What a difference a week makes.
While I’ve never been a fan of having a return to a PPV event of just Elimination Matches of Survival like 1987-1991 (the business has just moved on too much for that) I was excited to see the original main event of Team Punk vs Team Foley. I didn’t think it was the best main event around, but I think it just felt like the right time to switch things up. Not only would it be a change of pace in the main event, but it would have accomplished a lot of small adjustments within the card. First, Ryback would have looked like a beast without winning the title. Second, John Cena would have most likely worked with Dolph Ziggler, and put a spotlight on him even in a loss. Third, it would have given a bigger showcase for the World Title match between Big Show and Sheamus.
I understand the reasoning behind the change. There’s no denying that a title match does better business. Especially a title match with Cena involved. This Foley/Punk/Ryback scenario isn’t a hot angle where a huge elimination match is warranted to main event a PPV, for example Nexus vs WWE.
The problem that everyone is having is that we’ve been seeing change in the product and direction. It might only be a slight change, but it was breath of fresh air for many fans. And now, we’re reverting back to what many were finding stale.
I wouldn’t personally call it stale, but it definitely changed my mind on how I was going to watch this card.
Survivor Series is one of the PPVs that my local theater chain airs on the big screen. I’ll order the wwe.com stream for something like Wrestlemania 28. I’ll most likely head to the theater for something like Royal Rumble, as I did for Summerslam this past August. When the main event tag match was announced this year, I thought I’d head to the theater again.
Now, I’m glad I didn’t get my tickets ahead of time.
Ryback vs John Cena vs CM Punk in a Triple Threat match. I’ll be watching from the FIRSTROW. Barring another sudden change, I’ll be streaming this one illegally with glee.
I’ll not hide my pirating ways. But I’ll also gladly part with my money when WWE or UFC earns my dollar. I chipped in for the Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen fight last summer. I ordered Mania 28 as I mentioned. Same with Money in the Bank 2011 (and bought the DVD, though I’ll most likely only watch the avi file download). And I’m quite convinced WWE gets a share of the profits from the movie theater tickets. So, when a card draws my attention, even though it’s so easy to steal, I buy it. I won’t call myself a golden boy, and righteous. I steal more than I pay for. But I easily shell out over $200 a year towards WWE, when they earn it.
Survivor Series does not fall into that category.
Maybe they’ll turn it around. Maybe they can make Team Ziggler vs Team Foley worth something. I won’t pretend to know how, but it could happen.
There’s very little outside of the already established 3 matches to add to things to garner extra interest. Maybe a 4 man/team tournament to determine a contender or something. It’s not going to draw more buyrates, but it might be enough to make me give it another shot.
It’s odd. WWE has been producing in the ring so often these days, but the packaging has been lackluster. I don’t know how that works. I do truly think that the creative team cannot work cohesively across the entire roster. Extra attention is being paid to the tag division and Intercontinental Title, so the WWE title has been carried by CM Punk alone. Therefore, we get this thrown together main event.
Hopefully the creative team picks up the slack, as this match is really the first major step on the Road to Wrestlemania. With The Rock returning in January for the Rumble, there are a lot of options for how the WWE can be booked.
My suggestion? Punk loses the WWE Title a year after winning it. This time, he drops it to John Cena. TLC gets booked with a John Cena title defense against Punk, and Cena wins it clean. This sets up the Rock vs Cena rematch at Rumble 2013.
And Rock wins the WWE Title. Also that night, Ryback wins the Royal Rumble. After working with Cena and Punk, Ryback shocks everyone by going after the Big Show and the World Title at Wrestlemania.
Then, at the Elimination Chamber, CM Punk wins a WWE Title shot against the Rock at Wrestlemania.
Where Rock defends against CM Punk, and loses.
That’s right. CM Punk walks out of Wrestlemania with the WWE Title, and a victory over the Rock. While Cena beat Punk at TLC, Punk will still have the advantage of saying he did what Cena couldn’t do twice in a row, and that’s beat The Rock.
My reasoning? Punk is easily the biggest break out star since John Cena, but still lacks a major clean win. Unfortunately, Jericho and Daniel Bryan don’t count, and the victories over Cena were never clean. He doesn’t need to be the centerpiece of WWE for him to be well used.
John Cena is still the face of the company, and using him in this way will keep him in a main program with the Rock until the Rumble, leaving the door open for more Cena vs Punk after Mania 29. As for his match at Mania 29, the best option is the Undertaker, where Cena looks to regain some momentum after losing to Rock twice in a year. Cena vs Taker, Rock vs Punk, HHH vs Taker, Ryback vs Big Show…etc. Works for me.
Post Mania, there are still lots of options. It could possibly be time to turn Cena, as tired as we are of hearing it. Ryback would be moved into a top position, Sheamus will still have some success, perhaps moving over the Raw to contend against Punk. It might not be enough face star power to leave that option available, but that’s the only thing stopping the WWE from turning him at this point. Maybe Mania 29 leads to another Punk face run (though I hope not because I think Mania 30 should have Punk as heel vs Austin).
It’s not the perfect booking, and I’m not expecting this to happen. But, in my opinion, it’s the most entertaining, safest, and productive way to move forward. What’s odd with Cena being the face of the company is how little they’ve used that at Wrestlemania. He’s often been out of the main event. Mania 22, he worked with HHH, and then HBK a year later. After that, he was the 2nd or 3rd main event, until working with Miz and then Rock the last 2 years. I find this interesting, as well as important. If WWE had faith to let Edge/Taker, Big Show/Mayweather, Orton/HHH and HBK/Taker to main event Wrestlemania, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t see Punk vs Rock as a worthy main event match. Especially with Cena vs Taker on the card.
And, before anyone says they doubt Rock vs Cena II would result in anything but Cena avenging his loss… the door isn’t closed on this possibility. Rock took 3 Wrestlemanias to finally get the win over Stone Cold. Mania 30 could be Punk/Austin and Cena/Rock in non-title big time matches. This could leave the next generation to work with the titles.
And, I want to point out that having a non-title main event is not a bad thing. It’s only bad when it becomes the standard. In 2012, Night of Champions was the first PPV of the year to be headlined by the WWE Title. It’s truly hard to imagine 2013 to follow that pattern. CM Punk is finally at a level to headline a card, with or without a title against any credible challenger, as shown at Hell in a Cell. He still could use some elevation, especially since Punk vs Austin is seemingly a guarantee for the future at this point. For him to continue to be in the 2nd main event wouldn’t help that.
Then again, I along with many others, have been waiting for WWE to capitalize on using CM Punk in a major way for a long time. I understand that John Cena is still the #1 guy, and CM Punk is not ready to take that over. But that might not be the case today if 2012 was booked differently.
UFC Knockout of the Year
It’s a contender for sure.
And on that note, peace out.
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