So obviously Punk's at fault for the rating this week despite only being a very minor part of the sho... hold on a sec...
The thing is, Orton and Punk just aren't equal cases. Orton had been given a superpush for literally years on end culminating in a massive babyface turn and subsequent world championship chase throughout the entire spring and summer. And yet, at his most white hot in his entire career, Orton's taking of the WWE Championship in September 2010 didn't merely not budge the ratings in the positive direction, it coincided with a few weeks of steep ratings drops, which in fairness was in large part also due to the explosion of the new Monday Night Football season that year. In recent years the only world champion who's been able to keep the ship going strong in terms of ratings during Monday Night Football has been Cena. Punk's push was going very well until the entire situation became an ungodly mess thanks to the bizarre booking and writing with Triple H and particularly the way Kevin Nash was employed.
I love Chris Jericho to death, I love CM Punk, but if WWE is truly looking to book a Road to Wrestlemania feud between those two for the WWE Championship, I foresee weak quarter hours for a feud that will be viewed as a distant, distant almost quasi-midcard match for Wrestlemania beneath The Rock and John Cena. The only way to cement Punk at this point due in large part to WWE's botching of the Summer of Punk as we entered autumn was to have the feud everyone wanted, with a newly heel-turned Triple H. That would stand up as a worthy WWE Championship match and would draw strong ratings and would manage to not be utterly overshadowed by Rock/Cena the way I guarantee Jericho/Punk will be. Oh well. Again, I love Punk, I love Jericho (and I love Triple H!) but Jericho is not suited to put Punk over the top as a firmly entrenched megastar who can actually draw on his own. Triple H is.
Speaking of ratings, it was in no small part thanks to Triple H and, to give the devil his due, Kevin Nash (for a little while when his involvement had some novelty to it) along with John Cena and Vince McMahon before them that allowed Punk to enjoy very healthy quarter hour ratings during the Summer of Punk. Separate Punk from those guys and he didn't fare nearly as well. Naturally. Batista needed Triple H in the same way when they were about to turn the corner with him; The Miz (who's currently in fucking limbo in a go-nowhere "feud" with R-Truth) needed Cena and The Rock during last year's RTWM season before he could begin drawing well (actually better than babyface Punk--and that is partly because Miz received a righteous push through Wrestlemania season opposite Cena and Rock, whereas Punk is apparently destined to be locked in with Jericho) on his own as WWE Champion; even a guy who was about as close to becoming a draw on his absolute own, John Cena, back in 2005 when he was finally being given the ball, benefited from his onscreen relationship with JBL--and then, once more, with that symbiotic relationship he had with Edge by the time 2006 began.
Punk isn't drawing because WWE short-circuited his push opposite the absolute top names in the game (Cena, Triple H) around October, then rushed the WWE Championship onto him at Survivor Series instead of building him back up from the ground up all the way to Wrestlemania as a newly crowned face WWE Champion there. Feuding with a directionless Miz, an Alberto Del Rio who is not, despite everything, firmly established and in need of a character modification after a mere year and a half run as an onscreen character and now midcard Dolph Ziggler who's being given another obvious lame duck Royal Rumble world championship program ala last year on Smackdown with Edge won't do Punk any favors. The Laurinaitis storyline is stuck in the mud, and aside from that one very well-executed moment on the Jan. 2 show with Punk's verbal threat/promise to him backstage, has netted an almost complete void of anything interesting or memorable (it's the Jaws: The Revenge-level version of an original instant classic in Austin vs. McMahon at best). And Jericho, again, just isn't cut out to "make" someone a top guy forever. Triple H, of course is.
And that's why it pains me most especially as an ancient huge fan of Triple H to say that where everything began to go off course was when he exited the entire Punk angle in favor of having a feud with his old friend Kevin Nash that no one on this planet ever wanted aside from Nash himself. Nothing was gained from any of that. Nothing. Nothing. Meanwhile, Triple H turning heel would have been a drastic shot in the arm to a promotion and program in Raw that truly needed it and instead we're stuck with Punk and J-Ace acting like they're characters from Office Space or something.
Of course, nothing is carved into stone aside from Rock/Cena (and ostensibly Cena's inevitable heel turn which they foreshadow every week now), and it's conceivable that Punk can still do all right and wait for Heel Cena to go after him perhaps around Summerslam time, but I must say that if Jericho vs. Punk is the game plan, they've made a rather major misstep as that program, despite probably having some brilliant promos and leading to some fantastic matches, is not going to catapult Punk into the strata WWE needs and wants him to be in.
WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU COME BACK FROM?!