WWE fans have been voicing their displeasure more frequently than ever before. It used to be contained to "Cena Sucks" chants during segments with the company's golden boy. Now it's extending to JBL, Randy Savage, Jerry Lawler chants during boring matches. Chants for the absent CM Punk are even causing WWE to change the pacing of promo segments.
This Monday night, WWE will face its most hostile crowd yet when it arrives in Chicago for Raw. The hometown of Punk has become a hotbed of discontent with the WWE product. The city and its fans have taken on the defiant personality of their favorite hometown hero. If you think fans chanting Boo-tista in the face of the company's supposed returning megastar is a problem, watch Monday night to see how bad things can get.
I'm not talking about fun-loving Fandango-ing. I'm expecting vulgar chants with four letter words that violate Bleacher Report's standards, and most certainly, won't fit into WWE's PG-friendly programming. WWE officials will likely take away a record number of fan signs prior to the show, which will only incite most fans to be louder and more obnoxious than before.
While WWE likes to burnish it's social media acumen, there is a growing trend online in the last day, and I'm not discussing the #YESMovement, though these Twitter users are likely fans of Daniel Bryan. The tag #hijackRAW has flourished in the last 24 hours as fans have come together in hopes of seeing things get ugly Monday night.
The WWE Universe's support of Bryan forced the company's hand when the Flying Goat was elevated to the main event of SummerSlam. Most were even thrilled when he was inserted into a storyline with Triple H and Randy Orton over the WWE Title. As months have worn on, though, they've grown weary of the never-ending storyline that doesn't appear to have any payoff in sight.
This feeling of neglect among the WWE's most passionate, die-hard, long-term fans was alleviated by the thought that CM Punk would win the Royal Rumble. He had been primed during the weeks leading to the event as an odds-on favorite. That was until Batista arrived and snatched the prestigious honor away from the Straight-Edge Superstar.
The 24 hours that followed were a time of despair for many across the Internet Wrestling Community. First, Bryan lost to Bray Wyatt. Then Bryan wasn't entered into the Rumble at all. Then Batista won the Rumble. Then fans watch Raw and wonder, "Where was Punk?" Then the news breaks that nobody wanted to hear but still surprised no one: Punk took his ball and went home.
Fans have felt jerked around and ignored for the last six months. Heck, many have felt ignored since "Cena Sucks" chants started drowning out pops for Cena four years ago. Now, they're mostly numb to the sugar-coated Cena-explains-the-storyline promos.
Now, WWE is about to walk into a buzzsaw in the Windy City. Chicago is going to do its worst to destroy the flow of the program mere weeks before WrestleMania. WWE may think trotting out Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker will keep them on the good side of Chi-Town fans, but it will likely only lead to worse shenanigans. And no, Aaron Paul showing up to plug his action movie won't make a lick of difference.
If for no other reason than to watch the crowd, Monday Night Raw is going to be an interesting show to watch this week.