WWE Over the Limit Recap. May 20th 2012 from the PNC Centre in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Kane defeated Zack Ryder
Kane went from two pay-per-view matches against Randy Orton, to a pre-show nothing clash against Zack Ryder. It was short and it wasn’t surprising, but what do you expect from a pre show? Kane won after reversing the Ruff Ryder into a Choke Slam.
WWE Over The Limit goes live…
Battle Royal for #1 Contender to Intercontinental or US Title
After Kane and Ryder ended on the pre show, we got the entrances of mostly everyone on the main roster who didn’t already have a match. William Regal got noticeably larger reaction than everyone else… until Christian returned as a surprise entrant. Weird that they didn’t save it for the main show. Once everyone was in the ring, we went LIVE to the Pay Per View. Instantly live, no opening logo or fireworks or anything. It was a weird transition, especially since everyone who didn’t watch the pre show had to be told that Christian was in there. The returning Captain Charisma and the Miz seemed like the obvious favourites to face either Cody Rhodes or Santino Marella.
Both champions were sat at ringside to watch and the eliminations came thick and fast early on, as is common with these Battle Royals. Reks and Hawkins worked together until they were dumped out by Khali, then he was thrown out by Miz, Titus and Young. Christian eliminated Regal, which drew heavy boos. The final four came down to Miz, Tyson Kidd, Christian and Otunga. Tyson Kidd got in a decent amount of offence before Miz and Otunga teamed up to take him out, then agreed to take down Christian together, seemingly signalling that he’s returned as a face. Christian overcame both to get a choice of which title he wanted a shot at. He gestured at Santino after the match to let us know that was the title he’d be going after. Cody seemed a bit too confident of that fact.
WWE Tag Team Title Match
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (c) defeated Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler
Before the match, Vicky Guerrero informed us of the scary thought that she might be General Manager of Big Johnny got fired. Kofi and Truth did some great teamwork to begin with, which was met by the usual super selling from Dolph. The match was a solid tag team contest, which Jerry Lawler didn’t really seem to care about. He was more interested in finding new ways to make fun of the holes in Vickie’s dress, and the camera crew made sure they gave us plenty of shots so we didn’t forget what she was wearing. Swiggler pulled out a good Wheelbarrow/X Factor double team while in charge of Truth. Soon after, Kofi got the hot tag and Dolph threw himself around like a bouncy ball. The finish came when Dolph charged for a Stinger Splash, but instead met a Trouble in Paradise kick in the face. Champions retain in a mostly fast paced match. The tag team division might finally be going somewhere again.
In a backstage segment, Reks and Hawkins agreed to go into the audience and confiscate any anti Johnny signs. Later on, they took a trip through the crowd and tore some Anti Laurinaitis signs, most notably from three clear plants who overreacted more than the Rock selling a Stone Cold Stunner. What’s better is the commentators were outraged that some fans had spent HOURS on these signs, that looked liked they were made by a blind kid with broken fingers.
WWE Divas Title Match
Layla (c) defeated Beth Phoenix
I still find it weird that lovely Layla is billed from Miami and not London. It even alliterates. After the fans got “We Want Kharma,” and “Colt Cabana,” chants out of their system the match was allowed a chance. The bulk of it saw Beth work on the injured knee that Layla was out with for so long. Layla’s main offence came when she reversed a Gorilla Press into a not so smooth DDT, which you could clearly hear Beth call before it happened. They traded rollups after a Glam Slam attempt, then Layla dropped her suddenly with her neck breaker finisher for the three. Sloppy in parts, but a better than average Divas match. Layla has a knee brace and a stunner like finisher, I hope a shaved head doesn’t come next.
World Heavyweight Title Fatal Four Way Match
Sheamus (c) defeated Randy Orton, Chris Jericho & Albero Del Rio
Pre match it was Randy Orton who got the biggest response from the crowd. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton seemed to be the main focus in the beginning of this one, then Jericho and Del Rio did the usual “temporary alliance” before turning on each other. Sheamus was taken out of it for quite a while, then got an extended period of one on one action against Del Rio. Then came the hectic action you except from a Fatal Four Way with all four stars exchanging their big moves. The crowd came alive for a sequence where Jericho reversed the Arm bar into the Walls of Jericho. Soon after, everyone hit their finishers, resulting in Sheamus getting the pin over Jericho following “White Noise.” Everyone got in their big moves in this one, and the action was fast and mostly crisp. Jericho in particular didn’t miss a step. Orton left fuming as Sheamus retains.
Brodus Clay defeated The Miz
In another last minute addition to the card, The most “Must see” superstar of all time hit the ring and proclaimed himself to also be the best dancer in the WWE. Then he treated us to a selection of Michael Jackson moves with added Miz duck face. The dancers introduced Brodus, who then introduced the girls, and then the match got introduced. So many introductions. This wasn’t as much of a squash as usual but the Miz was still beaten much too easily for a former World Champion. At least it was better than a dance off.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Christian defeated Cody Rhodes (c) to become new IC champ.
Backstage, Christian caught Cody Rhodes talking smack about him, and so changed his mind about facing Santino. Christian was already playing the face in the opening battle royal, and confirmed it with this backstage confrontation with Rhodes. I guess he’s changed his mind on being Pro-Johnny just a few weeks ago. After a good yet short, back and forth match, the returning Christian dropped Cody with the Killswitch to win the IC Title for the 4th time. Cody Rhodes was the best IC champion for a long time, so I’m not sure taking the title from him was a good idea. The US Title could benefit from being on someone other than Santino for a while. However, if this is a chance for Rhodes to move upward, then I’m all for it.
WWE Title Match
CM Punk (c) defeated Daniel Bryan
Before this one, AJ wished CM Punk good luck in his promo backstage. Punk, instead of responding, got out of there fast. Given his taste for WWE Divas, I’d have thought he would’ve been all over her. Maybe he knows you never stick it in crazy. The crowd were very much into both, with huge YES chants as well as CM PUNK chants. On paper, this should have been the match of the night and it was an absolute wrestling clinic. It was chock full of stiff strikes and submissions. Fans went back and forth as they exchanged early strikes, and even a Curb Stomp from CM Punk. In a strange twist, Punk was receiving the same “women and children” crowd chants that he would mock Cena for getting, while the male voices were all in support of Bryan. Punk worked Bryan’s leg and included a throwback to Bryan in Ring of Honor when he told the ref “I HAVE TIL FIVE!” It was the closest the WWE have ever got to a “ROH” style match while still working within WWE rules and earned both wrestlers a “This is awesome,” chant from the crowd.
The strikes intensified with Bryan throwing numerous hard knees into the chest of Punk. Soon after this, the Yes Lock was applied and the finish came. CM Punk rolled over the Yes Lock to pin Bryan to the mat for three, while almost simultaneously deciding to tap. Slight confusion for a few seconds until replays showed that Punk definitely tapped AFTER Bryan was pinned. Not sure if it was supposed to happen at the exact same time, or whether it was planned that way. Easily a match of the year, with a slightly needlessly muddled finish. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t take away from how great the match was, and given the ending looks like a feud that will continue.
Ryback defeated Camacho
Ryback has fireworks, but they don’t show them? I don’t get it. Jerry Lawler actually said the words, “I can’t tell these guys (Hunico and Camacho) apart.” What a guy. Filler all the way here with the win going to the new Goldberg who wears RVD’s ring gear. If only he got half the reaction of either of those men. Best thing Ryback did was kick that stupid gold bike before he left.
John Laurinaitis defeated John Cena
Before the show, WWE.com posted that John had made a last minute plea to the board of directors to lift the stipulations, which they turned down. The stipulations of course were that anyone who interfered in the match would be fired and if John himself lost, he’d be fired too. Given the stipulations, it seemed obvious that if Johnny was going to win, he’d need help. And he’d need help from a wrestler who couldn’t get fired. Considering the obvious ending which was forced into place with the Big Show firing just last week, I did not have high expectations for this one, and wasn’t encouraged by John Cena’s “comedy” at the start. After a wrestling clinic like Punk/Bryan, this less than serious affair still managed to get the crowd heavily involved. This was straight up silly from the outset, with John Cena using an airplane spin instead of an FU. The commentators hammed it up big time as Cena continued the slapstick comedy cavalcade. Next came a chant along STF, a water bottle poured in the trunks, a fire extinguisher blast and a trashcan over the head. Finally, Johnny managed to get a shot in on Cena’s arm and got himself some steel chair shots. Johnny kept trying to make an exit through the crowd, and was almost successful on his third attempt, until Big Show appeared and dragged Johnny back into the ring. Instead of dropping him with a Choke Slam, he floored Cena with the WMD Punch allowing Johnny to craaaaaawl over and pin Cena. The ending was obvious, and the match was as expected. It was however, the kind of match that knew it was expected to be bad, and therefore reveled in its silliness.
Overall, “The Over Limit,” as Johnny Ace calls it exceeded my expectations. Admittedly they weren’t as high as they were for Extreme Rules, as the event seemed a bit underwhelming on paper. The abrupt start to the show was strange, but an interesting new way to kick things off. Bryan vs. Punk was easily the match of the night, and maybe of the year and really should have received top billing. Until John Cena’s matches take a backseat, the World Title will always look like its being kept warm for him to come back to. Cena vs. Johnny was nowhere near as bad as Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon or any Michael Cole matches, but the “comedy” style wont be for everyone. Also, a Big Show vs. John Cena feud doesn’t do much for me. The rest of the card was solid although given the choice I would have had one decent match instead of two squash matches with Clay and Ryback. A short decent match with someone like Antonio Cesaro could have helped get him more over with the fans and the crowd seemed like they would have appreciated him given their response throughout the night. The Fatal Four Way was very good and the Tag and Diva matches were decent additions also. Over the Limit was probably not as solid overall as Extreme Rules, but a good follow up and CM Punk/Daniel Bryan was worth the price of admission alone. WWE are putting on a string of very good matches lately, lets hope it long continues.