We all know that on last week’s Raw, Paul Heyman signed off on a match between CM Punk and Chris Jericho at WWE Payback.
What we don’t know, however, is whether Heyman had Punk’s consent to do so.
We haven’t seen Punk since he was written off of TV just after WrestleMania 29, and during his absence, Heyman has done all of his talking for him. That talking got him into a bit of trouble, though, when he was goaded into accepting a match against Jericho on Punk’s behalf.
The fact that we haven’t heard or seen from Punk since the beef between Heyman and Jericho started has a lot of people talking, too. Mainly, they’re wondering what this might mean for both Punk’s immediate and long-term futures.
After all, Heyman signing up Punk for a match that—as far as we know—Punk may not want to have anything to do with is a surefire way to, for the very first time, generate some friction between Punk and Heyman.
In fact, it may be the very first step in another babyface turn for Punk.
Punk, of course, is one of the WWE’s best and most hated heels whenever he’s in that role on TV. But if there’s one man who could easily help him turn face again, it’s Heyman.
As we all know, Heyman is arguably the biggest heel in the WWE at the moment. His mere presence alone generates massive heat from the crowd, and when he grabs a mic and starts yapping, that heat often reaches exponential levels.
Yes, Heyman is a heat magnet, and now that he appears to be going behind Punk’s back and accepting matches on Punk’s behalf, it looks like the WWE could be setting the stage for Heyman’s great performances as a heel to lead to a babyface turn for Punk.
It’s a very simple scenario that is both logical and perhaps necessary too.
What makes a Punk face turn logical is, quite simply, what Heyman is doing. In any situation where someone goes behind his friend’s back and does him wrong, odds are that just about everyone is going to side with the one who was wronged (Punk) rather than the one who did the wronging (Heyman).
What makes a Punk face turn necessary is the WWE’s clear lack of top babyfaces. It can’t be said enough that the WWE lacks enough true main event-caliber babyfaces.
At least right now, the WWE has five guys—John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan—who could feasibly be thrust into the main event picture and be bought in as legitimate top babyfaces. Other than perhaps Kane (iffy without Bryan) and Alberto Del Rio (not a shot without Ricardo Rodriguez), no one else is really even close.
That’s where a babyface Punk comes in.
He’s now been off of TV long enough that the fans have been able to realize how valuable he is to the WWE. Thus, his return (especially since it’s set to take place in his hometown of Chicago) is sure to be met with joy and elation from most WWE fans.
He’ll essentially be coming back as a babyface no matter what (even if he’s technically a heel), but if his triumphant return comes along with some tension with Heyman, then he’s practically guaranteed to instantly become a top babyface again.
Punk’s work as a heel is fantastic, and he’d probably once again be the top heel in the WWE if he came back in that role. But the signs of a babyface turn are there, and, truth be told, there may be no better time for the WWE to pull the trigger on it.
The WWE needs another top good guy, and if Punk comes back as one, then he gives the WWE exactly what it needs and sets up potentially great feuds with guys like Curtis Axel and Brock Lesnar down the road.
If the WWE truly wants to help both its immediate and long-term futures, then a Punk babyface turn is the route to go.
And Heyman is the perfect guy to make that turn to happen.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!