WWE Over The Limit 2011: Has the Randy Orton World Title Change Killed This PPV?
Last Friday's SmackDown was the herald of a major shock. Randy Orton won his eighth World Championship defeating Christian who was mere days into his first ever run with a top belt.
I expect that a few of you who have read the title have instantly thought that this is going to be a rant article about how WWE is going to lose a lot of fans for "screwing" Christian out of the title. Those of you that regularly read my articles though will know I always try to take my work in a different direction from other writers.
Before you head to flame me in the comments section, let me say this. It does not bother me, out of Orton or Christian, who WWE makes Champion of SmackDown. I feel both men could easily be a decent choice to be the leading face of the blue brand.
If anything, the only thing that rather annoys me is that Christian's reign only lasted two days which devalues the championship after it has been vacated for three weeks and preceded by in February by a 20-minute reign for Dolph Ziggler.
My biggest complaint is that this match didn't happen on PPV. This is not to say that I don't believe WWE World Championship matches should not happen on free TV. If anything I believe world title matches should happen more regularly on Raw and SmackDown, but considering the time gap between last Sunday's Extreme Rules and Over the Limit, WWE needs to do all they can to make us believe the next PPV is worth purchasing.
Over the Limit currently has no matches announced. In an age where WWE fans are finding it harder to justify paying out for PPV events, beyond the big four, this is one of the problems of the 13 PPV-a-year schedule. Now I have already suggested my solution to this issue but I should point out why this world title change has possibly killed this PPV before it has had a chance to build any momentum.
What is WWE going to advertise as the main match for Over the Limit? On the Raw side, with exception to Alberto Del Rio, no challenger can realistically step up to Cena at this moment and take the championship off him. WWE will want to make us believe he can really take the belt to WrestleMania 28 for his match against The Rock. Only Del Rio at this moment could benefit from the heat that would be gained from blocking the ultimate dream match. Either way, Raw's title event is pretty much already concluded.
This leaves SmackDown to come up with the big main event to sell the event. Christian making his first world title defense against a top face like Randy Orton could have really sold the event. It would have, for at least one month, given the fans something different to look forward to and a solid reason to pay for what is likely going to be another forgettable PPV event.
Let's consider the alternatives to Christian as Randy Orton's opponent. There are currently only two main event heels on Orton's level on SmackDown. They are Sheamus and Wade Barrett, both of whom extensively feuded with The Viper last year. It is possible the Cody Rhodes could be given a main event push for all his hard work recently, but it doesn't sound like a match I think is worthy shelling out hard-earned money for. At least not in the two weeks they have to advertise it.
I have also considered the possibility that Christian could, and probably will, invoke a rematch clause but the problem is that the match will broadcast too close to their SmackDown encounter, and without a reasonable variation on the contest, you will only end up paying for a match that has already been shown for free.
The biggest problem with today's PPV is that they are being treated like regular WWE TV programming instead of major spectaculars. They no longer seem to act as the conclusion to many feuds unless a situation (such as the recent draft) forces them to.
Once upon a time Raw and SmackDown were of such a high quality they were on par with the major monthly events. Now due to the terrible booking decisions and organisation of storylines in WWE, the quality of PPV events has been brought down to the level of Raw and SmackDown.
The quality is decent for something that is free, but can't really justify the price tag.
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