When the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings last night (May 30, 2014) to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals of this year's NHL Playoffs, it created an unfortunate situation for WWE. That's because Game 7 will be played at the United Center on Sunday night at the exact same time the Payback pay-per-view (PPV) will take place at the Allstate Arena roughly 18 miles away.
As we mentioned previously, this is a tough break for WWE because Payback was already a lackluster show nationally. This situation only serves to ensure it's overshadowed locally as well.
With that said, perhaps there's a silver lining here, or at least a more optimistic viewpoint on what appears to be a series of unfortunate events. As brought to our attention by one of our many lovely followers on Twitter:
@cagesideseats at least the Chicago smarks won't chant for Punk, since everyone knows exactly where he'll be Sunday night.— Dan Borwig (@DBorwig316) May 31, 2014
With Punk already revealing he'll be in attendance when the Blackhawks host the Kings, there's no need for fans at Payback to get their hopes up that WWE was able to pull off some grand plan to quietly bring Punk back into the fold. Sure, it's been made clear many times over that's simply not going to happen anytime soon, if at all, but as they say, hope is the quintessential human emotion.
Or delusion, as The Architect once told us.
But if fans know for a fact Punk won't be there, instead enjoying a hockey game just down the road, will that kill their desire to chant his name throughout the WWE show? It's a logical conclusion our Twitter follower came to, and one we're inclined to agree with.
For the most part.
There is a chance the crowd will choose to rebel against the system in the only way it knows how, chanting for a wrestler they feel represents their best interests (even if he doesn't). To that end, Punk chants could ring throughout the arena during slow spots or poorly worked matches as a protest to an inferior product or presentation.
So while WWE may be telling talent working the show not to get upstaged by the developmental crew that tore the house down at NXT Takeover, it may be equally effective to encourage them to perform at their best lest they be drowned out by chants for a wrestler who no longer actively works for the company.
If nothing else, WWE can hope the Blackhawks provided an assist in some way, even if they're stealing local spotlight.