In the world of wrestling not much has been newsworthy since the Hall of Fame induction of Shawn Michaels and the return on the Rock this year.
As someone who has watched wrestling since I was about 8 years old I have personally seen the change in trends and the evolution of the product over the past few decades.
Since alternating to a PG product WWE has evolved from a cutting edge wrestling company in the “Attitude Era” to a watered down, cartoon character-laden, at times ridiculously embarrassing product.
It seemed the art of wrestling is flowing out the door with the cycling out of legends like Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Triple H and Chris Jericho. The “old school” mentality and true mat-technician skills are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Just as much as the value of being a wrestler. Now it seems being a good wrestler can be devalued if you look good on screen.
I always had a small feeling, maybe a hope that eventually WWE would drop a “swerve”. I mean let’s face it the over-the-top, bloody and raunchy product of the Attitude Era did get stale. Nothing was truly shocking anymore because we had seen it all week after week for years.
The shock value worked in wrestling in the 90s because prior to that, wrestling was geared to little kids. Now that these kids were grown up, WWE grew up with them in a way. It evolved with the fans. Eventually it faded and that’s just the way it goes.
So although I am not a fan of the PG Product, I understand why it’s there. So when WWE does decide to drop another swerve (if they do) and go from PG to MA-14 it will really pop.
What happened last night on Monday Night RAW is the perfect example of this coming into effect.
One of the best active heels in the business is CM Punk. He is extremely personable and is not only solid in the ring but tremendous on the mic. He is fresh, creative, intelligent and takes his craft very seriously.
Unfortunately, WWE has failed to push CM Punk with any true aggression. This is a shame because he is one of the best in the business and should be showcased as such.
This has not sat well with Punk and he had been vocal about being burned out and frustrated in recent months. Many reports circulated that he would not renew his contract when it expired in July.
Sadly, no news of a resigned contract came to light. CM Punk announced last week his last match would be against John Cena at “Money in the Bank” (this Sunday on PPV) and he would not renew his contract. He worked it in his feud with Cena by saying he would win the belt and leave the WWE contract.
A lot of uproar from the internet mad that such a great, rare talent like CM Punk was so under-utilized and seemingly allowed to just walk away.
Then…came Monday Night on RAW.
At the end of a Tables Match between John Cena and R-Truth CM Punk grabbed the microphone and took a seat at the top of the ramp. He then ripped into a promo.
The promo was classic “heel” (heel is a wrestling term for bad guy) but then he started making comments that have not been said on WWE TV.
Punk started ripping into John Cena and the fact he is shoved down everyone’s throat (which is true). How Cena is just an ass-kisser to McMahon. Punk then ripped some Executives in the WWE Company, the way WWE promoted him and how he is the best in the world.
Punk went on to insult Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and even the USA Network.
Punk was extremely brutal with personal jabs at McMahon and his family. He even spoke on the WWE scenario after McMahon dies.
Eventually, CM Punk’s mic was cut off and WWE faded to black. This appeared to be a shoot promo and one of the best I have seen in years. WWE then announced via it’s website that they have fired CM Punk effective immediately.
The internet went crazy about this. WWE owned multiple topics in the Top Trending Topics on Twitter and the web. The incident was pure fire.
It would have been flawless except one thing. They taped 2 episodes of Raw last night, the one that aired last night and next weeks. So not even 3 hours after this news broke we knew this was all a work and CM Punk would be reinstated.
Regardless of how much of that was scripted it was pure genius and absolute GOLD.
I also found it interesting that CM Punk was wearing a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin shirt. My wheels have been turning and maybe the thought slipped in my head of a possible CM Punk/Stone Cold match at WrestleMania next year. A perfect angle, good workers, excellent promo skills and Austin has said numerous times Punk is someone he would love to work with.
Maybe WWE is really letting CM Punk walk. But I hold out hope that this is one of those memorable swerves that change the business. Just like Stone Cold did, just like DX did, just like the NWO did, just like Hulkamania did.
For those of you who have NOT seen this promo, it’s worth every single second to view:
So is this the “Steve Austin” moment of this generation? Did CM Punk, Vince McMahon and the WWE just make a monumental move?
It certainly had Twitter buzzing as many within the wrestling industry reacted:
Steve Austin: “@CMPunk just melted my 52 inch TV with a scorching hot promo…delivery, content, and attitude…one of the best promos I’ve ever seen.”
Shawn Michaels: “2 words 4 @CMPunk- thata boy. Felt like old times. Anywho, back 2 my normal life, tweet u on touchdown:-)”
Jim Ross: “Most compelling, controversial end of Raw in a long time. @cmpunk edgy, attitudinal & full of rage. Don’t know what to think. Wow.”
Mick Foley: “I have no idea where this @cmpunk thing might go, but I know I’ll be watching. Captivating stuff.”
Joey Styles: “Holy crap! I thought I was bad when I was shooting on Vince and the company. OMG! Holy crap!”
Billy Corgan: “@CMPunk that may have been the GREATEST promo i have ever seen…to paraphrase Paul E, ‘you sir, are f’n hardcore’…”
Taz: “Punk did a great job & I always liked him when we were in wwe together and his work! But I must say… There r many of us who were NEVER pushed to the level Punk was & were NEVER allowed to shoot like that, he’s lucky he was allowed to do that. But it was very strong & real!! I liked a lot! Good stuff Punk!”
Colt Cabana: “Colt Cabana’s Trending but @CMPunk should legit trend FOREVER. Coolest thing on wrestling since 1998. Can’t believe theyre gonna let’m walk”
Chris Jericho: “Congrats to @cmpunk and Vince McMahon for doing something tonight that hasn’t been done in awhile…make history.”
Daniel Bryan: “With revolution dripping off his lips with every word, @CMPunk was a god last night.”
Chavo Guerrero: “Did u see @CmPunk promo last night? WOW! If all those things are being said by a guy being used…think how I feel! Good Job Punk!”
Maryse: “@CMPunk for President of the United-States….”
Todd Grisham: “Punk came unhinged tonight. Never seen anything like it in my 8 years @WWE”
JBL: “CM Punk’s promo-shoot or work? Who cares? When you are so good that you can put that doubt in viewers minds you have done your job very well”
MVP: “My verdict after watching the @CMPunk promo, he just had his Austin 3:16 moment. Don’t fuck this one up WWE”
Please comment on what you think this could be?
A new Era?
Just a storyline for his match?
Or is WWE and CM Punk in kahoots for something much bigger.