Rumors are flying fast and furious regarding tonight’s WWE Raw broadcast from Albany, New York regarding the replacement for John Cena as CM Punk’s number one contender.
The word around the internet, substantiated by reports from Wrestling Inc. regarding a live house show last night, is that Cena’s replacement will be a returning Big Show.
What an absolute disaster that would be.
While desperate times call for desperate measures, a face turn for Big Show would simply be inappropriate. His absence in recent weeks may have allowed for wrestling audiences to forget certain aspects of Big Show’s heel persona, the fact remains that Show has much more in common with Punk than he does with either Cena or the WWE Universe.
To begin with, CM Punk and Big Show have both made their indifference to the WWE Universe known. While Punk at times actively loathes the audience, Big Show has shown his contempt in other ways, cutting some of his best promo work to date via his lectures to the audience about their lack of respect for him.
Second, Big Show’s ties with CM Punk’s associate, Paul Heyman, are well known. In the early days of the WWE’s resurrected ECW, Heyman turned his back on ECW fans and ECW Original Rob Van Dam, helping Big Show to become the ECW Champion. This association would seem to be a unifying factor between Show and Punk, as both could proclaim themselves to be hand-picked Heyman guys.
The argument can be made (and probably will be made) that Big Show’s character is a self-centered giant out for personal gain. But this argument would negate the idea of his character even being a face, and would make it heel vs. heel for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell. Having fans choose between who they loathe least is one of the most confusing choices to give in this business, and one that certainly does not drive people to purchase the pay-per-view.
The only reasonable outcome for this situation (if it is in fact the one we will be left with, which has yet to be seen and will only be known after Raw concludes tonight) would be for a sort of recreation of the Fingerpoke of Doom incident which could unite Big Show and CM Punk. The downside to that scenario is extreme, however: setting up a storyline at the expense of a main event match on pay-per-view would in all likelihood be infuriating to fans who paid for the show, and the the filler which would have to invade the card to make up for the scant few moments that such a “match” would require would simply make the card less appealing.
WWE Creative is a weird entity. It is odd to believe that the same group responsible for Punk’s heel turn (although one must place credit where it is due and note that CM Punk is a natural born heel) is the same team which brings about the likes of Brodus Clay. Although another Big Show turn may be the only option given this present difficult situation, it will take a momentous effort to actually pull it off successfully.