Blog: What worries me about Punk’s heel turn
Aug 21, 2012 - by Mike McMahon
There’s no more tweener, CM Punk is clearly a heel. If you thought that Punk was trying to play both sides of the fence before last night’s Raw, I could see your point. But roundhouse kicking Jerry Lawler in the head to close the show cemented the deal for me — Punk is a full-blown heel.
Good. I blogged previously that I like Punk as a heel. It’s more natural. But that doesn’t mean that WWE is doing the right thing at the right time turning Punk.
John Cena and Sheamus are the top two babyfaces, in the world title pictures, on both branded shows. By definition, they’re the top two babyfaces in the company. Unlike WWE’s heel roster, the depth on the babyface side is fairly thin. Chris Jericho is part-time and he’s on hiatus. Triple H is part time. Undertaker is part time. Shawn Michaels, when active, isn’t a wrestler.
Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio appear to be the next rung below Cena and Sheamus on the babyface roster, but with strikes against them on the Wellness Policy and Orton’s history of being a loose cannon, it’s hard to imagine that WWE would feel comfortable strapping the world title on Orton’s waste when he’s one outbreak away from getting banned for a year. Mysterio had a short life span as World Hvt. Champion and since hasn’t had a sniff of a world title with exception of his two-hour reign on Raw last year and he’s been plagued by injuries for the better part of two years.
By turning Punk at this point in time, WWE could really handcuff itself down the road, God forbid something happens to Cena or Sheamus.
It’s a physical sport. Cena himself has a checkered injury past — albeit he has managed to stay healthy in recent years — if he’s on the shelf for 6 months, who steps into that spot on Raw?
Kofi Kingston? R-Truth? Santino? Sin Cara? Zack Ryder?
Who are the options?
The heel roster already had a strong core of “next level” guys just waiting for an opportunity. Dolph Ziggler is ready for a big push, as is Cody Rhodes. WWE didn’t need Punk to be a heel, but they’re one injury or suspension away from really needing him to carry the load as a babyface.
Surprise, surprise, but the booking philosophy is short-sighted. They wanted a big angle to close the 1,000th episode of Raw last month, and they got it. But at what price?
They can’t just flip the switch with Punk again if something happens. Sure, it’s wrestling, and they can do whatever they want, but at what point is that just bastardizing his character?
Right now, everything’s kosher. Guys are healthy. They better hope it stays that way.