I beleive part of this and think part is total crap.
Example, WWE has protected Punk in the losses the story talks about, there haven't been many, and none have been clean. He was kept off tv last night with Cena and Orton so he wouldn't get booed by walking out on HHH, and he was just put in a main event that he didn't really belong in.
WWE had wanted Punk to be in the main event picture since MITB, it has nothing to do with merch, it has to do with their inability to create new stars.
However, this also ignores the fact that HHH was just given the push as the only face last night, and given that Orton and Cena must be kept in the main event picture, i don't see how they can push a 4th guy at the top.
The fact remains that you can't have 3 top faces all in the main event, and WWE seems terrfied to remove Cena from that picture.
The only thing i can think is, they are planning something very long term (ie, very unlike WWE) with Rock, that will remove Cena from the title picture for a while.