn on the Dead Man and cost his team the match.
In 2008, champion Edge defeated Rey Mysterio, and at the 2009 event, Edge defeated Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Mike Knox, Kane and champion John Cena in an Elimination Chamber match to re-capture the WHC.
With all of that in mind, the World Heavyweight champion has always retained at No Way Out, as far as singles matches are concerned. The only two times the champ has lost was in a non-title Tag match and the Elimination Chamber.
Clearly, that makes Sheamus the favorite. On top of that, he has two recent non-title victories over his challenger. Statistics could not be any more favorable towards a Sheamus victory.
Statistics aside, do I think Ziggler will capture the title? Possibly.
Even though it was a last-minute substitution due to injury, WWE has surprised us in this kind of situation before. At Survivor Series 1999, for example, The Big Show substituted for Steve Austin at the last minute and ended up winning the WWF Championship in a Triple Threat Match.
I really think Ziggler winning would be much more interesting than Sheamus retaining, but I just don't believe WWE is ready to make that call yet. In true NWO statistical fashion, Sheamus will likely retain.
Finally, as we reach the main event, we have two superstars with extensive experience at No Way Out.
The Big Show: Overall NWO record: 2-4.
In 2000, The Big Show defeated The Rock to become No. 1 Contender for WWF Championship match at WrestleMania 2000. In 2001, he defeated Raven for the Hardcore Championship.
In 2003, he lost in a singles match to the Undertaker. Kurt Angle defeated The Big Show and John Cena in 2004 to become the No. 1 Contender for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XX.
In 2005, he lost to John Bradshaw Layfield in a Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship. In 2009, The Big Show lost in an Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship, which Triple H won.
The statistics don't bode well for the World's Largest Athlete. Since winning his first two NWO matches, he has gone 0-4, including a main event steel cage match.
John Cena: Overall NWO record: 3-2.
As mentioned above, Kurt Angle defeated The Big Show and John Cena in 2004 to become the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XX. In 2005, Cena defeated Kurt Angle (the culmination of a three-week, eight-man single elimination tournament) to be the No. 1 Contender for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21.
In 2007, Cena and Shawn Michaels defeated Batista and The Undertaker in the main event. In 2008, he defeated WWE champion Randy Orton by disqualification in a WWE Championship match.
In 2009, he lost in an Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Edge won.
As far as one-on-one matches are concerned, Cena is 2-0 at NWO. The statistics are in his favor, as The Big Show is 2-2 in one-on-one matches.
Although the statistics seem to point towards a Big Show win, the odds aren't staggering. Plus, the statistics don't take into consideration the fact that either John Cena or John Laurinaitis will be fired as a result of the match.
With that additional stipulation, I am putting my money on The Big Show. Big Johnny is far too over as a heel for his role to be finished, and only the youngest and most naive fans would believe that Cena would ever actually get fired.
As far as the stories are concerned, I think they unfold much better with The Big Show getting a cheap victory over Cena. My guess is that Vince will turn on Cena, or else this is just the beginning a drawn-out feud pitting Team McMahon vs. Team Johnny.
Either way, my prediction is a win for the World's Largest Athlete.
Now that our statistical analysis is over, I have two questions for you.
First, would you like to see WWE introduce more statistics like this during their matches? When a wrestler makes his way to the ring, would you be interested to know his history for that particular event, that type of match or against that specific opponent?
Would that add something special to WWE programming? Would it make it seem more "legitimate" as a form of sports entertainment?
Second, how are you feeling about No Way Out?
Personally, I am very excited for it. I think there are at least four matches that will be really solid (the three main events, plus the IC Title match), and other than the Tuxedo match, I think everything they have lined up looks promising.
What do you think?