Over the Limit Preview & Predictions, 2012

Over the Limit, 20/05/2012, from the PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC

Over the Limit, 20/05/2012, from the PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC

I won’t beat around the bush. While Extreme Rules has historically been a great PPV on the calendar, Over the Limit has never in it’s short history been a most enjoyable PPV. Unfortunately, I don’t see this being much different, partly because it comes so close off the heels of Extreme Rules. Nonetheless, this is a pro-wrestling PPV, and the two title matches are chock-full of great talent, no less our WWE Championship match between two of the very best wrestlers in the world. There aren’t many matches on the card, and Cody Rhodes and Santino Marella have been playing up their champion vs champion feud, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see an impromptu non-title match between those two, alongside any number of FUNKASAURUS and Ryback job matches.

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Match 1) World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sheamus (c) vs Randy Orton vs Alberto Del Rio vs Chris Jericho
This is a fatal four way in which all four are great workers, and that is mouthwatering. However, fatal four way matches can be messy and hard to follow, so it’s success will depend on the booking and the skills of the wrestlers involved. Luckily to that end, as mentioned, we have four good to great wrestlers involved. If there are some clever unique booking on this smaller PPV stage where there is less risk, it could be a very very good match. The only person i’m sure wont win is Randy Orton, simply because that would lead to an Orton-Sheamus rematch feud at a time when they both need to be babyface. There has been a lot of narrative (not on TV) about this (somehow) being Jericho’s last chance to win in his career, and so with that in mind, I think Jericho is the main threat to Sheamus’s title. Jericho has a solid and well-maintained history of stealing championships in matches with more than two people, and so if he is to win, I don’t doubt it would be by taking advantage of someone else’s efforts while no one is looking – or something similar. Despite that point, I still see Sheamus defending successfully. I think he’s having a decent (if unspectacular) reign that only started at WrestleMania, and I think they’ll want to give him a reign of a decent length to make him somewhat.

Winner: Sheamus

2) Tag Team Championship Match: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (c) vs Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Kofi and Truth haven’t been exciting me too much since teaming up; their chemistry has seemed lacking and while I appreciate their talents, I think Primo & Epico were objectively better tag team champions. Because of that – though I want to be proven wrong – I can see this match being watchable, but not much more, even with the inclusion of Ziggler. Excitement for the match is further nullified by the fact that the result seems cut-and-dry. With Kofi and Truth relatively high profile for the division and brand new champions, they wont be losing it now, and the victory over a strong team like Swagger and Ziggler will be purely to give them a rub.

3) Divas Championship Match: Layla (c) vs Beth Pheonix
This match is an intriguing one. The returning Layla has some momentum and fan support behind her, while being a very underrated wrestler. Her smaller size against the also interesting story of Phoenix returning angry from losing her championship could be make for a interestingly and impressively booked match. If given time, this could be an unexpected hit for the PPV. There is a problem though. With Kharma surely to return imminently to feud with Beth, WWE seem to have booked themselves in to a corner. Before Layla returned, most expected Kharma to be first back, take the Divas championship, and call out Beth. Layla as champion obviously throws a spanner in here. If Beth beats her, she loses a lot of credibility, and could fall out of the spotlight which is a shame for a very popular and talented wrestler who has a lot of good will on her side after an injury return. On the other hand, Beth certainly can’t lose to Layla if she’s to be a credible challenge to legitimate monster, Kharma. So neither can win without causing significant damage to the other. The only option, as I see it, is to give them decent time for both to shine, but eventually have Beth seem dominant, and in an aesthetically dominant position (press slam position or similar), about to win the match, when Kharma’s music hits, she comes to the ring and attacks Beth. Beth wins by DQ and Layla keeps her title. The Beth-Kharma feud is exciting enough to not need the title, so it would protect Layla and add more depth to the division with her in championship feuds and Beth-Kharma happening separately.

Winner: Beth Phoenix

Match 4) WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (c) vs Daniel Bryan
This match should categorically be the main event, but it doesn’t look like it will be after being oveshadowed by the Cena-Laurinaitis rivalry as the ‘go home’ RAW ended. I do think it should (and could) go on after the divas match though; for one thing, this divas match will be more than the usual light relief this Sunday, and despite it being downgraded by a match involving a retired wrestler, I think WWE will want to profile this match high up the card. The Cena-Laurinaitis match will be very different to this anyway, so they wont have to worry about following the (hopefully) wrestling spectacle that Punk-Bryan will create (though I worry about untenable expectations from the fans). This, indeed, will be a pure wrestling match. There is barely a story here. Bryan got this opportunity by winning a #1 Contender’s match and while he’s had some run-ins with Punk since, they haven’t really developed an ‘issue’ together. That means the match will be free of outside metaphorical influence and will instead be just about the wrestling – something both men hold close to their character. I doubt Bryan will win; he’ll get the rub from wrestling the company’s second biggest star in a high-profile match for the top title, but Punk is categorically ‘the man’, at least in the championship picture, while giving Bryan the title would seem like too much too soon. This, no doubt, is testing the waters for him to be competing at the highest level, but they wont follow through with it yet at the expense of Punk.

Winner: CM Punk

Match 5) John Cena vs John Laurinaitis
My wrestling writing abilities have deserted me here. I literally don’t know what to say about this match. Without lots of help, Johnny Ace wont be able to hold a candle to Cena in the ring. I think the main interest will be in watching Ace in the ring and possibly throwing an Ace Crusher (for one thing, if he does that, how will it be treated be the announcers with it basically being an RKO?). This is literally all I can think to say about the actual match. The real story is how it will finish. As soon as the stipulation that Laurinaitis will be fired if he loses, and that no anyone interfering will be fired was added, it was crystal clear that Johnny Ace would somehow be winning given his effectiveness in the role and only recent promotion to be GM of both RAW and Smackdown. Ace can’t beat Cena clean, so the question becomes: which (kayfabe) uncontracted wrestler will help Ace win? Well, the answer is either Brock, Big Show, or a surprise. Obviously, a complete surprise would be welcome, but I think the most likely answer is Big Show, doing what Ace says to get his job back. I approve of this too because Big Show could make a monster heel again very easily and would make his character infinitely more interesting. As for Cena, I hope they follow through with what should have happened after Extreme Rules and have in in a state where he needs time away from the ring. The very good reason of his current personal problems aside, he has gained a lot of good will against The Rock and Brock Lesnar, but he is close to losing it if the WWE refuse to show any genuine consequence of all the tests he is facing. I wrote an entire article about it here: https://rtvwrestling.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/john-cena-your-newly-likable-heroic-underdog-is-in-danger-of-becoming-unlikable-again/ Whatever happens, this match has flummoxed me ever since it was booked. I just want to see an Ace Crusher.

Winner: John Laurinaitis

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