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Countdown to WWE No Way Out
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling




After a three-year absence, No Way Out is back as WWE presents the pay-per-view extravaganza, born in 1998, for the first time since 2009 this Sunday from IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

This year's edition of the show features several title matches, with both the WWE and World Heavyweight championships on the line, but the main event will be contested inside the 15-foot high steel cage when The Big Show meets John Cena.

But this is no ordinary steel cage match, as there is a lot riding on the line. If Cena wins, Raw/Smackdown general manager John Laurinaitis is gone, fired, terminated. He must hit the bricks. But if Show wins, Cena is going to be the one going for a long walk.

So without any futher ado, here is SLAM! Wrestling's preview for WWE No Way Out 2012, and some bonus thoughts from JBL on a few of the participants:


Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs. The Big Show

Matt Bishop: As laid out above, there's a lot riding on this match, but who really could care at this point? WWE didn't even establish the entire stipulation until three days before the show and after seeing so many matches with similar stipulations that were never adhered to, how can these added stipulations add anything to the match? Yeah, WWE is really going to fire Cena, the guy who has headlined each and every one of their pay-per-views this year with the exception of the Royal Rumble.

Big Show is back and he's a giant. We've seen this before. And we've seen the finish here before, as well. Cena goes all Super Cena on everything, defies the odds and beats the Big Show, meaning "Mr. Excitement" John Laurinaitis is fired. Swell.

Dave Hillhouse: As little sense as it makes to have Cena "fired", it makes just as little sense to have Laurinaitis pink-slipped after Wrestlemania and Over the Limit. I expect to see a "No Contest" finish where Cena gets to keep his job but comes out looking worse for wear.

JBL: What's cool about this is that Big Show is probably the most agile big man of all time, and Cena is one of the few guys who can execute a move to Big Show by being so strong. So I think they're going to be able to put some pretty good stuff together, and I think it will be a really good match.


WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

Matt Bishop: Hey, what do you know, Kane's back in the WWE Championship picture and he has a 33.3 percent chance of winning. I feel like there's a Scott Steiner promo waiting here, but I'm not even going to try. This match revolves around which man AJ is going to side with. She's teased being with Punk and Kane in prior weeks, even having a public makeout session with Kane on Raw, and she also has the past relationship with Bryan. Will she be a factor in the outcome? You bet! I don't see Punk losing the title quite yet, as he's had a long run, but we'll see. For some reason, I smell a Kane run incoming. Watch out.

Dave Hillhouse: Through this whole "Crazy AJ" run, I've kept it in the back of my mind that she and Bryan are orchestrating all of this as a means to get him another championship and reunite as a power couple. If that doesn't happen tonight, and especially if AJ purposefully helps Punk or Kane win, then I'll go back to the drawing board on this one.

JBL: I obviously know CM Punk and Kane a lot more than Bryan, but I love what I've seen on TV and the interaction with AJ. Bryan has that aspect of being a heel that you never want to like; right at the very end when you think "Hey this is a pretty good guy", he does something just dastardly, and he does it wonderfully. Kane is still doing it and I don't know how he's doing it, and to get better and better and still be in that picture tells you how good he is.


World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler

Matt Bishop: OK, let me get this straight: We're supposed to believe the guy (Dolph Ziggler) who has been beat like a drum up and down both Raw and Smackdown this entire year is a legitimate threat to Sheamus? The same guy who beat him clean two shows in a row two weeks ago? Yeah, OK. Brogue Kick, White Noise, take your pick. There's no way this match doesn't end without Ziggler staring at the lights yet again.

Dave Hillhouse: Not only does Ziggler lose, but he falls victim to the current Sheamus Curse and is somehow injured or suspended immediately following the match.


Intercontinental Championship: Christian vs. Cody Rhodes

Matt Bishop: This should be a fine match. Both of these men are very good inside the ring, but hopefully Christian wins this one and it can be on to bigger and better things for Rhodes, who, along with Ziggler, is one of WWE's most underrated and under-utilized performers. Christian takes this one with the frog splash.

Dave Hillhouse: Time for a gutsy and completely unlikely prediction: Rhodes wins the title but discards it, saying it's lost the prestige that he gave to it. He moves on to a World Title quest and we get an Intercontinental Tournament over the next few weeks.


Divas Championship: Layla vs. Beth Phoenix

Matt Bishop: Layla was on the side of a milk carton for a few weeks there, having not been seen on Raw for what seemed like an eternity. She made her big return Monday only to get beat handily by Phoenix, who will now challenge for the title on the pay-per-view. It was nice to see Layla come back from injury and win the title, but she has been quickly marginalized. It wouldn't be shocking to see a title change here.

Dave Hillhouse: We went through this at the last PPV; the shadow of Kharma hangs over every potential storyline in the Divas division. Until she returns, any title change or successful defense is basically treading water.


Tuxedo Match: Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez

Matt Bishop: Yes, this is real life, folks.

Dave Hillhouse: The WWE has very few true comedic performers, and these are two of them. Actually, these two might be it. I think they're funny together, so what the heck, have a laugh. Oh, Santino "wins".




NO WAY OUT HISTORY