As awesome and groundbreaking CM Punk has been can he carry an entire pay-per-view? Is HHH still good enough to make you shell out $44.99 to face CM Punk? The WWE has put all their collective eggs into one basket, that basket being CM Punk vs. HHH. Never before have we seen a non-title match matter this much for one pay-per-view. Night of Champions will prove just how big CM Punk really is, or if his revolution is all smoke and mirrors. The WWE has rarely given one star the entire show, the entire pay-per-view. Guys like Stone Cold, The Rock, Hogan, HHH and Shawn Michaels. Very elite company, is CM Punk worth the risk? Can Punk carry a slightly over the hill HHH like he helped carry John Cena through the past two pay-per-views? We know how good HHH still is, especially in no DQ matches where he can take a few short rests throughout the match. HHH is a grizzled vet, but he’s been a grizzled vet wrestling on no knees for a few years now so we don’t have to worry about whether or not he’ll show up. However this match isn’t about HHH, as much as it is about CM Punk and his dollar value.
So, that leaves us with can Punk get you pay your hard earned money in this economy. Say what you want about the rest of the card, whether you like it or not there just hasn’t been any push. The Del Rio vs. Cena WWE title match has had almost zero real push. Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton doesn’t even sound good on paper so why would I want to pay money to see it? WWE creative has made Punk vs. HHH such a high priority that the rest of the Night of Champions card has suffered. We have no vested interest in any match that doesn’t have Punk or HHH in it. WWE is giving Punk a rare opportunity; they are giving him the ball and seeing if he can run with it. At Money in the Bank the WWE had two MITB matches to help the buy rate. At Summer Slam they had a great card that included a grudge match between Orton and Christian that we could get behind. This is the first time that CM Punk has been asked to carry a card on his own. Does Punk have that lead actor in him, or is he best suited in a supporting acting role?
We’ve known for a long time he’s had the talent to be a leading man, but like HHH said it has taken a long time for Punk to finally earn his own leading role. A lot like how Hugh Laurie was head and shoulders better than anyone else he worked with for years and years until he was finally given a real shot with the show House. Hugh is a superbly talented actor that was saddled with mediocre show after mediocre show for almost a decade before he was finally given a chance to shine through. Fox took a real risk in taking a little known British actor to play an American doctor on an expensive medical show. They saw potential in Hugh, took a real risk, and hit a home run. They bet hundreds of thousands of dollars that people would want to see Hugh every single week as House. Just like the WWE is betting hundreds of thousands on CM Punk at Night of Champions. Sure they are putting him with a very good supporting actor to help, but really this is Punk’s show. They might as well call the pay per view Night of Punk. Would I rather see a more complete card, where we are invested in every single match rather than sitting and waiting for one particular match? Of course, but this will be a great test to see just how big of a revolution Punk has created here in the WWE. Is he for real, or will people be hesitant to put their money where Punk’s mouth is? I for one am going to buy Night of Champions because I want to see Punk continue to get his push. To see Punk’s rise to prominence grow and blossom into a full fledge revolution.
Which brings me to his revolution, is it a real thing or is HHH right that you make your own breaks? The answer is they are both right. I’ve said it before in my column that the WWE has been too fixated on a “look”. So there is no real need to sit here and hammer that point home again, but just know that Punk is partly right. However, HHH is also correct; Vince and the WWE will not leave money on the table. If you are over with the crowd they will not ignore you. The problem lies in getting the chance to get over with the crowd where HHH’s point hits a real pot hole. Too many amazingly talented guys haven’t been given a chance. Colt Cabana is one of the funniest guys in wrestling, so is Super Domino, but neither was given a real chance to showcase their humor. Was it a look thing, a politics thing, or are there just too many people in the WWE and some are bound to get over looked? Again the answer is all the above, there just isn’t enough hours of programming to get over every single wrestler that deserves it. We like to talk about the “look”, but in reality look at Daniel Bryan. Bryan is being given a chance at a world title shot and he’s one of the smallest guys on the roster. He is another case of his look made him work harder, but once in the WWE couldn’t ignore his hard work and the fan reaction that came with that hard work and talent. The “look” certainly helps, but it is up to every superstar to create his or her own breaks in the game. Take a guy like Zack Ryder, who was barely on Superstars before he started doing his web show. Now he is a prominent figure on SmackDown and is getting more and more air time each week. It takes some thinking outside the box to get over in today’s game, but it can be done. I think some guys are content to be a mid-carder and just take a paycheck; I’m looking at you Drew McIntyre. Long story short, it takes more than just a good look to get a chance, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. This Sunday we find out if Punk has what it takes to be taken seriously in the WWE. Can they build their future around him like they did for Stone Cold, The Rock and Cena? Sunday isn’t a make or break night completely for Punk, but it certainly will go a long way either way for him and the WWE.
Okay, quick rundown of my picks for this Sunday
United States Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Swagger vs. John Morrison vs. Alex Riley
I’m going to take Jack Swagger with the help of Vickie.
Tag Team Title Match: Team AirBoom vs. The Miz and R-Truth
Team AirBoom will find a way to retain the titles, but this won’t be the last they four face off for those belts.
Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
Winner and new Divas Champion Beth Phoenix
World Heavyweight Title: Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
This feels like Mark Henry’s time doesn’t it? I think he finds a way to take the title from Randy Orton
WWE Title Match: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio finds a way to win the match, but this smells like a count out or DQ to carry on the story.
HHH vs. CM Punk
HHH will win with outside help, more than likely in the form of a seven footer named Kevin Nash.
Thanks again for reading and if you want to get in contact with me you can do so by emailing me here: email@example.com or you can bug me via twitter @JaredGebhardt. As always, I try to get to every single email and tweet I get.
The Wrestling Genius: Jared Gebhardt