February 18, 2006
No Way Out offers few appealing bouts
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
Some WWE pay-per-views will never be forgotten. Others will barely be remembered, even when viewers notice a $35 pay-per-view charge on their cable bill a month after the show.
Tomorrow night's No Way Out event in Baltimore will probably fall into the latter category.
Sandwiched between the much bigger Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania events, No Way Out tends to be neither steak nor sizzle, a bland B-level pay-per-view lost in the midst of the build-up to WWE's Super Bowl.
Sure, it promises to set the stage for 'Mania but most fans already know the score for WWE's annual mega event and tomorrow night's offering will do little to change that.
So while the advertising plugs No Way Out as the last big stop on the road to Wrestlemania, in reality, it's barely even a speed bump.
The lame lead-up to this match has seen Undertaker use a series of indoor lightening storms and imploding wrestling rings to creep out his opponent.
This is reminiscent of the infamous horror movie special effects used by the Edmonton Oilers to unsettle the Boston Bruins during the 1990 Stanley Cup final.
Which, of course, didn't actually happen because that would be stupid.
Luckily, 'Taker and Angle's unconventional collision will be a one-match affair, rather than a long-term feud. Angle will quickly move on to a war with the winner of tomorrow night's semi-main event, Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio.
Orton has spent the last few weeks making fun of Eddie Guerrero's death to get under Mysterio's skin. It would be a powerful and intense pro-wrestling storyline -- if Guerrero wasn't actually Mysterio's friend, and hadn't actually died a few months ago.
It's reminiscent of the 1981 World Series, when the Los Angeles Dodgers gained the advantage by making fun of members of the Yankees team who had recently lost loved ones.
Oh, wait a minute. That one didn't happen either. Because something like that would be crass and tasteless.
Anyway, while some pundits could argue the merits of mocking Guerrero's death so that his best friend could defend his honour, that logic is only valid if Mysterio actually wins tomorrow.
Since an Orton victory is currently in the books, the storyline doesn't appear to be a controversial effort to keep Guerrero's memory alive. It seems more like a controversial way to exploit his death.
Moving down the card, MNM will be putting the tag team straps on the line against Matt Hardy and a mystery partner. Apparently Road Warrior Animal will be the surprise team member and the pair may even be in line to win the titles.
I'll avoid making a reference to Super Bowl XXXII, when a fat, out of shape 43-year old joined the Denver Broncos to lead them to the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the very first time, because that one obviously didn't happen either.
In fact, rather than continue to make comparisons to reality to prove how ridiculous and/or tasteless the storylines are getting, let's just assume it's mandatory for viewers to check their brains (and sense of decency) at the door before tomorrow's pay-per-view. It'll be a heck of a lot easier to enjoy that way.
Other matches at No Way Out include a U.S. title defence by Booker T against Alberta's Chris Benoit, JBL taking on Bobby Lashley and Gregory Helms putting his cruiserweight title on the line in a match against all the sub-200-lb. Smackdown wrestlers.
No Way Out can be seen at 6 p.m. MT tomorrow night on pay-per-view. In Calgary, the action will also be shown at several city movie theatres and at Bottoms Up Sports Pub on 17th Ave S.E.