“Your arms are just too short to box with God.” –CM Punk
CM Punk and The Rock started building to their Royal Rumble showdown with their first verbal confrontation since Raw 1,000. Their promo was the best possible way to kick start this massive WWE Championship feud.
Punk initiated the segment by standing in the ring with Paul Heyman and dropping a pipebomb. He sounded off on everything from WWE and its glass ceiling to how he’s overcome everything in spite of the fans.
Once Punk was done with his verbal assault on WWE legends like Bruno Sammartino and Shawn Michaels, fans jumped out of their seats as “The Great One” made his entrance.
The Rock answered Punk perfectly with a promo of his own. He pandered to the fans with his trademark catchphrases and even coined a new nickname for the WWE Champion—“cookie puss.”
It was like watching black and white.
Punk bluntly put down the fans and some of the most revered names in wrestling history. The Rock, on the other hand, rallied the fans and used them to make his comical jabs at Punk sting even more.
The predictable nature of The Rock’s promo shouldn’t be a detractor. In this case, though, the predictable route was the right way to go.
It might not seem like it, but The Rock’s silly lines actually accomplished quite a bit. His remarks clearly outlined that he and Punk are polar opposites.
It’s easy to dwell on and criticize the more lighthearted parts of The Rock’s promo. The simple fact is that, just like every other word uttered in this last segment of Raw, it served a purpose.
The ending of the first Raw of 2013 undoubtedly established the clash that will take place on Jan. 27. It will be a battle of ideals, of attitudes and of values. In one segment, this match became more than a WWE Championship match between the top stars of two different eras.
To tie it all together, The Rock brought the promo home with his own unique brand of seriousness. He wasn’t joking. He simply told Punk that, come the Royal Rumble, his time as champion is up.
From the moment Punk stepped in the ring and removed the WWE logo from the microphone, fans were given everything they could have expected and then some.
Punk mixed in the harsh jabs at fans and legends, and that has recently gotten him plenty of heat with the frank comments typical of his pipebomb promos. The promo was a wonderful, and even surprising, hybrid of the two styles that have had fans eating out of his hand as of late.
The Rock lived up to the hype that came with his first appearance in months. He delivered in a way that also had the fans in the palm of his hand.
The most important part is that each word said worked towards building heat between the two and making their Royal Rumble match feel as legendary as it should.
Not a single word was wasted.
“…Because you know in 20 days you're going to be defending that WWE Championship against The Rock. In 20 days, time's up." –The Rock