In just three short weeks at Survivor Series, we will almost certainly see CM Punk defend his WWE Championship against John Cena, Ryback or both of them in some form of triple threat match.
I wrote an article during the build up to Hell In A Cell which argued the case for not holding a WWE title match at the upcoming top four pay-per-view, the premise for said argument being that we would likely see interference from Brock Lesnar last night, potentially leading to a Team Heyman versus Team McMahon scenario for Survivor Series.
Following CM Punk's tainted victory over Ryback however, it would appear to be almost set in stone that we will see the championship contested once again in three weeks' time. In my book, there are arguably only three realistic possibilities, given the state of current rivalries and the short time between the two pay-per-view events:
- CM Punk (c) vs. Ryback
- CM Punk (c) vs. Ryback and John Cena
- CM Punk (c) vs. John Cena
Now, while many fans are enjoying Punk's heel turn that was initiated at Raw 1000, one of the most common complaints seems to be how he's being booked as one of the more cowardly heels we have seen in recent times, despite the ultimate levels of confidence seen in the first eight months of his reign.
To remain a believable champion and "Best in the World," Punk needs to make a completely clean title defence on pay-per-view; especially if he is still slated to take on the Rock at the Royal Rumble in the new year.
Examining the three pay-per-view events since the heel turn, it is clear that the man who calls himself the Best has not defended his championship in entirely clean fashion since his change in attitude.
- SummerSlam: Capitalised on the Big Show after he was laid out by John Cena.
- Night of Champions: The 'draw' with John Cena.
- Hell In A Cell: The Referee Screw-job, after being booked as absolutely terrified of Ryback.
While I understand that it has almost become the nature of the business to have heels come across so cowardly frequently in recent times, the issue is that it feels like the Champion has lost the last two times he has walked out of a pay-per-view as champion.
Looking ahead once again to Survivor Series, the problem is clear: Of the three potential main event matches listed above, none of them scream "clean victory" for the Second City Savior.
In fact, it is almost getting to the stage where the main question going into a title defence is: "How will Creative come up with a way of keeping the belt on Punk whilst making him look weak and cowardly at the same time?"
Although I appreciate that this can be a perfectly valid way of creating heat, if Creative still intend for Punk to defend the most prestigious title in the industry against the Rock at Royal Rumble, he needs to start being booked like a heel champion that can win clean, in balance with the occasional tainted title defence.
On the other hand, perhaps Cena is going over at the 26th annual Survivor Series, the one year anniversary of CM Punk's current reign.
Unless they start booking their champion more like a champion and less like Zack Ryder in his rivalry with Kane last year, it may actually be a logical option to have the Rock challenge Cena for the title at the Rumble, despite the fact that there is already a buzz in the air surrounding a potential Great One/Best in the World feud.
In other words, the WWE has two major events, and therefore likely two WWE title matches, left before Royal Rumble on Jan 27: Let's hope the most is made of the opportunity to build a WWE Champion capable of cleanly knocking off the Rock.