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Chair Shots: WWE No Way Out review -- What does John Cena do now?

John Cena rose above again Sunday night, defeating the Big Show inside a steel cage -- albeit with some help from pretty much the entire WWE babyface mid-card -- and vanquishing John Laurinaitis as the GM of Raw and Smackdown. So, the only question left to ask is... now what?

The face of WWE has been put in some interesting situations over the past few months. Unlike a few years ago, when it seemed he was facing the same opponents over and over, he's actually wrestled four different opponents at the last four PPVs -- The Rock, Brock Lesnar, Laurinaitis and Big Show. He's 2-2, but looking back, I can't help but feel like that WrestleMania loss to the Rock has been all for naught.

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When Cena lost to the Rock at WrestleMania, after a year of building up the match to epic proportions to the point where Cena almost couldn't lose -- he lost. And it was incredibly interesting. Cena got cocky, and was taken down by a legend in the business in what many thought would be a passing of the torch moment. He was down on his luck, humbled and defeated, and all of a sudden Brock Lesnar was back, delivering a thunderous F-5 and Cena was once again facing insurmountable odds.

The thought of Cena on a losing streak was intriguing. Then he beat Lesnar at Extreme Rules and that angle was done. But wait, post-match, Cena cut a promo about taking the beating of his life and how he was probably going away for a while. Only he didn't.

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Instead, Lesnar was the one who went away and Cena picked up a feud with Laurinaitis, bitter that Cena had ruined Lesnar's big return. Never mind that WWE Champion CM Punk was the guy who has had the real beef with Laurinaitis. So it was "Big Johnny" vs John Cena, and a predictable spot of interference by Big Show led to a Laurinaitis victory. OK, cool. Suddenly, Cena is facing adversity again.

Never mind the logical gaps in why the Big Show would side with Laurinaitis, who publicly embarrassed him and fired him days earlier, Show was getting a hell of a reaction as a bad guy. And the build had him looking like the dominating monster we always knew he could be. But a funny thing happened on the way to the pay-per-view. All of a sudden, the steel cage match became less about Show taking out years of aggression on Cena and proving himself -- it became all about Laurinaits and whether he would be fired. Then on Smackdown, it became whether Cena might get fired too.

WWE changed the narrative, painted themselves into a corner, and gave themselves No Way Out.

Cena had to win. They couldn't do another "Cena's fired, oh wait, no he's not" angle. And with all the injuries and suspensions the company is facing right now, it couldn't in good conscious take its top money maker off TV, off live events and off PPVs for even a limited amount of time, no matter how intriguing it might be.

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Clearly, WWE did this to create doubt because a lot of fans weren't that into the angle. And mission accomplished. I don't know if it made the PPV a must-see, but the obvious route was to have Big Show go over and continue to be a dominant monster backed by a heel GM. Instead, the heel GM has been eliminated from the storylines (in theory, I suspect his firing won't stick for even 24 hours), Cena has vanquished his biggest threats and now he can move on to... what?

Not the Rock. He's off filming another movie, and won't be back until early 2013, if at all. Not Brock Lesnar. He's on a collision course with Triple H at SummerSlam, and besides, Cena's already beaten him. Not the Big Show. Cena already killed any heat he has, and Show will now likely move into a feud with Brodus Clay, who was instrumental in Cena's victory Sunday night.

Barring a shocking start to a new, big angle on Raw tonight, the only thing Cena could do that might be of interest is challenge CM Punk to a rematch for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank -- exactly one year from their epic 2011 encounter.

Honestly, it's the only thing that makes sense in the aftermath of No Way Out. Big Show has lost his heat. Cena's overcome all the adversity thrown his way and once again is the conquering hero. The only thing missing is championship gold.

Match by match thoughts.

I missed the pre-show, but it didn't seem to matter. I thought it was odd that David Otunga chose to walk away from Brodus Clay. Shouldn't Otunga have tried to make the save on Laurinaitis in the main event? Whatever. ...

Dolph Ziggler challenging Sheamus went on first, which I was fine with, but despite a hot crowd, the match fell flat for me. It was essentially the same match these two wrestled on Raw a few weeks back, which was my concern heading into the PPV when Ziggler was made the "emergency" challenger. The finishing sequence with Sheamus hitting White Noise and a Brogue Kick complete with the set-up was lame. Sheamus is having good matches, but the finishes are too plain to be effective, in my opinion. I did like that they teased a WrestleMania redux with Ziggler getting a good luck kiss from Vickie and nearly getting his head kicked off in a matter of seconds. ...

While the crowd was hot for the opener, the Tuxedo match completely killed them -- as well it should've. Whoever thought this was a good idea should be fired. I can't even imagine too many kids liked this match. The less said the better. ...

Because Santino and Ricardo killed the crowd, it made the next two matches seem a lot less exciting than they actually were. Christian and Cody Rhodes put on a really good show fighting over the Intercontinental Championship, and I liked Christian finishing him with the spear. It was much less contrived than the finish to the World Championship match. Lots of false finishes woke the crowd up. This would've been a good choice for the opener too. Booker T said that Rhodes' stock was rising despite the loss. I would assume that's foreshadowing a move into the main event scene for the formerly Dashing Superstar, but usually Booker T says the opposite of whatever is true, so I won't read too much into it. ...

Likewise, I thought that No. 1 Contenders Tag Team Fatal Four-Way was well booked and exciting, especially once Tyson Kidd hit the ring. (He had a very impressive spot where he did a hurricanarana with Primo off the top rope onto the floor, where the other teams were waiting; it was the spot of the night.) WWE has four legitimate tag teams here, which is a good basis for the division. I loved the swerve finish with Abraham Washington screwing over Primo and Epico, and siding with the Prime Time Players. It fits into the story. Now they just need to do something with it. Depending on R-Truth's health, I think the PTP could get their title shot as soon as tonight. Meanwhile, I wonder if Epico and Primo are babyfaces now? With Rosa on their side, it shouldn't be hard to get people to cheer for them, or her at least. ...

Triple H got a reaction from the crowd, but even that didn't last. He rambled for about 10 minutes and seemed to repeat himself a lot. I mean, a lot. It's like they gave him 3 bullet points, he covered them in the first two minutes, then just kept saying the same stuff over and over. Ultimately, he's going to chide Lesnar into dropping his lawsuit in order to have a fight at SummerSlam. Logically, that doesn't make sense for Lesnar, but hey, this is pro wrestling. We decided who gets corporate gigs in a 20-by-20-foot ring. It also really doesn't do anything about Paul Heyman's lawsuit, but again, whatever. Essentially, this just confirms its gonna be Trips vs. Brock at SummerSlam, which is cool, because this is a match that's about 10 years in the making. Plenty of stipulations to be added later, I'm sure. Ignore the build and just enjoy what should be an excellent match on August 19. ...

Layla defeated Beth Phoenix in what became another comedy match. They've essentially buried Beth, which is a shame, since she's their best performer. Layla's gorgeous, but she's not over with really any segment of the crowd. The Divas division has become a detriment right now, and really doesn't have a place on the roster. It completely lacks direction. They need to convince Kelly Kelly to come back and feud with Layla over who is hotter, since they both made Maxim's Hot 100. It's like the Playboy WrestleMania match for the PG Era. ...

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Sin Cara beat Hunico in a very boring match that killed the crowd again. Here's the thing -- Hunico is one of few guys who can go with Sin Cara, yet they booked this match for him to be grounding the high-flyer. But he did so with low-impact moves. Sin Cara won't get interesting until he's going up against a hard-hitting brawler and you have the contrast of styles. Fans are going to be bored to tears by chinlocks and armbars. Either let Sin Cara fly around or have him bumping like crazy for bigger guys in between his spectacular offense. It's why Rey Mysterio is over and Sin Cara isn't. ...

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The crowd was very into the CM Punk-Daniel Bryan-Kane triple threat and it probably was the best match on the card. At the same time, it was also the most disappointing, because we didn't get the closure on the AJ angle that I think the fans were looking for. AJ gave each wrestler a kiss good luck backstage before the match, with each having their own unique reaction. Kane's got a huge pop, when he pulled her back and planted a deep kiss on her lips. The action in the match was good, but the finish seemed to take a little too long. Punk hit the GTS on Bryan, but Kane yanked him (Yankem?) to the floor where he essentially disappeared for what seemed like at least 5 minutes left before the finish. So it essentially boiled down to Kane vs. Punk, which is probably the match they should've done here all along. Punk kicked out the chokeslam, which was huge for him and then AJ ran down while Kane set up a Tombstone piledriver. Punk shoves Kane into AJ, then hits the GTS (impressive considering the size difference) and got the pin. Bryan didn't even attempt to break it up. A distraught Kane carried AJ to the back, who looked back over his shoulder at Punk with a strange look on her face. Still nothing from Bryan. I kept waiting for him to attack Punk and put him in the Yes Lock to continue their feud or something. The fact he didn't get pinned leads me to believe those two will continue to wrestle over the WWE Championship, with AJ likely transitioning away from both of them and into an angle with Kane. ...

Ryback mad. Ryback squash. Ryback ask for three next time. Whatever. ...

The in-ring action for the main event was about what you would expect from Cena and Show. It was a slow, methodical and deliberate beating delivered by Big Show inside the steel cage. Show had two really impressive spots where he was standing on the top rope and lifted Cena from the mat to the top rope with him for a chokeslam, then walked to the middle of the ropes ala the Undertaker and attempted a flying elbow that Cena dodged. The finish had a lot of moving parts and lasted a while. Cena nearly escaped the cage at one point, only for Laurinaitis and McMahon to tussle over the cage door and McMahon accidentally slam it shut on Cena. Then Big Show knocked out the referee and Cena with successive punches. Because he couldn't get a three-count, he went to walk out the door, but Brodus Clay ran down and held him at bay with a steel chair.

Santino, Alex Riley and Zack Ryder ran down to offer some assistance, but Show knocks them all off the cage. Then Kofi Kingston comes down, climbs the top of the cage and kicks show back in with a couple stiff shots to the head. I really wanted Kofi to dive off the top of the cage onto Big Show, which would've been a huge moment for him. I think between R-Truth's injury and the PTP getting a tag title shot, plus the lack of roster depth, that Kofi is about to become a singles wrestler again. That would've been a huge spot to get him super over and they didn't pull the trigger.

Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment on Show, then escaped the cage by going over the top while Big Show crawled to the door. Laurinaitis tried to stop Cena by swinging his crutch at him, but Brodus Clay left his post to immobilize Laurinaitis. Which obviously bought enough time for Show to escape the cage, now that Clay was no longer guarding the door, before Cena could get ou... wait, what? Cena leaps and hits the floor first while Show is still struggling to get out the door. Lame.

It didn't make sense last night. And it doesn't make sense now, more than 12 hours later. My guess is Show will try to reclaim some of his heat tonight by suggesting Cena needed help from five other guys to beat him by the slimmest of margins. And he'd be right, but I still think his heat is gone.

Post-match, Cena picked up Laurinaitis for an AA, McMahon let him know that he's fired, and Cena threw him through the Spanish announce table. Yay! Happy ending. Whatever.

Many fans had low expectations for WWE's latest June pay-per-view offering, No Way Out, and the show lived up to its lack of hype. While the top four matches were entertaining, none of them stood out as a "can't-miss" and the results kept the status quo going. Ho hum. This one isn't even worth checking out on DVD later.

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