Pro Wrestling: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the CM Punk
It's been a long time since I last wrote for Bleacher Report.
Bear with me, I tend to reflect a little bit at the beginning of each of my pieces and anyone that has read my work knows that. It's not that there hasn't been anything to write about.
I just haven't felt like it.
I know, that's a lame excuse. The fact is, there are a lot more credible pro-wrestling writers on this site to cover that news, and I don't write unless my heart is 100 percent in it. For the last two months, my heart hasn't been in it.
I've more than had my fill of writing about TNA, and I've all but given up on the idea of constructive criticism. To be even more honest, WWE was drying up my passion just as much. They've been on cruise control for so long, I had forgotten what it felt like to really be a wrestling fan.
Then, CM Punk delivered the best promo I've seen in the past decade. That's right, since the Attitude Era was coming to a close.
I watched CM Punk sit on a stage, and work-shoot his way through an absolutely golden promo that tore to shreds everything delivered on a mic in the last ten years.
It wasn't that Punk had a fast tongue, like The Rock. He didn't get over with excessive swearing and vulgarity, like Steve Austin. It's because there was an element of truth in it.
Punk has always been known as a lightning rod for his outspoken views, and this was no exception. What got me wasn't just his near-flawless delivery, or even the content of the promo.
What got me was that Creative seems to finally "get it."
All of this criticism being thrown at them for years now—about throwing "professional wrestling" and "wrestlers" out the window, the language being far too soft, the story lines being formulaic and boring, and Creative ignoring the wills of the people—all of that went flying out the window two weeks ago, and now it seems that everything is fair game.
WWE has finally found a bit of a balance in the PG Era. They've brought back the attitude and edge and adult-friendly content without alienating the kids who make up a large percentage of merchandising revenue and without the excessive violence and sexual content that would violate their PG rating.
Punk is living proof that you don't have to tie your hands behind your back or be a colorful spot monkey to get over in the PG Era.
In one promo two weeks ago, and in two of them last night on Monday Night RAW, Punk broke pretty much every rule that you can break in a WWE promo.
He used real names, said the words "wrestler" and "professional wrestling", brought backstage names into the public spotlight, ran down the McMahon family on a personal level in a very legitimate sounding fashion, and mentioned two other wrestling promotions by name on live television, something that hasn't been acceptable since WCW folded.
I firmly believe that CM Punk has been re-signed, sealed, delivered, and had his brand new contract buried somewhere in a vault 400 miles beneath the South African deserts.
I just don't see how WWE would ever run something this prominent with a man who was honestly on his way out the door for good.
Jericho got punted off the roster, both Hardy's left unceremoniously and deservedly so, but CM Punk literally holds the entire wrestling world in the palm of his hand.
So without any further ado, allow me to run down the good, the bad, and the ugly of this entire situation and assess the effects it will have on not just the WWE, but professional wrestling as a whole.
The pros here are almost too numerous to list.
WWE has become exciting again for the first time in a very long time. Punk has singlehandedly and resoundingly proven his worth as a Main Event player and, in the process, provided what will likely be the only logical opportunity to ever turn John Cena heel.
Is the time finally right for John Cena to be turned heel?
Cena's own hometown crowd was cheering for CM Punk! Let's be honest, the majority of fans are more than ready for this particular trigger to be pulled, and many members of the IWC have been clamoring for years to see this.
There will never be a more practical time to turn Cena then right now.
Punk, with the overwhelming support of his hometown crowd in Chicago and with the wrestling world kissing his feet for making things interesting again, coupled with Vince McMahon, being publicly called out for favoring John Cena and Cena heading into next year's WrestleMania facing The Rock in his own hometown.
There simply won't be another opportunity like this ever again.
That's two major matches where Cena will be booed relentlessly. Considering that Vinnie Mac has been brought into this Cena/Punk story and the fact that The Rock will be the overwhelming crowd favorite next year, it just doesn't make much sense to not attempt a turn.
Simply put, if this gun is going to fire at all, do it this Sunday at Money In The Bank.
On top of all of this, Ring of Honor, Colt Cabana, New Japan Pro Wrestling and even WWE Ice Cream bars have all been trending on Twitter worldwide. With just a couple of promos, Punk has skyrocketed the stock of a talented friend of his, two smaller wrestling promotions and himself, and he made it look easy. Sheer mastery.
The same thing that happens every single time WWE manages to grab our collective interest (The original Nexus, the Cena/Barrett storyline, Sheamus upsetting Cena for the WWE title in his first attempt).
No matter which way you look at it, the last three times WWE managed to grab our interest with something unpredictable and different, they dropped the ball and went back to their safety zone before anything good could come of it.
Notice that, in all three of these last major shake-ups, John Cena was involved. This is not a shot at Cena. It's a shot at how Creative, and more specifically Vince McMahon, are afraid to do anything with him.
You can't begrudge John Cena. He's the top baby face for a reason and he's earned that spot, like him or not. He should be protected. He just doesn't need to be protected nearly as much as the WWE thinks he does.
John Cena is such a profitable personality that Vince McMahon is scared to do anything different with him. The consequences of that severely abused formula are coming out now and WWE is smart to be parlaying this into a storyline.
As CM Punk stated truthfully, John Cena has become a dynasty. The problem with this is that the "Underdog overcoming all odds" story line will only work for so many years before even the uneducated kids start to realize that Cena doesn't lose very much.
When Cena overcomes the odds every single time, the odds suddenly don't seem stacked against him. In fact, even the kids will eventually notice that any time John Cena has a match or defends the WWE Championship, its the other guy that seems like the underdog.
WWE has protected Cena and put him over every other guy in the company so many times that it's becoming like Undertaker's 'Mania streak; People are getting bored with it and won't invest in many challengers because they already know what the outcome will be, virtually every time.
The only difference here is that 'Taker's streak will never die. But John Cena as a dynasty is now out in the open.
This is the first time I can recall that particular verbal barb being shot at Cena and the way the two men played it out last night was solid gold.
Cena can't argue with anything Punk said because all of it is true.
Nevertheless, the one truly bad thing that could come about as a result of this is WWE's typical fail-safe game plan of throwing the world on John Cena's shoulders when they venture too far into "uncharted" territory.
Should WWE and Ring of Honor come to a mutual talent sharing and cross-brand promotional agreement?
This is where this scenario stops affecting just the WWE and starts affecting everyone else.
ROH and NJPW just took a skyrocket in terms of stock, just by being mentioned on the live broadcast of the most successful and well known wrestling promotion in the entire world.
With CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Tyler Black, and Jon Moxley all under contract and with the rumor mills ablaze over the potential signing of ROH's Kings of Wrestling, Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnolli, there is a huge potential here for a ROH/WWE talent agreement.
That sounds absolutely absurd in today's wrestling environment, but allow me to turn back the hands of time just a little bit.
In the late '90s, WWE and ECW had just such an agreement and the result was ECW's stock going up, WWE getting dream matches like Triple H vs Taz and everyone benefiting.
ECW wasn't large enough to be a threat to WWE and a talent agreement was beneficial for both sides. With ROH having a small fanbase and an infant new TV deal, such an agreement would be overwhelmingly beneficial for both sides.
If WWE is WWE and ROH is ECW, guess who plays the role of WCW?
The one company out of the three that isn't carrying its weight and is in the midst of dealing with an identity crisis: Total Nonstop Action wrestling.
Why is this ugly?
Because should WWE and ROH ever choose to ink a talent-sharing agreement and cross-branded promotion, TNA will go from being slightly irrelevant to completely inconsequential.
Now all I have to do is wait for those suckers at TNAsylum.com to find a way to retort.
Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below and follow me on Twitter @Sir_Quinn.
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