Kudos to CM Punk for shedding light on a wrestling move that is supposed to be banned but somehow sneaked its way back into the wrestling conscience.
During their match on Raw Monday night, Punk reached into the wayback machine and hit John Cena with a classic Standing Piledriver. Usually the move has been considered a finisher, but in this case, it was one of a litany of moves each man brought out, much to the delight of the 17,000 fans in Dallas and the millions watching at home.
Since then, Punk’s Piledriver has received almost as much attention as the match itself. People could not stop talking about it—including Vince McMahon, who reportedly was spitting mad that the move was used.
See, the Piledriver is a no-no in WWE. It has been since shortly after Owen Hart almost ended Steve Austin’s career in a botched Piledriver in 1997.
But there is a special exception to the Piledriver’s ban. You have to get special permission from WWE management in order to use it. Otherwise, you could get reprimanded, even fired.
The Undertaker and Kane are the only wrestlers allowed by WWE to perform the in-ring maneuver. Undertaker’s Tombstone Piledriver is one of the more popular finishing moves among the WWE Universe.
It really should not come as any surprise that Punk would find a way to insert the Piledriver into the match. His character always tends to swim against the WWE current, so if anyone is going to use an illegal move in a match, it’s going to be CM Punk.
It’s yet another way of poking McMahon and WWE in the eye that Punk’s character does so well.
There is no doubt that the Piledriver is a dangerous move. All it takes is one misstep to cause some very dire consequences.
But can’t you honestly say that about any other wrestling move? The bodyslam can also be a dangerous move…just ask Bruno Sammartino.
Look at some of the high-flying moves that guys like Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara do. Imagine the possibilities if one of those moves went south.
Oh, that’s right. Mysterio’s 619 move legitimately broke Cody Rhodes’ nose.
What about the face-plant moves, like the DDT or the Skull-Crushing Finale? Or the Power Bomb? All of these moves give the impression that the victim is being lawn-darted through the mat, but we all know that is not the case.
We saw recently what happens when even the simplest move goes wrong. At a recent WWE house show, The Miz stumbled while he held Punk in a vertical suplex. Punk landed on his head awkwardly and got his bell rung for a few moments.
Punk executed the Piledriver properly Monday night. Cena’s head was in the correct position between Punk’s knees before Punk dropped him.
In Austin’s case back in 1997, his head was too far through Hart’s knees. When Hart landed the move, Austin’s head was driven hard into the mat.
Mistakes happen in WWE and everywhere else. Some of them may not like to admit it, but every person on the WWE roster is human and not infallible.
If McMahon did get mad as the reports indicated, it’s just like a coach getting angry at a football player for dropping a touchdown pass or a manager dressing down a third baseman for booting a ball and allowing the winning run to score.
If you are looking for any serious punishment for an infraction of the rules, then do not hold your breath. He’s CM Punk, for gosh sakes. He’s at the top of the top tier.
He may get a finger wagged in his face, but that is about all. It’s not like he is midcard talent, who likely would be fired so fast, it would take an hour for his shadow to find him.
Do not be surprised to see Punk try the move again, if for nothing else to just give the WWE fits. His character gets away with things, and he revels in that fact.
Punk is like the little kid you tell not to touch the stove because it is hot. But the kid touches it anyway.
Shoot, Punk practically lives on that stove.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.