After the best Pay-Per-View top to bottom we’ve seen in a long time we were left with more questions than answers, and isn’t that the point of a program like WWE? To always keep us guessing, even if the outcome of Summerslam couldn’t have been more apparent. Okay, we didn’t know Punk would win, and we certainly didn’t know Kevin Nash would return, with more Just For Men hair gel than should be humanly possible. We did know that after a grueling match like that whoever was champion, was going to quickly be defeated by Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio the Raw Money In The Bank winner tried unsuccessfully to take the belt away from Punk at MITB PPV, and ever since we all knew it was a matter of how soon would he cash it in. I have no problem with Del Rio being champion, I find is character be very hate worthy in a good way, but my problem is just that, he’s a character. Punk and to a certain extent Cena, have been playing themselves, CM Punk is being who he is, a loud mouth, opinionated, talented wrestler. He has wowed us with his verbal skills as well as his in ring skills, and he’s done it without using a single catchphrase. In enters Del Rio who is a walking catchphrase, he is also very talented in the ring, and I do enjoy his promos, but in so many ways he’s plastic. He is what CM Punk has been railing against; Del Rio will make a fine champion, but not a great one. So, why replace Punk, the hottest commodity in the WWE, for a very good but not great wrestler with less upside? Simple, as HHH has been saying it is good for business, however in this case it is international business.
As many of you know the WWE will be making an extended trip south of the border in October, and the prospect of having one of the most beloved former Mexican luchadors carry the WWE crown jewel into Mexico is a great idea. Most of us in America hate Del Rio, but in Mexico he’s as big as Rey Mysterio, if not bigger. He comes from a family of wrestlers, and in Mexico wrestlers are put on star pedestal like Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts are in America. You see while it would be better for storylines to keep Punk at the top, it is better for dollars and cents to keep him near the top, but to have Del Rio at the very top. We may not like this idea, we may scoff at the idea that business trumps story and Punk’s push, but at the end of the day (one of my most hated phrases but it just works so well here) the WWE is a business. They know that Punk’s shirt is sold out on WWE shop.com, and that its pre-sales were sold out, and that his shirt is the hottest item they have. They also know that he is an established star, and that they can share the spot light between Punk, Cena, HHH, and Del Rio. We may not like that Del Rio is a character, and we’ll resist his cliché promos. The WWE knows we’ll still tune in to watch Punk, even if he doesn’t have a belt, and that is the best compliment they can give him. I have a feeling I know where Punk’s story arc is going, but it is only speculation at this point, but we as fans need not fear a tumble to mid-card for Punk. Even with Del Rio holding the belt, Punk will still hold American audiences, and Del Rio will hold a large part of the international market. Del Rio sells in ways Rey never could, Rey isn’t from Mexico, he’s from San Diego. He is 619, and while he is proud of his Mexican heritage, he wouldn’t be able to go into Mexico as the first Mexican born WWE champion. Believe me to the millions of wrestling fans in Mexico this is a big deal, and something I don’t think we could relate to in America.
Where does Kevin Nash fit into all of this, why did they pick up the phone and “text” him? That I don’t know, I have to believe it is something bigger than he is a playable character on WWE12, or because he’s good friends with HHH. Nash, despite what you saw on Monday, is a very talented speaker. He was fumbling around on Monday, and at times looked a fool when compared to CM Punk’s mic skills. One thing we can’t forget, Nash at one time was the second biggest star in the world to Hulk Hogan. Nash might not be able to do it in the ring like he use to, but for a guy that just stepped off the couch and into a ring he did pretty well on Monday. He’s a veteran, give him another week and he’ll have the rust off and he’ll be able to go verbal tit-for-tat with Punk. However, that doesn’t answer the question, why Nash? We can see now that Punk and Del Rio aren’t destined to collide just yet. So, are they running a program for Nash’s in ring return? I sure hope not because Punk is beyond having to put over a has been, no matter how talented that has been was. No, this goes much deeper and even though the WWE has thrown a lot of curveballs of late, the prevailing feeling is we are going to get to see HHH vs. CM Punk at Wrestlemania. This is the beginning of a long running program; read that as a real possibility nothing is ever set in stone in the WWE, outside of Cena vs. Rock. Nash is but a tool being used to set in motion a bigger, broader, movement.
I really need to stop reading online comments after WWE events because far too often wresting fans are too reactionary. There is a reason your average Joe isn’t a booker, or a creative writer. Like I tweeted after Summerslam, you don’t get up and leave the movie theater when Jesse Ventura dies during predator, you let the story develop. I can’t take credit for that line, because I stole it from CM Punk, who said it during an interview with Bill Simmons, but he’s 100% right. You can’t give up on a story arc because something you didn’t like happened, something this good, with a character as great as CM Punk has to be trusted. Don’t get up and leave now or you might miss out on more greatness. Love Del Rio, or hate Del Rio, that’s not important, because there is so much more going on. This isn’t 2009 where every story is the same and the same 3 guys are on top. Sure we are still stuck with Cena on top but now we have the fresh blood we’ve been craving, Del Rio, Punk, Miz, are much more appealing to me than Bobby Lashley, Batista, and Big Show. I’m hooked on a great stories again, and the in ring product is better than it was two years ago. The WWE has taken five steps forward in two months, we can see Del Rio becoming champion as a step back, but we are still four steps ahead of where we were, and damn it that’s a good thing. Now two months from if Punk is mired in a terrible story, then yes we can rise up and collectively get pissed off. I just don’t see that happening, I think they let the genie out of the bottle and now they can’t get him back in. I’ve been sold on Del Rio as a champion as well, and having both him and Punk at the top is just good for business.
Thanks again for reading and if you want to get in contact with me you can do so by emailing me here: firstname.lastname@example.org 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