So what will happen to the WWE title scene from now until Wrestlemania? Surprisingly, CM Punk walked out of Survivor Series as the new WWE champion. While I didn’t expect that outcome, knowing that CM Punk is a huge fan of historic old school wrestling – I see his title win more as a huge thank you for his contribution over the last year. What genuine and traditional wrestling fan turned pro wrestler wouldn’t want to win the WWE championship on a major PPV in Madison Square Garden? It’s every wrestling fan’s fantasy. But with that said, is it possible for CM Punk to retain the title from now until Wrestlemania? Do you really think that he will go into the event as the defending champion? It would go against the grain for a champion to hold the strap for 5 months – although, that’s the way it ought to be done.
In a perfect world, Punk would hold onto the strap and spend the next five months in a series of rematches against Alberto Del Rio and perhaps a small tune up program leading into Wrestlemania. Arguably, the one match that “smart mark” wrestling fans are keeping their fingers crossed for would be Punk defending the title against Money In The Bank winner and Ring of Honor alumni, Daniel Bryan. Bryan has already announced that he planned on cashing in his MITB title shot at Wrestemania, but never made clear exactly which title he would be challenging for. Most critics and fans believe that Bryan will be challenging the reigning Smackdown champion – as general feeling is that WWE creative doesn’t have the marketing confidence to put the flagship title around his waist. This is one of those critical moments where the WWE brass needs to listen to the fans have faith that Punk vs. Bryan is a fully capable title match that will draw money for the company.
But ultimately, chances are that it won’t happen. My gut tells me that Punk will drop the title prior to the Rumble, and then go on to win the Rumble to challenge for the title at Mania. Where’s the logic in that? Let’s take the strap off the guy a month after he wins it, only to have him win the main event at another major pay per view so he can be the number one contender and likely regain the title at the biggest show of the year. This logic can be summed up in three simple words: Piss Poor Booking!
So after all the creative deliberation, does Punk hold onto the tile until Wrestlemania? If so, who does he defend against? If he drops the strap, who will he pass it off to and how will that affect the title picture going into Wrestlemania? As for Daniel Bryan, which title does he challenge for? If not for the prestigious RAW championship, then who will be the Smackdown champion come Wrestlemania? Does it make sense to keep it on Mark Henry that long? Does a Henry vs. Bryan match at Mania tickle your fancy and worth the price of admission? Granted, the Smackdown championship is the bastard child of the organization – but it’s still a major world title with a historic legacy and should still be treated as so.
And finally – The Rock vs. John Cena. The giant media spectacle that overshadows the world title bouts. Imagine in boxing, if Floyd Mayweather Jr. was booked to fight Manny Pacquiao, but that fight was playing second fiddle to the real main event which was celebrity boxing match. How would you feel about it? How would it devalue the title moving forward to all other major events? And it’s not the first time this has happened. Remember how the Mayweather vs. Big Show match was the talk of the town a few years back? How about when Bobby Lashley faced Umaga to determine if Vince or Donald Trump were going to have their head shaved? Yeah, that’s what Wrestlemania has become.
Luckily, this year actually features two wrestlers! And if you want my early prediction, John Cena will be victorious over The Rock. Easily! There is no way the Hulk Hogan of this era is going to put over a movie star who is not committed to the product full-time. That’s from a logical standpoint….from a creative standpoint, Cena has been bitched out TWICE already! He was laid out at last year’s Wrestlemania and he was laid out again with a Rock Bottom at the end of the Survivor Series. I seriously doubt we’re going to see the third strike at Wrestlemania. And the only thing that would have made any sense in concluding the Survivor Series would have been for Cena to lay The Rock out with the Attitude Adjustment to even up the score leading into Mania. Bitching out Cena twice, only says that Rock will be the bitch at the big show in April. Then again – anything can happen in five months because there’s a HUGE fork in the road to Wrestlemania!