In the wake of WWE's Over the Limit pay-per-view, a new Intercontinental champion has been crowned, four other champions continue to hold onto their titles and John Laurinaitis remains employed.
Sunday night's show delivered an evening of quality entertainment and good in-ring performances. On a non-major PPV event, WWE delivered a product that surpassed the expectations of many.
Here's a match-by-match look at the show:
This last-minute addition to the card was a means of crowning a No. 1 contender for one of the midcard titles. The returning Christian gained some early momentum, last eliminating The Miz. For the most part, this was standard fair for a battle royale. Some stories were established, such as Titus O'Neil and Darren Young mixing it up and sharing eliminations with The Usos, and others were rekindled, such as The Miz and Alex Riley facing off. The ending few minutes featured some quality action, but in the end, the right man won.
Result: Christian won the battle royale
WWE Tag Team Championship
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
This match was the first time in 2012 that the tag titles have been defended on pay-per-view, but hopefully it won't be the last. These two teams work extremely well together, and they put on a good match that was given time to play out. There were some good false finishes that really made it seem as if new champions could be crowned, but in the end, Kofi reversed a splash to the corner from Ziggler into the Trouble in Paradise for the victory. Seeing matches like this only makes one wonder even more why the tag division is treated so lowly by WWE brass.
Result: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
Layla (c) vs. Beth Phoenix
For many, this might have been the surprise of the night. The match went more than six minutes (considered long for a WWE divas match) and featured good psychology, as Phoenix continued to work over the injured knee of the champion. These two put together a good match that saw Layla reverse the Glam Slam into a roll-up. They would exchange rolling covers from there before Layla would nail a neckbreaker out of nowhere to score a pin. A lot of fans are clamoring for a Kharma return, but Layla's reign seems to have legs, and a rematch with Phoenix would be a welcome addition.
Result: Layla retains the Divas Championship
World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio
This match was a lot of fun. It won't go down in history as a classic or an epic contest by any means, but it featured a lot of good spots and each man had his chance to shine. The early goings featured Sheamus vs. Orton, playing off their recent turmoil, and the heels working together to keep the champ out of the action. As things wound down, every man got to hit his signature moves, leading to an all-out finishers for everyone ending that saw Sheamus hit White Noise on Jericho for the pin. After the match, the cameras showed a close-up of Orton's face, so it seems likely that we may be seeing a renewed Orton vs. Sheamus feud moving forward.
Result: Sheamus retains the World Heavyweight Championship
Brodus Clay vs. The Miz
The Miz came to the ring and declared himself a better dancer than Clay. He proceeded to show off his moves by performing the "Thriller" dance. Clay, apparently not amused, came to the ring for an unannounced match. This was the low point so far on the pay-per-view. Maybe it's just me, but the Funkasaurus act is running its course; at least as long as all we continue to get are extended squash victories. This match was at least a good cool down at the mid-point of the show.
Result: Brodus Clay d. The Miz
Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Christian
Christian's momentum continued, as he dethroned Rhodes as the new Intercontinental Champion. They put together a good match, and the ending came as a surprise, as a dirty finish to create a longer feud seemed like the safe bet. It will be interesting to see how long this feud continues, and if Rhodes will ultimately move up the card now, as fans have been begging for. Regardless, Christian is a good veteran to anchor the Smackdown midcard. He's much better suited for that role than the Big Show.
Result: Christian won the Intercontinental Championship
CM Punk (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
The fact this match garnered "This is awesome" chants from the crowd speaks for itself. While a simple arm drag or drop kick will garner those cheers from the crowd at any given independent wrestling show, it's a rarity to hear at WWE shows. These two put together a great match, just like everyone expected, but they left plenty of room for things to continue and for a rematch. The finish saw Punk roll the Yes Lock into a pin, but right after the ref counted three, Punk started tapping out. Sounds like Bryan has cause for a rematch, and to that, the fans will surely respond, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" The absence of AJ's presence was also an intriguing development to this story, which is another indication of them continuing to work together. But as great as the action in the ring was, the highlight was seeing Punk use Bryan's classic "I have till five" quote with the referee.
Result: CM Punk retained the WWE Championship
Ryback vs. Camacho
Another unannounced cool-down match between the WWE Championship match and main event, this was a typical Ryback squash. Don't quote me on it, but it may have also be Camacho's singles debut in WWE. Not much else to say. This was exactly what you would expect it to be.
Result: Ryback d. Camacho
John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis
This will be the match that gets the most heat from the Internet crowd, hands down. The booking was predictable, with Big Show interfering, turning heel and helping Laurinaitis win. That said, I enjoyed this match. I liked the comedy in the beginning and I thought they did a good job putting it together. I take issue with this being the main event, an honor that should have gone to Punk and Cena rather than this match. This pretty much ensures that we'll now get Cena battling Big Show, and it will be interesting to see if this turn can bring renewed interest to Show's career, as he's floundered recently in his feud with Rhodes. While many will rip this match to shreds, I enjoyed it. I just would have liked it much better as a semi-main event than the show closer.
Result: John Laurinaitis d. John Cena
Christian won a battle royale
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth d. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
Layla d. Beth Phoenix
Sheamus d. Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio
Brodus Clay d. The Miz
Christian d. Cody Rhodes
CM Punk d. Daniel Bryan
Ryback d. Camacho
Over the Limit surpassed expectations in many ways. This could have easily become a throwaway pay-per-view to fill a hole between WrestleMania and SummerSlam, but instead, it was a well-rounded show that featured a number of quality matches. The storytelling was simple, and predictable in many ways, but it worked. While this show would have been easy to pass, fans should be regretful if they did.
Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents and All American Pro Wrestling to bring you From the Rafters Radio, a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net.