This past Monday on RAW in Birmingham, England, the WWE universe witnessed massive booking changes for the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view. Fans across the globe were awaiting the five-on-five elimination tag team main event with mixed levels of anticipation; some were excited to see a return to prominence for the traditional Survivor Series match, whereas others disapproved of the company's top title not being defended at a top-four event.
Nevertheless, any existing build for the Team Punk versus Team Foley matchup was abruptly halted by the dictator that is Mr. McMahon's character when he announced a new main event for the pay-per-view, a triple threat match for the WWE Championship.
While many still speculate that Creative intend to have CM Punk hold the title until the Royal Rumble, facing the Rock at the January pay-per-view, another line of argument is that it could actually make more sense to have John Cena walk out of Survivor Series as champion, perhaps even pinning Punk in the process.
Firstly, Survivor Series will mark the one year reign of the "Best in the World" as champion, it would arguably seem fitting to have Punk drop the title, after his impressive year-long run, at the same event he defeated Alberto Del Rio to win the title.
Furthermore, while it has been encouraging to see a superstar have an extended run with the belt, as opposed to the hot potato booking of the title in recent times, Punk's recent booking has made him look like a champion on the run rather than a dominant force that takes on all comers. Although this is largely due to his heel turn, he has not been booked strongly in his recent feuds with John Cena and Ryback, resulting in his run as champion becoming slightly tiresome and increasingly unbelievable.
Who should walk into Royal Rumble as WWE Champion?
Perhaps the seemingly on-the-fly re-booking of Survivor Series can be taken as an indicator that McMahon and/or Creative have decided that they want to take the title off Punk at the nearest opportunity. When considered, putting the title on Cena at this stage actually makes a great deal of sense.
For instance, it has become clear in recent months that Creative is contemplating a rematch between the Rock and Cena at some point, likely with the title on the line this time. Should Cena take the title in the triple threat on Nov. 18, we will likely see him hold it until at least the Rumble, where he will be challenged by the Rock in a WrestleMania rematch.
This would arguably make more sense than holding the rematch at WrestleMania itself, where buy-rates and anticipation could suffer due to the match essentially being seen as a repeat of the previous year. Sequels often fail to recreate the successes and excitement of the original. Punk could win the Royal Rumble, or somehow otherwise earn a championship match, and go on to face the Rock at Wrestlemania.
It would seem that, in the Rock's next run in the WWE, we will see him face off against John Cena in a rematch, as well as CM Punk for the very first time. I feel that across Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania 29, we will see:
- The Rock vs. CM Punk
- The Rock vs. John Cena
- The Rock vs. CM Punk vs. John Cena
Which WWE Championship match would you most like to see at Wrestlemania?
Ultimately, it would perhaps make sense for Creative to give Cena the title now, in order for a more original 'Mania down the line. I fear that if we see Punk hold the belt until the Royal Rumble event, it will ultimately lead to Cena/Rock II on the grandest stage of them all.
How do you feel about the WWE title picture? How should the WWE book their top prize between Survivor Series and WrestleMania?