Sunday, 16 September 2007

WWE No Way Out 2007 on Sky Sports - TV Review

The road to Wrestlemania continues as WWE’s Smackdown brand presents the 2007 version of No Way Out, headline by a tag-team encounter pitting John Cena & Shawn Michaels against Batista & the Undertaker. As usual, our hosts for the evening are Michael Cole and John “Bradshaw” Layfield.
We begin with six-man action, as U.S. Champion Chris Benoit teams with Matt and Jeff Hardy against the combination of MNM and MVP. Even though the Hardys and MNM have gone at it numerous times over the past few months, I never tire of seeing these two teams in action, and adding Benoit and the improving MVP to the mix didn’t harm the match in any way. A great match with some great action, a perfect way to open the show, with Benoit in particular looking like he’s at the top of his game at the moment, getting the win as Mercury tapped out to the Crippler Crossface.
Backstage, Kristal catches up with Vickie Guerrero, now sans neck brace. Vickie talks about certain opportunities, and then says she’s going to make an announcement or something on Friday night. She then thanks Kristal for her help, and gives her a hug.
Finlay then drags the Little Bastard along the corridor. The little guy is kicking and screaming, and he tells of how he’s scared of the little Boogeyman. Finlay tries to console him by giving him a hug, then throwing him in a dumpster for his own safety - a dumpster that is occupied by the little Boogeyman. The less said about this segment the better.
Back in the arena, it’s time for the Cruiserweight Open, with the Cruiserweight title on the line, featuring Gregory Helms, Scotty 2 Hotty, Daivari, Funaki, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Wang Yang, Jamie Noble, and surprise entrant Chavo Guerrero. A great example of cruiserweight action at it’s best, with each and every man putting in good performances, particularly Jimmy Yang. It looked as if Yang had won the title after he pinned Noble, but Guerrero’s surprise entry led to him eventually winning the title, pinning Yang after a frog splash off the top rope. The boring chants weren’t justified here folks.
Backstage, Kristal chats with John Cena. Kristal makes a slight boob when she calls Shawn Michaels’ Cena’s “Wrestlemania tag-team partner”. Cena basically says he’s more worried about Batista and the Undertaker than he is about Michaels.
Mixed tag-team action, of sorts, next as Finlay and the Little Bastard take on Boogeymen big and small. This match was a joke, and the sad thing is that not even someone of Fit Finlay’s talents could make the still limited Boogeyman look good. The less said about this the better, as Finlay pinned the Little Boogeyman after clobbering him with his shelayleigh.
Backstage, Kristal catches up with Shawn Michaels, and basically asks him the same questions she asked Cena. Michaels promises that he will watch Cena’s back.
It’s a battle of the former champions next as King Booker, as always accompanied by Queen Sharmell, takes on the monstrous Kane, following their altercations at the Royal Rumble. This was a really enjoyable match between two wrestlers whose styles were very suited to each other. A back and forth encounter which saw Booker dominate the monster for the larger part of the match, before Kane was able to come back with the big guns, and not even a distraction from Sharmell could stop Kane from winning as he took the king out with a choke slam. A very good match here, and hopefully these two will be matched against each other again.
Backstage, Kristal chats with World champion Batista. The big guy promises that Smackdown will “beat up” on Raw. But then Kristal reminds him that the Undertaker has choke slammed him before, and asks if the animal is intimidated by the dead man. Batista ends by saying he’s not intimidated by anyone.
Time for the second title match of the evening, as Brian Kendrick and Paul London defend the WWE Tag-Team Championship against the new team of Deuce and Domino, who bring Cherry along for company. I guess someone was watching a certain John Travolta film when they came up with this gimmick. This was actually the first time I’d seen this new tag-team, and they impressed me. Deuce and Domino spent a great deal of time dominating London, before he managed to get the hot tag to Kendrick. Kendrick then cleaned house, but when it looked like he was about to get taken out with a doomsday device, Kendrick ducked and got the pin with a roll-up, with London and Kendrick retaining the titles.
Backstage, Kristal catches up with Mr. Kennedy, and asks of his thought on Bobby Lashley. He describes Lashley as a phoney wannabe, proceeds to insult the locals, then promises to beat Lashley. It’s then that the man himself appears, and claims that Mr. Kennedy has a stinky breath, before knocking Kennedy off his feet.
The third title bout of the evening follows, with Mr. Kennedy challenging Bobby Lashley for the ECW title. This was definitely a hit and miss affair, an overlong match which saw Kennedy spend a great deal of time working on Lashley’s knee, the big guy coming back with his usual power moves, the ref getting accidentally clobbered, Kennedy grabbing a chair and walloping Lashley, and then Lashley getting disqualified when the now recovered ref saw what was going on. And then came the best part of the match as Lashley took Kennedy apart near the entrance with several chair shots. Not one of the best matches that the Smackdown brand has put on pay-per-view in recent months, and one that will probably be forgotten in a few weeks.
After a look at Steve Austin’s new movie The Condemned, Michael Cole chats with audience member and co-star Vinnie Jones. This is actually the second times Jones has been on a WWE show, and the former footballer claims he can kick Stone Cold’s ass!
The Miz, the annoying little prick that he is, then introduces the Diva Talent Invitational, featuring Divas from all three brands. Now I was really looking forward to this one! The usual awful segment as we get the ECW girls doing a dance and Jillian Hall with her awful singing, then lambasting Candice Michelle, Maria and Ariel. The three of them then come down to the ring, and we get the obligatory cat fight. Then, to top it all off, Ashley makes her appearance, and shows us her “talents”, and is declared the winner. While I have nothing against attractive women showing us their “talents”, I just kept wondering what the hell this sort of thing was doing on a wrestling show.
Main event time, as WWE Champion John Cena and fellow World Tag-Team Champion Shawn Michaels take on World Champion Batista and the Undertaker, Raw’s Wrestlemania main event against Smackdown’s Wrestlemania main event. Now this was a hell of a match, with four great performances, all the bits in all the right places, and an absolute ton of drama. I really can’t speak too highly of this match, but if these guys put as much effort into their Wrestlemania matches as they did here, then it’s going to be a scorcher. After what seemed like an eternity of great action, Batista shocked everyone when he took the Undertaker down with a spine buster, just when it looked like the Smackdown team were about to deliver the final blow. This gave Michaels and Cena, who had taken an absolute pasting, time to recover. Michaels delivered sweet chin music, Cena delivered the FU, and the Undertaker was pinned for the victory. Again, a hell of a match, and one I’ll definitely watch again someday.
In conclusion - once again I read the various reports on the internet from the so-called “experts”, and in many cases I use that term extremely loosely, about how bad this show was. Well, guess what my fellow scribes? Not all of it was a bad as you all made out. Sure, the Lashley/Kennedy match was overlong, the Boogeyman will never look good, no matter who they put him with, and the Diva Talent Invitational was a waste of airtime, but when you look at the other matches, the six man tag, the cruiserweights going at it, Kane/King Booker, the tag-title match, and the main event, that’s five good matches out of seven, and even though that’s not a perfect show, it’s still a good show in my book.
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