First and foremost, don't read too much into those reports about the ratings. Everyone, including Vince, realizes that Punk is not the problem. If ratings are down during his segments, it's because "WWE Creative" isn't allowing Punk to do what he does best. He sure wasn't the issue six months ago (nearly to the day) when he drew more mainstream press with one "shoot" promo than every celebrity guest host combined. Then again, he was allowed to do what he does best then.
If fans aren't responding to CM Punk the way Vince would like them to – ALL OF A SUDDEN – maybe Vince should be more creative in how he uses Punk. Better yet, step aside and let Punk do it himself.
There's no question 2012 should be and probably will be a big year for Dolph Ziggler. He's proven himself capable in every way possible of being a true main-eventer. He's not ready "yet", but only in the fans' eyes. He's 100% ready to be pushed there. He needs more distance between him and the U.S. title. More time and development is the only way to achieve that.
I also think WWE understands that they've hot-shotted angles and title switches too much lately. That doesn't mean they'll stop doing it completely, but there needs to be a good reason when it's done (ex: Mark Henry injured, title needs to change, give it to Daniel Bryan). The WWE title has changed hands seven times in five months – surely they realize how absurd that is.
I don't see CM Punk ever jumping ahead of Cena in Vince's mind as the public face of the company, but he is the top babyface right now. He's allowed Vince the opportunity to be creative with Cena away from the title picture. His merchandise is flying off the shelves. He's comfortable with the pressure of being "that guy". He doesn't need coaching. It's easy with Punk on top.
This Monday, I expect another great match between CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler. And when this match was first set up, I immediately thought back to the recent reports about Punk and low ratings. If those are true and Vince is considering other options already, this Monday is the best opportunity to do something about it.
While that would be yet another shocking turn of events to kick off the new year, I think the program Punk has with the person AFTER Dolph on Monday is more beneficial for everyone involved. Punk needs someone new and fresh to work with and Ziggler needs more time before his next Championship run.
I will say this though: IF that person Punk is to start working with this Monday ends up being Chris Jericho, how great will those promos be?
Chris Cash can be followed on Twitter @RealityofChris or emailed at email@example.com.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?