Cody’s Nightmare: How WWE Will Change Now That CM Punk is Back

11/30/2023 9:42 PM

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Cody’s Nightmare: How WWE Will Change Now That CM Punk is Back

Cody’s Nightmare: How WWE Will Change Now That CM Punk is Back

November 30, 2023 9:42 PM
Cody’s Nightmare: How WWE Will Change Now That CM Punk is Back
WWE News

What Other Superstars Could Get Shoved to the Back of the Line?

CM Punk’s WWE return is a dream come true for many members of the WWE Universe but it could end up being Cody Rhode’s worst nightmare. Why? Simply put, Punk’s presence has the potential to change all of the WWE’s plans for Cody, primarily “The American Nightmare’s” quest to win the Undisputed Championship from Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40. However, as we’ll see Cody Rhodes could end up being just one of several top WWE Superstars who get shoved to the back of the line thanks to Punk's return.

It didn’t take long for the WWE Universe to get an idea who CM Punk would be facing early on in his new run. Whether you believe it was a work or a shoot (or perhaps even a worked shoot), Seth Rollins’ reaction at Survivor Series following Punk’s return made it clear that whatever animosity the two have for each other is still deep-rooted in “The Visionary’s” heart.

Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso recently reported on the WWE’s plans for Punk:

There are plans for Punk to feud with Roman Reigns, Sports Illustrated has learned. But it will not be Punk against Reigns first, as that spot belongs to Rollins. A feud between Rollins and Punk is a massive positive for both men. Punk can still wrestle at a high-level, but his work will only be enhanced in the ring with a world-class wrestler like Rollins. While it is not the current favorite, there is plenty of reason to believe Punk-Rollins could serve as the main event for the opening night of WrestleMania 40. For Rollins, that would simply not be the case without Punk.

H/T Sports Illustrated

Rollins vs Punk: A History

The WWE is taking advantage of the social media melee fans saw between Punk and Rollins in the past. You may recall some fans felt that Punk’s presence on FS1’s WWE Backstage was a prelude for Punk returning to the WWE. In some fans' imagination, Punk would return to the WWE and battle Seth Rollins. This didn't seem like a flight of fancy. After all, Rollins had called Punk out on social media.

This wasn't the only time Seth took a shot at Punk following Punk's surprise debut on WWE Backstage. Rollins wasn't alone either. As we'll see below, both Seth and fellow WWE Superstar Drew McIntyre had some fun at Punk's expense at a live event when a "CM Punk" chant broke out.

It makes sense for the WWE to capitalize on an instant program like this. Nonetheless, this could change the WWE's existing plans for Seth and as we'll suggest, several other WWE Superstars, chief among them Cody Rhodes.

Does this mean fans will see Seth defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Punk and if he does, will this mean Rollins will hold onto the title until WrestleMania 40? With Drew McIntyre putting in his claim for a rematch, does this mean any chance of Drew winning the title is now over? It’s hard to say because 1) it’s believed Drew still hasn’t signed a new deal with the WWE; and 2) the WWE would likely want to liven up a Seth vs Punk match by making it a title match.

CM Punk vs Roman

A CM Punk vs Roman Reigns program is a no-brainer and probably one of the reasons the WWE opted to bring him back. CM Punk vs Roman Reigns is no ordinary match and while fans will debate whether it qualifies as a dream match, it’s something that belongs on a major show such as WrestleMania, SummerSlam, or one of the WWE’s Saudi Arabia shows (assuming Punk will work there. Keep in mind that Punk has criticized the WWE for holding shows there).

That’s not to say that the WWE can’t book Seth vs Punk for The Royal Rumble and/or Elimination Chamber,  then book Punk vs Roman at WrestleMania for the Undisputed Championship. However, if Punk does wrestle Roman at WrestleMania, what about Cody? As we’ll see, there are at least two ways a Punk vs Roman match could mean trouble for Cody.

Cody’s Championship Nightmare

Is Cody Rhodes going to win the Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania 40? While there are no guarantees, rumor has it that the WWE’s plan was to book a rematch from their WrestleMania 39 bout, a bout many believed would see Cody win the title and fulfill his dream. On paper, fans would think that Rhodes would finally get the win or risk looking like wrestling’s prize chump.

Punk’s return could change this. First, if Punk wrestles Roman at WrestleMania, that tells you all you need to know about Rhodes winning the Undisputed Championship. It’s unlikely the WWE will put the belt on Punk as his main role against Roman would be to serve as the latest sacrifice to showing what a great wrestler “The Tribal Chief” is.

Even worse though is if the WWE decides to hold off on running Punk vs Reigns until after WrestleMania 40. The WWE seems fixated on the idea that Roman Reigns has to have the Undisputed Championship or fans are somehow deprived when he faces a special attraction such as John Cena or here, CM Punk. If the WWE does plan to book Punk vs Roman for after WrestleMania, it’s difficult to envision the WWE having Cody take the belt off Roman. And what if The Rock decides to work ‘Mania? That means Punk vs Reigns would be put on the back burner which would only mean more trouble for Rhodes.

Get to the Back of the Line

Cody could only be one of many top talents who find themselves sent to the back of the line as the WWE shelves their plans to capitalize on Punk’s return. For example, while Drew McIntyre looks to be getting a rematch against Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship (and possibly even win the title), the current talk that Rollins vs Punk is a priority could either turn McIntyre vs Rollins into an afterthought or see it tossed out the window.

Several rising stars could themselves burnt by Punk’s return, including SmackDown’s LA Knight. While the WWE Universe is likely to keep cheering Knight, what happens if Punk shows up on SmackDown to work a program against Roman Reigns? Will Triple H, who seems to have trouble booking more than four or five matches on TV and PLEs, be able to stay focused?

Can Triple H Avoid Being Distracted?

None of these scenarios need to happen. After all, one of Triple H’s strengths is said to be his ability to stay committed to his long-term booking plans. For example, when LA Knight began enjoying massive success, the WWE could have put the Undisputed Championship on him at Crown Jewel, switching gears on what some fans believe could be a title change at WrestleMania.

Whether or not Triple H gives in to the temptation to fall into the trap of hotshot booking with Punk remains to be seen. On one hand, Punk’s return creates many big-money matches but will they come at the expense of storylines that have been in the works for months or longer?