Bringing back Brock Lesnar and running him as a heel has surprisingly done a lot for John Cena. The crowd reaction is still mixed, but the overall noise has been mostly positive. A stark improvement from the clearly defined boos of previous months.
This is partly due to Lesnar being a traditional heel. A cynic might suggest that it has something to do with the WWE going to a series of smaller or foreign locations where more families have attended.
On Sunday evening, the WWE goes into Chicago, one of the most male-orientated and aggressive crowds on the WWE calendar. In a normal situation, John Cena would be booed all night long.
However, the WWE are desperate for fans to support Cena.
So why would a loss for hometown boy CM Punk be good for Cena's crowd reaction?
Firstly, it would get the children who are in attendance going. As noted above, Chicago will be dominated by young men, so the WWE will want to have children shout extra loud to compensate. Nothing works better than seeing one face lose. It encourages the children to shout louder so the next face does not suffer the same fate. This will directly benefit Cena.
Secondly, it might distract the Chicago crowd. Most audiences reach a peak of noise and excitement then fade away. This does not stop a crowd being loud all night, like it should be on Sunday, but it means that the high point of the noise will come in disapproval of Punk losing. This may allow Cena to avoid the full force of the crowds venom so the cheers in his direction will seem a little louder.
The final reason is a little more vague. If John Laurinaitis or one of his assistants gets involved in the finish of the Punk-vs.-Jericho matchup, then the Chicago wrath would be in their direction. If that same assistant or "Big Johnny" came out with Lesnar then the associated heat would be with Brock.
As a result, John Cena could come out to an unexpected face reaction.
Of course this could all backfire. Punk losing the title could enrage the Chicago audience and every last ounce of venom could be fired at Cena. A reaction that would once and for all associate John Cena with being unpopular.
It is a risky strategy if the WWE choose to play it. A win for Punk could be seen as a way to placate the fans. However, it would not be surprising to see such a risk taken this Sunday.