Come January 27, 2013, The Rock will face off against the WWE Champion for the title. Considering the verbal confrontation between The People's Champion and CM Punk, and with the addition of the post-main event GTS, it would appear that the current set up will lead to a showdown between The Great One and WWE's Cult of Personality.
While we all know WWE can change their plans in the blink of an eye, this set up gifts the creative team with a story that writes itself.
"But the fact that Dwayne is in the main event of WrestleMania next year and I'm not makes me sick!"
This was just one of many points brought up during Punk's original "pipe bomb" promo that launched him to mainstream popularity within the company. It's easy to forget that when the initial promo was cut, Punk was meant to be a heel who was condemning us for pouring money into a company that didn't deserve it.
The Punk of today is, unfortunately, a diluted version of what was originally presented last year, although I don't think the blame could be laid with anyone in particular. He was an nonconformist character who became one of the most popular men in the company. In addition to a lack of character in WWE (who overtly represents the corporation), there isn't much room for an anti-authority character.
A match between Punk and Rock allows the WWE Champion to take a step back and revert into the more edgy character he once was. One of the reasons why Punk kicked up such a fuss before was that he was being overlooked, and people who didn't deserve the spotlight (in his view at least) were getting handouts they didn't need.
One year later, how much has changed? Punk, despite being the WWE Champion for the last eight months, has constantly played second fiddle to John Cena when it's come to match order on PPVs. He has yet to main event a PPV in 2012.
Despite people being skeptical of The Rock gaining a title match instantly, this rivalry will help Punk in the long run. It may not get the same sort of build up that the main event of WrestleMania got, but it will allow others to see Punk on a whole new level. In the eyes of the casual fan, a match against The Rock will make him look like a big deal and hopefully will allow WWE to place him into more PPV main events.
As for The Rock, he has been given an interesting opponent.
With Cena, he was presented with a much more straightforward story—a competition between two men to be known as the greatest of all time. With CM Punk, he is facing a man with a legitimate gripe and an argument that is hard to contest. How can The Rock deserve a title match when he's only wrestled twice in the last year?
Many of the fans are also going to be critical of letting someone who doesn't even take on a part-timer's schedule a shot at the company's top prize...especially when there is a good chance he could end up winning. By working this into the story, they can soften the stinging criticism which is bound to arise around this story.
Punk's action will hopefully not make him a full-blown heel—just an edgier character. Regardless, WWE have been given less time to build up this match but more interesting material to work with. Hopefully they will produce a quality product with what they have been given.
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