Dear Angry WWE Fan,
First, let me say that I do, to a degree, sympathize with you. Once upon a time, I would have been completely livid over CM Punk losing his WWE title to The Rock. I was in the front row of the marching band, beating my drum for champions that were real, more believable. Beating my drum for people who show up once in a blue moon to put themselves over to stay the hell home. Beating my drum for Dwayne Johnson to stay home.
I didn’t understand why you would push someone who showed up after eight long years of shunning the company that made him who he was. I thought it was completely asinine to give him the rub when so many guys and gals who were already humping it in the company were gonna get their collective throats stepped on .
But then, I was able to take the Jimmy the fan out of the equation and look at it objectively, and I’m asking you to do the same.
This title change is, indeed, what’s best for wrestling right now.
Punk’s title run was impressive. He had said during a promo recently that his title reign took just as much out of him as Bruno Sammartino’s or Bob Backlund’s did them, based on the amount of matches and type of matches he wrestles, and I agree wholly with that. Bruno and Backlund would never stand up to the current schedule, and you can bet your ass you’d never see them in a Hell In A Cell match, or an Elimination Chamber match, or a TLC match, just to name a few. I feel that Punk has cemented his name with some greats.
With that being said, he doesn’t need to hold that belt anymore. His appeal is to wrestling fans. Fans that already watch and enjoy the product. Fans who adore Punk even when he openly bashes and ridicules them. A strap does not change his popularity, WWE’s popularity, or the amount of fans putting their asses in seats.
The Rock’s appeal, on the other hand, is to the mainstream. The Rock will be plastered all over television and radio, all the while talking about being a wrestler again and holding that WWE belt for everyone to see.
Numbers don’t lie, folks. Monday night saw over five million viewers tune into Raw, drawing a 3.7 rating. I don’t think they flipped over to watch Tensai dance in lingerie. It was to see The Rock, simple and plain. This will continue to be the case, as we draw closer to Wrestlemania. These are ratings that Punk couldn’t bring in during his 434 days as champ. The Rock can.
Here’s another one that will stab you in the gut, angry fan. At Wrestlemania, John Cena is gonna wrestle The Rock again, twice in a lifetime. Much to the chagrin of the “Cena sucks” crowd, he’s gonna win the belt that night. And the part that makes you wanna jump through your computer screen and put me in the Lebell lock….
John Cena deserves to be the champion. More than anyone else in the company, he deserves it.
First, the match itself. So many people are angry about this Rock/Cena once in a lifetime part two thing. But let’s be honest. The match between them wasn’t bad at all. The finish was silly, with Cena trying to hit a Rock Bottom. You could tell by watching him that he didn’t wanna do it, so cut him a little slack. Aside from that, however, it was 30+ minutes of solid back and forth.
The buildup to the match was stellar! The promos between the two were gritty, nasty, and real. They did a great job making you believe the hatred was real, even if that’s because some of it was. All the better. It was a great program, and I think it can be great again this year.
We all know how it’s gonna end. Unless Dwayne Johnson plans on defending the belt against Vin Diesel on the red carpet of the Fast and the Furious Six premiere, his run ends at Meadowlands Stadium in April. That night, John Cena will get the title back, and get a Wrestlemania moment he richly deserves.
You can boo and hiss at Cena all you want. His character truly is corny. His gimmick is played out. The five moves of doom is a real thing, thanks to him. But no one has ever put themselves out there for the business the way he has. Be a Star, Make-A-Wish, cereal boxes, countless appearances and interviews, never stops. Works through illness, works through injury, hell, the man worked through a divorce. Regardless of all that, he punches the clock, every night without fail. I respect that. I think you should as well.
Everyone says Cena plays by his own rules. It’s all over the internet, speculated upon by all us smarks and spot junkies, and so on. My thing is, if John Cena has the kinda stroke that people claim he has, why would he book himself to have such a lousy 2012? And frankly, if he is favored, doesn’t he deserve it for what he does for the company? I say he does.
In closing, Angry WWE Fan, I would just like to tell you to relax. Take it for what it is. Rock and Cena won’t be champs forever, Punk will eventually get his belt back. And when he does, the company will be a better, more watched product for what is happening now.
Jimmy Duncan is the host of the Hookers and Shooters wrestling podcast, available exclusively at www.facebook.com/hookersandshooters/ (Note – The show is on a bit of a hiatus right now, but you can check out the page for back episodes until we get rolling here again in a week or two. Thanks!)
I think you’re only telling half the tale.
I agree, that Rock being champ is good for business, but I believe it’s more Band-Aid solution than permanent fix. As soon as Rocky’s gone, so too will be whatever casual fans he’s brought in.
Why? Because the product just isn’t that good. As much as Vince will hate to admit it, you need a good product in order to keep people interested when the free beer and hot dogs run out.
I’m not so sure about that. I think working with Rock has greatly elevated Punk’s status and I don’t think that the company will plummet once Rock is gone. I think Rock losing the belt to Cena would be the perfect storyline culmination of his comeback and a win over Rock on that stage will firmly solidify his status as the man of this era in WWE, not that he already isn’t.
With the possibility of Punk working with Taker and Lesnar this year, I think 2013 will be his best year yet.
I agree Rock becoming Champion is the right decision especially for business and money reasons. Wrestlemania is about money and Cena v Rock is a big money match.
I actually quite like the Rock being Champion, just so long as he appears consistently, but I do hope for Punk to re-gain the Title
This is only a short term fix, I’ve said it quite a few times already, this does nothing over the long term because in just over 9 weeks, when he pisses off back to Hollywood the ratings are gonna be crap again, the PPV buys are going to turn back to shit and the WWE has the nerve to ask why people won’t pay to see guys who apparently weren’t good enough to headline the WWE’s top PPV’s.
I can see your side of this. My hope is that, as a whole, the company sees what they have in front of them and uses it properly. Last year, Rock/Cena was basically it’s own deal. It felt more like a special attraction than part of the card. I think you have to use Rock’s popularlty differently. Don’t keep him separate from the rest of the show. Expose him to The Shield, or Ryback, etc. Hopefully, when he does leave, the new fans he brought with him enjoy those new characters, and in turn stick around after the big show.
Nice column! I wrote a similar piece yesterday and shared many of your sentiments. I think the hardcore audience are the only ones genuinely upset with Rock winning. Punk’s reign was going to end one of these days and it felt like the time was right at the Rumble. Rock vs. Cena is the monet match and is the direction they should be headed in. With Undertaker’s Mania status being iffy, there is a good chance that it may wind up as a three way (which I wouldn’t like).
I don’t think WWE is going to plummet in popularity of PPV buyrates once Rock leaves.
They do every year, It’s a fact. He leaves, and when he does, so do the fans that came back just for him, they don’t stick around so it doesn’t help the company long term.
I actually have a piece written about Kofi Kingston which could loosely link into this
Wow, we are on the same page. I kinda feel bad that my article came out around the same time as yours, I totally stole your thunder lol. Your blog is really cool too, by the way. Cheers 🙂
I wasn’t too bothered who won the WWE title , I was edging preferably to Punk just because of his reign but after the confrontation on Raw I knew they had made the right choice.
Punk doesn’t need the title and looking back it has been his focal point since his turn, now he’s no longer the Champ we can be prepared to see his character go in a new, fresh direction.
I agree with your points on The Rock. I disagree on Cena, If he’s not delivering in the ring and on the mic then he’s not deserving of being champ. If you take that argument Miz deserves to be one of the top guys considering the amount of work he does in promoting the company and Ryder deserves prominence because of the amount of merch he shifts.
Multiple guys through the years have worked through injuries and personal problems and haven’t been given the spotlight like Cena.
See, I disagree on Cena. I honestly feel that he’s given more of himself personally, and done more for the business than anyone on that roster right now. As far as your argument that Miz and Zack Ryder should have better spots, I agree with that too. Having Miz higher on the card IS a public relations coup and Ryder is DEFINITELY over with the fans. Ryder or riot, right?
I’m not a fan of either guy to be honest. I’m just making the point that if Cena is being rewarded for his hard work then other guys who work just as hard should be equally rewarded.
Cena’s a 21st century Hulk Hogan. All that needs to be said is said so in that statement.
I know they work hard, but “just as hard”? I’ve read interviews with various wrestlers past and present that have said only Vince works harder than Cena.
Just wanted to take a second and thank you all for your comments and thoughts on my article. Really appreciate you all taking the time to read it. Have a great weekend everyone 🙂
What I loved most about Punk is that he was believable as a champ, that’s what drew us to him I guess. You’re right, Punk appeals to the fan who is always going to watch. As a fan, we always encourage more eyes to watch the sport.
I was going to write a column about numbers/ratings and stuff but you have everything covered! lol. Great stuff!
Must agree with this! Bravo!