As we struggled to digest three straight weeks of lackluster WWE programming, CM Punk was quietly preparing one of the greatest promos/shoots in pro wrestling history. As R-Truth and John Cena faced off for the second straight week, CM Punk’s presence was inevitable.
As I searched for a substantial reason for another Truth/Cena match, Punk cost the WWE Champion his match, immediately picking up a microphone at the conclusion.
It’s no secret that CM Punk is the best mic worker in the WWE. A CM Punk promo provides the edginess and feeling of broken kayfabe that other promos lack. Last night, Punk seemingly reached nirvana when he took those attributes and revolutionized the WWE in the span of six minutes.
The IWC raved as Punk stated what we knew all along.
“The only thing that’s real is me, and the fact is that day-in and day-out, for almost six years, I've proved to everybody in the world that I am the best on this microphone, in that ring, and even on commentary.” (Watch the speech below.)
As I scrambled for words, attempting to make sense of the situation, Punk’s promo was so convincing that I started to consider the fact that it may have been real.
While RAW Spoilers proved my theory wrong, CM Punk’s promo achieved its purpose: create buzz, provide the feeling of realness that fans crave and leave the WWE Universe wondering what’s next for the Straight Edge Messiah.
History was made last night, but it also sparked a fire in yours truly.
As I stated above, WWE Creative hasn't exactly been creative as of late. Recycled story lines/feuds, a lack of match/story line buildup and predictable pay-per-view matches highlight my statement. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, Creative blows my mind in less time than it takes for a typical WWE match.
I apologize for the obviousness of my title, but the realization that WWE Creative constructed this angle has just set in.
The fact that the WWE allowed Punk to mention wrestling, ROH and that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are also running the company has created a new atmosphere. This isn't the first time that something as groundbreaking as Punk’s promo has occurred.
The situation echoes Stone Cold Steve Austin from 1997.
In case you’re a newer WWE fan, I am referring to the beginning of the WWF’s Attitude Era. Before the era came to be, Vince McMahon was a mild-mannered commentator (like Michael Cole before 2010). Fans everywhere knew McMahon was the chairman of the WWF, but McMahon refrained from displaying this on WWF programming.
The hatred spiraling from Vince’s part in the Montreal Screwjob rested solely on McMahon’s shoulders.
At the same time, Stone Cold Steve Austin was the top WWF superstar (besides Shawn Michaels).
Austin’s rebellious attitude often caused him to clash with McMahon, but each confrontation lacked physicality between the two. This changed on September 22, 1997.
After attacking Owen Hart, Austin received one of McMahon’s behavioral lectures. As seen in the video above, Austin responded: “You know as well as I do that this is what I do for a living. This all that I do and can’t nobody tell me that I ain't the best in the damn world.”
The Rattlesnake ended the promo by stunning Vince McMahon for the first time. (Watch the video above.)
In the months that followed, Austin won the Royal Rumble and defeated Shawn Michaels, the face of the WWE, at WrestleMania XIV for the WWE Championship.
As Punk donned one of Stone Cold’s t-shirts last night, the promo replayed in my mind over and over again.
Can a new era of professional wrestling be upon us?
Remember, Austin’s actions were the driving force behind the Attitude Era. The IWC has been clamoring for the WWE to add a small amount of edge to their product. In the grand scheme of things, the IWC means nothing to Vince McMahon, but our prayers may have been answered last night.
For months, the level of complaints by the IWC towards the PG Era and the Creative team has reached an all-time high. It seemed as if Vince McMahon needed that kick in the back to alter WWE programming.
If Punk’s promo was an answer, I must salute McMahon for realizing the state of his product and attempting to revolutionize it.
The question is, can Creative/Vince McMahon capitalize on Punk’s worked shoot and retain the interest of the WWE Universe?
I’ll be the first to admit, I am indifferent to reading the rare spoilers for Monday Night RAW. However, Punk’s promo was so convincing that even I couldn't resist reading the events to come. From what I've read, the Creative team has finally woken up.
They’re finally realizing the level of talent they possess and they allowed Punk to shoot on RAW. They followed it up perfectly by incorporating aspects of the real world. In case you haven’t noticed, CM Punk’s Twitter has been unverified, his Facebook fan-page deleted and he has been removed from the RAW roster on WWE.com.
Even his theme has been removed from iTunes.
WWE Creative is doing everything to sell this angle and it's working.
There are millions of fans who believe CM Punk is really suspended. In turn, this will prompt fans to look forward to Money in the Bank. The name is appropriate because the million dollar question is, what is CM Punk going to do next?
In my opinion, Punk may have set the blueprint for change in the WWE. Like I stated above, the similarities between the CM Punk angle and the Austin angle are uncanny. The fact that Punk sported an Austin shirt for his promo poured fuel into the fire.
I won’t say that the Attitude Era is making its return.
However, I do believe that a new era is upon us. An era where the product is less predictable/kid friendly and more suited to the mature audience.
CM Punk has done his part; all the WWE has to do is follow up on it.
He did the most honest thing in WWE history.