-So here’s the scoop: For the first time since October, when Bound For Glory was rock solid compared to two average WWE offerings, TNA may have the undisputed better PPV of the month. This is, of course, disqualifying March, when TNA had the ONLY PPV, of course. Sacrifice last night was pretty much “eye-openingly good”, with two excellent matches (Aries-Bully, Angle-Styles), and three pretty good ones (Hardy-Anderson, RVD-Roode, Tag Title match). Factor in an unusually-receptive Orlando crowd, and it’s far and away TNA’s best PPV of the year to date. Then it’s revealed that Hogan, Bischoff, and Dixie had no fingerprints on this particular production, which just prompts a collective round of “Oh, well THAT’S why!” from the IWC. Note to TNA: you can develop positive word-of-mouth with a better product. If that’s what you’re capable of without WCW’s assassins around, imagine what you can do long term without their interference.
-In other words, unless Punk/Bryan is the alpha and the omega of five star matches, I see TNA winning this month, as nothing else at Over the Limit is really holding my attention. But hey, maybe I’ll be surprised again?
-Live from Pittsburgh, where Peter Laviolette never loses (especially this time of year, on their many golf courses).
Opening Segment: The Six-Million-Dollar Triple H
I would have laughed if a fan slapped Hunter’s elbow, just to see if he’d sell. Hunter says he’s ‘offended’ by Lesnar, with the claim that he was going to bring ‘legitimacy’ back to WWE. Especially since he and Undertaker seemed fairly legitimate the day before Lesnar came back. Hunter lists off champions of the past, including the Voldemort-like Savage and Sammartino, that would be offended by Lesnar’s claim. Hunter then claims that Lesnar quit when he was truly tested by opponents? Errr, that’s not how I remember it happening. And then Lesnar quit UFC after he got beat, because it was hard. I dunno, beating Shane Carwin and Frank Mir isn’t easy, Trips. Hunter spins some more reality, which causes Lesnar’s music to hit. Of course, it’s Heyman instead, along with another suit. Heyman calls out Triple H on his BS, and then goes back to the kayfabe speak by pointing out that Triple H breached Lesnar’s demands, blah blah blah. The unnamed man hands Hunter a slew of papers, which Heyman claims is a lawsuit for the breaching. LEMME JUST ORDER SUMMERSLAM NOW! THEY CAN HAVE A TRIAL INSTEAD OF A FIGHT TO THE DEATH! GRIPPING! Heyman spouts off some more, so Hunter accosts him with one arm, because he’s such a bad ass. Then Hunter flings the papers at Heyman and gets all throaty. So now Heyman’s suing for assault.
Segment Rating: 3/10. I don’t know about you, but I sure tune in to see legal jargon, threat of lawsuit, and endlessly fake chatter, instead of compelling action and intriguing characters.
-Recap of the Show/Laurinaitis/Eve saga. We’re off to a rip-roaring start, boy howdy.
Match 1: CM Punk/Santino Marella vs. Daniel Bryan/Cody Rhodes
The crowd is so happy to see Punk, cheering out of jubilant relief, after that opening snoozefest. And I LOVE Heyman, but geez, what a clunker. Considerable pop for D-Bry’s entrance, and plenty of yeses. Betcha WWE wishes this was the show where they could use the crowd sweetener. Rhodes and Punk start off with Punk doing some manhandling, trying to coax Rhodes into tagging Bryan, who has none of it. Lotta yeses as Rhodes and Punk wrestle away. Rhodes gets tossed to the floor, and Punk backdrops Bryan onto him. Then Punk follows with a headfirst suicide dive, and Marella hurts himself on an attempt of his own. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. This takes us to commercial, and we return with Rhodes putting the hurt on Marella. Tag is made to Bryan, who may as well be the biggest babyface in the company. Corner dropkick gets two on Santino. Lawler chastises the crowd for cheering Bryan, which explains the company’s viewpoint nicely. Bryan works the arm of Santino, as the crowd has become more fun to watch than the paint-by-numbers match. Tag to Rhodes, who grounds Santino with a slam and a kneedrop. Marella, however, manages a hot tag (after a comedic flop), and Punk tears Rhodes apart while beckoning Bryan. High roundhouse knocks Rhodes through a loop, and Punk runs Bryan off. That allows Punk to hit the GTS for the win. And here I thought Bryan would pin Punk in the name of even-steven booking.
WINNERS: CM Punk/Santino Marella via Go to Sleep
Rating: 6/10. Nice to see the secondary champions are just fodder to the main eventers. Decent match at any rate, as you may expect.
–Cheap Plug: If you want a laugh, here’s a look at tweets through wrestling history, had Twitter existed. If you like em, lemme know! http://bluebarcage.blogspot.com/2012/05/epic-tweets-through-wrestling-history_14.html
Match 2: Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix
Oooh, a Divas match! Yeah, I got a minute. Alicia does….something headscissors thingie in the corner and gets laid out. Layla’s on the ramp in hooker boots, thus making my night a little better. Military press drops Alicia, and Glam Slam finishes seconds later. Beth tries to assault further, and Layla makes the save.
WINNER: Beth Phoenix via Glam Slam
Rating: 1/10. I wrote the ending before it even happened. I feel so smart.
-John Cena/Make-a-Wish puff piece. Cena’s wife should convince one of those Make-a-Wish kids to ask John to rescind the pre-nup.
-Everyone, put down your drinks: Zack Ryder and Kane will be on the Over the Limit pre-show! THEY’RE FINALLY GOING TO BEGIN RYDER’S PUSH BY HAVING HIM BEAT KANE IN SUCH A BIG MATCH! Or not.
-More recap of Laryngitis-Gate. This is only significant because Eve appears to have ass implants, which is about all that’s keeping me interested in this.
Match 3: Big Show vs. Kane
Good to see Otunga back after the Hudson family trial. Also, nice to see Laurinaitis stealing Teddy Long’s best ideas by sticking someone he hates in there with Kane. Lockup leads to a standing switch, and the two actually mat wrestle. I check the contents of my Pepsi to see if it’s been tainted. Show hammers away and beals Kane out of the corner, waking the crowd up just a little bit. Cole: “Show has spent almost two decades in WWE” Yeah, that Big Show-Ludvig Borga feud tore up the house show circuit. Kane takes over while I recoiled at Cole’s misquote, but ends up taking a shoulder block and scoop slam. Show goes to the middle rope, but misses the pump splash. Kane comes off with a diving chokeslam attempt, but Show catches a throttle and clotheslines Kane to the floor. Kane goes into the barricade, and Show spears him on the floor. Laurinaitis distracts Show by demanding an apology, allowing Kane to win with the worst chokeslam ever.
WINNER: Kane via Worst Chokeslam Ever
Rating: 3/10. It was better than the KOTR 1999 and Backlash 2006, that’s for sure.
-Laurinaitis demands the apology, and Show gives an emotional speech about loving what he does for a living. Crowd actually chants “BIG SHOW” for what may be a legit first. Show then apologizes, but Laurinaitis milks it. So then Laurinaitis makes him beg. If this angle wasn’t so stupid and throwaway, it’d be great just for the display of emotion on Show’s behalf. Show tries to resist, and the crowd is hanging on every moment. Show goes to take a knee, but stops. He asks Laurinaitis to call off this act, and Laurinaitis angrily takes it under advisement. He gets to the stage, turns, and is about to fire Show, who drops to his knees and breaks down, apologizing to an unrepentant Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis fires him anyway. Show cries more as we head to break.
Segment Rating: 10/10. I said before that the angle is pretty lame, but Show’s acting was genuinely awesome. Maybe Show in 2012 will be like Mark Henry in 2011 where he experiences a renaissance.
-Nice bit of acting from Cole, as we return from break and Lawler gives a somber rebuke of Laurinaitis’ actions, and Cole wants to agree, but his love of the boss won’t let him. Subtle?
Match 4: Ghana Funking Get Got vs. The Miz Jack Dolph
Nothing lifts the mood after the Show segment like quality booty in green spandex. Truth and Swagger open, and Clay gets a quick tag, cleaning house of all three heels. Tag Champs clothesline Miz out as we hit commercial. We reset with Ziggler chinlocking Truth with a headstand, and we get AW with his clientele all sitting in a skybox. Finally, something for the midcard, even if I hate Mason Ryan. Miz gets the tag and works over former partner Truth with a facelock. Miz takes a moment to strike Clay, and ends up taking a Truth side kick. Tag is made to Kingston, who goes all CONTROLLED FRENZY on Miz. SOS gets two, as Jack Dolph comes….in for the save. Miz eats Trouble in Paradise, and Clay lands a big splash to end it.
WINNERS: Ghana Funking Get Got via big splash
Rating: 4/10. Average midcard fare. But between them and the AW clients, at least Raw feels like it has a midcard again.
Match 5: Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho
Sheamus is on commentary without an interpreter. I’m waiting for Sheamus to say, “Vince, yer gunna hafta speak upp, this headset is malfunk-shenning, fella.” Cole stirs the pot about Sheamus attacking Orton, who speak of the devil dropkicks Jericho, and then clotheslines him to the floor as we hit an early commercial. Lotta ill-timed ad breaks tonight. We return with Jericho holding a chinlock, Orton’s specialty. Jericho lands a slingshot splash for 2. Sheamus tells Cole, “Yer yoosless”, which rings true in any accent. Orton regains control with clotheslines and the snap slam, followed by the O-Zone backbreaker. Jericho counters the hanging DDT by backdropping Orton right out in front of the announce table. I think I see where this is going! Indeed, Jericho whips Orton into Sheamus, taking both men down. Orton gets sent back in, but catches Jericho re-entering, and hits the hanging DDT after all. Orton sets up for the RKO, but Sheamus pulls Jericho out and assaults him for the DQ. Orton is pissed, and he and the champ argue. Orton and Sheamus re-enter the ring and go to fight, but officials separate them.
WINNER: Chris Jericho via DQ
Rating: 5/10. Decent, but paint-by-numbers. Just a commercial for Sunday, minus Del Rio.
-Orton vs. Sheamus is now scheduled for Smackdown. Free TV matches and PPV matches being the same, low buyrates, yeah, they’re not connected.
Talk Segment: Laurinaitis and Cena
Laurinaitis starts with an apology, because he’s sorry for those who like Cena, because they are losers. He kinda has a point. Laurinaitis: “I am better than The Rock and Brock combined.” Yeah, let’s see THEM rock the mullet! Because the world needs losers. Out comes Cena, who shows us that the arm is now 100% after dangling like a noodle 15 days ago. Cena sniffs the boss, and calls it “desperation.” Back with the goofy promos, I see. Though Cena DOES call him a douchebag, which isn’t exactly child-friendly. Laurinaitis couldn’t get Punk removed as champion, or have Brock beat Cena at Extreme Rules, so he must not be much of a winner. Cena annoyingly rips off the Ace Ventura “LOSER” bit, but thankfully he doesn’t talk out of his ass. Well, any more than usual. Laurinaitis guarantees himself a spot on Botchamania by corpsing. Cena polls the fans, and they want Laurinaitis dead. And a YES chant breaks out, just because the fans hate the front office. Then Cena sucks up to Pittsburgh, just to drag this out further. Then we get more of the loser bit. Can we get Punk-Bryan hype instead? This segues into a Pittsburgh Penguins sighting in the audience, and a lame puck pun. Eve saves this segment by walking out dressed like the world’s sluttiest office worker, and nervously gives Laurinaitis a document. Cena snatches it, and it’s from the board of directors. Basically, it just says it will be a clean, straight-up match, with no chicanery. Oh, and if Laurinaitis loses, he’s fired. Laurinaitis slaps Cena as his only rebuke, and he angrily walks off.
Segment Rating: 2/10. Holy crap on a stick did that drag worse than a pantless John Holmes. Twenty minutes for that?
OVERALL: Mostly a throwaway show, save for Big Show’s unexpected great acting moment and a decent opening tag match. Other than that, I don’t have much faith in Over the Limit outside of Punk/Bryan.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.