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John Cena Vs. CM Punk Announced For WWE RAW 1000th Episode

CM Punk vs. John CenaJohn Cena didn’t waste any time time declaring his intentions of cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Cena announced Monday on RAW that he will cash in his briefcase on RAW 1000 and challenge CM Punk live on Monday July 23.

The announcement is a bit of a swerve from the highly predictable Cena vs. Punk SummerSlam 2012 match. A few weeks ago, plans for a Punk vs. Cena SummerSlam rematch leaked out online. Everything seemed to fall into place when Cena announced his participation in Money in the Bank a few days later, and eventually won. The latest news is a bit of a curveball, although I’d still expect a SummerSlam match.

[adinserter block=”2″]Cena made his announcement immediately following a match between The Big Show vs. CM Punk on the July 16 WWE RAW. Show had Punk hurt following the match. Cena ran in giving fans the impression that he was cashing in the contract immediately. Show grabbed the microphone and said Cena’s appearance was predictable and expected him to cash in while Punk was hurt. Cena instead said he would give Punk one week and cash in next Monday on the 1000th RAW episode.

I really like the swerve here. Putting this match on the 1000th RAW episode gives the match a big boost and puts it right up there with the biggest matches in RAW history. I always found that the WWE title matches seem that much more important when they are announced a week ahead, and promoted for a solid week as “the biggest of all-time.” It won’t be the biggest of all-time, but it will certainly go down as one of the biggest from this era of RAW main-events.

The WWE is going all-out with the 1000th episode. They have been promoting this longer than I think they have promoted any other episode in RAW history. Beyond the 1000th novelty, it will mark the first week at the 8 PM/EST start. It will take some time for the WWE to form that habit with its audience. Advertising such a high profile main-event is a great way to make sure nobody forgets to tune in at 8.

Now that I have given the WWE a lot of praise for the match, here is a warning. This match must end with a decisive winner. If this match ends screwy or is just used to leapfrog the match to SummerSlam, fans will be left disappointed, and it will do more harm than good in the long run. That is exactly how WCW lost the good graces of their fans, by continually promising blockbuster main-events that always ended inconclusively or never delivered at all.

So what happens next week? I think Cena is getting the strap back. I know there are a lot of Cena haters that will groan at the prediction, but take a step back and look at the big picture. Cena has been completely out of the title picture for almost a year. He lost twice in a row to Punk last year. At some point it is time for Punk to repay Cena the favor.

It also sets up a nice situation for the RAW 1000 show with The Rock. The Rock already announced the day after WrestleMania that he wanted to challenge for the WWE championship. Maybe Cena wins and The Rock comes out at the end for another confrontation? I do know awhile back that there were rumors that The Rock would be wrestling at SummerSlam. I haven’t heard anything in months but maybe something is done to set up Rock vs. Cena for the title at SummerSlam or a different show down the road?

[adinserter block=”1″]I also think that this match still winds up at SummerSlam. The idea of Punk challenging for the title is probably a much better sell than Cena getting a second title shot in a row (after the 1000th episode match). Maybe the WWE goes with a Triple Threat Match of Cena vs. Punk vs. Show, but somehow or another I think Cena and Punk are in the same ring on SummerSlam.

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