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Allegations that WWE manipulates merchandise sales to keep John Cena on top arise again

There are a lot of reports, speculation and conspiracy theories concerning how CM Punk was handled by WWE following his "Pipebomb" promo in 2011.  Some played out on-screen with Kevin Nash and Triple H.  Others went on behind the scenes.  One that gets alleged fairly often is that when the Straight-Edge Superstar started to outsell John Cena that Summer and Fall, WWE ramped up Cena merchandise while cutting production of Punk's gear.

It's a popular theory, and one that gets a lot of traction with CM Punk fans.  And it came up again on last week's episode of the MLW radio show, courtesy of one of theMSL.

When CM Punk was red hot and started to outsell the John Cena merchandise, I know people that work in the company in the merchandise department, I know people that work the arenas and sell the merchandise, and I can tell you exactly what WWE did: as soon as John Cena started getting outsold by CM Punk, they made 3 additional John Cena designs, they refused to make a second CM Punk design and they started undershipping the CM Punk design on purpose. For every CM Punk shirt they would ship to the arena, they would triple John Cena shirts and they would do 3 John Cena designs. So every 10 shirts in the arena, if 9 are Cena, only one is Punk. Punk is going to sell out right away because they didn't send enough and at the end of the night they're going "Oh John Cena quadrupled Punk's merchandise." Of course he did! Because you've purposely created a situation where it would be impossible for CM Punk to outsell John Cena.

Why would Vince McMahon intentionally leave money on the table by shorting product of his hottest seller?  According to MSL's sources, it's those age old reasons - ego and control:

We've told the story on the show before, years ago at Wrestlemania when WWE was struggling. It's Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart in the main event going 60 minutes, people are leaving during the main event, you can check the video tape. People are leaving during the main event of Wrestlemania, and Hall and Nash have both told me that Vince said that night that he would rather have a half full arena cheering for the guy that he says to cheer for than a full arena cheering for whoever they want.

Would Vince be that stubborn?  I think you only have to look to the insistence behind Roman Reigns' assent to this year's Mania main event to see a similar drive.  But I do believe that McMahon is primarily driven by profit.  And as the booking of Reigns since Royal Rumble has shown, there are plenty of ways to get cheers for a guy without directly hurting the bottom line.

Court Bauer and Konnan, MSL's broadcast partners, comment on the story as being bad business and something that would raise shareholder eyebrows, but they don't refute the allegation.

You can listen to the entire episode here.  The quotes above come around the 18 minute mark.

Anything to this, Cagesiders?  Would Vince lose money to prove a point?  Or is this just another internet conspiracy theory of McMahon not wanting a guy he didn't make on top of his company?

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