I tried to give this article more time. I did. CM Punk has been on fire since right after the Capital Punishment PPV when he sat down on the Raw stage and cut the promo of a lifetime on everybody who mattered in the WWE. He faced the biggest name in the wrestling business, John Cena, and was actually booked to win. And when Vince McMahon charged Alberto Del Rio out with his Money In The Bank briefcase to steal the WWE Title back from Punk, the Voice of the Voiceless dodged the bullet and disappeared into the crowd. Unsigned and with the WWE Title in tow.
Easily the coolest shit I had seen in years.
And the WWE and Phil (Punk’s real name) messed it up.
The random twitter pictures of Punk gallivanting around Chicago with the belt were awesome. It was the closest Wrigley Field had come to a title since 1908 (anyone watch Catching Hell by the way? Stupid Bartman.). Raw went on with McMahon announcing a tournament to declare a new WWE champion and before Rey Mysterio and The Miz could face off in the final, Vince took the ring to fire Cena (a stipulation of losing to Punk at the Money In The Bank PPV the night before). Before the hammer fell though, Triple H returned and let Vince know that he had actually been relived of his duties and that he was now the new WWE COO.
Raw couldn’t lose.
Punk even invaded a WWE Comic Con panel and waved his WWE Title in Triple H’s face, much to the delight of all the fans in attendance.
CM Punk could not be stopped.
The next week on Raw, Mysterio defeated The Miz to win his first WWE Title. But then the problems started.
John Cena won the title back from Mysterio in the same episode. And who returns in this very action packed episode of Raw?
CM Punk with his WWE Title.
So this whole storyline where Punk was sick of WWE and wasn’t going to play by their rules or re-sign is shot to shit. Sure, it was awesome to see Punk show up and have their suddenly be TWO WWE Titles. But why so soon?
Del Rio had been in place since the Royal Rumble to win the WWE Title at some point. The WWE held back his title push in favor of the Cena/Miz feud continuing from Wrestlemania XXVII and then had Cena help R-Truth get over as a heel. Why not bring the Del Rio/Cena feud into the picture? Was there a fear of low buy rates for SummerSlam after seeing the high numbers from Money In The Bank?
Punk was brought back too soon. His run from the Raw after Capital Punishment to Money In The Bank was unlike anything seen in the WWE in years. Non fans were talking about the WWE. Sports shows were mentioning CM Punk and the WWE. The WWE was doing something different. There was no reason to hold Punk out until at least the SummerSlam PPV or even the Raw after. The anticipation was there.
But now we have two WWE Titles.
Punk continued to put in excellent mic and in-ring work leading up to his SummerSlam rematch with Cena. He was over with the crowd. Everything he said became trending topics on Twitter. His “Best In The World” shirt was selling out as fast as the WWE could make them. But I could feel the magic of June 27 slowly fading away. Especially once Triple H inserted himself as special guest referee in the Punk/Cena Undisputed Title match at SummerSlam.
At SummerSlam, Punk and Cena had another great match. Nowhere near the classic of Money In The Bank, but still thoroughly satifying. But then things went from great to sour really fast.
Punk defeated Cena with a GTS when Triple H failed to see Cena’s foot on the rope. Triple H put Punk over as the true champion and left Punk to celebrate. A returning Kevin Nash (who we hadn’t seen since his appearance as Diesel at the Royal Rumble) came through the crowd, entered the ring, clotheslined Punk, proceeded to Jackknife Powerbomb the living daylights out of him, and then left as Triple H watched with a look of bewilderment. Alberto Del Rio rushed to the ring with his MITB briefcase and a ref, landed a poorly executed kick to Punk’s head, and pinned the new champ to become the new WWE Champion.
I was anxious to see what Punk would say on Raw. I figured he would come out ready to fight everybody who’s name wasn’t John Cena. He was “The Best In The World” and he had been screwed out of his WWE Title (even though technically Cena got screwed first). Surely a rampage of epic proportions was in order.
Instead, he came out to confront Kevin Nash, who had come to Raw to explain his actions at SummerSlam. That confrontation led to Triple H joining the two and suddenly, a new storyline was formed.
About a text message Kevin Nash had received.
From “I hate this company and what it’s come to”, then going to “Why did you help Triple H screw me out of my WWE Title”?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get any better for Phil. Come back for Part 2.