WWE over the Limit 2012: 10 Things to Know About the Fatal 4-Way Match
Four fantastic fighters will face one another at Over the Limit, with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line. The champion, Sheamus, will defend the title against three different men for the very first time. Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton all will look to become the new World Heavyweight Champion.
In Fatal 4-Way rules, the first man to claim a pinfall or submission will be declared the winner of the match. Sheamus does not even need to be involved in the result of the match in order to lose his championship. This will be one of the various things that will likely be told by the commentary leading up to Over the Limit. However, there are so many more things needed to be known about here.
Which one of these men has never held the World Heavyweight Championship? What does history say about a title change in this month? Has anyone ever gone into Raleigh, N.C. and won a world championship? Could this be the final pay-per-view match for one of these men?
It's time to break this match down completely and talk about 10 topics that actually do matter. Here are 10 things to remember about when watching Sunday's match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Del Rio Has Never Been World Heavyweight Champion
At this point last year, Randy Orton came into Over the Limit as the World Heavyweight Champion. Chris Jericho went into WrestleMania XXVI as the World Heavyweight Champion and walked out of that event still holding onto his title. Sheamus, obviously, has been the World Heavyweight Champion before. However, Alberto Del Rio, who chased after it over a year ago and had three pay-per-view matches with a chance at the title, has never won that title.
Alberto Del Rio would become the 25th different man to hold the World Heavyweight Championship if he wins this match on Sunday. The former two-time WWE Champion was drafted over to Smackdown following Extreme Rules 2011, the last time Del Rio had a pay-per-view match for that belt. He now returns to his first pay-per-view appearance since jumping back over to Smackdown.
Titles Stay Home at Over the Limit
This is only the third Over the Limit to ever exist, but it seems pretty obvious already that a trend is developing.
Titles just don't automatically change hands here. At the first Over the Limit, the World Heavyweight Champion was Jack Swagger. He would face Big Show and retain his championship. Sure, it was due to a disqualification, but it was still a title defense.
Last year at the event, Randy Orton defeated Christian to keep his World Heavyweight Championship.
A Fatal 4-Way match seems to threaten such a streak from developing, especially with just two previous matches to speak of. It goes way beyond the specific World Heavyweight Championship matches. In the entire cards of the 2010 and 2011 Over the Limit events, only the first official match in Over the Limit history, 2010's Intercontinental Championship match, has seen a title change hands. In that bout, Kofi Kingston took down Drew McIntyre to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Since that match that led off the first-ever Over the Limit, every championship has stayed put.
Orton Undefeated at Event
Again, there have only been two of these Over the Limit pay-per-views in the past. This isn't exactly a streak to rival The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but Orton has won one match and competed in a no-contest in the other. The victory was last year, defending his World Heavyweight Championship. The no-contest was in 2010, when Orton faced Edge. Orton seemed to have injured himself and the action was forced out of the ring to create a double count-out.
This seems a little bit more impressive when you realize that none of the other three men have ever won at Over the Limit. Sheamus and Del Rio have both never competed at the event before, while Jericho was defeated in 2010, alongside The Miz, while trying to become the Unified WWE Tag Team Champions.
Sheamus with Fatal 4-Way Success
A Fatal 4-Way is heavily advertised with WWE as being a nightmare for a champion. A champion can lose his title in the match without even being a part of the decision in the match. WWE even created an entire pay-per-view concept from this idea. At Fatal 4-Way, Sheamus took this to his advantage, winning the WWE Championship in a Fatal 4-Way match.
Jericho has won world championships in the past by winning multiple matches in one night, winning Championship Scramble matches and even winning an Elimination Chamber match. He has never won a world title from a Fatal 4-Way match.
Del Rio lost a Fatal 4-Way match at TLC in 2010 and has never won one to gain a title. The only match types he has won are a triple threat Hell in a Cell and a Money in the Bank cash-in.
Randy Orton has won some unusual match types to win world titles. He once won a six-man tag team match that would give him a world championship if his team won the match. He has also won a famed Six-Pack Challenge. Orton has also won a title in a Fatal 4-Way, winning a match for the WWE Championship on an episode of RAW in 2009. That match also took place in the state of North Carolina.
Chris Jericho's Farewell Match?
Speculation has been running around about when Chris Jericho's latest run will be coming to an end. Bleacher Report writer Chris Humphrey wrote earlier this week that it may be the end of the line for Jericho if he cannot win the championship at Over the Limit. This may truly be the case. It could be now or never for Jericho.
However, Jericho has always been a fan of the theatrics when he gets written off. He was punted off by Randy Orton last time around. He also was fired live on television by Eric Bischoff. Simply losing a match and disappearing would be out of character for Jericho. His band, Fozzy, is set to have an overseas tour this summer, but that won't last forever. It could be the last appearance by Jericho in WWE...for now.
World Heavyweight Championship Yet to Change Hands at May PPV
The World Heavyweight Championship was officially recognized as its own title in WWE in September 2002. Since that time, Over the Limit will mark the 11th World Heavyweight Championship match to be contested on pay-per-view in the month of May. Of those previous 10, only one title change took place in May. That was last year's Extreme Rules, which took place on May 1. It saw Christian defeat Alberto Del Rio to claim the vacant World Heavyweight Championship.
In fact, in the history of the title, there have only been new champions crowned in May on three separate occasions. Besides Christian's win on May 1 last year, Randy Orton's victory on May 3 of last year on Smackdown occurred, as well as May 8, 2007, when Edge cashed in Money in the Bank on The Undertaker at a Smackdown in Pittsburgh.
Since the title was vacant when Christian won it, current champions have never lost the World Heavyweight Championship at a May pay-per-view. That's good news for Sheamus.
Only Brock Lesnar Has Won a World Title in Raleigh
There's some more good news coming the way of Sheamus. As great of a state for wrestling that North Carolina is, it isn't often that titles change hands in it. In the city of Raleigh, where Over the Limit will take place, rarely have any titles been won by a superstar. In fact, in the history of the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, there has only been one new world champion crowned in WWE history in the city of Raleigh.
That night was September 18, 2003. The venue was a Smackdown in Raleigh and the main event was a 60-minute Iron Man match between WWE Champion Kurt Angle and the challenger, Brock Lesnar. In a bout that lasted an hour and saw nine falls take place, Lesnar became the new WWE Champion.
I doubt that the Fatal 4-Way match will last an hour or be close to what Lesnar and Angle did in the ring that night nearly nine years ago. It still stands as the only world title change in WWE history while in Raleigh.
Current Reign Is 7th in Last Calendar Year
The intention of Sheamus as the new champion should be to bring some normalcy to the title. While not being incredibly prestigious, the World Heavyweight Championship has been held by some great superstars, with Sheamus joining that collection at WrestleMania just a few weeks ago.
Hopefully, Sheamus can hold on to the title for a little bit longer than what the latest trend would suggest. Over the last 365 days, this is the eighth World Heavyweight Championship reign to take place. That averages out to be a new champion roughly every 52 days. Tomorrow will mark the 49th day in the reign of The Great White. That average number may be fluctuating if Sheamus can retain at Over the Limit.
Jericho, Orton Look to Become 4th 4-Time Champion
Since there have been 49 different reigns with the World Heavyweight Championship in almost 10 years and only 24 men to hold it, multiple reigns have been had by some men. Edge had an incredible seven reigns with the Big Gold belt, while Triple H has had five and Batista held it four times.
Every other man to have been champion has not held it more than three times. Two of those three-time champions are Chris Jericho and Randy Orton. With both in the running at Over the Limit, both men seek to be just the fourth four-time champion in history.
This does not include Jericho holding the Undisputed Championship and unifying the WWE and WCW Championships. While bearing a resemblance to it, the World Heavyweight Championship is considered a different championship from the WCW Championship.
3 Small Feuds from Past for Sheamus Come Together in One Match
This Fatal 4-Way satisfies outstanding No. 1 contenderships and then some. Alberto Del Rio defeated Sheamus in a match that forced him into the world title picture and made him the No. 1 contender. Jericho and Orton didn't seem to be a part of it, but they will get their chances anyway. The loser of this match will likely write himself out of the title picture for the time being, while the two men who lose but are not pinned will have legitimate gripes for chances at No Way Out, the next pay-per-view.
For Sheamus, this is more than continuing a feud with Del Rio and having Jericho and Orton along for the ride. A feud with Orton is brewing, as the two faces seem to not be on the same page when it comes to who should be the champion. That's how it also worked last year when Orton was the champion. Sheamus was tired of seeing Christian getting so many chances at getting the title back. He tried to force himself into the picture, but he could never get his chance at Orton. Now, as champion, Sheamus gets his wish.
As for Jericho, it was Y2J who ultimately put Sheamus in the position that he is in today. At the Royal Rumble in January, Sheamus won the match by eliminating Jericho last. That sent Jericho through other avenues to a world title match at WrestleMania, but all were not successful. Sheamus, on the other hand, rolled right into WrestleMania and into his reign as a champion. One could argue that Sheamus has knocked Jericho off his game and this is the last chance for Jericho to gain his composure back.