While a week has passed since WWE Champion CM Punk ventured into the crowd at the close of Monday Night RAW and walloped a fan, it is still a major topic of conversation amongst wrestling fans. Regardless of whether or not Punk was in the wrong, the one thing that is certain is that security has to be much more aware in such situations moving forward.
It's one thing to send a super face like John Cena into the crowd as the fans are going to embrace him, but it's a whole different issue when a heel is in the same situation. Punk had been insulting the crowd all night long, so it had to be expected that the fans wouldn't act too favorably in that situation.
Rather than having a cavalcade of security guards in the crowd to isolate Punk from the fans, there was nary a helping hand to be seen. That led to Punk being in a potentially dangerous situation as he was pushed around by several fans, which ultimately led to him snapping and lashing out.
I have been very vocal about Punk reacting incorrectly to the situation, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it was completely his fault. I understand that Punk felt surrounded, however, the smarter move would have been to remove himself from the situation by walking down a couple steps away from the fans who were pushing him.
Punk decided to take matters into his own hands, though, and that simply isn't appropriate when you consider that Punk is one of the faces of the WWE and is a guy who needs to behave in a certain manner in order to properly represent the brand. He should have been the bigger man, but he stooped to the level of the fans who were pushing him.
With that said, the WWE and its security team shoulder much of the blame in this situation as well. There is almost always a massive security presence when a wrestler goes into the crowd, but it almost seemed like they were totally unprepared when Punk did it. I suppose it's possible that Punk brought it upon himself to go in the crowd, but I doubt it.
One would have to think that security was tipped off about when and where Punk would be entering the crowd, but they dropped the ball for whatever reason. When a wrestler steps outside his domain and into that of the viewing audience, then some physical contact is to be expected. It can't be totally stopped, but having a bunch of security in the area would have made it a much safer environment.
While having wrestlers go through the crowd isn't a weekly occurrence, it happens fairly often and the appropriate measures are almost always taken. Security is generally excellent for WWE events, but it has been lacking in recent weeks with the Punk incident as a prime example.
There was another potentially dangerous situation a couple weeks prior, as a fan entered the ring during a Ryback match. Ring announcer Justin Roberts intercepted the fan before he could get totally inside the ring, perhaps saving him from the beating of his life at the hands of the monstrous superstar.
Arenas across the United States take very thorough and precise safety measures to ensure that everything goes smoothly, but sometimes there are threats that slip through the cracks. Had the fan who charged the ring been wielding a knife, gun or other weapon, things could have gone horribly wrong. The same can be said about the Punk incident as it isn't out of the realm of possibility that a fan in that area had a potentially dangerous object in tow.
Regardless of how careful we are these days, it's best to expect and prepare for the worst. Security obviously had no intention of doing that last week as Punk was left to fend for himself. Both he and the fans could have acted more appropriately, but the lack of a buffer in the form of security was a major issue.
I'm guessing that the WWE might refrain from sending wrestlers into the stands for a while in order to let the Punk incident blow over, but the next time a decision is made to send a superstar into hostile territory, the WWE and its security team had better be much more prepared to handle it.