CM Punk and Paul Heyman
I can’t say I’m completely on board with the 3 hour Raws. Until their inception just over a month ago, I caught every Raw for the entire time frame from start to finish on a religious basis for what feels like 20 years. I’ve missed a few, but I can say it’s most likely around a dozen times I’ve not caught Raw on Monday nights live since I started watching them in 1996.
Recently, this has changed. I’ve watched one full 3-hour episode of Raw live since Raw 1000. The most recent episode was no exception. Now, I lasted through most of it. But once Vickie came to the ring to call out AJ, I decided it was bedtime, and would catch up with the happenings the next day. So it was a bit of a shock to see the end of the most recent episode of Raw, where Punk jumped into a car driven by Paul Heyman. Shocked, but not displeased.
While I find it odd to have Punk be given a mouthpiece, being as he’s one of the top stars on the microphone, especially as a heel, I don’t think Heyman is there to assist Punk with promos. I think it’s merely the next step in ensuring Punk is certifiably a heel to most of the fans. The WWE needs to accept that there will be a large portion of fans that will never boo Punk. WWE should have seen enough evidence of this between 2008-2011 when Punk was easily one of the top most effective heels. He was rarely cheered more than booed, but he still kept the larger demographic to hate him on a regular basis.
At this point though, he’s spent the last year winning their hearts. It won’t be so easy to change their mind. Heyman will help the progress step forward quicker. It also opens the doors for the future, as Punk is only a heel at this point because he’s got a storyline against John Cena. It’s hard to see him having the same success against Randy Orton or Sheamus.
Paul Heyman becomes a very successful tool in pushing CM Punk as a successful heel, while continuing to hold the WWE Championship. Why is that? John Cena vs Punk has been the main event of 3 PPVs in the last 13 months, with last year’s monumental angle into Money in the Bank being not only fresh, but refreshing. Where can this angle go with more than a single title main event match? There’s an infinite amount of options with Heyman involved, especially with his other client also a prized star in WWE. Brock Lesnar may not appear for the next couple of months, but at any moment he can return and make an impact alongside the Champ.
Let’s take a look at some options going forward for CM Punk, with Heyman in his back pocket.
Night of Champions
Even if the feud was face vs face, much like 2011, there’s no way WWE was going to have CM Punk defeat John Cena clean. And honestly, I also sense they wouldn’t do the opposite either, with Punk losing to Cena clean. A clean finish will most likely be saved to cap off the rivalry, and there’s obviously no end coming this month at the yearly PPV where all titles are on the line.
But I don’t think the WWE Universe would have accepted a tainted victory with Punk cheating, or another messy finish like we saw at Money in the Bank and Summerslam 2011. The involvement of a 3rd party like Heyman would allow the champ to keep the title without letting either wrestler to lose steam. Punk will get the victory somehow, and Heyman will be the cause of it.
The Build to Survivor Series
Hell in a Cell will most likely have a rematch between the 2, out of necessity. Punk will need to defend the title, and there aren’t a lot of options at this point. After the Triple Threat Summerslam match, it’s too soon for another multi man match keeping Punk and Cena together to extend the storyline another month.
So, this is where I suspect we’ll see Punk get the cheap victory without Heyman’s involvement. Instead, we’ll see Brock come back, tear his way into the Cell, and give Cena the loss.
This would bring Brock and CM Punk as a diabolical two-some at the top of the Raw food chain, with their sights on Cena. From there, I think and hope we see HHH return to team up with Cena. This won’t lead to a repeat of last year’s Survivor Series main match however. I don’t see another 2-on-2 tag team match, but rather a 4-on-4 or 5-on-5 Match of Survival main event. The opportunity is there for WWE to capitalize on the star power of those 4 stars, while giving a tremendous headlining match that consists of other rising stars. Even if only short term, it would be great to see 2-3 other stars be drafted by Heyman to team with Punk and Brock. We can always hope for a stable of sorts, but I’m thinking it’s unlikely. Either way, I think it would be a great card if headlined by CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, Damian Sandow, Wade Barrett, and Drew McIntyre VS John Cena, HHH, Brodus Clay, Ryback, and Christian. In the absence of a WWE Title match while he’s involved in a huge non-title main event, we could see an awesome World Title Match between Sheamus and Randy Orton. Those 2 main event matches would be a great sell to an awesome event. You’d still have room for the rest of the roster to be involved in some fashion.
Other Things I liked this week (Sep 3rd-9th)
I guess it’s no shock that most of the items I’ll mention come from Smackdown.
It’s hard to find a better push going on in the WWE midcard than for Damian Sandow. He’s been involved with Randy Orton and Sheamus over the last 2 weeks on Smackdown, and held his own. He doesn’t need to have a storyline going on, and he’s not eating up midcard competition on his way up the card. He’s merely getting some prime screen time, losing by count out against top stars, and letting his name earn more value by every appearance. He’s also getting prime in-ring time against the top performers, helping learn the skills needed to headline WWE. So far, so good for Sandow.
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
I love seeing strong tag teams get established. While it may be crystal clear that these guys are going to team up, find success, all in hopes to giving a giant Wrestlemania moment involving their masks, credit must be given its due. WWE is booking 6 months in advance for the GrandDaddy of Them All in New Jersey. Injuries could change things, as both performers are prone, but there’s no better way to alleviate that risk than to put them in a team together, splitting up their in ring time. And if a similar goal of HHH’s is to reestablish the tag team division, Cara/Mysterio would easily be the top team in WWE today should they concentrate on more than random team up against common foes like Cody Rhodes.
While I could have passed on the jobber squash return match, I liked what I saw. The elbow finisher is prime stuff that I think WWE has been missing for a while. My only issue with that is how it most likely handicaps Kassius Ohno from NXT. For those who don’t know, the former Chris Hero from the indies has been tremendous as a very similar heel as Wade in NXT, and used a Roaring elbow as his finish. The initials of K.O. are important to the character’s persona, and in ring style. Barrett way have ruined that. But, fair is fair, WWE has more to gain with the already established Barrett making a run as a top star, while Ohno could be a simple strike away from making his own impression.
Brogue Kick Banning
WWE definitely has a goldmine in Sheamus, and by banning his finishing move at this time, they’ve given the World Champion another layer of personality. First off, there’s no doubt that the ban will expire at some point. This means that the move is being put over while it’s not even being used. Secondly, the extended feud with Alberto Del Rio needed another level added to it as it’s been going on for entirely too long. Sheamus has dominated the Mexican Aristocrat, so it’s hard to really get interested in another match. But, by removing the champion’s finishing maneuver, there’s an air of unpredictability. That’s something that’s been lacking for months.
TNA Impact Wrestling
At the urging of LOP posters T.O. and Missouri Dragon, I decided to give TNA another shot. I didn’t watch this week’s episode, but I did YouTube the Impact Wrestling shows since the last Pay Per View offering, Hardcore Justice. I watched the 3 episodes since (Aug 16, 23, and 30th) and was very impressed with what I saw. The program is in no way perfect, nor is it better than most WWE productions. But it was nice to see a mainstream wrestling show without too much barely entertaining bullshit segments, like Hornswaggle kicking Daniel Bryan in the shin. TNA has mastered the ability to have lots of storylines going on at the same time, while managing their entire roster. I love how wrestlers can disappear for a few months, but come back with rejuvenated energy, without losing a step on the ladder. It makes for a very entertaining show when it comes to the in ring product, with decent promos and characters. They don’t have any superstars that captivate on the epic level that I find Punk and Cena do, but it doesn’t make the show bad. I often prefer the midcard action in WWE. If you’re of the same opinion from WWE, give TNA a shot again. I’m hoping to catch up on all the Impact by No Surrender, and maybe I’ll find a way to force another 2 hours of wrestling into my busy schedule for next week.
And on that note, peace out.
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