The Road to WrestleMania 25 continued last night with WWE’s No Way Out pay-per-view from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. Coming off a somewhat predictable Royal Rumble pay-per-view that my readers know I was not very fond of, my expectations for the last night’s show were relatively high. I was skeptical about the card as it was extremely thin, with two Elimination Chamber matches bound to take a considerable amount of time. I felt like last night’s show delivered in every aspect as not only did we have all clean winners, but WWE added the element of surprise by doing two title changes. I heard if they were going to do a change it would be in the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber but the company ended up changing both titles with a swerve to end the night. Below are my thoughts on last night’s pay-per-view on a match by match basis.
The Undertaker’s music opened the pay-per-view which I found surprising. I thought for sure the WWE Elimination Chamber match would go last, but we found out towards the end of last night’s pay-per-view why it was done. When Edge was eliminated early in the bout off a Jeff Hardy roll-up I knew something was up. Why would the WWE Championship change in consecutive pay-per-views and why would the Champion get eliminated so early? Vladimir Kozlov came in and I still feel his work is sub-par. He worked a good bit with Jeff Hardy but still couldn’t impress me. Big Show came in and helped Kozlov by working on Hardy. It seemed like the more they could keep Kozlov out of the way, the better the match was going to be. Triple H came in to a huge pop from the crowd and started to work on Big Show. The Elimination Chamber match is like the Royal Rumble match in that a performer has to work very precise in an effort to shine when the ring gets crowded. The Undertaker was buzzed in the match last and got a huge ovation from the crowd. How about Undertaker’s Last Ride followed by pin on Vladimir Kozlov? As many Undertaker matches as I’ve seen, he still amazes me. Big Show was eliminated next which left it down to Jeff Hardy, Triple H, and Undertaker. I said in my PPV Preview I thought it would come down to Triple H, Undertaker, and Edge but Edge was removed for other reasons. There was a lot of good work with Hardy, Undertaker, and Triple H before Jeff was eliminated after an Undertaker Tombstone. Undertaker and Triple H had a great go-home sequence where Triple H countered out of the Last Ride, hit the Pedigree, and go the win. I heard there was a rumor of doing Triple H vs. The Undertaker for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania so we’ll have to see if WWE goes with that plan. I certainly expect Undertaker to want revenge.
Randy Orton vs. Shane McMahon was up next and they certainly had a tough match to follow. As I did last night, I have to put Shane McMahon over. After his lackluster work on Raw a couple of weeks ago, I have to admit I had my doubts about this match despite knowing how well Shane can bump. McMahon and Orton worked very stiff and Shane even hit coast-to-coast. Shane took an insane bump through the announce table and Orton added color. The match didn’t feature a lot of out of the ring action nor was there much interference from Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase as McMahon basically laid them both out. I liked the go-home with Shane going for the Orton punt to the head only to get caught in the RKO. Good stuff by Shane, who doesn’t have to work like that, and still does. I have to put someone like that over.
The ECW Championship match was nothing more than a filler match. I got some text messages from some of my friends in the industry that said they felt like it was a disaster but to be honest I was so exhausted from the first two bouts I was glad to see some chain wrestling and submission hold. Jack Swagger predictably retained and will go on to feud with Christian, presumably all the way to WrestleMania. I feel Swagger has a lot of potential with his wrestling ability accompanied by his look. When he gets his mic work straight, there is a good possibility we’re going to see him on the main event on either Raw or SmackDown.
I was surprised to see WWE blow off Shawn Michaels vs. JBL last night. I heard rumors something was going to happen to keep either stipulation from occurring but in the end Michaels went over JBL clean after hitting Sweet Chin Music. The match had the typical slow JBL pace, but I didn’t think it was bad. The crowd was very much into the match for the go-home which always makes for a fun bout. Shawn’s real-life wife Rebecca was at ringside for the match and ended up slapping JBL on the outside. It looks like Michaels will have a different opponent at WrestleMania and we should find out more tonight.
The final match of the night was the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match. Kofi Kingston was randomly laid out by Edge when he made his way out to the ring which started the swerve. Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio started the match out, working a fast paced style that both of them are than capable of doing. I liked how Mysterio hit the 619 on Kane followed by a Jericho Code Breaker only for Mysterio to somehow make it to the top rope to go off and eliminate Kane in a great spot. Mike Knox didn’t look terrible but I kind of felt the same way I did with Kozlov, keep him out of the way so he doesn’t screw this up. Jericho quickly eliminated him with Code Breaker. Edge was in next and had great work with Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho. Cena wasn’t in for long as he cleaned house but ended getting hit by the Code Breaker by Jericho when he was going for the Attitude Adjustment on Edge. Edge pinned Cena to eliminate him. I was pleasantly surprised when the match came down to Mysterio and Edge as it’s about time Mysterio gets the rub as a top worker. The go-home saw Mysterio bang Edge’s head off the glass of the Chamber only for Edge to counter, hit the Spear, and get the pinfall. Edge won the World Heavyweight Championship in another fantastic Elimination Chamber match.
No Way Out was expected to be a throwaway pay-per-view to build WrestleMania. The show ended up being a very good effort and I recommend everyone see it. The tone was set early on with the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match followed by a physical Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton bout. The ECW Championship match was a filler match but people not familiar with Swagger might want to watch it. JBL vs. Michaels was solid but nothing special. The World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber was as good as the first Elimination Chamber and I’m not even going to begin to pick which was better. I expect Triple H to end up moving to Raw to take on Orton at WrestleMania, defending the McMahon family but that is nothing more than speculation.
Richard can be contacted at richard [at] grayinternet.com
Richard Gray is a professional wrestling journalist and frequent contributor to Rajah.com. He has been covering the world of professional wrestling since 1999 and has had the opportunity to cover ground breaking stories such as the demise of ECW, the WCW buyout, the Benoit tragedy, Bobby Lashley leaving WWE, and more. For more on Richard check out his web site, Wrestling News World.
– “Richard Reacts” Archive By WrestlingNewsWorld.com’s Richard Gray