The Summer of Punk is going by quickly and with SummerSlam looming on the horizon the time is not long for the so-called “Battle of Champions.” CM Punk continues to light the world on fire with his hard hitting, cutting to the bone shoot style promos as of lately. Triple H has managed to insert himself into the main event stirring up familiar conversation about his ego and John Cena remains in the main event picture trying to maintain a feud with CM Punk while simultaneously attempting to continue revving the hype machine surrounding his upcoming Wrestlemania match against The Rock. Of course the SummerSlam main event clash of champion vs champion has been billed as one of, if not the most important matches in the history of WWE. Somehow, though, this match doesn’t feel as epic as it should considering the implications surrounding it, the fantastic aura surrounding CM Punk as of recently and the involvement of Triple H as a special guest referee.
Perhaps it comes from the rush. CM Punk won the title at Money in the Bank, left WWE for a week and then returned the same night that John Cena was crowned the new WWE champion despite the fact that he was not involved in the title tournament and no one seems to mind the fact that he won the title from Rey Mysterio who had already wrestled earlier in the evening against the Miz. Also, the old story remains in place that CM Punk never lost the title and therefore is considered to be the undisputed champion. Cena doesn’t come across as someone concerned with the fact that he won the title without challenging the true champion, in a match against an already tired Rey Mysterio. Two weeks earlier at Money in the Bank he knocked out John Laurenitis for attempting to interfere in his match against Punk because he has integrity and does not want to retain the title that way yet he has no problem obtaining the title by essentially bypassing Punk and defeating someone in a match an hour after they’d already had one.
There does seem to be a little bit of hypocrisy here and it can easily be credited to the fact that the build to SummerSlam had to be pushed into hyperdrive. It appeared as though WWE was going to keep CM Punk off the air for a while an allow him to be the renegade running around with the title and eventually build this to a return Champion vs Champion match but somewhere along the way they decided that SummerSlam was the best place to do this and so the machine had to be sped up quite possibly at the cost of building this match into something that would feel much more special than it currently does.
There is still intrigue, however. CM Punk continues to show why he absolutely deserves to be involved in the main event and it is hard to imagine what the main event of SummerSlam would have been if Punk had not skyrocketed to the top with his now infamous shoot promo several weeks ago. The wild card involved in this match that no one seems to be talking about, however, is Alberto Del Rio and his Money in the Bank briefcase. I’ve lost count of how many times it has been speculated that he was going to win the WWE title only for plans to change at the last moment. Could this finally be the moment in which he captures that illusive title? The question also remains about Triple H and where he will ultimately stand in this match. If there were going to be some sort of clean finish it wouldn’t make sense to have him involved in the first place. So does Triple H stand with John Cena and assist in a screwjob of CM Punk or vice versa? Or perhaps will Trips perform a double screwjob by calling the match down the middle only to ambush the winner so that Alberto Del Rio can cash in? It is really anybody’s guess but the one bright spot about this situation is exactly that: almost anything could happen here and when you’ve got a strong heel against John Cena for a title that is a rare circumstance indeed.
Another key aspect to be considered here is elevation. John Cena’s match against CM Punk at Money in the Bank was considered by many to be one of Cena’s best matches and whether the credit was assigned to Cena for upping his game or to Punk for drawing it out of him it is hard to imagine them topping their previous performance. Obviously it is possible but it seems improbable and if they aren’t going to be able to raise the bar once more it is going to leave many fans feeling shortchanged. The ratings for Raw haven’t exactly been breaking records lately which could speak volumes about the true impact of this storyline and if the SummerSlam buyrate doesn’t show interest we could quickly be seeing a change in direction here. There has been some rumored speculation regarding CM Punk and Steve Austin clashing at Wrestlemania 28 but that seems unlikely and the more likely scenario appears to be Triple H stepping in against the Straight Edge Superstar. SummerSlam will be an important launching point for the rest of this year and will set the stage for the storylines we’re going to be involved in for the next several months.
So at the end of the day the question you have to ask yourself is how involved are you with this show? Aside from the main event there are only three other matches advertised. Christian and Randy Orton are clashing yet again, Sheamus is involved in a battle with Mark Henry and Beth Phoenix is challenging Kelly Kelly for the Divas title. The Divas storyline has lead to some interest, what with Phoenix and Natalya essentially turning heel (or face depending upon your opinion of Kelly Kelly) though considering the limitations of Kelly as an in ring performer this match doesn’t exactly scream of excitement. It seems highly probable we’ll get a couple of surprise matches out of this show and among the many who could be involved the Miz has been making some claims that he will in fact be involved at SummerSlam and that his part in it will be unforgetable. It does seem incredibly ridiculous that the main who main evented Wrestlemania with Cena does not have an advertised match on this card. Look for Miz and R-Truth to get involved with something here.
SummerSlam has seen some of the greatest matches in WWE history. It has always been the second most important show, next to Wrestlemania. The build for it is typically long, well thought out and exciting. The payoff, minus a few hit or miss shows, has been excellent for the most part. The question looms now whether or not 2011 will be the year in which SummerSlam matches up to the legend of it’s past or falls short of that brass ring. There is a lot riding on John Cena and CM Punk this Sunday and win, lose or draw the outcome of their match could be defining your Monday Night for the next four months. Will the Summer of Punk lead to a Winter of Punk, will Cena bring the title back to his side or could perhaps the time of Alberto Del Rio be upon us? There is only one way to find out.