MR. TITO: Projecting WWE Wrestlemania 40 + Kevin Nash Reveals Triple H Sabotaged CM Punk in 2011

What a GREAT segment last night on RAW… In case you missed it, CM Punk comes to the ring and announces he is joining the RAW roster officially. He cuts a promo, as that Cleveland arena has significance to him as that’s where he walked out of the WWE during January 2014. He even apologized for that exit… Then, Seth Rollins joins the discussion and cuts an amazing promo on CM Punk, suggesting that Punk should never call WWE his “home” and how much he dislikes him. Just incredible business being made here, while Seth Rollins looks like a million bucks performing that promo. It’s perfectly setting up the possibility of what we MAY see during Wrestlemania 40 in Philadelphia this year.

And holy cow, Wrestlemania 40 is looking like it is going to be a GREAT show right now. WWE’s roster is stacked once again, the Creative has been much better under Triple H’s rule lately (that’s hard for me to admit, given my past criticisms of him), and NXT is looking to be back on track too. That’s why I was incredibly sad that Charlotte Flair may have injured her knee to miss out on the INCREDIBLE 2024 that is about to unfold.

With everything on the table now, let’s attempt to project Wrestlemania 40, which is 4 months away. And with that, we’ll have to consider what happens at the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber which will likely determine who wrestles Roman Reigns for the WWE Title and Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship.

If I were a betting many right now, I’d put a lot of money on Cody Rhodes winning the 2024 Royal Rumble match. Why? Because he needs something major and a CHOICE to join the Smackdown roster to challenge Roman Reigns for a Wrestlemania rematch. Yes, CM Punk could still win the Rumble to challenge Rollins and by default, Cody wins the Elimination Chamber to join the Smackdown brand… But no, you need the most credible option ever to put Cody Rhodes over and thus he’ll win the Rumble match and challenge Roman.

As you saw on RAW, Seth Rollins vs. CM Punk doesn’t need any storyline dependencies to happen… They seem like they have legitimate heat and any backdoor way to make that match happen wouldn’t matter. Just let the match happen and the crowd will go bonkers for it in Philadelphia. So simple…

Several wildcards to consider for Wrestlemania 40, however…

– Will the Rock agree to wrestle? If he does, then Cody Rhodes will need another opponent and that’s tragic. I still say that Rock’s acting career takes the front seat in his life and with the actors’ strike ending, he’ll be busy for 2024 catching up.

– What about Stone Cold Steve Austin? I just don’t see the demand, at the moment, for CM Punk vs. Steve Austin. Why? CM Punk has so many storyline possibilities with the existing WWE roster that he could go anywhere for Wrestlemania.

Damian Priest still has that Money in the Bank briefcase… Honestly, I could see him trying to cash-in the briefcase, but that action causes the current champion to lose to his challenger at Wrestlemania. For example, Seth Rollins could remain strong if Priest’s attempt distracts him to lose to CM Punk, which is clever revenge because Seth Rollins cashed his MITB briefcase at Wrestlemania 31.

I DO NOT think Rock or Steve Austin are appearing as in-ring performers. Just too much “heaven & earth” for both sides to move, but honestly, the WWE doesn’t need them. These two matches are big enough draws to pack that arena:

Night #1 Headliner:
• Seth Rollins (c) vs. CM Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship

Night #2 Headliner:
• Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes for the WWE Title

Cody wins the Rumble, CM Punk wins the Elimination Chamber (event is in Australia this year, btw), and both walk away as World Champions at Wrestlemania 40.

Then, the WWE has a DRAFT or “Superstar Shake-up” weeks after Wrestlemania which will move Roman Reigns to the RAW roster. And that’s when CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns will SHAKE THE FOUNDATION with a major feud. Then, the Virtue plan of Roman Reigns defeating CM Punk for that very World Heavyweight Title kicks in and Roman will be a lengthy champion on RAW.

Gunther will be in line to challenge Cody Rhodes for the WWE Title. How could Gunther really get pushed to be the next challenger?

Well, Gunther has a match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 40 and beats him!

Revised Wrestlemania 40 Card:

Night #1:
• Seth Rollins (c) vs. CM Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship

Night #2:
• Gunther (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the Intercontinental Title
• Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cody Rhodes for the WWE Title

Honestly, after those 3 matches, which already has me as a paying customer, the rest of the show would be gravy. I seriously do believe that Sasha Banks is returning to the WWE, as Triple H is fully in charge and AEW has become very toxic lately. Charlotte’s injury really pushes the sense of urgency for Sasha to return.


Vindication from September 2011

On September 18th, 2011, I wrote a column in a pure rage called “I TOLD YOU SO – Triple H Just Buried CM Punk at WWE Night of Champions” which was one of my must successful columns ever, even causing CM Punk, himself, to respond to my take with “buried in money, I’ve got a snorkel with Punk not realizing what had happened, either. For weeks leading into their one-on-one match, I was reading body language and felt that Triple H was shooting on him while CM Punk was in character. Many people repost Triple H’s verbal thrashing of him where Punk is at the table… It was many promos like that back then, as it appeared to me that Triple H legitimately hated CM Punk.

I posted that column and it drew massive numbers, one of my highest since the peak days of the Attitude Era… But that opinion, back then, which alleged that Triple H was burying CM Punk was NOT popular. In fact, fellow columnists from my previous site began attacking me as well. I was flooded with so many responses, that it brought me back as I saw this burial coming and stated that I was “done with the WWE”.

I received some vindication when CM Punk spoke openly about Triple H on the November 2011 Colt Cabana podcast, but I really received it from Kevin Nash recently. On Kevin Nash’s podcast “Kliq This”, he had the following to say about the Night of Champions 2011 match:

“When I was supposed to wrestle Punk, he got under Triple H’s skin so bad. Paul just came up to me and said, I’m going to beat him. You’re not going to wrestle him. I’m beating him. Cool. That’s why me and Punk never wrestled. He made the call, I gotta beat this (expletive)”

Remember, Night of Champions 2011 was supposed to be CM Punk vs. Kevin Nash. HOWEVER, this was quickly changed to CM Punk vs. Triple H instead, as Kevin Nash was “not medically cleared to wrestle”. Triple H then defeated CM Punk and they never feuded again, but in fact tagged up to LOSE to the Miz and R-Truth in a tag match with Punk eating the pin.

^^^^ This is what I was talking about 12 years ago, and I was personally attacked by many. Oh, you’re just conspiring against Triple H. No, I knew what a competitive and vindictive monster he was as a pro wrestler. It’s as he says in the shoot promo against Punk during 2011, he’s protective of his spot at the very top. Triple H is intensely competitive as a wrestler and will do whatever it takes to remain on top. Hence, that was my opinion on Triple H as a manager during the 2010s… He was dual personalities as both still clinging onto his pro wrestling career and trying to manage talent/creative at the the same time. A “Player’s Coach” as Jeff Meacham correctly puts it. Now, Triple H is just a backstage manager and he’s thriving by focusing just on that.

But THANK YOU, Kevin Nash. You confirmed what I suspected all along and what I wrote about heavily during late 2011… Triple H did, in deed, BURY CM Punk during September 2011. He never liked him, called him “skinny fat” at production meetings according to Jim Ross, and likely had a problem with CM Punk calling him “doofus son-in-law” and ridiculing Triple H’s movie career in promos. And of course, many idiots will point to CM Punk regaining the WWE Title at Survivor Series, but the damage had been done and the momentum was over. Plus, as WWE Champion from 2011-2013, he barely headlined RAW or Pay Per Views as champion and also turned heel midway through as well. Who had a say in Creative during that time? You guessed it.

Many of you wonder why I didn’t really trust Triple H until this year. Well, I knew what he did to CM Punk during 2011 and I also was adamant that Triple H was the one who sabotaged Daniel Bryan’s 2013 momentum, too, and then half-arsed rebooked Wrestlemania 30 to auto-correct the Evolution wet-dream match that HHH wanted between Orton and Batista. Still being the competitive wrestler, Triple H was failing in his job in Talent Relations and Creative. When Finn Balor and Kevin Owens are the top “main eventer” promoted from your signed NXT wrestlers and with RAW losing over 2 million viewers with HHH in charge of creative, I was right on that call too. He struggled to doing those jobs during the 2010s and was still political with wrestlers he personally disliked despite what the fans wanted.

Kevin Nash 100% confirmed that Triple H sabotaged CM Punk during September 2011 as an Executive Vice President. That’s bonkers and if I were Triple H, I’d ring the ear of my old friend for revealing this.

Triple H had a responsibility as an executive back during 2011 and he chose ego over business. THIS is why there should NEVER be “Player’s Coaches” (quoting Jeff Meacham, again) in pro wrestling. You either wrestle in the ring or manage talent outside of it, NEVER at the same time. Gee, why are Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks FAILING to work well in dual roles in AEW? Same thing… Why did Eric Bischoff struggle as Executive Producer of WCW and go from highly profitable to losing money by 1999? Because Bischoff began to care more about his on-air character than his backstage one. Dusty Rhodes was impaired doing both roles… While Ric Flair put over wrestlers, he certainly held that WCW Title when he was leading creative.

What Triple H did was to sabotage a wrestler that had incredible momentum during the “Summer of Punk” for 2011. Then, he had the NERVE to suggest to CM Punk that wrestling him at Wrestlemania 30 as an undercard match was a “great thing”. THAT is why CM Punk left the WWE during January 2014.

CM Punk, you had NOTHING to apologize for, as it was 100% justified. Triple H was too immature to be a backstage executive during 2011, as he was too impaired at his duties by being a pro wrestler too. The Triple H of 2023 is much different, because he no longer wrestles and is clearly learning from his past mistakes.

But for anyone who personally attacked me during September 2011 and the months there after for stating MY OPINION that CM Punk was not only buried at WWE Night of Champions 2011 but had his career sabotaged in the process… Well you can SUCK IT! How do you like them apples? I was right the entire time while all of you jealous heaters who couldn’t see this burial, as I did, saw it in advance. I saw it WEEKS in advance from the very first time HHH, as “COO”, was in the ring with CM Punk for a segment. The body language was off… You could tell that Triple H was upset at the “doofus-in-law” and the mocking of his film career, along with past hatred.

All reports that I’ve ever heard was that Stephanie and Triple H were very thin skinned backstage and had a snitch culture. Wrestlers knew to avoid Michael P.S. Hayes backstage because he told them all of the wrestler gossip. Many wrestlers during the 2000s were buried in Creative simply by vocalizing their dislike for current WWE storylines or how Stephanie handled her job. Obviously, this carried into 2011 when CM Punk thrashed Triple H as “doofus son-in-law” and also making fun of his movie career. It’s likely that ripping on HHH’s best friend, Kevin Nash, was taken personally as well. So Triple H legitimately buried him.

Thank you, Kevin Nash… You just validated what I thought and wrote about during 2011 and I’ll await the many apologies sent to me by the many haters who attacked me following my “Triple H just buried CM Punk” column from September 2011.

On top of poor job performance from 2011-2020, do you see why I didn’t trust Triple H? He’s documented sabotaging CM Punk’s momentum from 2011 by his own friend, who was there.

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