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THE 2012 STATE OF THE WWE
There wasn't any specific topic I wanted to write about this week over any other, so I decided to sit back and take a look at the overall state of the WWE as it stands right now and the possibilities going forward in 2012. I will do the same for TNA next week. So, here goes...
CM Punk/Chris Jericho - This has been one big disaster, in my opinion, from the very beginning. The missed opportunity with Jericho's return and too much elapsed time has watered down this program before it ever truly began. Jericho's first full promo was decent this week, but a mediocre crowd and a run-of-the-mill, expected explanation by Jericho didn't make me pop for the future. It was a well-produced and delivered segment and both Punk and Jericho played the parts well, but if this is to be one of the headliners at 'Mania, it needs to pick up some steam quickly. The great part about it is they have plenty of time -- and the Elimination Chamber event -- to do just that. I haven't loved the setup, but I fully expect CM Punk vs Chris Jericho to be remembered as a bright spot in 2012 when it's all said and done.
"Embrace the Hate" - WWE is banging this thing into a wall every week as Kane consistently reminds us that Cena is "almost there". It's been a fairly lackluster program with a lot of silliness included that makes it hard to fully invest as a fan. The payoff is the big story here. Does WWE follow through with what they've been teasing and turn Cena heel? Or does he remain a babyface in character and eventually go back to turning a blind eye to the boos? 2012 and this program specifically between John Cena and Kane could be remembered as one of the biggest turning points in WWE history -- and especially John Cena's career individually -- or as "just another program". I know which one I "expect" it to be, but maybe this will be one of the times Vince actually decides to pull the trigger. If he does, the WWE landscape will certainly change as we know it. Vince has a BIG decision to make.
John Laurinaitis - "Interim" needs to go. Big Johnny is the best option WWE has right now to be the new Vince McMahon. Besides Vince McMahon, that is. Yes, he needs some work, but he's done enough to prove he can be very effective in the authoritative position. He's credible, believable, and has a real-life personality that is easy to absolutely HATE. That's all you need from the guy. WWE has recently teased us with McMahon/Austin II in the form of CM Punk vs Johnny and I love the possibilities of it. 2012 could be a breakout year for the "Executive Vice President of Talent Relations" and "Interim General Manager of Raw". I hope it is, too.
20 and 0 - Triple H has already done his job. He's sold me on the rematch between him and the Undertaker at WrestleMania 28 in Miami. His promo on Raw was the absolute best way to go and it worked. My biggest concern heading into this expected rematch was how Triple H was going to try and convince everyone he could actually beat the Undertaker. That's what was missing last year -- the suspense of disbelief. No one truly believed Hunter had a chance to win heading into it. However, by having Undertaker be the one to issue the challenge and Hunter saying all the right things on Monday in response, WWE has given us a reason to think there's at least an outside chance of the biggest upset in WWE history. "The Undertaker wants me to beat him." Makes complete sense and again, I'm sold.