Posted in: Doctor's Orders Doctor's Orders: The No Way Out Report (Preview: Quality Expected; Buyers Not)
By The Doc
Jun 14, 2012 - 7:33:21 PM
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you care about Cena vs. Show? Is there anything on this card that piques your interest enough to order the PPV?
No Way Out makes its return on Sunday and can hopefully reverse the recent trend that has developed over the last few years of the June PPV becoming as skippable as the May PPV has been, historically. June used to produce some excellent PPVs once upon a time. King of the Rings ’96, ’01, and ’02 come to mind, as does the double whammy of the original “One Night Stand” and Vengeance in 2005. About three years ago, I started noticing that my interest in watching the June PPV became on par with the previous month. It was either a me problem or a WWE problem, but it’s been a long time now since I’ve ordered a June PPV (2006). The quality has been too hit or miss. I think the quality will be there this year, though. This is a pretty good card, despite the fact that the product – in general – is in need of a shot in the arm.
I wish that No Way Out (the old February PPV) would come back and bump Elimination Chamber to a time of the year where it would mean more. I’ve never seen it as being worth the risk of having one of your top wrestlers injured six weeks prior to Mania in one of the most dangerous gimmick matches that the WWE has to offer. Nevertheless, we’ve got some intriguing things happening heading into Sunday’s N.W.O. comeback.
For me, Dolph Ziggler sneaking in to replace Alberto Del Rio as the World title challenger is the most engaging piece of news. Although I was actually enjoying the Del Rio vs. Sheamus story and thought it was going well toward building legitimate heat, I cannot deny my interest in seeing Ziggler get his third PPV championship match of the year (50% is not bad for the top star in the making). Dolph is one of those wrestlers that didn’t start out as “one of my guys,” but has quickly become a star that I truly root for. I want to see him succeed in becoming a consistent main-eventer. He’s got it all. He can talk, he can wrestle, he’s the best seller in the game (for my tastes that favor the HBK/Perfect style), and he’s got a marketable look.
In his first two 1-v-1 title matches in his career, against Edge and CM Punk, respectively, he’s been able to steal the show, but not in the manner that he needs to in order to establish himself as a guy that cannot be left out of the main-event. Sheamus certainly gives him an opponent that will play to his strengths. I think Ziggler’s bumping will shine best against guys that work a little bit more ruggedly. The Celtic Warrior’s brawling and strength give Ziggler a chance to showcase his ability to sell at the highest level. Will the third time be the charm for Dolph? I believe he needs a four-star match that squeaks by stiff competition from the WWE title match. Neither of his Rumble title shots yielded what were largely regarded to be four-star bouts on the border of being classics. I think that’s what Ziggler needs to move to the next level in his career. It would behoove him to have a defining match on Sunday.
Sheamus is on a bit of a roll, so I think he’ll accept the challenge in making this a showcase bout for Ziggler. I view Ziggler-Sheamus as a rivalry that can become a much bigger deal a year or two down the road once each are better established. Sheamus has had some really good matches this year. Strong performances will only enhance his position as the World Champion. I don’t think that there’s much doubt that he’ll retain the title on Sunday. It’ll be how we get there that makes the difference between this bout meaning something, historically, or merely being a blip on their respective resumes.
Another few guys that are on rolls are CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Kane. The participants in the WWE title triple threat are each bringing the goods in some way. Kane is wrestling his butt off. Quietly, since the feud with Orton produced two really good matches, Kane has been one of the most consistent performers on the roster. His title match with Punk a couple of weeks ago was an outstanding television match before the weak finish. His match with Sheamus last week was really good, too. I thought I was ready for Kane to retire, but if they let him go out there and work instead of dominating his opponents, then he’s much more valuable, from a fan standpoint. CM Punk has not really had anything to sink his teeth into as a character since the feud with Jericho ended, but he continues to produce in the ring as the most consistently brilliant performer on the roster. He’s averaging over 4-stars per title match this year. Not many guys in history can make that claim (w/ a six month minimum). Daniel Bryan’s wrestling quality is all based on opportunity, but his character work continues to baffle me in its excellence. I would never have guessed he’d be that interesting as a personality.
The wrinkle thrown into the 3-way mix has been AJ Lee. Dare I say that she’s added a fair bit to the feud? Her “crazy chick” character is firing on all cylinders and she’s doing a great job in her role. Wrestling is at its best when its unpredictable and she’s the best kind of unpredictability. You really cannot tell what she’s going to do next. Her facial reactions are spot on. Where’s it all going with her? I have no idea…
What I do have a pretty good idea about is the quality of this match. I suspect that this will be the match of the night if Ziggler and Sheamus don’t get the chance to shine brightest. Each smaller wrestler has good chemistry with Kane and they have great chemistry with each other, so this is a potential four-star bout to keep Punk’s string of four-star title matches on PPV moving up to five in a row. I think Punk retains.
Punk’s next challenge could wind up being Big Show. I’ve already stated my opinion that Show turning heel was one of the least interesting options that the WWE could produce, but I also stated that Show would likely do some of the best work of his career as a result of the turn. I think Show has been very entertaining. The problem is that I still don’t care. Show vs. Cena just doesn’t interest me. They could put this match inside the Prometheus en route to an alien planet and I still wouldn’t care. Adding Vince McMahon to the mix actually makes me less interested. My hope is that they can deliver in the cage on Sunday. I’ve not liked many of the Cena-Show matches. In fact, I thought the best one was long ago on Smackdown in December 2003 – one of their first matches. Whenever put in a high stakes situation, I’ve thought that they failed to deliver as strong a match as they were capable. Yet, this is a different time. Show, by and large since returning from injury last fall, has been doing great work. Will they have him act dominant and limit the potential quality of the match as they did with the Kane-Cena matches that should’ve been much better? Probably…
Show defeating Cena and winning is the right call. The guy to find a way to stop Show should be Punk, if you ask me. Cena gains nothing from beating Show, but it would mean something if Punk beat Show after Show had beaten Cena.
I expect that Cena vs. Show will be the main-event. I have to admit that I’m getting a little annoyed by Cena matches main-eventing shows above the WWE title and World title. It’s one thing if it’s Cena against Hollywood’s favorite wrestler or the returning Ultimate Fighter, but against Kane, Johnny Ace, and Show? That’s another story.
Perhaps the thing that I’m most interested in for No Way Out is Triple H addressing the situation with Brock Lesnar. Anything involving Brock is twice as interesting (at least) as anything else going on in the WWE right now. Trips vs. Lesnar remains one of the last great dream matches left and I’m anxious to see Brock get back on TV so we can put all these rumors to bed about him and UFC. The minute he shows up on TV again and we get back to rolling toward whatever comes next for him, the better off everyone will be. There’s been a lot of useless chatter being created by some of the dirtsheet writers on that topic.
Rounding out the card is a women’s title rematch from last month’s PPV. I saw Beth vs. Layla live and appreciated their efforts. I think that they can improve upon the timing after a month of hopefully working house show matches. Has there been any TV time dedicated to this? I think I must have fast forwarded through about 65% of Raw in the last four weeks. Cody Rhodes vs. Christian should be a very good undercard match. If Rhodes cannot have a standout match against Christian, then there’s something missing from his in-ring arsenal. I anticipate them having the third best match of the evening behind the two world title matches. They’ve put together a solid story on Smackdown in recent weeks. However, I’m ready to see Cody step up to the next level. Smackdown could use a guy with his character work and mic skills taking up plenty of TV time every week. Most of what Smackdown has done recently has been very “paint-by-the-numbers.”
I will not be watching No Way Out live. I may try to catch the DVD when it comes out a month later or I may order the replay or something to that effect. The NBA Finals takes precedent over wrestling right now. I hope the WWE can come up with a major storyline to pique my interest in the coming weeks as we begin the slow burn to Summerslam ’12. The second “Summer of Punk” awoke my dozing fandom last year, beginning with that epic promo. We need something like that; or, better put, I need something like that.