The Bummer of Punk is a retrospective look at the 2011 Summer of Punk. Previous parts can be found here.

CM Punk wasn’t in the title scene after SummerSlam, but he still had a marquee feud going on with Kevin Nash and Triple H. Punk believed that Triple H was behind the Nash attack at SummerSlam and had been feigning ignorance from the start. That belief only grew stronger when Nash revealed on the August 29 Raw that he was signed to a guaranteed contract – of course, it was guaranteed – by John Laurinaitis. Hunter was sick of both of them, so he made the match official for Night of Champions. It would be Kevin Nash vs. CM Punk.

It wouldn’t be Kevin Nash vs. CM Punk.

From the September 5, 2011 Wrestling Observer Newsletter:

“The 8/29 Raw from Tulsa was one of the strangest shows, as they announced C.M. Punk vs. Kevin Nash for Night of Champions (9/18 in Buffalo), had a confrontation between the two, and then did an angle later in the show where Nash laid out Punk with a jackknife power bomb. Then, late in the show, HHH confronted Punk backstage and said the Board of Directors has changed the match from Punk vs. Nash to Punk vs. himself.

The story behind the change after spending a few weeks building up the match is that, according to those in WWE, there was a medical ailment discovered when Nash was getting his physical in Pittsburgh. The ailment was not released, but it was said to be something that in any other era in wrestling, the match would have taken place. The company made the decision to err on the side of caution, since it is expected Nash will be cleared in the fall and he will wrestle either in a singles match with Punk, or in a three-way involving HHH.”

Nash wasn’t cleared for Night of Champions. They knew he would be cleared sometime after that, though. So WWE’s decision was to announce Nash for a match for Night of Champions, then renege on it after Nash got the heat on Punk again. Alrighty then.

On the same August 29 Raw, Nash laid out Punk with a Jackknife after Punk’s match with the Miz. At the end of the show, Triple H told Punk that Nash wouldn’t be cleared for the PPV. Punk would still be wrestling at Night of Champions against his new opponent…

Oh.

Oh no.

Punk and Triple H had a contract signing on the live August 30 Smackdown, where Nash physically intervened and laid Punk out with a big boot. On the next Raw, it was revealed that the person who snuck into Triple H’s office and sent the incriminating text to Kevin Nash was…Kevin Nash.

That’s right, folks, Kevin Nash texted himself. What is it about Kevin Nash and poorly thought-out mystery angles? Triple H punched Nash, who took a bump while not being cleared to wrestle, before firing him. Meanwhile, CM Punk laughed at Nash, but never actually hit him.

Which brings us to Night of Champions. It’s the main event. It’s Triple H vs. CM Punk. If Punk won, Triple H would have to quit his authority role. If Triple H won, it would be very dumb.

NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS
SEPTEMBER 18, 2011
NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
IF TRIPLE H LOST, HE WOULD RESIGN AS COO
TRIPLE H DEF. CM PUNK

What the actual fuck was this?

The first ten or so minutes of this match was the shortcut-filled walk and brawl you would expect from Triple H after his full-time run ended. It was fine, as it worked more for Triple H’s strengths, and they set the matchup as these two wanting to fight each other more than anything. And it was far preferable to the alternative of Triple H doing his bad Harley Race impression and working holds. These two were moseying their way to a nice little ***1/2 match that I never would’ve thought of in great depth again. Then, the nonsense began.

The Miz and R-Truth came out and beat both guys down. They had been pushing the idea of a conspiracy against the both of them that escalated after they got disqualified in a tag team title match earlier in the night. They beat these guys down to relative silence until they pulled Punk on top of Triple H for a nearfall.

They dropped the referee and continued to beat them down until Johnny Ace came out, feigning a call for security. I’m just going to call him Johnny Ace from here on out because I don’t feel like spelling out Laurinaitis every time he’s around. Triple H and Punk sent Truth and Miz to the floor before Triple H hit a Pedigree. A second ref came out, but Ace distracted him so there was no count.

Punk got up and hit a Go To Sleep. Ace allowed the ref to count, but Truth pulled Punk out of the ring despite trying to help him win three minutes prior. Ace pulled out his phone and texted someone, which summoned Kevin Nash out of the crowd to hit Punk with another Jackknife powerbomb. Nash went to put Triple H through the announce table before Hunter hammered him with…the sledgehammer. Triple H then got back in the ring, hit another Pedigree on Punk, and pinned him to win.

Let’s take a deep breath and look at this as fairly as possible.

The story is that Punk smells a conspiracy against him, with Triple H, Kevin Nash, and Johnny Ace all working together against him. If that is the case, then Triple H winning with help from Nash and Ace would actually make some sense. You don’t even have to do the Triple H turn here if you want to save the reveal for later. That would be fine.

Why are The Miz and R-Truth here? They also think there’s a conspiracy against them, but they are delusional midcard heels. These two hopping in on Punk’s territory only makes Punk’s claim of a conspiracy look silly. Their involvement in this match doesn’t elevate them, it just makes this a mid-card story and muddies everything up. They tried to help Punk win, only to turn on him two minutes later. That makes the logical interference from Ace and Nash feel like overkill and overbooking.

But then, the logical interference from Ace and Nash wasn’t logical at all! They were actually trying to cost Triple H the match and get him to quit as COO. I’m so sick of hearing and writing COO. I don’t care who makes the matches. You hear me wrestling! I’m sick of it!

Anyway, Ace stopped Triple H from winning after the first Pedigree, and Nash went after Triple H when he came out. So now, this story isn’t about Punk at all, it’s about Hunter and the meanies who don’t want him to have his job.

Going into this retrospective, I knew this would be the turning point for the Summer of Punk. I always thought the issue would be Triple H beating Punk. At a base level, Triple H getting an unnecessary win over a guy who was the hottest name in the company felt egotistical and stupid. And while it probably was done partly out of ego and jealousy, it could have still served a purpose for the overall story.

The real issue is the fact that this was a poorly booked story that only served Triple H.

The next night on Raw, they did some damage control. Punk told Triple H that someone was playing the both of them, using their dislike of each other to their advantage. Punk said that it was Johnny Ace who wanted the both of them dealt with and used R-Truth and Miz to do it. Well, if that was the plan, it was a pretty bad one as again, R-Truth pulled Punk off of a pin that would have gotten Triple H out of the job.

Anyway, Triple H fired Miz & R-Truth at the end of the show. He also booked CM Punk in a WWE Title match at Hell in a Cell, against Alberto Del Rio and champion John Cena.

…wait a minute. Punk is in a WWE Title match at the next PPV? Then why did Triple H beat him???? AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHH

I wish I could say it gets better from here. I really wish I could say that.