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The Punking of Punk's Title Reign
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Dec. 13, 2012 5:25 p.m.

Your WWE Champion, CM Punk
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
Longtime readers of the
blog, or loyal listeners of From The Rafter’s Radio have heard myself and Kevin
talk a lot about the lack of logic in today’s wrestling storytelling. Last week on Rafter’s Radio, I praised
Chikara (as I normally do when the company comes up in discussion) for their
attention to detail in their stories and how all the stories told over the 11
months of Season 11 were logical. In the last two months of watching (or more
honestly, reading recaps) RAW, I am impressed with how much WWE has changed the
CM Punk character and tainted his title reign. <>
What started out as a solid
reign with a champion vanquishing foe after foe first turned into a champion
demanding respect. At this point there was some truth to CM Punk’s complaints.
Even though he had been champion for nine months, he had only headlined one pay
per view and was taking a backseat to John Cena even though Cena wasn’t
challenging for the title. Then for
some reason, even though CM Punk had defeated John Cena on two consecutive pay
per views a year earlier, Cena claimed Punk still had to beat Cena in order to
had legitimacy to Punk’s reign. <>
After winning a triple
threat match against John Cena and the Big Show, Punk then had to once again
face Cena in Cena’s hometown in order to get respect. That match ended in a
draw as both men had their shoulders on the mat for a three count. With respect still not earned, even as
he was closing in being the longest reigning champion in the last 25 years. Punk
was faced with another big challenge, the undefeated monster, Ryback. <>
Suddenly, the cocky Punk was
trying to get out of matches and running like a scalded dog whenever Ryback
would appear. In their first match at “Hell In The Cell,” Punk needed the help
of crooked referee Brad Maddox to help put the first notch in Ryback’s loss
column. The next month at Survivor
Series, Punk used the debuting attack of The Shield on Ryback to take advantage
and pin John Cena. For over a year CM Punk wasn’t necessarily a dominant
champion, but was clearly capable of holding his own against any competitor.
What happened in the last four months to make Punk lose his mojo?<>
It’s not that I am upset
over the change in character per se. It’s more that the change in character seems
forced for the sake of the story being told instead of natural. Most successful
wrestlers evolve their characters over time. One of the biggest criticisms
against John Cena is that his character is stale and needs to change. CM Punk
could have easily, and logically, morphed from cocky champion to paranoid
champion. Unfortunately, WWE writers jumped from step one to step four and
completely bypassed steps two and three. Perhaps John Cena’s elbow injury and
unforeseen time off, as well as the sudden ascension of Ryback to challenger
eliminated the plans for the subtle character change. <>
After the double pin fall at
“Night of Champions,” CM Punk could have shown the hint of vulnerability and
commented that even though he walked out as champion; John Cena pushed him to
the brink of near defeat. Paul
Heyman, Punk’s mouthpiece, could then inform Punk that he was only a few short
months away from taking the record of longest title reign from John Cena. This
plants the seed of desire in Punk’s mind that he must at whatever cost keep the
title for as long as possible. <>
With each passing day,
Punk’s love for the WWE title grows and he becomes very Gollum-like thinking of
the title as his Precious. After
Ryback is announced as his next challenger, Punk could keep up a brave face
inside the ring when cutting promos while expressing doubt to Paul Heyman
backstage. Heyman could offer his sincerest assurance Punk has nothing to worry
about. After the Brad Maddox help and the Shield interference, Punk, while not
in on the plans, starts to regain his cockiness thinking he is unbeatable. <>
Preparing for the Royal Rumble
Photo courtesy: WWE
Getting through the end of
2012, Punk is heading straight to the “Royal Rumble” and a date with The Rock
for the WWE Title. CM Punk, once again full of attitude and bravado, cuts promo
after promo detailing how he has no fear of the Rock and how the WWE Title will
remain around his waist until he decides to hang up his boots. The week before
“Royal Rumble,” while Punk is going on and on about how he’s the best champion
and The Rock doesn’t concern him because no Hollywood actor is as tough or
talented as the WWE Champion, The Rock shows up on the Titantron and informs
Punk that Paul Heyman had nothing to do with Brad Maddox or The Shield. The Rock wanted to make sure CM Punk
was WWE champion when the “Royal Rumble” rolled around so he, The Rock, did
what he needed to do and enlisted the services of the four men to help Punk
retain the title. <>
Okay, I’m getting off track
and didn’t mean to go into fantasy booking mode. I hope you get the point I was trying to make and that is
appears WWE has/had no long term plan in place for CM Punk’s title run and
therefore has to change his character on a whim when they come up with a new
direction. That lack of foresight has been one of the biggest problems in WWE
over the last few years. <>
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