Did CM Punk take his ball and go home?
Basically, CM Punk took his ball and went home. However, I want to use the lead question of Ask WNW to try and clear up as much as possible. This isn't something that just suddenly happened and Punk flipped out and quit the company. Punk has been unhappy with the direction of his character for months, with people speculating it was either out of boredom or the fact he just wanted more. One of his biggest goals for this year was to be in one of the top matches at Wrestlemania XXX. We've gone as in-depth on it as possible, touching base with multiple sources, despite the fact Punk isn't talking to anyone. You can catchup on our coverage here, here and here.
I will add that Punk was never told 100% that his proposed match with Triple H at Wrestlemania was off but word going around backstage at Raw was that Daniel Bryan might get that match in response to what happened at Royal Rumble. The word regarding Punk was that his issue with Kane might stretch to Wrestlemania when it was originally supposed to be blown off at Elimination Chamber, leading to the Punk vs. Hunter bout at the show in April. Punk went directly to Vince McMahon and wanted assurance that he would be in a top match at Wrestlemania or otherwise, he was going home. According to a source, Punk felt Triple H was playing favorites with Batista coming in, going over at Royal Rumble and onto the main event at Wrestlemania XXX. Punk felt he wasn't one of Hunter's guys. Vince originally suggested Triple H vs. CM Punk at Wrestlemania so they could play off some of the real-life heat as an option for Triple H if they went with John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (which is where they are now going).
We're told Vince is not giving up and wants Punk on the Wrestlemania XXX lineup. WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee, who is Punk's real-life girlfriend, is seen as the company's only line of communication to him at this time.
What's the future of the WWE United States Championship? Dean Ambrose hasn't defended the title since October.
I have Dean Ambrose's last WWE United States Championship defense the night after WWE Hell in a Cell, on the October 28, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw. Since then, he's defended the belt on live events but he hasn't defended it on television or pay-per-view. Let's also consider that Big E Langston hasn't made a TV or PPV defense of the WWE Intercontinental Championship since the December 30, 2013 episode of Raw and you'll see both secondary titles are essentially inactive. There were rumors WWE might unify them in the first part of this year, but so far nothing. I can't tell you for sure what will happen with either belt but I will let this serve as caution for anyone that suggests WWE should introduce more titles. I would favor a unification of the WWE United States and WWE Intercontinental titles because it could be an attempt to reset the prestige to the secondary title. If WWE does in fact remain with only one world title, the profile should be raised. However, let's not forget that Randy Orton is still carrying both title belts as of this week.
Why do people go nuts for Triple H but hate on John Cena? It's not like Triple H had a wide array of offense, both have charisma, yet I can't remember anyone booing Hunter like they do Cena.
Triple H got his fair share amount of heat when he was on top in the early 2000s, regardless if he was babyface or heel. However, John Cena gets the heat because there is a segment of WWE's audience that are burned out on his character and compare it to a modern day Hulk Hogan. While I'll be the first to admit I'd like to see more progression for the Cena character, I am completely aware that WWE needs Cena. I did a radio interview on Wednesday where I asserted that post-Andre the Giant, WWE's Mount Rushmore of "faces" is Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena. I know that's going to be debated but when you look back and see where Cena is compared to those before him, that's his spot. No one works harder than John and no one is more important. This will not last forever but I believe when Cena's run is over and we look back, we'll look back on this era as the era of John Cena. As I get older and the longer I cover the business the more I respect and appreciate what John Cena has done.
How much of a failure do you think Curtis Axel's push was? I mean he was repackaged, had Paul Heyman behind him, was competing in matches with Triple H and John Cena only to become an afterthought who wasn't even in the Royal Rumble match.
Not only was Curtis Axel not in the Royal Rumble match, he and Ryback didn't even have their entrances televised when they "did the honors" to the Usos Monday night on Raw. It's been quite the free fall for both workers, however, it's Wrestlemania season and even guys that were working in the middle of the card are going to take a backseat to Wrestlemania programs. But make no mistake about it, there were huge aspirations for a repackaged Curtis Axel. He was seen as a guy with limitless potential but it just didn't translate.
From the Ask WNW vault…
March 2012: Do you believe that the CM Punk craze has worn off like the Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin craze in their respective sports? - This is an interesting perspective, as I’ve never thought about it like that before. CM Punk is not currently at the level he was this summer. Punk peaked at Money in the Bank in July and has leveled off to where he is now. He has clearly established himself as a main event talent and he’s not going back to the mid-card like he did after previous title reigns. Punk was the Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin of the summer but it’s “breakout moments” like this that demand the attention of the public. The key is getting the public’s attention and being able to keep it for as long as possible. He made everyone take notice and advanced his career because of it. Being WWE Champion at Wrestlemania is a very desirable position but the show is being centered around two main events – John Cena vs. The Rock and The Undertaker vs. Triple H with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee. WWE is giving these matches priority which is why you may notice a lack of hype for Punk vs. Chris Jericho.
The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Thursday, January 30, 2014.
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