Last night I watched what I thought was a pretty average Monday Night Raw.
The roulette was very predictable and the matches short as usual. Evan Bourne and Sin Cara proved that two small guys can go at it and make for an interesting match, but Sin Cara needs to fix his finishing move and quickly.
Raw, however, will be etched in our minds for one thing only this week: CM Punk. Before I let this slideshow roll I want to make the point of saying that a very wise man once said, "Everything in wrestling is a work." What we witnessed last night was a 'work' and probably the best WWE has produced post-Attitude Era.
A scathing attack on the owner, mentioning legends and, rather oddly, rival promotions. These were all things that led to CM Punk being silenced, albeit kayfabe. There are, however, enough articles today debating the issue so I'll leave it alone.
Instead I will focus on five paths the creative team may take or have planned after what we witnessed last night.
Feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.
One thing I picked up on instantly last night was Punk making reference to Vince McMahon's "doofus" son in law and "idiotic" daughter. This, of course, is reference to HHH and Stephanie McMahon. The latter has been off WWE TV for quite some time now so a return for her could be a possible outcome.
More importantly, HHH is set to return after his grueling match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, and with the crowd growing bored of HHH v. Taker it would seem logical to give him a new feud.
If Punk's contract is actually up in September and not next month then HHH would be the ideal man to write him off WWE TV. After all, he does have a reputation of burying people. If this were to be the path WWE chooses then I have no doubt we will see HHH at MITB, costing Punk the title and forcing him to stay around to exact revenge.
Likelihood rating: 8/10
Kiss my ass!
Another McMahon absent from TV for quite some time is the alter-ego of the boss himself.
Mr. McMahon could well be considered the greatest ever heel in pro-wrestling history—hell, even when he was trying to save the WWE from the invasion angle, half the crowd still wanted to see him lose.
With Punk giving him such a public bashing I cant see him slipping into the shadows and remaining calm about it. WWE seems to have used Punk perfectly to juxtapose how the crowd feels about the state of WWE right now. Punk represents those still inspired by the Attitude Era, with his rough look and heel tactics, which is why half the crowd were still cheering for him last night.
I would love to see McMahon throw on the ring attire for one last bashing of talent but it would appear very unlikely. If this is the plan then I see Punk winning—yes, winning—the title from Cena at MITB but being forced to have a rematch due to his contractual obligation.
McMahon can then rather cutely announce himself as "The Special Guest Referee," and there you go: We have another 'Screwjob' on our hands. Creative always likes the 'Screwjob' angle.
Likelihood rating: 3/10
A few weeks back on Raw, Punk was involved in another interesting promo with none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin. The two in a short spot appeared to have natural chemistry and got the crowd really excited.
Austin also made no secret during "Tough Enough" that he would love to step back into the ring. Although his knees may be done in, I think Austin could have one last match in him. He could just slow the pace like Taker so effectively does.
The other thing that makes this feud a possibility is that both star characters are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Austin is in many ways exactly what Punk rebels against. He drinks, he curses and raises hell at the expense of others. Punk is straight edge, alcohol- and drug-free.
The interesting note is that Punk delivered his promo kitted out in an Austin shirt. If this is the angle, I see creative having Austin cost Punk the title at MITB and calling out "his lil' son of a b**** ass" at Summerslam, and if any of these fans want to see "Stone Cold Steve Austin stomp a straight edge mud-hole in Punk's ass, gimme a 'hell yeah!'"
Austin could cut promos saying he has been in this business for 20 years, and although he doesn't like McMahon he respects the opportunities he was given and the superstars he fought with, but most importantly the fans—essentially saying Punk is a disrespecting the business. Then just let two of the best promo men do their job and instant classic.
Likelihood Rating: 6/10
I dont lick ass, I kick ass
It takes a brave man in WWE to bad mouth the people's champ, at least in reality not kayfabe. And with Punk's promo seeming so real it may carry some relevance. We all know The Rock is facing John Cena at WM28 and the plan is to put the WWE title on the line. Why stop there, though? Why not introduce CM Punk to the fray and make it a triple-threat match?
This would work for the WWE in a number of ways:
1. Blockbuster main event
2. PPV Ratings
3. Would eliminate the problem of turning Rock or Cena heel before WM28
4. We can't pick a winner
The angle is easily picked up: The Rock can simply call out Punk for what he said and Cena will have obvious beef due to Punk costing him the match on Raw the night of the already infamous promo. Rock can then cut some great promos on how he will prove Punk doesn't deserve similar status to him and how he will "layeth the smackdown" on both Punk and Cena at WM28.
This will also allow WWE to give Punk the break he has planned after MITB and give them sufficient time to put together a tight, well-written story line for a change!
Likelihood Rating: 7/10
The Money and The Mouth
This one is short and simple.
WWE build up our hope with that amazing promo, but alas: John Cena hits the five moves of doom and defeats CM Punk, thus ending his tenure with WWE and extending his 2000-year-old title reign.
This is by far the easiest story line for creative as they have had so much practice at doing it.
Likelihood Rating: 9.5/10
***Also how good would it be to see Shane O'Mac back on WWE TV?