The 2024 edition of Royal Rumble had it crazy between two factions.
On one hand, Cody Rhodes needs to finish his story. On the other hand, CM Punk needs to main event Wrestlemania. Both wrestlers have a following behind them and in what was to be one of the most stacked WWE times since at least 15 years ago, The Road to Wrestlemania has been hella unpredictable for many stars.
Getting pushed out the main event are Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Roman Reigns is still the prized match, but if either Punk or Rhodes cashes in on Seth Rollins, then this would upgrade the perception of the Raw Championship belt (or the World Heavyweight Championship, to those who believe that this is a mere secondary main event belt.) And then there's Drew McIntyre, who has been solid since his attitude change. Gunther has also stepped up his game with Damian Priest waiting to pounce as Senor Money in the Bank. Lurking on the sides are Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso, Randy Orton, LA Knight, AJ Styles, and hell, even Bron Breakker is starting to make his presence felt.
And you can always check out the random nostalgia act.
Can you really say that either The Rock or John Cena are nostalgia acts?
Anyway, the Punk versus Rhodes issue was unfortunately answered with a CM Punk injury after going head-to-head with Cody en route to the latter's Royal Rumble victory.
Yes, it's unfortunate that Rhodes missed out on a championship in Wrestlemania 39. Still, if he gets the title at Wrestlemania 40 after coming in as the fourth wrestler to win the Royal Rumble in back-to-back events after Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, I guess you can't really say that Cody was held back.
But I am returning to Punk.
Is a safe wrestler to bet on?
Now I am not dissing him, because I am not. It's just that every time he is presented as an attraction, it feels as if his body shatters when poised for a main event run. Again, this is not a diss, and surely I am not implying that Punk is a prima donna. But maybe he needs a better way to perform his moves. Grant Hill's prime was robbed after spending a considerable amount of time with the Orlando Magic. When he moved to the Phoenix Suns though and met with their elite medical team, the often-injured Hill was able to preserve his career up until his 40th birthday.
Maybe there is something for the wrestlers as well. After all, WWE has a Performance Center - which is described as one of the best in the current wrestling landscape. I know AEW has reverted back to their sports-based rankings but if there is one thing that is sports-based in WWE, it is how they handle injuries. In some ways, you can feel how they are load-managing their stars. Sick spots that end badly are stopped on the spot. And like why Edge, Daniel Bryan, and Paige are as happy in AEW as Adam Copeland, Bryan Danielson, and Saraya, they are making up for lost time because of WWE's strict Wellness Policy guidelines.
But even with all the guidelines, WWE has been hit with injuries. Charlotte Flair was the first to fall and then NXT's Cora Jade, who just returned from injury, followed suit. Seth Rollins started 2024 on the injured list, and now Punk is going to miss Wrestlemania.
Hopefully, he's going to be at Wrestlemania in some sort of capacity.
A host, perhaps?
Anyway, the Raw after the 2024 Royal Rumble gave us this CM Punk heartbreaking promo.
At least he is going to return with a vengeance, and hopefully, a way to just make his body match-ready. The thing about the Punk-Rollins confrontation promo is that this is exactly what he's talking about. While it's hard to take Punk away from the pipe bombs, maybe he needs to further condition himself. I saw his workout video against Carmelo Hayes, Trick Williams, and Breakker and I saw that his mind was willing but his body got gassed. If he wants to mainevent Wrestlemania 41, then he needs to work on his conditioning.
I know, I am a fat guy that never had an athletic bone within my body. I am also an armchair tactician who likes to tinker around with his team. I often compare WWE to a fantasy basketball team and just like it's hard to depend on Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis, you can't use your first-round pick to acquire the services of a player who could sit out a multitude of games.