CM Punk ended Monday night writhing behind the announcers' table, clutching his neck in pain after Brock Lesnar attacked him.
For the story of Punk seeking retribution against Lesnar and Paul Heyman to reach its maximum potential, WWE needs to have him endure more pain like this along with the psychological kind.
As WWE moves forward with Punk's quest to retaliate against Heyman's betrayal, the company would be wise to consider the words of 18th century German dramatist Friedrich Schiller, who wrote, "Revenge is barren of itself: it is the dreadful food it feeds on; its delight is murder, and its end is despair."
Punk's journey must have him be subjected to despair, must have him fall several times and agonize in front of our eyes. This is how to make this feud unforgettable and the inevitable Punk vs. Lesnar SummerSlam match one for the ages.
Over the weekend, Heyman proved to be the snake that everyone warned Punk about.
At Money in the Bank, Heyman attacked Punk, splitting open his head with a series of ladder shots. He addressed Punk the following night on WWE Raw, talking about how Punk had failed to defeat The Undertaker and was not the best in the world as he claims.
He soon brought out Lesnar to attack his former friend and associate.
Heyman's childish response to Punk not wanting him in his corner has quickly turned sinister. Heyman will only become more dastardly as this story progresses. Backstage attacks on the former WWE champ are to be expected—as is cheating, lying and interference.
Like he's done so often throughout his career, Heyman came off as a spiteful, heartless man who we want the hero to squash.
Those are exactly Punk's intentions. He told Heyman on Monday night that he wanted to burn everything around him. "I'm going to keep you alive just long enough to look you in the eye and hurt you worst of all," he said.
The question going forward revolves around how Punk goes about that and tries to conquer the monster that is Lesnar.
The company has a chance for great theater here. Punk has the ability as an actor and talker to sell that his thirst for revenge is leading to self-destruction. Maybe he begins to lose focus during matches or maybe anger eats away at him, much like it has done to Daniel Bryan in recent months.
Captain Ahab's pursuit of Moby Dick consumed him, as did Shawn Michaels' obsession with The Undertaker before their career vs. streak match. These should be the inspirations for Punk's feud with Heyman's crew.
Punk's pain should be physical as well and Curtis Axel can help with that when Lesnar is not around.
Axel can beat down Punk during or after matches. He can take advantage of a distracted Punk and gain a few victories. This is an opportunity to build Axel up while Punk, Lesnar and Heyman are taking center stage.
Chair shots to the back, submission holds after the bell and sneak attacks on the way to the ring can all be a part of Punk's experience pre-SummerSlam.
The more fans see of Punk hurting like they did on Monday, the more interest fans have in seeing him finally get at Lesnar and Heyman. The harder it is for Punk to finally get his hands on Heyman and smash his knee into his face after a Go To Sleep, the more electric that moment becomes. The same goes for his upcoming war with Lesnar.
Defeating Lesnar is far more believable if it leaves Punk scarred, limping or otherwise hurting. You don't slay a dragon without getting burned.
The key word in WWE creative's meetings about this feud should be “struggle." For Punk's narrative of revenge to be at its most fulfilling, his vengeance must come with a price.
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