With the news that CM Punk had undergone emergency knee surgery, the WWE was briefly left in limbo last week with regard to the main event match at the upcoming TLC pay-per view.
Though he appeared on Raw, and vowed that he would indeed be at the event, Punk was removed from the match in favor of a six-man tag team encounter pitting Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) and emerging superstar Ryback against upstart newcomers The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns).
It stands to reason that since he appears to be at least slightly mobile, Punk will have some type of impact on the match.
However, he is clearly not 100 percent, so what exactly can the WWE Universe expect from him, and what will the impact on the event be overall?
With his WWE title reign nearing 400 days (good enough for sixth all time), most fans expected Punk to be involved in a big way heading into his third showdown with the aforementioned Ryback.
However, with his knee completely worn down, Punk went under the knife, and even though he is expected to be back in action sooner rather than later, he will be out of the picture on Dec. 16th.
With very little talk about having any involvement with TLC, Punk spoke very bluntly about the Rock, who he is rumored to be facing at January’s Royal Rumble. Could it be that the company will not use him at all on Sunday and simply move forward with the planned work against the Rock?
Let’s hope not.
Love him or hate him, Punk can always be counted on to do something noteworthy. His in-ring work is very good, and his work on the microphone is really without parallel. His involvement at TLC could be as simple as cutting another scathing promo on the Rock, with no appearance in the main event.
But it will be interesting to see if the event can still be carried by the six-man tag team match.
Kane was once a headliner, capable of carrying a main event match almost by himself. But now at age 45, he's nowhere near the level he once was, though he is still exciting to watch.
Bryan is arguably the most gifted technical wrestler in the company but at times lacks the flair to be a main attraction.
Ryback, for all of his physical gifts, is still very rough around the edges in the ring, and at times, it seems as if we’re just waiting for him to hurt someone rather than pin them.
Lastly, The Shield.
All three competitors are excellent in the ring while Ambrose, the apparent mouthpiece of the group, is capable of excellent mic work.
But unless it is being used as a weapon, the mic is not going to help anyone at TLC. So it will be only the work in the ring that allows The Shield to make the kind of impact that everyone expects them to.
While they are no strangers to a wrestling ring, The Shield are all newcomers in the eyes of the WWE Universe. And they will need a very strong showing at TLC in order to solidify their image as the justice system of the company. A lot relies on everyone’s performance in this match.
Bryan and Kane will be relied upon to make everyone look better in the ring. Ryback will need to continue to look dominant, without completely decimating the credibility of his opponents, who also need to look dangerous and capable of serious damage.
It will be interesting to see how the entire scenario plays out. But without Punk, it likely will not be quite as exciting.