WWE over the Limit 2012: Previewing and Predicting Sunday's Show
My friend Chris is a fellow wrestling columnist. Because of his passion for former WWE Superstar turned Invisible Man, the Miz, people often call him Mizfan. On the other hand, Chris often calls me Mystic, mostly because when I'm not writing wrestling columns, I'm floating somewhere in another dimension. It was actually in that other dimension where the M&M logo idea came to me. It was three days later when my Earth-brain finally realized what had been imparted to me.
This is, as the title states, a preview and prediction article for WWE's upcoming Over the Limit PPV. Optimistic fans might call it the night of three main events, or the one where CM Punk faces Daniel Bryan. More pessimistic fans simply call it the night Big Johnny came to town.
Everybody calls it something, but when you start predicting, all that matters is you call it right.
Zack Ryder Versus Kane
Mizfan: So... if someone shattered your spine in January (and several times after) and then you were magically rejuvenated a few weeks later, you would probably want revenge right away right?
Well, not Zack Ryder! His answer to the monstrous Kane was to gallantly do nothing for several months and then get swatted away like a fly at Extreme Rules. But now, he finally has his chance to get back at the Big Red Monster... on the pre-show of a PPV, with absolutely no build attached to it.
Makes perfect sense, right? But hey, it is par for the course for this feud. Nothing has really made sense about it from the get go, so this ignominious end works just as well as anything.
WWE seems to have very marginal interest in Zack Ryder again, and his groundswell of rabid fans have cooled off enough that there’s little point in appeasing them.
I will take Kane to pick up the victory, possibly leading to bigger things or just as easily leading to, well, nothing. That seems to be what usually happens with Kane.
Mystic: They are really not that different—Zack Ryder and Kane. Both were thought to be on a roll, only to be slowed by invisible traffic. You can credit Zack Ryder with one thing—those around him did well.
Kane, for what it’s worth, had a high profile program with John Cena and a back-and-forth with Randy Orton. And Eve? She’s doing better than Zack Ryder and Kane. (She could walk out at any time on the actual PPV, which is more than they can do.)
Despite the different roads they have taken, it has led both men to the pre-show. A win tonight would only benefit one man, in my opinion, and that is Kane.
It is also Kane that I am picking to win. If Zack Ryder wins on a pre-show, I’m not sure that would elevate him. It might be another false start. Best thing he can hope for is to stall this feud until the next PPV.
Beth Phoenix Versus Layla
Mystic: There are two reasons an individual dominates a division. The first is because she is just that good and just that strong. The second is because keeping the title on her means you do not have to waste time thinking about her matches.
Beth Phoenix is good enough to dominate for the first reason but probably, many times, dominated for the latter. I still do not understand why the Bella Twins took the belt only to be fired but here we are. I like Layla with the belt because Layla looks like she likes having the belt.
I think that’s good for the division. She smiles like she won something, and a championship should be worth smiling over (even if it gets you two minutes on TV instead of one). There is a part of me that believes WWE will have Beth Phoenix steamroll her way back to the championship, just for the comfort of easy and mindless booking.
But I will give WWE the benefit of the doubt and go with my preference on this one, Layla.
Mizfan: Since WWE clearly did not have the first clue what to do with Beth Phoenix, I suppose it is just as well she’s dropped the belt. Then again, they do not seem to have the first clue what to do ever with the Diva’s Championship, and they have not since the days of Trish Stratus.
Layla is by far one of the most competent amongst the models-who-also-wrestle brigade, so... yay? I suppose it could be Kelly or Eve again, after all.
Putting the title on Layla only to switch it back to Beth seems too arbitrary even for the much-abused WWE Creative Team, so I’ll also pick Layla to win by default.
Surely the plan down the road is to book that much anticipated Kharma/Beth match, but heaven knows when that will finally happen.
Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger Versus Kofi Kingston/R-Truth
Mizfan: I’m sorry, the what team championships? And here I thought Air Boom was still holding those belts... and maybe they are, if Evan Bourne suddenly turned black and not very talented.
The tag team division seems to be on a bit of an upswing thought (albeit for the millionth time), so let it never be said I did not look on the bright side. Team Vickie struggles for relevance while taking on the reigning tag team champions, which as usual consists of Kofi Kingston and his latest directionless mid-carder partner.
Goodness knows Ziggler is capable of much, much more, but since we are living in the age of the impenetrable glass ceiling I suppose I will just thank the wrestling gods that he’s on the card at all.
It it a bit tough to make a prediction as there is not an ounce of story behind this feud, but what slight modicum of logic there is dictates that Air Truth (or whatever their goofy team name will be) will retain the titles.
Ziggler (as always) seems poised to move on to something bigger, and it just would not be WWE if Kofi was not holding those belts in some form. Maybe they can have a feud with a real story next time? Or at least get crazy Truth back on the microphone.
Mystic: Here is how much I know about the Tag Team Champions—when I read Air Boom I thought, I didn’t know they had a team name. But we must celebrate the fact that the tag titles made the PPV card.
It seems all the tag titles needed were singles wrestlers pretending to be tag teams in order to get a little attention. I want to make a proposal. When two single's wrestlers decide to form a tag team, they should have to go in front of the General Manager on RAW to sign away any pursuit of singles titles for six months.
At least let us believe they chose to become a tag team because they wanted to wrestle in tag matches. As for this match, I’m not sure why AW could not get his men a return match. I am, however, hoping [weekly] to see Dolph Ziggler break from Vickie and Jack Swagger to take up the bodyguard services of Mason Ryan, so I’m hoping he not only loses but does so convincingly enough to alienate himself from his partner.
I’m going with Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. The tag team division is bad right now. The last thing we need are non-tag-team tag teams passing the belts about.
Mizfan: Don’t forget, my friend, your beloved Sting & Luger were a thrown together team of single's wrestlers...
[Editor's note: This last little blurb by Mizfan, putting my Lex Luger fandom on blast, was done so between 12 and 6 a.m. before the piece was to go to publication. The Mystic would only remind Mizfan that Sting and Lex Luger were known best friends throughout their careers and in a group called The Dudes with Attitudes. They were not "thrown together".]
Sheamus Versus Randy Orton Versus Chris Jericho Versus Alberto Del Rio
Mystic: Sheamus should never have won the world title at WrestleMania 28. I have made that assertion from the start and nothing I have seen since has convinced me otherwise. But the only way to make a bad situation worse is to undo everything they have done for Sheamus now that it is done.
So how can we get the belt off Sheamus while not taking away from the manic push he has been on? Answer: Have him lose it in a Fatal Four Way. He still looks strong (which seems very important to WWE Creative) and we can move past the biggest blunder of the year which was the opening of WrestleMania 28.
There is one man who not only needs this win, but who could be an entertaining champion in the absence of Daniel Bryan.
That man is Chris Jericho. Without victories, Chris Jericho loses the power that makes him valuable, which is his gift to Lord himself above us. It it time to give him that platform again.
I could live with Randy Orton winning as well, but the one thing I cannot tolerate is an Alberto Del Rio win. That is the only step down I see from having Sheamus retain.
Mizfan: Well it is about damn time we had something to disagree about. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be ecstatic if Jericho picked up the win this Sunday. I like Sheamus, but Jericho is, well, Jericho.
An opportunity to showcase him on a higher level again would be a welcome change. But I think you’re letting your perception of the Bryan debacle cloud your judgment. As far as I can tell, in the mind of WWE there is no debacle, and from what I can tell the majority of the fans at the very least do not hold anything against Sheamus just because the writers booked him in a stupid way that night.
Sheamus is still extremely popular, perhaps not quite as popular as they’d like him to be but that has not stopped them in the past.
The Sheamus train is gonna roll right through Over the Limit as WWE cements a new main event in their pantheon, and I can’t say I blame them.
In a ridiculously heavy heel roster, WWE needs new faces and Sheamus will have a far broader range of new opponents to work with. But I will fully agree... an Alberto Del Rio win is frankly intolerable.
[Editor's note: While putting this piece together for publication I stumbled upon an unfortunate article on WWE.com about Chris Jericho which may dim his chances. Yet, if there is one thing I learned from watching Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, it's that a gentleman sticks to his prediction no matter how unlikely it starts to seem.]
John Cena Versus John Laurinaitis
Mizfan: I suppose the real question here is not so much who will win, but more who will interfere to help John Laurinaitis win?
To set the stage for the uninformed, since his arrival John Laurinaitis has been schizophrenically feuding with various Steve Austin stand-ins, the latest of whom is none other than ol’ John Cena.
When Johnny’s dastardly plan to use Brock Lesnar to rip Cena’s arm off and beat him to death with it did not pan out, Johnny decided to do the next best thing and wallop Cena with his shoe.
A match was set, much to the dismay of wrestling purists, between the 46-year-old Laurinaitis and the John who no longer needs championships to main event everything. With this past Monday’s edict from the board that any WWE Superstar who interferes in the match will be fired, and that if Big Johnny loses HE will be fired, it seems like all the odds are stacked in Cena’s favor.
Anyone who knows anything about booking knows this is almost a guarantee that Cena will take the fall here, and since WWE is high on the Johnny Ace train right now I do not see any chance that he ends up on the unemployment line.
The smart money is on an interfering Brock Lesnar or Big Show (or both) to give Johnny his big win, as both are lingering in a state of unemployment, but by hook or by crook you can expect the reign of scratchy voiced “People Power” to continue.
Mystic: I’m going to give a shout out to my friend Caleb here who messaged me with the idea that Big Show might interfere to gain favor or his job.
All I said was, “Oh, so that’s why they dragged out that Big Show promo to the point of being painful.” I’ve already said what I wanted to see elsewhere, which is a John Cena win, a draft, and distinctive brands.
If I cannot get that, if John Laurinaitis has to win, please give me somebody other than Big Show. I have nothing against the guy and he usually does better than what is asked of him, but it never seems that anything he is involved in is fresh.
I do not know what that’s about. I really want to pick John Cena here, but I feel like there was some meeting that every fan but myself attended where the outcome was already determined.
If they must have unemployed WWE wrestlers interfere, they should have fun with it. Why not a line of them? Why not guys you would never expect, (What is KoKo B. Ware doing now)? If this is going to be a replica of the Attitude Era, then at least ten guys should interfere in each match.
CM Punk Versus Daniel Bryan
Mystic: The last thing I expected following Daniel Bryan’s losses to Sheamus at WrestleMania 28 and Extreme Rules was to see him earn a title shot against CM Punk.
After seeing every episode of RAW leading into Over the Limit, it is fair to say WWE made the decision not to build a Daniel Bryan-CM Punk feud. The conflict between them has been inconsequential.
One problem with predicting wrestling, however, is that wrestling does not have to be logical.
That said, all signs point to CM Punk retaining his WWE Championship. I truly believe there will come a day that WWE better utilizes a CM Punk-Daniel Bryan feud and match, but that time does not seem to be today.
For now, fans of either man should count themselves lucky to get a PPV bout between the two. And if you are not a fan of their matches, you can cross your fingers for an AJ Lee appearance.
Mizfan: You know, in some ways I sort of like this idea of a match without a real feud. Not every match needs to be a grudge match, after all.
There is something slightly refreshing about the purely exhibition-like feeling of this match. Unfortunately, considering the rich source material they could have drawn from, a closer examination reveals it to be a huge waste.
The long parallel history of these two men, their series of matches earlier this year, Daniel Bryan’s recent personality change, the burgeoning popularity of “Yesamania”, and Bryan’s rich ongoing storyline with AJ all could have been incorporated into this feud in order to raise interest.
Alas, we have gotten none of that, and are left only with a match that is likely to kick so much ass that you will probably go blind.
Unfortunately, the complete lack of build up makes it a veritable certainty that CM Punk will be holding onto his title, because to cut short the reign of the most popular new(ish) faces during a feud with zero build would be beyond silly even for WWE Creative.
The best we can hope for is a tainted finish with AJ involved, leading to a much better build to another match at No Way Out.
[Editor's note: A very special thank you to Mizfan for joining me for this article.]