Hi all in Bleacher land!
It has been a long while since I wrote an article. Some of that having to do with personal situations, and part of that having to do with the fact that little going on in wrestling has inspired me enough to comment on.
But the recent feud between CM Punk and John Cena as well as some of the great promos, dark and televised, have inspired me to opine about these two gladiators and about the feud itself.
I am starting off with CM Punk and I want to start off by saying that I am a huge John Cena fan. Not a huge fan a la "Little Jimmy" as R Truth would put it, but a huge fan nonetheless.
This will garner me a lot of abuse from the IWC, which is okay, too. Pile it on, I love getting "Hot Read" medals even if it is by people criticizing my choice of favorites or raving about how I am a mark or a rube. I say this so that those will understand where I stand when talking about CM Punk.
First off, CM Punk is right: he is the best. Even I, as an unashamed John Cena fan will tell you that in terms of wrestling ability, mic skills and ability to play a heel, CM Punk is about the best around.
I liked CM Punk from the beginning when he was a face, but wow, I have loved to hate him as a heel. In fact, I find him to be one of the greatest heels since Rowdy Roddy Piper, who I feel is one of the greatest heels of all time.
As to his gripes, he does have some legitimate ones, especially when it comes to how he's been booked. CM Punk has been like me at weddings: always catching the garter but still no ring on my finger.
He is a superstar and in the PPVs, but alas he has only briefly been at the front and center of things, when indeed he has been deserving of so much more, including being on the cover of WWE magazine (which he was in the beginning when he was a face).
Of course, being a heel, he should accept and expect not to be on the cover of WWE magazine as such tends to be the domain of the faces of the organization.
The one area where I must disagree with CM Punk is his being disgruntled by the fans' reaction. He is a heel. This is the fans' reactions to heels. What does he expect?
I get a bit annoyed, frankly at heels who get all bent out of shape at not getting fan support. You can't really have it both ways. Look, if you're a heel, the louder the boos, the more the hate, the better of a job you're doing. And few can do it better than CM Punk.
Wrestling fans owe a tremendous debt to the heels, whom I feel are the most important parts of a roster. Without heels, who would care about the exploits of faces? Where would Luke Skywalker be without Darth Vader, G.I. Joe without Cobra, Hulk Hogan without Roddy Piper, or John Cena without the plethora of heels who have been his foil. We love and cheer for the Face, but we would not have that joy without the Heel. In the dance that is Pro-Wrestling, they lead.
Despite the fact that he has legitimate gripes, I feel he has brought a bit of it on himself. He has been a great worker, a great professional, yes. But he hasn't been shy about knocking the company and the chairman. The fact that many of his points are valid is irrelevant.
Say what you will about John Cena, he has been loyal to the chairman and loyal to the brand. Some say this is brown-nosing. Maybe. But the fact is, no one ever wins prizes by knocking the boss or the company.
He wants to speak his mind, so be it. He wants to be an iconoclast, so be it. Don't get bent out of shape when those you criticize don't knock themselves out to give you what you want, even if you deserve it.
Overall, though, I have to say, losing CM Punk would be a tremendous loss to the company. Few can match Punk's skills and charisma, and heaven knows, we need some charisma and talent in the stale cracker that has become the WWE. I wish CM Punk well if he does leave. He will be sorely missed.
Final note; I like CM Punk's new look, with the short hair and beard. He looked silly before. But that's just me.
Again, I know that this will garner me abuse from the IWC, but I am a fan of John Cena, and I would be happy to tell you why. It's not because of his wrestling skills mind you. John's a brawler for the most part and he never tried to make himself out to be anything much else.
It's not because of his promo skills, though few could honestly say that he doesn't do a damn good job with the crap he's handed by creative. Overall, I find him to be entertaining and charismatic. But those aren't the reasons why I am such a big fan. These three reasons are:
1. Patriotism - I am a patriotic person. I am the son of immigrants who came to this country because they wanted to be Americans and love of country was instilled in me. Real or not (and all accounts say it is real), the patriotic sentiment expressed in Cena's character is, in my book, welcome in a media that has become, I feel, decidedly Anti-American.
2. Hustle, Loyalty, Respect - Is this such a bad thing? Is it such a bad thing to have a character who espouses the ideas of working hard, being loyal and being respectful? Corny as it might be for some, PG as it might be, a PG-ness that I am not crazy about myself, is this such a bad thing to teach our kids? To emulate in our own lives?
3. Love of the fans and the brand - Injury or no, day in, day out, John Cena wrestles for the fans. Could it be an act? Maybe. But if it is the case, I am happy to be fooled. I appreciate how Cena takes pleasure in a job well done, pleasure in doing the business of wrestling, the business of putting on a great show for the fans.
He gets how wrestling, as well as any form of entertainment, is about the fans. Baseball players make millions and yet have the nerve to charge money for signing a kid's baseball.
I respect the fact that Cena has love for all the fans, those who love him and those who hate him. He knows he is there and making the living he does because of the fans.
I am not (quite) the mark I may sound like here. I am not here to say that Cena is some great wrestler, but since when did that matter, really? Hulk Hogan was far worse and look at the career he had.
But Hogan makes the point, that in the business of wrestling, what counts is the character and the charisma. The average fan does not necessarily watch wrestling for the sake of wrestling. They watch it for the character and how that character makes them feel, be they heel or face.
Not everyone is going to be everyone's fan. But be honest about things. John Cena works his butt off, is dedicated to the business and the fans and puts on a good show.
As a Cena fan, I can be honest about how CM Punk is one of the best wrestlers and mic workers around. I feel others should give Cena the credit he deserves, even if you are not a fan of his wrestling skills or character, in ring.
Or take CM Punk's word for it:
In the final analysis, I love both these wrestlers for the individual roles they play. In the before mentioned dance that is Pro-Wrestling, you have the heel and the face. Here, you have two of the best.
I hope Punk stays, but if he doesn't, I hope wherever he goes, he will get the opportunity to dominate as he deserves to. And I hope that those reading this will think about what I've said about John Cena and that Cena gets a bit more of the respect that he richly deserves as well.
What do you think?