Original plans for the show called for Randy Orton to tangle with Chris Jericho. ‘Y2J’ got himself suspended after an incident on a house show (read about that here), so WWE quickly rearranged things so that ‘The Viper’ would face Dolph Ziggler instead. Then Orton got suspended too (read about that here). Meanwhile Sheamus had been set to defend the World Heavyweight championship against Alberto Del Rio. Those plans changed too, after ‘The Essence of Excellence’ suffered a concussion at the June 5th SmackDown taping.
Doing the smart thing WWE decided to once again rely on Dolph Ziggler to plug the gap. That's something I predicted would happen on Monday evening (see this). I'm glad it did: the styles of the two men complement each other nicely and I'm confident they'll produce something memorable.
Dolph Ziggler has the chance to impress opposite Sheamus at No Way Out. He'll make the most of the opportunity
I don't expect 'The Heel' to go over. Not only is he a late replacement for someone else (and for the record I don't think ADR would've won either) but WWE are building Sheamus into a babyface star. Part of their plan is to give 'Great White' a lengthy title reign. I can't see him losing the WHC until SummerSlam at the earliest.
Cody Rhodes v Christian should be a solid mid-card attraction. Both men are good wrestlers and get the desired reaction from crowds. This feud hasn't really been built up a great deal, which is surprising when you consider it's a pay-per-view rematch featuring two of the company's most reliable guys and there have been few other feuds draining TV time recently.
I'll be surprised if Rhodes regains the gold on Sunday. He had a month-long reign ended at last month’s Over The Limit: what was the purpose of that loss if he gets the title back again so soon? I predict a loss for Cody to free him up for bigger and better things in the coming months. Hopefully that will be a rivalry with Sheamus or CM Punk.
The Layla v Beth Phoenix match doesn't interest me any more than their match at Over The Limit did. The best we can hope for is a post-match return from Kharma to destroy Layla as ‘The Glamazon’ watches on, setting up a feud between the two. The match could really go either way, mainly because WWE pays so little attention to the booking of its women’s division these days. Kharma is the best thing that could happen to the Divas and their title right now.
For the third time in the space of four pay-per-views there is a stipulation bout that will see John Laurinaitis fired if he or a wrestler representing him suffers a loss. In this instance the stip is attached to the Big Show v John Cena cage collision. That, coupled with Cena's position as the face of the company and Show's as current most-pushed heel act, leads me to believe this match will go on last.
It won't be a pretty affair. In fact it will struggle to be enjoyable. Both men can produce decent matches against the right opponent but not against each other. They've clashed before and have never created a bout anything better than adequate (and I'm being generous there). The match will inevitably feature a few failed AA attempts from Cena before he eventually powers Show up for the move towards the end if the match. Women and small children will then marvel at how strong Cena is.
Who's going to win? It's not as clear cut as previous Laurinaitis-centric matches have been. I'm going to predict a victory for Cena. There are rumours that a new job title will be given to Laurinaitis soon (Assistant to the Board of Directors has been mentioned) so a loss for Show seems a distinct possibility.
Will Vince McMahon recover from his storyline concussion and appear at ringside for this match? I think he will. If he does, a swerve-turn wouldn't surprise me. I mainly think that’s possible because over the years Vince has developed the habit of returning to television as a babyface only to become a heel again very quickly (and usually with a hilariously nonsensical reason for doing so).
The final match to mention is CM Punk v Daniel Bryan v Kane for Punk's WWE championship. 'The Big Red Monster's' addition to this match is peculiar at best, offensive at worst. I would imagine that Vince’s mindset is that fans are "wrong" to enjoy a match between two men who cannot be considered the creations of WWE. Kane has probably been stuck into proceedings because Vince sees it as a way of "proving" a star he "made" can make the match better.
Another Punk v Bryan singles match after their excellent exchange at Over The Limit would have been a great addition to the card. The inclusion of Bryan's on-screen ex AJ was just about tolerable because it didn't detract from the assured quality of the bout. Kane takes things a step too far and can only harm the work rate of the encounter. At this point our best hope is that Kane gets moved on to something else and Punk v Bryan clash again at Money in the Bank.
This poster could indicate that AJ will cost Daniel Bryan the WWE title, but that would assume that WWE has booking plans in place months in advance at a time when these posters are created. That's not the case...
This match could still be the best of the night. Kane is not a bad wrestler, he just needs the right opponents in order to truly shine. The two former ROH stars certainly fit the bill there. Recent booking developments make AJ-related shenanigans inevitable but I'm confident they'll be kept to a minimum during the match itself. I'm predicting Punk will keep hold of the title.
On paper No Way Out looks as though it will be average. As I stated above I expect it to be at least satisfactory, and wouldn’t be surprised if it veered into very good territory. My advice regarding pay-per-views carders (read more on that here) has not been taken but at least they made the right move in giving Dolph Ziggler a match with Sheamus. I'm looking forward to that far more than I was the original Sheamus v Del Rio match. If Ziggler doesn't put in a world class showing on Sunday I'll eat my hat.
John Cena to defeat Big Show
CM Punk to defeat Daniel Bryan and Kane
Sheamus to defeat Dolph Ziggler
Christian to defeat Cody Rhodes
Layla to defeat Beth Phoenix