Joe Babinsack talks SummerSlam



SummerSlam is pretty much all about Punk vs Cena.

Sure, we’re getting another Christian vs Orton match, and well, it’s the post-modern WWE booking where the same match is done so often, for so long, in various combinations but all the same, it’s the same two guys and even if they almost always do it well, what’s the use because it is the same two guys in the ring after all.

Can we guess that Christian wins by some nefarious means?

Another somewhat interesting match is Sheamus and Mark Henry. It’s a definite Old School feel with Henry, even though it should have been done with him a decade ago, but still, who would remember any of it. Recently, Henry has disposed of Big Show, Kane and Vladimir Kozlov. He’s got momentum, he’s finally getting a meaningful push, and of course he’s headed to SummerSlam where he could put one more victim notch on his belt….

Or he could run into the HHH reign and HHH’s muscle buddy, who can then be positioned that he derailed the monster that is Henry at the moment.

Which does make sense if Christian retains his title, but then again, its short term thinking as opposed to long term, but maybe we find out if there is a new era.

Intercontinental? US? Does it really matter anymore? And can any woman in the WWE do a 73 minute match like Mercedes Martinez vs Lexus in WSU? Only if you add up two dozen matches!

Sin Cara is a man with a mask, so unless you’re a super hardcore Lucha Libre fan, in the end, does it matter if he’s Mistico or Hunico?

No, it all comes back to Cena vs Punk.

I’m not the biggest fan of the WWE, but I was engrossed last Monday. It wasn’t much of a deviation from the tried and true dueling promos, the setting up of a PPV Main Event of epic proportions, or the classic signing ceremony.

 But it was different, after all.

CM Punk as the smart mark insider wrestling hero, a heel to the masses but a babyface to the hardcore set? Was that the nature of the feud as it was positioned on Monday Night?

If so, it went pretty well.

Punk spewing insider knowledge that readers of the Wrestling Observer can mark out over, telling the secrets of what we can all pretend that the WWE brass doesn’t want exposed, letting loose with quasi-shoot opinions and cutting edge trivia that can be verified with the superfan friend. That seems to be the focus.

Once again it’s a character and a storyline and an attitude that would be targeting the long time fans grown bored with the product. The main question is, are those fans salvageable? Are those fans long gone from the sport, to MMA, to the indies, or just never to return?

That’s the interesting part, and the other part is that the WWE is rather unlikely to stop overfocusing on the short term and start investing in the future. Hence my cynicism over Henry/Sheamus. Hence the obvious ongoing inability for the WWE to launch new superstars. Hence my resignation about whether CM Punk could truly find himself in the upper echelon.

Talent-wise, promo-wise, awareness-wise … Punk has it, but that’s coming from a person who’d rather see him holding that Ring of Honor belt for a few months before he went to the WWE, rather than holding a faux-WWE spinner belt, the mirror image of the “Championship” held by John Cena.

Unfortunately, the WWE rarely gives ongoing chances to guys who could be compared to Shawn Michaels, if they are not Shawn Michaels.

The past few weeks have been a roller-coaster ride. Money in the Bank was a slow climb and a satisfying finish. Then it looked like Vince was hell-bent on derailing the ride, first with a cheap tournament, then with trumping the money storyline with his own. Even though Punk appeared at the San Diego Comic Con and at an AAW event to give props to Gregory Iron, the momentum and the potential and what could have been an outlaw tour of the WWE belt across the country to establish Punk as someone who had to be brought in was all brought to not because they just had to make HHH seem powerful.

As if showing his power was more important by derailing a money angle, as if Jim Ross being brought back wasn’t a welcome change, as if Hollywood Creative types couldn’t come up with a thousand ways to make the product look, feel or sound different.

And then there was that utterly unbelievable derailing of an eight-man tournament and a way to insert John Cena back into the title mix.

All that for a SummerSlam collision of what now is merely a minor controversy?

If I were to rebook the whole shebang, if I may steal a Johnny Gargano tag line, I’d have kept Cena fuming, kept the fake real title on Rey Mysterio for a spell, and have kept Punk on the outside looking in, having him appear everywhere and anywhere, having him proclaim himself the true Champion.

Maybe WrestleMania would be too long, but SummerSlam is too short.

Last Monday brought the roller coaster around again. Punk tweaked the WWE Brass, came dangerously close to the underlying reasons why guys hate Cena (phony!) and they brought in some miscommunication and potential for a lot of interactions between HHH and the combatants.

But is it enough?

That’s the big question going into SummerSlam.

If the WWE holds true to what it established in the Invasion/WCW angle and for almost a decade since, they will drop the ball, fizzle the sizzle and utterly smash any box office potential for CM Punk and this angle.

Strangely enough, this is one match where a clean finish is the worst. Well, Cena losing in the middle would be awesome, but I’m not holding my breath longer than I can cough at that.

If Punk sees the lights then the WWE is still the WWE.

But if anyone’s asking me, the most interesting finish would be to pick up where Punk left off at Money in the Bank. Punk should simply walk out of the match, get counted out, and disappear into the crowd.

And if they want to really shake things up, then have Alberto Del Rio cash in his briefcase and take out Cena and lay claim to the faux real belt and then there’s several things going on with the belts, not the least of which is that Del Rio doesn’t care about Punk, Cena is obsessed with Punk and Punk can traipse around multi-media outlets and proclaim himself the true Champion because he won the belt fair and square and never lost it.

Maybe, just maybe, the WWE will surprise me on this angle. And that’s the slim hope that the HHH era may be meaningfully different.


Joe Babinsack can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . CHIKARA up next, I promise. Then AAW, talk about Bruno, and much much more to come.













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