WTF: January 28, 2013

CM Punk

Paul Heyman and CM Punk (WWE.com)

Welcome to the Weekly Top Five (WTF) for the January 28 episode of Monday Night Raw. Before ranking the best moments of the show, allow me to remind you that the second edition of WWE Encyclopedia is available on Amazon.

5. CM PUNK
I’ll never understand why so many people are so up in arms over Punk’s loss last night. From a business standpoint–and yes, this is still a business–The Rock defeating Punk for the WWE Title was the best way to go. The sole reason why you build a heel champion as well as WWE has done with Punk is to have him fall in epic fashion to a top babyface. That’s exactly what happened Sunday night. In the big picture, there were only two other options: 1) Cena eventually takes the title from Punk instead of Rock, which I’m sure the Internet would’ve hated. 2) Punk keeps the title, which again, makes little sense considering WWE had The Rock on its roster. It was like all the stars were aligned; you can’t pass on an opportunity to have one of the biggest movie stars around represent your company as its champion. It just makes sense … and money.

Furthermore, Punk’s loss Sunday night will actually prove to do more good for his career than a win would’ve done. A mere minutes into Monday’s Raw, he already began to show signs of great character advancement. I’m convinced that the new, angry, and irate CM Punk–the one we saw Monday on Raw–will take his character to even greater heights. Punk’s delusional claims were particularly well done. Saying that he didn’t need anybody to help him win when he was champion was perfect.

4. JOHN CENA-FRED FLINTSTONE TALE OF THE TAPE
Fred Flintstone actually trended on Twitter Monday night. The Post cereal company has to be elated with their WWE partnership. I’m willing to bet that was the first time anybody from Bedrock trended on Twitter.

3. BIG SHOW
WWE will need a dominant Big Show as they continue down the road to WrestleMania. Allowing himself to be taped to the bottom rope at the Royal Rumble could’ve been seen as a moment of weakness for Show. But he quickly put the Rumble loss behind him on Monday night and reestablished himself as one of the roster’s preeminent heels when he taped Alberto Del Rio to the ring rope and delivered a vicious beatdown to both the champ and Ricardo Rodriguez.

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2. TOP OF THE 10 PM HOUR
We all know The Rock is a great actor, but I think the emotion the new WWE Champion displayed when he walked to the ring with the title in tow was very real. Fans can feel when a Superstar is being genuine. The Rock was genuine.

The new and angrier CM Punk was great, as well. Wasting absolutely no time in destroying the crowd was a nice touch. While watching, I was trying to figure out how the best heel in the business keeps getting better. It’s almost unbelievable, especially when you take into account Punk’s ability to somehow still have the segment’s “cool lines” … something you don’t usually see from a heel. Example: “I’m gonna stand up here like a punk-ass bitch because it’s cool to swear.”

1. PAUL HEYMAN
Wow, is it possible that Paul Heyman is a better actor than The Rock? After watching wrestling for so many decades, I sometimes find it hard to get sucked into the moment. But not tonight. Like a true mark (that’s not always a bad thing), I found myself engulfed in the entire moment, wondering how Heyman could lie straight to McMahon’s face. Then when Heyman finally got caught out, watching him turn on a dime and claim the person in the video wasn’t him was amazing. I truly believe Monday’s final segment should be made regular viewing in NXT’s promo classes.

And all that was before Brock Lesnar ever showed up.

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6 Comments

  1. Grindy says:

    Rock winning does nothing for the business. It does nothing for Punk. You have Punk win Rumble and he’s on the level of 1999 Rock for heel of an era. They effectively buried Punk in favor of Rock who has been awful in ring and on mic. At Wrestlemania, it will be a three way bout with Cena most likely winning because lets not build people is WWE’s line of logic.

    • I would say WWE has done a very good job building Punk. Just think of where he was 18 months ago. Now, he’s the No. 2 fulltime guy behind Cena. That’s not so bad. I understand your viewpoint; I just think you have to strike when the iron is hot. For WWE, having a big movie star as their champ for a few months is hot.

  2. Joey C says:

    You won’t find a bigger Punk mark than me. He’s literally the only reason I watch RAW. He says things that intelligent people can actually believe and relate to. Dude is the best in the business and doesn’t need the title to show it.

    But anyone who watches should know that the #1 goal is to make money and you make money but having the largest audience possible. You get as many people you can to view sponsorships, buy PPVs, and maybe get lucky when a casual fan buys a piece or two of merch.

    As with anything, to have the largest audience possible, you have to pander to th lowest common denominator. That isn’t an insult. You suck in as many as your target demo as you can (and the WWE’s biggest demo does NOT have long attention spans or an affinity for high brow humor/entertainment.) The WWE knows their audience and knows what will maximize revenue.

    They have almost provided the best of both worlds. The smarter and more mature fans can think about the words in Heyman and Punk’s promos, and the target demo can pop for Rock’s lame insults and swears.

    Really though, it’s amazing what Punk has become. He literally has been the only reason I’ve watched. I went from zero wrestling viewership to turning in weekly just to see what Punk has to say. He made my fiancé appreciate his promo skills to the degree where she WANTS to watch Raw to see what he’ll say/do next.

    Rock will make the money. Cena will sell the merch. But Punk is revolutionary in what he does. Think about who would drive the storylines if Punk OR Heyman left. There’s no one that could even come close to bringing th same thing to the table as Punk and Heyman right now in terms of driving the story.

    It is getting to the point to where I think Punk is challenging himself on a nightly basis to do the best he can to make as many people hate him as possible. I almost feel bad for enjoying his work because I know his goal is for me to dislike his character. But how can you dislike a character who busts his ass and speaks the truth?

    • Very well said, Joey. I couldn’t have put it better myself (as evidenced above). One thing that I didn’t even mention — how great was it that CM Punk said that he was the one giving The Rock a rematch? So classic.

  3. Sean C says:

    The fact that they built up and restored the prestige of the title to the point that fans are upset when CM Punk lost it, despite being a heel, is great. Yes I know The Rock isn’t a full-time guy anymore but it’s not like he’s David Arquette winning the title. Just wish he wouldn’t have won with a people’s elbow and no rock bottom after the match restarted.

    It’s amazing what CM Punk can pull off as a face or a heel. It’s like Chris Jericho or even The Rock where they can pull both off easily. Also, Heyman’s acting was great. As you said, went from lying to Vince’s face to lying about his involvement in video to his reaction when Lesnar was about to F5 Vince was fantastic.

    The only problem I had is having Cena win the rumble. He seems like the kind of guy that can get a title shot anytime he wants, no need to have him win the rumble. Ziggler would have really shot up in stardom if he won the rumble. I know he has MITB but he could use that as a backup plan. I really liked his idea for merging the titles too.

    • I also like the idea of merging the titles. If they need a big title on house shows, they could think about elevating the IC Title and making that the draw on the B-level house shows.

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