CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar represents the best the WWE has to offer at the 2013 edition of SummerSlam, but it also represents change for the better in WWE.
You see, fans since the beginning of the year, and really in years past as well, have complained that the WWE is predictable.
Really, it is. It was obvious John Cena was winning the Royal Rumble and that CM Punk was dropping the title to the Rock before he handed it over to John Cena.
Yet, it was also painfully obvious Paul Heyman was turning on CM Punk at Money in the Bank, which would ultimately lead to a feud between Punk and Lesnar.
The lesson? The predictable nature of WWE is fine with fans as long as fans get what they want. Fans wanted Punk vs. Lesnar and here we are.
Not only did WWE give fans what they want, the matchup bucks the predictability train 2013 has been riding entirely—it's impossible to predict who wins the highly-demanded matchup.
Will CM Punk break his losing streak and extract the ultimate revenge? Or will Brock Lesnar ride off into the sunset with a major victory under his belt?
To be frank, Punk needs this win more than Lesnar.
Let's start with Lesnar. The Beast himself is a believable animal no matter what his win-loss record tells you. He's an intimidating figure of impressive stature that does not have to say much (not that he ever has) with Paul Heyman at his side.
Better yet, a report from F4WOnline (via wrestlinginc.com) states that Lesnar will go on hiatus after SummerSlam. Not needing the victory and with Punk having to stick around, what purpose does giving Lesnar the win serve?
Punk is in a similar position in that he can lose the match and not take a major hit to his credibility, but it would mark his fourth major loss of the year. He's lost to The Rock in two main events already this year and dropped the classic match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
What does Lesnar have in common with those names other than also being a legend? He's a part-time wrestler as well. A losing streak against part-timers, legends or not, isn't the best look.
Assume for a moment that the report of Lesnar leaving is true. Punk loses, and then what? He continues his beef with Heyman by fighting Curtis Axel? Stop laughing. It would not be easy to simply throw him back in championship talk. Or does WWE fork over an insane amount of money to add more dates to Lesnar's contract?
If Lesnar is going to stick around, then you could make a case for Punk losing to continue the feud. That could lead to bigger and better things between the two and give a gimmick match opportunity for Punk to look strong considering Lesnar is being billed as an animal who cannot be beaten by normal means.
In the confines of simple wrestling logic, the last few weeks have been very telling. After being tossed around like a rag doll, Punk has rebounded and gained the upper hand on the past few editions of Raw.
Typically, the character billed as having the upper hand going into a pay-per-view winds up losing. If WWE is following traditional roles here, Lesnar is the one getting revenge with a victory at the SummerSlam.
Regardless of the outcome, there is going to be some foul play involved with Heyman on the outside and Axel in the back.
Give credit where it is due for WWE making this unpredictable, but also understand that WWE has once again painted itself into a corner with a Catch-22: One of these guys is going down and looking weaker as a result.
The bottom line is pretty simple—CM Punk has to win. He's the full-time Superstar, and while many may ask what's next after his feud with Lesnar, it's actually pretty simple—he gets back to contending for one of the two major championships.
Lesnar is known as one of the greatest of all time. He doesn't need a win over Punk to further solidify that. Punk, on the other hand, has lost to three legends already. Finally overcoming one at a pay-per-view will not only help his legacy, but catapult him back into the championship tier.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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