February 17, 2008
Countdown to WWE No Way Out
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff

Just a few weeks away from WrestleMania, WWE prepares to finalize its main event list with tonight's action at No Way Out.

What was, in theory, supposed to happen at the Royal Rumble now will occur this evening, as we will finally know who will fight for Raw and Smackdown's top titles. We'll also likely get a hint as to what is to come for ECW.

And that's just about it.

Yes, despite some strong build-up on many feuds across the Fed, only four angles will be on display tonight, three of which focus on the respective Heavyweight titles. No US or Intercontinental belts will be on the line. No tag team matches to be seen. No, surprisingly, we won't even get a Women's match.

Instead, the focus is all about the Road to WrestleMania, and to be honest, that will certainly suit a number of fans just fine.

Let's take a look at No Way Out.



WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Randy Orton vs. John Cena

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

This match is happening too soon. And no, I don't just mean that it should be happening at 'Mania, as per the stip from the Rumble. No, my friends, John Cena is coming back too soon. Too often we've seen wrestlers come back too early from a serious injury and end up worse for it in the end. I can't imagine a clean finish here, only because Cena can't lose right away, or he looks like a chump who came back too soon. You also can't sacrifice Orton, because then he looks like the champion that never should have been. My guess is Mark Henry costs Cena the title, drawing the DQ, and a ruling that Cena gets a rightful shot again at 'Mania in a three-way.

Greg Oliver

Since everyone expects Cena to win, I'm going to go with Orton. Really, if this is a well-done match then there is no reason that it can't be a three-way at Mania with the winner of the Raw Chamber (HHH) in the main event as well. Cena can play the trump card of the Royal Rumble win to convince the powers that be that he deserves to be there (but he has to do it without being a whiny little girl about it).

Mark Xamin

For the love of all that is good and holy, I hope Orton wins nice and clean; but since Cena is WWE's untouchable Superman, I'm picking Cena. We can all collectively throw up.

Matt Mackinder

Does Cena win here, get booed and then head to WrestleMania for a WrestleMania 22 rematch with Triple H? Maybe. That might be too predictable. Then again, this is a lazy WWE booking phase we’re in. So I’ll go with that. Cena regains the title he never lost in the ring.


 
WORLD TITLE MATCH

Edge vs. Rey Mysterio
 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Why is Mysterio fighting so hard to be in this match? I understand the dedication Rey has to the sport, but, amigo, it's not worth it. Hopefully this will be a quick bout, because I'm scared for Rey's future in wrestling right now.

Greg Oliver

Mysterio has had his chance in the past, and probably deserves to wear the belt again, if for no other reason than merchandise sales. But Edge will prevail so he can have the 'Mania showdown with Undertaker.

Mark Xamin

Edge retains with the usual heel shenanigans. Wouldn't surprise me if Rey won via DQ.

Matt Mackinder

Again? If Edge wins, will he and Vickie have a live sex celebration on Smackdown? Dear Lord I hope not. Rey seems to be in a rut lately and his matches have become very routine. Edge uses his “familia” to keep the gold.


ECW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

CM Punk vs. Chavo Guerrero


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

If Chavito had a background in ECW, this would be a great storyline. Instead, Guerrero just showed up one week and a couple week's later took the belt. It makes the brand look weak to have a Smackdown guy come in and instantly beat the champ, doesn't it? This is the proving ground for this feud, which really does have some legroom to go still, but so much is dependent on the two being able to put on the type of match fans want to see. I can see Punk winning here, but I get the feeling the Copeland-Guerrero alliance makes its presence felt. Chavo wins.

Greg Oliver

Since we have to have at least one title change hands, I'll pick Punk here to regain his belt, which will (hopefully) move him into a new feud leading up to Mania. Shelton Benjamin, perhaps?

Mark Xamin

Chavo will hang onto the strap. Punk is supposedly in the doghouse at the moment, but he's carried ECW all year long, so I think he'll get his big moment at WrestleMania.

Matt Mackinder

Does the ECW title mean anything? Heck, does ECW mean anything? Let Chavo retain and send Punk to Friday nights to start a feud with the man that costs him the title here, Edge.


  RAW ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH

Triple H vs. JBL vs. Chris Jericho vs. Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Shawn Michaels
 


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

As much as Jeff Hardy deserves to win the match (especially after that early MOTY-candidate on Raw), we all know wHHHo is going to win this bout. I get the feeling, though, that we'll see Hardy vs. HBK here for an extended time, with the two facing off at 'Mania once again. As for the rest of the merry lot, Y2J could have an interesting go with Umaga at WM, so look for that to be established. JBL, meanwhile, transitions to a return to Smackdown and will be the first eliminated in the process.

Greg Oliver

The only way that Triple H doesn't win this is if he doesn't show up.

Mark Xamin

The final three will be HBK, HHH, and Hardy. Oh, the drama. Of course, HHH will win and goon to face Cena at 'Mania. Look for Hunter to turn heel in this one and screw HBK somehow.

Matt Mackinder

Lots of initials in this match, eh? Umaga has no chance. Y2J isn’t ready for prime time yet. Jeff Hardy is, but not just yet. That leaves Bradshaw and DX. Backstage politics goes a long way and HHH shows his worth by juicing and eventually pinning Michaels to get the ‘Mania title shot.


 

SMACKDOWN ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH
Undertaker vs. Great Khali vs. Big Daddy V vs. Fit Finlay vs. MVP vs. Batista



SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Let's see who our options are - MVP, who is destined for the Money in the Bank win at 'Mania (you heard it here first, folks), Finlay, who will be screwed by McMahon somehow and voluntarily leave the Chamber to rescue Hornswoggle, Khali who has used up his usefulness, Batista, who had all 2007 to play around with title matches (on both sides of the strap no less) and wasn't that much of a draw, Big Daddy V, who isn't even on Smackdown and Undertaker. Guess who wins.

Greg Oliver

Undertaker takes it, and it won't be pretty.

Mark Xamin

Undertaker. Guran-damn-teed. Edge vs. Taker for the title, with both undefeated streaks on the line, at 'Mania.

Matt Mackinder

I’d be happier if Old Yeller and Big Fatty were left out of this match. Two chambers in one night kind of devalues the match in my eyes, but I’m not a lazy creative team member. This will come down to Batista or MVP against ‘Taker, with the Dead Man rising again.


 

CAREER THREATENING MATCH
Ric Flair vs. Mr. Kennedy



SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

It's another overcome-the-adversity bout here folks. Kennedy's not winning, though he rightfully should. Methinks that Kennedy vs. Flair will be at 'Mania again, so I half expect a DQ win for Flair, as Kennedy wins the match, but won't release a submission hold and the ref reverses his decision.

Greg Oliver

Who gets the rub of finally finishing Flair off? It would be a great swerve to have Kennedy actually do it here, but then graciously ask for a rematch anyway at Mania. It'll make him the big-time player that everybody seems to think he will be, and put him in a real tweener role.

Mark Xamin

Flair all the way - he's not done just yet. His swan song will be at WrestleMania. Maybe Kennedy can give him a better match than MVP did.

Matt Mackinder

Flair lose? Fat chance. The figure four or feet on the ropes gives Naitch the win and a career extended for another six weeks.


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-- compiled by Jon Waldman


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