And what if it doesn't and asses start being put in seats, what will your excuse be? "Well Punk was booked like shit anyway"?
If a new champion (and I mean properly new, not Cena or Rocky or whoever, someone untested) draws big numbers as champion, then yeah, Punk looks worse coming out of it. On the other hand, assuming it's not someone completely out of the blue, Punk's reign will just be seen as making the best of a transition period while other guys were properly
built up. Yes, he was booked ineptly - everything in WWE is. It's not a get-out-of-jail free card for pulling some of the numbers he's done, but then, I don't see that WWE had or have any better options available. I mean, ratings aside (and let's face facts, nobody full-time in WWE is really drawing flies to shit these days, so we really can put the numbers aside), I'd take a historic year-long Punk reign with awesome matches with Ziggler, Bryan, Jericho, et al, Heyman coming back, and some genuine new blood in the title scene (if not the main event scene, grumble grumble), over whatever Cena-centric hot potato shit they probably would have been doing otherwise.
But if a new champ draws good numbers in his segments, and there's still matches that haemhorrage a million viewers (or whatever ridiculous number Kofi/Del Rio dropped a while back) and the viewers are still mostly hovering around the 4 million mark, what's really been fixed in the long term? You'll probably still have a crowd that sits on their hands until Super Champ #47 walks out, and you'll still have a product that is, as I coined before, oddly unlikable.
But then, what if the next unproven champ fails too? And what if its a WWE pet project, not an "IWC wet dream" like Punk? Do we call them a failure too? What if a Cena reign doesn't do any better? Or, worse, a Henry reign? At what point do people (and more importantly, WWE themselves) start to accept that the problems we're all mumbling about aren't going to be solved by finding a hot ticket champion? And that, while talking ratings is fun (at times, I guess, sorta), we're probably putting undue focus on the guys who are generally doing good, entertaining, crowd-pleasing shit when given the opportunity, but just aren't being given many of those opportunities by Steph, Kapoor, and co?