CM Punk is easily the best in the WWE right now. On tonight's edition of WWE Raw in Tampa, Florida, he had his initial face to face with The Rock kicking off their run to a match later this month at the Royal Rumble.
On paper you would look at Punk and The Rock as two of the most talented performers in the history of professional wrestling, especially on the mic and say this is a no-brainer. If you put these two in the ring together with microphones it would be solid gold. Did it go as well as planned?
A year ago if you would have said to me that CM Punk was going to trade verbal barbs with The Rock I would have said that Punk would carve The Rock up. He would have talked about how Rock is Hollywood, call him Dwayne, and remind everyone that The Rock left the WWE. Of course, me writing three bullet points is no comparison as to how I imagine Punk would have said it but the bottom line would have been that even though fans love The Rock, Punk's anti-hero status would have caused mixed reactions for The Rock.
Fast forward to today, CM Punk is a watered down version of what he was the night he dropped his initial pipe-bomb and is now relegated to being a winy, 'I never did it for the fans' type of heel. Do not get me wrong, this version of Punk is better than most of what the WWE has to offer, but it is not as good as it could be.
A little before the time The Rock is set to come out on Raw, CM Punk says he has another pipe-bomb, so as a fan I am thinking 'this should be good.' The problem was, it wasn't that good at all. I found myself hoping that The Rock would come out just to liven up the segment.
The reality is that Punk's interview, while on the outside looking in, was not as good as I would have hoped. It was a success. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. Ensure that no one 'cheers' Punk. Through boredom or disappointment by the time The Rock came out we were all ready for Punk to be finished.
The face to face between the two was a little surreal. If you have been a fan of Punk or you knew of him when he was a skinny kid wrestling for the IWA, to see him in the same ring with one of wrestling's greatest stars was a true testament that talent does rise to the top.
As for the back and forth between the two. The Rock controlled most of the verbal exchanges with jokes that would only be funny if he said them. The Rock was much more in the zone than he was during his initial encounters with John Cena leading into last year's Wrestlemania.
Punk seemed a little tame which is okay because they are just starting and have a couple more weeks to build it up. If they gave everything on the first encounter it would be hard to top it.
The Rock worked his normal schtick which no matter how many times you hear it is always entertaining. The Rock closed the show by delivering the Rockbottom to Punk with the closing scene being Punk backing away on the ground with his title while The Rock reminded him that he has twenty more days left as champion.
Overall I though the segment was good but not great. I am by no means an expert, just a fan and that is the truth.
Next week's Raw will be in Houston, Texas and will be the 20th Anniversary show.
What did you think of the initial encounter between CM Punk and The Rock?