World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) will hold yet another pay-per-view (PPV) this coming Sunday night (May 20, 2012) when they invade the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, with Over the Limit.
And all signs point to the show being an unmitigated disaster.
Monday Night Raw's go-home show recorded the second lowest rating of the year, though many would argue that has nothing to do with anything and is not indicative of how well a show will sell on PPV. I'll never understand the dismissal of key business indicators, especially when those in power with WWE use them to make decisions on the product delivered to us each week. Remember Alberto Del Rio's short lived title reign that ended prematurely when he jobbed the title to John Cena at Hell in a Cell last year? There's a reason they did that and it's not because it made sense for the storyline.
Poor ratings aren't even the biggest reason Over the Limit looks poised to fail miserably once the buyrate comes in. Though that does show a general disinterest in the promotion, consensus opinion from reading reports and stalking social media sites shows downright rebellion. Fans aren't just disinterested in the product, they're literally pissed off at how bad it's been lately.
Take the closing segment from Raw this week for example. John Cena turned in the most laughable (at you, not with you) performance of his career, spending nearly 15 minutes calling John Laurinaitis a loser in the silliest Ace Ventura-esque voices he could muster. Laurinaitis, in turn, called Cena a loser and the fans losers for liking him.
Essentially, WWE wants us all to know we're losers for liking their product. And, sadly, that's how everyone felt after watching that segment. And that entire show for that matter.
Thanks to an angle shot earlier in the evening with Big Show, it would seem the main event match at Over the Limit would now have a rather predictable ending. Once stipulations were added, it all but confirmed it. With a match like this, between a guy who hasn't worked a match in god knows how long against a guy who has headlined a million WrestleManias and can still barely work a match, the unpredictability of the finish was all it had going for it. Now? There's absolutely no reason to tune in.
The rest of the card isn't much better. CM Punk will defend his WWE championship against Daniel Bryan, which should be a fantastic match if for no other reason than the two men involved. But there's been no build for it, no hot angle to drive interest in viewers. They were just sort of thrown together, as though the Creative team had no clue what to do with either guy at present time so they booked a lazy Beat The Clock Challenge for a Raw and had Bryan win to earn a shot at the belt before booking meaningless tag team matches up until the singles match.
The complete lack of attention paid to two of the most talented guys in the industry today has been almost criminal. What's sad is there were a great number of fans who had been pushing for this feud. WWE gave it to them and then underwhelmed so very much that all enthusiasm has disappeared.
The world heavyweight championship is a secondary title, therefore requiring twice the attention to get it over as something worth paying money to see. That hasn't happened here. In fact, the powers lacked so much confidence in Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio drawing money, they added Chris Jericho and Randy Orton into the mix. But every match on every Raw and Smackdown show involving any of them has ended in a smoz and brawl that has done little to drum up interest.
There's a pattern here that spells disaster for WWE.
Perhaps it's the post-WrestleMania lull. After all, May has never been a traditionally strong month for PPV and Over the Limit is an ultimate "B-show." But this feels like a show that could fail to crack the 100,000 buys mark domestically. And fans can turn a blind eye to the business side of pro wrestling all they want but that would be an absolute catastrophe for WWE.
Are you buying this event, Cagesiders?