The most anticipated program in WWE this year has been launched, and by the time SummerSlam rolls around in August, the WWE Universe could be emotionally and physically drained.
Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk. Two "Paul Heyman Guys" are suiting up and threatening to take wrestling fans on a ride this summer that will be more intense and thrilling than the fastest and highest roller coasters could ever provide.
At last Lesnar is going to start earning the money he thus far had been stealing from WWE thanks to his rather cushy contract. If you were to think of his battle with John Cena as a pre-banquet cocktail and his run with Triple H as the appetizer, then the upcoming program with Punk will be the dinner to end all dinners.
Why? Because finally Lesnar is crossing swords with someone who is as crazy and intense, if not crazier and more intense, as he is.
Right now, Punk is the only WWE Superstar whose crowd pop rivals that of fellow babyface Daniel Bryan. It’s really not fair to call it a crowd “pop” because it’s more of a crowd “explosion.”
Punk’s character is the gold standard of someone being over in WWE. Even during the last six months of his record WWE title run, a heel Punk still outdid any face reactions from the WWE Universe. Jet engines are not as loud as the cheers when “Cult of Personality” booms through the arena.
Punk takes any opponent to levels no one could comprehend. Look how he extended John Cena, The Rock and even The Undertaker. His match on Raw Monday night with Alberto Del Rio showed that the self-imposed hiatus did him a world of good.
Punk looks more fit and relaxed than he has in some time. He looks like a man ready to rumble.
You knew from the beginning of Raw Monday night that the end of the show would somehow involve Lesnar. As soon as Punk basically told Heyman to shove off, he practically opened the door for Lesnar to bust through.
And bust through he did. Right up to the ring and hit Punk with the F5.
With that, the first shot was fired across Punk's bow. And Punk is not the type of character to recoil in fear. Lesnar will have to answer for his actions, and that is where the fun really will begin.
And that is what Lesnar needs to begin justifying what WWE is paying him.
Since returning to WWE the night after WrestleMania 28, Lesnar has fought a grand total of four matches and has a winning percentage of .500. He lost to Cena at the 2012 Extreme Rules, but took two of three bouts with Triple H, winning at the 2012 SummerSlam and this year’s Extreme Rules but losing at WrestleMania 29.
His fight with Cena was a one-off at best. The trilogy with Triple H tried to recapture the intensity of the Ruthless Aggression era, but did not quite live up to the memory.
Now, WWE has apparently seen the light. Lesnar is picking a fight with a character whose history of rising to new highs and stooping to new lows is unmatched by anyone in the company. It has all the makings of an epic battle.
WWE seems to be ratcheting up the intensity of its product this summer with an amazing number of solid storylines—Daniel Bryan’s inferiority complex, the rise of The Shield, the coming of the Wyatt Family and the “retirement” of Mark Henry, to name a few.
The feud between CM Punk and Brock Lesnar will prove to be more than worthy to be the leader of that parade of stars.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.