The last WWE PPV leading up to WrestleMania 21 in 2005 was Smackdown’s No Way Out event. It’s a card that had two very predictable matches to end the night because by this point we all knew what the WWE Championship match would be at WrestleMania 21: John Bradshaw Layfield defending the WWE Title against John Cena. It was obvious that Cena was being pushed as the next breakout superstar in WWE after rising up the babyface ranks for a year leading up to this.
This show was bad in terms of WWE business because it did about 240,000 PPV buys, which was the second lowest of 2005 trailing only No Mercy in October. I just don’t think JBL vs. Big Show was an attractive main event match especially when fans were getting tired of JBL as WWE Champion for nearly one year. Plus, people were saving their money for WrestleMania 21, which did the second best buyrate for a WrestleMania ever (trailing only WrestleMania 17) at that point.
I have been reviewing WWE PPVs from the mid-2000s over the last two years and we’re rolling into 2005 after doing Royal Rumble 2005 recently. You can check out my retro review archives on TJRWrestling as well as Rajah.com in case you want to find reviews of older shows too. Let’s get to it.
WWE No Way Out
Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This show has a TV 14 rating with a S for “Sexual Content” due to the segments featuring the women. Hello ladies.
The opening video package aired hyping up the main event between WWE Champion JBL vs. Big Show in a Barbed Wire Steel Cage match while mentioning there is….no way out. Funny how that works.
The pyro went off and the cage was shown above the ring. Michael Cole and Tazz welcomed us to the show from their spot at ringside. The Spanish announcers were at their table as well.
Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero (in a low rider) made their entrances individually as the challengers for the WWE Tag Team Titles. Rey’s original partner was Rob Van Dam, but he was out with a knee injury, so Eddie was subbed in as the partner. This was the start of a major angle with Rey and Eddie in 2005.
The Basham Brothers duo of Doug and Danny Basham made their entrance. They had the Tag Team Titles around their waist during their run as JBL’s “Secretaries of Defense” in The Cabinet stable. A clip was shown of Rey getting a pin on Smackdown to set up this match.
WWE Tag Team Titles: The Basham Brothers (Doug and Danny) vs. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio
Pre-match notes: The Bashams were the heel champions. They were not really brothers although they had similar looks with shaved heads. Eddie and Rey were the faces that were very popular.
Guerrero worked on Danny’s left knee followed by an armbar and Mysterio tagged in with a running leg drop on Danny for two. The heels worked over Mysterio for a bit, Mysterio with an athletic arm drag off the ropes and Guerrero went back in there with a hurricanrana. Danny grounded Guerrero and pulled back on Guerrero’s arms in a submission hold. Doug tagged in with elbow drops to Guerrero’s back to keep Eddie from tagging out of the match. Guerrero tried to fight out of the corner, but Doug hit a powerslam for two. Doug up top, he jumped off and Guerrero avoided the headbutt. Mysterio got the tag with a springboard cross body block on Doug for two. Mysterio with a bulldog counter that Cole called a “DDT” for some reason. The Bashams did an illegal switch when the ref was distracted and Danny hit Rey with a clothesline to take over again. Danny slapped on a full nelson on Mysterio. Hard whip into the corner by Danny followed by a cheap shot on Eddie, which led to a heel double team on Mysterio. Doug tagged and went for a move off the top, but Mysterio knocked him down. Mysterio hit a moonsault press for a two count. Danny tagged back in with a chinlock. Guerrero tied two tag ropes together, which referee Brian Hebner found out, so that was mildly funny. Double team facebuster by the Bashams got two as Guerrero made the save. Mysterio finally broke free and Guerrero got the hot tag.
Guerrero with a dropkick on Doug, back body drop on Danny and a dropkick to Doug again. Guerrero with a headscissors/arm drag combo on both Bashams. Double team spinebuster on Guerrero looked a bit sloppy and it got a two count. Mysterio back in and Guerrero with an inside cradle got two. Doug sent Mysterio into the barricade. Guerrero grabbed one of the tag team titles. Mysterio told him not to do it. The Bashams did another switch in the ring, which Guerrero noticed. Guerrero jumped off the top, Doug moved and Eddie rolled through. Doug never saw it, so Eddie laid down on the mat as if he was hurt. Inside cradle by Eddie got a two count. Great nearfall. Danny threw the title to Eddie, so Eddie tossed it to Doug and the ref removed the title. Mysterio gave Guerrero the title when the ref wasn’t looking, Guerrero hit Doug with the title (the ref never saw it) and Rey hit a 619 on Danny. Guerrero covered Doug for the pinfall for the win at 14:50. The crowd popped big for the title change.
Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero
Analysis: *** It was a solid tag team match that was given a good amount of time to tell the story of the heels working over Mysterio for most of it, Guerrero got the hot tag and the finish was clever. The story was that Mysterio didn’t want Guerrero to cheat, but when he saw the Bashams wanted to cheat, Mysterio figured it was okay and that led to the face team of Eddie and Rey cheating to win, which was something Eddie did all the time. I always thought The Bashams worked well as a team. There just wasn’t much of a gimmick for them other than guys that looked similar and tried to cheat a lot.
Eddie and Rey celebrated with the titles. The crowd loved them as the champs.
Analysis: It was the start of a long storyline between the two men, which I’ll cover as I get through the 2005 PPV events.
Teddy Long, the Smackdown General Manager, was in the room talking to a guy that had a headset on. Long instructed him to make sure Batista was comfortable when he arrived. Carlito showed up in a sling and had the wife of guy that was on the Board of Directors with her saying she wanted Batista to sign with Smackdown. She said she was just there to say hello and went back to her seat. Carlito and Long bickered because Carlito wanted him fired. Carlito said it looks like if Long doesn’t sign Batista, he may be out of a job.
Smackdown Rookie Diva of the Year – First Round
The diva duo of Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie entered the ring. They both looked great of course. Torrie was a face and Dawn was a heel. They joined the commentary team for this contest.
The women entered in evening gowns as the eventual theme song of Candice Michelle played in the arena. The four women were Joy Giovanni, Rochelle Loewen, Lauren Jones and Michelle McCool. The women just stood in the ring and fans were encouraged to vote on WWE.com for the women. Joy got the biggest ovation of the four women. Round two is coming up later.
Analysis: Raw had way more women than Smackdown in this era, so it was WWE trying to figure out what women were going to be keepers in their women’s division.
Heidenreich made his entrance making crazy faces. He read one of his “Disasterpiece” poems. The fans gave him the “WHAT” treatment during the promo. Booker T was up next for a match that was set up with Cole saying that Heidenreich was laughing on his own, Booker thought he was laughing at him and now we get to see this match no build. Way to not give a shit, creative team.
Heidenreich vs. Booker T
Pre-match notes: Heidenreich was a crazy heel. Booker was in face mode at this point in his career.
Heidenreich with a clothesline for two. Booker worked over Heidenreich with punches and chops. Elbow to the face by Heidenreich, so Booker bailed to the floor. Heidenreich followed and Booker sent him face first into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Booker with a standing side kick. Heidenreich came back with a lefty clothesline with Booker doing a flip to sell it. The announcers claimed Booker was in the main event of WrestleMania once even though it was really just a midcard match at WrestleMania 19 against Triple H for the World Title. Heidenreich slapped on an armbar. Booker broke free and Heidenreich stopped his momentum with a boot to the face. Heidenreich with another armbar. Booker came back with a spinebuster. Booker with a forearm, Heidenreich sold it bad, Booker with a clothesline and a thrust kick to the face. Booker with a Spinarooni woke up the crowd. Heidenreich avoided the axe kick and the Book End. Booker sent Heidenreich over the top to the floor. They went over to the announce tables. Heidenreich got a steel chair and hit Booker in the throat with it. The ref saw it and disqualified Heidenreich at 6:49.
Winner by disqualification: Booker T
Analysis: 1/4* It was awful like every Heidenreich match. Sloppy match from the beginning and the crowd only reacted to the Spinarooni because that’s always over with the crowd. My favorite part was when the match ended.
Heidenreich rolled Booker in the ring and pinned him. The ref told him the match was over. Tazz tried to defend Heidenreich that he’s a good man and he’s got feelings. Heidenreich left the ring while Booker was selling the chair to the throat.
Analysis: What a terrible gimmick this was to match the poor performance. The heel run for Heidenreich was over shortly after this and then they had the genius idea of making him a comedic face.
Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio were shown celebrating their title win in the locker room with Charlie Haas, Bob Holly and Scotty 2 Hotty. John Cena joined the celebration. Eddie asked the others to give him a moment with John. Eddie congratulated Cena on working hard to get where he is. Eddie said this is history and if Cena beats Angle it means he will main event WrestleMania. Eddie said that’s what everybody in this business lives for and now Cena has that opportunity. Eddie put over Angle as a phenomenal wrestler, then pointed out that Angle said he’ll make Cena tap out and hurt Cena. Eddie said he doesn’t believe that Cena will tap and told Cena to remember that. Eddie told Cena not to tap because Kurt will get mad, he’ll get frustrated and he’ll make mistakes, which is Cena’s opportunity to win. Eddie told John he believes and he knows they (the fans) believe in Cena. Eddie shook his hand, said “God bless you” and left.
Analysis: Nice pep talk from the veteran and former WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero with some positive words for the rising star Cena.
The cruiserweights entered for a match with Funaki as the champion.
Cruiserweight Open for the Cruiserweight Championship: Funaki vs. Akio vs. Paul London vs. Shannon Moore vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Spike Dudley
Pre-match notes: Funaki was the Cruiserweight Champion. Akio was previously known as Jimmy Yang in WCW and also Jimmy (Wang) Yang in WWE. Two men start the match, when there’s a fall it means another guy goes in the ring. Spike Dudley entered in a Tom Brady jersey to get cheap heat. None of the guys in this match are still wrestling in WWE, but Brady is still playing in the NFL.
Funaki started with London while the other four guys were on the apron in the other four corners of the ring. London kicked Funaki into the turnbuckle, but then he missed a corner attack and Funaki hit a bulldog for two. Chavo went into the ring, Dudley with a knee to the back of Funaki (ref Jimmy Korderas didn’t see it) and London with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Funaki eliminated him.
Funaki eliminated by Paul London
Analysis: That meant that there would be a new champion. The crowd didn’t care.
The ref tried to get Funaki out of the ring as Funaki stomped away on London in the corner. Moore tried to get involved, the ref went over to him and Funaki hit a superkick on Spike, who sold it like the deadliest kick in the history of wrestling. London covered Spike to eliminate him.
Spike Dudley eliminated by Funaki
Analysis: That means they did the “ref didn’t see it” booking for two eliminations in about 15 seconds of action.
Moore was next in the ring with a headscissors off the top rope on London. Tazz is shocked about Funaki being eliminated first while the crowd is dead for this match. London got a rollup on Moore where he was seated on top for a two count. Moore whipped London sternum first into the turnbuckle three times. Moore went for a corkscrew moonsault, London moved and London up top. London hit a sweet 450 Splash for the pinfall to eliminate Moore. Cole just said “London connects” instead of calling the move.
Shannon Moore eliminated by Paul London
Akio went in the ring with a clothesline on London. Headlock by Akio and when London got back to his feet, Akio hit a jumping enziguri kick to the back of the head for two. Akio slapped on an armbar on London. Akio went for a superplex on the top, but London fought him off and London hit a neckbreaker off the top rope. The crowd barely reacted to it even though it was a great move. The ref counted both guys down, London got to his feet and Akio didn’t, so Akio was eliminated.
Akio eliminated after not getting up before a 10 count
Guerrero got in the ring for the first time and he covered London for multiple two counts. London got a cradle. Guerrero with an uppercut. When London tried to fight back, Guerrero punched him to keep him down. Chavo went for the neckbreaker, but London held onto the ropes and he managed a two count. Dragon Suplex by London got a two count. Great move that got no response. London with a back body drop followed by a dropsault. Guerrero came back by sending London into the turnbuckle. London rolled through for two, then Guerrero sat on top for a pinfall by putting his hand on the ropes and the ref never saw it, so Guerrero got the win. It went 9:43.
Paul London eliminated by Chavo Guerrero
Winner by pinfall and New Cruiserweight Champion: Chavo Guerrero
Analysis: ** It was okay with London as the star of the match. The quick eliminations hurt the match because guys were getting beat after barely taking any punishment. London as the guy that worked most of the match and Chavo took advantage to win fit the story of Chavo as a heel that only won because of the rules of the match. The win was as cheap as you could get for Chavo with his hand on the ropes. It was pretty telling how dead the crowd was for most of this match even when they did cool moves. That’s because none of these characters were that interested.
A video aired of Batista destroying JBL’s limo with a baseball bat on the previous Smackdown because this was at a time when we didn’t know what show Royal Rumble winner Batista would choose in terms of facing a champion at WrestleMania. That led to Big Show beating up JBL and Batista ran into the ring to go for JBL.
Analysis: I don’t think anybody really believed that Batista might choose to go to Smackdown. The obvious match was against Raw’s Triple H for the World Heavyweight Title.
Big Show was shown backstage looking serious for his title match later in the show.
The announcers talked about the three ways to win the steel cage match: Pinfall, submission or escape the cage.
Analysis: This felt like filler for five minutes because this show only had six matches.
The WrestleMania recall showed the gimmick battle royal from WrestleMania 17. Fun match.
Smackdown Rookie Diva of the Year Contest – Round Two
The women were in the ring for round two of this competition. It’s a talent show for the four rookie divas that was hosted by Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie.
Joy Giovanni was up first saying her talent was massage, so she said she would massage Torrie. That drew a big ovation. I should also add that Joy was wearing a bra and her skirt was so short that the crowd popped for a shot of her undies. It also led to this visual.
You’re welcome. Torrie thanked Joy. Dawn Marie, as the heel, said she could give a better rub than that, so Torrie had a line about how if you don’t believe Dawn you can ask the guys in the back.
Rochelle Loewen, who had a very revealing dress, told a joke: “How do you make a Kleenex dance? You put a little boogie in it.” The fans booed and Dawn took the microphone away. At least she looked nice.
Lauren Jones did a dance that also involved taking off her jacket. It was a cheesy dance that didn’t draw much of a reaction other than when she spread her legs. I’m just reporting here, people. Dawn told her not to quit her day job because if she stripped for a living she might make 50 cents.
Michelle McCool said her special talent is a bit more physical because she and the fans were tired of somebody running their mouth. Michelle picked up Dawn and gave her a body slam. That drew cheers.
Analysis: The crowd liked Joy and Michelle the most, but the reactions to these women were not very good at all.
John Bradshaw Layfield was interviewed by Josh Mathews. JBL did a good promo about how Big Show is a sideshow freak with no heart, no soul and no guts. JBL said he is the WWE Champion for a reason and people will remember this day because he is what he says he is…a Wrestling God.
Analysis: It was a very good promo from JBL like usual. Promos were JBL’s strength during his career. He knew how to get heel heat when he was in JBL mode, that’s for sure.
Luther Reigns entered to his generic theme music with his buddy Mark Jindrak by his side. The ref told Jindrak to leave the ring, so Jindrak argued with him and the ref sent Jindrak to the back. A replay aired from the previous Smackdown where Reigns hit Undertaker in the back with a camera right after Undertaker beat Jindrak in a match.
The Undertaker made his entrance to a good ovation as usual. The announcers talked about how Reigns was shot, stabbed and had his throat slashed in his life to try to put over how tough he was. They mentioned The Undertaker was 12-0 at WrestleMania at this point.
The Undertaker vs. Luther Reigns
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was obviously the face and Reigns was the heel. I have no memory of this feud or match at all because Reigns was just a midcarder that was really no threat to win this match. Reigns was physically imposing, but he was just not that good in the ring or as a talker.
Undertaker worked on the left arm of Reigns with an arm wringer and connected with the rope walk shoulder punch. Taker with a flatliner that Cole called a DDT for some reason. When Taker scared the ref out of the ring, Reigns unhooked the turnbuckle pad in the opposite corner. Taker blocked the Reigns attempt to send Taker into the turnbuckle and Taker worked him over with punches. Reigns came back with a clothesline. Undertaker with a hard whip that sent Reigns back first into the exposed turnbuckle. Taker hit with a leg drop on the ring apron. Reigns got in a low blow kick that the ref didn’t see. Reigns sent the back of Undertaker’s head into the steel that was exposed form the turnbuckle removal. Reigns sent Undertaker into the apron and into the steel steps. Reigns whipped Undertaker into the turnbuckle twice followed by a suplex for two. Body slam by Reigns got a two count. Reigns with a leg bar and Tazz was trying to say Taker may be going in and out of consciousness as Taker was punching him. The announcers were really trying hard to sell this story of the match and the fans were dead for it. Taker hit a clothesline for two. Taker with a boot to the face, he ran the ropes and Reigns with a tackle that was like a spear, but he wasn’t charging at him. A Reigns with a Spear? Where have I seen that before? Let’s move on.
Taker came back with a leaping clothesline. Running corner clotheslines by Taker, whip into the corner and Taker did a weak looking snake eyes into the top rope, boot to the face and a leg drop. Taker signaled for a Chokeslam, fans woke up and Taker connected with the Chokeslam. Reigns fought out of a Tombstone and Reigns hit a reverse DDT for two that Cole called a swinging neckbreaker. Cole was yelling about it while the crowd was dead for this. Reigns went for it again, Taker fought out of it and hit a DDT. Taker with a Tombstone, he covered Reigns and got the pinfall win at 11:44. The crowd cheered that and I did too because thankfully this bad match was over.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: *1/4 Bad match that was boring the whole way. It’s rare to see a match where the crowd was dead with Undertaker involved, but that’s what happened here. I don’t blame them either. It was a clean win by Taker like everybody expected. The crowd barely reacted to anything that Reigns did because the fans didn’t see Reigns as a threat at all.
The Undertaker celebrated the win. He looked angry as if he knew the match sucked. I think he even told the ref to get Reigns out of the ring so Taker could do his post match posing.
Analysis: I remember thinking at the time that I didn’t know who he would face at WrestleMania because he feuded with most of the heels on Smackdown and Kurt Angle was obviously set up for a WrestleMania match with Shawn Michaels. It ended up being Randy Orton, who was on Raw and challenged Undertaker. Orton turned heel to set up that match. I can’t recall exactly when the match was rumored to take place, but it ended up being a good decision to turn Orton back into a heel because his face run was boring.
Teddy Long was in the office looking at his watch in anticipation of Batista and then he left.
Smackdown Rookie Diva of the Year Contest – Round Three
Torrie Wilson entered to host the finale of this ongoing contest. Dawn Marie refused to go out again because Michelle McCool slammed her. The four women contestants entered the ring again to the same song that would later become Candice Michelle’s theme song.
It was a bikini competition with fans encouraged to vote on WWE.com for the winner. Each woman had 15 seconds to show their bikinis off as cheesy music played. They went in this order: Joy Giovanni, Rochelle Loewen, Lauren Jones and Michelle McCool. Rochelle was my favorite in terms of pure looks as well as the outfit choice. The fans liked Joy and Michelle the most. The future Mrs. Undertaker Michelle McCool did a back flip just to show off.
They asked people on WWE.com and Torrie asked the crowd who they liked the most. It sounded like McCool got the most votes in the building. The fan vote went to Joy Giovanni with 65%, Michelle with 18%, Rochelle with 11% and Lauren with 6%. Torrie hugged Joy and thinks it was the massage that did it. The crowd barely reacted to any of this.
Analysis: Michelle McCool obviously went on to have the best career of the women involved with this. They originally discovered her in the 2004 Diva Search and signed to a WWE deal after that. She also married The Undertaker in 2010 and had a daughter with him. It was Undertaker’s third marriage and her second. I don’t think they were together until a year or so after this. Joy Giovanni was released from her WWE deal in July 2005, so she didn’t have a long career. Rochelle and Lauren did not have long runs in WWE. Rochelle had an incident with Randy Orton where he supposedly sprayed lotion all over her gear and she left the company shortly after that.
A video package aired about the #1 Contender tournament for the WWE Title. Booker T beat Eddie Guerrero, John Cena beat Orlando Jordan, The Undertaker and Rene Dupree ended in a double countout due to Jindrak and Reigns costing Undertaker. Kurt Angle beat Rey Mysterio leading to Angle advancing to the finals. Cena beat Booker to set up Angle vs. Cena in the finals.
John Cena made his entrance to a good ovation. Cena was the US Champion at the time and that title was not on the line in this match. Cena was rocking a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey and his lock chain. Cena was 27 years old at the time of this match. You could tell about a year before this that he was going to be a huge star.
Kurt Angle was greeted with the usual “you suck” chants in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Cole said something about Angle headlining the last two WrestleManias. Angle did headline WrestleMania 19 in 2003, but in 2004 his match with Eddie Guerrero was in the middle of the show. This is once again WWE claiming matches other than the last match are the main event while most fans would disagree with that sentiment.
Analysis: There was a lot of history between them since Cena’s first WWE match was against Angle on Smackdown in 2002.
Number One Contender for WWE Title Tournament Finals: John Cena vs. Kurt Angle
Pre-match notes: John Cena was the face that was the US Champion. Kurt Angle was in heel mode.
The winner of this match will face the WWE Champion at WrestleMania 21.
Angle grounded Cena early with a shoulder tackle, a belly to belly takedown and an armbar submission by Angle. When Cena broke free, Angle tripped him up followed by a headlock. Cena with a clothesline that sent Angle over the top to the floor. Cena tackled Angle over the announce table with referee Charles Robinson telling them to go back into the ring. Cena rolled Angle back into the ring and Cena hit a suplex for a two count. Angle sent Cena into the corner, Cena came back with a clothesline and went for the FU, but Angle escaped. Angle rolled to the floor. Cena worked over Angle in the corner with punches and kicks. Angle came back with a German Suplex that sent the back of Cena’s head/neck into the turnbuckle. Angle worked over Cena with kicks to the ribs and an elbow to the back of the head. Suplex by Angle. Backbreaker by Angle. Body scissors by Angle as he worked Cena over. Cole said it’s not “a” main event at WrestleMania, it’s “the” main event. Nope. It was not the main event. Cena fought back with punches followed by a back elbow. Angle came back with three German Suplexes in a row for a two count as Cena got his right foot on the bottom rope. Angle pulled back on Cena’s neck. Cena with a running shoulder that knocked both guys down.
Cena got back with two clotheslines followed by an elbow, Angle did an eye rake and Cena came back with a spinebuster for two. That’s a move he stopped doing, but it looked good. Angle came back with another German Suplex, Cena fought out of the hold and hit a spinning slam for a two count. Angle countered a Cena hold into a rollup for two. Angle with a belly to belly release suplex. Angle wanted the Angle Slam, Cena slipped out and hit a DDT for a two count. The crowd was getting into this a lot. Cena went for the FU, but Angle rolled through and slapped on the Ankle Lock. That was a tremendous counter by Angle. Cena used his forward momentum to kick Angle out of the ring. That was a good counter too. When Angle tried to get back in the ring, Cena nailed the top rope leg drop to the back of the head for a two count. Nice nearfall for that move. Angle with a boot to the face, he charged at Cena and Cena hit the FU (Attitude Adjustment) for a two count. Cena thought that was it, but the ref told Cena that Angle kicked out. Angle kicked Cena in the left knee. Angle worked over the left leg of Cena by hitting a chop block to the back of the leg. Angle rammed Cena’s left foot into the ring post repeatedly. Angle slapped on a submission and Cena grabbed the ropes. Angle with an Angle Slam while Cena was favoring his left leg. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock on the left leg of Cena. When Cena touched the rope to break free, Angle pulled Cena back. Angle slapped on the heel hook by going to the mat and Cena got two hands on the ropes. A lot of the time when Angle did that, he would win, so Cena showed a lot by getting to the ropes. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock again while Cena grabbed the rope, the ref counted Angle and Angle accidentally (on purpose) knocked the ref down. Angle grabbed Cena’s chain. Cena tackled Angle into the ropes. Cena hit the FU. Cena covered, the ref was slow to count and Cena got the one…two…three. Angle kicked out right after the three count to show that it was close. The match went 19:22.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
The win meant that Cena would challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21.
Analysis: **** It was a great match that was four stars out of five. Angle dominated most of it by working on Cena’s upper back/neck and then Angle worked over the left leg. Cena kept coming back for more while doing a good job of selling. I thought maybe it went a few minutes too long, but I can understand why they were given 20 minutes on a show without a lot of matches. The match was mostly contested in the ring with very little action outside the ring. That’s not easy to do, but they managed to tell the story very well by battling in the ring nearly the whole match. The last few minutes were great with Angle getting in a lot of offense and it could have ended a few times there. This match was done to put over Cena huge by having him beat a credible opponent. Angle was the perfect opponent for him in this match.
Cena celebrated the win by barely getting to his feet while grabbing the US Title. Cena was favoring his left ankle a lot. Angle was pissed off and kicked over the steel steps. They replayed the finish.
Analysis: Cena dropped the US Title to Orlando Jordan shortly after this because there was no reason for Cena to keep it since he was going for the WWE Title and obviously winning it.
There was a shot of Teddy Long’s office with nobody in it while the announcers wondered if Batista would show up.
The video package aired to set up the WWE Championship match: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Big Show in a Barbed Wire Steel Cage match. It showed what happened at Royal Rumble 2005 when JBL got a lot of help to beat Angle and Show in a triple threat match. The story was that JBL was able to win due to his help, but he wouldn’t have help at No Way Out. There’s also Batista looming as a threat to JBL.
They showed the barbed wire steel cage that had the barbed wire at the top of the cage. That meant that if a wrestler tried to climb over the top, they would have to deal with the barbed wire. It was announced that you can win by pinfall, submission or escaping the cage with both feet on the arena floor. Remember that.
John Bradshaw Layfield entered the arena in his limo. The crowd booed him as usual.
Big Show entered to a good reaction. It was not at the level as some of the other faces on this show, but still good.
The referees locked the cage door, so the wrestlers could not ask for the door to be open.
WWE Championship in a Barbed Wire Steel Cage: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Big Show
Pre-match notes: JBL was the heel WWE Champion. Big Show was the face challenger. We knew JBL was going to win, but we didn’t know how.
Show took over early with power. Show tried sending JBL into the cage, but JBL blocked it, so Show decked him with a hard chop to the chest. JBL got some momentum going and hit a shoulder tackle to the knee followed by a neckbreaker. JBL tried to climb the cage, but he stopped when he approached the razor sharp barbed wire. JBL tried a jump off the top rope, Show caught JBL and hit a fallaway slam for a two count. You could see JBL had a cut on his left forearm already from the barbed wire. Show worked over JBL with chops. Shoulder block by Show took down JBL followed by a suplex. Show charged into the corner, boot to the face by JBL and he sent Show face/shoulder first into the cage. The camera zoomed in on Bradshaw, which allowed Show the chance to blade himself and Show was bleeding from the head. JBL with a shoulder tackle off the top rope. JBL pulled off the tag rope to choke Show to weaken the big man. Show came back with a boot to the face. Show picked up JBL, sent him face first into the steel cage and hit a Powerbomb. The camera zoomed in on Show, which allowed JBL to blade himself and there was JBL with a bloody head. Show whipped JBL face first into the steel cage two times. Show with a catapult that sent JBL into the steel cage. Orlando Jordan ran out to ringside along with the Basham Brothers. The Bashams had bolt cutters. Teddy Long showed up to tell the Bashams and Jordan to get out of there. Jordan left the bolt cutters in the ring for JBL. Show didn’t realize that JBL had them in his hands, so JBL hit Show in the head with the bolt cutters. JBL hit the Clothesline from Hell on a bloody Big Show and Show kicked out at two. Good nearfall even though the crowd didn’t react to it as a big deal.
JBL wanted another Clothesline from Hell, but Show caught him and Show hit a Chokeslam for a two count. That meant that each man kicked out finishing moves. Show did a yell for another Chokeslam, JBL came back with a kick to the groin and a boot to the face got a two count. JBL grabbed the bolt cutters and slowly climbed the cage. Show punched JBL and the bolt cutters were dropped out of the ring. Show went after JBL on the top rope. Show sent JBL face first into the steel on top of the cage three times. They were both on the top rope, Show grabbed JBL and hit a Chokeslam off the top that sent JBL through the ring. It was in the upper left corner of the ring where they didn’t work at any point in the match. It was a well done spot that drew a huge reaction from the crowd. The crowd chanted “holy shit” at the sight of JBL getting Chokeslammed through the ring. There was a shot of Show spitting up some bloody slobber, which was not a nice visual. Show walked over to the door that was bolted up and he tried to break the lock. Show ended up busting the chain. Show opened the door and slowly walked out of the ring. Very slowly. Show stood on the steel steps with Cole thinking that Show was going to win, but Show was not on the floor yet. The bell rang with Show thinking he won while he was still on the steel steps. JBL was announced as the winner with the announcers wondering what happened. The match went 15:11.
Winner by escaping the cage: John Bradshaw Layfield
JBL was handed the WWE Title outside the ring as his music played. Big Show was stunned by what happened.
Replays aired of what happened with JBL crawling out from under the ring and referee Brian Hebner was outside the ring to see JBL leave the ring first.
Analysis: **1/2 It was a slow paced, bloody, methodical brawl with a creative finish that nobody predicted because we have never seen anything like that in a cage match. This was not the most exciting cage match you are ever going to see, but they worked hard and told a good story with Show dominating much of the match. They did a lot of the things you see in main events where they kicked out of finishers and the intensity picked up after that. The entire story of JBL’s title reign was that he always found a way to escape with the title and this was the most creative finish of them all. It was interesting how they shot it because they zoomed in on Show over by the steel steps and there was no shot of JBL. I liked the creativity of it.
After the match was over, Show attacked JBL with punches. That led to Orlando Jordan, Danny Basham and Doug Basham to work over Show. JBL bailed to the floor. Batista ran out for the save with punches for the heels, spinebuster for Danny, spinebuster for Doug. Batista hit a Batista Bomb on Doug Basham.
JBL was shown crawling up the aisle with his title. John Cena showed up and shoved JBL into television monitors by the equipment area. Cena picked up JBL and hit a spinebuster on JBL through a table that happened to be there. Cole was yelling about how he thought it would be a triple threat match at WrestleMania 21.
The show ended with Cena celebrating with the fans while Batista was posing in the ring and JBL was a bloody mess.
Analysis: It was a good way to end the show on a happy note after the heel champion JBL got the win.
This event had a run time of 2 hours, 36 minutes on WWE Network.
Show Rating (out of 10): 4
The highlight of the event was John Cena vs. Kurt Angle as a match to help Cena get to that level. It was smart to put Angle in that position. The main event was not a great match by any means, but I admire the creativity of the ending because it was something I had never seen before. The only other match I liked was Eddie and Rey winning the tag team titles in front of a crowd that loved them. The other three matches, as well as the women’s segments, were bad.
Best Match: John Cena vs. Kurt Angle (**** out of 5)
Worst Match: Booker T vs. Heidenreich (1/4*) – Heidenreich has this incredible ability to have the worst match on every show he’s on. What a performer.
1. John Cena
2. Kurt Angle
3. Eddie Guerrero
4. Rey Mysterio
5. (tie) John Bradshaw Layfield
5. (tie) Big Show
Next up: WrestleMania 21.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out my other retro WWE PPV reviews here as well.