The Ruthless Aggression Era was a time when the WWE roster was so huge and so varied that they had no way of continuing storylines each week on their two main shows – RAW and Smackdown – and so they created the draft where wrestlers and announcers would be drafted onto either one of the two shows. Smackdown wrestlers would not (usually) be able to appear on Raw or interact with Raw wrestlers and vice versa.
Ten years ago, on February 18, 2007, No Way Out 2007. It was a Smackdown the first of its kind since Armageddon in December 2006. Personally, the PPV came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs. Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.
No Way Out 2007
No tagline this time either. The poster is The Undertaker in a dark hallway, looking through his eyebrows. Behind him is a barred door. The “No Way Out” at the bottom has chains on it. I see the subtle innuendo.
The opening is a slow walk through a prison. “Tonight, for these four superstars… There is no way out.” Vince says that there is going to be a tag team match between Cena and Michaels vs. Undertaker and Batista. He says this match is one the likes of which will never be seen before. It’s a match where there’s no trust between the tag teams. Nope. Never seen this before in my entire life ever.
We see some sort of labyrinthine hallway of doors and cells before we are told that SmackDown! presents WWE No Way Out. Just as the superstars are stuck in a prison of their own creation, we too are stuck in the fucking Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California where 14,000 people are in attendance with a buyrate of 218,000 at home, a tiny drop from the 220,000 the previous year. There’s big pyro and my heart stops as Moustache Michael Cole and Cunt JBL invite us to the detour on the Road to Wrasslemania. They say that this last-minute crap tag is the biggest main event in SmackDown history. We are about to be introduced to our Spanish colleages but Cunt JBL shouts racist things about hating bi-lingual places. I tell you what, I can’t wait to see the back of him.
Despite his racism, we see our lovely Spanish colleagues, Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich. A great pair of lads. They hammer on in Spanish for ages. What a pair of lads. Hugo ends it with, “Waaaaow!”
(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring… Rob Van Dam against Shelton Benjamin?! What did either of them do to deserve that?)
Oh great, the first match is a six-man tag. Fucking Teddy Long and his love for tag matches. There will be four this evening. This… displeases me. The first one out is MVP, our boy with his big-ass legs and awesome pyro. He’s a great heel. We need someone like him. Cole says that this is, “a treat”, similar to how someone might give you fruitcake as a treat, which is neither a fruit nor a cake.
Big red carpet and down comes Mankin- sorry, it’s MNM. Joey is still rocking that mask, though. Fair play to you, big man. Take a bow. Melina is there with an ill-fitting top on. JBL quotes The Mask, which is not the first time. Melina lifts her legs onto the apron and we see her bottom. JBL: “Even you would like that, Michael.” Cole: “I… love it.” And now JBL likes Mexicans.
Hardys come out. Jeff is raving away there, winged off his tits. The annoucners really big up the match at Armageddon where the Hardys hit the leg drop and bust open Joey.
Down comes [REDACTED] Benoit. No big entrance for him. He just walks down and lifts his US championship belt. JBL gives off because Cole says, “Ohhhh my!”
Siz-Man Tag Team match: [REDACTED] Benoit and The Hardy Boyz def Montel Vontavious Porter and MNM (w/ Melina) via submission in 14:19.
No titles on the line here, no one cares. It’s a payday for the lot of them. Jeff and Joey maybe have beef over the ladder incident and although Johnny and Matt will stand up for their partners, MVP and Benoit are just along for the ride. Big “Hardy!” chant rises from the crowd as Joey and Matt square off. Cole bigs up the rivalry between MNM and Hardys as Melina screams at ringside. Joey gets a boot to the face and Matt hits the axe-handle nothing. Jeff comes in and goes for the pin instantly but gets naught. Matt is back in and Johnny is tagged. Lovely hip toss by Matt followed by slaps on the back. MVP tags himself in and goes for a dodgy bodyslam. Benoit is in and rips on MVP. Cole tells us that he has only one gear – fifth gear.
MVP fights back and a lovely snapmare and pin but gets nothing. MVP escapes, tags in Joey, who refuses. MVP is back in and gets tossed about by Benoit. Lovely snap suplex and pin attempt. Jeff is in and beats on MVP in the corner. Johnny scrambles about the place and gets a backwards enziguri and double leg drop to Johnny’s balls. Nitro slaps Hardy and they chase each other when Little Naitch’s back is turned. Crappy snapmare – crapmare – and Johnny is holding Jeff in a little spooning cuddle mid-ring. Jeff gets to his feet, batters Johnny in the midsection and Melina is frustrated that a pin attempt did not work. More chinlocks on Jeff. Chinlock city.
MVP is back in and distracts the ref while Johnny hits on Jeff. Nice suplex and pin attempt. Johnny is back in and hits Jeff with an attempted backdrop but Jeff hits Whisper in the Wind. Matt is in for the tepid tag and clears house, hits the bulldog from the corner, hits the Side Effect. Matt gets a backdrop from MVP and a snapmare followed by chinlock city. MVP hits the gutwrench and hits an elbow with theatrics. Benoit breaks up the pin. Mercury is in, getting the thumb in Matt’s eye like Umaga. Gimmick infringement. Melina goes to slap Matt but the ref turns around. Joey is in the corner with his team mates, beating on Matt. Nitro attempts the pin but gets nothing. Facelock city.
The crowd claps, attempting to get the hot tag up. Matt hits the clothesline, can’t seem to get to Benoit but goes eventually. Benoit clears house and hits a lovely suplex of Joey onto MVP followed by a double German suplex as MNM hold on to each other for dear life. Hardys hit Poetry in Motion. Matt hits the Twist of Fate but Cole calls it a side effect. Jeff hits the Swanton, Benoit gets the flying headbutt and MVP breaks up the pin. Jeff attempts a sunset flip on Nitro outside but fails. MVP tries to DQ Benoit with a US Championship to the face but Johnny breaks it up. Joey beats on Benoit and MNM go for the Snapshot, attempts the cover, fails and hits the crossface instead, getting the win in 14:19.
Not a great curtain jerker and has crescendo booking with nothing happening for most of the match then everyone hits their finishers and the faces win.
Why was Benoit there?
Backstage, the “vivacious” Kristal is there, forgetting her lines. “The wife of Eddie Guerrero… (legit pause of about five seconds)… Vicky Guerrero.” Christ, you’re a terrible woman. Big boos and big pauses again. Kristal and Vicky shamble their way through a shitty promo and awkward hug.
Cut to Finlay and Little Bastard as they cut a shitty promo on little people. Finlay tells Little Bastard to stay where he is. He refuses so Finlay puts him in a bin, which smokes and turns red. It turns out that Little Boogeyman was inside. Repulsive.
Back in the arena, it’s time for the Cruiserweight Open. It’s basically a shitty Royal Rumble.
Oh wait, no, I take that back. The first entrant is Scotty 2 Hotty. This is going to be the best match of the card, y’all haters can go fuck yourselves. Out comes the hyped up – and best – member of Too Cool.
Daivari’s music hits. He comes out with little fanfare but by gum he looks great. He was given such a shitty gimmick.
Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Chavo Guerrero def. Gregory Helms (c), Scotty 2 Hotty, Daivari, Sho Funaki, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Wang Yang and Jamie Noble via elimination in 14:11.
A First Challenger Appears: Scotty 2 Hotty.
A Second Challenger Appears: Daivari.
NOTE: The times given for each elimination are how long the competitor stayed in the ring.
Daivari has an earring. The fool. Daivari goes for three pins in a row instantly, followed by a bodyslam and some punches to the face. Daivari gets some heat from the crowd for being Middle-Eastern. Racists. Scotty hits the facebuster and hits the WORM. Brilliantly awful move. He gets the pin from it.
Daivari has been eliminated by Scotty 2 Hotty in 1:39.
A Third Challenger Appears: Gregory Helms.
It’s the current Cruiserweight Champion! Down he comes to the ring, gets bopped a few times by Scotty and the pair of them trade blows in the corner. Scotty looks like he’s crying and gets a slingshot to the throat. Pin attempt and fail. The crowd bay for Scotty, but we know he’s done. He charges Helms into the corner, follows it up with smacks to the face and Scotty hits the backdrop, attempts another WORM, gives Scotty a knee to the face and the pin.
Scotty 2 Hotty has been eliminated by Gregory Helms in 2:06.
A Fourth Challenger Appears: Sho Funaki.
Oh no! It’s the sneaky Japanese!
Funaki slides in, wearing his Smackdown trunks, goes for the cross-body but Helms rolls through, grabs the tights, shows off Funaki’s arse and gets the pin.
Sho Funaki has been eliminated by Gregory Helms in 26 seconds.
A Fifth Challenger Appears: Shannon Moore.
Looking like a Jeff Hardy from some alternate universe, Shannon Moore rocks up with his Mohawk and mental makeup. The two roll out and Shannon hits a lovely springboard to hurricanrana. Shannon hits the spinebuster and pin attempt but fails. Shannon hits a lovely bridging pin followed by a jumping neckbreaker. Cunt JBL and Cole share homophobic remarks. Helms hits the superplex on Moore and a knee to the jaw followed by a pin.
Shannon Moore has been eliminated by Gregory Helms in 2:02.
A Sixth Challenger Appears: Jimmy Wang Yang.
This has been a great match so far… for Gregory Helms. It’s okay, though, our resident redneck is down to kick some arse and take some names. Lovely standing moonsault and “yahoo!” from Jimmy Wang Yang. He goes for the ten-punch and fails. Lovely roll-up and Wang Yang hits the side-Russian leg sweep followed by a weird submission. Top-rope moonsault that misses and Helms knocks him down. Jimmy Wang Yang hits the hurricanrana and gets the pin.
Gregory Helms has been eliminated by Jimmy Wang Yang in 1:49.
A Seventh Challenger Appears: Jamie Noble.
Before Noble comes out, Helms hits the neckbreaker, laying Jimmy Wang Yang out. Noble goes for the pin as Gregory Helms watches on. Big slaps from Noble and another pin attempt. Lovely body slam and leg drop and Cunt JBL keeps talking despite the fact that no one wants him here. Chinlock city. Awkward Irish whip and Noble attempts the pin but fails after Jimmy rockets into the turnbuckle. Jimmy stunners Noble and hits the Atomic Drop. An almost pin after a dropkick. Suplex attempt and Noble escapes, hits the spinning leg kick. Jimmy goes to the top rope and slaps at Jimmy. Goes for the superplex but Jimmy says no and hits the top-rope moonsault for the pin.
Jamie Noble has been eliminated by Jimmy Wang Yang in 3:43.
Jimmy Wang Yang is the Winner of the WWE Cruiser-
An Eighth and Final Challenger Appears: Chavo Guerrero.
Whaaat? A surprise entry? Christ!
Chavo jumps in and the pair of them square off before Chavo hits the side-suplex and boots on Jimmy. Roidy Guerrero attacks Jimmy and takes a spinning leg kick to the face. Chavo is sent out over the top and Jimmy goes to the top-rope, hits a monstrous cross-body, rolls Chavo in, hits a missile dropkick but Chavo counters and hits the Three Amigos, goes to the top, gets mega boos for attempting the frog splash but Jimmy hits a top-rope Hurricanrana, almost gets the pin. He goes top rope again but Chavo is there to stop him. He is knocked off the top rope. Jimmy attempts the corkscrew moonsault, Chavo dodges, hits the Frog Splash and the pin.
Jimmy Wang Yang has been eliminated by Chavo Guerrero in 4:07.
Chavo Guerrero is the Winner of the WWE Cruiserweight Open and new WWE Cruiserweight Champion in 14:11.
I don’t understand the point of this. Is there a feud developing here? Who is supposed to go over? Had Helms squashed everyone but just been barely able to put Jimmy Wang Yang away and Jimmy had fought Jamie for a good few minutes followed by a tough match with Chavo, I can understand it. Add six minutes onto the runtime and add that into the last three bouts and I can get it: Jimmy Wang Yang is good enough not only to put away a tired Gregory Helms, but also fight toe-to-toe with Noble and Guerrero before he finally loses. Then Helms would go over – a tough champ who put away all other challengers – and Jimmy would go over – he beat the champ – and Chavo would go over – he beat the tired winner. But… it was a clean finish. Jimmy just lost. And who wants to see Chavo with a belt? No one.
I like Jimmy Wang Yang.
Disappointing, both for the fans and the wrestlers. We already hate Chavo. No need to make us hate him more. I see that Vicky isn’t there to congratulate him. Obviously they’ve split up and expanded their evil into other areas of the Fed. Replays of the win. Cole calls him disrespectful and the crowd can’t give less of a shit about him.
On the Card will return on February 25 2017 with the second part of No Way Out 2007!