Mark for War: Punk A$$es
I’m a wrestling fan in Chicago. I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life. Let me tell you how it works out here: Chicago is one of those cities where the people who live here think everything that comes out of Chicago is better than anything that doesn’t come out of Chicago. Is Mike Ditka the greatest Football coach ever? No. But in Chicago, he is. Is Billy Corgan the best rock star of the 90’s? Not even close. But in Chicago, he is. So yes, you could have guessed that Chicago wrestling fans are fucking obsessed with ex-WWE superstar and Chicago boy CM Punk. And you know what comes with putting a bunch of Chicago fans in an arena for Monday Night Raw without CM Punk in it? You guessed it, A LOT OF CM PUNK CHANTS. And I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist spouting off about it this week. Ugh.
At this point in my life, I have a punky relationship with Punk. The first time I saw him wrestle was at an ROH show about a decade ago. He wrestled a great match against Homicide and I was sold. Then he made it to WWE through the ECW revamp in 2006. That program was obviously a disaster, but Punk’s presence on it made sense. He had that certain ECW style, being a Paul Heyman guy and all. Actually, I remember describing CM Punk to someone back in the day as having qualities similar to both Lance Storm and Taz, which I still feel to be true. Being on the revamped ECW was actually HUGE for Punk. It might have saved his career. ECW allowed Punk to get a spotlight he wouldn’t have gotten on Raw or Smackdown at the time. The program was an hour long. They had about twelve wrestlers under the ECW umbrella. Half the wrestlers were ECW vets who couldn’t wrestler more than a three-minute match (basically Sandman matches). This perfect storm led to Punk having the proper time for his own matches with John Morrison, Elijah Burke, or whomever, which at that time was unheard of in WWE. I saw Punk wrestle live during the ECW revamp at a house show. He worked the late Brad Armstrong (Road Dog’s Brother). When I think about this match, I always think about a shoot interview I saw of Punk’s right around then. Punk talked about the one and only time he wrestled for John Zandig’s CZW promotion, a terrible match he had with their then champion, Justice Pain. In the shoot he mentioned how former ECW Champion, Jerry Lynn, had worked Pain and made him look great because, “Jerry Lynn could carry a bag a shit,” something he wasn’t able to do. I never forgot this quote and I used it as a cornerstone for me liking Punk. It showed his humility and simultaneously gave props to a very underrated wrestler in Jerry Lynn. I’ve seen many Brad Armstrong matches (if you haven’t, watch one). All due respect to BA, but his wrestling skills are “Bag of Shit” level. That night, I saw Punk and Armstrong put on a 15-minute match that arguably stole the show from a technical standpoint. So yes, even though he said he couldn’t, Punk can carry a bag of shit. This match is what REALLY sold me on Punk. The BEST wrestlers can wrestle a broomstick and tear the house down.
The first time CM Punk rubbed me the wrong way was during the 2010 Road to Wrestlemania. Punk was unbelievably hot. He was, without a doubt, THE company heel. With John Cena being the polarizing baby face he was, they could have led to an awesome clash at Wrestlemania XXVl. Punk ended up getting Rey Mysterio, and apparently wasn’t pleased with the booking. At the time, WWE was trying unbelievably hard to keep the Raw and Smackdown brands separated. Cena was a Raw guy and Punk was a Smackdown guy, so I don’t really blame the company for the “misbooking.” As for this past road to Mania, Punk walked out because he, once again, didn’t like the way he was potentially going to be booked on said card. Does this guy just want to be like Hogan and Kevin Nash during the NWO era and just book himself? I mean, we get it, you don’t like the way WWE is booking you, and you’re mad about it. But what’s the end game?
These insane Punk chants really started to catch steam when Raw came to Chicago on March 3, 2014. The crowd chanted for him seemingly the whole show. I guess I understood that. He was fresh off the leave and could have easily been welcomed back without anyone making much of an issue about it, and in Chicago no less. Personally, I was looking for him to show up in the crowd that night. God, that would have been weird and awesome. He didn’t come back that night, or the several upon several nights after that. Now the honeymoon is over. Yet, every week his name is chanted. If anyone reading this has chanted at a WWE live event for Punk over the last year, may I ask why? My reason for not chanting for him is pretty simple: There is a “Time Honored Tradition” in Wrestling that if you want to leave, you give the promoter notice in order for them to write you out of the script and for you to leave after you put someone over. Punk didn’t do this. He up and left, cancelled dates he was booked on, and most importantly deprived us of his presence at the company’s flagship pay-per-view. So, all this considered, CM Punk flaked. So why chant for him?
I’d argue the majority Punk chants are started by the same type of people in each respective city: newer wrestling fans, drunken bros, or frankly, people just looking to chant something. I’m not discounting these people’s voices. They’re opinion on Wrestling is worth no more than mine. However, I will say that if said fans lived through the Warrior flaking in the early 90’s or Steve Austin walking out in the early 2000’s, they wouldn’t be as quick to back Punk in this instance. They’d realize that Punk’s departure is selfish and though we should welcome him back with open arms, he should not be praised while not in the mix. Also, I think there are several fans that are looking at Punk’s anti-presence on the show like the “Pipebomb” Summer of Punk booking a couple summers ago. Not even close to the same thing! One was based around his character threatening to walk out, in the process building his character; one is based around him actually walking out. Also, does anyone else feel that his constant praise highjacks the show and us viewers get a looser show because of it? It’s annoying when promos are being cut and off topic CM Punk chants begin (check out Paige’s promo from last night), or when a match is building and one breaks out. I think we all feel a Punk comeback is starting to build, which is why this is pertinent. As we have all noticed, Punk is starting to get mentioned on Raw on a weekly basis in round about ways. He can easily come back at the Royal Rumble and be the main event come Mania. But is he deserving of that? What if he comes back and jobs to Lesnar, Bryan, or Cena clean? How pissed are people going to be then?
The Punk situation is an interesting topic. Probably not one worthy of my whole column, but alas…
In the words of JR, thanks for inviting me in to your home. Give me your thoughts below, and we’ll see ya next week!
Match of The Week
CM Punk vs. John Morrison, ECW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: ECW, SEPTEMBER 4, 2007
The match that started it all for Punk with him capturing his first title in WWE in a headline setting. A great technical match between two young blue chippers. The best match John Morrison ever had. The ridiculous pop at the end of the match has arguably followed Punk his whole career.