Last night, after a nearly 15 minute marathon segment between CM Punk and Vince McMahon, a match was made. Vince vs. Punk as the main event of RAW. The time equivalent of 2 and a half episodes of Burn Notice later, the unthinkable occurs. CM Punk attacks a fan. What's worse, it isn't a WWE plant. We're talking about a paying fan. A man who paid good money to see a 3 hour episode of RAW in person was struck twice by one half of the main event.
As an added wrinkle to the story/reality of the situation, Punk was given a choice of opponent at Hell in a Cell. Ryback or John Cena. NOW, strike the fact that Linda McMahon has been dumping MAJOR funds into her Senate campaign and that Vince's PG era began when her political aspirations began taking root. Let's also bar the fact that some of her opponent's most potent arguments have stemmed from the use of older and more racy footage from the Attitude Era, causing Vince and company to remove some of the "worst" of it. This most recent development changes everything.
Vince, it's reported, was stunned. Recent outbursts over low ratings have put a great many top level office boys on notice. Understandably, the fan attack undermining the PG format, sabotaging Linda's political aspirations, and facing public backlash could spell the end of CM Punk's WWE Title reign in his impending Hell in a Cell match. Some analysts go far enough to say that suspension is imminent, and others go so far as to say that CM Punk may be looking at the chopping block. Suddenly, my little Burn Notice dig has an ironic ring to it.
Despite my distain for WWE's current product, what was done is inexcusable. I happen to be a fan of Punk's....I really am. PWI's most recent cover features CM Punk and Austin Aries in a WWE vs. TNA Champion vs. Champion dream match showcase. Never, in the time I have been writing, has something quite like this happened on my watch. And never has Punk vs. Aries seemed closer to possible. WWE cannot afford to let a transgression like this slide if they are to keep the PG era intact. Do I believe Punk will be fired? If Vince has been willing to let go of an average of 30 members of their main and developmental roster per year when he's NOT upset, why would he flinch at the loss of one when he is? Because he's been a long reigning champion? I'm not convinced.
Firing CM Punk would be a mistake. Suspension, however, would be not only logical, but prudent. In fact, a VERY public apology in front of the ENTIRE WWE Universe on RAW next week would be an additional price to pay and even stripping him of the title to be put up for battle between Ryback and Cena may be the best WWE could do to salvage themselves. If the fan decides to press charges, WWE is looking at a steep loss in the court of public opinion and even TNA stands to feel the effect if people turn from professional wrestling as a pastime.