Punk - Regal

January 13, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write another commentary for a while now but I haven’t had much to talk about. One of the problems is that I cover so much stuff with the bi-weekly Figure 4 Daily radio shows that I do on the Wrestling Observer/Figure 4 Weekly website that I feel like I’ve covered everything when I sit down to write a new article. That’s one of the reasons behind my dependence on Q and A commentaries of late. I do however have a small topic I’d like to discuss from this past Monday Night’s RAW. I haven’t even watched the entire show yet but I did see the CM Punk – William Regal match and I want to comment on this because I’m hearing some opinions on the program and for the most part I disagree strongly with them

I’m really enjoying the CM Punk – William Regal program, where I find most other people are very disappointed in it. I think the reason I like it more than everyone else is that I’m looking at it from a business standpoint and I think what they have done so far makes perfect sense. I think we often forget that the point of RAW is to attract viewers and sell PPVs.

When CM Punk won the Intercontinental Title Contender Tournament we all knew that he and William Regal would go into a “program” together. They would work a series of matches together for the title. This is basic wrestling 101 that pretty much every fan understands. The key is to keep the program or feud alive over a series of matches, promos, etc. while continuing to generate interest in each consecutive match. This is really tough to do when your goal is to span 2 or 3 PPVs. The problem is that to cover 3 PPV matches said individuals also have to be featured on 8 to 12 episodes of RAW. If they wrestle on RAW each week we’ll be so sick of seeing them wrestle by that 3rd PPV that no one will care. If they don’t wrestling on RAW there will be less interest in watching RAW; we tune in to see important matches after all.

This is the real catch 22 with the “Bag Match” formula for RAW and for me Punk and Regal (or more accurately WWE creative) are walking this fine line perfectly. Punk won the tournament, which determined that he would challenge Regal for the Title. Winning the tournament got Punk over as a strong threat to the Title and made me want to see the match. I don’t believe they initially announced when he would challenge for the title, which for me provided some desire to watch RAW next week just in case. The following week they did not fight for the title but it was announced that they would square of the following week. “Oh I’ll have to watch next week for sure”.

This brings us to the Title match they had on the first RAW of the year. It was a very short match with the intention DQ by William Regal. Yes this was a short and disappointing match, but it served its purpose well. As a fan I was angry at Regal, yet Steph’s promo announcing that there would be a rematch the following week with the stipulation that if Regal gets disqualified this time Punk wins the Title made me want to watch again next week.

This is perfect booking to me, and something that is getting lost with all the “writers” we have in wrestling today. This is an ANGLE; it isn’t a STORYLINE. Regal didn’t steal Punk’s girlfriend or spill coffee on him or bring up that his Dad threw him out of the house when he was 12. William Regal screwed CM Punk in a wrestling match, to retain the IC Title. A stipulation was then added to the rematch that would lead fans to believe that such a screw job would not happen next time out. With this stipulation in place I had even greater interest in seeing the rematch. Furthermore since the first match on RAW was so short I still very much wanted to see more wrestling between these two men, because I only got a taste of what they are capable of. Had I watched them fight it out for 15 minutes on RAW I might have gotten my fill of seeing Punk and Regal wrestle, not to mention that if I had invested 15 minutes into this match and become emotionally invested in it, I would have been far more pissed off at the BS finish, and by pissed off I do not mean in a good way. Not to mention that this also allows them to have a fresh competitive match on house shows all month that fans haven’t already seen on Television.

This past week was round two and again we got a short match with a crappy finish. I know this angered some people, but again I found it interesting. I got but a taste of what these two are capable of and a finish that in no way settles things. I assume this will be addressed next week, and I intend to tune in to find out what exactly will be done. I would hope that they will announce next week that these two will face off again at the Royal Rumble and a new stipulation will be added to avoid crappy DQ type finishes (perhaps a no DQ match).

If this is the case I’m now in a position (as a fan) where I have invested several weeks into the Punk – Regal Title Feud, tuning into RAW each week along the way. I have yet to get my fill of wrestling from these to so I am far more inclined to order the Rumble to finally see a long competitive match between the two and if they add the right stipulation, I’ll figure this is my chance to get it and hopefully see the guy I’m cheering for, CM Punk, win the Title. This really is classic wrestling Booking and I love it.

I would go so far as to fantasy book this even further and have William Regal commit some violent dastardly act (only allowed because of the No DQ type match) to beat Punk at the Rumble and build to either a No Way Out or even a WrestleMania match between the two. I would allow them to have a long competitive match at the PPV because the finish will not be a screw job per say and the fans that dish out the money for a PPV need to get what they pay for. You then continue to build the rivalry and you could climax the feud with perhaps an Iron Man Match were there are rules to keep the villainous Regal in check and allow Punk to have more traditional wrestling match while avoiding short BS finishes along the way. They could add the stipulation that regardless of the type of finishes in the match (DQ, Count Out, etc) the man with the most finishes wins the Title. In a match like this surely CM Punk fans will see no way out for William Regal and tune in one more time to hopefully see CM Punk win the Intercontinental Title. Perfect Pro-Wrestling Booking.

That’s what I would do at least. It certainly beats the hell out of a bunch of Fake Sarah Palin skits. One thing in closing that I do want to criticize though. I was really disappointed the WWE dropped the ball by having the first Punk - Regal Title match after New Years. I may be the only one who remembered this but when the tournament was still taking place Punk did a promo saying he was going to be the first guy in WWE history to win the World, Tag Team, and IC titles in one calendar year. By having the match take place in January they killed a great selling point for that first match.

Lance Storm