Riddle me this. If No Way Out is a Smackdown brand show, why are there four Raw stars and an ECW Title match on the card? Maybe the WWE felt extra pressure to put its best foot forward since the show was taking place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, the site of WrestleMania 21.

On paper, Sunday’s show looked like it was just about the best program the WWE could have put together. But appearances can be deceiving. With a crowd that wasn’t feeling much of the action in the ring and several segments that were completely pointless, No Way Out turned out to be mostly an exercise in monotony.

The main event featured the combatants from both of WrestleMania’s main events teamed together, with Raw’s John Cena and Shawn Michaels taking on Smackdown’s Batista and Undertaker. Despite the obvious tension the pairings could produce, everyone was saying the right things about working together leading up to the match.

Champions Cena and Batista led things off, with Batista scoring the first near fall after a jackhammer. Michaels was tagged in and fared no better, and Undertaker kept the momentum going for Team Smackdown by scoring with his Old School rope walk. The Dead Man and The Animal took turns working HBK’s left arm until he could scramble to get Cena back in.

It took a couple tries, but Cena was able to hit ‘Taker with a superplex. Michaels tagged in to continue the assault and got dumped out to the floor for his trouble. Batista introduced him to the steel steps and rolled him back in for a cover, forcing Cena to make the save. HBK continued to take a beating as the Smackdown superstars continued to exchange tags.

A DDT to Batista finally allowed Michaels to make the hot tag to Cena, who hit a Rocker Dropper off the top rope and a Five Knuckle Shuffle during his flurry. A big boot from Undertaker prevented an F-U to Batista, who was stopped from executing a Batista Bomb a few seconds later by Michaels.

The action went back and forth until Cena put Batista in a sleeper. The STF-U followed, but Undertaker came in to break the hold. Michaels tagged in and hit his trademark flying elbow before firing up the crowd for his finisher. Batista avoided a dose of Sweet Chin Music and scored with a sidewalk slam, and both men tagged out.

Undertaker took control, grabbing both Raw wrestlers by the throat. Batista grabbed HBK and dropped him with a spinebuster while Cena was smashed with a chokeslam. But the night of teamwork finally reached its end, as Batista gave Undertaker a spinebuster and left the ring. Sweet Chin Music and an F-U left the Dead Man down for the three count and Raw emerged victorious. Undertaker managed to sit up a minute later, staring down Batista as he lingered on the ramp.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Wrestlemania 23 on April 1st.

If you’ve been with us for the past few years, you know the drill by now. Nick’s comments will be in plain type with Dale’s remarks in italics.

MNM and MVP vs. The Hardys and Chris Benoit

Mercury and Matt lock up to start and trade punches. MVP slams Matt, but Benoit tags in. MVP wants nothing to do with Benoit and dives through the ropes to tag in Mecury. Jeff hits a mule kick on Nitro. Mercury kicks Jeff in the back as he shoots off the ropes. Nitro chokes Jeff as MVP has the ref distracted. Jeff hits a moonsault off the top rope, and Matt gets the tag, hitting a dual bulldog on MNM. He follows with a Side Effect on Nitro. MVP sneaks in and suplexes Matt. Mercury gauges Matt’s eye, and then hits a short arm clothesline. Benoit gets the hot tag, suplexing Mercury onto MVP and hitting a double German suplex on MNM. Jeff hits Poetry in Motion and Matt hits the Twist of Fate of Mercury. Benoit follows with a flying head butt. MVP tries to clock Benoit with the US Title, but Benoit ducks and locks in the Crippler Crossface until Nitro breaks it up. MNM goes for a Snap Shot on Benoit, but he counters by locking in the Crippler Crossface on Mercury, who taps out immediately.

Winner … The Hardys at 14 minutes and 18 seconds.

Match Rating: 7.5/10

Diva Search reject Kristal is tasked with carrying on the Eddie Guerrero storyline by interviewing Vicki Guerrero. Eddie’s wife tells us she has been doing some soul searching and will take care of business on Friday.

We’re only one match in and already Michael Cole sounds like he’s losing his voice. J.R. usually waits until the end of the night for that. In the back, Little Bastard tells Finlay he doesn’t want to compete tonight because he’s scared of Little Boogeyman. Finlay pretends to console him, then dumps the little man in a recycling bin, telling him he might be safer in there. Guess again: Little Boogeyman is already in the bin. What are the chances?

Cruiserweight Open – Cruiserweight Title Match

The rules are that two men will start out, with a new wrestler entering once one has been pinned or submitted. Scotty 2 Hotty and Daivari get things started, with The Worm dispatching Daivari after just 1:36. Defending champ Gregory Helms enters next and takes only two minutes to pin Scotty and less than a minute to get rid of Funaki. Jimmy Wang Yang proves more difficult, and we get the first real back and forth action of the match. A hurracanrana pin finally secures a pin for Jimmy, guaranteeing we’ll have a new champ when this wraps up. Jamie Noble almost has Yang put away a couple of times, but falls victim to a moonsault and gets pinned after about three minutes. The announce team expect that to be the end, but there’s one final competitor: Chavo Guerrero. Yang comes off the top rope to the floor, but Chavo counters a missile dropkick back in the ring. Guerrero delivers the Three Amigos; Yang hits a top rope hurracanrana. Yang swings and misses with a twisting corkscrew splash, leaving him helpless for the Frog Splash that ends the match.

Winner …and new Cruiserweight Champion … Chavo Guerrero at 13 minutes and 53 seconds.

Match Rating: 6/10

Kristal interviews John Cena. The champ admits he’s not Triple H, and there is a chance partners could turn on each other. Cena says tonight he will be focused on the task at hand.

Finlay and Little Bastard vs. Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman

I’m embarrassed to say that I told Dale I would write up this match. So here goes. The Boogeymen team up to beat on Finlay, and Little Boogeyman grabs some worms. Finlay kicks the little guy in the head, but gets surprised by a small package (or is that a tiny package?) for two. Finlay locks in a submission hold, then tosses Little Boogey to the floor where Little Bastard drags him under the ring. Unfortunately, Boogeyman is also under there, and he and his partner take it to Finlay in the ring. Little Bastard makes a save but gets scared again and Boogeyman chases him into the crowd. Little Boogeyman is still the legal man through all this, and Finlay pastes him with a shillelagh shot to end this foolishness. Years from now I’m going to have a hard time believing this match actually happened.

Winner … Finlay and Little Bastard at 6 minutes and 8 seconds.

Match Rating: 3/10

Shawn Michaels get his turn with Kristal. HBK doesn’t trust Cena, but he’ll do everything to make sure Cena makes it to Wrestlemania.

King Booker w/ Sharmell vs. Kane

In case you haven’t been watching Smackdown, this feud was born at the Royal Rumble. Booker dances around Kane until the Big Red Machine corners him. Kane delivers rights to Booker and continues to deal out punishment until Booker hangs him up on the ropes. Kane responds with a big boot and clotheslines Booker out of the ring. Booker smashes Kane into the ring steps and follows with a missile drop kick back in the ring. King Booker hits a heel kick as Kane comes off the top turnbuckle. The King works over Kane in the corner, but can’t get Kane up for a suplex. Kane counters with a suplex of his own. Kane ducks the scissors kick and counters with a clothesline, sending both men down. Kane sits up at eight and hits Booker with a side slam. Kane climbs the turnbuckle, nailing the flying clothesline. Sharmell distracts Kane, and Booker catches him with a heel kick. It doesn’t slow down Kane, though, as he hits a choke slam to get the duke.

Winner … Kane at 12 minutes and 39 seconds.

Match Rating: 6/10

Batista stops by to talk to Kristal. I’m sensing a theme here. Anywho, Batista spouts the now-familiar line that he and Undertaker will work together, though Kristal tries to stir the pot by showing footage from two weeks ago when the Dead Man first made his choice to face the Smackdown champion at WrestleMania. Batista says he’s not intimidated by Cena and Michaels. But Dave, that wasn’t the question!

Paul London and Brian Kendrick (champions) vs. Deuce and Domino w/ Cherry (challengers) – WWE Tag Team Championship Match

What did you think of WWE No Way Out?
It was great – 17%
It was okay – 14%
It was terrible – 19%
Didn’t see it – 51%

Wait, a ’50s greaser gimmick? This is the kind of thing that has me rarely watching Smackdown. Lots of quick tags and double team moves by the champs force the heels to take an early breather. At least one guy likes Deuce and Domino, because JBL is putting them over big time with his commentary. Cole is continuing to lose his voice. Deuce hits a backbreaker for two and scores another near fall, and London looks like he’s getting worn down. Kendrick finally gets the hot tag and cleans house, which is pretty funny since he is so much smaller than his foes. The challengers set up for something that looks like the Doomsday Device, but Kendrick ducks it and rolls up Deuce to retain the titles. Now please send these guys back to Grease… though Cherry can stay.

Winner … and still WWE Tag Team Champions … Paul London and Brian Kendrick at 7 minutes and 31 seconds.

Match Rating: 5.5/10

Kennedy talks about having dreams, and then pronounces that he will win because he has beaten Lashley in the past. Lashley interrupts Kennedy with one word: halitosis. The champ blocks a punch and knocks him to the ground.

Bobby Lashley (champion) vs. Ken Kennedy (challenger) – ECW Title Match


Who will get pinned in the main event of No Way Out?
Undertaker – 12%
Batista – 11%
John Cena – 15%
Shawn Michaels – 10% It won’t end with a clean pin – 52%

Kennedy attacks Lashley from behind on the ramp. Lashley shrugs off the attack and takes Kennedy to the ring. Kennedy tries to run from the ring. Lashley follows, and Kennedy gains the upper hand. Back in the ring, Lashley hits a back body drop and follows with a delayed vertical suplex. Kennedy responds by stomping Lashley in the corner. The ECW champ gets Kennedy in the torture rack, but he breaks the hold by raking the eyes. Kennedy locks in a leg submission. Lashley breaks the hold, but Kennedy still focuses on the leg, locking in a half crab. Lashley gets to ropes to break the hold, but his leg gives out while attempting a slam. Kennedy hits a low drop kick into Lashley’s leg. Lashley powers out of the corner, but Kennedy counters with kicks. Kennedy locks in the half crab again. Kennedy climbs the turnbuckle and leaps, but Lashley gets his knees up. Lashley hits the t-bone suplex but can’t hold Kennedy for the running power bomb. The champ turns a torture rack into a backbreaker but only gets a two count. Lashley kicks out of a neckbreaker, and Kennedy sort of bumps into the ref. Ken grabs a chair and tattoos Lashley. The champ turns the tables, and gets DQ’ed with a chair shot. After the bell, Lashley continues to rain down chair shots until staff comes from the back to put a stop to it.

Some fans are chanting “ECW,” but I’m not sure a bunch of chair shots really qualifies for that honor.

Winner … Ken Kennedy at 15 minutes and 25 seconds.

Match Rating: 5/10

Diva Talent Invitational

The Miz is hosting this waste of time. Extreme Expose kick things off, and even after four weeks, they still can’t dance. Jillian comes out to sing a song she has written herself. Strangling a cat comes to mind after hearing her. The Miz stops her and Jillian goes off, calling the rest of the divas talentless. The rest of the divas hit the ring, and a cat fight ensues. Ashley walks out under a banner of her Playboy cover, and then takes off her top revealing some strategically placed bunnies.

That was pretty much the only “talent” involved in this nonsense. And did I see a guy in the crowd wearing a Miz t-shirt?

Batista and The Undertaker vs. John Cena and Shawn Michaels

Winners… John Cena and Shawn Michaels at 21 minutes and 49 seconds

Match Rating: 6/10

Total Event Time: 2 hours and 47 minutes

Event Rating: 5.5/10

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