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Mr. Tito STRIKES BACK - WWE Has Dropped the Ball on CM Punk... Again?
By Mr. Tito
Aug 21, 2012 - 3:07:52 AM
Maybe I'm just getting older here at the LordsofPain.net Retirement Home for Internet Columnists, but I just don't get what the WWE is doing with CM Punk. I know, "there you go again" with yet another CM Punk column, as Punk is the most polarizing topic in pro wrestling. There is universal agreement that CM Punk is a GOOD wrestler, but the argument is always "how good" and "how he should be used". I could write 100% positive things about the guy and some drive-by Internet Wrestling Community members will troll me. To my own admission, I knew Punk was a great topic so hence why I held nothing back in 2011 on the infamous "Blog is Tito" columns.
But the recent booking of CM Punk, notably since the 1,000th RAW, has completely baffled me as a wrestling fan.
So get this... Vince McMahon, in the weeks prior 1,000th RAW, was in the works for a BIG storyline to end that show. As it turned out, CM Punk's attack on the Rock was that BIG storyline to end the almighty 1,000th RAW. Thus, in the weeks and months to come, the momentum from this major storyline twist would keep the WWE train going, right?
Well, the following week on the 1,001st RAW, the WWE threw together one of those unannounced #1 Contender's matches between John Cena vs. Big Show. Earlier in the show, instead of fully explaining his actions of attacking the Rock on 1,000th RAW, the Creative Staff had CM Punk lightly mention the Rock but had CM Punk then turn his attention to Jerry "the King" Lawler ringside. Later in the night, CM Punk joined Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler at the announcer's table and was mostly arguing with Jerry Lawler during the John Cena vs. Big Show #1 Contender's match. CM Punk would then interfere with the match and cause it to be a "No Contest" decision (I guess), but that didn't stop AJ "pushed too fast" Lee from throwing a giant wet blanket over a potential co-headlining match at SummerSlam. Instead of a one-on-one John Cena vs. CM Punk potential 5-star classic, we get a Triple Threat with the Big Show added. What a privilege.
However - The WWE Creative Staff has time to redeem itself and was beginning to head in the right direction by having CM Punk win at SummerSlam to EASILY set-up John Cena vs. CM Punk at the following Pay Per View. Phew! But wait, that Jerry Lawler feud just won't end! Feuding with a 60+ year old man did wonders for the Miz, right? Oh, he's struggled since losing the WWE Title?
CM Punk, to end RAW, came out to confront Jerry Lawler. Thankfully, John Cena interrupted and both CM Punk and John Cena cut EXCELLENT promos against each other. We FINALLY had a good promo from CM Punk to describe his recent actions and he made mention of him NOT main eventing Pay Per Views. THIS should have been some of what CM Punk said on the 1,001st RAW to John Cena's face to set-up SummerSlam 2012. But noooooooooooo, we must add that 40 year old top drawing Big Show to the match. CM Punk, in heelish fashion, demanded that John Cena call Punk "the best in the world" to earn a title shot. John Cena refused and cut a good promo in response. See how simple that is?
One would figure that RAW would end after that, right? Nope... CM Punk demanded that Jerry Lawler get in the ring and then CM Punk attacked Lawler. Yay, I can't wait for a Jerry Lawler vs. CM Punk match! I'm sure it would be entertaining to watch, as Jerry can actually still work, but in the context of a WWE Champion eyeballing a soon-to-be 63 year old for intimidation... Whatever. And Miz already played that Lawler card, repeatedly, and it didn't help him despite the WWE putting Miz in the John Cena/Rock spotlight through Wrestlemania 27.
I just don't get it with the WWE and CM Punk.
Time after time, they screw with his character and attempt to restrict any bigtime match opportunities. They were very hesitant with him during his Extreme Championship Wrestling run, but his talent kept pushing through... They didn't give him legitimate World Title victories, as his first 2 reigns were Money in the Bank cash-ins to diminish those reigns to be taken seriously by fans. The Nexus angle died rather quickly with CM Punk taking over the group. And then, of course, the "Summer of Punk", where the WWE successfully worked wrestling fans into thinking CM Punk's contract was about to expire and CM Punk would legitimately take the WWE Title elsewhere. Just 1 week after CM Punk won at Money in the Bank 2011, "the Match of the Year" for 2011 mind you, the WWE stagged a quick WWE Title tournament and Triple H hijacked RAW with his "Chief Operating Officer" authority figure angle (which busted). Then, at SummerSlam 2011, CM Punk loses to Alberto Del Rio with weird Kevin Nash interference (still hasn't been explained properly) because the WWE just had to have Del Rio as champion for the Mexico tour. Then, of course, the Survivor Series 2011 planned match between CM Punk & Triple H was pushed up to Night of Champions 2011 in which Triple H BURIED CM Punk with a crushing defeat. If that wasn't enough, CM Punk would get pinned repeatedly at Pay Per Views following, including during a tag match with Triple H against Miz & R-Truth.
But the WWE gave CM Punk the WWE Title at Survivor Series 2011 and he has been WWE Champion ever since. Everything is OK, right? EXCLUDING Royal Rumble, CM Punk has only headlined ONE Pay Per View as WWE Champion since Survivor Series... Wow...
When it comes to CM Punk and the WWE, there are TWO reasons for why they screw with his character, pushes, or great match opportunities:
1) WWE protects their #1 deemed babyface at all costs. During the 1980's, the WWE protected the Hulk Hogan brand and everyone else had to be multiple pegs below. Take "Macho Man" Randy Savage, for example... He turned face and quickly gained momentum. But what happened? He was turned heel so that Hulk Hogan could defeat Savage at Wrestlemania 5. Hogan put over Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 6, but who was the main star of Wrestlemanias 7, 8, and 9, with Hogan winning the WWE Title at 2 of those events? WWE was very protective of Shawn Michaels during the 1990's and extremely protective of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. For example, the Rock was getting over during the summer of 1998 but the WWE's response was to make him the "Corporate Champion" at Survivor Series 1998 and make him go directly against Austin. It wasn't until late 1999 when Austin was out with the neck injury that the Rock was finally allowed to shine as the top babyface.
John Cena has been "the guy" since 2006 and any wrestler rising up will have booking go against them. The guy that sells the merchandise to the kiddies, while also being the face of the PG-Era to the Corporate world, will be protected at ALL COSTS. Thus, when John Cena gained momentum during July 2011, WWE Management took quick action after Money in the Bank 2011 and cooled his popularity with shitty booking surrounding his character. A rising star wouldn't have the utter stupidity of the Kevin Nash/Alberto Del Rio ending to SummerSlam 2011 unless the booking was purposely done to sabotage.
2) WWE Management does NOT like CM Punk. CM Punk is the proclaimed "King of the Independents". The WWE didn't fully groom CM Punk as a pro wrestler. They acquired him from the independent scene and from day 1, they've worked hard to convert him to the WWE style of wrestling and to become a "yes man" to the McMahon family. CM Punk has bucked both of those, as he works the style of match that he knows will work and he's not a backstage suck up. Many other wrestlers are spoonfed everything that WWE developmental feeds them and are complete suck-ups to the McMahon family backstage. Punk is his own person and is probably not afraid to speak his mind.
In my opinion, I believe CM Punk did himself a lot of harm during his infamous "shoot" speech after the John Cena/R-Truth match last year before the Money in the Bank Pay Per View. From all of my years of talking to WWE personnel or reading up on backstage happenings, it is understood that wrestlers NEVER speak about Triple H & Stephanie. Reportedly, HHH has snitches throughout the locker room and revenge will be a dish served cold if something derogatory is said about HHH/Stephanie. When Punk ripped Stephanie and her "doofus husband", I can imagine it pissed Triple H off royally. Weeks later after Money in the Bank 2011, CM Punk ridiculed Triple H TO HIS FACE about Stephanie. I guarantee that did NOT go over well, even if it was scripted. CM Punk had bad luck with booking ever since.
It's plain and simple to me, folks... WWE Management doesn't like CM Punk and would rather push their WWE developmental system groomed, hand picked wrestlers. CM Punk's talent keeps overcoming the bad booking agenda of the WWE, but I believe the damage has been done this time around. Screwing with the 1,000th RAW ending follow-up via Big Show addition to SummerSlam 2012 and a feud with Jerry "the King" Lawler has, again, cooled momentum. That's two summers in a row.
IN MY OPINION - I would have turned CM Punk FULL BLOWN HEEL after the 1,000th RAW. Screw this "tweener" crap. Wrestlers become a "Tweener" when they are so effective as a heel that they begin to attract more and more cheers. Perfect example is CM Punk during 2011 who started off as a heel but was getting over during his Contract storyline through Money in the Bank 2011. John Cena was a heel during 2003-2004 but fans the loved the character that it turned Cena into a cool heel (and then a babyface). The history is there... Look no further than Steve Austin during 1996-1997...
I would have put CM Punk on the 10:00pm Hour of the 1,001st RAW and allow him to absolutely shred it on the microphone (and WITHOUT Jerry Lawler insults). Had the WWE cut CM Punk loose with a scathing promo, we could have had MULTIPLE DRAWING CM Punk vs. John Cena matches that could have lasted the entire second half of 2012. Here are the points I would have coached CM Punk, had I been the booker for the 1,001st RAW to follow up his attack on the Rock:
(a) Attack the Rock for being a part-time wrestler yet he gets all of the attention that the current WWE Champion does not. Play up the rumors of the backstage disliking the Rock from last year and definitely hit up the Rock for getting a Royal Rumble title shot.
(b) Be pissed off about Rock vs. John Cena headlining Wrestlemania and NOT CM Punk, the WWE Champion. Then, make mention of Punk not headlining any Pay Per Views despite being champion, especially taking backseat to John Cena - a wrestler he beat twice in 2011.
(c) Call the fans a bunch of "phonies". Play up the fact that CM Punk doesn't like to be bothered when on the road and that Punk doesn't want to take pictures with you or your "idiot kids". Absolutely play up the recent internet reports Punk having a few issues with needy fans.
(d) Lastly - CM Punk could brag that he USED WWE fans to get a brand new contract from the "Summer of Punk" 2011 storyline. Have him brag that he's better than WWE fans and has no problems cashing paychecks on their behalf.
For 1,001st RAW, I would have had John Cena defeat Big Show CLEANLY to blow off that feud and then have CM Punk attack John Cena after the match. And there we go, we're off and running for a John Cena vs. CM Punk match at SummerSlam and then we could have REMATCH after REMATCH at the following Pay Per Views. How do the following matches sound to you, the wrestling fan?
- CM Punk vs. John Cena - Best 2 out of 3 Falls
- CM Punk vs. John Cena - 60 Minute Iron Man Match
- CM Punk vs. John Cena - Hell in the Cell (hey, there's a show for that!)
- CM Punk vs. John Cena - Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match (hey, there's a show for that)
And I would book CM Punk to win the FINAL match and of course book CM Punk vs. the Rock at Royal Rumble 2013. Let the Rock win, as this sets up a strong rematch between John Cena vs. the Rock at Wrestlemania 29... And when John Cena gets his win back against the Rock at Wrestlemania 29 and becomes WWE Champion, what could you do after Wrestlemania 29? CONTINUE THE CM PUNK VS. JOHN CENA FEUD!
The money is there on the table, folks... And there's STILL time. End this Jerry Lawler crap next week with a one-off match and then focus 100% on finishing the rest of 2012 with an intense John Cena vs. CM Punk feud. It's up to WWE Creative (Stephanie McMahon led, Triple H as a strong influence, with Vince McMahon final say) to not drop the ball... AGAIN.
Entertain us, WWE... You have a legitimate money-making feud in front of you...
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