Good afternoon Bleacher Reporters. MC is here to serve you another plate of WWE Raw Segment Analysis.
The very last Raw of the year opened with the music that is now adored in many fans' hearts. "A Cult of Personality" was especially well received in the land of Chicago, where their hometown hero first blasted that theme in Ring of Honor stadiums.
But an excited crowd was not greeted by the current WWE Champion CM Punk. Instead, a man of over 40 years old with a Pillsbury Doughboy face graced the arena, sporting his Punk t-shirt.
Cheers quickly transitioned to boos as Intern Raw GM Laurinaitis grabbed the mic to address the crowd and his new found "love" for CM Punk.
However, the same music hit again, only this time the real hometown hero emerged.
Punk—during his promo—calls out the current Raw Intern GM on his boring demeanor and the fact that in reality, Laurinaitis doesn't care much for the champion.
Of course, the GM disagrees.
Long story short, in order to prove that he is not "predictable", Laurinaitis sets up Punk to face three contenders in a Gauntlet Match. If either of the contenders win, they receive a title opportunity.
However, if Punk wins all three matches, he receives Laurinaitis (in a match, of course).
Now, during this whole opening segment, I couldn't help but think: Is this really gonna increase ratings? Is this feud really worth the excitement?
Yes, the fans were into it last night, but let's be honest. Chicago would've been excited if CM Punk was out there in the ring with Gumby.
My main issue is, can John Laurinaitis and CM Punk be compelling enough characters to basically (and let's be honest here), do what Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin did?
Since the dawn of Laurinaitis's promotion to an on-screen WWE role, numerous fans believe that he is the second best answer to a CM Punk authority figure foe, besides Triple H.
After all, Stone Cold needed Vince just as much as Vince needed Stone Cold. But the problem is, I don't think many are still sold on Johnny Ace's character.
He's bad not in a classic Bobby "The Brain" Heenan type of way, but in an X-Pac type of way. And quite frankly, the last thing Punk needs to cement his popularity, is a guy who is laughably bad instead of seriously good enough in order to work the crowd in CM Punk's favor.
Yes, I understand that Laurinaitis gets plenty of heat. So did Alicia Fox last week in Philadelphia, though. It's not all about just getting heat, it's about getting the right heat for the right reasons.
And judging by the slipping television ratings, Johnny Ace falls into the later. He's not as strong of a character and personality as Vince McMahon, though that is supposed to be the point. But you can be cunning and slick while still maintaining a good character of your own.
I'm not asking for Laurinaitis to be just like Attitude Era Vince McMahon, I'm just asking him to either be good, or step down and allow a real, serious foe for CM Punk to come along.
I'll admit though, he's trying.
Though again, I don't think Laurinaitis is the type of guy who is comfortable on camera. He only is comfortable doing the same things, like the phone bit for instance. But he is good at throwing subtle shade at Punk.
In addition, it's a two way street. Punk is solid gold on the mic, no doubt about that. He gets the crowd involved and speaks the truth.
However, I feel that Punk needs a bit more edginess and unpredictability now. What made Austin exciting night in and night out is that you never knew what crazy stunt he would pull against The Corporation next. From pretending to have real guns to beer baths, Austin always raised the bar and took it a step higher.
Punk needs to do that now. I understand that Punk's "thing" so to speak is being honest and telling the truth. I understand that his candid shoot-like nature is his bread and butter and what got him here in the first place.
But Punk needs to bring it with some more action and authority. Like with Laurinaitis, I'm not asking Punk to be Stone Cold. What I'm asking is for him to bring something different to the table each week on Raw. It does get old after a while to cut the same promo saying the same things about the direction of the company and on company guys such as Laurinaitis and Triple H.
We get it, Laurinaitis is a boring guy who is predictable and who only got by on being Vince McMahon's Yes Man. We get it, he doesn't truly listen and care about what the "WWE Universe".
We get it, wrestling now needs to move into a new direction and not be held up by a guy in Triple H—whose wife (also known as the boss's daughter) has him by the balls.
Now Punk, you have to bring some more new material.
In summary, I heavily question whether or not a John Laurinaitis-CM Punk feud can bring in the excitement and electricity.
Too many times already, has WWE tried to duplicate the chemistry and magic of Vince McMahon vs. Stone Cold, to no avail. John Cena has suffered in large part because of this. Cena and Eric Bischoff anyone?
I hope that Punk doesn't go through the same fate. I have no question he can be entertaining. What I question is, can he find an enemy that can be entertaining with him? I don't think Laurinaitis is the answer to that question.
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Also check out my other articles in my profile! If you are an old or new wrestling fan, definitely check out my series analyzing the WWE after the Attitude Era.
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