No Way Out – 2006: Kurt Angle vs. The MMA Cowboy of Death

No Way Out 2006
Date: February 19, 2006
Location: 1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Attendance: 11,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

This is a show that is talked about a lot for one specific match but it’s really a two match show. The main event here is Angle vs. Taker for the title in what is one of the first real influences of MMA on this as more or less this is a striking vs. submission match and is considered an excellent match by almost everyone I’ve heard talk about it. I’ve never seen it all the way through though.

The other match here is Orton vs. Rey as Eddie’s push continues despite being, you know, dead. Eddie won the Royal Rumble so tonight we have Rey vs. Orton for Eddie’s Mania match. Orton had gone insane with his heel level, saying Eddie was burning. This is the match for Eddie’s Mania match. Other than that the show looks bad. Let’s get to it.

And since I can’t make a joke on here without some moron calling me out on this, yes, I know Rey won the Rumble and eventually the title at Mania. I say it was Eddie doing it because the vast majority of his angle and push was there because of Eddie and his death.

The opening video is all about those four guys, which makes sense as that’s all that this show meant at all.

Cruiserweight Title: Gregory Helms vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Funaki vs. Kid Kash vs. Nunzio vs. Paul London vs. Psicosis vs. Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Super Crazy

Yeah it’s a 9 way match. Helms is champion and ran his mouth so this is his punishment. The intros take nearly five minutes. Thankfully some guys come out together. No tagging here and it’s one fall to a finish. Who wants to bet that Helms escapes with the title? He won it last month so yeah I’m thinking he’s keeping it. Helms hides on the floor while the other eight guys pound on each other.

The Mexicools hits stereo planchas to take out London and Kendrick. Helms finally gets in and they all jump him as he more or less said he was better than all of them. Obviously I can’t go through every spot and type it up here as it’s a huge mess the whole way through. There are WAY too many people in there and it’s just wasting time until we get to the ending sequence.

Helms and Kash go at it for a bit which gets us nowhere. Helms is sent to the floor as this continues to be six or seven guys lay down while two or three do stuff. Kash gets a sweet rana to take down Psicosis on the floor. Londrick takes out Nunzio and Funaki and then do it again off the top to those same two plus Scotty. Helms misses the Shining Wizard and Crazy gets a big spin kick for two.

London hits Helms with a senton back splash that crushes Helms’ face. London gets kicked in the face by Scotty who then has to do the Worm on Helms. The long wait allows Psicosis to break it up. That should teach Scotty but it won’t of course because he’s a stupid man. Dead Level (brainbuster, but looks like a suplex here) from Kash hits Psicosis but Crazy hits a moonsault out of nowhere. Helms steals the pin to retain. Wow how shocked I am at that.

Rating: C-. Total meh match here. These multi-man matches are supposed to be insane and all that jazz and for the most part they are, but dude, NINE PEOPLE? There’s no way to follow is and it’s the living definition of a match with no flow because you can’t have any. It was ok, but WAY too many people out there which brought it down a lot.

Booker and Sharmell say Booker is injured and can’t defend his US Title tonight. Teddy doesn’t believe him. Since he’s got a midcard title, he’s facing Benoit which he did about 100 times. Sharmell begs to keep Booker out of the ring as does Booker. Teddy doesn’t care and the match is still on. Total waste of time.

Some overly perky chick that I don’t know wants to talk about Mania but Finlay cuts her off. He doesn’t have a fight tonight so he’s going to pick one. He picks up the chick and apparently she’s Krystal. That’s Lashley’s wife I believe. He comes out to the ring with her over his shoulder.

Yep here’s the Boss to save her and beat the crap out of Finlay for like two seconds. No mention of the marriage/girlfriend thing. Lashley has a match with JBL coming up so cue up that bell!

John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Bobby Lashley

Bradshaw sprints to the ring to beat up Lashley as Finlay bails and we start the match. He rams Lashley’s head into the buckle and Bobby shakes it off. JBL: “Oh dang it!” That was funny. Lashley is more or less brand new here so he’s the undefeated monster at this point. Jillian is JBL’s image consultant so she’s out there with him. Lashley gets a belly to belly overhead on the floor and JBL is in trouble.

You can tell JBL is more or less carrying this as Lashley just does power stuff. Loud JBL SUCKS chant. He actually manages to hit a top rope elbow for two. It looked horrible but imagine him going to the top and dropping an elbow. That’s pretty impressive. Lashley has had very little offense this whole match. They slug it out and Lashley manages to take over a bit.

Lashley gets caught in a sleeper though as the crowd falls asleep along with them. It’s weird to see that JBL towers over him for some reason. Not really sure why but it just kind of is. JBL goes up again and gets caught in a powerslam. That looked cool for some reason. Lashley busts out three straight belly to bellies. Ok make that four. That’s borderline Scott Steiner territory and that’s not a good thing.

Clothesline From JBL misses and Lashley gets two off a t-bone suplex. Finlay comes out and throws Tony Chimmel into the ring. With the distraction he gets the shillelagh into Lashley’s throat and the Clothesline From JBL ends this. Yes, a main event jobber is the guy to break the winning streak. Well sure why not.

Rating: D. The match was boring, the booking was stupid and the ending was bogus. Seriously, why should JBL, a year removed from being world champion and on the verge of becoming an announcer, get to beat Lashley for the first time? They couldn’t set up Lashley vs. Finlay later? This made my head hurt and the match was pretty boring on top of that. Just bad stuff.

JBL’s eye was busted open and it might be legit as I don’t remember him getting anything worthy of having it busted. Oh yeah that’s real.

They show Lashley leaving as I guess we’re supposed to be all caring here?

Ad for the Bret DVD, which is well worth seeing.

Big Time Mania ad. Big Time was the ad campaign that year and it sucked.

Chimmel brings out Batista who is out with an injury. He had to forfeit the title which Angle won in a battle royal. He says he’s going to keep this short and that he’s here for three reasons. Number one is he wants to see Angle vs. Taker. Second is he misses the fans and the audience. The third reason is his arm isn’t torn anymore. He wouldn’t be back until July so maybe it was a bit worse than he thought.

Orton is talking to Angle and says that he’ll be champion when Batista gets back. Angle doesn’t respect him apparently. Kurt more or less blows him off.

We see Josh with JBL at the interview area online and he has glasses and long hair. Weird.

MNM vs. Matt Hardy/???

This is an open challenge. MNM is Mercury, Nitro and Melina. Nitro is more famous as Morrison now. Matt took them up on it but we don’t know who the partner is. MNM are the Smackdown tag champions here so of course this is non-title. Here’s Matt, and here’s his partner.

MNM vs. Matt Hardy/Tatanka

This is like an indy show nightmare. Tatanka is in a non-title tag team match with Matt Hardy on PPV in 2006. WHAT THE HECK? Zero reaction as you probably would have guessed. Tatanka came back at the Rumble and would eventually turn heel and start a feud with Lashley before leaving before they had any contact. Hardy and Mercury start us off here.

Somehow Matt is the big star here. Off to Tatanka and Mercury is in trouble. Sweet goodness this is uninteresting beyond belief. Tazz: who’s going to challenge MNM. Cole: Matt Hardy and Tatanka? Point for Cole. Melina gets in Hardy’s face and slaps the heck  out of him. Tatanka comes in to chop a lot. Melina rakes his eyes and MNM takes over again. Sweet merciful crap this is boring.

The heels double team Tatanka as I want to find a bag to put over my head to avoid having to watch this. Suffocation is sounding good right now. You can hear Hardy calling Tatanka Chris which probably isn’t the best thing in the world to hear. Tatanka catches Mercury coming off the top in an atomic drop but Nitro comes in to keep the tag from happening. And that completely fails as Matt comes in a few seconds later.

Matt cleans house as this is still completely uninteresting. Twist of Fate is blocked and Nitro gets a superkick to Hardy. Both members of MNM have been in the ring for like a minute and Tatanka doesn’t seem to mind his partner doing double duty. Back to Tatanka and we get stereo Twist of Fate and Papoose To Go to end this. Was there ANY point to this at all?

Rating: D. It was boring, it wasn’t interesting, and Tatanka was the best they could come up with? Was Shannon Moore not available? Somehow he would have been a better choice. This was just awful as the fans didn’t care and this went nowhere at all. I can’t even say it was short as it went over ten minutes. Bad match.

The first hour and 15 minutes of this have absolutely sucked if you didn’t get that.

Another Mania ad.

We recap the US Title match. Booker was champion and Benoit got a best of seven series (which they did in WCW for the TV Title) for the title. Booker was hurt for the majority of it though so Benoit kept fighting Orton as a substitute. Orton won the series to keep the title on Booker. I never got what Orton got out of it. Benoit beat Finlay to get another shot then had to win another fatal fourway with JBL, Hardy and Jordan to finally get the shot. Ok so apparently the title was vacant and the series decided it. Makes a bit more sense.

US Title: Booker T vs. Chris Benoit

Before the match we waste more time as Booker says there’s no title match tonight and wants Teddy out here. Apparently he still isn’t healthy. Booker says he’s going to forfeit the title and Benoit gets it. What the heck? He leaves and Benoit grabs a mic shouting COWARD. Sharmell gets in his face and slaps him then does it again. Make that three. Booker runs in to blast him and it’s on. What happened to the forfeit? Is Benoit champion at the moment?

Benoit takes it to the floor and is all over him. Booker of course was faking the injury if you didn’t get that. If Cole can point out the obvious then so can I. Benoit chops the living tar out of him and blocks a cheating rollup to hammer away some more. Baseball slide sends Booker to the floor and he’s getting destroyed here. Booker claims he’s hurt again and tells the referee he needs to end this.

Naturally he’s faking again and Benoit eats steps. Booker gets kind of a superkick in the ring which hits Benoit in the chest for two. I’m trying very hard not to make Benoit jokes here and I’m losing my restraint abilities. Booker hooks a full nelson which gets him a grand total of nowhere and here come the Germans. Crossface doesn’t work and Booker gets a spin kick for two.

Booker and Benoit used to be best friends apparently. Why don’t I remember that at all? Probably because they’ve always been rivals but why care about things like history? Booker gets a long chinlock which gets him more or less nowhere. They chop it out which of course Benoit wins. Axe kick misses and here comes more Wolverine.

Benoit busts out Three Amigos to a nice reaction. Another big kick takes Benoit down. Booker is going down right Asian stereotype tonight. Benoit stops something from the top from Booker and chops away. Big old superplex follows some headbutts for two. Houston Hangover misses which is a move I’ve always liked. Rolling Germans hit Booker and he’s in big trouble. Cole keeps calling the Hangover a front flip and it’s getting on my nerves.

Benoit goes for the headbutt but just like he did to Booker it’s blocked. Axe kick gets two. Is there a white person that does that move? Booker does his rolling sunset flip out of the corner but gets countered into the Sharpshooter. Sharmell gets up so the hold doesn’t last long. Benoit gets it again and then lets it go to grab the Crossface to of course end it. Long match at nearly twenty minutes.

Rating: B. It’s Chris Benoit vs. Booker T. Did you expect a bad match here? This worked very well as you would expect it to with both guys working hard out there and the results coming out well. As I’ve said, a lot of the time a cure for the problems a company has is to just go out and have a good wrestling match. That’s what they did here and it’s got me wanting to watch more of the show. Can’t ask for more than that.

The fans tell Booker he tapped out. I think he knows that.

Rey and Benoit celebrate in the back. So does Teddy. And Matt. Lashley. And Scotty. And all of the roster. Dude, it’s the US Title. He didn’t get this kind of reception when he won the world title. And here’s Chavo and Vickie and Rey. Well of course it’s about Eddie. Have I mentioned I FREAKING HATE THESE REFERENCES??? Vickie is skinny here.

We recap Orton vs. Rey. Eddie dies so Rey got the push of a lifetime because of it. He came into the Rumble at #2 and won the thing, giving him the title shot. Orton got all pissed off at going out last and said that Eddie is burning. This led to Rey getting ticked off and putting up his title shot here tonight. Orton was evil here and since I was fed up beyond all belief with talking about Eddie I loved Orton here.

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton

Winner goes to Mania for the world title shot. Orton is all chiseled here and the Legend Killer and not like orange. The fans chant for Eddie. Well he’s right there in the ring in the mask so it’s not like it’s going to take long to get him here. Orton overpowers him to start. It’s weird saying that as Orton is far from a power guy. Rey starts with regular stuff which doesn’t work that well. Ah there’s the speed and it of course works better.

Orton shouts to the crowd that he doesn’t need their help. He’s freaking evil looking and was awesome at this point. Orton takes over and pounds away with basic stuff. It’s so weird to see him using generic power moves rather than his usual stuff. Cole calls Orton a jerk. That’s so amusing now. Orton gets two on an Irish Whip. Who does he think he is, Billy Watson?

He follows that us with the Eddie chest slap which gets huge heat. Orton is as tall as Rey is when he’s on his knees. Rey kicks his head off and sends Orton to the floor though and the momentum doesn’t change though as Orton catches a rana in a powerbomb position and swings Rey’s body into the post like Jason did to that chick in Friday the 13th with the tree. FREAKING OW MAN!

Orton works on the arm which is hurt from going into the post like that. Rey starts a brief comeback but Orton gets one of my favorite moves as he gets Rey over his shoulder for a powerbomb them moves forward to snap Rey’s neck in a neckbreaker. That’s just awesome. And now back to the arm. That’s what we mean by psychology: he keeps going back to something injured. If you hurt a guy’s body part in a real fight, you would stay on it. That’s basic psychology.

Rey gets a rana out of nowhere but hurts his arm in the process. Nice work. Orton stomps on the arm so Cole thinks Randy is evil. Uh, isn’t that kind of like, smart? Arm gets rammed into the steps a bunch of times. Orton hooks one leg on a cover so Cole of course says he hooks both. Cole can’t even count to two. That sums him up very well I believe. Orton goes for the neckbreaker thing again but gets countered, complete with the most oversold armdrag ever.

Rey counters a middle rope electric chair drop into a sunset bomb for a long two. Tazz thinks it’s over more or less and I think he’s probably right. He means it’s over as in Rey has no more chances. Spinwheel kick sets up the Eddie dance as my eyes roll around my head. Seated Senton gets no cover. Rey gets a running neck snap which was rather cool. Orton’s head is busted open.

Orton catches an Asai moonsault attempt into a powerslam position but they botch the living heck out of what appeared to be a tornado DDT but Rey didn’t go down to the mat plus Orton went the wrong way so he looked like he just kind of fell down. Anyway, Orton pokes him in the eyes which gets him nowhere. Rey goes up but Orton dropkicks him on the way down. That was nice but could he get an RKO like that? I don’t think so!

Rey dropkicks him and Orton sells the heck out of it and he lands perfectly in position for the 619. Orton was overselling on purpose though as he ducks under the kick and grabs a rollup and the rope to get the pin and kill the life out of the crowd. The look on Rey’s face is straight up awesome. I love seeing children wanting to cry.

Rating: B-. The match was good for the most part with the arm stuff and the time went by very quickly, but there was something missing here and I’m not sure what it was. I think the problem is Orton had to alter his style too much which hurt things. It’s not bad really, but it wasn’t a great match. Oh and before I forget: HAHA YOU LOST REY! I BET EDDIE IS CRYING NOW BECAUSE YOU FREAKING SUCK AT LIFE! Ok I’m good now.

Orton grabs the mic and says he’s going to the main event of Wrestlemania. Oh of course Rey was put in too and won the title. The explanation was that Teddy just added him because there was never a limit on the amount of people in it. They do the big emotional leaving for Rey which makes me want to fast forward.

The announcers act like Orton shot Rey in the face or something.

We cut to Rey apologizing to the Guerreros in the back. Chavo says keep your chin up and they curse a lot. What do the Guerreros lose here? Eddie wasn’t going or anything so it’s just a guy that shot his mouth off and screwed up. Go get on Maury or something. Did I mention I REALLY hated this angle? The same roster that congratulated Benoit all looks at him, apparently not having moved since Benoit came by.

We recap the battle royal where Kurt jumped to Smackdown to win the world title due to Batista’s injury. He was celebrating and the gong went off. Do I need to explain this any further? This has been built up as a HUGE match and that’s exactly what it was supposed to be. They had fought for the title before but that was when Angle was still goofy so this is going to be a showdown. Angle gets in a great line: when that bell rings, I don’t have a soul either.

Smackdown World Title: Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

It’s the remix for Angle’s music here which I never liked. That title just looks AWESOME on him. He was a guy that was incredibly valuable to have on the roster for instances such as this. Batista was hurt and so they needed a credible champion. Angle is someone they could throw the title on and have it be completely realistic. That’s always a great thing and it worked perfectly here.

Taker literally takes four minutes for his entrance. Think he’s taking long enough? Cole’s voice sounds like it’s giving out. Angle tries to get a hold on him early on and Taker goes to the ropes. That’s a bit odd to see I’d think. Angle hits the floor when nothing works. Cole says neither of them have ever tapped. What the heck has he been watching for the seven years Angle has been in the company? He’s lost an Ultimate Submission match and Jericho made him tap on Raw once. Also Benoit made him tap multiple times. Yeah that’s nonsense.

Taker works a headlock which is odd to see him using. Off to the arm and a short arm scissors which gets him nowhere. They’re going back and forth here and it’s working for the most part. Definitely a slow build as we have nearly half an hour to go and no more matches. Old School connects and Taker busts out a Downward Spiral of all things for two.

Snake Eyes hit but Angle hits a SWEET release German for one. The dueling chants begin which makes sense as these are both faces. There’s some chick at ringside that screams louder than Melina. Taker gets knocked off the apron and into the railing. Angle dives at him and is caught before being rammed into the post. The apron legdrop is VINTAGE! Back in and Angle blocks a chokeslam with some kicks so Taker just hits him in the face to put him back down.

Angle goes for the knee and gets the post figure four. Solid stuff here so I apologize for the lack of humor. There’s nothing to make fun of. Patrick gives this big lecture to Angle about keeping it in the ring and Angle nods at it. Patrick turns around and Angle is right back out there which was rather funny. They’re building very slowly here but Angle is picking it up a bit.

Back to the floor again with Taker drilling him with knees. Taker’s knee is messed up a bit and this time he’s selling so we’ve got that going for once. It’s noticeable how much more swearing there is here. Angle grabs the legdrop on the apron this time and gets the ankle lock. Angle holds him on the floor against the ten count, breaking at seven and then breaking the count before going right back to the ankle. That’s sweet stuff there.

We hit the ring again and Taker is caught in another leg lock for a bit. More dueling chants start up. Taker counters mounted punching with a triangle choke and Angle is in trouble. Amazing that Fedor can’t last 10 seconds in one but Angle can last like 30 in it. We hit the floor again and Angle is in trouble. They’ve broken the count like 10 times so far which isn’t something you see that often. It adds some realism to the match as they’re not ignoring rules for the sake of convenience.

Taker clears off the announce table and then rolls in to break the count again, even though I’m not sure one was going on. Angle grabs Taker and puts him through the other announce table with the Angle Slam out of nowhere. Angle stops the count at 9 including some F Bombs. Back to the floor again with Angle pounding away. Taker wouldn’t have beat the count back in. He reverses Angle and sends him into the steps. GREAT match if you can’t tell that.

Taker goes up but gets caught and takes some punches. Angle sets for a suplex but Taker knocks him back. Angle is all like boy I said I’m suplexing you so I’m suplexing you and runs up the corner to throw Taker down in a belly to belly. Somehow that only gets two. Fans are way into this. Angle throws more punches so Taker kicks him in the face. Sometimes you can’t beat the simple stuff.

Chokeslam is countered into the ankle lock and Taker is reeling. Taker can’t shove him off so he pulls him in, grabs the head and locks on the triangle choke again. Angle reverses that and hooks the ankle lock one more time. Taker rolls through and finally gets out of it. Chokeslam mostly hits but Taker kind of dropped him which might have been intentional due to the ankle. That gets two as I’m loving this stuff.

Last Ride is reversed into a sunset flip and Angle grabs the ankle lock AGAIN for like what, the fifth time? Yeah two in the previous sequence and two on the floor. Dang man. Taker can’t get the ropes so he kicks Angle off AGAIN. Angle Slam connects for TWO. Sweet merciful crap this is awesome. Angle pulls down the straps as Taker sits up in a great visual.

They slug it out and Taker sends him in and grabs the Tombstone. Angle reverses and Taker reverses and ANGLE reverses into the SIXTH Ankle lock, this time with the grapevine attached. Taker raises his hand to tap and he’s in the middle of the ring. Taker rolls them over and kicks Angle in the face again to become the ONLY person I’ve ever seen to survive the grapevine ankle lock.

Angle slips up behind Taker as he gets up and hits ANOTHER Angle Slam (NINE freaking finishers from Angle if you’re keeping track) and Angle rolls him up but Taker busts out (and perhaps debuts) the Hell’s Gate (not called that yet and still called a triangle choke here. Thank you martial arts master Tazz) and Angle is in big trouble. Angle is almost out and after the second arm drop he pops up and jumps over into a cradle while the choke is still on and gets the three! Taker thinks he’s won and Angle is DONE. Post match Taker says he has Angle’s number. I guess he’ll text the rematch request.

Rating: A+. Screw Meltzer and his love of Japanese guys and his cruiserweight jazz. THIS is your match of the year. These two beat the heck out of each other and it was nothing but awesome the whole way. For some reason (Angle leaving for TNA) they never had the big rematch. THIS should have been the main event of Mania rather than a 9 minute triple threat with Angle dropping the belt to that freaking pest Rey so that Eddie could have his second moment at Mania.

Both guys looked awesome out there and they threw everything they had at each other and then the ending worked perfectly. Both guys more or less lost and it lets Taker keep his credibility. Much like the Benoit match at the 03 Rumble, Taker didn’t get beat so much as he got caught. That’s a very key thing and it helps a lot here. Excellent match and well worth going out to see.

Overall Rating: B-. Well there are six matches on this show. Three are boring beyond belief, two are good and one is great. The last hour and a half is great stuff but the first hour and fifteen minutes or so are just wretched. DEFINITELY check out Angle vs. Taker but the rest isn’t worth much. Booker vs. Benoit is good but they’ve had about 100 matches that are good so it’s nothing unique. Check out the main event, but I’d definitely watch this out of order if you’re going to watch it all. Actually skip the second and third matches. The opener is watchable and the last three are good. Yeah that should do it.

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  1. The Killjoy says:

    They had a rematch on Smackdown a few weeks later where Mark Henry splashed ‘Taker through the announce table. But more to the point, what’s with Stu Hart and the tiger being here too?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    It’s a new concept I’m toying with of adding an unrelated picture to the review to tease something in the future.

    Or I didn’t copy the No Way Out review and pasted the wrong thing in when I was posting this and forgot to delete the picture.

  2. M.R. says:

    This match should have been at Mania