Like how people try and come up with excuses for why Punk segments drop viewership. So the latest is the ads? By that logic when any segments drop in viewership it isn't any of the wrestlers faults then? Bit of a lame excuse isn't it? Punks segments have always lost viewers it isn't anything new. Some weeks they do alright.
But look at this weeks, his segment lost 275k viewers while Cenas gained 590k. That shows as much as we dislike Cena he is a huge draw. He is the number one guy by miles. People talk about Punk being the 2nd top guy but look at his numbers, they are pretty crap. To me that isn't a reflection on Punks abilities it is a reflection on how the show has been designed to make one guy look better then everyone else. If something ever happened to Cena the company would be fucked. It also shows as much as people on here make Punk out to be great and popular the people away from here couldn't give a shit about him. You could put the title on anyone other then Cena and it would be the same for them.
I'll agree Punk gets too much of a pass, and that there is a double standard when it comes to him. Same with pretty much any wrestler who has a lot of fans. Randy Orton Fans are going to have an excuse when their guy tanks, and Santino fans are going to have an excuse when their guy tanks (they've needed a lot of excuses lately). That's human nature etc etc.
One of the things you bring up is ability, and I think that's where a lot of the defensiveness comes from. posters like Imnostar and a certain banned poster who usually drives the discussion here, frequently equate ratings with ability. Punk isn't drawing the same number of viewers as the Rock ergo Punk isn't as electrifying as the Rock, ergo Punk doesn't have the ability or the right to lick the Rock's boots. What most people are really arguing, whether they know it or not since the arguments get so heated, is what you pointed out above: It's not about ability, it's about what the company does to tell the viewers who the main attraction is.
One of the reasons I am a little itchy about trusting ratings is that I don't know who's on the other end of those number drops. I don't know if that's really casual fans, I don't know if that kids with a 10:30 bedtime, I don't know if those are just people who don't like CM Punk. Being that he is a divisive star, there very well may be a section of fans who do the same thing I do during a John Cena segment. I go by pops. If a guys is getting a reaction, it means that what he's doing is, more or less working. If the pops are not translating into ratings, then I put that on creative and management because they are the ones doing nothing with the pops, and putting commercial breaks in at terrible times.