Last we left Monday Night Raw, the WWE Universe was treated to a glimpse of CM Punk and Paul Heyman driving off into the sunset together. Why are they aligned? What does Heyman have to gain from working with Punk? Why does the WWE Champion need a manager? The answers to these questions should begin to unfold this week, but before the WWE crafts their story, I wanted to create a storyline revolving around Punk and Heyman forming a new heel stable of renegades, similar to how the New World Order was originally formed in WCW. If executed properly, this can become the hottest and most trending storyline of 2012.
CM Punk’s heel turn has been about one word—respect.
Paul Heyman’s entire career in professional wrestling has been about the same.
In CM Punk and Paul Heyman we have two perennial underdogs and professional overachievers who have turned their backs on the fans who were once responsible for catapulting their careers. For the past year, CM Punk has seen his star power rise dramatically in WWE. He is in the midst of one of the longest World Title reigns in history and has fans hanging on his every word. He is the total package in the ring and on the microphone. Fans have taken slowly to his heel turn because the truth is, they don’t want to boo him. Sure, they know they’re supposed to. He’s the bad guy beating up on poor Jerry Lawler in a steel cage. But the truth is, the WWE Universe still thinks Punk is cool…and no one wants to be the guy that boos the coolest guy in the room.
So what is the fastest way to get the fans to buy into CM Punk as a heel? Align him with the most naturally unlikeable character in the business today, Paul Heyman. The match is a perfect fit. Punk will be seen as a sellout who is taking the cheap way out to protect his stature and WWE Championship. Heyman will be seen as a leach that has moved on from managing Brock Lesnar to the “current big thing,” CM Punk.
But is that enough? Does the simple pairing of Punk and Heyman have enough juice to carry WWE through the end of the year and into WrestleMania 29? I don’t believe so. If CM Punk is going to have truly epic matches with the likes of the Rock, Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker or John Cena, then this storyline needs more twists and turns and perhaps a new stable of renegades searching for what Punk so desperately wants…respect.
Looking at the WWE roster, there are a host of talented wrestlers who would benefit from forming a stable with Heyman and Punk. The right combination of renegade stars would really set a number of young wrestlers careers on the right track.
The Renegades, led by CM Punk & Paul Heyman
Rumor has it that the big man is about to make his return to WWE. His first stint in WWE from 2003-2005 was a failure, as he played a stuttering buffoon of a wrestler. He created a strong character for himself as an enforcer-type in TNA Wrestling and could fill the role perfectly in this stable. Consider him the Batista of Evolution. Morgan can demand the respect from WWE fans and management that he failed to receive years ago during his initial WWE career.
Ted Dibiase Jr.
He has a great look, solid technical ability and can hold his own in a promo. In his young career, he has yet to find storyline to help launch him into the public eye and seems to continuously take one step forward and two steps back. His quest for respect could be to finally break free of his father’s (The Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase) shadow and create a path of his own.
The spitfire of the group, Kidd is the high-flying underdog whose size has never gotten him the respect that his talent justifies. He is the young, eager, brash member of this stable (similar to Randy Orton’s role in Evolution or X-Pac in DX).
Beth Phoenix or Natalia Neidhart
I enjoy when a stable includes a WWE Diva. I think it’s an added element that opens doors for outside interference in matches, internal conflicts with male stable members and more. Chyna worked perfectly for DX as did Lita with the Hardy Boys. Phoenix and Neidhart have the toughness to hold their own with the boys. Their quest for respect is a misused and under-appreciated Diva’s division.
I would maximize the impact of introducing the renegade stable over the period of a full week of TV. At Night of Champions, Matt Morgan can make his debut and cost John Cena the win (and title) versus CM Punk. The following night on Raw, GM AJ Lee can make a Battle Royal match with the winner facing CM Punk at the next PPV, Hell in a Cell. CM Punk will successfully lobby to be in the match as well with the added stipulation that if he wins, he gets to make all of the Championship matches at Hell in a Cell. The Battle Royal will come down to Punk, Morgan, Dibiase, Kidd and Cena. Punk will sit down and watch his stable destroy and eliminate Cena. After, they will eliminate themselves, leaving Punk as the winner. As Raw goes off the air, we will be left to wonder why these superstars are helping CM Punk?
One week later, all will be explained as CM Punk introduces us to his stable of renegades. Paul Heyman will announce that CM Punk has made his matches for Hell in a Cell. Kofi Kingston and R Truth will defend the tag-team titles against the team of Tyson Kidd and Ted Dibiase. The Intercontinental Title will be defended by the Miz against Matt Morgan. CM Punk will defend his Championship against John Cena, Big Show, Daniel Bryan or Kane. The caveat is that all four men will wrestle earlier that evening in a second Hell in a Cell Match to determine the No. 1 contender. This would also mark the first time that a wrestler had two Cell matches in one night. By the end of the PPV, CM Punk’s entire stable will hold all of the major titles on Monday Night Raw.
Moving forward, the possibilities are endless. I envision Punk squaring off against the Rock for the title at the Royal Rumble and possibly losing it to setup two WrestleMania matches. First, Cena vs. Rock II for the title. Cena would get the win in this match and end a two year storyline with the Rock in which both stars come out looking strong. Meanwhile, Punk could face either the Undertaker or Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker could demand the match to teach Punk that respect is earned, not taken. If Punk truly wants to be respected, he can end the streak. Or, if Lesnar is the opponent, the storyline can revolve around which star Paul Heyman will side with. Either way, WWE creates storylines for its top stars thru March, 2013.