After taking the last two years off, WWE for some reason decided to bring back the illustrious pay-per-view event known as No Way Out. No Way Out 2009 was a crazy time in wrestling. Jack Swagger was ECW champion, Edge was still wrestling, and a young Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton only had one suspension apiece.
For 2012’s show, the consensus is that it was pretty mediocre, which is generally an overall sentiment of the product these days.
A week away from the event, we can look back and see what went wrong, where WWE dropped the ball, and smack our foreheads over what could have made the show and current storylines better.
Months had passed since Dolph Ziggler earned an honest win. But out of nowhere on the June 11th RAW before No Way Out, Ziggler won a 4-Way to set up a championship match. Of course it wouldn’t have happened had Orton and Jericho not been suspended with Del Rio suffering a concussion, but still Ziggler was given a shot.
The problem is, no one took it seriously. We’ve already seen Sheamus defeat Ziggler clean on TV in recent weeks. Multiple times. In fact, just one-week prior, Sheamus beat The Show Off.
How it should have gone: With Ziggler jobbing so many times lately, it was probably too soon for him to take the strap. I’m usually not a fan of a screwy finish, but this match needed one. Ziggler and Sheamus have an even-steven match that ends in a no contest with a 20 minute time limit. This sets up a rematch down the road where you can then build up Ziggler with some clean wins so that the thought of him winning sounds at least somewhat believable.
It’s bad enough that the Smackdown title was defended on the opening match of Wrestlemania two years in a row, but opening the show on No Way Out? That’s just rude.
Yes, it appears that the brand split is all but dead, but until it is officially announced, and properly buried like the XFL, they should keep the World Heavyweight Championship looking strong to set up the seemingly inevitable champion vs. champion unification match.
How it should have gone: An easy enough fix would have been to have Cody vs. Christian start the show with a hot match. Really, how does it make sense to have the Intercontinental title match go on before the World Heavyweight title? This match should have been placed seventh on the nine-match card, and instead one of the jobber matches could have been the buffer between the world titles.
WWE seems to give away things for free when in theory people should be paying for the chance to watch, (see Ziggler vs. Sheamus above) so in theory if people want to hand over good money to see one man stripped down to his underwear, then why did they do it just a couple weeks earlier and let everyone see it for free?
How it should have gone: Cancel it. Or if you must, put it on the Youtube pre-show. You’d hope that seeing Cole stripped down by Cena in their match would have filled the WWE quota of seeing a man stripped down to his underwear by a stronger, more athletic man for the year. But instead, Vince needed to have a few more chuckles, while everyone else in the arena, and at home, had to sit there awkwardly and look deep inside themselves to reflect for a few moments on why they watch wrestling in the first place.
Layla just does not work as a face. At all. Ever. After being gone for close to a year, she had one of the most silent return crowd responses in WWE history when she came back at Extreme Rules.
How it should have gone: Assuming Kharma returns (at some point) she’s going to need a strong heel to work with (assuming she returns as a face… though I guess Layla and Christian both switched from face to heel for no real reason during their time off… this is hurting my head to think about it, but try to follow me), Beth could be that strong heel. Take the belt off of Layla as soon as possible, preferably in a squash match, and build up Beth until we can have an actual divas showdown match.
I’m not entirely against the idea of having a squash match on a pay-per-view. It can be placed as a short, buffer match between two bigger marquee match-ups that can give the crowd a chance to catch their breath. However, I don’t see a reason for people having to pay money for the opportunity to watch two of them. One of the matches, by the way, had also been seen for free on RAW just days before.
How it should have gone: Just have one squash match. Pick one. Either one. Really, it doesn’t matter much. Flip a coin. I guess I would go with Sin Cara since Ryback had a squash match on the previous PPV. I guess that sounds fair. On the next PPV, Ryback can take on forty jobbers at once, and WWE can get it out of their system.
Just like the tuxedo match, it’s best not to do this show at all. This year’s No Way Out pay-per -view marked the ninth No Way Out show in WWE history. Quick, name a favorite No Way Out moment. The NWO debuting? Eddie Guerrero winning the title? Sure, those were fun, but they were also eight to 10 years ago.
The concept did have somewhat of a purpose a couple of years when it was based on the elimination chamber concept. Essentially, there’s no way out of the cage, hence the name, so far, so good.
What doesn’t make sense is that Elimination Chamber now has its own pay-per-view, and multiple wrestlers entered the cage in the main event, meaning No Way Out should have been called Multiple Ways In.
Paying hundreds of dollars a year to keep up on every PPV is pricing customers out of their loyal viewing habits, which does long term damage. It would be easiest to axe this show and spread the extra weeks out to give more time to build up Money-In-The-Bank and SummerSlam shows.