Ian Malone vs. Kevin Stonebarger
Best Rivalry on WWE Television Today
WWE pay-per-views have left a lot to be desired as of late. The post-WrestleMania hangover has been almost as bad as The Hangover II. Triple H and Undertaker went back into hibernation, Edge retired and The Rock went back to Hollywood.
While Rock left behind seeds for the future, these are all money feuds that disappeared right after Mania.
The draft didn’t really shake things up all that much. Orton left for SmackDown and took the belt away from Christian just days after he celebrated what was one of the most emotional title victories in recent memory.
Once the World Heavyweight Championship was put on Orton and “Super” Cena beat The Miz and John Morrison at Extreme Rules, we knew these belts weren’t going to change hands for a while. There’s no way the bookers would allow a switch this fast.
That is, unless a certain disgruntled superstar decided he’d had enough of the way he’d been used. Enter CM Punk.
You can’t really blame CM Punk for his behavior as of late. The guy has been gold for the WWE ever since his first day on ECW. He even made the transition from face to heel without losing a beat. In fact, Punk has put forth some of his truly best work as a heel.
Punk brings to the table something that no other superstar can conjurer up. Punk’s feud with John Cena is exciting because there are real life connotations behind it. CM Punk stands for more than just a wrestler after a title belt.
CM Punk has made it clear that he wants to be in the Main Event, both on Raw and real life. While his repeated threats to leave the WWE on Raw are hard to buy since they’re approved by the WWE, it’s nice to see that the WWE has capitalized on real life momentum brought in by Punk.
Punk’s ending promo on Raw this week was obviously a work, but it talked about many sentiments that the wrestling community has. Punk accused Cena of kissing McMahon’s ass like WWE poster boys Hulk Hogan and The Rock have done in the past. This might be criticism of the WWE sanctioned by the WWE, but it’s all true.
CM Punk may be the heel in this, but he’s not a traditional heel. Punk’s current promos don’t just attract fans of heels, they attract everyone who are sick of Cena’s “superman” antics. Punk is promising one thing that we all want, change.
Furthermore, Punk’s departure would leave yet another huge void in the WWE’s roster. At the young age of 32, Punk is a talent that can help the company for years to come. The WWE cannot afford to lose him.
Back in the '90s, Punk’s threats wouldn’t be uncommon at all. Wrestlers jumped ship all the time between WCW and the WWF. But even in 2011, this threat should be taken seriously.
Instead of jumping to another company, plenty of wrestlers are just leaving the business entirely. Batista and Chris Jericho abandoned their main event careers for a path outside the wrestling ring. Punk could very well do the same. Or he could go back to his roots in Ring of Honor or even Japan. His promo might have been a worked shoot, but is it really that ridiculous?
How long has it been since kayfabe looked this real?
On the other hand, Cena looks like the heel. Cena represents the WWE, the corporate entity that’s been pretty damn stale as of late. Cena represents McMahon, whose “my way or the high way” philosophy is leading to declining ratings and PPV buys.
This feud is unbelievable because it already has tons of hype even before the actual wrestling is factored in. This works great for a guy like Cena who hasn’t put on a truly great match in some time.
Now despite all of this, there’s still the very good chance that Punk does not in fact pummel Cena and Superman goes on with the same gimmick he’s had for years. But let’s face it, if there’s someone who’s going to show Cena that he’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread, it’s Punk.
R-Truth and The Miz still have years to perfect their rise to the main event. CM Punk is a star who demands to be recognized now.
Or he’s gone, so he says.
Regardless of the outcome, this is the feud that I’ve been waiting since WrestleMania for. It’s about time.