Sunday night, WWE held its 2012 edition of the Over The Limit pay-per-view. Just over three weeks after its predecessor, Extreme Rules, would Over The Limit deliver with a relatively small announced card and rushed feuds? Time to divulge.
1. Kane def. Zack Ryder
Nothing much to say here. It was the pre-show bout, and as mentioned in my last review, I am very much enjoying the concept of airing the bout online. WWE received nearly 50,000 views at once last night for the match, which is a good indication that this format is working.
The match was what was expected, with Kane going over Ryder after chokeslamming him off of the latter’s own finisher. Ryder showed some nice aggression throughout, but Kane could not afford to lose in this situation.
The question is, could Ryder either?
Match grade: 6/10
2. “People Power” 20-man battle royal to determine no. 1 contender for United States or Intercontinental Championship
This one was reported online a little over an hour before the event started, and officially announced just minutes before the actual show started. It was a great way to showcase all of the faces that normally do not get much face time on television, including many of the NXT guys.
Tyson Kidd was the real standout here. He finally got a chance to showcase his wide array of skills on a large platform, and he delivered exponentially. He has the potential to be a massive star if given the right booking, and it was good to see him in the final four competitors.
Many argue that Christian’s return taking place here (especially after he was promised a World Heavyweight Championship shot if John Laurinaitis became the GM of both shows, remember?) was a bit odd, and it is hard to argue. However, with them ultimately deciding to turn him face and go after Rhodes, it seemed to make sense in a way.
I admit, I was surprised to see David Otunga and The Miz be decked with a loss here, but perhaps more good will come out of this than bad. But seriously, what has happened to the must-see Superstar?
Fun battle royal, ultimately harmless. Props to William Regal for lasting long as well
Match grade: 7/10
3. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth def. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
This was it. The perfect tag team match fans casual and “smark” alike have been waiting for. It was 12 minutes of nonstop, compelling tag team action, with an abundance of excellent spots.
All four men in the match are great athletes, including the best-seller in all of the business, Dolph Ziggler. He is in a class of his own, yet still finds himself in this picture. I wonder when he will breakout, and I keep thinking it is coming sooner rather than later, but I am continuously proved wrong. I will not complain here though.
What made the tag titles so valuable over a decade ago was that it seemed that both team genuinely were willing to do whatever it took to capture them. That’s what happened here, and I was very impressed with the teamwork showed by both pairings. If WWE could put a tag match like this on every card, people would once again become invested in the tag scene.
The only question is, where can Ziggler go from here?
Match grade: 9/10
4. Layla def. Beth Phoenix to retain the WWE Divas Championship
This was a solid contest for what we have gotten of late from the Divas, carried much by the challenger. With that being said, Layla is definitely decent in the ring, and fits the description of what a Divas champion could very well be. She has the look, the fans enjoy her and she is able to work a good match.
There is a lot of potential for this feud. It is not one that can be carried for three months, but it certainly can go at least two pay-per-view events. The issue is, they need to come up with a reason for them to feud, other than Phoenix wanting the championship.
It was better than the garbage matches seen on past pay-per-views, and for that, I approve and will generously score it in regards to those other matches. Let’s hope we see a little more of the too before the one they call Kharma makes her impact.
Match grade: 7/10
5. Sheamus def. Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton in a Fatal Four-Way match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
This was a fun watch. All the way through. Each competitor got a spot where they matched up with one another, which added versatility to the contest.
Rumor floating around the Internet claimed that the reason Orton and Jericho were added was because of how little interest there was in a Del Rio/Sheamus match, and that would appear to have some weight to it. Orton added a completely different dynamic to this bout, as he does undoubtedly possess the ability to attack at just about any moment.
Sheamus wins by securing a pinfall on Jericho. After a much-hyped debut and a potentially enormous feud that ended up being relatively lackluster CM Punk, Jericho has quite literally done nothing since returning. As he is gearing up for a tour with his band Fozzy, it would also appear he is on his way out. Was it a forgettable run for Y2J? Many would feel this way, I just wonder why nothing came of it. Who exactly did he elevate?
Nonetheless, good to see some classic four-way action here. I hope we get to see an Orton/Sheamus feud, even if it is between two faces.
Match grade: 8.5/10
6. Brodus Clay def. The Miz
Stupid. I am done with Brodus Clay’s booking. I enjoy his entrance, and that is about it. He is over with the fans, which is great, but would it be that awful for him to lose a match? Rikishi certainly did not win every bout he was in.
Once again, The Miz must have made somebody extremely angry backstage. It is clear he is doing all he can to bring himself back into the main event picture, heck even the mid-card, but it just is not working. Even after the Thriller dance.
Match grade: 5/10
7. Christian def. Cody Rhodes to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship
After originally deciding to face Santino Marella for the United States title, Christian changes his mind and takes on Rhodes, solidifying a face turn. It was a good match, a tad short but much better than what he could have put on with Marella at least, and planted the seeds for what could be an interesting feud.
Will Christian get over as a face? I am sure of that, and while he may not be as effective as he is when heel, the fans do support him all the way. This is a matter of whether he will be able to help elevate Rhodes to the next level though. Hopefully some good comes of this feud. I know I’ll be tuning in on Friday nights.
Match grade: 7.5/10
8. CM Punk def. Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Championship
A wrestling purist’s dream. The Internet Wrestling Community’s dream. And it. Was. Awesome.
Punk’s promo before the match set open some interesting possibilities, especially AJ lurking around. Ultimately, nothing came of her, but I am sure she will be integrated very soon into the feud. He also gets bonus points for his great Vince McMahon impression.
These two have a history with each other than spans well over 10 years, and this was made very evident. Their chemistry was golden, fluidity was perfect. Bryan’s Surfboard Stretch on Punk was the highlight of the match, executed flawlessly. The crowd was behind both guys, and Bryan further proved why he is here to stay.
Alongside, the finish was exactly what needed to happen, as Punk rolled over and pinned Bryan while the Yes! Lock was being applied. Punk tapping out after the pin only gives Bryan more reason to demand a rematch, which means we will get more to this feud. Awesome.
Interesting tidbit by the way, as the WWE Championship match has been the main event only once in the past seven pay-per-views. Sure would have worked here.
Is it weird that this match added more legitimacy to Punk’s title reign than his entire three-month feud with Jericho?
Match grade: 10/10
9. Ryback def. Camacho (with Hunico)
I like Ryback. Much more so than the hecklers do. And Camacho was a little more of a challenge, actually getting the monster on his knees. But these squashes need to stop.
It’s not the competitors’ fault. It’s the booking. Last month I spared a grade for the Ryback squash, but I will not be so lenient this time around.
Match grade: 4/10
10. John Laurinaitis def. John Cena. If Cena won, Laurinaitis would be fired. If any WWE Superstar interfered, they would be fired.
I will admit. It was certainly a waste of time in the sense that they ruined any credibility that Laurinaitis had as an in-ring performer back in his heyday. Cena used comedy to pulverize and humiliate the RAW and Smackdown general manager, and it did undoubtedly provide a good laugh.
But much like WrestleMania 26′s match between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon, the humiliation was extended for a far too long duration. The comedy bits at the announcers table was funny, but only for those watching at home. The live crowd must have been lost beyond belief.
On a side note, I would like to note that the announcing for Over The Limit was atrocious. Nonstop laughter from all three men. Call the match. Get over your inside jokes.
I will commend WWE for doing something right with this. Even though predictable, Big Show coming to save Laurinaitis in the finish actually made sense. They built up for it on RAW, with Laurinaitis making the giant get on his knees begging for his job back. Many may have seen it coming (yes, even those who “swore” it was Batista or Brock Lesnar), but it did something that creative has struggled with in terms of execution over the past year, and that is booking something that completed a story logically.
Hopefully this heel turn for Big Show works out. Were people dying for a John Cena and Big Show feud? Likely not, but at least it makes sense.
And hey, at least it was not Lord Tensai.
Match grade: 6.5/10
At the end of the day, Over The Limit was one of the better technical wrestling pay-per-views we have been treated to in years. The WWE Championship match was jaw-dropping, the tag titles match excellent as well. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for WWE, as it begins the three-hour switch on RAW in July.
There were certainly some wasted moments on the show, but overall, Over The Limit was a success.
Over The Limit grade: 8.0/10
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