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KELLER'S WWE NO WAY OUT PPV REPORT 2/19: Ongoing "virtual time" analysis

Feb 19, 2006 - 9:54:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

WWE ROYAL RUMBLE
FEBRUARY 19, 2006
BALTIMORE, MD.


-After stage-setting videos, Michael Cole and Tazz introduced the show, then Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich introduced the event in Spanish.

1 -- GREGORY HELMS defended the Cruiserweight Title against KID KASH, FUNAKI, PAUL LONDON, BRIAN KENDRICK, NUNZIO, SUPER CRAZY, and PSICOSIS.

All of the wrestlers were allowed inside the ring at the same time, and the first to score a pin or submission would be the new champ. Helms had zero advantage entering the match as champ in this one. He stood at ringside at the start of the match because he didn't want to be ganged up on. The Mexicools dove onto London at Kendrick at ringside early in the match. As soon as Helms entered the ring, the contenders ganged up and stomped on him. At 5:00, Kash and Helms got into a slugfest. Crazy ducked a Shining Wizard at 7:15. They went into a series of big spots and near falls broken up by other competitors. Scotty hit a bulldog and signalled for The Worm. (Don't encourage him! It's the dumbest move ever in wrestling - all build up and no payoff.) He hit the The Worm on Helms and scored a near fall. Kash moonsaulted Crazy. Helms, though, made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Gregory Helms at 10:32 to retain the Cruiserweight Title.

STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Good spotfest with a nice sequence of near falls at the end.

-Booker T and Sharmell protested on more time to Teddy Long about having to defend the U.S. Title without medical clearance.

2 -- JBL (w/Jillian Hall) vs. BOBBY LASHLEY

Before the match, Finlay attacked Lashley. JBL then rode out in his limo with Jillian. He began the match with the unfair advantage. Lashley made a comeback by 2:00. He hit a delayed powerslam at 2:30, then played to the crowd for cheers. JBL took over quickly and got sustained offense, settling in on a sleeper at 6:00. JBL dove at Lashley off the top rope, but Lashley caught him and turned it into a powerslam. Lashley then hit JBL with a few shoulderblocks and a clothesline. He followed with a series of three belly-to-belly suplexes. He hit his T-Bone Suplex and went for the pin. It only led to a near fall. Finlay threw the ring announcer into the ring to distract the ref. While distracted, Finlay hit Lashley with the Golden Scepter, then JBL hit the Clothesline from Hell. That ended Lashley's undefeated streak. JBL was bleeding from the bridge of his nose in the final minutes of the match. Lashley also came up bleeding. Tazz bad-mouthed the Olympics, saying this is much more entertaining than watching someone skate around on ice.

WINNER: JBL at 10:41.

STAR RATING: ** -- Passable action. JBL carried the still very green Lashley.

-The Bret Hart Hall of Fame announcement aired.

-The WrestleMania 22 advertisement aired.

-Batista came out as a special surprise with a full ring intro. He said he was there to see Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker in person and because he missed the fans. He said he was working hard to rehab and he promised to regain the title he never lost when he was healthy. He hugged Tazz afterward. Cole said he couldn't wait to call the match when Batista got his first shot at the champion. By not advertising this, it came across as a nice bonus on the PPV. I'm not sure advertising it would have resulted in any more buys, but by offering it unadvertised, it made the PPV seem a little more special. It's a good idea to keep him in the public eye. Sometimes it's best to keep an injured babyface away from TV to create an "absence makes the heart grow fonder" situation, and sometimes overexposure can ruin the pop when they return, but in this case I think they're handling it just right.

-Backstage, Randy Orton approached Kurt Angle backstage. He brought up what Batista just said.

-They showed JBL celebrating backstage in an interview with Josh Matthews for WWE.com.

3 -- MNM (Mercury & Nitro w/Melina) vs. MATT HARDY & TATANKA

Gosh, could there be a bigger letdown than Animal, who was advertised for post-No Way Out house shows as Hardy's partner? Apparently. Tatanka. They've done nothing to reestablish Tatanka. He just looks like the corny '70s gimmick he is without anything more than the head dress and war cry. This makes Hardy look like a boob. The fact that even Cole noted that MNM shrugged at Hardy's choice for a partner says something. Hardy got in some early offense. Tatanka tagged in and hit some chops. MNM took over and Melina raked Tatanka's eyes at ringside to help the heels sustain the offense. Tatanka hot-tagged Hardy at 8:30. Hardy worked over both Nitro and Mercury. He signalled for the Twist of Fate on Mercury, but Mercury ducked and Nitro kicked him. Hardy fired back with a clothesline of both Mercury and Nitro, then tagged Tatanka back in. Tatanka hit both with flying forearms, then did a war dance and war cry. Hardy gave Nitro the Twist of Fate and Tatanka gave Mercury the Samoan Drop leading to the double pin. Hardy signalled that he wanted a tag title shot.

WINNERS: Hardy & Tatanka at 10:38.

STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Formula tag match, but passable.

-Another WrestleMania 22 commercial aired.

-A recap aired of the Chris Benoit-Booker T feud.

4 -- BOOKER T (w/Sharmell) vs. CHRIS BENOIT

Booker said he was injured and couldn't wrestle. Teddy Long came out and said he wouldn't keep the belt. Booker accepted that. As he walked away, Benoit said he didn't want to win it that way. Cole praised Benoit for wanting to earn it. When Benoit entered the ring, Sharmell got in his face. Booker then hit Benoit from behind. Long called for the bell to start the match. Booker looked just fine as he continued to work over Benoit. By 1:00, though, Benoit made a comeback with chops and stomps. These two have wrestled so much, it's tough to imagine them bringing something new to shake things up. They didn't. But they worked a solid, yet familiar match. At 16:15 Benoit went to the top rope. Sharmell distracted him. Booker seized the chance, knocked Benoit to the mat, and delivered a scissors kick. Cole said, "It's over." That meant it wasn't. It wasn't. Benoit kicked out. Benoit came back with a Sharpshooter attempt, but Sharmell jumped on the apron. Benoit released his attempt and shot into the ropes, knocking Sharmell to the ground. He then returned to lock Booker into the Sharpshooter. He then shifted to the Crippler Crossface and Booker tapped out. Cole said he had no sympathy for Booker because he believes he milked the injury.

WINNER: Benoit at 18:10 to capture the U.S. Hvt. Title.

STAR RATING: *** -- What can be said that hasn't already been said? They've mastered this three-star match, but it doesn't get much better (or worse), just more familiar.

-Benoit was met backstage with a big hug from Mysterio. They said they loved each other. He hugged a nunch of other babyface wrestlers, Teddy Long, and Pat Patterson. Then he saw Chavo Guerrero and Eddie Guerrero's wife. Benoit said after he beats Randy Orton, he will be happy to congratule him. He told Rey that he is going to win for Eddie. Rey and Vickie hugged.

5 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. RANDY ORTON

Back and forth action early. At 10:00, Orton shifted to working over Rey's hand. He rammed it into the steps and stomped on it (although the camera close-up revealed him missing badly on one stomp, but making a lot of noise in the process). Rey made a comeback at 12:30. Orton caught Rey on the top rope and set up an Electric Chair. Rey punched out of it and sunset flipped Orton to the mat hard. He then went for a cover and scored a near fall. Tazz said that may have been Rey's last shot. Rey hit Orton with a jump spin wheel kick at 13:45, then hit Orton with a dropkick to the knees. He followed with what Cole always calls a "senton" but isn't. (Why doesn't anyone ever correct him?). Orton was bleeding slightly from his forehead. Rey scored several two counts. Orton ducked a 619 attempt and then schoolboyed Rey and held the ropes for the three count. Rey looked on shocked as Orton's music played. After the match, Orton said, "Hey Rey, guess what? I am going to the main event of WrestleMania. Where are you going?" He then dropped the mic. Cole said, "What a jackass." Tazz said he felt horrible for Rey.

WINNER: Orton at 17:25.

STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Fresher than Benoit vs. Booker, but all in all a very good but not spectacular match.

-Backstage Rey cried and told Chavo and Vickie that he let them down and he let Eddie down. Chavo hugged him and told him to keep his chin high. Vickie cried, but said it was okay. "You didn't let anyone down," said Chavo. "You tried your hardest. We love you brother. Thank you." Rey walked past Psicosis, Super Crazy, Scotty 2 Hotty, London, and Kendrick, who were all speechless. Don't cruiserweights have anything better to do than stand around backstage? I have a feeling something else was planned and got changed. Something worth checking into.

6 -- KURT ANGLE vs. UNDERTAKER -- World Hvt. Title match

Basic, but good "feeling out" spots in the opening minutes. Taker did the top rope walk and forearm. They took it to ringside at 5:00. Taker signalled for a chokeslam at 8:00. Taker locked onto Angle's throat, but Angle kicked Taker's knee to break the grip. Taker nailed Angle with an uppercut. Cole called Taker the best pure striker in the game. Angle clipped Taker, taking him to the mat. Angle put Taker in a figure-four wrapped around the ringpost at ringside. The ref forced a break. Angle rolled into the ring and then returned to ringside where he elbowed Taker's knee several times. Angle continued to work over Angle's knee until Taker threw Angle out of the ring. Taker limped to ringside and gave Angle a boot to the face. Angle came back with a surprise Anklelock on Taker at ringside. He let go before the ref counted them out, rolled into the ring, rolled back to ringside, and reapplied the Anklelock. The ref began his count again. Angle brought Taker into the ring and applied a leglock. Taker struggled to get out the entire time, but Angle shifted leverage to keep Taker in pain. They went back to ringside at 18:00 and Angle ducked a punch and gave Taker an Angleslam through the ringside announcers' table. Taker crushed the table, then slid backwards onto the floor below head-first. Angle went to work on Taker with a barrage of punches, but Taker then reversed Angle into the ringside steps. Angle then collapsed chin-first into part of the announcers' table that was sticking up. He clutched at his neck and chin as Taker threw him back into the ring. Taker went to the top rope, but Angle caught him up there. Taker headbutted Angle to the mat, then stood on the top rope. Angle ran up and slammed him off the top rope - a dangerous move considering Taker's bad hips are surely going to require replacement surgery when he retires. Taker surprised Angle with a boot to the face as he charged him at 22:15. Angle rolled through on a Taker attempt and applied an anklelock. Cole asked if Taker would tap out for the very first time in his career. Taker yanked Angle into his legs for a triangle choke to reverse the momentum. That's the prime example of what I mean when I say Taker is one of the few veterans incorporating UFC style work into his matches to keep things fresh. Taker hit a chokeslam at 24:30 despite his sore knee and scored a near fall. Taker then set up the Last Ride. Angle roleld through and applied an anklelock. Really cool counter by Angle. Angle torqued Taker's ankle. Taker powered out after about 30 seconds. Angle followed up with an Angle Slam. He scored a two count. We knew it wasn't over because Tazz sad during the count, "Angle's going to Mania!" Angle dropped his straps, but a second later Taker sat up. Cool spot. Taker caught Angle off the ropes and set up a Tombstone. Angle countered it and set up his own. Taker countered again. Angle slid out of it and applied an anklelock. Taker teased tapping out. Cole declared that Taker had "nothing left." Taker sat up and kicked at Ankle's face with is long legs. It broke Angle's grip. Angle caught Taker with an Angleslam. Taker slipped on another triangle choke. Angle struggled to get out. Angle bridged and put Taker's shoulders down. The ref counted to three. Tazz and Cole wondered who won. The crowd didn't know how to react. The ref then awarded Angle the belt. Taker looked at the ref surprised. Taker threw Angle against the corner and got in his face and said, "I've got your number."

WINNER: Angle at 29:30.

STAR RATING: ****1/2 -- Stellar match. One of Taker's best ever. They really delivered. There was no point you could accuse them of "filling time" despite going nearly 30 minutes. Really interesting counters throughout. Memorable match. The finish worked, too.

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