It’s time for another lunch break masterpiece. Today I will attempt to stay under 500 words while discussing the importance and value of one CM Punk. It is now pretty much official that he will be in Chi-Town for the next pay-per-view Payback, after Paul Heyman accepted the match with Chris Jericho on his behalf. He is going to get one hell of a pop. Whether he is a face or a heel is irrelevant. He has been away for what feels like forever, he will be in front of his home town crowd and I fully expect him to perform in another great match with Jericho.
My pondering is how WWE has been affected by his absence since the night after Wrestlemania when he walked out on Raw. I think they have suffered in several ways. There is a distinct lack of star power on the roster right now. They are trying to build new guys like Langston, Ryback and now Curtis Axel. Bray Wyatt is also on the way. I applaud them for pushing young guys with great potential, I do. But when Lesnar and Triple H are off TV, Raw lacks that umph. Cena is the only major draw at that point, and no matter how you see it, CM Punk has become pretty much as important to WWE programming, hence them rushing him back as soon as possible.
It could be argued that he deserves a few more months to heal his collection of niggling injuries and recover from the pain he must be in, but he will be back after less than two months. As a fan, I’m jumping for joy. His doctors probably aren’t. He obviously isn’t at the level of Cena, who needs to be on Raw every week, even if he breaks both legs. Nonetheless, he is a “top guy” and if he wasn’t he’d be allowed to lay on the sofa a little longer. WWE have missed his presence on the mic and in the ring.
The widely reported ratings slide is more evidence of this. The show has lacked a certain character and edge that Punk brought to proceedings. It’s also lacked his name appeal. Most of all, his actual matches are missed greatly. The ratings tell that story. They have been slowly declining (as they often do after Wrestlemania) and in May, they reached some new lows. The May 13th edition of Raw drew a 2.91 cable rating, the second lowest rating for the show in 2013 so far. Smackdown actually hit it’s lowest rating of the entire year on May 17th with a 1.78 rating, but even Punk couldn’t turn that show around.
So all of this means that Punk’s return will be more anticipated than ever before, for fans and WWE executives alike. He is sure to give the ratings a huge boost, and cause pure hysteria in the stands come Payback. I’m excited to see what comes of his character. I’m expecting dissension with Paul Heyman and an impending face turn. Thanks for reading.