WWE over the Limit 2012 Predictions: What Can We Expect on Sunday?
In less than 36 hours, WWE will present Over the Limit 2012. It is a fairly common complaint within the IWC that the WWE puts on too many pay-per-views each year. Case in point: Over the Limit is only three weeks separated from Extreme Rules.
While we generally rejoice when the WWE has a PPV full of fresh feuds (rather than rematches from the last PPV), it's hard to build a lot of genuine interest in any feud in just 21 days. It's hard to imagine a lot of people giving up $40 of their hard-earned money for this event. Some may not even spend the time to find a reliable stream from which to steal the PPV.
But, as they always say in the world of professional wrestling, the show must go on! Let's see what we can expect from the WWE and a three-week build-up to the last pay-per-view of the spring.
Over the Limit Pre-Show: Zack Ryder vs. Kane on YouTube and Facebook
An important part of knowing what to expect from any match is to get a feel for the angle the WWE is trying to work. Let's take a look at WWE.com's short blurb about this:
Months after Kane’s attack left him wheelchair-bound, Zack Ryder will have an opportunity to confront his tormentor when he and The Big Red Monster meet head-on during the free WWE Over the Limit Pre-Show event.
Now, if the WWE really wants to sell the heat between the self-proclaimed Internet Champion and the Undertaker's little brother, I would have thought that Zack would have come out to try to save CM Punk from Kane's attack that ended SmackDown.
Of course, Kane (with some help from Bryan) would have thwarted the Broski's attempt, but it would have reminded us that things are personal between these two still.
Zack Ryder hasn't come out on the positive end of many of his matches lately, and I don't think this is going to break the streak. Kane has recently worked programs with both John Cena and Randy Orton, and in both instances, his opponents got the last laugh. Ryder may have to serve as the sacrificial lamb for the Devil's Favorite Demon.
As over as Ryder is, I'd be very surprised to see him win. He'll get in a few of his signature moves before Kane chokeslams his way to victory.
WWE Divas Championship Match: Layla (c) vs. Beth Phoenix
It's hard to fully grasp what the WWE is doing with the Divas Division—not just now, but at all times. Here's what they have to say about this match:
After her six-month-plus reign with the Divas Championship was cut short, in part, because of a leg injury, Beth Phoenix will attempt to reclaim the title at WWE Over the Limit from the returning Layla.
For the life of me, I can't make sense of this. If Beth Phoenix takes the belt back, what was the point in letting Layla hold on to it for a few weeks? Are they just showing us that Phoenix can't be beaten unless there's a chink in her armor?
If Layla defeats a fully-recovered Glamazon, that steals all of Beth's momentum as the unstoppable she-beast. It really seems like a lose-lose situation.
Could this finally mark the return of Kharma? Is that why the Divas Division isn't making a lot of sense right now? During her brief pre-pregnancy stint with WWE, Kharma's actions were incredibly bizarre.
Maybe the WWE will throw some twist into this story where Kharma protects Layla, allowing her to retain the title. Maybe Kharma returns and lays them both out, taking the belt with her after the match is declared a no-contest.
Maybe we'll see Kharma, but I doubt it.
I'm going to predict that Layla retains, but if they don't throw in some outside factor, Phoenix will have a status among the Divas that Kane has among the men: a monster you don't want to piss off, who can make you wet yourself, but who for some reason can't keep a title around their waist.
WWE Tag Team Championship: Kofi Kingston/R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger
This is another title match that has me scratching my head a little. Layla gets a title shot after being out with injury for a year. Ziggler and Swagger get a title shot after losing almost every tag match they've ever had. Don't get me wrong: I love Ziggler and Swagger. I just question WWE Creative's motive here. Here's what their website says:
Announced exclusively on WWE.com, WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & R-Truth will defend their titles at WWE Over the Limit, taking on Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler. Can Truth & Kingston turn back these aggressive challengers?
Okay, so we all know that they are intentionally holding off on Epico and Primo's rematch, and I really can't see them feuding with Vicki's crew. I guess this serves as an opportunity for the champions to get a title defense under their belt and put two of my favorite grapplers on the PPV.
Let's just pray for the following: 1) this match opens the PPV; 2) Ziggler and Swagger both get to demonstrate some impressive offense before taking the loss; and 3) we get a ton of shots of Rosa watching the match.
Kudos to WWE if Epico, Primo and Mason Ryan attack the champions after the match and leave them lying helpless in the middle of the ring (followed by Rosa's dance, proving fellow Latina beauty Shakira's lyrics that hips like that don't lie).
World Heavyweight Championship Fatal Four-Way: Sheamus/Orton/Jericho/Del Rio
In what will be rare for this PPV, the WWE has done a good job of providing a good build-up for this match, and a case can be made for all four contenders.
For Sheamus, a win will more firmly establish that he's a legitimate champion; a loss will prove that he hasn't surpassed the role of transitional champion.
Randy Orton is slowly returning to the dark side of his Viper persona, but he's not all the way there yet. That could mean the WWE will wait to put the title back on Orton, or they could use it to really sell his darker side.
Jericho has lost World Championship matches in each of the last three PPVs, so it would seem that he's about due for a win; then again, I've heard that he'll be leaving for Fozzy again soon.
After being out with injury, ADR could use a title reign to put him back on top, but would WWE prefer to give him a slow build-up?
World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus has said time and time again that he loves to fight. Well, at WWE Over the Limit, The Great White will get that opportunity – times three – when he battles challengers Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton in a Fatal 4-Way Match for the World Title.
Well, that's not very insightful. Rather than picking the most likely winner, let's start with the least likely: Chris Jericho. Now that his feud with CM Punk has come to an end, Y2J seems a bit out of place. If he can't win Punk's title after three attempts, I can't see him taking the belt from Sheamus on his first attempt.
Although he arguably had a better year than any other WWE Superstar in 2011, I don't think ADR is ready for a title reign just yet. Plus, Sheamus would be owed a rematch, and I don't think a Sheamus/Del Rio feud would go over well.
Once the belt moves around a bit, I think the Mexican Aristocrat will take the belt from the next babyface champion. Until then, his waist shall remain bare.
Of all three challengers, I think Orton is the most likely to leave with the belt. We all know he is Friday night's "Franchise Player," and Orton hasn't held the title for a while. But they are teasing an Orton/Sheamus feud, so I think it will be another PPV or two before Orton takes the belt from the first ever Irish-born WWE Champion.
I predict Sheamus retains and starts a program that focuses exclusively on Randy Orton.
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
This is the match that all of the true professional wrestling nerds (myself included!) will be looking forward to. I can't imagine a scenario in which Punk and Bryan put on a bad PPV match. I just wish the WWE had put more effort into the story.
But barring any unforeseen tragedies in the near future, we have years to witness programs between these two that will rival a feud like The Rock and Steve Austin in terms of intensity and could surpass a feud like HBK and Bret Hart in terms of in-ring performance.
Once again, WWE.com doesn't give us much help:
The Second City Saint will defend his prize against the upstart Daniel Bryan at WWE Over the Limit following Bryan's victory in a Beat the Clock Challenge on Raw SuperShow. Who will prevail in this highly-anticipated championship confrontation?
This match may indeed be "highly-anticipated," but that has nothing to do with WWE's efforts. These two have spent years establishing themselves as two of the best and hardest-working men in this industry. They will undoubtedly have countless matches down the line. This will be just a taste.
I think A.J. is going to turn out to be the wildcard in this match. They didn't mention her on SmackDown, and the longer match preview on WWE.com doesn't mention her either. But hey, if you're going to surprise us with a curveball like that, you've got to keep it under wraps.
Whether she comes out in an attempt to help Bryan and win back his favor, or to help Punk so as to exact her revenge on her ex, I truly believe the crazy ex-girlfriend will be the deciding factor in CM Punk retaining his title.
WWE Superstar vs. WWE Executive: John Cena Takes on John Laurinaitis
After reading my last article, Tom Brennan pointed out that my prediction for the outcome of this match was flawed. I concur: The stipulations state that Laurinaitis can only win by pinfall or submission.
I still believe that Johnny Ace gets the win here, which means someone else has to get involved. WWE.com, once again, divulges no such information:
John Cena will take on Raw and SmackDown General Manager John Laurinaitis at WWE Over the Limit. Will The Cenation Leader be able to recover in time for his clash with the polarizing GM?
For an outcome that sees Cena take a loss to the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations without someone getting fired, there is only one solution: the inclusion of someone not currently under contact with WWE (at least in terms of storylines). Four possibilities:
1) Lord Tensai & Sakamoto—Before Cena makes short work of Johnny Ace, Lord Tensai comes to the ring.
This provides a distraction for both the referee and Cena, allowing Sakamoto to sneak up behind Cena, take him out one way or another (green mist, low blow, steel chair) and sneak out again before the referee is any wiser. Since Sakamoto isn't under contract, he can't be fired.
2) The Big Show—Maybe The Big Show's firing was all a part of the dual-show GM's master plan. Maybe The Big Show has been in his back pocket all along.
Of course, if we take a look at the chronology, The Big Show was fired before this stipulation preventing interference from an active wrestler was announced. But we all know that wouldn't stop the WWE from going with such an angle if they really wanted to use it.
3) Brock Lesnar—Since Lesnar has already "quit" and has yet to pay Cena back for his loss at Extreme Rules, Lesnar has nothing to lose. Plus, we can't keep him off of TV until his feud with Triple H comes to full fruition.
4) Someone completely new—Johnny Ace has been given credit for bringing several fresh faces to WWE since he took over, so maybe this is his way of introducing yet another new face. This guy makes his WWE debut by laying out Cena and aligning with the hated executive. You can't be fired if you haven't yet been hired. Instant heat.
Whether it's one of these four scenarios or something else, I'm sticking by my prediction that someone not under contract interferes, and Johnny Ace keeps his job.
So Much Time and so Little to Do
With 180 minutes to fill, Over the Limit is going to need more than five matches. There are so many established and up-and-coming superstars that they can use to fill the gaps.
Brodus Clay and the Funkadactyls aren't scheduled for an appearance, and he's been on the last few PPVs. It's quite possible he racks up another win at OTL.
Antonio Cesaro doesn't have a match, and his inclusion would also mean face time for Aksana and Teddy Long.
The Miz has been downgraded from pre-PPV to no-PPV. He will likely throw a fit backstage, which could lead to a match with the above-mentioned Funkasauras.
Darren Young and Titus O'Neal are working to become legitimate tag team contenders. Maybe we'll get to see them face off against the Usos.
Lord Tensai doesn't have a match yet, so assuming he's not involved with the main event, he could definitely fill some mid-card time.
What about Bill "Ryback" Goldberg? Could we get another (*yawn*) squash match on the PPV?
Cody Rhodes and Santino Marella have some unresolved issues. Maybe that will be continued at Over the Limit.
Heck, with all of these superstars still available, they could throw together a six-man tag match: Santino, Ryback and Brodus Clay vs. Cody Rhodes, The Miz and Antonio Cesaro (or replace any of the heels with Tensai).
Or use all four heels, throw in The Great Khali (although I prefer to keep him off of TV as much as possible) or Alex Riley and make it an 8-man tag match. Just for kicks and giggles, you could make it a 10- or 12-man tag match by including Young, O'Neal and the Usos.
Either way, we're gonna have at least one more match featuring at least one of these superstars.
The six bouts that WWE has booked for Sunday all have potential to be great matches and/or contribute significantly to the product and the on-going narrative that is WWE programming. But with only three weeks of anticipation and WWE Creative not showing their best work, this has the potential to be the PPV flop of the year.
But keep the faith, WWE Universe. Let's hope for the best and let WWE do the rest.