This Sunday night on pay-per-view, World Wrestling Entertainment brings us their May PPV event known as Over The Limit.
There are five announced matches on the PPV portion on the show with a pre-show match also announced. I'd expect another one or two matches added to the show, but I'm not here to guess what might be added. I'm here to talk about what we know is going to be featured on Sunday's PPV extravaganza. Let's roll.
Pre-Show: Kane vs. Zack Ryder
In terms of wrestling logic, the older guy should put over the younger guy in this match, especially when one of them is nearly 20 years older like Kane is compared to Ryder. Perhaps they could even book this so that Zack wins in an upset…nah. That's not going to happen.
Kane will win a five-minute match that means absolutely nothing.
WWE Tag Team Titles: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler
The tag division is improving—slowly but surely. I like all four guys in this match. They're all veterans who can have good matches, so the chemistry will be there for sure. They'll book it like a regular tag match where the heels focus on Truth or Kingston, they'll get the hot tag and the champs will likely retain since they're more of a permanent team. The ZigSwag team is OK, but like most people, I think both guys would be better off as singles competitors.
That's especially true of Ziggler, who needs to do something to free himself of Vickie Guerrero. It's nothing against her. It's just that they've been paired together for so long that it doesn't seem fresh. He's too good of a performer to not be near the main-event picture.
I wasn't a huge fan of Primo and Epico dropping the titles to Truth and Kingston, but I would assume that they can go back to that feud after this match is done. Then they can incorporate some of the other teams (Usos, Young/O'Neil, Kidd/Gabriel since Gabriel is due back soon) to make it feel like an actual division again.
As for this match, give them 12-15 minutes, let them tell a good story in the ring and you can pretty much guarantee a very good tag team wrestling match.
Winners: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
WWE Divas Title: Layla vs. Beth Phoenix
Like I wrote on Monday, why should we cheer for Layla exactly? She was a heel before. She got hurt. She came back. She beat one of the Bellas in a forgettable match and all of a sudden she is Divas champion. Let her talk. It's needed to build a character that was such a mean person for so long and is suddenly a smiling babyface.
That's what I mean by character development. There is no development among the divas. The expectation is that Kharma may be back soon. Who knows, though?
They'll likely get five to seven minutes here, with Beth working as the overpowering heel while Layla acts as the gritty babyface that fights back and manages to win with a cradle of some kind.
The divas division continues to be a disappointment in terms of the booking. It's not a talent issue. It's a creative issue. For shame.
World Heavyweight Title Fatal 4-Way Match: Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio
If you want to continue to build Sheamus up as a top level babyface, then he has to retain the title here. However, if you wanted to do that, then why add Orton and Jericho to the mix when you already announced the match as Sheamus vs. Del Rio? The "you" in this case is WWE, who are obviously booking things without much long-term planning, which is never a good thing.
If there was long-term planning, why announce Sheamus vs. Del Rio in the first place? My guess is they realized they had nothing for Orton and Jericho to do, so they figured they should put them in this title match to give it some star power. I'm glad they did because the build has been pretty good.
The tag matches featuring these guys have been solid, and the Orton/Sheamus match from Smackdown was a 27-minute 4-star match. It was one of the best television matches of the year.
Personally, I've always liked four-way matches with elimination rules. They're more fun that way. The "first fall wins" idea that they go with is OK because they love having one wrestler pin somebody while one of the other two breaks it up. Then we get the dramatic pinning/submission sequences to end the match as well. We've seen the format of these matches many times before.
Since we're talking about four above-average workers (Jericho and Orton are among the elite in WWE right now), I'd expect a high-quality matchup. With the card having only five announced matches, that also likely means they'll get 15-20 minutes of in-ring action, too. I'm all for that.
My prediction is Sheamus retains likely by pinning Del Rio. I think it's very possible that Orton or Jericho will win, too. Del Rio has little to no chance. Nothing would shock me in terms of one of the other three winning, though. My feeling is it's too soon for Sheamus to lose the title. If you want to establish him as a tough babyface competitor, then he should win here.
WWE Title: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
On paper, I love this match, of course. They are two of the Internet's darlings, and I'm one of those people who would consider each guy among my favorite wrestlers. I followed their careers in Ring of Honor through the mid-2000s before they landed in WWE.
Punk's been in the company for six years. Bryan's only been there for two years, yet he's risen to the top and is as good of a performer as anybody in the business right now. Nobody is happier for either guy than I am.
With that said, the build for this match has been poor. Bryan won a Beat The Clock challenge to become No. 1 contender. Since then, they've had some interaction, but not enough for a WWE Title feud.
This past Monday on Raw, they didn't get any promo time at all. On Smackdown, Bryan got to talk while Punk was in the ring. What about a face-to-face promo? Those mean more. This could feel like a big match. Due to the booking, though, it feels like one of the most poorly promoted WWE Title matches I can remember.
The good thing is, despite the lack of a better build, the quality of the match is guaranteed to be high because of who we're talking about. These guys always have excellent matches and when they are paired with each other, as we've seen before, it's a lock that this will be great as well.
The selling point is that the match will be outstanding, which is enough for me. It's similar to the Orton/Christian match at OTL last year when they stole the show and the rest of the matches were below average.
I get the feeling that we'll get a rematch at next month's No Way Out PPV. I'd expect Punk to retain, but don't be surprised if the finish leads to a rematch in a steel cage in June. The last thing is, I really hope they get 20 minutes or more of in-ring time. Let them do their thing. I have no doubt they can deliver the goods. I'm very excited for this one.
Winner: CM Punk
John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis
A guy named John previewing a match between two guys named John. I'd love it if I was wrong about this match going on last. It's the Cena rule, though. Whatever match Cena's in will usually go on last. That's just how it is.
They've cranked up the heelish behavior of Laurinaitis. He used to be the kind of a smarmy heel who wasn't upfront in terms of how he acted as a jerk. Now's he's more direct about it. Fans want to see him get his ass kicked. They will likely root for Cena, which is why this match is being done. It's all about building up Cena as more of a likable guy, just like the forgettable "embrace the hate" feud with Kane.
I'd expect a 12-15 minute brawling type of match. Laurinaitis is 46 (on Smackdown he said he was nearly 40—heels lie), hasn't wrestled regularly in over a decade and likely has some rust, although I'm sure he's been working out a lot, too. He is a former wrestler, so he can turn it on if he has to. The match won't be great, but if it's booked smartly, then it will be fine.
As for the finish, as I wrote on Monday, I think the obvious finish is Big Show showing up, making it look like he'll go after Cena and then helping Laurinaitis win as a way to get his job back. Since the stipulation is that if Laurinaitis loses the match he's fired, I think it's likely that he'll win.
The Show finish has become popular amongst Internet types, though. One thing we've learned from WWE is they don't mind changing plans if they realize people have guessed what might come. In this case, though, I hope they stick with the plan even though it will lead to another series of Show/Cena matches. I like Show better as a heel, so it will be fine with me.
I'd be even happier if Cena got put out for a month or two to freshen him up. What if he gets hurt here, then he sits out two months and returns on the July 23 Raw that is the start of the new three-hour Raw schedule? There are a lot of possibilities, but in terms of the prediction, I'll go Laurinaitis. I should point out too that I picked Cena over Rock and Lesnar over Cena. I was wrong in both cases. I'm pretty sure I'll be right here. Right?
Winner: John Laurinaitis
I'm not that excited about this PPV. I think the Punk/Bryan match will be great in terms of in ring action, obviously, but I don't know if the story is hot enough to allow them to have a match-of-the-year contender. The Fatal 4-Way and tag matches should both be above average, too, depending on how much time they get.
The in-ring action won't be the issue with Over The Limit. The issue is the build for some of the matches, other than the "guys named John" match, has been lackluster. The crowd could be dead for a lot of it. At least we're getting Punk vs. Bryan on PPV. That's a positive for sure.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He'll be writing about Over The Limit live on his website TJRWrestling.com Sunday night starting at 8 p.m. ET, so join him there for a full recap of the event. Follow him on Twitter @johnreport, too.