Ring Crew Reviews: WWE No Way Out 2008
Posted by Jack Bramma on 04.02.2011
Flair takes on Kennedy during his retirement tour, John Cena cashes in his RR title shot against Randy Orton, and Batista-Undertaker hold together the WHC EC through sheer chemistry.
• Relevant Storylines: Flair will never retire. Big Daddy V (Viscera, Mabel) gets an opportunity for a world title shot. Mysterio has a torn bicep. And Randy Orton has honed the Larry Zbyszko stalling playbook.
• Scheduled Card:
1. WWECW Championship: CM Punk vs. Chavo Guerrero (c).
2. Elimination Chamber to become Number 1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: MVP vs. Big Daddy V vs. The Great Khali vs. Finlay vs. Batista vs. The Undertaker.
3. Career Threatening Match: Mr. Kennedy vs. Ric Flair.
4. World Heavyweight Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Edge (c).
5. WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Randy Orton (c).
6. Elimination Chamber to became Number One Contender for the WWE Championship: Triple H vs. Umaga vs. JBL vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels.
• This package is more abstract and conceptual than concrete. Hardly mentions anyone or any feud by name. Starts with the generic road to WM and then segues into cryptic language about the elimination chamber. Not bad.
• WWECW Championship: CM Punk vs. Chavo Guerrero (c). Punk is face here and was "robbed" after Edge interfered on behalf of La Familia to help Chavo win the belt. Two weeks before this, Punk beat Chavo in a "Gulf of Mexico" match where Chavo ate a G2S and was thrown in the Gulf of Mexico. I must have missed that episode of ECW. They go nose to nose to start and Punk takes him down with a high kick and a back elbow. Chavo tries coming back but eats a tilt a whirl backbreaker for 2. Punk tries a charge in the corner but gets backdropped and kicked off the apron. Back in, Chavo works some rights and elbows. He softly kicks Punk a couple times and gets the standing senton for a 2 count. Chavo with a backdrop suplex and goes to the body scissors rest hold at less than 2 minutes in. Punk escapes and catapults Chavo into the turnbuckle. Punk with a spin kick and a MDM knee lift and a backdrop. Chavo comes running out of the corner into a powerslam for 2. Punk gets Chavo in a fireman's carry for the G2S but Chavo counters to a huracanrana and a real tornado DDT for a close 2 count. Chavo tries a big boot but eats a step up enzuigiri. Punk now steals Chavo's taunt which he stole from Eddie. Punk goes for the 3 Amigos to a considerably mixed reaction. Punk hits the step up knee and the bulldog combo for 2 out of the corner. Chavo fights off the G2S and Punk instead kicks him to the floor. They tease a countout but Punk pushes him back in at 8. They jockey for position up top and Punk crotches Chavo. Punk tries a huracanrana off the top but Chavo puts the breaks on and hits the Frog Splash for the 3 to retain at 7:16 and a decent pop. This was an undercurrent of smark cheers for Chavo the whole match, and when coupled with Punk using Eddie's signature stuff, there's your pop. Decent match that suffered due to time. It didn't much of a heat sequence and just skipped straight to the back and forth offense portion but it's passable. **
• Meanwhile, Mike Adamle interviews Rey Mysterio about taking out Vickie Guerrero with the seated senton. Rey says it was an accident but he won't apologize. Adamle mentions that Rey will be wrestling with a torn bicep. Rey says some motivational stuff in Spanish until Floyd Mayweather comes in and they are all buddy-buddy.
• JR shills the question of the night: Who will win the EC to be Number 1 contender for the WWE Championship?
• Elimination Chamber to become Number 1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: MVP vs. Big Daddy V vs. The Great Khali vs. Finlay vs. Batista vs. The Undertaker. At this point, they are still selling it as "bulletproof glass." Cole introduces Khali as "The Originator of the Punjabi Prison Match." Batista effectively taunts each heel already in the pods during his entrance. Batista and UT slug it out to start. Batista looks to be a little heavier and blockier than usually thus taking some of his mobility. He hits some shoulder surges in the corner but UT cuts him off with a knee and shitcans Batista to the grate. Taker rakes Batista across the chains. Batista cuts him off with a big boot and a clothesline that only get a 1 count. UT comes back with his own big boot. UT chokes Batista in the corner and hits some elbows. UT just boots him some more for a good 2 minutes to stall. Batista fights back with rights to boos and hits a back elbow for a 2 count. They give each other big boots and do the double KO spot. Big Daddy V is next and has headbutts and chops for everyone. He hits a couple clotheslines and cue the Troll Yell. He hits a Samoan drop on UT and chokes him by standing on him. Vis with more chops and headbutts as his moveset has been exhausted. Taker staggers backward and falls through the fuckin' door as it just gives with no problem. I'm sure some ref or stagehand was fired over that. Back in, Vis gives UT a Ho Train on the cage. Vis goes for the world's slowest Ho Train as Batista is forced to stand there and wait the six hours for him to arrive and nail him. Batista slides out of a Samoan drop and gives him a spinebuster and clotheslines him to the grate. A DDT from UT and he's gone at 9:02. Great Khali is next and has more headbutts. He waffles UT with the deadly BRAIN CHOP and another for Batista. "You can't wrestle" chant rears its head. Khali works the back elbows in the corner. UT goozles him but Khali no sells and counters with the choke toss but only gets 2 on Taker. Khali with a clothesline on Batista but only gets 2. Khali goes to the vice grip on Batista but Batista goes low and then spears him. UT big boots Batista to the grate. Ranjin tries interfering but Taker boots him to the floor. Taker puts the Hell's Gate on Khali and he's gone at 12:35.
• UT won't release the hold to a pop. Finally, the ref pries Khali loose and he's actually bleeding from the mouth. UT continues working over Batista with boots. UT drags Batista across the grate to rack his back as Finlay is next. He gets a head of steam but Taker knocks him down with a flying fuckin' Liu Kang kick. UT with a hard whip and goes for some more Liu Kang shit but Finlay ducks and Taker hangs himself in a tree of woe. Finlay clotheslines him down to size. Finlay goes to work on Batista and tosses him to the grate. Finlay gives UT the Celtic Cross but he kicks out at 2. Finlay goes after Batista but he fights back with rights and catapults Finlay into the cage. Batista telegraphs a backdrop attempt on UT and eats a clothesline instead. Finlay throws UT around and boots him into the grate and covers for 2. Finlay rams him into the pods a few times WITH AUTHORITY. As soon as Coach says they can't be broken, one of the panels of plexiglass comes unhinged and Coach has to walk his statement back while Cole fumbles around making excuses for the equipment. Batista cuts Finlay off and tosses him into the ringpost. Batista hits a delayed fisherman buster on Finlay and covers for 2. MVP is next but Taker is laying in wait and trying to pull open the pod door for him. MVP is begging off and trying to hold it in place. Finally, Taker gets the door open and lays him out with rights and boots. Batista hits a clothesline on Taker in the corner and tries another but UT gets the boot up. MVP hits the Drive By on Batista and a yakuza kick on Taker in the corner but only gets 2. MVP now chokes Finlay with his gimmick chain. He wraps it around his fist and pounds Taker with it. Taker blades. Cover only gets 2. MVP has Batista kicks for everyone. UT recovers but he's still punch drunk. MVP keeps punching with the chain but Taker keeps coming forward. MVP decides discretion is the better part of valor and climbs on top of one of the pods to get away. Taker follows and goozles MVP and "ChokeSlams" him off the top. (MVP does a flip bump off the top which is cool but this isn't the same as Taker ChokeSlamming Shane off the top rope through the announce table at KOTR 2000). Finlay covers and MVP is gone at 22:30. UT goes for a top rope elbow drop on Finlay but eats canvass. Hornswoggle sneaks his head up around the ringpost and slides Finlay the shillelagh to a pop. Finlay tries waffling Batista with it but he no sells and goes to the DemonBomb. Finlay tells him to go to hell and hits him with it at the apex to counter. Finlay covers but only gets a close 2. Finlay runs toward Taker but gets caught in a goozle and ChokeSlammed out of the ring onto the grate. Taker covers and Finlay is gone at 24:10. Meanwhile, Batista has bladed to sell the shillelagh shots. They both stagger back into the ring at the same time and slug it out again. Boo/yay sequence with the crowd behind Taker. Batista hits the DemonBomb. Delayed cover gets 2. Batista mounts in the corner with rights but UT counters and hits the Last Ride coming out. Delayed cover gets 2. UT mounts and hits some rights. He calls for the Tombstone. He tries it but Batista slides out and shitcans him to the grate. Batista then rams him into the cage and racks his face across it. Batista tries it again but Taker hits the badass reversal to the Tombstone back inside the ring and wins it at 29:25. Booking helped this more than anything. They knew their monster heels weren't workrate machines and that MVP/Finlay aren't high profile enough to be considered likely winners for a title shot at WM, so they basically divided the match into 5 minute smaller matches to maximize the effectiveness of the performers but kept the larger story focused on Batista and UT going wire to wire. It was also smart to let Finlay and MVP use weapons to even the odds. ***3/4
• Meanwhile, Edge, Hawkins and Ryder contemplate his title prospects with UT waiting in the wings. The WWE art department or whoever is great at stuff like this as they have the cheesiest possible photograph of Edge and Vickie Guerrero hanging on the wall. They use to do the same thing with Bischoff when he was GM except it was paintings of modern and classical art that fit his character. Teddy interrupts and says that with Vickie not there tonight he's in charge and he bans Hawkins and Ryder from ringside in his match with Rey.
• Next, we get a recap of Maria and Ashley going to the Playboy mansion.
• Career Threatening Match: Mr. Kennedy vs. Ric Flair. Pre-match, Kennedy cuts his generic promo saying he'll beat Flair and retire him. Kennedy takes down Flair with a shoulderblock and then mocks the Flair strut. Flair takes him down with a chop and then shows him how Jackie Fargo use to do it. Kennedy takes him down with another but then runs into a hiptoss. Kennedy goes to the open right hands and Little Naitch tries to get a break. Flair comes barreling out with chops to Kennedy. Flair sends him across but Kennedy comes back with a dropkick straight to the knee. Kennedy drops some boots on the knee and then goes to the half crab. Flair's selling of the knee like death is great as always. Flair tries kicking him off with a "GODDAMN YOU!" but Kennedy just works the knee over the apron a few times and then tosses it into the ringpost. Kennedy goes to the Bret Hart special: THE BRUTAL RING POST FIGURE FOUR! He only keeps it on for a couple seconds but the effort is appreciated. Kennedy taunts Flair right in his face and then smacks the shit out of him. Kennedy smacks him around some more. Flair comes back with his own smack to a pop but Kennedy just clips the knee to end that. Kennedy goes to the Figure 4 and smacks Flair around in the hold and taunts him. Flair gets the ropes and Kennedy again steals his taunt. Kennedy hits the Forward Roll Slam but Flair kicks out at 2. Kennedy goes for it again but Flair slides out and now gives Kennedy a chop block, a chop, and another chop block. Flair sets up the Figure 4 but Kennedy kicks him off and rolls him up with a handful of tights. He tries getting his feet on the ropes but Little Naitch was all over it. Also in the course of his cheating, Kennedy exposed Flair's bare ass and while that use to be a spot of Flair's, I don't think it was intentional here. Kennedy goes to a side headlock but Flair counters with a kneebreaker. Kennedy gets a small package for 2. Flair comes back with an inside trip and goes straight to the Figure 4 and Kennedy taps at 7:14. Generic Flair match during this period but much better than the RR debacle with MVP due to Kennedy's heel personality. ** Post-match, Flair gets on the stick and says he's never going to retire.
• Finlay is in the back getting iced up by a trainer when Vince comes in to threaten Finlay via gloating at the cage match he has tomorrow night with Hornswoggle.
• World Heavyweight Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Edge (c). Last month at RR, Rey gave Edge the 619 but Vickie took the brunt of it and Edge was able to retain. Then Edge asked Vickie to marry him and Rey gave her the seated senton. The video package makes this seem like an epically melodramatic soap opera. Rey has a huge wrap on his arm and the injury is legit. Edge corners him to taunt early. Edge tries going for the bad arm but Mysterio fights him off with an armwringer and some kicks to the left leg. Edge sends him off but Mysterio comes back with a flying headscissors to counter. Mysterio mounts in the corner and gives him some lefts. Mysterio gets up and over out of the corner but Edge comes back with a big boot to a mixed reaction but mostly huge boos. Mysterio rolls to the floor to regroup. Edge baseball slides Mysterio to the floor and then sends him bad arm first into the ring steps. Edge gets in the ring and hits the Snitsky taunt to a chorus of massive boos. Edge boots him around as Mickey Henson demands a break and then checks with Rey to see if he wants to continue. Edge goes to the kimura but Rey counters with kicks. Edge hits him in the arm and places Mysterio on the top rope. Mysterio tries fighting back but Edge hangs him in the Tree of Woe. Edge tries a basement dropkick but Mysterio sits up and Edge does the Mr. Perfect ringpost crotch spot to perfection. Mysterio hits a moonsault off the top and bridges into the cover for a close 2. Edge tries a charge but eats a big boot. Mysterio comes off the top and hits a tornado DDT. Cover gets nothing as Edge gets his foot on the bottom rope. Edge with a sunset flip but Mysterio rolls through. Mysterio teases the Tajiri kick but Edge rolls through himself and charges forward. Mysterio drop toe holds him to set up the 619. Mysterio hits the 619 but is grimacing in pain. Unable to cover, he goes for a springboard crossbody but Edge counters with the mid-air Spear for the 3 to retain at 5:27. Good for as short as it was. Obviously they were limited by Mysterio's injury but they packed a lot in 5 minutes. **3/4
• Post-match, Showster's music plays and he makes his first appearance in over a year for the fed. He's looking his smallest since around 2001 and he's yucking it up as a face. He says he's been champion before and will be champion again. He says he's lost 108 lbs. This is going along like a fairly standard returning face promo but doesn't quite seem right. The camera keeps cutting to an injured Mysterio being helped up by refs. Show finally leaps to the outside and shoves a couple refs down and goozles Mysterio to huge boos. Then he taunts Floyd Mayweather in the first row. He slides Rey in and threatens to give him a ChokeSlam. Mayweather wants to come jump the barricade but his people are holding him back. Finally, Show preps the send Mysterio for the ride and Mayweather jumps the barricade and the top rope and here comes his entourage with him. Show takes off his coat and slowly rolls up his sleeves and taunts Mayweather. Show shoves him and the crowd is buying all of it. Show gets down on one knee and Mayweather hits him with a combination that shoot breaks Show's nose to a huge pop. Mayweather breaks out and Show is mad pissed. He hops the barricade with no problem and bowls over half of Mayweather's entourage but runs into Shane-o-mac who wants Show to let cooler heads prevail. Show's bloody mouth and mouth really complete the segment. This is probably one of the more skillful worked shoots the WWE has done in years. Another great thing about this promo for me is the unmistakably seamless transition for Show from corny, cheap pop, returning face to domineering, overpowering bully heel in like 60 seconds. I think Show is a great with so much talent at his size and the things he does appear so easy that he gets so little credit for any of it. Regardless, that was quite the compelling 10 minutes of PPV time.
• WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Randy Orton. Back in October 07, Cena tore his pec and the title was vacated. Orton and Trips battled twice at No Mercy but Orton came out the winner. Cena returned early at the RR and won and for some reason decided to cash in his title shot here rather than Wrestlemania, although he would end up in that match too. The pre-match buzz from the crowd is palpable. Cena gets an inside roll up off the first lock out. Cena with a waistlock takedown and tries another cover. Let's go Orton/Cena dueling chants as they let the crazy crowd heat build up. Orton goes on the offense with the CLUBBINGBLOWS. More shitty rights from Orton and boots as Chioda demands a break outta the corner. Cena hits the bulldog and gets another close 2 count. Cena with a back elbow off a whip and drops an elbow for another 2 count. Cena telegraphs a backdrop and Orton punches him some more and hits the Destiny taunt to a fuckin' huge reaction. These guys are doing shit and the crowd is eating it up. Cena school boys him for 2 and Orton clotheslines him down to cut him off. Orton punches Cena some more as he teases falling out of the ring. Orton knocks him to the apron and soaks in more split cheers as Cena stunguns him and then hits the top rope fameasser for a 2 count. Cena tries a charge in the corner but eats elbow. Orton goes to the BLATANTCHOKE. Cena gets him in the fireman's carry but Orton slides out and gives him a European uppercut and now Orton goes to the Malenko/Garvin stomp. Orton lowers the knee pad and goes for the drop but eats mat. Cena tries a charge in the corner but again eats turnbuckle. Cena tries a back suplex but Orton hands on to the side headlock and torques it. They work the side headlock spot for about half an hour before Cena powers out and hits a series of shoulderblocks and a Protobomb. Cena hits the 5KS and preps the FU but Orton slides out and threatens to take a walk. Cena follows and they "brawl" in the aisle with weak right hands exchanged. Chioda gets up to 9 and both just barely make it back in. They slug it out and Orton cuts him off with the neck/backbreaker. Cover gets 2. Orton puts Cena up top but Cena fights him off and goes for another top rope fameasser. Orton avoids and Cena wipes out. Orton preps the RKO but Cena counters to another Protobomb and then hooks in the STF. Orton manages to get the ropes. Orton rolls to the floor and pleads for his knee and tells Chioda to count him out. Chioda won't have it and Cena is pissed. He rolls to confront Orton and Orton gives him a surprise RKO on the floor and Choida is pissed now at Orton's sneakiness. Chioda gets up to 9 but Cena slides back in again. Orton has seen better days and Cena tells him to bring it on. Orton ponders and smacks the shit outta Chioda who is not having that and rings the bell to DQ Orton to a sizeable pop at 15:49. Cena pleads with Chioda to reconsider and instead decides to get his heat back by taking apart Orton post-match with an FU and the STF. A segment of the crowd chants, "Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye" to Cena. Weird match. A lot of stalling and Orton was so shitty compared to his match against Hardy from just a month earlier. He was slower and less fluid in his transitions and counters. But the crowd ate up everything in the match, especially the false finishes. I think the DQ ending actually enhances it because it played into Orton's character and gave a reason for a rematch. **1/4
• Triple H and HBK meet backstage in the locker room and agree that they can't yuck it up like typical DX. Tonight, it's every man for himself.
• JR then reveals the results to the question of the night and 38% think Jeff Hardy is winning, 31% for Trips and 21% for HBK with less for others.
• Elimination Chamber to became Number One Contender for the WWE Championship: Triple H vs. Umaga vs. JBL vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels. This is announced has having four minute intervals, so I guess they were running a little short on time. Umaga, in keeping with his character, has to be forced into the pod by the referees. Nice little touch. Jericho is still face at the point. JR puts over HBK winning the first EC back in 2002 but doesn't give Bischoff credit for the idea. That son of a bitch. HBK elbows out of a hammerlock and after a reversal sequence, he and Jericho trade chops. Jericho gets an up and over coming out of the corner but HBK comes back with a crucifix roll up and then they trade roll ups. Jericho goes for a German and has to adjust it to a bridged Northern Lights suplex. They do the bridge up spot and HBK gets the backslide for 2 and Jericho just clotheslines him down to end the exhibition. Jericho then with a backbreaker and the paintbrushes for HBK. HBK gets a head of steam and hits the flying burrito. Early kip up and HBK hits the atomic drop, body slam, and goes for the Macho elbow but eats knee from Jericho. JR and King marvel over how “unique” that counter was or some shit until Jericho hits a bulldog and goes for the Lionsault and HBK uses the exact same “unique” counter. Jericho is not having it and catches himself and goes for the WoJ. HBK fights it and battles to his feet to go for a Sharpshooter. Jericho fights out though and we're back to square one. They each go for crossbodies and both are down as Umaga is next. He has clotheslines for both and sends Jericho to the grate. He comes back in but gets taken down along with HBK by Umaga's double clothesline. Umaga gets Jericho in the fireman's carry and HBK tries to cut him down and gets a head of steam. He gets put on top of Jericho as well and Umaga hits the super badass double Samoan drop to “oo”s and “ah”s. Umaga gives HBK a spinkick that sends him flying to the grate. Umaga taunts and this a couple Banzai drops on HBK on the grate. Jericho tries fighting back but eats a throat thrust. Umaga goes for the diving headbutt but whiffs. HBK gives him the Macho elbow and Jericho rolls over Umaga into the WoJ and HBK applies the Crippler Crossface for the double submission ala KOTR 2001. Before he can tap, JBL is next and breaks it up with a pair of Batista kicks. Earlier on the double crossbody, HBK bladed or got busted hardway. JBL tosses HBK back over onto the grate. Umaga tosses HBK around on the outside as Jericho hits a tornado DDT for 2. Jericho gets a head of steam but gets backdropped over the top by JBL. Umaga brings HBK in and whips him hard across and HBK does his much older turnbuckle spot and Umaga kicks him over the top to the grate. Triple H in with a Thesz press on Umaga an a pair of jawbreakers on the heels. Jericho back in but eats a spinebuster and so does Umaga. H with a DDT on JBL but only gets 2. Umaga tries a charge but eats turnbuckle and then Triple H launches him into the ringpost. Jericho with a bulldog on Triple H and goes for the Lionsault but eats it. Triple H preps the Pedigree but JBL cuts him off with a clothesline. Very quick pace in here. Jericho hits the Codebreaker on JBL and he's gone at 13:46.
• JBL's pissed and lays out Jericho and HBK with chairshots. Umaga rears his head and JBL begs off and then gives him a chairshot TOTHESKULL (TM Michael Cole). Shouldn't Umaga no sell that because he's Samoan? The Headshrinkers would be very disappointed. Somewhere in there, Jericho bladed. Umaga finally staggers to his feet as Jeff Hardy is next. JR introduces him as the “leading vote getter” like this is Student Council or the NBA All Star line ups. Hardy takes down Umaga with a mule kick and hits the step up corner dropkick on HBK. He gives Jericho a sitout front suplex and then springboards off his back for the Air Hardy on Umaga. Triple H recovers in time to kill his flurry but it appears not as he hits the Whisper in the Wind on H and HBK. Umaga waffles him down with a spin kick and then gives Jericho the badass release Black Hole Slam. Umaga hooks Triple H in the Tree of Woe. HBK tries cutting him off but gets whipped into Triple H and flips over the ropes onto the grate. Umaga then gives Triple H the running headbutt in the Tree of Woe. Jericho is resting on the pod and Umaga gives him the Runaway Samoan Semi through the fucking pod door to a holy shit chant. Umaga preps the Samoan Spike but HBK gives him SCM out of nowhere. Jericho with the Codebreaker, Triple H with the Pedigree and Hardy with the super Swanton off the pod and adios Umaga at 19:44. HBK with SCM on Jericho immediately. Hardy covers and he's gone at 19:54. Hardy gives HBK the ToF and taunts. Triple H shitcans him and then gives HBK the Pedigree and he's gone at 20:24. Triple H and Hardy slug it out. Hardy goes for a charge but his momentum is used against him and he's sent out to the grate. He recovers to ram Triple H into the cage and give Trips a DDT on the grate. Hardy rams him about 5 times more for some cage violence. Hardy goes up top and flies off for nothing other than to set up Triple H's counter. He preps the Pedigree but gets backdropped back in the ring. Hardy preps the Swanton as JR waxes poetic: “Is this the Legend Thriller's night?” When the hell did everyone else ever call him 'The Legend Thriller'? Hardy goes for it but Triple H rolls under. Triple H hits the Pedigree and immediately covers and that's i-- Hardy kicks out at 2 and even I'm surprised at that one. “Hardy” chant as Triple H gets a chair. He preps another Pedigree on the chair but Hardy goes low to a pop. He goes for the ToF but Trips pushes him off and Hardy eats chair. Pedigree on the chair and Triple H wins it at 23:54. Shorter than most of these matches lately but probably one of the most competitive with multiple believable winners. I would have liked a LITTLE more cushion and transition between each of the rapid fire exits of Umaga, Jericho and HBK but every sequence was good to great with no noticeable weak links. ****1/4
The 411: A bunch of OK matches with a a couple of above average to very good chamber matches. The Big Show confrontation is great but Show quickly became the face and Mayweather the heel so it's like a preview of a feud that never happened as intended. I'd sit out the entire "undercard" and just watch the chamber matches as like usual it's a 2 match card.