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Chair Shots: CM Punk shows his true colors on WWE Raw 1001

The big question coming into last night's Raw episode 1001 was whether CM Punk is a heel now, after his attack on the Rock last week. Punk showed his true colors on last night's show, and it's clear they are shades of grey.

Punk is not a full-blown heel. However, he's not true babyface anymore either. His explanations for his attack on the Rock and why he didn't help Cena against the Big Show last all made sense. Were they heroic actions symbolic of a babyface? No. But was Punk acting like a total jerk? No, not really. He simply wants the respect that should come with being the WWE Champion and the Best in the World. And a lot of fans feel the same way about Punk and the WWE title. Because of that -- and because Punk hasn't turned his back on the WWE Universe as Jerry Lawler suggested a week ago -- Punk won't be a full heel.

Truth is, there is plenty of room for 'tweener characters, as it gives WWE a lot more options with how to book a character. Remember, the earliest stages of the Attitude Era saw heels battle each other routinely because most of them would still be cheered to a certain degree (Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and, of course, Stone Cold Steve Austin).

I want to see this continue for a while, if for no other reason than Punk is still going to be relied on to be a draw for live event business opposite John Cena, although I suspect with the return of Randy Orton last night, Punk won't be leaned on as heavily on Smackdown brand shows.

Making the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam a Triple Threat pitting Punk against top babyface Cena and top heel Big Show is brilliant, in my opinion. I know a lot of people don't like Big Show, but I personally find him to be an excellent performer and arguably the greatest big man wrestler in history. He's also the last of WWE's top heels that Punk has yet to defeat during his lengthy run as WWE Champion. I think he'll get his chance at SummerSlam before another one-on-one match with John Cena at Night of Champions in Boston. By that time, Punk might be a full-blown heel. But right now, he needs to tread that fine line.

Other thoughts on Raw 1001

There were three excellent matches on Raw that went 10 minutes or longer: the main event of Cena vs. Big Show, the Street Fight between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus, and a tag team match pitting Christian and Chris Jericho against Miz and Dolph Ziggler. If a three-hour Raw means we're going to get this kind of quality in-ring action each week, I'm all for it. Even the squash matches seemed longer than normal, although if I have to watch Alberto Del Rio vs. Santino Marella again it'll be too soon. ...

I did like Del Rio's statement that he won't be competing unless it's a World Championship match because everyone else is beneath him. See, that's how you become a full-fledged heel, by saying stuff like that. I don't like that Del Rio is getting another one-on-one match with Sheamus at SummerSlam. I do wonder if the new GM of Smackdown, to be announced by Vince McMahon himself at tonight's tapings, will take exception to Del Rio's self-imposed no compete clause, and force him to wrestle or lose his number one contendership. ...

Damien Sandow, to the untrained eye, might have looked like he got buried by DX in the opening segment of last week's show. But, in fact, he became a martyr of sorts in that people were talking about him. And that's led to what seems to be his first big angle with Brodus Clay. I didn't quite get the need for Vickie coming out to dance, but whatever. I'm looking forward to a Sandow vs. Clay feud. As long as Sandow comes out of this on top. Clay is a midcard act as the Funkasarus, but I think Sandow can be this year's Alberto Del Rio. He's going to be a top heel in no time. ...

RawActive, if it's going to be a choice between three things that are essentially the same like it was last night, will be pretty pointless. But the match itself between Sheamus and Bryan was terrific. I thought it was a nice touch, and put emphasis on the importance of the World Championship, that Bryan asked AJ if it was a title match. I didn't care as much for the segment after the match involving Bryan and the Tag Team Champions, and Little Jimmy. Goofy stuff. The backstage stuff with Bryan and the psychiatrist was funny and I laughed out loud at the Goatface ink blots. Kane vs. Bryan again? Meh. It definitely sounds like Charlie Sheen is going to have a role at SummerSlam though, and I'm on board with that 100 percent. ...

Titus O'Neill beating Kofi Kingston is likely going to set up a rematch for the tag team titles. I liked how it happened, although A.W.'s gaffe with the Kobe Bryant in Colorado reference was in poor taste. That's the danger of giving someone a live microphone. I still like his schtick, though, and hope this doesn't ruin it. ...

Bringing back Randy Orton against Heath Slater was about as genius a way to bring back the former Legend Killer and find a way to keep getting Slater great heel heat. I've been a fan of Slater's work for a while. He's great at making you hate him. ...

Christian turning the tables on Miz by poking him in the eye -- the same way Miz beat him in an Intercontinental Championship match on Smackdown last week -- was also genius. Good to see Christian and Chris Jericho back together as a tag team too. I'd like to see them get an extended run together if Jericho is sticking around much past SummerSlam and his inevitable match with Dolph Ziggler. I guess Christian vs. Miz continues, however. I was hoping they might move on from each other. Really enjoyable match here that would've been match of the night if not for Bryan-Sheamus. ...

Sorry, but I can't get excited about Tyson Kidd. I thought his match with Tensai was well booked for what it was, but neither of these guys should be featured on Raw regularly right now. Stick them on Smackdown. ...

Putting CM Punk on commentary when he's not wrestling is always a good decision, and it made total sense in the main event too. Big Show and Cena got off to a slow start, but picked up the pace at the end. Personally, I would've rather seen Show win outright with help from Punk, and when Punk got involved at the end, I thought that was what happened. (Technically, Punk never struck Cena, so Big Show should've won by DQ rather than it be declared a no contest.) But let's be honest, Cena wasn't going to be in the third most-important match at SummerSlam, so the Triple Threat made sense from a business standpoint and a storyline standpoint. I'm looking forward to it, even though I generally think WWE over does it with Triple Threat matches. I'd be better with it if Punk hadn't just defended in against Kane and Bryan two PPVs ago. ...

I do wonder where Punk yelling at AJ that the Triple Threat wasn't fair and for her to show respect leaves us. I don't want to see a Punk vs. authority figure storyline again. By the way, did anyone else notice that everyone called her AJ Lee last night, rather than just AJ? Just something I noticed. ...

My only major complaint about Raw was an overabundance of replays, especially of Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar from last week. It was shown four times, I think. That's more than one per hour, and that's too much. Fortunately, I didn't start watching until 9 p.m. and was able to fast forward on DVR through most of them. I think with the new three-hour format, that's how I'm going to have to watch Raw these days.

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