Over the Limit, Under Expectations: Over The Limit PPV Review
Imagine you have just been set up on a blind date. Often times, it's your mom that sets you up and you figure the date will be unattractive but have "a good personality" as your mom would find suiting for you. Then, you search your date on facebook and find that she is absolutely stunning, so the date starts seeming like a pretty good idea. Anticipation builds and you start to tell anyone who will listen how exciting it is to be going on a date with such a babe. Then of course, the big day comes, and this babe turns out to be about as much fun as watching flies make love. This is essentially how I felt about the Over the Limit Pay Per View. When first hearing about this new show, I was, as many of us, unsure how it would work given the new propensity for themed Pay Per Views. That uncertainty turned to eager anticipation as the card added more and more intrigue every time another WWE program hit the air (of course, the intrigue built for me every time I READ about the programs that hit the air since I was in Israel unable to watch said programming!). By the time 8 o'clock rolled around last night, I was so excited for this show. For a May PPV, this had the potential to be absolutely epic. Just like the date though, reality fell very short of expectation, as the show disappointed on a lot of levels. While there was some solid wrestling and decent promos, the overall show just fell flat, and even the good matches were spoiled by lousy end results and booking. Perhaps the high expectations were too tough to live up to, though I don't think it would have mattered. This Pay Per View had more misses than hits. In any case, let's examine the first ever Over the Limit Pay Per View.
The show opened up with the Intercontinental title bout between Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre. Decent little match, but that is to be expected with Kofi in the ring. With recent word of Drew being a bit tough to work with, I was impressed with how this match flowed. The ending was a bit of a surprise with Kofi taking the title, and at first, I thought this was a terrible idea. Once the smoke cleared and the dust settled, I realized the possibilities. After the match, Drew called out Teddy Long to reverse the decision and got Matt Hardy instead, who gave him the Twist of Fate. This effectively keeps Drew in a better program that doesn't have to include a title, and opens up the possibilities for Kofi's opponents. Names like Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, and Shad Gaspard come to mind as potential usurpers of the title, and Kofi should be able to have solid programs with any of them. Solid opening match, and even though I was unsuccessful in my prediction, the result sits just fine with me.
Before the next match is the creepy portion of the night, where backstage, Punk is talking to the mirror about his wonders and his minions reassure him of his greatness. It's a bit hard to explain, but just watch the thing because it's quite creepy. It also gave me an uneasy feeling that the WWE would do what it shoudln't and put Rey over.....
The next match though was between R-Truth and the black hole of charisma, Ted Dibiase. The second Ted came out I was reminded of why I've been down on him for the longest time. Since the draft, the guy has been given his father's Million Dollar Belt, his father's valet, a story that should sell itself, and yet when he emerged from the curtains, I still could not bring myself to feel any emotion towards him. Perhaps its his deameanor as he lifelessly makes his way to the ring or his robotic, emotionless ring work that draws my disdain, but in any case, he has drawn my ire and despite picking him to win his match, I am satisfied with the fact that he lost. What I cannot be satisfied with though, is the slow, sloppy match that I witnessed. I could deal with a wrestler lacking charisma, but when 2 wrestlers lack in ring chemistry, the results are not pretty. This is one of those cases. Most disturbing was the finish, which was just utterly out of sync and devoid of storytelling. This might be one of the worst PPV matches I've seen in a long time. I'm actually hoping Dibiase gets buried as a result of this match, because it's pretty clear that his singles run is off to a terrible start.
Interesting backstage segment with Drew McIntyre was next where he basically destroyed Teddy Long's office and said he was more like Martin Luther King than Teddy was. I get that Drew is being established as a bit of a loose cannon with his anger, but the MLK comments were just weird and somewhat unnecessary. It should be interesting to see where McIntyre goes now that he is no longer a belt holder, though.
The next match was the epitome of what was wrong with this PPV. In the culmination of a great feud, Rey Mysterio took on CM Punk with the stipulations being that Rey must join the Straight Edge Society with a loss while Punk would get his head shaved if he lost. The series was tied at 1 win apiece, and Punk's society had recently gained a 4th masked member. With Rey Mysterio the proven veteran and Punk the growing heel, all the pieces were in place for Punk and his Society to get a major push as a heel faction with a win and converting a popular superstar. That would not happen, however, as after what I judged to be the match of the night, Rey won on a lousy looking rollup counter. What's worse is that when it looked like the Society would prevent the head shaving by using their power in numbers, Kane came out and took out all the other members, leaving Mysterio free to handcuff and then shave Punk. Forget the fact that the last interaction Kane had with Rey was literally trying to kill him, the fact that anyone came out to help and the fact that Rey prevails in a 4 on 1 feud is utterly assinine. Rey had nothing to gain with a victory while Punk and his society had everything to lose. Where will the society go from here? If they can't successfully bully a dude smaller than his 12 year old son, who can they bully? The booking decision really took the wind out of the sails for me, but let's not completely lose sight of the fact that this was the best match of the night. I commend Punk and Mysterio for putting on a great match, but I cannot support creative's decision to once again have Mysterio go over a rising star, effectively halting a great push.
Interesting little backstage segment next with Big Show and his 2 former partners. I think this was shot for a little comedy and to get Big Show over more as a face, but I could have done without it, even if it was somewhat entertaining.
At this point in the night, I was 0-3 in my picks and the defeatist attitude was kicking in. I just as soon figured that Murphy's law was kicking in and everything would just go wrong. Luckily, the Hart Dynasty bailed me out as they had a pretty solid tag bout with Jericho and Miz and actually picked up the win! Granted, they picked up the win with the poorest Hart Attack I've seen them do, but I was still entertained by the match and glad the Harts got this big win. Beating two fringe main eventers on Pay Per View does wonders for their credibility and Miz and Jericho don't lose an ounce of credibility as a result. Finally some good came of this PPV......
After one solid match came the match I figured to steal the show. Randy Orton vs. Edge was a dream matchup for many and these two excellent workers figured to steal the show. For the time being, they did a fine job of entertaining, but an injury to Orton derailed the planned finish and stopped the hearts of every WWE fan in attendance and at home. Orton is the hottest thing going right now, and any length of time he could miss would be absolutely devastating to both him and the fans. From the looks of it (and I've watched the footage 5-6 times), it is a shoulder injury, so the hope is that it is merely a separated shoulder that can be popped back into place, limiting the time Orton could be out of action. In either case, a great match had to be cut short, yet again epitomizing that anything great on this Pay Per View had a grey cloud hanging overhead.
From a match with extremely high expectations, we went next to a match with very little expectation. For the World Heavyweight Championship, Jack Swagger defended against Big Show. The only way this was going to work was if Swagger got creative and figured out how to beat the giant, thus giving him credibility for a victory over a larger opponent and not burying Show for losing cleanly to a greenhorn. What happened was pretty much the opposite. After a lackluster match that the crowd was dead for, the ending came when Swagger used the title belt to hit Big Show in the head right in front of the referee. That's right, Swagger didn't even TRY to be coneiving or heady to do it behind the refs back to lead to a pinfall victory, he did it blatantly in the referees face to get disqualified. That is your champion WANTING to get disqualified and essentially admitting defeat. The thing is, I might have been ok with it had Swagger followed it up by beating the living hell out of Big Show and left him laying, but that didn't happen either. After a tepid beatdown, Show made his comeback and chokeslammed Swagger onto a chair and then hit the knockout punch. The conclusion is that the champion blatantly cheated to get disqualified, epically failed at giving his opponent a beatdown, and was left laying despite maintaining his title. Not exactly a way to make your champion look strong, though I don't think most people cared to begin with.
Next was a Batista interview where he vowed to make Cena quit, which basically ensured that he would lose. In case you haven't noticed, if a guy cuts a promo like that the night of a big fight, he generally loses (see Punk and Big Show). What's weirder is that they did this interview now and not after the Divas title match.
As for that Divas match, it wasn't half bad. Short and sweet, Eve got the win after her sit-on-the-head-and-drive-down finisher thing. Eve got to showcase some athleticism, and even if the match was a little sloppy, it wasn't a terrible Divas effort. I'm glad they kept the title on Eve despite being so high on Maryse. It's good to see that Eve is at least getting some chance to showcase herself before Maryse inevitably gets the title back and Eve goes back to being buried.
So we finally make it to the main event. Remember how I said that a grey cloud hovered over the sunshine of each good match? In this case, it was a pasty white cloud. Though not the greatest "I quit" match of all time, there were enough solid spots to keep the fan's attention throughout. From powerslams through announce tables to being thrown off railings in the 200 section of the arena, these men battled well to entertain. The match drew to a close on the entrance stage where Batista was slammed onto a car that sat there, and as he was picked up for another Attitude Adjustment, this time from the top of the car, Batista emphatically yelled "I QUIT I QUIT I QUIT!!!" Even with that bellow, Cena's disdain for Batista led him to Attitude Adjust Batista off the car through the stage anyway. This was a great spot and would have been a great ending the the Pay Per View, but of course, that was not to be the ending. As Cena celebrated his great victory, he was kicked in the head by Sheamus right before Over the Limit went off the air. Nevermind the fact that the next PPV is FATAL FOUR WAY so building a singles rivalry now is ridiculous, but the ending was perfect with Cena's throw and celebration. This was the perfect way to fade to black, but instead, we faded to pale white. I understand that Sheamus wasn't on the card, but let him try and interfere in the match if you want. Dont' ruin a perfectly good ending with the same move he always does. It really killed the end of the Pay Per View for me and justified my disdain for creative on this night.
For a show that had so much potential, I really felt let down. Perhaps that is unfair given that the most anticipated match ended early due to injury, but my distate comes more from substandard booking than anything else. I really hope WWE has some good ideas to move forward with, because this show fell short on so many levels. Starting with Raw, they need to bounce back strong, but more than anything else, they need to hope Randy Orton is healthy. Losing him at this point would be absolutely devastating, almost as devastating as this Pay Per View. Yep, I had to take that last shot. Here's hoping improvement is on the horizon for the WWE.