411s Instant Access 05.20.12: WWE Over The Limit 2012
Posted by Scott Slimmer on 05.21.2012
Tonight, WWE gave us both CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan and John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis. One of those matches was a true mat classic. One of those matches sucked giant monkey balls. But which was which? Click to find out
Hey kids, I'm Scott, and this is 411's Instant Access: WWE Over The Limit 2012. Instant Access is the companion piece to 411 Live Pay-Per-View Coverage and features immediate reaction to wrestling pay-per-views. The focus in Instant Access is on first thoughts and initial reactions instead of play-by-play with the goal of providing you with instant access to one writer's thoughts on the show. Here's the team for Over The Limit:
Wait, it's just me tonight? Where'd everybody go? Was it something I said?
Okay kids, enough with the explanations. Let's get to the wrestling.
Pre-Show Match Zack Ryder vs. Kane
Match Result: Kane defeats Zack Ryder with the choke slam. Match Length: 6:52 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match was pretty standard fare by WWE's new pre-show standards. Given that I expected a true squash match, this was actually far more competitive than I would have predicted. However, in the end Kane picked up the predictable win, and ultimately nothing at all was accomplished here. But then again, that seems to be the point with these pre-show matches, so I'm not even sure it's fair to complain about that. Match Rating: Slimmer: *½
People Power Battle Royal to become the Number One Contender for either the Intercontinental Championship or the United States Championship Damn Near Everybody Who Isn't Already On The Card
Match Result: Christian wins the People Power Battle Royal by last eliminating the Miz. Match Length: 13:12 Match Analysis: Slimmer: It's hard to rate a pure battle royal, especially one involving only those guys who couldn't find any other way to get booked on the card. This was essentially your basic jobber battle royal with a few mid-carders (Miz, Regal, Christian) thrown in for excitement. I was glad to see the crowd boo when Regal got eliminated, but at this point I'm beginning to give up hope on him ever getting one last high-profile run. Three of the final four men in the match made perfect sense (Miz, Otunga, and Christian), but I was surprised to see Tyson Kidd get one of the final four spots. I'd be more than happy to see him elevated up to a mid-card spot in the near future. In the end, Christian was definitely the right man to win the match, especially since he looks to have turned face during the course of the show. This match was ultimately nothing more than a way to burn time and shoehorn Christian into an Intercontinental Championship match, but it managed to be mildly entertaining in the process. Match Rating: Slimmer: *½
WWE Tag Team Championship Match Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (Champions) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger w/ Vickie Guerrero
Match Result: Kofi Kingston defeats Dolph Ziggler with Trouble in Paradise Match Length: 12:12 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This was a fun tag team match that showcased the talents of all four men, but in some ways I'm also not sure that it did any of them any favors. The WWE Tag Team Championships are arguable second only to the Divas Championship in terms of lack of prestige, and one could probably even argue that the tag team titles really are at the bottom of the list. As such, putting four solid mid-card guys in a tag team championship feuds seems a bit like putting them in a holding pattern simply because creative has nothing else for them. However, at the same time, I suppose I have to admit that not everyone on the card can be in a high-profile feud, and I guess there's really nothing wrong with letting four good workers just put on good matches. We could easily see these four men continue to feud for at least another month, but at some point Primo and Epico are going to need to challenge for the titles again in order for their alliance with AW to mean anything at all. Match Rating: Slimmer: **½
Divas Championship Match Layla (Champion) vs. Beth Phoenix
Match Result: Layla defeats Beth Phoenix with a neck breaker. Match Length: 7:08 Match Analysis: Slimmer: As strange as it may sound, I'm actually starting to believe that the Divas division may have turned a corner. The Divas are still undervalued in WWE, and their matches are hardly ever given more than six or seven minutes, but the quality of the Divas' PPV matches really has markedly improved over the last six to eight months. Beth Phoenix obviously deserves a significant portion of the credit for the turnaround, but I don't want to discount the contributions of Eve, Layla, and Natalya. Divas matches are definitely more compelling and less sloppy that we've seen in recent years, and I'm thrilled to see the Divas division heading in the right direction. A win tonight over Beth Phoenix helps to legitimize Layla's title reign, and that will only make Layla's eventual demise at the hands of Kharma that much more tragic. The crowd chants for Kharma during almost every Divas match, so if she feels she's ready to return to the ring, then WWE would be wise to pull the trigger sooner rather than later. Match Rating: Slimmer: **¼
Fatal Four-Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship Sheamus (Champion) vs. Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho
Match Result: Sheamus defeats Chris Jericho with White Noise. Match Length: 15:52 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match was frantic bordering on chaotic, but it was also a ton of fun. There was literally never a dull moment throughout the entire match, and all four guys did a great job of keeping the action going nonstop from bell to bell. The last three or four minutes of the match were just on onslaught of finisher after finisher after finisher, and I loved it all. Having Sheamus pick up the win was the right decision, because there's no reason to kill his momentum so early into his first run with the belt as a face. Sheamus will be one of WWE's top stars over the course of the next half decade, and he needs a strong title run to establish him as such. There will undoubtedly be those who question the decision to have Jericho eat the pin, and they will claim that this further proves that Jericho's most recent return has been a failure. I tend to believe that the whole point of Jericho's return was to put over the next generation of stars and have great matches, and by those criteria his return has been remarkably successful. Going forward, my guess is that Jericho will fade out of title contention. That will leave Orton and Del Rio as the top contenders for Sheamus' title. Del Rio will probably get a title shot next, but my guess is that we're building toward a title match between Sheamus and Orton at SummerSlam. Match Rating: Slimmer: ****
Brodus Clay vs. The Miz
Match Result: Brodus Clay defeats the Miz with a big splash. Match Length: 4:09 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match burned some time and maintained the status quo, but I suppose there's nothing really wrong with that. Brodus Clay's undefeated streak continues, and Miz continues to wallow in mediocrity. I know Miz hasn't had the best luck lately, but I still believe that WWE sees value in him. He's great on the mic, and he can play a good smarmy but vicious heel in the ring. I don't know when it's going to happen, but I'd put money on Miz getting another decent push before the end of the year. Heck, under the right circumstances, I could actually see Punk / Miz being a really fun title feud. Match Rating: Slimmer: **
Intercontinental Championship Match Cody Rhodes (Champion) vs. Christian
Match Result: Christian defeats Cody Rhodes with the Kill Switch Match Length: 7:18 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This was a fairly short match that was still quite entertaining, but the real story here was the return of Captain Charisma and the fact that he captured the Intercontinental Championship, seemingly as a face. It's good to see Christian back on the active roster, and he could be a great Intercontinental Champion. Moreover, since Cody Rhodes will obviously make a case for a rematch, there's a ton of upside to having Rhodes feud with Christian for a month or two. They'll be able to put on some really good matches together, and working with an established veteran like Christian will help Rhodes further mature into a future main eventer. Christian may never hold a world title again, but I'm more than happy to see him in the Intercontinental Title scene, putting on great matches and building the stars of tomorrow. Match Rating: Slimmer: **½
WWE Championship Match CM Punk (Champion) vs. Daniel Bryan
Match Result: CM Punk defeats Daniel Bryan by rolling through the Yes Lock into a pinning predicament. Match Length: 24:04 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match lived up to the expectations, and that's a minor miracle considering how high the expectations were. It was a technical wonder and reminded us all how beautiful pure professional wrestling can be. The kicks were vicious, the submissions were creative, and the reversals were spectacular. Only two small quibbles kept it from getting a five star rating from me. First, at twenty-four minutes, it was a bit shorter than I tend to believe five start matches should be. There are certainly exceptions to that rule, but I think a five star classic should go at least thirty minutes. Second, and probably more importantly, I felt the level of drama didn't quite match up with the level of in-ring action. The story here was essentially that Punk and Bryan have known each other for ten years and are now wrestling for the title. That's a fine story, especially when the in-ring action is at such a high level, but I need something a bit more from a five star match. Think about the amazing storyline leading up to Punk / Cena last year or the epic builds to the two Michaels / Undertaker WrestleMania matches. That's the kind of drama I'm looking for in a five star match. However, given the fact that the finish of this match certainly left open the possibility of a rematch, there's also a good chance that this was just the first in a series of championship matches between Punk and Bryan. And if this is where they're starting, then I'm absolutely giddy about where they might go. Match Rating: Slimmer: ****½
Ryback vs. Camacho w/ Hunico
Match Result: Ryback defeats Camacho with the Muscle Buster. Match Length: 1:48 Match Analysis: Slimmer: I get a kick out of Ryback squashes. I really do. I have no idea if he's going to be a viable mid-carder when he has to start having competitive matches, but I've loved watching him squash jobbers. Heck, if I had my say, I'd keep both Ryback and Brodus Clay undefeated until WrestleMania XXIX and then let them beat the crap out of each other on the Grandest Stage of Them All. But don't get your hopes up. Match Rating: Slimmer: *¼
John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis
Match Result: John Laurinaitis defeats John Cena after a Weapon of Mass Destruction from the Big Show to Cena. Match Length: 17:04 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match sucked. I just want to make that very clear. This match sucked. Hard. This was a bad professional wrestling match. To elaborate:
This entire storyline is hackneyed and clichéd. WWE, you're never going to be able to recapture the magic of Austin / McMahon. Get over it and get on with your lives.
This match never should have been the main event. I suppose I should just be glad that WWE even allowed Punk / Bryan to happen, but it deserved to be the true main event. I want a wrestling match in the main event spot, not a comedy match.
This was one of the most predictable finishes in recent memory. Seriously, EVERYONE on the freaking internet was calling this finish as soon as Raw ended on Monday. A surprise isn't a surprise when EVERYONE is predicting it.
The in-ring action was horrendous. It was slow, boring, and often sloppy. That's not a deal breaker under the right circumstances, but in this case it was just another nail in the coffin.
Here's the big one John Cena acted like a moron and a douchebag. He had the chance to rid WWE of John Laurinaitis, but instead he chose to be petty and vindictive. He chose to humiliate Laurinaitis instead of just getting the job done, and his short-sighted need for vengeance cost him the match. This is the man who is supposed to be the face of the WWE? This is the man who kids are supposed to admire? This is a man who preaches hustle, loyalty, and respect? Not anymore. This is a man who fucked up big time and allowed Laurinaitis' reign of terror to continue. Teddy Long should kick Cena in the nuts. And the worst part is that there's a good chance Cena will never even acknowledge his mind-boggling mistakes. He'll simply focus on Big Show's shocking betrayal and never admit his own role in what transpired. That's not a hero, folks. And so the real problem here is that WWE clearly doesn't know what to do with John Cena now that he's "above" the title scene. Cena has moved on to the next phase of his career, but WWE needs to figure out how that's going to work before they destroy everything they've worked almost a decade to build.
The bottom line? This match sucked. But I think I've mentioned that already. Match Rating: Slimmer: ZERO F'N STARS
Match of the Night: Slimmer: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (****½)
Punk / Bryan was the most anticipated match of the night, and it definitely delivered. These guys put on a pure wrestling clinic, and the finish even seems to set up a rematch. Matches like these give me hope that somebody in the back still remembers what the second W stands for.
Trash of the Night: Slimmer: John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis (ZERO F'N STARS)
These are the two easiest Match of the Night / Trash of the Night decisions I've had to make in a very long time. Cena vs. Laurinaitis was an abysmal disaster on every level. It was a failure by every standard that one can use to evaluate a professional wrestling match. And it sucked. Hard.
Final Analysis: Slimmer: This was a generally enjoyable card, but there were a few disconcerting facets. First and foremost was the clusterfuck of a main event, but I've already discussed that. In addition, I have to acknowledge the fact that four of the ten matches on the card were impromptu matches. None of those matches were overly insulting, and two of them were designed to facilitate the Intercontinental Championship switch, but I will always believe that matches that are important enough to be on a PPV are important enough to have a proper build. The build doesn't have to be epic. As in the case of the tag team title match, sometimes the build can simply be that someone is challenging for a title. It's simple, but it still tells a story. Having impromptu matches on a PPV just seems to devalue PPVs in my eyes, and I have a real problem devaluing something for which I just paid $44.95. However, this show also gave us Punk / Bryan, and that alone saves it from a great deal of my criticism.