CM Punk's anti-establishment rant last year captivated wrestling fans who were tired of the same bland good vs. evil storylines that were sometimes too inherent in the John Cena era.
Riding the final traces of momentum from the previous summer's big Nexus storyline, Punk sat down Indian style, and gave what appeared to be an off-the-cuff shoot promo designed to stick it to the man.
However as the ensuing months unfolded, various authority figures and non-wrestlers,, most of whom were close to the McMahon camp, began to roll out, all of whom were curiously mentioned in CM Punk's promo.
We were even treated to a brief, yet still painful, era of People Power compliments of Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis, who CM Punk infamously referred to as a "D—bag."
Yes, it seemed like a sermon that could have started a revolution, but a deeper look may have revealed a possibly unintentional catalyst and more shrewd posturing for Vince and friends to shamelessly bask in the spotlight.
Key Quote: "You know why [Vince McMahon's] not a billionaire? It's because he surrounds himself glad handing, nonsensical d-----bag yes men like John Laurinaitis."
Few casual wrestling fans knew or cared to know who or what a John Laurinaitis was prior to CM Punk's scathing inclusion of the WWE Corporate mainstay during his June 27th promo.
Yet Big Johnny would go onto be featured on TV alongside Vince McMahon shortly after Punk's promo, and was even involved in the finish of Punk's instantly classic match against John Cena at WWE Money in the Bank.
Laurinaitis went on to assume power from fellow authority figure and McMahon disciple Triple H as Punk's promo seemed to be opening a bigger can of worms as time dragged on.
Laurinaitis became a focal point of wrestling storylines through his era of People Power as WWE RAW GM and the former Japanese wrestling export became the omnipotent general manager of both RAW and SmackDown before being "fired" earlier this month.
Key Quote: "I'd like to think that maybe this company will be better after Vince McMahon's dead, but the fact is it's going to get taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law."
Triple H had heard all he needed to hear in order to have an excuse to enter the WWE storylines and the Game would go on to have an adverse effect on the lightning in the bottle created by Punk's promo.
Triple H returned to the WWE as COO, and after a tearful promo where he announced the temporary firing of Vince McMahon, he would run RAW in a brief stint that saw him defeat CM Punk at WWE Night of Champions before being relieved of his duties as a result of a bizarre "Occupy RAW" angle filled with logical holes.
Juggernaut ESPN blogger and longtime pro wrestling fan Bill Simmons' frustration with Triple H's unnecessary involvement in the summer of Punk was a sufficient summary of frustration among wrestling fans:
"It's really out the window that sport and now wrestling, wrestling's comeback has also gone down the tubes it looks like because Triple H had to insert himself into the whole thing. God forbid, god forbid he just like ruined the Punk thing for a couple of months. Well, it was a good four weeks."
Stephanie McMahon was also in the crosshairs of Punk's tirade and, coincidentally enough, she made a small handful of cameos at WWE SummerSlam which featured Punk's rushed return match against John Cena.
Key Quote: "The fact that Dwayne is in the main event at WrestleMania next year and I'm not makes me sick!"
CM Punk took his opportunity with a live microphone to take a few seemingly parting shots at the Rock as he criticized the wrestling icon for being an "ass kisser" and undeserving of a main event spot at WrestleMania.
The Rock returned to WWE TV several months later to continue his feud with John Cena, where many of CM Punk's points were touched upon by Cena himself as the two went back-and-forth exchanging heated, personal barbs.
Of course, Rock went on to have a very good match with John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania XXVIII, and the pay-per-view is expected to break multiple box office records.
Key Quote: "I've been the best ever since day one when I walked into this company, and I've been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody wanted to admit."
Paul Heyman had been on a very lengthy sabbatical from professional wrestling, yet seeds of his imminent return may have been planted in CM Punk's promo as the WWE had begun to position themselves to land Heyman's longtime confidant Brock Lesnar.
Heyman and Lesnar were mentioned in the same breath by CM Punk, and shortly after Lesnar made his return following WrestleMania XXVIII, Heyman would follow suit as the two are currently embroiled in a summer storyline opposite Triple H.
Key Quote: You know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar, and he split just like I'm going to split."
Plans, not to mention rumors, for Brock Lesnar to return to the WWE seemed to have been in place months before Lesnar's memorable return to the WWE the night after WrestleMania.
CM Punk's controversial mention of Lesnar now seems to be yet another piece of posturing by the WWE to keep his name in their storylines in the event that he actually returned, which as we all know he has.
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