These days, my interest in professional wrestling arises merely whenever I have nothing better to do with my time. For the most part, the industry has changed and just isn't for me anymore...but that doesn't stop me from being entertained by the current product. Coming off the return of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at the Extreme Rules PPV event, Over The Limit 2012 dials back the main event spectacle significantly, to the point where long-term fans would think John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis is some sort of clever joke. While the main event of the show is indeed, as sad, drawn out joke, that recalls a similar, but far more convincing match-up of Stone Cold Steven Austin vs. Vince McMahon in a steel cage match over a decade prior (especially the match concluding appearance by Paul "The Big Show" Wight), the rest of the show's card, is quite serviceable.
Things start off on a shaky note with a joined-in-progress, 20 man, over-the-top battle royale for a title shot at either the US or Intercontinental title later in the match. It's a puzzling choice to start the show and one look at the competitors makes it obvious whom the final three will be; why the WWE didn't book a short triple-threat between them and save everyone the false tension of the match is beyond me. The match contains a lot of sloppy work by some of the younger talent, but fortunately, the match doesn't take up too much time. The worst spots on the card though go to a time-killing match between Layla and Beth Phoenix, a cringe worthy encounter between Brodus Clay and The Miz (complete with little kids dancing with Brodus in the ring), and a Ryback squash. Try as they might, having nine matches on the card means nothing if a third or more are filler and Over the Limit is guilty of such a crime.
What really makes the event worth checking out is a solid and quick match between Cody Rhodes and Christian, an entertaining tag match of Kofi Kingston and R-Truth pitted against Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, and a four-way match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, and Chris Jericho. It's not an instant classic and has its share of slow spots, but all four men work well together. The all-star of the event and possibly the entire year in the WWE is the nearly 24-minute WWE Title match between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Knowledgeable fans know of both men's histories on the independent circuit and for the time the two share in the ring, not a moment is wasted. It's a technically sound and exciting match with great in-ring psychology that should have been the main event (not the Ryback squash and Cena joke match that follows). Even without some of the other enjoyable offerings in the event, the strength of Punk versus Bryan is enough to recommend this disc to wrestling fans of any era as well as those wanting to know what the hype is about (trust me, it's not always this great, but when it is, it's magic).
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer sports brilliant, rich color reproduction of the event itself. Detail levels are not as strong as something sourced from a modern HD broadcast should be, possibly due to some minor compression artifacts that seems to be the standard for WWE DVD releases (it's much better than a few years back).
The Dolby Digital English 5.1 audio is a solid, albeit non-mind-blowing experience. Commentary is front and center, but never mixed to overpower the sounds of the arena, nor do the mics focused on the in-ring action feel off-balance. A few matches in, and the sound isn't as immersive as being live (simply due to the constant commentary), but there's nothing to detract from the experience. A Spanish 5.1 track is also included.
The lone extra is an interview with Sheamus conducted by Matt Striker.
While I love a joke match from time to time, the main event of John Cena and John Laurinaitis is way too long. Had it ran earlier in the night, it would have been easier to stomach, but it and the Ryback squash following one of the best matches of 2012 sours the tone of the event ever so slightly. Over the Limit 2012 isn't a great event, but is far more entertaining than the worst the WWE has to offer. Recommended.