Chair Shots: WWE No Way Out preview and predictions

Right off the bat, let me just say that I have no idea how this card is going to go. I had a strong feeling about the main event pitting Big Show against John Cena in a steel cage, until the two "fired" stipulations were added (especially the one on Smackdown, where if Cena loses he's fired). Now, I think things could go either way.

As for the unpredictability for the rest of the card, part of the reason is that injuries and suspensions have forced WWE to shift gears a bit and elevate certain guys earlier than they wanted to (Dolph Ziggler, I'm looking at you). The long-term impact could be seen at this PPV as well, but I'll get into that with the individual matches.

Six matches have been announced for the PPV -- but ones a Divas match and the other a Tuxedo match -- plus a pre-show match for YouTube and promo from Triple H that will probably turn into a 20 minute segment between his entrance and video recaps.

Another match or two could be added, but it'd likely be some sort of squash for Sin Cara, Ryback or one of my new favorites, Damien Sandow.

YouTube preshow: Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga

They made this somewhat interesting by having Otunga attack Clay's knee after he squashed Heath Slater on Smackdown. According to WWE.com, he's got a partially torn MCL, but is still going to compete. (Why make it something that sidelines NFL players? Why not just say his knee is injured?) Whatever. Expect that to allow Otunga to have a better showing than most have had against the Funkasaurus, but Clay wins anyway.

WINNER: Brodus Clay

Tuxedo match: Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez

Bathroom break match? For once, it's not the Divas. They need to take the United States title off Santino as soon as possible. I don't care if he's in joke comedy matches like this, but when they put the belt on him, I thought they were going to make him a more serious character (after his impressive showing in the Elimination Chamber). Instead, he's become a bigger joke than ever. Someone like Tensai just needs to squash him and take the title. Is there any doubt how this is going to go?

WINNER: Santino Marella

Divas Championship: Layla (c) vs. Beth Phoenix

Like you, I just couldn't care less about the Divas division right now. Kelly Kelly taking a break, Eve taking the role of an on-screen authority figure, the Bellas leaving and the looming specter of Kharma's return have pretty much led to this match. I like both of these gals -- Layla is gorgeous, but she's not particularly interesting as a babyface; and Beth is, well Beth Phoenix. She hasn't really done anything new in, ever. She either loses in a flukish manner or she dominates. She doesn't have realistic competition in WWE right now, but that's only because someone (Vince?) thought it was a good idea to giving Natalya a short-lived flatulence gimmick rather than presenting her as Phoenix's in-ring equal. Whatever. Beth needs to win back the title so she and Kharma can face-off at SummerSlam and people can be interested again. Of course, what you do after that is beyond me.

WINNER: And new Divas Champion, Beth Phoenix

Intercontinental Championship: Christian (c) vs. Cody Rhodes

When Rhodes dropped the IC title to Big Show at WrestleMania, fans thought that meant he was going to move up the card. He didn't, but then he won the belt back. Then he lost it a few weeks later to a returning Christian. If you believe the rumor mill, Rhodes was going to be suspended, but was able to produce a doctor's note that whatever caused him to fail a wellness test was actually prescribed to him, hence the decision to have him drop the belt again. So here we are with a rematch, with Rhodes no longer in danger of taking time off. Christian suffered his first loss on Monday since returning, so he's lost a little bit of shine. When Rhodes won the title back from Show at Extreme Rules, I think they had a long-term plan which involved more matches with Big Show (who replaced the not-over Tensai in the main event scene). Now, I don't know that WWE has a long-term plan for either of these two. But they need strong mid-card babyfaces right now. With that in mind ...

WINNER: And still Intercontinental Champion, Christian

Triple H promo

I'm not going to try to predict what Triple H might say here, but I think this will just lead to a big teaser for Monday's Raw or the 1000th episode in a few weeks, when I expect Brock Lesnar to return to television to set up their inevitable match for SummerSlam. Don't be shocked to see Paul Heyman make an apperance here.

World Championship: Sheamus (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Will the third time be a charm for Ziggler? He did jobs in consecutive weeks to Sheamus on Smackdown and Raw before he became the last man standing to challenge for the World Championship. WWE is in a bit of a conundrum here, however. I truly believe that the plan was for Ziggler to win the championship later in the year. Ideally, he'd win Money in the Bank and cash-in against Sheamus at or after SummerSlam. So if he loses again here, they could go that route, but it'll cheapen his victory even more than Money in the Bank usually does. But now that their hand has been forced, and Ziggler has a title shot, you almost have to put the gold on him. Unfortunately, that means taking the title off the Great White sooner than they would've liked.

About the only way to put off Ziggler claiming the title would be to have Jack Swagger interfere and get him disqualified. But that would also seemingly push Ziggler toward a babyface turn, which I think is a dangerous move. He'll get lost in the shuffle as a babyface (his ceiling would be the IC title, which he's already held multiple times), versus being a top-tier heel World Champion. This is, by far, the toughest match on the card to call. I'm going to go out on a limb here.

WINNER: And new World Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler

Triple Threat for the WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) w/ AJ vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

I listed AJ in Punk's corner only because she's been very clear that she supports him by wearing his T-shirt and calling him the "coolest guy ever." I suspect she won't be ringside until a bit later in the match though. With that in mind, she has to be involved in the outcome, right? I can't help but think that the addition of Kane -- and AJ's... whatever she has going on with him -- are a way to put the title on Daniel Bryan without him actually defeating CM Punk (or doing so cheaply after Kane beats him up), setting up a rematch at MITB or the 1000th episode of Raw (I'm really holding out hope for an Iron Man match on that show).

One thing I'm fairly certain of is that Kane won't be winning the championship here. I'm leaning toward Bryan, but I already have one heel winning a world championshp, so I'll play it safe and say that AJ gets involved and allows Punk to retain.

WINNER: And still WWE Champion, CM Punk

Steel Cage: Big Show vs. John Cena -- if Big Show loses, John Laurinaitis is fired; if Cena loses, he's fired

From the moment this match was announced, I've believed that Big Show was going to win, mainly because I believe he'll ultimately win the WWE Championship at SummerSlam and he'll need some momentum heading into that match. When the stipulation that if Cena wins, Laurinaitis is fired, was announced, it pretty much locked it up for me. Then, all of a sudden on Smackdown, the stipulation that if Cena loses, he's fired gets added and I have no idea what's going to happen. Show is getting a great reaction as a heel right now and his promos have been on point. It would be a shame to derail that momentum as soon as it starts. Laurinaitis' character still has some juice left to be squeezed from it and it'd be dangerous to take Cena off TV and live events with the lack of roster depth.

No matter who loses, I think WWE will write their way out of the follow-through firing on Raw. With that in mind, I don't think Cena is going to be victorious here. I do think there might be some sort of swerve to screw over Cena, although I'd love to see Big Show beat him clean here, just to put over how much of a boss he is. Vince McMahon, seated at ringside, is the wild card here.

WINNER: Big Show

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