CM Punk and the misdirection of the WWE

Written by: Kris Rennie

The news breaking today that CM Punk may have quit the WWE isn’t a massive shock.

Judging by the monumental gaffes they’ve been making with booking decisions of late, I can hardly blame The Straight Edge Superstar in wanting to bail on the company, as Batista’s win at the Rumble has pissed off a lot of people worldwide.

CM Punk put in a 50 minute shift only to get eliminated by Kane, who Punk had eliminated earlier in the Rumble, and it looked like WWE were projecting a programme where Punk would be taking on “The Authority” heading into WrestleMania and being nowhere near the title scene.

CM Punk

A pissed-off CM Punk

After the Rumble ended on Sunday amidst a chorus of boos, the dirtsheets were reporting that there were massive rewrites happening in preparation for this past Monday night’s edition of Raw going out, due to the derisory comments across the board about the climax of the Rumble, spearheaded by Mick Foley.

If reports of Punk’s reasons for being dissatisfied lie with part-time stars like Batista and The New Age Outlaws coming back and stealing the limelight from committed stars like himself and Daniel Bryan, then I think we can safely say that the WWE’s creative team have a vast amount of damage limitation to do with WrestleMania 30 on the horizon. That’s assuming that the rumours of his walk-out are indeed legit, and are not a work or an angle of some description.

Monday’s edition of Raw began with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon playing up to their heel personas and declaring the Royal Rumble a “massive success” and also poking fun at the IWC’s apoplexy regarding Daniel Bryan’s lack of involvement in the main event picture.

However, what annoyed me about the main event at Raw was the fact that Daniel Bryan’s route into the main event at February’s Elimination Chamber PPV event was via a six-man tag team match involving himself, Sheamus and John Cena against all three members of The Shield.

Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan

Bryan’s route into this match was achieved by John Cena being beaten by The Wyatt Family and the match being declared a disqualification due to the Wyatts’ interference.

So yet again we have an instance where the most talentless and boring star in the company, John Cena, is the main focus in the company regardless of whose or what storyline he happens to infringe upon.

In this case, it was Daniel Bryan’s on-off storyline where he is trying in vain to reach the summit of the WWE championship scene, despite all the roadblocks and obstacles The Authority have thrown in his way because they don’t see him as being “The Face of WWE”.

John Cena runs to the ring

This is where the real problems with the WWE start for me, the guy who the WWE do see as its “Face” – John Cena.

Here we have a guy who – despite his supposed drawing power (which is the amazing ability he has to get booed and jeered at every venue he turns up in, including his hometown Boston) and his abilities to sell merchandise – can’t actually sell a match when he is the ring because he more often than not, if hardly ever, refuses to put any other talent over.

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We saw the worst instance of this during his match with Damien Sandow when Sandow cashed in his Money In The Bank contract, thus rendering that entire storyline and push obsolete and useless. Since then, we have seen Sandow sink into the lower midcard slot or appear in comedy matches.

We have also seen another talent he didn’t put over, Wade Barrett, have virtually nothing to do these days and be put into a pointless slot called Bad News Barrett where he insults the crowd and bangs a gavel on a lectern. Not only that, we had to believe that John Cena beat the entire Nexus stable but this is just merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the absurd infallibility John Cena’s reputation seems to have.

Despite Punk’s own record-breaking run as a WWE champion, Cena was still installed in various main event segments and the only focus for the WWE was eventually taking the title off Punk so they could put Cena and Rock into yet another garbage match at WrestleMania 29 whereas Punk took on The Undertaker in a Slammy Award-winning match.

CM Punk with WWE title

CM Punk, in happier times

Let’s stay with the Slammy Awards for a minute too. The Superstar of the Year award went to Daniel Bryan. You would think that the WWE would be going with these two performers as their top guys going into WrestleMania 30.

Instead, we’re going to have a main event where it is guaranteed that Batista will be involved and – judging by what we witnessed at the Royal Rumble this past Sunday – we have a performer who lacked some serious cardio and looked like he could barely last the duration of a serious match with either the likes of Randy Orton or Brock Lesnar.

For those of us who watch MMA, we are all well aware that Brock Lesnar is a legitimate badass who should have been booked that way in the WWE, whereas instead we have seen him being beaten by two of the worst culprits when it comes to burying talent – Triple H and John Cena.

Lesnar should be going into WrestleMania with two directions – 1) As a serious legitimate threat to The Undertaker’s streak or 2) As the guy who is going to win the WWE title and go on a seemingly unstoppable run.

Instead, it is likely they’re going to give the title to Batista on a silver platter.

Now with CM Punk potentially gone from the WWE, we could be looking at a match between Daniel Bryan and Triple H at WrestleMania 30 where Bryan finally gets his revenge over the guy who has held him back from the title scene.

John Cena is likely to be put into a match against Bray Wyatt but can we expect him to actually put over Bray Wyatt, an emerging talent who looks like he could be a mainstay heel for the foreseeable future? The likelihood is him kicking out of a succession of Sister Abigail finishers by Bray Wyatt and fighting off both Luke Harper and Erick Rowan and then getting an unlikely win.

WWE star Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt

I have serious reservations about either Triple H or Cena putting over Bryan and Wyatt, and also seeing anyone other than Batista winning the title at WrestleMania 30.

Even if Punk was to stick around, and let’s say for now that this is only a rumour that he has left and isn’t concrete fact yet, what is his schedule likely to be going into WrestleMania 30?

A match with Kane at Elimination Chamber? How many times have we seen this match already?

In an ideal world, we would be watching a future WWE roster with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk as its top guys, with emerging talents like Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose rounding off the top card. Perhaps even guys like Samoa Joe or AJ Styles might join somewhere down the line.

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The point is that the product needs a fresh injection of talent to make it interesting and exciting and this continuous clamour to get John Cena into the main event picture or this jungle fever they have to chuck millions of dollars to re-sign a fading star like Batista and package him as a main event player again is just insulting to fans.

Of course, the problem with being a “fan” these days is the opprobrium and vitriol you get from people who are loyal to the product, with their references to fans as “marks” with no prior knowledge of “booking” or any earthly idea what they are talking about because “they’ve never worked in the industry” and other condescending, patronising shit like that.

The fact of the matter is this: THE FANS PAY FOR THE PRODUCT so GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT.

If the rumours are true and CM Punk has decided to bail, then I really don’t blame the guy for making that decision because the writing is on the wall for the company. Fans genuinely are beginning to feel short-changed and under-appreciated.

Batista genuinely looked like an ageing wrestler who was breathing out of his arse for the duration he was in the Rumble, and we’re somehow meant to buy into him throwing Roman Reigns out of the ring with relative ease?

They’re sick and tired of watching John Cena saluting and sliding into the ring for yet another main event slot where he kicks out of being pinned despite being hit by a dozen power moves and finishers and emerges victorious once again.

Look at the reaction Batista got the other night. Boos and jeers. Why? Simply because the guy showed the other night at the Royal Rumble that he has neither the stamina or energy to be a believable superstar in this day and age. He genuinely looked like an ageing wrestler who was breathing out of his arse for the duration he was in the Rumble, and we’re somehow meant to buy into him throwing Roman Reigns out of the ring with relative ease?

Nobody truly believes that a seasoned UFC pro like Brock Lesnar would get easily beat up by The Big Show or John Cena (or Triple H for that matter), yet in the past few weeks we have seen the guy booked as a typical heel who has to cheat to win or who gets the better of his foes with sucker punches and sneak attacks. It just makes no sense to me why they continue booking Brock Lesnar as a wimp and a coward when he is anything but.

This is a guy who pummelled Frank Mir into oblivion and who made Shane Carwin – who at that time was considered the best striker in the Heavyweight division – tap out… yet we can believe John Cena could get the better of him?

Brock Lesnar fights Frank Mir

Brock Lesnar batters Frank Mir

CM Punk’s decision to leave may be true, it may not be, but regardless, I think if there is a genuine malaise within Punk. It echoes what the fans have been feeling about the product for a while now and the fact that the quality of the product has diminished for the worst because the WWE’s refusal to allow any new stars, particularly Daniel Bryan or CM Punk, to carry the company and help usher through a new generation of stars.

Fans want to see WWE give the likes of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and Big E. Langston their moment in the limelight.

But hey, what do I know? I’m just one of those “marks” they all hate to hear an opinion from.

Author: Kris Rennie

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