PNC ARENA, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
20 MAY, 2012
Hello wrestling fans and welcome to the 2012 Over The Limit event, from Raleigh, North Carolina. Tonight sees the General Manager of Raw and Smackdown, John Laurinaitis, attempt to personally take WWE favourite John Cena out of the picture. Elsewhere on the card, CM Punk defends his WWE Championship against Daniel ‘YES! YES! YES!’ Bryan, and Sheamus‘ World Heavyweight Championship could be in dire peril as he faces off against Jericho, Del Rio AND The Viper, Randy Orton. We appear to cut straight to the action during a People Power Battle Royale (it seems the PPV has either begun early, or Sky Sports weren’t really on the ball)…providing us with commentary tonight are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T.
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL OR UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP NO.1 CONTENDER 20-MAN PEOPLE POWER BATTLE ROYALE
Taking part in the battle royale tonight are David Otunga, Tyson Kidd, Christian, Alex Riley, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, William Regal, The Not-So-Great Khali, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, The Miz, Ezekiel Jackson, Jinder Mahal, Tyle Reks, Drew McIntyre, Curt Hawkins, Michael McGillicutty, JTG and Yoshi Tatsu. Perhaps this was an unplanned match, as Cole makes some reference to the pre-show, but I think that was when the match was planned. Slater takes a big tumble from the ring and is eliminated, as is Michael McGillicutty after he attempts to clamber to the top rope. It’s a bit like a Royal Rumble this, and JTG exits the match after being kicked in the face on the ring apron. Tatsu goes soon after thanks to a suplex from McIntyre, but lands really badly on his ankle and looks to be in a lot of pain. Jackson tries to dump Hawkins over the rope, but Reks and Hawkins team up and dump him out. Darren Young goes over the top rope but hangs on, and Jey Uso is tossed out. I’m hoping Regal does well here – I feel he deserves a bit more from his later years with the company. Drew McIntyre is next out, but he can’t really be too surprised at being eliminated. Hawkins and Reks are chucked over and put out of the match, as is Jinder Mahal, thanks to Khali. The ring is thinning out now, and Khali hangs on despite the attentions of The Miz and Young. Khali delivers a fearsome chop to Darren Young on the ropes, and Young and O’Neil manage to eliminate Khali. I think favourites right now for the win are Christian, The Miz and possibly Otunga. Jimmy Uso eliminates Titus O’Neil with a big kick, and there’s much talk over which title will be defended later on tonight. Darren Young takes out Jimmy Uso, and we’re down to seven men left. Aww, Regal is thrown out by Christian, who gets a chorus of boos for his efforts. Christian takes a rest in the corner of the ring, and Alex Riley eventually takes Young out (who makes a bit of a meal of being dropkicked over the ropes). Miz faces off against Riley, his former protege, and manages to eliminate him with a smirk. Christian is rammed shoulder first into the ring post by Otunga, as Kidd does a number on Miz. Kidd then delivers a gorgeous double dropkick to Miz and Otunga, and is eliminated by Otunga and Miz when they all get caught up in the ropes. Miz, Otunga and Christian face off against each other, sizing each other up. Otunga and Miz again team up and wear down Captain Charisma, who is back in his first competition since he re-injured his shoulder. We could be looking at either Otunga or Miz winning this, as they now both try to take Christian out. Christian takes Otunga out after he tries to powerslam him over the ropes, and Christian is left to compete with The Miz. Christians is in danger on the ring apron, as Miz tries to force him out, but can’t. Christian wins the championship opportunity after shoulder charging Miz on the apron, and takes the win!
WINNER OF BATTLE ROYALE: CHRISTIAN
And to the winner, comes the spoils – Christian gets to choose which title he wishes to compete for. It seems he’s chosen the US title, and Santino Marella as his opponent. Cody looks delighted that he has the evening off. Cole tells us that he feels it’s a travesty that John Laurinaitis’ job is on the line tonight, and he has to win or his employment with WWE will end. We get a build up to their match later on, which tells us Laurinaitis uses his extensive wrestling background to provide leadership for the company. John Cena chimes in with how he’s nothing more than a corporate jackass who deserves to get a bit of a kicking. Ah well, we’ll see what transpires later. To add to the confusion, the official opening credits of Over The Limit hits, which leads me to think even more that what we just saw was part of the pre-show. While we’re at it, it’s worth mentioning Kane beat Zack Ryder as part of the same pre-show segment, but that wasn’t on TV.
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: DOLPH ZIGGLER & JACK SWAGGER (W/ VICKIE GUERRERO) VS. KOFI KINGSTON & R-TRUTH (CHAMPIONS)
Vickie Guerrero enters and gets our attention with her delightful dulcet tones, and introduces who she believes will be the next WWE Tag Team champions. Disappointingly, they’re still not using a team name such as The Show Offs, or even Zig-Swag, which I thought would’ve been a bit of a shoe-in, really. But no. It’s still just Swagger & Ziggler. So there you go. Swagger and Kofi kick things off, with Swagger using his amateur background to take Kofi down. Tonight’s PPV is being shown in the United Arab Emirates as well, if you needed to know. Kofi has taken the upper hand now, but is taken down with a shoulder charge. Kofi springs around like a jumping jack however, and gets an early pin attempt in. A double hiptoss from Kofi and Truth sees Truth tag in, and hit a rather laboured spinning legdrop. Swagger, his recent side-parting hairstyle and all, is now being dragged aroudnd the ring in an arm lock by Truth, who is then lured to the opposing corner where Ziggler tags in. Truth still takes it to him however, and Kofi comes back in and clotheslines Ziggler for a two count. Ziggler hits a nice reverse belly to back suplex and tags Swagger back in. He chokes Kofi on the ropes, and Ziggler gets a nice illegal move in. Kofi is now trapped in the wrong corner, but comes out fighting, only to get put down in the middle of the ring in an arm bar. Guerrero is screaming herself hoarse on the outside, as Swagger hits a belly to belly suplex but then misses a leg drop, as Kofi tags Truth back in, who takes it to Swagger with a diving forearm and an inverted suplex. Guerrero tries to distract the referee, which allows Swagger to dump Truth into the turnbuckle and land a splash off the ropes. Ziggler is back in now and stomps on Truth, before landing a well aimed elbow to the chest. The referee amusingly tells Guerrero to ‘knock it off’ as she continues screeching. Ziggler and Swagger double team Truth, and Ziggler hits a great neckbreaker, but still Truth can’t be pinned. Truth really needs to tag out now, but Ziggler certainly won’t give him the chance easily. Ziggler tries for another neckbreaker but Truth reverses it into backslide, but can’t get the three count. Swagger is back in, and goes back to the submission moves to wear Truth down. Truth fights out of their corner, landing blows on Ziggler and Swagger both, but walks into a double team move from the challengers. A two count is all Ziggler can get, and Swagger is getting annoyed on the ouside, obviously feeling they’ve done enough. Hilariously, Swagger’s hair is all over the place now, and he looks a bit like a 1980s Toyah Wilcox. Vickie screams at Ziggler to ‘finish him!!’ which he doesn’t as Truth gets back to his feet and rolls Ziggler up for a close fall. This match has been rather slow to be fair, not much of a spark to speak of. Swagger is tagged in for about the fortieth time, and sits Truth on the top rope. He reverses the move Swagger had in mind and DDT’s him off the turnbuckle. Both men now crawl to their corners, with Truth getting the tag first, as Kofi explodes off the ropes and levels Ziggler with some passion. Kofi is really fired up and lands the Boom Drop with authority, before signalling for Trouble In Paradise. He misses, but does manage to hit a springboard cross body block off the ropes. Swagger gets taken over the top rope with a head scissors from Kofi, and Ziggler lands a Fame Asser leg drop to get a two count, which Truth breaks up. Truth knocks Swagger off the apron and dives on him, and inside the ring, Kofi connects with a huge Trouble In Paradise and pins Ziggler to end the match with a pin!
WINNERS BY PINFALL: KOFI KINGSTON & R-TRUTH (TITLES RETAINED)
Backstage, Eve is with Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins. She’s telling them to go into the crowd and confiscate signs or banners that might be offensive to John Laurinaitis. Otunga comes along and basically says whatever it was Eve just said. Thanks, then.
WWE DIVA‘S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: BETH PHOENIX VS. LAYLA (CHAMPION)
Beth comes out looking rather scary, or maybe she’s angry that she was not able to take part recently in Diva‘s competition due to an injury. Beth now has her chance to take the title from Layla, who for those at the back has waltzed back into WWE after a year off, and took the title shortly before the Bella twins were sacked. I’ll indulge you with this match, even though it’ll doubtless be tiresome. Seriously, the women’s division in WWE does need a lot of work, although to be fair, Beth and Layla are two of the less Barbie-doll looking ladies, and some of Beth’s moves do look quite nasty. Saying that, both girls seem intent on making me look silly as there’s some requisite hair pulling and screaming, which all good Diva’s matches should have. Layla botches a springboard off the turnbuckles to hit a cross body on Beth, but perhaps that’s due to her being off for ages. Beth does connect with quite a nice move on Layla’s knee, and then bashes it off the ring post, which Layla sells well. In a bid to get Beth off her, Layla punches Beth…in the leg. A dead leg is a move I’ve not seen in wrestling, ladies or men’s, for quite a while. Beth is loving this now as she concentrates on Layla’s knee, and continues to deliver offence in that area for the next couple of minutes. Layla gets back into the match though, before Beth hoists her up, but Layla reverses the intended gorilla press slam into an ad-hoc DDT. Beth kicks out of the pin attempt, and Michael Cole tells us that #DivasChampionship is trending WORLDWIDE on Twitter…really? At the match’s climax, Layla kicks Beth in the guts and hits a neckbreaker to win the match. Really? Bit sudden.
The crowd look as bewildered and unconvinced as I do.
WINNER BY PINFALL: LAYLA (TITLE RETAINED)
Great moment there where, on leaving the ring, Layla skips quite merrily up the ramp, then remembers that for the previous 5-6 minutes, her knee was meant to have taken quite a pounding, so she begins limping a bit. Fantastic that, Layla – I completely believed in you, honestly. (That sentence may have been a lie). I don’t mean to sound so disappointed with Diva’s matches, but…its hard to be positive when they’re usually either a) dull, b) pointless or c) defy all explanation and/or belief. Oh well, let’s move on.
Up next is the four-way for the World Heavyweight title. Matt Striker is backstage with Randy, and makes him watch the ending of Orton’s match with Sheamus from Smackdown, where Orton appeared to admit that the Irishman got the better of him, shook his hand, then kicked his arse with an RKO anyway. I loved that, I really did. Striker seems to think this was controversial, but Orton says it wasn’t really, and Sheamus had it coming and Sheamus would have done the same. Chris Jericho saunters in and says he enjoyed Orton vs. Sheamus on Smackdown, as both men wore each other down. Jericho says he will be looking to take advantage of them, and will become a seven-time World Heavyweight champion. Orton wanders off after making an intimidating remark, and Jericho does a fantastic shift of the eyes sideways, as if he’s mildly pissed off that Striker is probably still glaring at him and stuffing a microphone in his face.
FATAL FOUR WAY WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: ALBERTO DEL RIO (W/ RICARDO RODRIGUEZ) VS. CHRIS JERICHO VS. RANDY ORTON VS. SHEAMUS (CHAMPION)
Have you noticed they no longer introduce Ricardo with “and now, please welcome Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer…” – perhaps they feel he’s bedded in enough now. Wonderful to hear the Daniel Bryan para-phrasing chants of ‘Si! Si! Si! Si!’ as he makes his way to the ring. Jericho enters in his new fangled red, white and blue sparkling jacket, which I did like initially, but now think it looks like one of those cack novelty fashion items you might get for Christmas off an alcoholic uncle. Orton gets the biggest pop of the evening so far, and I’m going to fast forward his entrance, because traditionally, he’s still walking like he’s wading through a sea of Marmite, and takes so long to get to the ring that Cole has time to make an annoucement about following WWE on Facebook. Lilian Garcia makes the announcements for the match, re-introducing Del Rio, as she seems to have forgotten that Ricardo just did this a minute ago. It’s quite an international flavour to this match, what with an American, Canadian, Mexican and an Irishman involved. REMEMBER: It’s every man for himself here – all four men in the ring…yadda yadda…you know what a fatal four way match is, they’ve been around FOR YEARS. Still, Cole and Lawler seem to think the concept is an alien one in the world of wrestling and tell us about the ‘championship advantage’ and how ‘the champion doesn’t have to be pinned’ etc etc. Sheamus and Orton are left in the ring quite soon on, as Del Rio and Jericho pair off. They’ve now swapped partners so to speak, and Orton battles Jericho on the outside, as Del Rio takes on the Great White. Are there disqualifications involved in this? I know I just moaned about having the rules explained to me, but I wasn’t sure. I presume if you belt someone with a chair, you’re sent packing to the back, but then again I’ve never seen a disqualification in these types of matches. Also, what happens if someone runs down and interferes? Does that even have an effect? Hmm. Sheamus is thrown into the security barrier by Jericho, and Del Rio floors Orton in the ring with some vicious stomps. Jericho joins in, so we have a mini-alliance here for the time being. There was some confusion then over whether Del Rio or Jericho would pin Orton after a team-effort suplex, but both men are now content in beating the shit out of Randy to get him out the match. Del Rio decides Sheamus needs keeping down, and delivers a running kick to the face on the outside. Sheamus is up though, and has Del Rio and Jericho gunning for him. Sheamus is chucked into the side of the announcer’s desk, and Jericho gloats in the ring before slinging Del Rio at Orton who is prone in the corner. Orton moves however, and fights back against the two men, suplexing Jericho and landing some stomps and knee drops. Del Rio breaks the pin up, and goes for a quick pin himself after a backbreaker. Del Rio and Jericho argue over their gentleman’s agreement, and shove each other, before Del Rio starts an offence, culminating in a nice backbreaker for the Canadian. Orton clotheslines Del Rio to the outside, but Jericho delivers an enziguri kick to the head for a two count on the Viper. He then sends Sheamus back to the outside with a savvy baseball slide, and the Irishman has not got into this at all so far. Jericho has Orton in a headlock, and seems set on wearing him down some more. Orton tries to mount an offence, but Jericho gets to the top rope, before he’s intercepted by Orton, who sets him up for a superplex. All three men are on the turnbuckles, before Sheamus recovers to break it up. Sheamus lands a huge shoulder block off the ropes to Del Rio, who kicks out. Sheamus opens up with some kicks to Del Rio in the corner, venting his anger somewhat. Del Rio drives a boot into Sheamus’ face, but walks into a Rolling Senton from the champ. Covered in bruises now, Sheamus is distracted by Rodriguez from the outside, but Sheamus kicks out of the roundhouse kick Del Rio gives him. No sign at present of Orton or Jericho, and the focus is on the Mexican challenger trying to break down the champion in the ring. Sheamus fights out of an arm hold, flooring Del Rio with some double axe handles, before slamming him down for another cover. I’ve got Over The Limit running in HD, which is never a good idea when watching Sheamus, as he seems to get a lot more sweaty than most people. Mmm…sweat. Del Rio brings the bigger man down with a nice kick combo, but can’t nail the pin. Del Rio does in fact look frustrated, and misses a weird diving move into the ropes, which Sheamus sets him up for a repeated chest beating on the apron. Out of nowhere Jericho and Orton get back into the ring, ending the focus on Del Rio and Sheamus, and instead it’s Orton building offence now, hitting clotheslines, powerslams and the rope-aided DDT on Sheamus. Orton glares at his downed opponents, and sets Sheamus up for the RKO, but Del Rio bursts in and slaps the Cross Arm Breaker on Orton, who wriggles in desperation for the ropes. Jericho breaks up the hold, and thankfully Cole clarifies things by telling me there are no count-outs or disqualifications in these matches. Orton reverses Jericho’s lionsault and hits a backbreaker, before Sheamus gets back in and hits the Irish Curse backbreaker on Del Rio. Orton tries again for an RKO, misses, and Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick – and misses! Orton goes for a second RKO in the space of about five seconds, and Sheamus rolls him up…for a two count! So close! Orton slams Sheamus into the ring post, buying some time. Orton sets both Del Rio and Rodriguez up for the rope-aided DDT, and hits it! A cover on Del Rio garners a two count, which he can’t believe! Jericho avoids the RKO, and hits Orton with the Codebreaker – Orton has the sense to roll out the ring however. Jericho is caught in the Cross Arm Breaker, but reverses it somehow – into Walls of Jericho! Del Rio could be fading here…Sheamus is in and misses the Brogue Kick and Jericho releases the hold to hit a Codebreaker on Sheamus for a two count! Breathless period of the match here. Jericho looks distraught, and seems intent on proving himself to the WWE, especially as he hasn’t won anything since his big return. Sheamus has Jericho hoisted in the air on his back, but Jericho rolls through and has the champion in his submission move now…Sheamus crawls to the ropes, but Jericho walks to the centre of the ring and REALLY cinches in the move! Randy Orton catches Jericho with an RKO, but doesn’t get the pinfall. Del Rio is back in the ring now, and ALSO eats an RKO, before Sheamus batters Orton with a Brogue Kick! Jericho is aware of this however, and has the champion rolled up…no, two count! Sheamus is straight back on Jericho though, and hits his White Noise finisher to retain the championship with some style!
WINNER BY PINFALL: SHEAMUS (TITLE RETAINED)
Well…three title matches and three titles retained so far. A really well paced match there, with some great build up and chaotic scenes featured. Credit to all four men concerned, that was good stuff. Once more, Orton looks slightly amused at the fact that Sheamus has again made off with a victory, but with a glint in his eye that says ‘I’ll get you next time, Gadget’. We get a trailer for the Wrestlemania 28 DVD and Blu-ray, which I’ve been waiting for, and will be ordering. Backstage, Cody Rhodes is chatting to Eve, saying how glad he is that Khali might have won the People Power battle royale. Cody asks how Big Johnny is, and Eve says he’s fine. Cody says that it’s great Christian has a chance at the US championship, and how he would have taught him a lesson if he would have been facing him. Christian pops up from behind them like he’s Jason Vorhees or something, and says Cody is full of crap, and that he’s changed his mind and he now in fact wants an Intercontinental Championship match against Cody tonight instead. Make your mind up, son! Bloody hell. He’s taking liberties now. Although it makes a change to him begging Orton for ONE MORE MATCH for his World Heavyweight championship like he was last year…
BRODUS CLAY (W/ NAOMI & CAMERON) VS. THE MIZ:
Not sure what the hell they are doing with The Miz right now. This time last year he was flavour of the month, headlining Wrestlemania, and now he’s losing off-the-cuff battle royales and getting squashed by gimmicky characters like Clay? I say squashed before this match has even begun, because it’s obvious that’s what is going to happen. Miz comes out first and has a go at Clay’s dancing, saying he is by far the better dancer, and is pleased to show us what a real dancer looks like. He does have some moves, but it’s a terrible Michael Jackson impression that is interrupted by Brodus and his dancers. Miz escapes the ring as a large mirrorball descends and Brodus and his Funkateers (in the words of Miz himself: really? REALLY?) This match has the potential to be even worse than the Diva’s effort from earlier, because we know exactly what the routine will be: Miz will take it to Clay in the first minute or so, trying to bring him to his knees, then Clay will snap, go a bit mental and land some big impact moves on him, before wiggling his flabby arse at us all, then doing his big splash off the ropes to pin him. To prove this happens, I am not going to make any comments during the contest and will report back when the bell has rung for a winner, and let you know if I was right. ABOUT FOUR MINUTES PASS: Yep, thought so. It did go on a bit longer than I thought, but the outcome was inevitable, especially after a top rope belly to belly suplex. Just stick Clay in a title match at least, give him something to show for the string of about 704 winning matches against sub-standard opposition. It’s getting a bit riduculous that Clay is this unbeatable dancing machine – I don’t think even Goldberg had a winning streak this long, did he?
WINNER BY PINFALL: BRODUS CLAY
And with the final whistle come the kids, pouring into the ring for a dance with the Funkasaurus. I have to say, while this gimmick does give Clay some more exposure, and it’s better than his Alberto Del Rio bodyguard role, which was a bit cumbersome, it’s beginning to grate now. Although I have to say, I do rather like his funk-pastiche entrance theme (the question remains, however – just who is going to call your momma?). It’s also amusing to see that of the kids who get to go in the ring to dance, not one of them has a Brodus Clay t-shirt on. We’ve got a John Cena, a CM Punk…a Randy Orton, and a girl wearing what looks suspiciously to be a Disney-themed dress, but nope; no Brodus shirts. Do they even SELL a Brodus t-shirt? I’ve certainly never seen one. REMEMBER KIDS! WWE SUPERSTARS ARE NOT INVINCIBLE, SO DON’T YOU DARE TRY THIS AT HOME – although diving off your mum and dad’s sofa to deliver an elbow drop to one of your mates is entirely allowed – hopefully you might break someone’s ribs. I know someone who nearly broke his bed after he tried to do a Tombstone Piledriver on one of his mates, that was quite funny. In the crowd, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins are going around ripping signs out of people’s hands, doing their best to keep the good name of Mr Laurinaitis going.
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: CHRISTIAN VS. CODY RHODES (CHAMPION)
Cody is rather unhappy that he has to have a match tonight, and makes his frustration known shortly after making his entrance. He goes on to tell us how he hates North Carolina, everyone is biased and he’s glad he never grew up here. He also says he is a better man than Christian, and will prove it. That’ll mean he’ll probably lose his belt now. Doh, good one, Codes. Christian makes his second entrance of the night, although we never saw the first one. Ding, ding indeed – we’re up and running. I guess the only thing Cody has going for him here is hopefully Christian will be rathe tired, and he’s fresh. Cody does take control in the opening moments, before Christian slings the champ through the ropes to the outside and delivers a diving dropkick to the outside. Cody is ready for him, and flings him into the ring steps before returning him to the ring for a pin attempt that doesn’t come off. Cody again tries for a pin, but can’t put the challenger away. I wonder if Christian has had a shower since his battle royale appearance earlier? I wasn’t like, fantasising over that, I just happened to think “well would you freshen up if you knew you were due out again in an hour for another match, or just sit in your sweaty tights and ride it out?” – a question someone more involved in wrestling than I needs to answer. Both men are up on the top rope now, and Cody lands a massive superplex on Christian, and now they are both down on the mat with the ref counting them out. Christian seems completely out, but lures Cody in for a pin then rolls over and takes him by surprise. Christian clotheslines himself and Cody over the ropes, leading to a double count to begin from the referee. Cody once more rolls the challenger in and gets a two count from the pin. Cody is on the second rope and urges Christian to get up. Cody lands on a punch from Captain Charisma though, and now Christian gets some air and hits a missile dropkick for a close fall. He gets the crowd behind him, and tries for the Killswitch, but Cody avoids it. Once more Christians goes up top, but misses his intended cross body. Cody sets Christian up again on the turnbuckles, but gets hit with a Tornado DDT – but no, Cody held onto the ropes! Cody does manage to hit a swift moonsault off the ropes, but can’t hang on for a three count. Cody tells everyone he’s tired being jerked around and looks like he’s getting a bit riled up. Christian flings Cody into the turnbuckle, grabs him on the way back and nails the Killswitch – he pins him for the three count and we have a NEW CHAMPION!
WINNER BY PINFALL: CHRISTIAN (NEW CHAMPION)
Christian, now a four time Intercontinental champion, is victorious on his return proper to the WWE, and looks pretty happy with his nights’ work. Cody slinks off looking quite distraught. The new PPV after tonight is No Way Out, hitting our screens on June 17. Backstage, work experience boy Josh Matthews is with WWE champion, CM Punk. He gets us to look back at the match CM Punk had with Kane, where Daniel Bryan managed to get him disqualified, and make Kane think Punk attacked him with a chair, and then proceeded to hammer about ninety shades of shit out of the WWE champion before their match tonight. Punk understandably isn’t very happy about that, and says he’s only really here because he wants to see Laurinaitis lose his job. Punk does a pretty good Vince McMahon impression during his interview, and says that tonight’s WWE championship match should be a celebration of wrestling between them, but that…oh, wait. AJ is here as well, who seems to have popped up to tell Punk ‘good luck’, and probably involve herself in the match at some point.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: DANIEL BRYAN VS. CM PUNK (CHAMPION)
Bruan makes his way out to the ring, still looking impressed that he’s coined perhaps the second most popular crowd chant in the WWE behind Steve Austin‘s ‘WHAT?????’ (I’m of course, talking about his ‘YES! YES! YES!’ which has now spawned a t-shirt and even features on Bryan’s entrance jacket). He still needs to do something about his entrance music though, even an electric-guitar version of ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ isn’t cutting it. Punk gets an even bigger reaction than that of Orton earlier in the evening. Let’s see if this one will be the classic everyone has this pegged as – I do like both men, so on paper at least, it does look a very evenly matched contest. Plus there’s a lot of history on the independent wrestling scene over the years between these two so they ought to work very well together. The referee does something I’ve not seen in ages – checking the boots for concealed objects – and we’re off. It’ll be quite an edgy beginning I’d wager, and quite a technical offering. Punk wants it to step up a notch already though, and goads the challenger to ‘come on!’. A nice variation of the ‘let’s go Cena…Cena sucks!’ chant begins, with ‘Daniel Bryan…CM PUNK!!!’ rising to deafening volume, even to the extent it starts drowning out the commentators. There’s been a nice exchange so far, but Punk has the upper hand, beginning to work on the legs and the knees. Bryan avoids Punk’s rush to the turnbuckles with a nice spring off the ropes, and ends up in a GTS, but wriggles out. Punk is still on top here, locking up Bryan’s legs in a sort of modified figure-four. Bryan lands some hard shots to the face, and works out of the hold. Bryan misses a dropkick after whipping Punk into the ropes, giving Punk time to apply another submission hold, then get a two count off the resulting pin. Punk lands a leg-breaker, then hurls Bryan over the ropes to the outside. He then tries for a baseball slide, but Bryan ducks and slams Punk into the security barrier, and then lays Punk out over it with an inverted suplex. The referee gets to a six count on the outside, before both men get back in the ring, and Bryan gets a two count after a top rop dropkick. Bryan then lands some big martial arts kicks, before trapping Punk into a submission move of his own, stretching Punk’s body out and ramming some elbows into his abdomen. Punk fights out temporarily with some knees, and Punk tries for a leg takedown, but Bryan rolls him up for a two count pin. Bryan lifts a knee into Punk’s stomach, then tries again for a pin which doesn’t come off. Bryan seems to be setting Punk up for a surfboard style submission, standing on the insides of his knees and clutching his face and stretching his torso before hoisting Punk up vertically and pulling his head back – quite an amazing submission attempt! Punk doesn’t tap, however, and with some elbows to the head, Bryan is forced to release him. Punk goes on the attack with some more focussed shots to the head, and both men look quite spent now. Bryan rises first, and leaps on Punk’s back knee-first. Punk moves on the third attempt though, and hits a snap suplex with a bridge for a two count. Bryan lands a follow through suplex of his own however, and mounts the ropes for a big impact move. He hits a big diving headbutt and gets another two count before slapping a chinlock on Punk, more to sap his energy than to make him submit outright. Both men go for cross body blocks in the centre of the ring, and collide, leading to a double count on both men while they recover. Punk lands some heavy forearms, and builds some momentum with a clothesline and a neckbreaker. Bryan kicks Punk in the face, but gets caught in a running powerslam which gives Punk a two count. Punk flips Bryan up and out of the ring over the top rope, then dives and takes out Bryan on the outside. Punk tries another move off the ropes, but Bryan counters it with a dropkick, taking the wind out of his sails. Bryan follows this with some kicks to Punk’s chest, along with some chants of ‘YES!’, but Punk applies a figure four leg-lock (cue the inevitable ‘Woooooo!’ from the crowd), and Bryan cannot escape! He makes it to the ropes and Punk releases the hold. Bryan gets caught in a leb-breaker but rolls through trying to pin Punk again, but recovers sufficiently to kick Punk in the face and try another pin, which doesn’t end things. ‘This is awesome’ chants now from the crowd, which is true. Bryan drives some knees to the stomach, and puts the champ on the top rope, but Punk pushes him off, leaving him stranded on the rope. Punk lands a flying clothesline, but it’s not enough to retain the title! Both men are so fatigued now they are trading headbutts while on their needs, battling like two rams, but Punk has the GTS locked in – until Bryan can reverse it into the Yes! Lock, which he tries to do a couple of times…Punk wriggles away and catapults Bryan over the ropes, which he powers himself back in after, only to get met with a huge roundhouse kick to the back of the head that has the match won…but Bryan gets his foot on the ropes. Punk shouts in frustration, trying to rethink his gameplan. Punk slams Bryan down and heads up top again. Well, he tries to, but he’s very tired. He shakes away the cobwebs and lines up for the flying elbow and connects! Punk has hurt himself nearly as much as Bryan though, and his ribs are hurting. A two count is all the champion can get, and both men get to their feet – Bryan taking the advantage as he lands knee after knee on the champion and screams ‘YESSSSS!’ in a bid to get the crowd behind him. He then completely misses a knee drop on Punk, which Punk capitalises on and hits his own knee to the face – but BRYAN CATCHES HIM IN THE YES! LOCK! He really has it locked in and Punk can’t escape – but then, in a moment of genius, Punk simply shifts his weight, rolls over and pins Bryan for the 1-2-3!! Bryan looks shocked at this, and while the bell has rung, Punk taps out! It seems unlikely Bryan has won however as the referee had already counted the three – a very contentious decision however. If it had been 3-4 seconds longer Bryan may have been the new champion!
WINNER BY PINFALL: CM PUNK (TITLE RETAINED)
The commentators are debating the decision here, saying that Punk DID tap, but the pin had already been made. Bryan is shaking his head and trying to tell the referee that he had Punk submitting. On looking at the replay, it seems Punk did tap but after the pin was counted, and looked more like he was telling Bryan to release the hold as he had lost. Bryan now looks like he might be about to cry in the corner of the ring. That was a good ending to the match, as Punk got to retain the belt, but both men looked strong.
Backstage, Eve and David otunga meet up with Teddy Long in the corridor, where Teddy says if Big Johnny gets fired, either Eve and Otunga could be made managers of Raw and Smackdown, or…they might both get fired as well!
CAMACHO (W/ HUNICO) VS. RYBACK
Ah, here’s another master of the squash match. God knows if we’ll ever see the day Ryback has a match with someone like, oooh I don’t know…Kane? Big Show? Will Ryback EVER get a move hit on him during a match? It’s not looking good on this evidence, which is another one that takes the shine off the PPV somewhat, because we know that Camacho, who I’m sure is very good most of the time – is going to practically get his head torn off in this, which we’ll be lucky if it lasts two minutes. Ryback does indeed do his normal psycho-freak thing, despite some plucky offence from Camacho, who does get some assistance from his partner in crime, Hunico when the referee isn’t looking. Ryback even gets put down on the mat for what must be the first time, before he crushes Camacho with his finisher – the name of which I am not sure of – and pinning him definitively.
WINNER BY PINFALL: RYBACK
Nice little breather there before the ‘main event’ of John vs. Johnny. There’s a trailer for another DVD – The Best of Clash of the Champions – which looks like it might be worth investing in if you are nostalgic like me. There’s a look back now at the build up to the Laurinaitis vs. Cena feud, including Big Johnny trying to take Cena out with the help of Brock Lesnar.
JOHN LAURINAITIS VS. JOHN CENA
We’re told this match can only be won by pinfall or submission, but again we have the slightly obscure description that means I’m not certain if disqualifications come into play. Apparently anyone who interferes or comes to ringside in this match will also get fired, as will Laurinaitis if he loses. He comes to the ring in black tights and a red tracksuit top, but unfortunately no long blonde mullet wig, which would have made him look a bit more like he did during his wrestling heyday. Cena emerges to the usual mixture of boos and cheers, and as Laurinaitis takes off his tracksuit top, Cena is forced to stop what he’s doing as he laughs at the skin-tight body armour top Big Johnny has on. The bell goes and we’re ready to go. Laurinaitis immediately hot foots it out the ring and tries to run away, and Cena scoots out to catch him. He drags him back to the ring and clotheslines him, before covering his head with his top and slapping him across the back and chest. Laurinaitis is in trouble already here, and it could very quickly be over. Cena hoists Laurinaitis up into the Attitude Adjustment, but not before spinning around several times to dizzy the GM up. Cena is laughing hard as Big Johnny tries to get to his feet and falls out the ring. Cena grabs the ring bell and the hammer, and takes it over to where Laurinaitis is lying, and bangs the bell right in his ear. Well I’ve certainly never seen that before. Cena drags Laurinaitis over to the announcer desk and bangs his head off it twice, remarking that ‘this will look much better in HD!’. Fora bout the fourth time, Laurinaitis’ head bangs off the desk – make that five – no, six! Cena asks if he can borrow one of the Spanish announcer’s chairs and headsets for a second, and plants him down. Cena does a great segment where he and Laurinaitis sit next to each other and a parody of the WWE commentating team ensues – I normally think Cena is a bit of a knob, but this really did make me laugh. For the seventh time, Laurinaitis’ head connects with the desk, and the commentators seem to be cracking up as much as the rest of us – Cole being the worst offender. Cena laughs at Laurinaitis as he begs for mercy and offers to shake Cena’s hand, which Cena looks to the crowd for assistance with. Instead, he slaps the GM round the face, slams him down and connects with a hard forearm. Cena grabs a microphone, and says he has an idea. He tells Laurinaitis that he’s going to slap the STF on, and if he taps out – he’s fired. Cena says he will let go if he can last ten seconds, and the crowd are to help him count! To his credit, Laurinaitis does get to ten, and Cena does let go! Cena does continue on the mic however, and says the bad news is that he’s going to do it again!! The STF is applied again, but Cena lets go early, saying he’s ‘exhausted’. Cena trots to ringside, grabs a bottle of water and has himself a little drink. He offers to take Big Johnny a bottle as well, and drenches the GM with the water. Cena pours a third bottle of water down Laurinaitis’ pants, and then goes hunting under the ring, where he finds a fire extinguisher. Laurinaitis sees this, and asks Cena to stop. Cena advances on him, blasting him with the foam from head to toe, covering him in white. I wasn’t expecting to like this match, but it’s actually been rather amusing. Laurinaitis connects with the security barrier, and Cena grabs a dustbin from ringside and empties it all over Johnny, covering him with popcorn, cups and tissues. I do pity the cleaners however. Laurinaitis tries again to escape over the security barrier into the crowd, but Big Johnny lashes Cena’s injured arm down on it, hurting him. Laurinaitis, spurred on by this, slams Cena into the ring steps and grabs himself a steel chair. I guess disqualifications are allowed then. Cena gets battered with the chair, and Laurinaitis covers him for a two count. Again out comes the chair, but Cena grabs it before Laurinaitis can use it. Cena gives him the ‘You can’t see me’ sign and drives the chair into Laurinaitis’ face. Big Johnny gets a low blow in to buy some time, then crawls out the ring, where he rests up against the announcer’s desk before once more trying to leave the ringside area. This time he does get over the barrier and makes his way back through the crowd on his hands and knees, clutching his leg. Everyone is booing the GM, pointing and jeering him as he makes his way to…well, I have no idea where he’s going. Cena lets him go, and Laurinaitis exits through a curtain – Cole makes the observation that if this match ends in a no contest, Laurinaitis still keeps his job. But wait – Laurinaitis has emerged from the curtain, but with THE BIG SHOW grabbing him by the collar! Cena looks overjoyed as the giant, in a shirt and trousers – not his wrestling gear, drags the cowardly manager back to the ring. Cole is indignant about this, shouting that Big Show was fired and shouldn’t be allowed in the arena. Laurinaitis looks scared witless as Big Show brings him back into the ring with some force, allowing Cena to size him up to finish the job. Big Johnny is trapped between the pair of them on the floor, not knowing who is going to attack first. He once more tries to crawl away, but Big Show treads on his fingers. Cena waits til he’s on his feet, and Big Show once more grabs him by the throat, threatening him. He shoves Laurinaitis towards Cena, who hoists him up for the Attitude Adjustment, but then BOOM!!! BIG SHOW DELIVERS A KNOCK OUT BLOW TO CENA! The Big Show appears to have turned heel and now has a stony expression on his face. Cena looks to be out of it, and Laurinaitis is coming around. Big Show watches from the corner of the ring as Laurinaitis crawls over and pins Cena…1-2-3!!! Laurinaitis has won, with the help of the Big Show, who looks to be in cahoots with him!
WINNER BY PINFALL: JOHN LAURINAITIS
Big Show stands over Laurinaitis, and gives him his hand to help him up. Show celebrates with the (still) GM, and then leaves the ring – his work done. Cena is still down and out, and Laurinaitis leaves the ring victorious over the poster boy of the WWE! The crowd are very subdued here, as Big Johnny smiles to himself over what has transpired. It’s sure to be awkward on Raw, but until the next PPV, take care.
Category: TV and PPV |