Saturday, May 19, 2012

WWE Over the Limit Preview & 3 Hour RAW Thoughts

Hey, did you know that there was a PPV this Sunday? Sometimes I wonder if the WWE knows either. This Sunday is Over the Limit, live on PPV. Like usual, I would expect this to be one of the lower bought PPVs of the year, if not the lowest. May tends to be the down time for WWE. Wrestlemania is now a thing of the past and the WWE is just looking to fill time in between that and the beginning of their big summer push. Usually the WWE tries to pull something big out to start the summer. Last year we had the rise of C.M. Punk. Two years ago we had the birth of Nexus. We can only hope the WWE has something big planned with Brock Lesnar this summer, because his absence has been quite noticeable on RAW.

I know the WWE has Brock Lesnar for only a limited number of dates, but not having him on TV is really hurting, especially in the ratings. They've been down since he's been off TV. Having Paul Heyman back is a plus, but I don't know how much of these "legal" segments I can deal with. Despite me wanting them to hold off Lesnar/HHH until SummerSlam, I don't know if I can take these segments every week. Just get to the point already. As you know, I am a big fan of the build up to a match. But if it just involves nonsense legal proceedings I could get sick of it quick.

And now that I'm done rambling, I guess it is time to look at the PPV. But I think you can tell how much I care about this PPV by the intro. The WWE has done such a poor job of building it that I would rather talk about Brock Lesnar. If the WWE is going to constantly put out a bad May PPV, why not just scrap the PPV all together then? Have a little reset period in between Wrestlemania time and summer time. It'd be a nice refresher and a break to transition from one feud to another for certain wrestlers. Instead, like with Over the Limit, we get everything thrown together in 3 weeks time.

Now, even though I've basically told you this PPV will probably be bad, that doesn't mean you still shouldn't read my Preview! Just like the C.M. Punk/Daniel Bryan match, it'll be one of the few good things that come from Over the Limit this Sunday!

Zack Ryder vs Kane

Hey, we finally get the Zack Ryder/Kane blowoff match that we have all been waiting for! Too bad this match is only about a month and a half late. Zack Ryder has suffered the fate that Dolph Ziggler has suffered from. Built up and thought to be a big part of plans early in the year, now an afterthought almost half way through the year. Ryder was very over, and still somewhat is, but I don't know what he did to get the treatment he has received lately. He's a joke character now. He got himself over and he was essentially punished for it. He was made to look like a laughing stock during the John Cena/Kane feud. If given a proper chance, this could have been a feud built up to Wrestlemania where Ryder got his revenge on Kane. But it wasn't, and Ryder is now even farther down the card. Kane has had a feud with John Cena and Randy Orton, and he's come off on the losing end of both. Who knows what is next for him. Usually the faces win the pre-show match to get the crowd going, but I don't see that happening here. Kane wins.


Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix vs Layla (c)

Who knows what surprises the WWE has in store for the Divas Division at this PPV. At Extreme Rules, Kharma was suppose to come back and take the Divas Title away from the Bellas. But since us Internet folk new that was coming, they swerved us and brought back Layla. Now we have Beth Phoenix chasing Layla for the Title, and we have no idea where Kharma fits in to all of this. Does Kharma come back as a heel now and take out Layla? Then you have to find out how to turn Beth face and build up to a Kharma/Beth phoenix match, the one Divas match that I would actually like to see. The WWE has booked themselves into a bit of a mess with this program. I think Layla retains here with a roll up on Beth. And maybe we get Kharma back. or the WWE swerves us again and brings back The Kat instead.


WWE Tag Team Championship: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (c) vs Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger

Its a match for the Tag Team Championship! On PPV! And with, as I like to call them, the "We Have Nothing Else for You to Do" guys. Hey, if the WWE wants to push these guys as regular tag teams then I am all for it. I like tag team wrestling and I really hope that with these 3 hour RAWs that the WWE decides to put a new effort into that division. With these two teams, Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, and of course Primo and Epico, the tag team division could get a shot of life. Take some of the low card guys that have nothing going and pair them up. What's the worst that could happen? You get people to care about guys that they once did not care about?

Three of the four guys in this match all had bright future at one point. And I could even listen to an argument for R-Truth last summer before he was booked so poorly at Captiol Punishment. Jack Swagger won Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania 26, then won the World Title on the next Smackdown, and then was booked about as poorly as you could book a first time World Champion. Dolph Ziggler put on a string of good matches in 2011 and started 2012 in a WWE Title feud with C.M. Punk. Since then he's been losing more than winning and has lost any main event luster he had to start the year. And poor Kofi. A few years ago he looked like the next breakout star in the WWE. Then someone somewhere lost faith in him and he's been a mid-carder ever since. Now he is more of a tag team specialist.

So who wins here? Assuming that the WWE has something in store for A.W., Primo and Epico, it would make sense to have the faces retain the titles. I still think A.W.'s stable needs to add one big time player in order for them to be taken seriously. But for the time being the focus is on Primo and Epico. The faces get the win here.

WINNERS: Kofi & R-Truth

World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4 Way Match: Sheamus (c) vs Alberto del Rio vs Chris Jericho vs Randy Orton

Originally meant to be just Sheamus vs Alberto del Rio, the WWE added Chris Jericho and Randy Orton to this match probably for one reason that they won't admit. Nobody was going to buy Over the Limit to see Sheamus vs Alberto del Rio. So the WWE added more star power to the match by adding two guys who are more over than the guys originally slated to go one-on-one. They did something similar at TLC 2010 when they added Rey Mysterio and Alberto del Rio to the Edge vs Kane TLC Match. I thought they were actually going to have Chris Jericho and Randy Orton go one-on-one, but I guess adding them to this saves that singles match for a later PPV if they want to go that way.

So lets look at the participants in this match individually and discuss their chances of winning the match.

Chris Jericho: I would say out of all 4 participants Jericho is the least likely to win here. Jericho has been somewhat of a disappointment since his big return. He had a good feud with C.M. Punk, but I think his overall return has been lacking. People expected big things from him and now he is just another guy on the WWE roster. Add to the fact that he is more than likely leaving for the early summer to tour with Fozzy, I don't see Jericho walking out World Champion. Odds of Winning- 25:1

Randy Orton: Orton seems to be like a man without any direction. It was almost like he was just thrown into a feud with Kane to give him something to do at Wrestlemania. I tend to like Orton more when he is away from the World Title scene like he has been since the Fall. But sooner or later, Orton deserves another run with the World Title. He's been away from the Title scene long enough. If possible, I would hold off an Orton win until SummerSlam to make it seem more important. You just don't want to see Orton win the Title in a throw away Fatal 4 Way like this one. Actually build up to it first. Odds of Winning- 20:1

Alberto del Rio: When Alberto del Rio returned, there was talk of doing something big with him. But instead, he has been the same old Alberto del Rio as he was when he left. Del Rio needs to add an aggressive side to him. Del Rio seems to be stuck in neutral as a character. It is tough to add anything to him because his character is so defined. A run with the World Title could help Del Rio bring an aggressive side out of him. Doing anything he can to protect his World Title would be an added edge. Odds of Winning- 12:1

Sheamus: I'm sure the WWE didn't exactly have this planned when they made Sheamus the World Champion at Wrestlemania. But Sheamus has suffered from the curse that is the WWE's dumb booking. They did the smart thing by getting Sheamus away from Daniel Bryan, but now they have him in the same match as Randy Orton, who is more than likely to get cheered more than Sheamus. In the beginning, I expected a long World Title run for Sheamus. But I don't even know if that will happen anymore. Sheamus WAS over before his World Title win, but his quick win and subsesquent post-Wrestlemania booking has left a lot to be desired. Odds of Winning- 10-1

So how does this one end? For some reason I really think the WWE will pull the plug rather quickly on Sheamus as World Champion. It is just a hunch I have. Here's the ending sequences: Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick on Jericho but he ducks and walks right into an RKO. Orton then walks into a Codebreaker from Jericho. Jericho in turn gets put in Alberto del Rio's cross armbreaker and taps, giving Alberto del Rio the World Heavyweight Championship.

WINNER: Alberto del Rio

WWE Championship: C.M. Punk (c) vs Daniel Bryan

If there is one thing to see at this PPV, this match is it. These two had a handful of matches together already this year but none of them had any decisive finishes. I would expect this one to finally have a clear winner. Daniel Bryan has gotten over quite well, something I'm sure the WWE wasn't expecting. But since the WWE booked Bryan so poorly at Wrestlemania, fans have begun to gravitate towards Bryan and get behind him, despite the fact that Bryan is suppose to be the heel. I would have never thought that the YES chant would have continued to get over as well as it did. The WWE might have their next breakout main event star in Bryan. They just need to not do what they usually do with guys on the cusp of main event status: screw them up with their terrible booking.

The WWE probably did the best thing possible by putting Bryan against C.M. Punk. I would say Punk might have the most fan support behind him right now. Yes, I know John Cena is around, but he still gets booed by the majority of the older male audience. Punk has the support of pretty much everyone. But C.M. Punk has also dropped off a bit as a rebel face character. Punk is slowly fading into the typical top WWE babyface. Same old tired one liners and phrases. He is starting to lose some of the edge he once had. I think Punk needs to get some of that back. And the sooner he does, the better. Long term, Punk could still be a huge star for the WWE. I think a Punk/Lesnar match could be big money in the future, especially if C.M. Punk can hold on to the WWE Title for a whole year, something that hasn't been done in quite some time.

The wild card in this entire match is A.J. I had almost completely forgotten about her until she interacted with C.M. Punk backstage at RAW. Punk distanced himself from her, which seemed to kind of put her off a bit. I don't know what that means for the match, but I would expect her to somehow get involved. Lets say A.J. goes to trip Punk but accidentally trips Bryan. The distraction gives Punk time to hit the GTS on Bryan and pick up the win, and we get a rematch at No Way Out.


John Cena vs John Laurinaitis

Sadly, we all know that this match will more than likely go on last. Why? Because for some reason, segments involving John Laurinaitis gain ratings points and C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan lose them. Yeah, I don't get it either. I liked John Laurinaitis at the start of his run as a heel authority figure, but his act is starting to grow tiresome. I think it is a simple case of over exposure. Having John Laurinaitis run both shows is too much John Laurinaitis to deal with. He's good in small doses and that is it. Very similar to his counterpart John Cena.

Cena was actually quite tolerable in his program with Brock Lesnar. But the second Cena picked up a mic this week you knew it was downhill. He was at typical annoying Cena level with his constant interrupting of John Laurinaitis. This feud is all stemming from John Laurinaitis not wanting John Cena to be the face of the WWE under his rule. Laurinaitis thought he had his guy in Brock Lesnar, but he was wrong. Cena was able to beat Lesnar, so now he has to beat John Laurinaitis? Yeah, I have no idea why this feud when on like this.

As announced this past Monday, the match can only be won via pinfall or disqualification. And if any WWE contracted wrestler helps Laurinaitis, then they are fired. And if John Laurinaitis loses, he is gone as GM. The contracted wrestle part is important. If anything, it gave away the result of the match. Who just happened to get fired this past Monday? Why yes, the Big Show did. That leaves the door open for Big Show to come back and help Laurinaitis win and get his job back. Whether it is willingly or reluctantly, it seems like the most obvious outcome there is. There's no way that they are changing authority figures this quickly, so Laurinaitis gets the win.

WINNER: John Laurinaitis

My Thoughts on RAW Moving to 3 Hours

Bad. I just don't get the idea. The WWE saw first hand what happened when Nitro moved to 3 hours. It over exposed the entire product and helped the demise of WCW come quicker. If I had more faith in the WWE's booking, I would be all for this move. But the WWE has been struggling to put on good two hour RAWs recently, so why should I think 3 hours will be any better.

If you want to be optimistic, you would hope that there are more 15 minute matches on the show. Get the new fans used to seeing longer matches on TV. Build up more of a backstory and program between two wrestlers. I would like to see more emphasis added to the tag team division as well as the mid-card. Give these guys time to get some exposure on TV. Maybe then, fans will actually care about these guys and help them get a better push up the card.

Another problem I see is if there is a PPV the night before. Will people really want to watch a 3 hour PPV then a 3 hour RAW right after? One idea that I like is moving RAW up and start it at 8 p.m. and have it last til 10. Then, if the WWE Network ever launches, have a one hour recap show afterwards on there. Apparently most people don't think this 3 hour show will last long. I'm one of them.

I will be writing live about Over the Limit this Sunday. Be sure to follow along!

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me @JCWonka

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