When CM Punk publicly announced that on July 17th his contract with WWE was finished, the company had the best storyline it had in ages.
At first, WWE Creative took that ball and ran with it. On an episode of RAW, Punk came out and bashed everything he could about the WWE, from the talent, to the bosses, to the fans, and the McMahon family. That one promo brought back flashes of one of wrestling's golden ages, the "Attitude Era."
Punk said and did things that were not allowed by wrestlers during the current "PG Era."
First he came out wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt, appearing at an event with any wrestling attire that is not your own is a big 'no-no' in the company.
Then he threw out a few curses, something which has certainly been curbed since the "PG Era" started.
He mentioned former wrestlers, wrestlers in other promotions and other wrestling companies.
He said the words "wrestler" and "wrestling," which were recently banned from the WWE because they feel they are not a wrestling company but an entertainment juggernaut.
After this tirade, Punk had the IWC buzzing. I found myself asking: 'Was that real, or just another part of the show? It had to be real, he just broke EVERY rule in wrestling!' And the best promos are the ones that seem real.
In the following weeks, Punk demanded an in-ring contract negotiation with Vince McMahon, and when those fell through, he predicted that he would defeat John Cena and leave the WWE with its most prized possession: the WWE Championship.
Could he really do it? Could CM Punk beat the odds and actually defeat "Super Cena" at a Pay-Per-View with the title on the line?
At the Money in the Bank PPV he did just that. He took the title and ran. Questions of what would happen now were flying around the IWC.
The next night on RAW there was no CM Punk and no WWE Championship. Both were out and hitting the social media world, with Punk tweeting pictures of himself and the Championship belt at various locations.
This is one of the smartest things Creative could have done. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are some of the best ways for wrestlers to keep in touch with their fans and for the WWE to see what their fans want.
For example, when Punk demanded that McMahon bring back the discontinued WWE ice cream bars, it immediately became a trending topic on Twitter. Look what social media has done for Zack Ryder's career. He is a YouTube sensation with his "Z! True Long Island Story" skits, and the fans love him...now he is Teddy Long's assistant on Friday Night Smackdown. The "Ryder Revolution" is in full effect and the Broskis have control of Friday nights.
It was great. Wrestling was starting to become "cool" again. People who didn't watch it knew what was going on. Wrestling was mainstream.
Last week on RAW, things were looking good. The tournament to find the new WWE Champion was down to the finals and John Cena was nowhere to be seen. Finally, someone else would get a chance to be on top and prove that they can carry the company for awhile.
Then WWE took a turn back to their old ways. Cena was given a title shot against newly-crowned champion, Rey Mysterio.
Just as always, Cena came back from the brink of defeat and beat Mysterio to win the title yet again.
Then CM Punk came out of the back with the real WWE Championship and raised it in the face of the faux-champion.
At first there was elation that Punk was back on WWE programing, but after that elation came confusion.
Why would WWE go through such hard work and hype up Punk's departure from the company just to have him return a short two weeks after leaving with the title?
I get they want a big draw for their biggest PPV of the summer, Summerslam, but why waste such a beautifully well-thought out and constructed storyline, the best storyline they've had in years, to have it sizzle out when they could have made it much, much bigger?
Creative could have went so many different ways with this storyline that is barely a month old. Punk could have shown up in the audience to several WWE events with the real title, cost Cena the title, have Cena try and hunt down Punk at various locations, just to name a few. Having Punk return so soon killed this well-crafted plot.
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