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Thursday, July 12, 2012

The SmarK Rant for WWE Money In The Bank 2011

The SmarK Rant for WWE Money In The Bank 2011

Live from Chicago, IL

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T.

This showcase of taking a stand against corporate yes-men and selling out is brought to you by SKITTLES.

Smackdown Money In The Bank: Sin Cara v. Wade Barrett v. Justin Gabriel v. Heath Slater v. Daniel Bryan v. Sheamus v. Cody Rhodes v. Kane

That’s some impressive star power. Interesting that just a year ago, Sheamus had not yet begun his path of rage towards the World title and he was basically just a guy. Plus Daniel Bryan was a quiet, nerdy babyface. Sheamus and Barrett team up on Kane and get nowhere with that. We get a series of guys trying to get a ladder into the ring, ending with Gabriel making the first climb. Bryan dropkicks him off and Cody climbs, but Sheamus brings him down. Barrett pounds on Kane in the corner, but gets sent into a ladder, and Kane chucks it at people outside as well. The dives start flying as everyone does theirs. Back in, Sin Cara fights off Slater and Gabriel and hits Bryan with a Spanish Fly, but goes for a ladder and eats a boot from Wade Barrett. Back in, he also eats a Brogue Kick. Sheamus follows with a powerbomb off the apron and through the ladder, and that one puts Sin Cara on the shelf for a good few months. Who could have predicted that powerbombing someone onto a ladder would result in a serious injury?

Kane and Sheamus slug it out in the ring while Cara gets loaded on a stretcher, but Cody and Bryan double-team Kane until he puts them down with a ladder. Everyone teams up on Kane for a beatdown, then on Barrett, but Bryan tries to climb in the chaos. The former Nexus/Corre guys organize themselves and Wade climbs for the case, but Slater & Gabriel turn on him as well and then race to the top themselves. Cody puts them down himself and fights with Barrett, winning that battle as well. Next up, Sheamus and Bryan, as Cole notes they’re both former US champions. I don’t remember Sheamus having that belt at all, but then I wasn’t really paying attention at that point anyway. Sheamus and Kane team up with a Doomsday Device on Bryan to get rid of him, and Kane chokeslams everything that moves. Bryan sneaks up the ladder again, but Kane brings him down while Bryan tries a triangle choke from the ladder. Bryan and Slater race for it and both go down, and now Barrett and Sheamus team up to bully people. Sheamus gets his turn by laying everyone out with Brogue Kicks and setting up a complex ladder contraption. It’s so weird watching Sheamus play heel, considering how naturally he fell into the smiling babyface role shortly after this.

Sheamus takes out Gabriel and climbs, but Kane stops him and chokeslams him onto another ladder. That’s a sick spot, because there’s no give or protection on that. Everyone hits their finishers on Kane to slow him down, and then Barrett get his turn to hit everyone with his finisher. Cody gets rid of him and Bryan tries to sneak up the ladder yet again, and we get a three-way battle on top. Bryan hooks Cody with a guillotine choke on top to put him down, then elbows Barrett off the ladder, and grabs the briefcase at 24:21 to send the smarky crowd into a nerdgasm. No one saw that one coming. And no one saw the transformation that came over the next year coming, either. It was more than 30 minutes with entrances, and completely flew by, not feeling the least bit long. I really liked all the mini-stories with guys getting their solo time and Bryan’s constant sneaking up behind everyone on the ladder. Great opener, especially with the wide open field that made it impossible to guess who would win. ****1/4

Divas Title: Kelly Kelly v. Brie Bella

Kelly takes out both twins to start, but does her (illegal) handstand choke on the apron and gets tossed to the floor. Back in, Brie takes over with a bodyscissors and gets two. She goes to a silly looking abdominal stretch on the mat, but Kelly escapes and she’s suddenly fired up. Like, literally one second she was laying on the mat looking bored and then the next she was MAD AS HELL and making her comeback. Kelly is not a good wrestler. Kelly with a neckbreaker for two. Bella does something to Kelly’s leg and gets two, but Kelly finishes with a fameasser at 4:49 to retain. And then they did this match 8 million more times over the course of the year. ½*

Mark Henry v. Big Show

Again, funny to think that Henry was seemingly just getting another monster push at this point, with people having little hope for it actually leading to anything. But this was basically where he caught fire, strangely enough. Show puts him down with a shoulderblock and Henry bails, so Show follows him out and clobbers him with a clothesline. Henry actually does a dropkick into the stairs, which hits Show’s knee, and Henry takes over in the ring. He boots Show down for two and goes to work on the knee with a half-crab, but Show makes the ropes. And in fact he goes up to the middle rope and hits a flying shoulderblock, but Henry escapes the chokeslam and hits the World’s Strongest Slam for two. Booker advises doing it again. That’s some insightful commentary there. And so Henry DOES IT and then splashes him into jello at 5:54. Wait, wait, wait…you mean that if you book this big monster to BEAT PEOPLE, in convincing fashion, he might actually get over? What strange hoodoo is this? Totally watchable big man match. **1/2 Henry Pillmanizes the ankle afterwards, because he’s AWESOME.

Meanwhile, Vince McMahon admits that he didn’t actually re-sign CM Punk yet. Big Johnny silently waits in the background.

RAW Money In The Bank match: Alberto Del Rio v. Kofi Kingston v. Jack Swagger v. Evan Bourne v. R-Truth v. Rey Mysterio v. Alex Riley v. The Miz

Everyone grabs a ladder to defend themselves with, giving a funny payoff gag of R-Truth with a stepladder due to his fear of heights. Del Rio gets buried in ladders, and the future Awesome Truth has a stepladder duel in another cute spot. The future Air Boom teams up with a ladder for some damage, and the guys fight over a ladder that won’t even reach the briefcase! Finally Swagger smartens up and gets rid of the smaller one, and it’s dive time! Evan tops things off with a shooting star press off the big ladder on the floor for the final big trainwreck spot. Finally the big ladder gets into the ring and Bourne climbs first, but Miz cuts him off and they both go down via ADR. Miz blows out his knee on the landing and disappears. That didn’t look pleasant. Bourne and Rey climb over the bigger guys to race for the ladder, but Swagger gets rid of everyone. Riley tries to sneak up, but Truth puts them down and works on Rey in the corner with some silly ladder spots. This sets up Kofi coming off the horizontal ladder with a boomdrop, but Rey gets a 619 with the open ladder in a unique twist. They’re running about 50% with the spots in this one. We get a three-way battle on the ladder, as multiple ladders get set up and everyone is climbing their own. They all bat the briefcase around in a another cool visual, and then they start taking crazy bumps to the earth again. Kofi looks to be the lucky winner, but Swagger reappears and they both go down. This brings Miz out for his big return, with a big babyface reaction from the Chicagoans, but Rey cockblocks them and turns himself heel. Man, why do smark-heavy crowds hate Rey so much? He’s an awesome worker, what’s not to love? Rey tries for the case, but Del Rio follows and throws him onto another ladder after unmasking him. Rey of course loses his mojo and can’t recover, and Alberto easily claims the case at 15:49. This was a pretty obvious choice, because we were getting all the Del Rio we could handle whether we wanted it or not. This one felt a little flat compared to the Smackdown one because the winner wasn’t in doubt and a lot of the spots were pretty suspect, but it was still a pretty great match. ***3/4

Smackdown World title: Randy Orton v. Christian

This was set up by Orton winning the belt from Christian, and then beating him over and over and over and over and over, but Christian gets ONE MORE MATCH because they need to stretch things out for a few more months. And the DQ rule is waived here. Christian tempts him with a chair to start, but Orton slugs him down and drops a knee. Christian fires back and tosses him, but misses a dive and gets sent into the stairs as a result. Back in, Christian escapes the draping DDT and hits an elbow off the middle for two to take over. They slug it out and Christian chokes away on the ropes and gets a Bossman punch from the floor for two. Orton comes back with a rollup for two, but Christian gets a spinebuster for two. Orton blocks the Killswitch and they tumble to the floor, but Christian recovers first and blocks a blind charge. Orton blocks a dropkick with a rollup for two, and hits his own dropkick for two. They fight on top and Christian puts him down for a flying headbutt, which gets two. Orton makes the comeback and they do a weird sequence where Orton whiffs on the RKO, and they try it again so that Christian can reverse to the Killswitch for two. Christian’s spear misses and Orton hits a body vice into a neckbreaker for two as the crowd starts to turn on him and get really into the near-falls. Orton gets the powerslam and draping DDT for two…but Christian backs off and spits on him. Orton gets pissed and pounds away, then punts Christian in the nuts for the DQ at 12:06, giving Christian the World title. This whole deal made Christian look like a punk and did nothing for him, because they wanted to keep stretching this “feud” over another PPV, but didn’t want to actually BEAT Orton, so you got this. Really, they’d have been better off just keeping the damn belt on Orton to make the eventual loss to Mark Henry mean something. Orton gives Christian an RKO on the table afterwards to get his heat back, and then on the way back to the dressing room Vince was screaming “SEND HIM BACK OUT THERE AND BREAK THE FUCKING TABLE!” into the ref’s earpieces, so Orton goes back and tries it again, and that table doggedly refuses to break. It was future endeavored the next day and recently showed up on Impact after the no-compete expired. ***1/2

WWE title: John Cena v. CM Punk

Time to crank the volume, baby! The crowd atmosphere for this is unlike anything seen for years before or indeed since then. The intrigue was so off the charts here that it literally crashed my blog and many other wrestling websites, although as it turned out, it didn’t really translate into a record buyrate for the show. I was losing my mind while watching this live because literally anything could happen with the angle and it was the one time where someone was going to become a new star no matter what. And to his credit, Cena stoically ignores the boos, and doesn’t try to act like the goofy babyface. They work off a headlock to start and Cena dodges a high kick while the crowd chants “You can’t wrestle”. Punk stops to clarify who they’re talking about, and luckily it’s Cena.

They trade armbars and Cena goes back to the headlock, but Punk comes back with a hiptoss before going to his own. They criss-cross and trade finisher attempts, and both guys back off, as the ultra-confident Cena is playing it a bit shaken here. Punk stomps him in the corner, but Cena fires back with a bulldog for two and goes to a facelock, again visibly showing nerves. Fake ones, not real ones. Clothesline gets two. Cena goes back to the headlock, but Punk escapes with the suplex for two. Cena slugs away in the corner and gets the fisherman’s suplex for two, but Punk reverses the FU into a DDT for two. Punk with a headscissors on the mat as the tension starts ramping up, and Punk dumps him and stops for a high five from former jobber Scotty Goldman. Kneedrop on the apron gets two. Punk misses a charge and Cena makes his first try for the STF, but Punk fights him off and gets a clothesline for two. Punk botches a bodypress and gets two as the female portion of the crowd starts chanting for Cena, and Cena bails to the apron and then suplexes Punk to the floor from there. Back in, that gets two. Cena starts to get more confident, dropping an elbow for two, and he uses a Dreamer Driver for two. Booker notes that Cena is winning the crowd over “like Rocky in Russia”, which is a pretty obscure reference these days. Like, how many of the Twitter crowd would have even SEEN the Rocky movies?

Cena goes to an abdominal stretch, but Punk escapes and we get the double clothesline and you know shit is going to go down now. Cena makes the official comeback, but Punk rolls him up off the powerbomb for two. The running knee misses and Cena completes his FIVE MOVES OF DOOM leadup, but Punk kicks him in the face to show that indeed he can see him. Cena bails and Punk hits him with a suicide dive. Back in, Punk misses a crossbody and Cena is really determined to hit that five knuckle shuffle. Punk escapes the FU (not quite sticking the landing, which is something people harp on for some reason) and puts Cena down with a series of kicks for two. Cena counters out of the GTS with a gutwrench for two. Punk escapes the FU and hits a pair of knees into the bulldog, but he goes up for the flying clothesline instead of covering and only gets two. Punk throws kicks, but Cena takes him down into the STF and now the crowd is getting worried. Punk makes the ropes for a giant sigh of relief from 14,000 people. Punk clobbers him with a high kick for two, and goes up for the crossbody again, but Cena catches him and tries the FU, which Punk reverses to the GTS, which Cena reverses into the STF. Punk can’t make the ropes and I was freaking out at this point. Punk, however, fights out and into the Anaconda Vice and the crowd is losing it. Cena powers out and into the FU , for two.

Punk reverses another FU attempt and tries the GTS, but Cena makes the ropes and puts him down. Cena to the top with the flying legdrop, for two. Nice touch as Cena stops to psych himself up and regroup, showing vulnerability you never see otherwise. Another FU gets two. They fight on the top as Cena wants an FU, but Punk reverses to a rana and follows with the running knee into the GTS. Cena was too close to the ropes, however, and falls out of the ring, and that seems to be the “out” for them to book a screwjob finish. However, Punk puts him back in as Vince and BIG JOHNNY head down to watch, and Punk walks into an STF as a result. Vince wants the bell rung, but Cena breaks the hold because he doesn’t want to win that way. Back in, GTS, and Punk is the champion at 32:53. The crowd loses their fucking minds as the Summer of Punk begins. ADR tries to cash in at Vince’s behest (which is what everyone thought would happen), but Punk fights him off and leaves with the title. I still love this match because it was a BIG FIGHT with actual stakes, and much like the Aries-Roode match it was a match where both guys went in with momentum and neither guy could conceivably lose. Cena acted like an actual human being for once and Punk showed fire that he lost sometime around Royal Rumble of this year and never really got back again yet. Any match where I’m compelled to crank the volume on the TV because I’m still so pumped to watch it can’t be anything but *****.

The Pulse

I don’t know if this is a contender for “greatest of all-time” status because the Punk stuff ended up being such a crashing failure afterwards, plus really the Del Rio win was of little consequence in the grand scheme of things and the MITB matches themselves were pretty forgettable, but this is easily, EASILY, the best PPV of 2011 and absolutely one of the best of the entire decade. And hey, it kickstarted the pushes of Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan, plus elevated Punk to the main event for good, so it’s got some major cred on the historical side of things. Plus there’s a shitload of awesome matches and nothing bad.

Highest recommendation.

134 comments:

  1. Minor correction: Cara was out from the ladder powerbomb not due to injury, but a thirty day Wellness suspension afterward. His injury came from a torn ACL at Survivor Series

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  2. I was less than 15 rows back...and yep.

    Highest fucking recommendation.

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  3. Awesome, awesome show. Though I do need to make a confession. I watched the Raw where Punk did the epic shoot. And I was extremely pumped for the show, but I left to Texas for a month so I couldn't BUY the show. So I used my phone to stream the show(I only watched the Cena/Punk match because I didn't want to go over my data) so I watched the Punk vs. Cena match while laying on the floor at about 10 or 11 o'clock at night on my phone. And it was AWESOME. So no, I streamed the show. But to make up for it, I bought the show on iTunes AND on DVD. Now that I'm done admitting my sins, onto the show.


    It was awesome. SmackDown MITB ****1/4 Kelly vs. Brie 1/2* Henry vs. Show *** Raw MITB **** Christian vs. Randy Orton ***3/4 Punk vs. Cena ***** I think I'll watch this show again!

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  4. Heck I need to watch this show again... It's kinda sad last year I religiously watched the preceding and post MITB Raws, in 2012 I don't even know the entire card for the show, and the Raw and Smackdown shows have been appaling with nothing of note happening.

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  5. The four greatest crowd reactions for a WWE show in recent years:

    2008 One Night Stand: John Cena vs Rob Van Dam
    2011 Money in the Bank: John Cena vs CM Punk
    Wrestlemania XXVIII: John Cena vs The Rock
    2012 Extreme Rules: John Cena vs Brock Lesnar

    Anyone who says that John Cena doesn't know how to work doesn't know what the hell they're talking about.

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  6. I'm sorry, but I cant go 5*s on Punk/Cena, its a very good match, sure, but I think its really the hot crowd carrying it through the dull/botchy first ten minutes.

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  7. Replace Cena in all of those matches and you still get the same reaction from the crowd.

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  8. They should have gave Punk a vacation until WM and did the big unification match with whoever was the fake champ at that point. And they'd still be riding the momentum from the Summer of Punk instead of him hitting a wall and becoming John Cena with tattoos.

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  9. This PPV definatly ties with this years Extreme Rules show for best of the 2010's

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  10. Im in on that line of thinking too. One could pick nits and call it ****1/2 or ****3/4 so I think it just depends on how much you got into the moment, because it was quite a match and moment.

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  11. No you don't. In all 4 of those cases the crowd wanted Cena to lose because he was Cena and who he stood for and the other guy was somehow strongly anti-Cena and stood for something the fans wanted to see more. Take the #2 face in the company at the time (08 not sure, 11 Orton, 12 Punk) and put them in Cena's place and the reaction is not anywhere near the same. Like not even in the same zip code.

    This is why Cena's character is so interesting at least in theory. He's more over as a heel than any heel character they could possibly create to certain audiences and to other audiences he's the most over face you could have. The fact that they made a character who creates this kind of reaction BORING is an unbelievable trick.

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  12. I own a lot of WWE's best ofs and career compilations. I own only 5 full shows.


    TLC 2010 (only got it cause ti was packaged with Best of the Ladder Match 1).
    Wrestlemanias 3, 20 and 25.
    And this show.


    Pull the chick match and this is one of the greatest PPVs ever. EVER.

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  13. The atmosphere this show created reminded me of why I love wrestling.

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  14. Christian and Orton had awesome matches, it's just too bad Orton had to win every single fucking one of them.

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  15. Great review. I was worried that Monday's Raw might've soured you on all past and future shows!

    I can't disagree with the ***** rating. It really was the perfect storm of match quality, crowd and angle. Sure, it's a bit sloppy, but realistically so - it's not like they repeat spots. It's an old school battle, something few people on the roster can pull off.

    We all know it didn't work out as well as it might have, but for the week after this PPV it seemed like *anything* could happen, and since returning to wrestling in 2001 that's the only time I've truly felt like that.

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  16. Don't forget the ridiculous crowd reaction to Cena vs. HHH at Wrestlemania 22. God damn did they want Hunter to win that one.

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  17. So sad that the momentum from this show gave us the following in the next year: Brock jobbing in his return, nefarious text message schemes, mystery GM Hornswoggle, Jakked/Metal star Zach Ryder, and Punk turning into Pussy McVagington in the whole AJ shit storm.

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  18. Wasn't everyone a fan of AJ, like, two weeks ago?

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  19. "Man, why do smark-heavy crowds hate Rey so much? He’s an awesome worker, what’s not to love?"


    This. He's pretty much the modern day Ricky Steamboat persona wise. In fact if Ricky was a new guy and tried to pull his family man persona on a modern day audience the smark crowd would turn on him in six months tops. I loved the Chi-town crowd at mania 22, but shitting on Rey was just bullshit.


    Rey has been consistently fucking awesome for nearly 15 years. And no matter what else, Rey/Eddy HHavoc 97 is a better match than your favourite wrestlers best match barring a very few select exceptions (Shawn/Taker/Bret/Austin/Flair/Steamboat).

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  20. Uh, Rey was a smark favorite for most of his career. It was only once his matches turned mind numbingly formulaic and dependant on a horribly contrived finisher that people started having problems. 619 ruined his cred.

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  21. Not everyone.

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  22. AmericanWolves02July 12, 2012 at 3:48 AM

    The thing that soured me on Rey was his booking, and also his later stages where his matches were pretty much the same.


    I think the exact point where I soured on him was the Eddie Guerrero thing. And for a while now, his matches have been formulaic.


    That said, HHavoc 1997 is an amazing match. And Rey's early WWE run 2002-2003 was awesome. And he has had periods where he has been awesome, like the Jericho feud. I did feel bad for Rey getting shit on by the Chi crowd, but that's the price of free speech and bad booking.

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  23. If it "elevated Punk to the main event for good," then "crashing failure" is a bit of an exaggeration.

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  24. This. Hard to think of a Rey match that really stands out in recent years. Maybe that Royal Rumble match with The Undertaker, but only because he legit f'd Taker up.

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  25. Really, the fuckign 619? So the Rey/Edge vs Benoit/Angle NM02 and Rey/Jericho BATB 09 matches aren't certified classics because of the 619. Wrestling is built on contrivances, why do they bounce of the ropes instead of holding on? Why don't they just roll out of the ring instead of standing up when Shawn's "warming up the band".


    And what ruined his "cred" is that he's just a genuinely good dude and isn't a whiny, sacrcastic douche who targets a certain demographic ala Punk. And thats not hating, I love Punk as much as anyone around these here parts.

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  26. That is amazing to think about actually. Half the crowd worships the ground he walks on and the other half despise everything about him, and yet the end result is still somehow apathy. Except on these rare occasions where the universe aligns and we get some of the greatest wrestling moments ever.

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  27. I'm honestly asking this question: what were peoples' expectations for what the SoP was going to mean for the WWE moving forward? The angle is generally regarded as superb up to this PPV, then started to go to shit when Punk came back so soon (only missed 2 Raws if I remember right). But it was still being redeemed with some great Punk/Cena promos for the SSlam build. Then the wheels *really* fell off with text messages/Nash/Del Rio/HHH stuff.

    Scott calls it a "crashing failure", most people agree. I'm wondering in what way? Do people just look at it as a long term angle that wasn't as good or profitable as it should have been (Sorta like Brock/Cena)? Or as a huge missed opportunity that should've led the WWE into a new era (kinda like the invasion)?

    I hear a lot about how WWE missed the boat on not capitalizing on all the lapsed fans who came back to the product, most of whom had migrated to MMA over the years. But what was it going to take to keep those people interested? Based on the comments of some high profile people that fit that billing (Peter Rosenberg, Mauro Ranallo, Ariel Helwani) as well as Grantland's Masked Man, it seems it was the worked shoot nature of it all that held a lot of the appeal. But how is that style and tone sustainable for the long term? And if that's not it, what is? A WWE that's more like MMA with less soap opera storylines? Less childish crap and more adult themes in the vein of Attitude? Again, I'm honestly asking this cause I'm not totally sure what people expected to come from this.

    Was it just the smark fantasy of the in ring action being emphasized, with only top tier workers at the top of the card? Cause as much as we'd all like that I thought wrestling history has shown that doesn't appeal to a broad audience.

    I could go on but I'm just going to stop there. If Punk was supposed to be our Obama, what change did you expect to see?

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  28. True. I think the supposed failure of Punk post-MITB is way overstated. Really, apart from the HHH/Nash debacle, his feuds have been good (but not great), and we've had a boat load of ****+ matches.

    Admittedly, the lack of genuine main event title matches is ridiculous, especially during the Johnny Ace bullshit, but nothing was going to live up to the brilliance of this PPV.

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  29. He had a couple of awesome ones with Jericho over the IC title a few years ago. The one from The Bash is like a legit 4.5 stars, or I might have them mixed up.

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  30. I can handle the formulaic complaint, thats valid, of so many wrestlers mind you, the very best ones included.


    As far as his booking though, I actually love that his character never really changes from do gooder Rey. Its refreshing to see a genuine good guy who doesn't turn heel and then back again every 6 months.


    His case is also a little different from Cena in that only usually the smarkiest of crowds turn on him.

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  31. Change we could believe in?

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  32. I just replied to a similar post by Mike Mears, but anyway, I disagree it was a 'crashing failure'. However, I do believe it's symptomatic of WWE as a whole and their utter ineptitude when it comes to capitalising on organic, fan-led support of a wrestler.

    I think Punk, and particularly Bryan, deserve huge props for forcing their way into the main event considering Vince didn't plan for them to be there. What happen when they get there is largely out of their control, and both guys seem philosophical about it. They get that there's only so much they can do.

    Punk said it best: Vince is a millionaire who should be a billionaire. Thing is, he doesn't have to fight for the success anymore. He's got no one to beat. Therefore no risks are taken, no changes are made.

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  33. Since MitB, has CM Punk ever been in a main event that didn't involve John Cena?

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  34. The triple-threat ladder match in December. Thankfully, Cena wasn't on that PPV, otherwise we would've been treated to a main-event interview in which John was sure to undermine the rest of the roster.

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  35. See, I can go both ways on that. It obviously improved Punk's standing quite a bit, but, by the same token, the vibe of the whole angle seemed like he was going to be The Next Big Star, and now he's just another guy. Another main event guy, yeah, but it just seems like it could have been...more.

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  36. Agreed, gimmie their SummerSlam rematch over this one any day.

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  37. I dunno, am I the only one who thinks RVD vs Amish Roadkill at ONS wouldn't be the same?

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  38. eh, after seeing many of his matches...

    Sucks to be us.

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  39. I think we expected that Punk will be away a little longer than 1 week and that they build a really big rematch against Cena at Survivor Series or so, while in the meantime Punk will "invade" like an outsider: Youtube videos, some interference out of the audience etc.. He wanted the holidays so bad, he should have got it.

    They could have stretched the story over months and I think they should have used the World HW Title as their only title and not making a tournament the next day and having a new WWE Champion so soon.

    What they showed in 4 Weeks between MITB and Summer Slam, could have been a story for at least 4 months.

    AND I think we wanted a new Main Event star, who doesn't speak of the "WWE Universe" and who does not smile like Cena and acts like a corporate guy, like CM Punk does since Summer Slam.

    Today, everything is like before MITB - except that Punk is now more like Cena, than he was before MITB and the "Two Weeks of Punk 2011".

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  40. I'd like to point out for the record that I was 4-0 on all my picks for the title & MitB matches, including Daniel Bryan winning. So someone saw that coming!

    This is literally the only time I've been so excited for a PPV that I've put down the money and bought it (not counting going in on WM with people, but that's just a tradition) in well over a decade. That Punk/Cena match will always be one of my favorites. Yeah, a few of the moves weren't perfectly crisp but that doesn't bother me when compared to how much the rest of it excited me.

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  41. Rey and Evan Bourne had a pretty awesome tag match on Raw against Miz and Morrison a few years back. One of the few Raw matches I can remember years later.

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  42. Agreed on the Eddie thing...in typical WWE fashion, they beat us over the head with the "Rey is doing this for Eddie!" stuff, to the point where Rey starting stealing all his moves and mentioning him in every sentence, and that wore on the smart crowds. I remember Boston booing the shit out of him for busting out 3 Amigos and a Frog Splash in a match.

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  43. The Raw promo where CM Punk first drops the "pipebomb" started all of this, skyrocketed him towards the top, and made us fans believe this could be the start of something. Funny enough, a pipebomb by EVE(!!) of all people, highlights the startling reality that the "Summer of Punk" turned into.

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  44. No way, Cena is at least pulling his weight, if not the main reason for all of those reactions.


    If anything, I think you could replace the anti-Cena more easily.

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  45. I just didn't understand why they needed Nash. If you want him to feud with HHH, let him feud with HHH. No need for contrivances with a 50-year-old man who tears a quad walking in the ring.
    Oh, I forgot, he's one of HHH;s buddies and could do the job instead of HHH. And as we saw, HHH did not job.

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  46. Yes, they could have stretched out the tournament all the way to SummerSlam, with Cena vs. Rey in California (where Rey would've been super over).
    Plus Cena won and acted like he just won the title at Wrestlemania, despite the fact that he lost the WWE title for the company, was supposed to be fired, had his job saved by his old archenemy, and then won a hastily put-together tournament for a sham title. I'm supposed to buy that he's somehow legitimate?

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  47. The problem was they hotshotted the angle to pop a buyrate for Summerslam. Typlical WWE panicking and rushing through an angle. I agree they should have dragged it out, maybe had Punk defend his title at some indy/ROH show and contiue to crash WWE events. Have Vince/HHH/etc send cronies to these events to try to get the title back.

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  48. In my opinion, best WWE PPV since No Way Out 2008 (2 **** EC matches, good Cena/Orton & Money Mayweather punching Big Show).

    I do think it actually does carry a lot of historical significance for the fact that the WWE whipped fans into a frenzy...and basically pissed it all away by SummerSlam. And they haven't come anywhere close, with the annual exception of WrestleMania & the Raw after WrestleMania.

    I also think it's amazing to look the past year for Del Rio & Bryan and how it's turned out for them.

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  49. I'd put Punk-Cena #1 and swap Rock-Cena (which wasn't memorable in the least to me, whereas I can picture and recall all the other crowds you mentioned) for the Monday night Raw the night after WM 28 in Miami.

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  50. People move through fandom faster than the angles WWE can churn out now.

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  51. And of course, big Kev never jobbed to HHH. I think I called that correctly back when he first showed up and everyone kept saying that there was no way he would have been brought back except to job to Punk. I hate to toot my own horn, but 'toot toot'.

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  52. That's fine and good in theory but the problem with it is who does Punk feud with at Wrestlemania? Cena-Rock was carved in stone.

    I do agree with you about Punk (though I called him Hot Topic John Cena).

    Punk's decline is easy to trace because he has the same problem as Cena: lack of honor. Cena's a bully. But Punk spoke truth to power. And then two of his last three feuds have been him being not just a dick, but a borderline racist and misogynist dick ("hey Berto, stop being Messican, you Messican", "I dig crazy chicks"). Plus, he was bullying Big Johnny. The Punk-Big Johnny feud had potential to actually be an original spin on the wrestler v. Authority figure that's been beaten into the ground. If Punk had said he was tweaking Big Johnny because he knew Big Johnny didn't want Punk as champion then some of it would be more excusable but Big Johnny never really did anything to Punk once he returned.

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  53. I still am, but the angle on Monday sucked. But it wasn't her fault.

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  54. I don't see it as a crashing failure. I mentioned it in an above post but I wanted Punk to stay a guy who stood up for doing the right thing through deed rather than words. I also wanted to move away from soap opera crap and see angles motivated by the value of the belt (seriously, has ANY title been as important as the WWE title was here since like 2002?) and character conflict rather than contrivances. I wanted to see consequences to winning and losing matches.

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  55. I'm also a fan of ice cream. But I don't want to eat it for two straight hours...

    Wait, that's not a good analogy...

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  56. Christopher HirschJuly 12, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    I just tired of his act, same thing for God knows how long. He's been gone a year and I am still not looking forward to his return.

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  57. Christopher HirschJuly 12, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Loved this show, and it was the only non big 4 PPV I have ordered in about the past 12 years. Was totally worth it.

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  58. I think Vince making another WWE champion made sense. His character doesn't like to lose, but when he does, he quickly brushes it all aside and pretend it didn't happen. They should have just slowed down a bit, let SummerSlam be the big tournament for the new title. Then after that, have Punk show up at WWE events randomly. Or at the corporate office. Basically harassing Vince when he can.


    IWC said that last year, and I think it would have still been the right call. Push the Punk angle out to Rumble, and make him a hidden entry. And then he's trying to bring down everything by unifying the titles and getting whatever he wants.

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  59. Since it got a lot of downvotes and replies, I'll throw this up here so everyone that replied to my Cena comment can see it, and I won't have to keep repeating myself.


    At One Night Stand, it was all about RVD finally winning the World Title. Crowd was rabid for RVD and would have booed the shit out of any WWE creation that defended the title against him.
    At MITB, it was all about Punk coming home to win the title and give a giant fuck you to the WWE and everything it stands for.
    And at WM and Extreme Rules, it was all about the returns of Rock and Brock. These two I would be give Cena some credit, but still, you could throw in Orton and the crowd reacts EXACTLY the same.
    These four matches were way more about RVD, Punk, Rock, and Brock's journeys than anything else. Going against Cena was just icing on the cake.

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  60. I hadn't started following wrestling again last sumer but DAMM I have to youtube this match now.

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  61. Well, yeah. Their "rebel outsider" was a loyal company man for 5 years who had already been programmed all over the cards.

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  62. if it was RVD vs Amish Roadkill we'd all still be talking about to this day, and clips of that match would have been played on Raw & SD every single week from 06 to present.

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  63. It's not perfect, but Del Rio wouldn't of been a bad choice. He cashes in on Cena at Summerslam, and keeps cheating the keep his title all the way through the fall. The fans would be rabid for someone to finally beat him, especially with him being the fake champ.

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  64. Punk vs Big Johnny should've been like Austin/McMahon before Vince got violent. Like that time Vince brought Austin out in a suit, but he was still wearing wrestling boots & a baseball cap. Like Johnny is trying to befriend Punk in a way to mold him into what the company wants, and Punk seeing through the bullshit and not wanting to compromise his integrity.

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  65. Didn't Punk vs Triple H headline the September ppv?

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  66. Well, it's wrestling. If you shine too harsh a light on it, it all falls apart- of course the rebel outsider was an employee, that's how it works. That doesn't change the disappointment of the whole thing resetting again tonally. It seemed like the whole thing was going to catch fire and be ridden into a Not John Cena Show era, or at the very least, alter Cena's character somehow. business as usual after that sort of thing, instead of an altering of the overall dynamic in some way was frustrating.

    I don't know if that actually responds to what you're saying? I'm not entirely sure on your point, honestly.

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  67. Yeah cena has come into his own as a borderline elite worker in the last six years.

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  68. This match kicked all kinds of ass and is one of my all time faves but I think you have to deduct a quarter star at least for the blown spots

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  69. I'd eat AJ for two straight hours.

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  70. Hhh inserting himself in the angle is what killed it for me. I was also pissed they through adr in the middle of it. Not because adr isn't awesome (love him) but because I knew he couldn't hang with punk and cena and shoehorning him in there would damage him, not get him over

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  71. Also it would have been cool to strech the punk is gone with the belt thing over a couple months but I don't blame punk one bit for wanting to get a summerslam pay day when his character was hotter than ever.

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  72. It's funny that in hindsight the summer of punk was absolutely nothing more than a vehicle to put hhh over.

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  73. @cultstatus I see where you're coming from but Punk still wouldn't have main evented

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  74. The story itself was heading into conspiracy territiory, the natural course looked to be The McMahons/HHH/Big Johnny wanted the belt kept on Cena b/c it's better for business, and really did not want Punk as the champ, and were looking to get it off him using means of ADR & Nash. Cena, lame as he might be, is virtuous and wants no part of that, so it looked like it was heading towards Punk & Cena vs the establishment (represented by H, Nash, & ADR...Miz & Truth could've been part of that too).


    As for what would've kept the lapsed fans? Well if they liked the shoot stuff, the above story would've kept the shoot stuff as part of a worked story. Then if they transitioned (quickly) to Punk wrestling Bryan in technical masterpieces, and let that dictate the wrestling style, I think people would've stayed watching.

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  75. An angle that began with Punk cutting an all-time great promo on Cena had a big reveal of Kevin Nash text messaging himself and a blow-off of HHH beating Nash.

    That was the problem with this angle.

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  76. Exactly! And Johnny could have been more interesting as a more subtle villain who's just an amoral scumbag who wants ratings and a corporate puppet rather than what he had in Punk. You could have had big Johnny kiss up to Cena and the Rock and have them hate him but establish him with some depth. And that's what I didn't like about Mr. McMahon, it was unbelievable.

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  77. To me even before this punk was a pretty huge star. In fact a prefer heel pre-sop punk to the big star punk. Punks work with the sxe and that feud with hardy and undertaker were amazing. Also his run as nexus leader/heel announcer was one of my favorite things ever. How great was punk in the 2011 royal rumble. People online can call for a cena heel turn all they want but to me punk is the one who should turn. He's the best heel in wrestling and he's being wasted as a babyface.

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  78. Rey rey is the fucking man. It annoys the shit out of me when smark crowds boo him. He's an amazing worker and the best cruiserweight ever and his mask gimmick is cool. His old ecw matches are some of my favorites and since getting to the big leagues hes had amazing matches with all types of guys.

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  79. Rey is the ultimate baby face. Plus you gotta love him giving a kid the top of his mask before every match. I'm a huge rey fan.

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  80. Also I should admit I live in san diego and have a 619 telephone number and thus am a mark for the 619. But even still I've loved rey since the early days of the nwo.

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  81. Every finishing move in wrestling is contrived though.

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  82. Did anyone catch the RAW 1000 ad that aired a few weeks ago after RAW? They're all in the office and Cena can't hear what Vince says and it becomes a game of telephone, where the message gets messed up as it gets passed around. It was actually pretty funny, like a PG-version of "Get it?!"

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  83. Worst_in_the_WorldJuly 12, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Yeah I agree that the angle could have been handled way better, and possibly Punk could have been MORE...but in the end, he undeniably has become a tippy top huge star. The pops Punk gets on every show, in every town, are way beyond what anyone not named Cena or The Rock get. So whatever we think of what "could have been", it did result in a pretty valuable commodity, which is a super-over babyface star.

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  84. The let down over the Summer of Punk was that it seemed to be leading towards change. They were letting this little midcarder who pisses people off backstage say what he wanted to on Raw and bring attention to the fact that everyone is tried of John Cena and the product stinks at the moment. WWE had become corporate, it wasn't funny or interesting anymore, same old shit with Cena, Cena is a manufactured puppet, etc...it seemed like they were on the verge of changing directions.

    But nothing changed. I think Punk really believed it would, I heard interviews with him around this time when he said he was trying to make wrestling good again. Triple H taking over on screen was supposed to lead to changes, but it didn't. It became a show about a wrestling running a show, until he was fired an replaced with another evil GM. Meanwhile Punk was supposed to be controversial, but his pipebombs consisted of mocking Kevin Nash's knees. The HHH/Punk feud seemed like it could be leading to something with Punk believing HHH was trying to hold him back on behalf of the company/John Cena but then HHH turned out to be the good guy and Punk was just a pissy lunatic...who lost. But now they've managed to turn him into one of their WWE-Approved Superstars. It sucks because he seemed on the verge of something really special, but I guess career wise he's better being WWE Champion, even if it's not as fun as it could have been, than jobbing to a different top guy every month.

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  85. Punk was supposed to be gone in July and they really had no plan for him after that, so they were making it up as they went along. Which I guess isn't really new for them...but Nash was just supposed to be a short term thing to let Punk beat someone with name value, however much Nash had left at the time. Nash wasn't cleared to wrestle and it turned into what it turned into. Given how it played out I'd guess Nash was going to imply he worked for HHH, Punk would beat Nash, then HHH would prove he was a good guy all along and feud with Nash.

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  86. Worst_in_the_WorldJuly 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Just an awesome, awesome show top to bottom. Though I personally had still been watching WWE regularly the whole time, I can say this angle/show is what got my best buddy back into being a fan after him not having watched the product since 2002, and he's stuck with it.
    So, question for the group: how would you reconcile our two main wants for this angle, those being that A) Punk get the rocket-up-his-ass (cool) face push, and B) He voluntarily leaves the promotion for months (the sentiment here seems to be what, he should have stayed out til Survivor Series?). Because to me, the fatal problem with this angle was that those two things don't go together. Leaving the promotion with the title is a decidedly heel move, especially in this circumstance. This wasn't Vince telling Stone Cold he hates him and vowing to get rid of him. It was a wrestler VOLUNTARILY leaving, or deciding not to fight. Sure Punk could have done run-ins and attacked guys from the stands, but again, he wasn't being held out of WWE. He was choosing to leave.
    So yeah, that's a problem I always saw with the logic of the whole angle. Though I do agree that bringing him back ONE WEEK later was nuts. Summerslam should have been Cena-Rey for the new belt, or perhaps Rey-DelRio after Vince just crowns Del Rio his new champion. Then Punk returns at the end of Summerslam and we go from there.

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  87. Not working summerslam against cena would have required punk to pass up probably the biggest pay day of his career.

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  88. Yes. And more so, much of the heat Cena got was meta--"please get this guy off the TV. Please don't let him win again."

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  89. you are absolutely correct. and also, these people wanting him to stay away for 4 months because it "makes a good story" don't live in the real world. wrestling has been and always will be about making money. Having your hottest act not on the show for four months, not on the house show circuit for four months selling t-shirts and not on PPV for four months makes them exactly $0 dollars.

    Doing you tube videos or occasional run-ins doesn't sell tickets or ppvs. When you have something hot, you cash in on it. What if they would have done what the smarts wanted and had him hold the title hostage for four months and then when he shows back up the fans (and mainstream media) have cooled on him? they'd be kicking themselves for not blowing off the feud and capitalizing on it when they had the chance.

    This is armchair booking at its finest. it might be fun, and you might sometimes come up with something that is actually entertaining but it would never work in the real world for a business that is actively trying to make money. They'll take a B- story that makes money now over what we all think might have been an A+ story that doesn't make them any money for four months. every damn time.

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  90. Worst_in_the_WorldJuly 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Right. It sucks because "artistically" the story would have worked better if he sat out for a bit, but financially there were legitimate reasons not to do it. I think we all compare this angle to Fall '97 when Austin spent months causing havoc and getting over, except the difference was Austin had NO CHOICE but to not wrestle. Again, the whole situation was very tricky.

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  91. They could have booked a more interesting reason for his quick return but thats asking way too much from creative. Overall they made the right move and got punk over as super face. Plus that one week he left with the belt was cool.

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  92. Don't forget that if he's not working he's getting rusty. Remember what happened to Sting

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  93. I saw the Cena vs. Punk match for the first time a few weeks ago and it was awesome. I just may have to watch it again.

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  94. I have to disagree. Cena and only Cena works as the opponent in those cases, precisely BECAUSE he is the personification of WWE and everything it stands for.

    Randy Orton is not a representation of WWE. Batista is not a representation of WWE. John Cena is the current era of WWE that smarks despise made flesh.

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  95. I saw the Punk vs. Cena match for the first time a few weeks ago and it certainly was awesome. I may have to watch it again.

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  96. Orton worked on that same ONS card as Cena, and he SUUUUUUUCKED. Couldn't handle the crowd riding him. Cena handled it like a pro; even engaged them with the whole throw the t-shirt in the crowd get it thrown back at him deal.

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  97. The fact that we've gone from this to me setting up a series recording for IMPACT in 12 months is mind boggling - both that TNA has improved that much, and WWE fell that much.

    The funnest part of this show was watching it with my roommate's SO, who wanted Cena to kill Punk.

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  98. From reading Nash's comments on it, it seemed like HHH wanted to bring in the snarky, witty, insider term dropping guy from the past in a sort of "passing the torch" type deal (my words not theirs). I think he envisioned the 2 of them going back and forth, getting shootish digs in on each other. Problem was Nash decided to play the heavy, and kept it serious the entire time (outside of the admittedly great Waffle House crack).

    In my opinion they saw it wasn't working the way they wanted and got Punk the hell away from Nash once it became clear he'd have to wait to wrestle him. So Punk moves onto the title picture and HHH takes his place in the Nash feud.

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  99. The problem that came from this angle is that WWE is unwilling to get behind anyone else completely. Punk is pretty much the #1 face in the company right now, but the problem is WWE still forces John Cena front and center every week.


    That, and they stupidly still worry about Nielsen ratings in 2012.

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  100. They worry about Neilsen ratings because sane advertisers don't dictate ad rates based on how many people DVR or stream the show.

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  101. I don't know if this is the best show of all time, but it's absolutely my favorite. You can make reasoned arguments for GAB '89 and WM X7 but MITB '11 takes it for me. I disagree with Scott, you can't downgrade the PPV because the angle didn't play out well or we'd have to downgrade WM X7 because Austin's heel turn was a bust.

    I'd love a Blu Ray of MITB with the Raws and Smackdowns running up to the show. I think the actual PPV was a great example of wrestling as a circus as exists (I mean that as a compliment). You have high flyers, big hosses, spotfests, a Divas match, old school heel chicanery, a main event that delivers on a great build with one of the hottest crowds I've ever seen.

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  102. They dictate who to push off of those ratings is my main point. Zack Ryder was buried because that one Raw main event tanked so badly, and Daniel Bryan was going to be buried completely after Wrestlemania but YES! caught on like wildfire and they were forced to run with it. But no blame went to Michael Cole for telling viewers at home that guys who just won titles and won the main event match of the evening were a bunch of dorks and losers.

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  103. And they could have a new big face star, because Christian WAS very over. But they turned him to this whiny heel, and it all went down very fast with this "one more match" crap.

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  104. The problem is, that in most of the matches, Cena was supposed to be the FACE, but the opponent got the BIGGER face reaction.

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  105. It definitely was a let down.

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  106. No way, my man. That ECW crowd HATED everything about John Cena, from his long title reign to his gear to his limited moveset. They wanted blood and very well may have tried to riot if RVD did the job. I just wish Van Dam had won clean. Needing Edge's help and Heyman making the 3 count kinda took away from the awesomeness of that match and the environment as a whole.

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  107. CM Punk came back way too soon. I still believe that holding the belt hostage, randomly showing up at WWE shows in the crowd (w/belt of course) and then making a return later in the year or around Royal Rumble would have worked. You'd have the "new" WWE title that Cena & Mysterio could have continued to fight over, establish that new belt, and then Punk returns to remind everyone who holds the real belt. It's Michaels/Razor with much bigger stakes.


    And to top it all off, Punk became just another neutered, smiling face. He is nowhere near as interesting as he was last summer. It's not even close.

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  108. It's been out for a week and a half or so. And I agree that it was pretty darn funny and polished.

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  109. The secret to a great MITB (and EC match for that matter) is a wide-open field. When the winner is not a foregone conclusion, there's more drama. Seeing the first MITB match live, esp. with all the participants being able to conceivably win, was still something to behold, as was Angle/HBK 1 later that night.

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  110. My goodness, I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jabber2 deserves his own column. I love his thought-provoking editorials and posts. I don't always agree with everything he says, but I respect it.

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  111. It doesn't matter so much what's _supposed_ to happen, so long as something that feels important _happens_.

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  112. Punk vs Triple H happened at Summerslam, headlined by Cena/Rock vs Miz/Truth.

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  113. Given that the buyrate for Summerslam was apparently down from the year before I think we can say that their B- story didn't really make them any money either.

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  114. That's not right. The Rock tag match was Survivor Series, where Punk beat ADR for the strap. Summerslam was Punk/Cena 2 with HHH as ref.

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  115. I'm not saying Cena sucks or anything like that. Just saying he wasn't responsible for the amazing crowd that night. The heat that Mysterio and Orton got proves that.

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  116. Orton got just as much heat that night as Cena. The same exact crowd reaction happens if you put Orton or Batista in that match. The match between Big Show and Batista on ECW TV proved that.

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  117. I don't think they realize how much damage Cole's character did last two years. He got nothing over, except himself and for some reason never buried Cena that badly

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  118. I agree, but it's like a symbolic thing. Cena is A No. 1 WWE guy, it had to be him. The only other person who would've been appropriate is HHH, and FAT CHANCE he'd work ONS

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  119. Orton & Batista reacted to the crowd in ways that took away from the show (dogging it). Cena "embraced the hate"*

    *tm Kane

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  120. Whoops! My bad, you are correct.

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  121. Orton not reacting the crowd took nothing away from it, it probably made it better. ECW fans aren't the type of people who will let up when they're being ignored.

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  122. cultstatus Orton might have in ECW, but that's it. John Cena is a bigger deal than anyone else so it gave it a big match atmosphere which causes the crowd to react more.

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  123. The_Bo I'm shocked SHOCKED SHOCKED I SAY that Randy Orton was less than professional or allowed the slightest thing to derail him completely.

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  124. Honestly? Last Monday was the first top-to-bottom worthless awful Raw in a year.

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  125. In normal circumstances, yes. But that night the crowd was on fire all night long no matter what. They were there to see RVD win the title, not because they had a chance to boo Cena.

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  126. Man, remembering this show kind of bums me out. You look back at this, and the original Summer of Punk, and the Nexus and Brock Lesnar, etc... and it becomes impossible to have any hope for this company. The Punk/Cena match was awesome here, but it was built on the false hope that something was actually happening. In hindsight, it's hard to even care about this match now, just like it was hard to care about it two months later (after an 'epic' angle was condensed into 2 episodes of TV). It seemed like something revolutionary was happening with Bryan coming out of Wrestlemania, but--even though we did get some good matches--the whole thing has devolved into just another midcard soap opera with heat that depreciates by the day.

    We need to cross our collective fingers that TNA is committed to the product they sold us at Destination X. Given what we've seen over the last decade, I am certain that Austin 316, DX, and the Attitude Era would have never happened if the NWO hadn't occurred. Vince will not deviate from his designated status quo until an external force demands that he take a risk and let something go beyond his own hands again. Unfortunately, even if they start doing everything right, TNA has a long way to go before they're a threat to the WWE, but at least we finally have a "CM Punk" again, in the form of Austin Aries. I see WWE poised to become even less interesting once they finish burning through Bryan/Punk (probably so they can get the title back on Cena). If TNA can actually stick to having a quality product and offering the fans an alternative to WWE's dumbed down "storytelling" maybe they can begin drawing some of the adult fans who are tired of having mind numbingly stubborn old man dictate the terms of their entertainment.

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  127. If only they didn't take away his 'roids and 'cane.

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  128. It was both - the crowd wanted to see RVD win the title AND they wanted to see Cena lose the title.

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  129. Actually in three of the matches he was supposed to be the heel whether he was currently a face or not.

    And all four matches were pretty damn good.

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  130. I watched the Punk vs. Cena match for the first time several weeks ago and it was awesome. I just may have to watch it again, along with the rest of the show.

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  131. Can anyone provide a good link to the Smackdown MITB match from this show? I can't seem to find a decent one on YouTube.

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  132. It's on WWE Greatest HIts.com, or was recently.

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