WrestleMania 29 is right around the corner and that means that once again The Undertaker will be putting his undefeated streak on the line. As we all know, the man stepping up to the plate this time is CM Punk and the fact is that where Punk goes, controversy follows. And he’s mixing things up once again.
According to WrestlingInc.com via F4W Online, Punk is getting heat with WWE over the spot on this past Monday Night Raw when he was casually tossing Undertaker’s urn into the air. Punk was mocking Paul Bearer, with the implication being that perhaps his ashes were in the urn and these actions are seen by many inside and outside the company as being in very poor taste.
Okay. Where do I start with this one?
First off, I will say that it is a shame about Bill Moody, aka Paul Bearer’s death. He was very good at what he did, indeed one of the best managers the business has ever seen. He understood his character, knew what he had to do and had a great run in WWE. He is a very memorable talent and no one will ever quite be able to fill the void that he left behind.
But this is not about Bill Moody. Punk is not disrespecting Bill Moody. Punk is disrespecting Paul Bearer. There is a difference.
Bill Moody was a manger who came up through the territories, landed the gig with WWE and helped Mark Calaway become The Undertaker. He was the mouthpiece for Taker when The Deadman was silent and he helped sell a gimmick that under any other circumstances, sold by any other personality, would have been laughed out of the building.
Paul Bearer was the father of Undertaker’s brother Kane, and raised the two in a funeral parlor. Undertaker set fire to the home, killing his parents and physically scarring Kane. Years later, Bearer brought Kane to WWE, much to the shock of Undertaker, who believed his younger brother had been dead since the fire. Paul Bearer then played both Kane and Undertaker against each other, in a devilish plot that included an Inferno match, Buried Alive matches and Paul catching a fireball to the face.
A pretty significant difference, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s the thing. I can’t speak for WWE. I also cannot speak for the family that Bill Moody left behind, or for all the fans that may be very uncomfortable by what they feel are inappropriate actions on the part of CM Punk.
Everyone has their own views and that is to be expected.
But for me, I just do not see an issue here. CM Punk is a heel. He is arguably the top heel in WWE. And, he is headed to WrestleMania to take on one of the company’s most decorated, most legendary performers of all time in a match that he is—to put it bluntly—not really expected to win.
To me, this is necessary heat.
Undertaker’s streak is set in stone, something that has never been done and most likely will never be done again. He has taken on every challenger put in front of him and every year he continues to put in one great performance after another. For a large part of the WWE viewing audience, Undertaker’s streak is bigger than any title defense or any match that is on the WrestleMania card.
He is a major reason why the event draws as well as it does. He is a must-see Superstar.
And when you have Undertaker in his element, on the grand stage of WrestleMania, in a match that so many fans believe he will not lose, then you must do something to make them think otherwise. You must get some leverage.
Stealing the urn, the symbol that Paul Bearer used to keep Undertaker under control for so many years, is that leverage. Now, instead of this match being a slam dunk victory for The Phenom, we suddenly have a twist in the storyline. We are now looking at the object that Taker’s character held so dear being used against him by the man he will face on April 7.
And that man will do and say anything it takes to weaken The Undertaker.
Mocking Undertaker’s longtime manager, the man who knew him as a child and brought him to WWE, is nothing but Punk playing mind games. Instead of being intimidated by Undertaker’s mystique, his larger than life presence, CM Punk has went on the offensive and turned the tables. Now, Undertaker is the one on the receiving end of psychological warfare. CM Punk has evened the playing field and is creating some deeper drama for his huge match against Undertaker at WrestleMania 29.
That’s it. Nothing more.
Are we supposed to believe that Punk would be respectful of Paul Bearer? That he would continue trying to mentally dissect Undertaker without using Paul’s death as a weapon? Or, do we believe that WWE would simply just allow the two subjects to remain independent of each other, that the tribute to Bearer would happen on TV, then we would move on, never mentioning him again?
Would CM Punk’s character—who takes the low road at every turn—just let this go?
Of course not.
This is a pro wrestling character named CM Punk using the death of another fictional character against a third created character on TV. And to read anymore into it is to read too much into it.
Again, this is just my view. Maybe the fans who have a problem with it and feel it’s cheap heat have a point. Perhaps WWE, who were surely very aware that Punk would be going this route, has a point in being upset with the angle.
But at the end of the day, this is working. It’s causing controversy, giving CM Punk some great heat, and is building the foundation for his match with The Undertaker that many of us expect will steal the show at WrestleMania 29.
This is how it works. Am I wrong?