10 Times WWE Booked The Wrong Guy To Win

10. Alberto Del Rio Beats CM Punk & John Cena - Hell In A Cell 2011


The 2011 Summer of Punk was a thoroughly dispiriting experience.

It promised - and initially delivered - so much. A ***** classic at Money In The Bank with John Cena, arguably the most heated match of all time, was preceded by CM Punk's boundary-smashing pipebomb promo, in which he suggested that he'd wrest the WWE title away from the clutches of Vince McMahon.

The scintillating, teased prospect of New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring Of Honor cross-promotion compelled delirious fans to engage in wildly speculative fantasy booking. Would WWE really allow Punk to defend their premier prize in Smark City?

No. They wouldn't. Feeling that the roster was too thin to lose the white-hot Punk for longer than eight days, and with pet project Alberto Del Rio waiting in the wings, Vince felt that the real intrigue surrounded a Cena Vs. Del Rio series. A head-scratchingly nonsensical storyline, which incorporated Triple H, Kevin Nash and the long-forgotten Awesome Truth followed.

Del Rio would pin designated jobber Punk in this Triple Threat Hell In A Cell encounter, to somehow initiate their winter programme, but the damage was done. By not allowing Cena to be pinned, even after copious chicanery, the message was clear: the doused Punk was firmly below Cena on the totem pole of the former Titan Sports.

The convoluted mess was avoidable, too; a high-profile, novel and lengthy series between John Cena and Rey Mysterio, two heroic characters to whom the concept of surrender is absolutely alien, would have adequately sustained the company's summer business.

We here at WhatCulture do not subscribe to the bizarre myth that the recently re-re-named Alberto El Patron is boring - we wouldn't have booked him for our Newcastle show this Thursday if we did - but WWE would have been far better served building the former Del Rio in the background as Vince's handpicked first challenger - a sort of proto-2013 Randy Orton, without the interminable chinlocks.

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Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!