The "Excellence in Column Writing" is upon you, once again, as the nurses at the LordsofPain.net Retirement Home for Internet Columnists are giving us elderly writers more free time outside of "arts & crafts" time. So here I am...
What did I think about the 1,000th RAW? Short of writing a full blown review of that show, which I didn't have it in me late Monday night to do and there just seemed to be too much of "stating the obvious". Lita and Trish Stratus still look amazing. Of course, Heath Slater's burial continues. How can he recover after all of these "WWE Legend" losses? Good to see Degeneration X as a full unit and I can imagine Joanie "Chyna" Laurer is kicking herself for ruining the lucrative WWE job she once had. No Steve Austin, but so what? Austin HAS to be interested to show up. I'm quite sure the WWE asked him several times... No wedding, although it was nice seeing Slick again... AJ Lee took a different "proposal from another man", as Vince McMahon actually made her the General Manager of RAW. Think about that for a second... What exactly qualifies her for the General Manager role? Oh wait.... This IS Vince McMahon we're talking about, the same guy who elevated his Communications major of a daughter to Lead Writer of the WWE by late 2000. MY BAD.
But the big storyline of the night, however, was CM Punk apparently turning HEEL by (1) trying to pin John Cena after the Big Show laid him out, (2) CM Punk did nothing while Big Show was attacking John Cena to end the match, and (3) CM Punk attacked the Rock who ran down to save John Cena from the Big Show attack. The Rock sold a clothesline like it killed him and CM Punk then hit him with the "Go To Sleep" finisher to end RAW. In all honesty, I didn't see this heel turn coming.
At first, I was like "ehhhhh", I don't know about that heel turn. I was thinking about how RAW had babyfaces John Cena and CM Punk taking on all heel comers. But then I soon realize what the WWE has done recently... Upon his return from injury, Alberto Del Rio was moved to the Smackdown roster. Secondly, the Miz just won Smackdown's midcard title, the Intercontinental Title. Chris Jericho will reportedly move to Smackdown. That's THREE heels that the RAW roster had and utilized to feed or possibly give John Cena and CM Punk on RAW. Thus, the heel turn somewhat makes sense because it's filling a needed void.
There have been many arguments of CM Punk becoming "stale" as a face, as I've read from the drive-by Internet Wrestling Community (IWC). There's only so much you can do as a babyface opposite of the greatness known as John Cena. Lots of complaints on how John Cena's Money in the Bank match received Main Event attention over CM Punk's WWE Title match from Money in the Bank 2012 Pay Per View... Well, John Cena draws more butts in seats and more eyeballs on the television. Just the way it is... He HAS to play second fiddle to Cena when Punk is a babyface, but I'll say that his feud with Daniel Bryan has been fantastic as has his interaction with AJ Lee. CM Punk can only do so much with the booking he's been handed, especially when the WWE purposely puts more attention on John Cena to remain strong as the #1 babyface.
Just look at how many other faces had to play "second fiddle" to Hulk Hogan during the 1980's, even the 1990's. Heck, Macho Man Randy Savage's entire WWE Title reign was in Hogan's shadow as Hogan helped Savage win the title at Wrestlemania 4, then teamed up with Savage to form the "Mega Powers", and then the Hulkster beat Savage for the World Title at Wrestlemania 5. Steve Austin was the main babyface during 1998 and everybody else played second fiddle. The Rock was beginning to get over during the course of 1998 but the WWE derailed his pops by turning him "Corporate Champion" at Survivor Series 1998. Everybody since 2006 has been kept down as John Cena's star has been allowed to shine so bright. For all we know, CM Punk's momentum after Money in the Bank 2011 could have been stalled to not overshadow John Cena's as the top face?
With Ziggler/Jericho/Del Rio now on the Smackdown roster, although they could return to RAW via the Supershow or randomly because the WWE is highly disorganized right now... There IS a need for a strong heel on RAW alongside Daniel Bryan. Having the guts to pull off the heel turn to end the 1,000th RAW is quite interesting by the WWE Creative Team... Seems a bit unprovoked, though, as there were no signs in the previous weeks other than wanting a piece of the NEW RAW General Manager, AJ Lee. But what face wrestler wouldn't want a piece of that crazy chick?
In my humble opinion, there is BIG MONEY in CM Punk vs. the Rock at Royal Rumble 2013. Rock was announced to get a title shot at Royal Rumble... Before you cry foul, he DID defeat John Cena at Wrestlemania 28 and I get the psychology of giving him a title shot... How else wil you lure him from Hollywood to appear for the WWE? I'm fine with the title shot... But I would be more impressed with the title shot IF CM Punk remained WWE Champion through Royal Rumble. Having a 1+ WWE Champion would make that title credible again instead of the title inflation caused by the monthly WWE Title reigns. Then, the Rock could drop the WWE Title to John Cena at Wrestlemania 29. WWE set these plans in stone just before Wrestlemania 28, I believe, with the desire to do at least 2 big drawing matches with Rock vs. Cena, if not 3.
CM Punk must remain champion... It makes SO MUCH sense to all parties involved... (1) Strengthens the WWE Title. (2) Gives Rock a valid opponent at Royal Rumble that's not named John Cena. (3) Keeping the belt of John Cena NOW will make Cena's Wrestlemania 29 victory much more anticipated. There is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ everywhere in this decision making. I just worry that the ADD Creative Staff will get bored with CM Punk before a random Pay Per View and give the title to John Cena and then swap the title back to Punk at the Pay Per View before Royal Rumble. I guess there is logic in making fans think that "ohhhhh, will John Cena wrestle Rock at Royal Rumble". In some ways, doing Rock vs. John Cena at both Royal Rumble 2013 and Wrestlemania 29 does make sense... But the WWE roster is more than just 2 guys...
For the WWE Creative Staff, you owe CM Punk bigtime. You absolutely ruined his Money in the Bank 2011 push. The contractual situation created a great worked shoot that got wrestling fans talking and boosted ratings temporarily. Then, as everyone was wondering when CM Punk would return as WWE Champion, the WWE held a messy WWE Title tournament, introduced Triple H as the "Chief Operating Officer" which ultimately failed, and forced a World Title reign on Alberto Del Rio which didn't draw flies. WWE did CM Punk wrong and screwed themselves out of a top drawing wrestler. Punk, in due time, has recovered some of his lost momentum but that's because he's been allowed to be a credible WWE Champion.
I believe that recent internet reports of CM Punk interactions with fans could be used to the WWE's advantage. Reportedly, CM Punk believes heavily in the idea of "time and place" for autographs and photos with fans. Punk wants his space when he's not on the WWE clock and several fans may have found out the hard way when he's denied or ignored them. If only the WWE Creative team could let Punk get on the mic and RIP THE FANS HARD. Ridicule fans for invading his personal space and call them "losers" for being grown adults who want another person's autograph. He could take a cue from ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd who rips sports fans for their "hero worship" of athletes such as buying their jerseys or begging for autographs. Get on that mic and belittle WWE fans in a very deep, psychological way.
And join up with Daniel Bryan. They work perfectly against each other that there's no question they'd work well together. Hell, add Big Show to their stable if you need to keep him in the main event loop. Punk and Bryan could just ridicule fans while going after John Cena at the same time. I'd hold off CM Punk vs. John Cena until Survivor Series 2012, while it's time for the WWE to give us an extended Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena feud. That's an untapped feud that could potential create some great heat and great matches. Just imagine if the RAW General Manager AJ Lee develops a crush on John Cena... There you go, INSTANT feud that could be spread among 2-3 Pay Per Views.
Punk HAS to thrash the crowd. WWE cannot risk hearing "Let's Go Cena, CM PUNK" chants... Punk must be defined as a heel and Cena has to be clear as a face, no exceptions. Take no liberties in mocking wrestling fans by CM Punk.
But furthermore with CM Punk, he needs to be strengthened before he wrestles the Rock at Royal Rumble 2013. For one, a good idea would be to contract the Rock for Survivor Series 2012, with Punk challenging the Rock to a match earlier than intended. To really put a "sense of urgency" on the Royal Rumble Rock vs. Punk match, having CM Punk DEFEAT the Rock at Survivor Series 2012 would come as a shock to WWE fans and create a "sense of urgency" for the Rock at Royal Rumble. Better yet, it helps CM Punk look credible when going ONE ON ONE with the Great One by having 1 victory over the Rock beforehand.
However, I believe CM Punk needs to avenge a previous loss... A very damaging loss, in my opinion. At Night of Champions 2011, CM Punk was actually scheduled to wrestle Kevin Nash and then go on to eventually wrestle Triple H at Survivor Series 2012. Nash wasn't medically cleared to wrestle at Night of Champions and thus in an emergency, CM Punk vs. Triple H was rushed. Triple H beat CM Punk and Punk never avenged his loss. Triple H, as an Executive of the WWE Corporation, needs to set things right and "take one for the brand". CM Punk defeating Triple H before his Royal Rumble match against the Rock is a great idea to strengthen CM Punk.
Lots of possibilities exist for the man who remains the most polarizing figure in pro wrestling, CM Punk... Fans passionately discuss his storylines, his usage, and his matches... While most fans either love or hate John Cena, CM Punk gets the "could have been", "should have been" treatment by fans with high expectations of what Punk could/should be in the WWE. Even if CM Punk were to beat the Rock in under 5 minutes, CM Punk's would still believe that the WWE is screwing him. Maybe it's been CM Punk's rise from the Indy ashes to the WWE that has caused a very passionate fanbase while it's mixing with existing WWE fans who might be tired of the same old, same old with John Cena as the top guy. There's some desperation in the air among wrestling fans about CM Punk and how he's used.
Sure - the WWE has fans talking about his heel turn. This is the reported "game changer" that Vince McMahon wanted at the 1,000th RAW... But the WWE has a track history of screwing up more good potential storylines than not. The Nexus in 2010, especially by firing Daniel Bryan, while cooling off CM Punk's push in 2011. Money flushed down the tubes. WWE seems to be too focused on John Cena vs. Rock - Part Deux that they could ignore that the rest of the roster needs attention, too.