Steve Wright Jr. at Wikimedia Commons
Believe it or not, WWE has somehow managed to book itself into a corner in regards to the WWE championship and its status for not just WrestleMania 29 but the road to get there as well. Here's how.
As we head toward the Royal Rumble on Jan. 27, 2013, WWE has a few very big choices to make. The Rock is coming back to challenge for the WWE championship, Brock Lesnar's return is right around the corner, and everyone is damn near giddy in anticipation of who will be chosen to be Undertaker's opponent at WrestleMania 29.
It should be a really exciting time for the company and in many ways, that's exactly the case. But it's also becoming increasingly clear that WWE has booked itself into a corner in regards to its most prestigious title.
You would think that after CM Punk held the strap for over 400 days consecutively it would be in the best shape its been in in years. That might just be the case but the widely regarded belief is that Punk will lose the title to The Rock at the Rumble before Rock goes on to lose the belt to John Cena at WrestleMania. Punk, then, would go on to challenge Undertaker and his infamous Streak.
The alternate scenario is that Punk defeats Rock at the Rumble, maybe after interference from Cena who wants revenge for losing their WrestleMania 28 match, and their rematch is a non-title bout. That would make Punk vs. Undertaker a title vs. streak match, another idea that's been kicked around the offices in Stamford.
Unfortunately, there are problems with both scenarios.
Scenario A: Rock wins WWE championship at Royal Rumble
This seems like a good idea on the surface. One would think "The Great One" as champion would boost short term business but his 2013 schedule is such that he's already stretched far beyond capacity. He can barely make every week's episode of Monday Night Raw, but the real issue is he's 100-percent not working a single house show. That damages live event touring during what should be a hugely lucrative season.
Under that same scenario, Punk would go into the Undertaker match having taken a hit in value. I'm not saying losing to Rock will diminish his star but he won't look anywhere near as strong heading into a match for the Streak if he couldn't even beat "The Brahma Bull."
Scenario B: Punk retains WWE championship at Royal Rumble
This would solve the issue of defending the title at house shows to keep that side of the business going strong heading into WrestleMania but the Rock vs. Cena rematch would leave a lot to be desired. For starters, there would be little reason to go against the "Once in a Lifetime" gimmick they used to promote last year's match. With no belt up for grabs, what's the point of doing it again? Business would almost surely decline from last year if this were to be the case.
Punk vs. Undertaker would become a far more intriguing match under this scenario, but would also likely mean Punk losing his title to a guy who likely wouldn't be able to commit to any real number of dates to defend the belt beyond 'Mania. In fact, there's an outside chance "The Deadman" retires after this show and it seems unlikely Punk would be the guy to get the big rub, assuming there was ever a plan in place to have someone finally break the Streak.
Scenario C: ???????
With Triple H seemingly bound and determined to get his revenge on Brock Lesnar at "The Grand Daddy of Them All," that leaves surprisingly few options on the table, or at least few that would sell on the level some combination of the above matches would.
This should be a home run show but it's shaping up to be a monster headache.
Any of you Cagesiders have a creative solution here?