Heyman Defends WWE's Booking, Explains CM Punk-Undertaker S'Slam Moment

Tim ListAnalyst IAugust 24, 2009

Paul Heyman has posted his latest blog on The Heyman Hustle (http://heymanhustle.craveonline.com), writing about CM Punk's victory over Jeff Hardy at SummerSlam, and the puzzling turn the storyline took moments later involving The Undertaker.
Heyman actually explains why WWE chose this way to approach Punk's title win, and defends the business sense Vince McMahon and company showed with the Taker vs. Punk angle at the end of SummerSlam.
Key excerpt:
As Punk stood over the writhing-in-pain Jeff Hardy, where was the audience's collective focus? It was on Hardy, "selling," letting the crowd both at home and on TV know his sacrifice does not come without a price.
He projected the image of a man in severe pain, both physical and emotional, and the audience felt sympathy for this person, both as a character and as a human being.
Punk, understanding the art of a heel, kept his head down, looking at Hardy, so no one would have even the inclination of looking at Punk for the moment.
Then, in a perfectly timed mannerism that displayed his awesome ability to generate heat on himself, Punk slowly looked up, grabbing the attention of the audience, and saying with his subtle facial expression "I did this to your hero, give me all your hate for victimizing him ... and by the way, notice the fact I have the title in my possession ... hate me even more for the fact I took it away from your precious protagonist."
What happened next violates every principle of "Booking 101" ever taught. Yet, it was the best thing WWE has done in a long time, and it was, as the old expression goes, "right for business."
As the new champion stood over the just-dethroned former title holder, the lights flickered, and then went out. The all-too-familiar Hells Bells gong rang, signaling the entrance music of The Undertaker.
The Phenom, who has been out of sight (and therefore, out of mind) for several months, appeared in Hardy's prone position when the lights came back on, snatched the newly-minted champion by the throat, and leveled him with a resounding chokeslam in a memorable show-closing moment.
So, let's examine this, shall we? Punk did not cheat to win. His only beef has been with Jeff Hardy, whose lifestyle Punk finds offensive.
While Punk's antics on Smackdown are starting to paint him as preachy hypocrite, he has not picked a fight with anyone other than Hardy. He certainly has done nothing to earn the wrath, or deserve a beating from The Undertaker.
The babyface picked a fight with the heel ... beat him up after a grueling match in which the heel did nothing to cheat or deprive another babyface, who happened to be champion, of an outcome that could be deemed "honest and justified."
Justice was not served at the end of SummerSlam, and  the Big Dog did not need to protect his yard from this newest top tier performer.
So, why was it right for a babyface to chokeslam a heel, when the heel did nothing in the match to elicit a hostile, disdainful response except win the match in which he was competing against a more popular performer?
Why was it right for this babyface to chokeslam the heel, who has never crossed that babyface's path?  Why is this storyline different from all other storylines?
The reason is because World Wrestling Entertainment smartly wanted to shift your attention away from the wounded warrior Jeff Hardy, and place the emphasis on the new direction the championship story on Smackdown will need to take.
If Jeff Hardy was going to stay in WWE, this would be a shortcut to Undertaker challenging Punk, and it would be all wrong for business.
But it's the very fact that Hardy is taking a hiatus from WWE that makes this not only a memorable moment in SummerSlam history, but also the right move at the right time with the right players involved.
When SummerSlam went off the air, the majority of the audience was excited by the possibility of hero-crushing CM Punk getting his comeuppance and facing a heavy dues-paying session from the legendary Demon of Death Valley.
The clean-living champion, who doesn't suffer from facing personal demons, must now face the biggest baddest Demon in the land ... and by his actions in the final moments of the SummerSlam broadcast, that Demon signified he wants to take from Punk what Punk took from Hardy...the World Heavyweight Championship.
A classic behind-the-scenes explanation of how the WWE machine operates, and a fascinating look at the way some booking is approached.