The Cashbox: The Good & Bad of Punk/Jericho Getting Personal

CM PunkJohn Cena's vow to be WWE Champion heading into WrestleMania should have come true. At least then, the Punk/Jericho program would be living up to expectations by now. They wouldn't have been set so high in the first place.

I don't fault CM Punk or Chris Jericho. They're playing the cards they've been dealt. They are even playing them well. It just happens to be on table 141, in the back of the room, with little-to-no camera coverage, while Phil Ivey vs Chris Ferguson racks up all the attention at the main table.

Oh, and don't forget the huge showdown between Doyle Brunson and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow going on at table 2, that just so happens to have Negreanu as the "Special Guest Dealer".

Excuse the cheesy poker analogies, but it's the unfortunate truth when it comes to Punk and Jericho's feud thus far.

CM Punk's light was shining brighter than any other six months ago. If it still is, it's being covered by the hand of Vince McMahon right now and he won't be moving that hand until after April 1st. And Chris Jericho, in my opinion, has now had two WWE returns that didn't deserve near the hype and build they received leading into them.

Monday night, on Raw, Jericho took a neccessary step in order to kickstart his feud with Punk before Miami gets here. He got personal. He took a move out of Punk's playbook and delivered his own "worked shoot" to the current WWE Champion.

On the surface, I like the program taking this direction. But it comes with a small price.

There's no denying that Punk and Jericho needed "something" added to their program. It hasn't been bad, but it's certainly not been enough to take any attention away from the number one and number two reasons people are attending or ordering this pay per view.

The part I'm not sure about is, surprisingly, Punk's upcoming response to Jericho. While Jericho gained much-needed heat by saying what he did, I don't know how I'll feel if Punk is forced to show a vulnerable side as a result of it.

I don't want to feel sorry for CM Punk.

The reigning champion is a trendsetter. He's cool. His overnight success (from superstar to mainstream, must-see attraction) was due, in part, to HIS ability to get personal, about OTHERS, during promos. And McMahon giving him the freedom to do so.

Now, Punk is on the other side of that coin. And he must react in defense. I'm not sure that's the kind of emotion I want attached to my cool, trendsetting champion.

Yet, I'm still excited for the next two weeks. Chris Jericho started something Monday that demands attention going forward. Even better, it requires CM Punk to react…VERBALLY. And we'll listen intently, as we always do.

The sad, sympathetic pipe bomb might not explode quite like we're used to, but it's still a pipe bomb. It still explodes.

And, in parting, I give you this idea, Vince:

Maybe, during one of these last two editions of Raw, the end of the show (hell, maybe even the overrun!) could be given to your current WWE Champion and his opponent for WrestleMania. I have faith that they would deliver.

And no worries, you'll still be able to find 45 minutes somewhere else for Rock and Cena.

Chris Cash can be reached via email at Follow him on Twitter @RealityofChris and be sure to check out his latest edition of "VOW Reaction" from Monday night, where he and Kevin Kelly broke down this week's Raw and took your phone calls.