Monday 21 May 2012

WWE Over The Limit 2012 In Review

And we've come to the PPV that, despite its name and car motif promising all sorts of high intensity action, has a habit of being the epitome of a B-level show not unlike the old In Your House PPVs from the Attitude Era. Last night's however was a pretty solid show that I enjoyed, despite not having the best build up. We were treated to solid matches all around though the event did get marred slightly by an unimpactful ending. Let's take a closer look shall we...

1) Battle Royal To Crown #1 Contender For IC or US Championship:
I actually think that opening a show with a battle royal is a good idea because if they're done right they can be exciting and unpredictable. This one was pretty unpredictable as you had both the United States and Intercontinental Champions at ringside with the wrestlers having a choice of which title to go after. This helped to eliminate any predictable outcomes for example if it had been for the IC title only then you'd know a face would be winning and vice versa for the US title. My picks to win were Alex Riley who is in desperate need of a push, or Tyson Kidd who remains the most underrated wrestler in WWE. My boy was on fire during the match and I'm pretty sure he was sending a message to the WWE writers on "this is what you could be giving the fans on TV every week" with his cool spots. I'm crushed both those two were eliminated but at the same time relieved that David Otunga didn't win. Not sure how I feel about Christian winning because on the one hand I want him to be a main eventer since he does deserve to be, but on the other hand he officially returned as a face which is something that desperately needed to happen. He was such a woeful heel last year and ended up getting buried completely so him turning face has thankfully salvaged his career for now. The battle royal was fun and it was a good way to kick off the PPV. 6/10

2) R-Truth & Kofi Kingston* vs Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger (Tag Team Championships):
Vickie looked hot last night. I think it's great that once she had the entire WWE fanbase mocking her for her looks but has now thrown that off completely and proven that a woman her age can still look great. Her voice on the other hand...I had the volume at 6 on my TV when she was speaking and I was still afraid of waking up the people upstairs. This was a bit basic starting off and the stuff we saw was good but I felt as though I was watching the same match I had seen over and over when Kofi was last Tag Team Champion. And honestly, he and Evan Bourne made a much better team. Still I liked Truth's part in the match, even if I'm still royally pissed they turned him face again and killed all his momentum. I noticed they seemed to play up a bit of tension between Ziggler and Swagger when Ziggler tagged himself into the match. I wonder if they'll build something off this? I'm leaning more towards bad idea since this group could feasibly become a regular part of the tag division and it doesn't look like Ziggler is going to get that main event push he deserves any time soon. As I seem to say every time I review a Kofi Kingston tag match, things really picked up towards the end and the final few moments made this match jump from "decent" to "very good". My favourite spot would probably be Ziggler's Fame Asser through the ropes (though that Kofi/Truth double team was a close second) and I honestly thought they'd win the titles right there. That Trouble In Paradise really came out of nowhere and was a good finish. I wish they'd let Swagger take some of these pins though as Ziggler has been pinned cleanly a few too many times for my liking. They could keep this feud going and build towards a second match at No Way Out if they so desired but I guess only Raw will tell. 6.5/10

3) Layla* vs Beth Phoenix (Divas' Championship):
Surprising to see the Divas so early on the card but in a good way since it means WWE actually cared enough not to put this down as the piss-break match. Beth has finally ditched the 50s waitress-inspired ring gear and gone back to pants, good choice there. If you ask me, this would be the match that decided whether Layla would be able to handle herself in the ring after her ACL injury. I'll be honest, the opening exchanges were very iffy and a bit slow moving. Layla moved a lot faster against Nikki Bella at Extreme Rules but the moves were all done well enough. She remained in control for a little too long and that had me worried it would turn out to be a squash match. However order was restored with Beth's knee-breaker in the corner. Layla should work on selling a bit more. The way she was selling her leg injury was almost a bit cartoonish, like the way she had been so goofy as part of LayCool. Aside from those criticisms, this has probably been the best match in the Divas' division since Eve and Beth tore the house down at Vengeance. The chemistry was there as the match went on and I think the near-falls at the end were really what made it. Beth countering the Face Lift into the Glam Slam and Layla countering that, only for that to be countered, was pleasant to see. The actual ending was a bit abrupt but a good enough effort from the girls. 7/10

4) Sheamus* vs Randy Orton vs Alberto Del Rio vs Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship):
This was the match I was most concerned about watching because so much depended on the bookers making the right call. First of all, Orton is Orton and he does not need an out-of-nowhere title run again like he got last year. Second of all, Del Rio can not cut it as a World Champion without a proper feud to build him into it (and I don't call winning a MITB contract a proper feud). Third of all, Jericho just came out of a program for the WWE title so what does it say about the backstage politics if he wins this title with little to no build-up? Fourth of all, Sheamus is still a fledgling babyface champion and needs a long title reign. I was praying WWE wouldn't make the same mistakes they made when Randy Orton turned face in 2004. Thankfully not only did the right guy win but the match was a huge hit. Fatal 4 Ways are make-or-break in WWE and this one was brilliant. There was so much going on in the early moments that it's hard for me to remember a lot of specific stuff. That's definitely the mark of a match well-done anyway. I liked the way Jericho and Del Rio told a story with their alliances in the match and how Jericho was the one who would screw Del Rio first. That really fits into the way his character has been developed since he returned. Someone in their predictions mentioned something about Del Rio possibly turning face so you never know, they might build something off this since he didn't seem that especially dirty in this match. Not sure if he would be able to work as a face so I'd rather he stay heel. Randy Orton on the other hand most certainly seems to be turning heel. The return of that creepy demon face at the end of the match seems to signal that. I guess they might go for a Sheamus/Orton singles feud going into SummerSlam. I would advise against that as well because Orton is more popular than Sheamus and they should really pit their World Champion against a heel that the fans don't actually like. The closing moments of the match were complete chaos and I loved every second of it. I was literally on the edge of my seat when Sheamus was trapped in the Walls of Jericho and I was close to yelling at Del Rio for not running into the ring to break it up. And let's not forget that heart-stopping couple of seconds when Jericho grabbed the tights. Speaking of which, did anyone else notice that Del Rio was really going for the other guys' clothing during the match? I swear I must've counted about four times where he tried to pull down their trunks. And one more thing - hats off to my main man Ricardo for taking that sick DDT. Really fast-paced entertaining match. 9/10

5) The Miz vs Brodus Clay:
I am relieved that Brodus has finally graduated from squashes into proper wrestling matches. Poor Miz, it seems like Over The Limit just isn't his PPV. Though I will say anything would be a step-up from the pitiful treatment he got at last year's show. That in-ring dance was right up there with that bizarre promo he cut with the Subway sandwich. I didn't enjoy this match as much as I did Brodus's one with Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules but it was still quite a good show. He stayed in control a lot longer than I would have liked because Miz only really got minimal offence in on him. I was very happy that the camera kept cutting to shots of the delicious Cameron and Naomi plenty of times. The match was pretty basic though I really did love that Super T-Bone Suplex. Brodus is a better wrestler than he's given credit for and now that he's being allowed to have longer matches he can get an opportunity to show this. There is something I really want to talk about though - what has happened to The Miz? Last year at Over The Limit he was buried completely in his WWE title match with Cena and this year he's even worse off. He's had potential to build himself back up the ladder only for WWE to seemingly shoot him back down. I guess having a dance-off and trying to play it straight really spells disaster. I think he needs a face turn more than anyone else on the roster. He's been a heel his entire WWE career and it's safe to say he's gotten stale and there are a lot more people that are filling his spot as the top heel leaving no room for him. I believe that this turn needs to happen now more than any other time or else he'll just become a laughing stock. I'm confident that if it's done right then the fans will accept Miz as a face and he can still carry that spark that makes him such a fascinating character on TV. 5.5/10

6) Cody Rhodes* vs Christian (Intercontinental Championship):
I'm not sure how I feel about Christian winning the Intercontinental title since if he lost then it would kind of ruin the momentum of him coming back as a face whereas now he's won and that's been another bit of hot potato with the belt since Rhodes won it back a month after Big Show only to lose it again after a month. But I will say that this face turn has almost rejuvenated Christian completely. That one little promo he cut backstage on Rhodes was better than every single heel promo he cut over the Summer which is really strange if you think about it. This match did feel like one that was put together on the fly but it was between two talented workers so there was still some solid action. There were times when you could tell they were calling out spots to each other but that doesn't bother me too much. The match was still nice and fast paced and this is an encounter I don't remember seeing before. No doubt Cody Rhodes will be getting a rematch so I look forward to seeing what they can do with a proper plan ahead of them. My favourite spot of the match was his moonsault press which doesn't always look as good as it can but here it looked flawless. The Killswitch at the end was a bit awkward looking too. I guess it will be good to have a face champion who isn't Big Show as we do have plenty of heels that are in need of a push. I honestly can't name any right now so I'll just sit back and let WWE surprise me. 7/10

7) CM Punk* vs Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship):
I expected AJ to make some sort of appearance at the PPV but I'm glad she was left out of the actual match itself. AJ's expression was a lot different than on Raw. Here she looks like she's definitely planning something, perhaps she intends to cost Punk the title in a twisted attempt to get Daniel Bryan to love her? I think they should go ahead and turn her heel since they are running out of heels for Layla to feud with. I couldn't wait to hear the crowd reaction for this match and I wasn't disappointed. Both Bryan and Punk are insanely over and I remember seeing a Ring of Honour match between the two of them where Punk played the heel and Bryan the face so it was good to see the roles reversed, as well as WWE actually producing a match of this calibre with their biggest title on the line. I'm not going to waffle on about it because it really was the Match of the Year. I'm sorry to Bryan/Sheamus and indeed the Fatal 4 Way earlier in the evening but this was everything I could have hoped for. Punk's various submissions like that Indian Death Lock into the surfboard and the Figure 4 Leg Lock were amazing to see, as were Bryan's equally impressive manoeuvres like that dragon sleeper surfboard. I don't really know what I can say about this match except that it was absolutely perfect and one of the best matches either man has ever put on in their careers. The end of this match does raise some questions and potential for these guys to feud all the way into SummerSlam, which I'd be overjoyed about. Since we've already had the awesome wrestling match we can now bring AJ into the fold and give this feud the added spice WWE didn't care to give it in the weeks leading up to this PPV. Amazing and intense match. 10/10

8) John Cena vs John Laurinitis:
I am hugely annoyed that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan couldn't close the show when you consider that the two of them together are certainly more over than Cena and Laurinitis not to mention they were fighting for the biggest title in WWE. This is the type of thing that would work on closing an episode of Raw, not a PPV. Even if it was a huge waste of time (seriously the match dragged on for way too long and there was still ten minutes of air time left when it ended) I still laughed my head off at it. It seems like Over The Limit is becoming the "Humiliation Conga" PPV since you had Michael Cole getting it royally last year and now Johnny too. It was funny that when anyone else puts someone in a painful submission and holds the mic up to their face it's some devilish and despicable thing but when Cena does it, it's played for comedy. Not much else to say about it apart from the comedy should not be the thing that closes a PPV. Big Show turning heel was predictable and uninspired, almost a Russo-esque shocking swerve. Big Show has flip-flopped between heel and face so many times whenever he turns it has no impact anymore. I'm not psyched to see him and Cena feud again because doubtless they'll be main eventing all the PPVs when you have fresh and exciting matches like Punk/Bryan and possibly Orton/Sheamus more deserving of the main event slot. A disappointing end to a solid PPV. N/A

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