The Internet Wrestling Community is out of control with hate, sadness, and disappointment following the WWE 2013 Royal Rumble. Unfortunately for those fans whether they like it or not, the best business decisions were made at the Rumble.
Let’s start with John Cena. I’m not a fan (although anytime I say anything remotely positive about him here I am accused of being a Cena lover) but I can respect his impact on business. Whether I like him or you like him, he is the biggest draw in the WWE today. The ratings prove that, the buyrates prove that, and the merchandise sales prove that. Saying anything different is just simply a fan thinking with their heart and not their head.
I didn’t want to see Cena win the Rumble but as it played out I started trying to come up with other scenarios. Anybody but Cena winning wouldn’t have made sense. Sure it would have been a fun swerve, but how could you go with anyone else besides Cena in this year’s WrestleMania scenario? I would have loved to see Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, or even Randy Orton win but it just wouldn’t have made sense in the big picture. Cena winning was the right move whether we like it or not.
Now let’s get to CM Punk. I have read countless tweets from fans saying Punk was disrespected, screwed, etc. First of all, I don’t know anyone is disrespected by given the sixth longest title reign in WWE history and one of the biggest paydays he’ll ever make for one match. Call me crazy but I just don’t get that one. CM Punk was not screwed. CM Punk was elevated more in the last 434 days than any new star in recent memory.
Was the wrong decision made by having Punk lose to The Rock? For starters, he actually pinned The Rock in the match. That pin was evidence of the WWE showing Punk more respect than you can imagine. Was it the final pin of the match? No, but Punk pinned The Rock period. The defeated champion walked away from a match with fans questioning whether he was really defeated or not. That was a terrific job of the WWE keeping Punk strong and over.
Should Punk have won? No, the right decision was made. Punk had 434 days to show the WWE what he could do for business. I hate to say it and I know a lot of you enjoyed him but he didn’t make a difference in business. In fact I think it’s fair to say that ratings and buyrates are evidence that he wasn’t a strong drawing champion at all. I don’t know why but for some reason he never connected with casual fans. I couldn’t think of a worst business decision in the world than putting him in the WrestleMania main-event over Rock or even Cena for that matter.
Cena and Rock drew the biggest buyrate in WrestleMania history last year! How can you not come back with a rematch? Cena and Punk headlined SummerSlam and while it did great business, it was nowhere close to WrestleMania 28. Punk was given plenty of opportunities over the last 434 days to show that he can draw those kinds of Rock vs. Cena numbers and it never materialized. Sure Rock may be in and out in a few months but the company will do more business over those few months than they could do with anyone or anything else.
Punk had to lose the title at some point. He couldn’t go on forever. I would bet that he would have lost the title months ago if WrestleMania plans were different. Punk fans should take it as a compliment that he was used as something of a springboard for The Rock. If Punk is going to lose to anyone in 434 days it isn’t a bad thing to lose to the biggest draw in the company.
I have also heard a large outcry over Punk being pinned with the People’s Elbow. I don’t get that one at all. The GTS is essentially a knee to the face and Punk has pinned plenty of people with that. I would imagine looking at the big picture that the finish was to set up a big kick out spot at WrestleMania 29 with Cena kicking out of the elbow. It’s pro wrestling and let’s be honest, most of the finishing moves are kind of corny. Complaining about the People’s Elbow is a bit over the top in my opinion.
Don’t cry too hard for CM Punk. He’ll be taking home more money in the first half of 2013 than at any other point in his career. For that and everyone else who will benefit, the right decisions were made at the Royal Rumble.