Bell To Bell: Turning Heel For The Rock
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
- So apparently CM Punk is a heel now, because he committed the heinous act of not helping John Cena. Oh, and then he attacked The Rock, the man he’s looking to face this coming January at the Royal Rumble. Assuming they don’t chicken out and go with somebody else, that’s huge news for CM Punk and WWE. But a heel turn…hmm…
I imagine they’re doing this for two reasons: 1. So Punk’s exchanges with The Rock leading into their match won’t be so similar to Rocky’s work with Cena. 2. Raw needs a strong top heel (sorry Big Show), and as Punk is second banana to Cena in terms of kiddie popularity (and perhaps other areas that don’t include wrestling), he makes the most sense. But what I hope WWE realizes is while turning Punk heel might convince some of the younger, less knowledgeable fans to cheer for Rocky, a strong percentage of the audience will still be rooting for Punk. As Cena did, Punk is likely going to bring up the whole “Rocky’s never here” argument in this program. But I suspect that it will sound a bit more genuine and authentic coming from him, as Cena’s been at the top of the WWE pecking order for years now, and can rake in a bajillion dollars with or without The Rock. Punk’s in a different boat. He’ll talk to The Rock from more of an everyman’s perspective, and as someone who had to fight his way through the indies, and work against WWE’s fixation on giants and muscleheads. That’ll earn him some a good amount of underdog cred whether WWE wants it to or not.
The Rock having a title match at the Royal Rumble does make me wonder if he’ll actually stick around for a two month reign as champion. I’m skeptical, as WWE obviously likes to have the champion around at all the live events, which I don’t think Rock could commit to. Still, given what little value or meaning championship belts seem to have these days, and the great publicity a title run with The Rock would get, I won’t rule it out…
- It’s always great to see Lita, especially in a physical capacity. Jerry Lawler called her something like “one of the greatest high flying divas ever.” Gimmie a break. Have we even had another “high flying diva” since Lita left the company? It certainly wasn’t Layla El, Kelly Kelly, the Bella twins, or any of these other Barbies-turned-wrestlers. None of them have ever been able to touch Lita. If you go elsewhere, even to TNA, you’d have a much better argument. But never in WWE.
- I think facing these old names every week has been good for Heath Slater. If nothing else, now people know who he is. Back in the Nexus days, he always stood out to me. Obviously he’s got very distinct hair. But he was the only guy who could sort of hang with Wade Barrett on the mic. Also, when Bret Hart came in for the build up to Summerslam that year, whenever he got physical it always seemed to be with Slater. Given Bret’s need to avoid any kind of head trauma, that makes me think Slater’s a pretty safe worker too. Here’s hoping he can shift this in to a decent run as an annoying heel.
- Zack Ryder should know better. The person behind GTV was obviously Hornswoggle.
- I thought the Mae Young/giant hand bit was funny, just because I can’t help wonder what the kids at home must be thinking. “Mom, why is that old lady standing with the Hamburger Helper mascot?
- So AJ is the new General Manager of Raw? That’s a pleasant surprise. I honestly thought it was going to be Ric Flair. Given some of the interesting things they’ve been able to do with her over the last several months, here’s hoping she’ll provide us with some interesting stories in the coming weeks.
- I thought Daniel Bryan came off pretty well as a bratty heel in that exchange with The Rock. Not bad for a guy many said would never make it to the big stage. The only question is, where does his character go from here?
- The Undertaker and Kane continue to have the most senseless, backward relationship in all of wrestling. Thankfully, both characters are just so cool that it doesn’t matter.
- So…did WWE sign Brock Lesnar back for a year just so he could put people over? I understand that WWE wants to protect itself, and wrestling in general, from being perceived as second rate to MMA. But he lost to Cena in his first match back, and there’s a lot of speculation that Triple H is going to beat him at Summerslam. I mean, shouldn’t he beat somebody? He’s only here for so many shows, after all. How about we show the big MMA fighter actually winning a fight? Hey, what’s Drew McIntyre doing next Monday?
- While I understand why she wasn’t there, part of me really wishes Chyna could have been part of the big Degeneration X reunion. In the ’90s she was a huge part of that group, and she deserves her fair share of the credit. But I suppose adult film stars who pass out naked in pools aren’t exactly ideal fits for family oriented companies. Plus, Chyna’s not exactly the physical specimen she used to be. Maybe it is better she wasn’t there.
While we’re on the subject, can we put a mic in Road Dogg’s hands more often? Every time I see an episode of Are You Serious? on WWE’s YouTube channel, I realize how much I always took his mic work for granted. Can he be an announcer or something? Give him some practice and I bet he could be pretty good.
All images from WWE.com.
Check out a reminiscence of Rob’s old stomping rounds, The Wrestling Daily, plus a new wrestling column by Rob at theBradyHicks.com.