At Summerslam, CM Punk would yet again, win his third world heavyweight title and this time he did so without the MITB Contract, further establishing himself as a main-eventer and the next top guy. CM Punk's long rivalry with the dethroned champion Jeff Hardy was well played, but at times became very stale.
After CM Punk cashed in his MITB contract this year at WWE Extreme Rules, after Hardy’s epic match with Edge, we all knew it was the start of something special, a heel turn for a then face CM Punk. Although Punk lost the title at WWE "Night of Champions" shortly after (which I still don't understand why they didn't just leave the title on Punk), this feud helped establish Punk as a top star and Hardy as a champion.
Punk and Hardy's ring-work was phenomenal. During their series of match-ups, it was the mic work that drew my ire. Although CM Punk made the transition from face to heel so gradual, it seemed authentic. Many fans were still aching to see him turn full fledged heel. His mic work was very good; he has a way of speaking down to the WWE universe that makes him easily hated, especially because, in a sense, he is right.
His promos made me hate Punk, like I hated the preachy guidance counselors in high school, or that church lady who thinks she knows what’s best for everyone because she genuinely feels she is better than everyone, or any other self-righteous person who just lives to preach. Classic; not many performers can evoke a reaction like that, one which is not only meant to insult, but evoke thought.
Hardy on the other hand, has terrible Mic work; great wrestler, but when he gets on the mic I feel embarrassed for him. He tries hard, but it just doesn't come natural to him, like for Punk or even Jeff’s older brother Matt. I felt like he had a sore throat every time he got on the mic, and usually the only thing I could really decipher from his promos was his "live in the moment" line.
Now, don’t think I am knocking Hardy, I respect him and was thrilled when he finally got his act together so the WWE could give him a halfway decent push. Although his Mic skills aren't where they need to be for a main-eventer, he has other qualities which made him good on-screen.
All personal communication analysts agree that body language speaks louder than words. Jeff has great body language and he leaves it all in the ring on top of that, so he is entertaining to watch.
His feud with CM Punk was very mic-heavy and was very stale because of it. Although Punk could carry the audience, Hardy failed to emote, and failed to evoke the necessary crowd reaction.
Now when things got more physical, they got interesting. Hardy can sell better than anyone, and this made the feud interesting to watch. I will give Hardy some credit, although his final promo, the Smackdown before Summerslam, when he was sitting on top of the 30 ft. ladder was entertaining, not the best I’ve ever seen, but one of his best.
Their match at Summerslam was classic. Hardy definitely gave Punk a match that will stop the critics from calling him a transitional champion, or stating that without the MITB contract he wouldn’t be a champion. The awesome twist ending with the return of The Undertaker, was well played and the signal of the end of Jeff Hardy’s feud with Punk and the end of his title chase (as he is set to go on a hiatus) and the beginning of a new rivalry between Punk and Taker.
After three straight PPV’s with Punk vs. Hardy (and five PPV's where Hardy was in a world title match), we are all ready for some fresh air.
All in all, it was a much more entertaining storyline then the John Cena vs. Randy Orton storyline on Raw or anything going on in TNA. So for that, the quality of the heat CM Punk received, and even the inclusion of Matt Hardy and John Morrison into the storyline, I give it 4 out of 5 Stars.