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Chair Shots: CM punk turns his back on Chicago

I expected something special out of WWE Champion CM Punk on Raw in Chicago last night. While I wouldn't call Punk's actions groundbreaking, it was certainly something I didn't see coming. Punk managed to keep himself heel despite having the hometown advantage not by insulting the crowd, but rather by choosing not to wrestle in front of them at all.

Punk decided to take a "personal day," after AJ made a champion vs. champion match against Sheamus earlier in the show. Punk and the Great White had a fun talking segment to start the 8 p.m. hour, with Punk soaking in the adoration of his hometown crowd, but twisting things ever so slightly, like any good heel would. When he announced he was taking the night off, he did it by first saying that the Chicago crowd understands and respects him, then turned the tables by saying in honor of Labor Day, he was taking the night off of work.

Plenty of Chicago fans still cheered Punk, but it was a great heel move. Punk vs. Sheamus is a pay-per-view quality match and one I'm sure fans were looking forward to. Great way to get heat on Punk.

Of course, that wasn't the last we saw of him. When the Falls Count Anywhere main event pitting Night of Champions challengers John Cena and Alberto Del Rio against each other spilled into the backstage area, Punk delivered a stiff kick to the head of Cena, then pulled Del Rio on top of him. Punk then dropped Cena with a GTS onto the hood of his vehicle, knealt over Cena and simply said "respect." But the big surprise came when Punk got in the vehicle and it started to drive away, with the driver rolling down the window to look at a fallen Cena. The driver? None other than Paul Heyman.

Punk plus Heyman is pure gold in the world of the Internet Wrestling Community, although I wonder how this plays out going forward. Clearly, Punk doesn't need Heyman as a mouthpiece the way Brock Lesnar did. However, Heyman is a heat magnet for most traditional wrestling fans, who might still be 50/50 on Punk (especially if they don't like Cena). Heyman can help convert Punk to a full-blown heel. The latest rumors seem to indicate that putting Punk and Heyman together could be a way to keep Brock Lesnar in the forefront of people's minds as well. It definitely adds another layer to the Punk-Cena feud. ...

The Cena-Del Rio Falls Count Anywhere match was an excellent match for free television. Any time you get a broken announce table spot on a non-PPV show you know it's a good night. Because we hadn't really seen Cena-Del Rio for the past year, this felt fairly fresh too. Del Rio is on the biggest roll of his career right now, having beaten Orton, Kane and now Cena in recent weeks. So while I don't think WWE is about to take the strap off of Sheamus just yet, I do think Del Rio is more credible heading into this match than his previous four matches with the Celtic Warrior. ...

Del Rio was a spectator for Sheamus' match earlier against Jack Swagger, who was tabbed as Punk's replacement when he walked out. Sheamus, of course, won with a Texas (Irish?) Cloverleaf. Despite what Michael Cole said, Sheamus has used that manuever before. Any chance of making his match with Del Rio at Night of Champions a submission or I Quit type match? The last two PPV singles matches didn't exactly set the world on fire, so adding a twist in the form of a stipulation could add a bit more intrigue.

Afterward, Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez tried to attack Sheamus but failed, and Ricardo ended up taking a Brogue Kick for Del Rio. Last we heard, David Otunga was representing him and threatening legal action against Sheamus on Smackdown. Vince McMahon must really hate lawyers, because boy do they go to the well a lot of with this tactic for getting heel heat. ...

Swagger was later seen walking out and taking "extended leave" because of his losing streak with General Manager AJ Lee pleading with him to stay. Hey, at least AJ recognizes world class talent when she sees it. Hopefully, this leads to a repackaging for Swagger when he returns and gets himself right. This was a small part of a bigger angle of AJ losing big name Superstars (she mentioned Lesnar walking out, Triple H seemingly retiring, Punk taking a personal day and Chris Jericho leaving -- even though in storyline that last one was her fault) and generally losing control of Raw.

Later in the show, Vickie Guerrero baited AJ into an apology and slapped the taste out of her mouth since AJ was reprimanded by the Board of Directors, again in storyline, not to put her hands on the talent. AJ then flipped out, throwing a steel chair and having an emotional breakdown. Just no more "votes of no confidence" please. I assume this is going to lead to AJ being appointed an adviser, similar to the role of Teddy Long to Booker T on Smackdown. Could "Big Johnny" Laurinaitis be returning? I just can't see it work with a heel Punk on the same roster. ...

Guerrero's client, Dolph Ziggler, picked up arguably his biggest victory of his career, defeating Randy Orton by reversing a roll-up attempt and grabbing a handful of trunks for leverage in a very strong rematch to Orton's victory over Ziggler on Friday. These two have great chemistry working together, and a rubber match at Night of Champions seems likely -- and welcome. If it does happen, I wonder if the stakes will be raised slightly. I wouldn't mind seeing another Money in the Bank contract vs. WWE contract stipulation -- since the Viper will be taking time off to film a movie next month anyway -- but that seems unlikely with AJ concerned about losing talent. ...

The Miz provided color commentary for most of the night with Punk attacking Jerry Lawler backstage right before the show went on the air. There were definitely times that the Miz struggled or was too quiet when something needed to be said, and it makes you appreciate the job Lawler does, even if he acts like a 14-year-old sometimes. Miz had some gems as well thoughout the night, although his bickering with Divas Champion Layla was quite annoying. ...

Speaking of the Divas division, Eve defeated No. 1 contender Kaitlyn and now there is a rumor making its rounds that Kaitlyn wasn't supposed to win the No. 1 contender's battle royal a few weeks ago and they are trying to write Eve into the match. While I definitely thought Kaitlyn was an odd choice when she won, with the spot they closed with, I can't see how the finish was botched. I do think Eve might end up in the Night of Champions match, making it a Triple Threat, however. I'm getting a kick out of Eve's "kill 'em with kindness" gimmick. ...

Perhaps the most memorable segment of the show was the conclusion to Kane and Daniel Bryan's anger management sessions, which saw them attempt to "hug it out" in the middle of the ring. I was surprised the Chicago smart-mark crowd didn't boo when "hug" won the Raw Active Twitter poll over a singles match or a tag match, but I wasn't surprised by the result. Naturally, it turned physical, and this feud looks far from over. When in the second anger management skit, Bryan and Kane decided they "understood" each other when they let Harold fall in the "trust" test, I thought they might end up forming a tag team. Obviously, these two have great chemistry in the ring and on the mic, and I think they'd be a fun team to watch. ...

While we're on the topic of intriguing tag teams, I was glad to see WWE make a big deal out of Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio teaming again. This is another pair that I think work great together. I was hoping Cody Rhodes would team with Damien Sandow again, however, as their opponents, instead it was Tensai. Rhodes took the loss again when he tried to rip a mask off. Ho-hum. Rey and Sin Cara need to keep this alliance going and eventually take the Tag Team titles ...

No word on tag team, Intercontinental or United States championship matches at Night of Champions, although all three belts will be defended. U.S. Champ Antonio Cesaro won't defend in a rematch against Santino Marella after beating him on Raw, thankfully. Perhaps Zack Ryder, now on a two-match winning streak, will step up to the challenge? Ryder beat Heath Slater in a 5-minute match that was based on their recent Twitter war. I liked it. With all the big names who have left Raw recently and the expansion to three hours, here are a couple of guys who can get back on TV and do something other than be glorified jobbers. ...

Speaking of which, Ryback beat Jinder Mahal. It was the only match I fast-forwarded through. I was never really on board with Ryback anyway, but I just can't bring myself to care. Let me know when he turns heel.

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