Powell's WWE No Way Out Hitlist: C.M. Punk vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan with A.J. involvement, Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler, John Cena vs. Big Show, Big Johnny fired, Triple H announcement, an actual tag team angle
By Jason Powell
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WWE No Way Out Hits
C.M. Punk vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan: A strong Triple Threat match. The initial concern over Kane being added to the mix was erased when they did a good job of justifying his spot creatively via the A.J. saga, and he did a really nice job during the actual match. Kane's involvement played to his strengths. I cringe at the idea of Kane challenging for a World Title in as singles match, yet I'd be just fine with the idea of this trio having another Triple Threat match at Money in the Bank. A.J.'s involvement was less than I expected. I assume Daniel Bryan will allege that she and Punk were actually in cahoots given the smile she flashed back at Punk as Kane was carrying her to the back. The fans may not have bought in as much as they would have for some of the near falls because they were waiting for A.J., but they did buy in for some. Plus, her involvement was the key to the match hype and story, so it was more than worth it.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler: You had to know Sheamus was going over when Ziggler got as much offense as he did. The formula for the surprise heel title win generally involves the heel getting his ass kicked and some type of interference, cheating, or even something flukey happening. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the ride. Sheamus looked strong and Ziggler looked good in defeat. The WWE crowds have been showing support for Ziggler lately. He received some love down the stretch during the four-way elimination match on Raw last week and even more on Sunday night. Here's hoping the company has major plans for him, perhaps even a Money in the Bank win next month.
Christian vs. Cody Rhodes: A minor Hit for the quality in-ring work. The crowd was flat, so there's only so much praise I can give it. This felt like a television match.
Prime Time Players vs. Primo and Epico vs. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel vs. The Uso Brothers: It was nice to see an actual angle involving the tag team division. A.W. established himself as conniving and gives the Players act a boost. Meanwhile, I've been saying for some time that Primo, Epico, and Rosa would be better off as babyfaces. The key is in the followup, but I like the way this started. Here's hoping WWE takes the time to establish all of these teams as meaningful going forward.
Triple H announcement: His delivery was a Miss because he really didn't have anything to say so he just repeated his lines twice for effect, but I like the idea of marketing directly to the pay-per-view audience.
WWE No Way Out Misses
Overall show: A minor Miss. If you ordered the show based on the lineup, then you can't complain too much given that the two World Title matches that looked good on paper lived up to expectations and the main event made good on the stipulation that someone would be fired. Ultimately, though, it was an underwhelming pay-per-view and one that felt very missable in retrospect. The show left me feeling indifferent to most of the feuds and the overall product. It was one of those shows that met my expectations, yet is still a Miss because my expectations were low.
John Cena vs. Big Show: A slow, plodding match. The run-ins by Big Show's victims was a nice touch. They were logical run-ins and they made things more interesting than the one-on-one action was. The match featured the satisfying conclusion and they surprised me by actually giving us a firing. Of course, I don't expect Big Johnny to disappear, meaning there could be some fans who will feel a bit cheated, but it made for a happy ending. That said, the company needs to seriously reconsider their approach to putting Cena in the main event rather than the World Title matches. It's fine when he's in there with the right opponent that either leads to a quality match or is one that the fans view as bigger than one of the World Title matches, but the last two pay-per-views would have left a better taste in the mouths of viewers had they concluded with the action packed WWE Championship matches. They are doing damage to the title and it seems counterproductive to never put Punk in a position where he seems more important than Cena.
Sin Cara vs. Hunico: WWE has gone to the well one too many times with this matchup. Hunico has talent and deserves better than the lousy bike riding character he's been given. Meanwhile, Sin Cara has been better in the ring since he returned and working with Hunico is probably a big part of that, but he needs a feud that fans care about to have any chance of getting over.
Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga: I would have been fine with this appearing on Raw or Smackdown because it was clearly designed to keep the feud going, but this made for a lousy pay-per-view teaser. There was nothing about it that would nudge a viewer who was on the fence to actually order the show.
Layla vs. Beth Phoenix: Good effort from the women and another crowd that is apathetic to the entire women's division. Sadly, it doesn't even mean anything when Beth loses because we've seen it so many times. Layla just isn't connecting with the fans and the division feels as meaningless as ever. Bring back Kharma already.
Ryback vs. Dan Delaney and Rob Grymes: The squash format is growing old in a hurry. Ryback wants to be three men at once and I don't see that adding much interest.
Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez: This was the most painful portion of the show. The fans didn't want to see this match and the comedy just didn't click. The crowd was hot for the opener and it felt like it took them a few matches to recover from how far down this match brought them.
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