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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

My No Way Out Predictions

Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, breaks out the crystal ball, lucky coin and tea leaves to try and predict the matches and future storylines of this lead-in to WrestleMania.

Normally, I’d skip No Way Out. I think the WWE should take a PPV Break between Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. This year, Dish Network put together a package deal where the consumer could get all three PPVs for a discounted package price. I decided to opt in for the special. Since I’m going to have it coming into the house, I will be watching it, muted, as I work from home. I expect some serious swerves in this one to set up the biggest and best show of the year…Wrestlemania. Let’s take a look at all the craziness in this one. This should be rather fun.

Jack Swagger v Finlay
ECW Championship Match

The Backstory: Finlay handed Swagger his first loss in ECW, after Swagger shoved down Finlay’s midget son/sidekick/mascot, Hornswoggle. Swagger wants to move past this match and face off against the newly-arrived Christian for the belt. Swagger wants revenge for the disgrace of his first loss.

Prediction: This one’s a tough call, because there are so many variables. Tommy Dreamer is waiting in the wings to try and win the ECW title before June 6th. It would make sense to have him face a heel, like Swagger. Finlay could handle a Wrestlemania match better than Swagger could. Christian is also wanting a shot at the title. It’s unclear if he’s going to run as a face or heel. This one works like one of my late wife’s favorite puzzles, a logic puzzle. I hope this makes sense.

Christian is likely to end up with his brother, Edge, in the Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania. I figure Edge, Christian, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Primo and Carlito Colon, Miz, John Morrison, Evan Bourne and possibly Kofi Kingston will end up in the Money in the Bank. That puts Christian’s bid for the ECW title on hold, until after the Draft. Finlay v Tommy would be a good match, but it could kill the popularity of one or the other. That would be a poor move from a marketing standpoint. I’m going to go with the champ to retain on this one. There is simply more that ECW can do if Swagger carries the strap (assuming he doesn’t drop it on the ramp).

Predicted Winner: Jack Swagger
Predicted Grade: B

Shawn Michaels v JBL

Backstory: Shawn got himself into financial hot water, thanks to the lousy stock market and economy. Shawn turned to JBL for help. JBL hired Shawn and has basically made his life a living Hell for several months, now. JBL wanted to fire Shawn for not doing his job but came up with a better idea. He challenged Shawn to an All or Nothing match. If Shawn wins, he gets his one-year contract with Layfield Enterprises paid in full. If he loses, JBL owns all right to Shawn’s name and image.

Prediction: I went back and forth on this one. The idea of owning someone in a Life Contract hasn’t been used since 1974’s Brian DePalma film, Phantom of the Paradise. I almost half-expected JBL to do his Paul WIlliams’ imitation and have Shawn signed the contract in blood (“Ink doesn’t mean anything to me…”) I think the this one’s going to come down to Rebecca Michaels. I know she can’t sell a punch for a darn but maybe she can help her old man to win his freedom. I could see JBL coming back and proposing a Double or Nothing match at Wrestlemania. This one’s going to be pretty nasty but I give the nod to HBK.

Predicted Winner: Shawn Michaels
Predicted Grade: A-

Randy Orton v Shane McMahon

Backstory: Orton Punts Vince McMahon in the skull. Stephanie, Raw’s GM, calls in her big brother to exact revenge on the psychologically-challenged Orton. (Side Note: I’m still highly offended at WWE sinking to the depths of using mental illness as an angle). Shane challenged Orton to a No Holds Barred match. Shane showed how Hardcore he coud still get by taking out Ted DiBiase, Jr. with the Coast to Coast on Monday Night Raw.

Prediction: This has to be the easiest one to predict. Orton, with help from Legacy, wins this one. Orton sends Shane to the hospital after the Punt. Shane’s head would be wedged against a trash can for maximum impact. Yawn. Stephanie then gets on the phone and calls her “other half” and Orton ends up facing Triple H for the WWE title at Wrestlemania. This one’s actually almost boring. The match itself is going to have all kinds of highlights. It’s going to be a modern version of Shane’s fight with Kurt Angle from an old King of the Ring.

Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Predicted Grade: B-

Edge v Vladimir Kozlov v Jeff Hardy v Big Show v Undertaker v Triple H
WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match

Backstory: Edge came back to win the WWE title, thanks to a screwjob on Jeff Hardy by his brother, Matt. Triple H has been itching to get “his” title back. Big Show, Undertaker and Kozlov are just fillers for this one.

Prediction: Jeff Hardy is heading for a Wrestlemania feud with his brother, Matt. Edge will likely be thrown into the Money in the Bank match, as I mentioned earlier. Triple H is likely going to be called upon to face Orton. The best way to do that is to have Trip wearing the WWE title. Orton could even push the fact that Trip and Steph are married. That could continue Orton’s desire to destroy All the McMahon family. The poster shows Kozlov’s face on it, but I think that’s just a Red Herring. I’m going with The Game to head into Wrestlemania 25 wearing the WWE title.

Predicted Winner: Triple H
Predicted Grade: A-

John Cena v Rey Mysterio v Kane v Mike Knox v Kofi Kingston v Chris Jericho
World Heavyweight Title Elimination Chamber Match

Backstory: Jericho wants his title back. He continues to whine about being the Superstar of the Year for 2008. (Jericho, it’s 2009, now). Rey and Kane have both held the top gold, during their career. Mike Knox is being pushed as the newest monster to invade Raw. Kofi…well..he’s just there to make people expect an upset victory.

Prediction: Since I figure Triple H is going to take the title from Edge in the Smackdown E-Chamber match, I’m going to predict that Cena will retain his title. I’m half-expecting Cena to face off against a returning Batista at Wrestlemania. The only hiccup in that scenario is whether Batista will be cleared to compete. The truth is Cena is the only one of the six who could pull off a Wrestlemania 25 match as defending champ. Knox is still too green, as is Kofi. Kane is past his prime and not that much of a contender. Jericho is likely going to be involved with Flair at Wrestlemania, so it makes no sense to put the belt on him. Rey would be the only other person that I could see them putting the belt on. I’m expecting Rey to end up in the Money in the Bank, so Cena will likely keep the strap.
Predicted Winner: John Cena
Predicted Grade: A+

Final Grade: A
Final Thoughts: I’m really looking forward to this event. I’m talked to my favorite two wrestling buddies (Joe and Jess). I bounced most of my ideas off them. i gathered from talking with the two of them that they also expect this one to serve as the opening act of the
Wrestlemania soap opera. This event will definitely set the stage for Wrestlemania.

–Jay Shannon
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