First things first: I want to say that CM Punk's promo last night on Monday Night Raw was the best promo that I have ever seen, period.
I also want to say that I do believe that it was a worked shoot. While I do believe that Punk believed a lot of what he said, the WWE would not have allowed it to go on as long as they did if it was real. The microphone would have been cut off right from the start. That being said, it does not take away in the slightest bit from the fact that it was pure genius of Punk and the WWE to do it.
A big reason people love the Attitude Era so much is that they could tune in to Monday Night Raw every week and expect something shocking and exciting to happen. They never knew what to expect, and that made it the must-watch television it was. They blended the line between fiction and reality. All the WWE needs to do is suspend your belief for a split second and have you questioning whether something was fake or real. If they do that, then they have succeeded.
That's what they did last night. I sat in front of my TV with my jaw dropped, not believing what I saw.
Punk started off by talking to John Cena, who was just getting up in the ring from being put through a table by R-Truth. He told Cena that he doesn't hate him; in fact, he actually really likes him more then most people in the back. He just hates the fact that people think he is the best, and that the one thing R-Truth is actually better at is kissing Vince Mcmahon's ass.
This is what sparked peoples interest at first, as if to ask, "Wait—doesn't Punk really hate Cena? He has always hated him on TV; I don't understand. Would they really allow Punk to say that about their golden boy Cena?" The WWE had people hooked right from here.
Then, one of the more surprising and shocking moments came when Punk said "You're as good at kissing Vince McMahon's ass as Hulk Hogan was. I don't know if you're as good as Dwayne, though. He's a pretty good ass kisser. Always was and still is. Whoops! I'm breaking the fourth wall." He then waved at the camera. Did he just mention Hulk Hogan, who had not been mentioned since he joined TNA? He just insulted the Rock; I cant believe they allowed that. There's no way they would. That is what everyone was thinking at the moment and no one can tell me otherwise.
Punk then goes on to talk about how he feels vilified because Paul Heyman saw something in him that no one else did and that yes, he is a Paul Heyman guy. He then mentions that Brock Lesnar was a Heyman guy and that he split just like he was splitting. This was another shocking moment in itself. People were saying "I have not heard Paul Heyman's name mentioned in forever. This has to be real; they would never allow him to mention Heyman."
Punk then says that unlike Brock, he is going to leave with the WWE Championship. This was the second time this was done during the promo, and one of the main reasons that the promo seems to be a worked shoot. There is no way CM Punk would actually believe he would leave the company with the title. Had he gone out and said all of those things without mentioning the title, it would be a whole lot more believable. The fact that he said he was going to leave shows that his promo was a work. It still does not take away from the pure genius of the promo, though.
He then goes on a rant about how he is not on any of the WWE's collector cups, promo magazines or even in the signature at the start of the show. He's not on the poster for Wrestlemania and he is barely being promoted. I believe that Punk is telling the truth throughout this segment, for sure. He is truly pissed off that he is not on any WWE promotional material and is pissed off that the WWE does not get behind him like it does for all its other stars.
Personally, I believe that Punk would be a great guy for the WWE to get behind. Like he said at the start of his promo, he is the best wrestler, best on the microphone and even the best commentator. While those statements may not all be 100 percent true, he is one of the best they have, and he proved it last night with this promo.
The look on Cena's face was priceless during this part of the promo. He looked shocked and confused at what Punk was saying. Great work by Cena making look as real as can be. He played the part to perfection.
Punk then plays his heel persona to perfection when he plays to the crowd and says they are as a big a reason for him leaving the WWE as anything else. They are cheering him, but they are the ones who buy the programs and sip from the collector cups.
Then, another shocking moment occurred when he said, "'I'm leaving with the WWE Championship on July 17th. And hell, who knows, maybe I'll go defend it in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Maybe... I'll go back to Ring of Honor." Punk then waves at the camera and says "Hey, Colt Cabana, how you doing?" The fact that he would mention other promotions suspended my belief for another second on whether or not it was real. The WWE was doing their job; they were suspending my belief, even if for a millisecond.
I then thought about it a little more and came to the conclusion that his mention of those promotions was not that big of a deal to the WWE. New Japan is not even in the United States, and Ring of Honor is a independent promotion that will never reach the level of the WWE.
The non-mention of TNA by Punk is what puzzled me. If he was really doing a shoot, he would have for sure have mentioned TNA. But since it was a work, the WWE would never mention their closest rival, no matter how insignificant Vince McMahon would like you to think he thinks they are.
Real or not, Punk had my jaw dropped to the floor at this point, and my eyes and ears were not leaving from the TV. Then, he said perhaps the most shocking line of the entire promo.
"The reason I’m leaving is you people. Because after I’m gone, you’re still going to pour money into this company. I’m just a spoke on the wheel. The wheel is going to keep turning and I understand that. Vince McMahon is going to make money despite himself. He’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire. You know why he’s not a billionaire? Because he surrounds himself with glad-handed, non-sensical, douchebag (censored) yes men, like John Laurinaitis, who’s going to tell him everything he wants to hear, and I’d like to think that maybe this company will better after Vince McMahon is dead. But the fact is, it’s going to be taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law and the rest of his stupid family."
Wow, just wow. He took a huge shot at Vince saying that he is not doing anything right and that he should be a billionaire and that he is not because he surrounds himself with people that won't tell him like it is. He mentions someone that the WWE audience has no idea about in John Laurinaitis. This shows that if it is a work, the WWE is nonetheless trying to make everything as real as possible by bringing names in that will confuse people.
Of course, the most shocking line in the promo was his mention that the company will be better off when Vince McMahon is dead, but that it will be taken over anyway by his idiotic daughter and doofus son-in-law. I could not believe that he took a shot at Vince, Stephanie and HHH like that. Work or not, I was shocked at the fact that they would even let him say those things about all of them. Pure genius by Punk and the WWE staff for allowing that to happen. Once again, that second of disbelief came over me, and that's all that it needed to do.
Then came the end of the promo. He say's that he has a personal story about Vince McMahon to tell you and mentions that they do this whole anti-bullying campaign. His mic then cuts off suddenly.
What the hell just happened? Punk looked pissed and continues to try to talk into the microphone. He then says he is being silenced and yells into the camera that he is the best that they have, the best. Great work again by the WWE to make it seem real by cutting off the mic. In reality, I know that if this was real, they would have cut him off much sooner, but still, this was great work by Punk and the WWE to play it off like this.
I do not know the WWE's ultimate plan in regards to the status of Punk. But I do know that they are finally doing something that is catching our eyes as fans. They have everyone talking the next day about something that happened on Monday Night Raw. There has not been something talked about like this in a very, very long time.
This promo shows that the PG Era can work if done correctly. Let people say "ass" and bring reality back into the storylines. It does not have to be as over-the-top as the Attitude Era, but don't let the PG rating limit the product creatively. Let guys go out and cut their own promos like Punk did. I do believe that the promo was less than entirely scripted. It would have been extremely hard to memorize all that he said. More than likely, they gave him a few key points and said go out there and talk, just like they used to do in the Attitude Era.
All in all, bravo to the WWE and Punk especially for entertaining me and keeping me in shock and disbelief, for even just one night.