Top critical review
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Pitiful, really. Just pitiful...
on 16 July 2011
The Road to WrestleMania in 2005 was a hot one. Batista's star was on the rise, involved in a legendary storyline with Triple H. John Bradshaw Layfield's incredible reign as the WWE Champion was still ongoing, John Cena was determined to main-event his first WrestleMania and of course, the seeds had been sewn for Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle.
Alas, No Way Out 2005 is a huge disappointment. The premise of JBL defending the title against THE BIG SHOW in a BARBED WIRE steel cage match (of all environments!) sounds like a sure-fire bloodbath that will leave folks talking for years. But it falls flat. Other bouts on the card feature true, bonafide legends (Booker T & the Undertaker) reduced to trying to get good matches out of generic muscleheads (who've long been released and forgotten) like Heidenreich & Luther Reigns. And of course, there's the tedious SmackDown Rookie Diva 2005 competition, which is just about the biggest waste of time on this show.
Mind you, No Way Out does offer SOME worthwhile moments. Just don't hold your breath.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Basham Brothers (Champions) vs. Rey Mysterio & Eddie Guerrero.
Because Eddie and Rey were real-life friends and awesome in-ring rivals, they would make a great tag team. The Bashams were a solid duo and worthy champions. The result? Only decent, lacking fast-pace and high stakes drama that we've come to expect from SmackDown. Still, some great moves from Eddie and Rey, the Bashams' tandem offence and Eddie's HILLARIOUS antics do make this a nice - if somewhat lacking - opener. (6/10)
SmackDown! Rookie Diva 2005 Competition (hosted by Torrie Wilson & Dawn Marie)
Featuring Rochelle, Lauren, Joy Giovanni & Michelle McCool
Throughout the night, interlude segments consist of this whole `Diva Search-esque' thing. The four `trainee' Divas here just showcase what they have to offer in evening gowns and swimsuits, as well as demonstrating what `talents' they have. WHY?! Out of all the contestants, Michelle McCool was the ONLY one who showed confidence, talent, charisma, personality, sex appeal and a chance of succeeding as a genuine star/wrestler. All the others were just eye candy. Worth watching for Torrie & Dawn (and Michelle), but is there any other point? (2/10)
Booker T vs. Heidenreich.
For a main-event class wrestler like Booker T being expected to work with HEIDENREICH was insulting. No build-up, sloppy work from Heidenreich, and a cheap disqualification finish? Frankly, this was ridiculous. Booker delivers excellent execution which is squandered by the opponent and booking. Whoever was match-maker for this should be ashamed of themselves. (3/10)
Cruiserweight Championship 6-Man Elimination Match
Funaki (Champion) vs. Paul London vs. Shannon Moore vs. Akio vs. Spike Dudley vs. Chavo Guerrero
I REALLY MISS the Cruiserweight division. We need it back in 2011. Anyway, I'm sad to say that this is spoilt by a rushed pace, some illogical eliminations and an ultra-cheap finish. Nevertheless, there're some fine efforts and superb moments. Shannon Moore and Akio in particular deserve praise for their hard work, but Paul London was clearly the most outstanding. Worth watching for him alone. (6/10)
The Undertaker vs. Luther Reigns
Hmm, this was another match-up that didn't make sense. Although unlike Booker T vs. Heidenreich, there was actual build-up invested in this contest. Still, it's highly forgettable with Reigns failing to make a real impact in perhaps the most high-profile match of his entire wrestling career. The Undertaker again handles himself like the consummate professional he is, and the result is watchable thanks to him. (5/10)
WrestleMania No. 1 Contender's Tournament Finals
Kurt Angle vs. John Cena
The evening was well below SmackDown par...until THIS match. Featuring a superb promo video recapping the excellence of this tournament, the two wrestlers' history and high-stakes make for a fantastic collision. The contrast in styles doesn't matter, as the result is simply spectacular. Here, Kurt's mat-wrestling and technical expertise were as phenomenal as always. Cena worked hard here, showcasing wild action and explosive intensity. Exhilarating stuff and match of the night by a mile. (8/10)
WWE Championship Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match
John `Bradshaw' Layfield (Champion) vs. The Big Show
After impressive victories over Eddie Guerrero, the Undertaker, Booker T and Kurt Angle, JBL found himself defending the title against perhaps the most monstrous giant of all time...in an unthinkable setting. But as I said earlier, the idea isn't pulled off like it was hyped. The barbed wire doesn't even come into play, rendering it completely redundant. With such a crucial factor eliminated, the crowd had every right to be dead, no matter how hard the two participants work. It's not a total flop, though. There's some decent action and blood, but the only genuine moments of excitement are the devastating chokeslam through the ring, the clever outcome, and the awesome aftermath featuring Batista and Cena. FINAL moments, which you might as well fast-forward to THOSE! (6/10)
While this event can essentially be called a one-bout show, the Special Features on hand are surprisingly plentiful for WWE pay-per-view DVDs. In fact, there's a fine assortment of promos, extra-interviews, press conference highlights, moments from Sunday Night Heat and the absolutely excellent "Enemy" music video from Chris Jericho's band Fozzy, backed up a quality behind-the-scenes look.
But even these extras don't entirely compensate for what is mostly a poor, poor show. Cena vs. Angle, and the events at the night's end, are really the ONLY things that prevent WWE No Way Out 2005 from being a complete failure. There's simply too much mediocrity and downright bad content to overlook. If you choose to buy this, just be sure you know what you're letting yourself in for. This is one chapter of 2005's Road to WrestleMania you can afford to miss.