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Armchair Theories: John Cena’s Chase Through the Indies

by on June 29, 2011

By Ian Williams

First off, let me just say that despite the name, Armchair Theories isn’t supposed to be about so-called armchair booking. When I want to play out my WWE booking fantasies, I load up TEW2010. Rather, this column is supposed to be about concepts and formats that I feel could change, evolve, or revolutionize wrestling as we know it into something fresh and exciting. However, something happened Monday night. Something that got my brain cells whirring and ideas flowing. Something that threw me so deep into the realm of armchair booking that I couldn’t TEW the feelings away. It drove me to write this article.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, as RAW went off the air Monday Night, CM Punk cut a promo that sent internet forums abuzz and Twitters a-twitter. A fourth-wall breaking ‘worked shoot’ where CM Punk announced (between insulting the McMahon family and giving a shoutout to his friend Colt Cabana) that on July 17th, he’s going to leave WWE and take the title with him. What you probably also know (unless you’re dodging spoilers, if so, maybe stop reading now) is that CM Punk is ‘suspended’ for these comments. However, John Cena, fighting champion and defender of free speech, convinces Vince McMahon to allow them to have their match at Money In the Bank. With one stipulation. If CM Punk succeeds in his plan and leaves the arena and the company with the title, John Cena is fired.

So with that as the starting point, here’s my idea.


What if CM Punk does exactly what he says he’ll do? What if CM Punk wins the WWE Title at Money In The Bank and leaves the promotion with the belt? What if he takes the belt to New Japan Pro Wrestling, to Ring of Honor, to a myriad of other wrestling promotions all over the world? And what if John Cena follows him? Remember, if Punk leaves WWE with the belt, John Cena is fired. In theory, that would leave him free to travel the indies himself on a quest to win back his WWE title.

I’ll mention now that this is intended to be 100% a work, with both Punk & Cena only fired in kayfabe.

Imagine it. CM Punk makes a triumphant return to Ring of Honor, a conquering hero, a glorious babyface holding the heart of the hated ‘Sports Entertainment’ company aloft… and John Cena is in the crowd, doing everything he can to get a rematch, to try to bring the belt home to the WWE Universe. New Japan Pro Wrestling? Same thing. Westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany? Same thing. DGUSA. CHIKARA. EVOLVE. IPW:UK. Indy darling CM Punk travelling the globe with WWE-poster-child John Cena hot on his heels. A title-chase of very different proportions. We’ve seen John Cena chase the title countless times when nestled safely within the WWE Universe, but how would he cope when he has to travels into CM Punk’s domain? No friends. No allies. A foreign land with little to no Cenation to back him up.

Obviously, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, the sound it makes is questionable, so WWE would have to cover this in some way. My rough idea here would be to use “fan recorded” footage shot on (top of the line, or even faked) cellphones and/or handheld camcorders. Every week on RAW, the WWE announcers set aside a little time to report on the new footage they’ve received, following the chase, showing footage of a new confrontation is shown between Punk & Cena in a new, wacky setting. Bonus points if this footage makes it to mainstream media.

Now, an angle is useless without a satisfying and profitable conclusion, so how does it all work out? Well, The Rock is already scheduled to fight Cena for the strap at Wrestlemania, and I expect he’d be none too pleased to return from shooting a movie and find that his opponent, and the belt itself, have gone walkabout. So eventually, given his understandable kayfabe pull, he demands Vince bring Punk and Cena back to a PPV for a proper title match. Powered by the WWE Universe, Cena finally wins, and goes on to Wrestlemania to fight Rock.


So there’s the pitch. Just one of a million ways the angle could go, but the one I’d personally love to see. There are plenty of negatives, but several potential positives, I feel. It could be a great boost for the indies to have the WWE Champion touring their promotions, and if the lower leagues are thriving, that can only improve the talent that filters up to the WWE. You could even use the ‘fan-footage’ to introduce guys like Tyler Black or Kings of Wrestling to the WWE Universe as friends of Punk’s, allies that Cena picks up along the way, or just indy stars that happen to be around. It could also be nice character development for Cena, putting his character in a new environment and seeing if it can naturally evolve into something fresh.

Obviously, I’m not thinking about what would be ‘good for WWE’ with this idea. Taking John Cena (and to a lesser extent CM Punk) off of WWE television and pay-per-view  for months on end could be catastrophic financially.

This is an idea I feel is incredibly unlikely to ever happen, but personally, subjectively, I’d love it. How about you?

Ian Williams

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