The minute Jerry Lawler lay lifeless on a stretcher, the WWE began to see dollar signs. CPR videos, Twitter promotion, for-profit merchandise, interviews and now enviable heel heat were all made possible the day the King almost died.
The WWE's capitalization on Jerry Lawler's ailing heart already has them as the front-runner for Dave Meltzer's undesirable award for Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic. If this tactic were a presidential candidate, Monday's stunt would be the equivalent of carrying Ohio.
If ever there was a justification for being on Twitter while watching RAW simultaneously, Monday night's heat-baiting segment involving CM Punk, Paul Heyman and Jerry Lawler was it.
The WWE continued to tastelessly go where you knew they would eventually go, as Jerry Lawler returned from a real-life heart attack only to fall back in (story) line as the hottest angle of the night commenced at his heart's expense.
Polarizing reactions ranging from "LOL" to "WTF" rained down from Twitter as CM Punk relentlessly mocked Jerry Lawler's near-death experience. The segment built to a crescendo with Paul Heyman suffering an animated heart attack that was as staged as it was hilarious.
The outrage on Twitter tells a grand, profanity-laced story, so let's not waste any more time exploring some of the desired reactions from you fine fanatics:
I'm a huge cm punk fan but they better not use the kings heart attack in a storyline— YaboyKB (@yaboykb10) November 13, 2012
OH GIVE ME AN EFFING BREAK. The man JUST got back from a freakin heartattack and d---wad CM Punk wants to harass him already!?!? #RAW— Will Young (@wfyoung3) November 13, 2012
CM PUNK IS SO RUDE. HE'S SAYING THANK YOU AFTER ALMOST DYING A HEART ATTACK AND YOU INTERUPT. I LOST ALL RESOECT FOR PUNK IM D O N E— was @xxnarry_mexx (@XxNarry_MexX) November 13, 2012
This dude just had a heart attack and this d-------g and his p---y wagon Paul Heyman comes out. #WWE— Athena (@TeamRobbieCano) November 13, 2012
The social media can of worms, for better or worse, was further opened by B/R's own Arda Orcal here. But you get the point.
The array of controversy surrounding CM Punk's exploitative tirade on Lawler is exactly what the WWE wants. Legitimate anger? Lucrative heat? Punk apologists? Wrestling purists? Fanatics? Contrarians?
Line them up.
All of us have been sucked into their sports entertainment vacuum to drum up conversation covering all angles of a very bold angle, and with Survivor Series just days away, that's how it aught to be.
Jerry Lawler, a man notorious for not taking himself too seriously, clearly gave the WWE his blessing to go forward with this sensitive angle the same way he did last year when his mother's passing was made into a storyline during WrestleMania season.
We live in an era where vociferous Internet wrestling fans defiantly cheer the heels. This vocal pocket often influences live crowds during televised events and on pay-per-view, much to the WWE's dismay.
CM Punk's actions were simply a byproduct of a top heel digging down deep for the same elusive universal heat that was once commonplace for villains like "Ravishing" Rick Rude and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.
Some have tried to lump in Vince McMahon's binder full of cheap shots at Jim Ross' health condition as comparable to what happened Monday night.
The difference between the two is, oftentimes, Vince McMahon gives himself the green light to perform low-brow tomfoolery, while Jerry Lawler tends to be a willing participant in his own mockery.
Following an episode of RAW that drew the top social media score on Monday night, despite being up against a competitive Pittsburgh Steeler game on Monday Night Football, the ends have already justified the means leading up to Survivor Series.