The WWE will try and do the unthinkable and pull off three solid pay per view events in a row. While Over the Limit 2012 won’t have Brock Lesnar or The Rock to rely on, it will have a WWE championship match that has the potential to become an early candidate for Match of the Year.
John Laurinaitis vs. John Cena… Laurinaitis is fired if he loses the match
I have to admit that 23 years ago when I watched John Laurinaitis get booed out of the Philadelphia Civic Center (I was one of those boo birds) at Halloween Havoc 1989 that I never in my wildest imagination would have guessed that on a card that he would be headlining a WWE pay per view in 2012. Maybe there is hope for Abraham Washington come 2035 after all?
Here is the deal on Laurinaitis. I watched many Johnny Ace matches as a teenager and young adult from his days as a flag carrier for the Sheepherders, to wrestling undercard in Florida, to the Dynamic Dudes, to his most successful run as a tag team wrestler in All Japan. Laurinaitis was very good in All Japan, damned good if I can say that. However, that was many moons ago in a different era, environment, and with different opponents. I do not expect that guy to show up at Over the Limit, but the foundation is certainly there.
It is an interesting dilemma here that the WWE has. Do they let Laurinaitis actually work a competitive match with Cena similar to how they let Michael Cole shine at WrestleMania 27 against Jerry Lawler or do they make this a one-sided squash similar to Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon? It would be hard to believe that Cena barely survived a whipping from Brock Lesnar and yet still struggled with a CEO who hasn’t wrestled in over a decade. Yet once again Laurinaitis does have the foundation to get in there and do some fun things against Cena.
I predict a fairly one-sided squash match out of Cena. Cena has not looked real strong in a long time. I don’t think anyone under the age of 30 that never saw Johnny Ace in Japan would believe anything different. As for the finish, well there is a stipulation here that says any WWE superstar that interferes will be immediately fired. The logical finish here would see The Big Show interfere on Laurinaitis’ behalf after Show got fired on Monday. Logic would also have had Cena going over at WrestleMania and losing to Lesnar at Extreme Rules so I will buck the system here and ignore the obvious. I think somehow, someway, through someone’s interference Laurinaitis wins the match and sets up some kind of cage match at No Way Out.
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE championship
The IWC have been licking their chops since Bryan won the Beat the Clock challenge a few weeks back to earn this shot. Bryan and Punk are no strangers to each other and wrestled against each other several times leading up to WrestleMania 28. I enjoyed every match with each bout leaving me wanting more. I will finally get that on Sunday at Over the Limit.
I don’t think this one requires a lengthy preview. Let’s face it. We all expect a very good-great match on Sunday. I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about the possibility of these two getting a solid thirty minutes on pay per view. I will note that Punk has disappointed me in such obvious big spots delivering good to very good matches but never pulling off that great one. It won’t get much easier for him than this Sunday night.
I am going to go out on a big limb here and predict a new WWE champion Sunday and the start of a lengthy program between Punk and Bryan. As I stated earlier, WWE booking tends to stay away from the obvious and in this situation, the obvious winner is Punk. Bryan is hot right now, red hot. If the merchandising numbers add up right thanks to the “Yes” t-shirts, Bryan could find himself on top for a nice run. I predict Bryan wins and we get the start of a fun program through SummerSlam 2012.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton in a Fatal Four-Way Match for the WWE world heavyweight championship
This one was originally scheduled as Del Rio vs. Sheamus and was changed two weeks ago. I generally get frustrated when the WWE change main-events that close to the show but the change here gives the match a big boost. I have no problem with a Fatal Four-Way that features four good to very good workers on a WWE pay per view.
Randy Orton is finally back in the main-event picture as he was added to the match a couple of weeks ago (a good idea since he was advertised on the poster). I am shocked it took this long and while I know he has many critics online, I think the push is well deserved. Quite frankly I would love to see him and Sheamus have a singles program resulting in Orton winning the title. If this is the first step to that match and feud, I think it is a welcome start.
I don’t foresee any title change in this one. All accounts indicate that the WWE is committed to giving Sheamus a good push as the WWE world champion. While I do think some of the crowd has turned on him a bit, I think he has done a fantastic job in the role as SmackDown’s top dog. I’d say the most shocking result here would be Chris Jericho winning, especially since he went 0-2 against Punk. I look forward to a fun match that on any other night could steal the show.
WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis
WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler
WWE Divas Champion Layla vs. Beth Phoenix
Zack Ryder vs. Kane