There’s been a lot of “will he/won’t he” talk leading up to tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw. Two months ago, CM Punk, like Steve Austin before him, took his ball and went home. There’s been a lot of speculation about the status of Punk since then, as well as the reasons behind him taking off. The general consensus is that it was a combination of nagging injuries and unhappiness with his current direction in the company. Punk has held radio silence since that day, but the WWE Universe and, more importantly, the Internet Wrestling Community, has definitely been torn on how to proceed.
Which brings us to tonight…Raw…Chicago.
Chicago is one of WWE’s most vocal crowds without Punk being on the card to begin with. With a lot of fan backlash over the booking decisions (namely those involving Batista and Daniel Bryan), many were looking to the overly vocal Chicago crowd to take WWE to task. With Punk gone, everything from hostile takeovers of the product by the fans to full scale rioting has been mentioned. WWE is apparently well aware of the plans to hijack the show…leading to the speculation and rumors that Punk will be making his return tonight.
We’re usually pretty Pro-Punk here at Ko@2, but I haven’t really wanted to take to the air too much over this because, honestly, I don’t know the whole story and I don’t feel the need to really speculate on a man’s personal decisions.
That being said, a lot of the Internet has been talking about it more than I ever could, so I wanted to weigh in on the reactions that I’ve been seeing over the last few weeks.
CM Punk doesn’t deserve our chants and praise because he walked out on us.
I hold this one as a “I don’t know the whole story, so I’m not going to judge either Punk or the WWE for their actions.” If Punk was legitimately hurt and that’s why he took time off, then why would I be upset at a man doing what was right for his body and his career? If it was due to booking, surely a man with such respect for Steve Austin would realize that Austin holds the night that he did the same thing as the biggest regret of his career. He left a lot of money on the table and spent 9 months at home not getting paid and leaving the WWE in a bad place without him. The argument can be made that Punk is committing career suicide by doing this, but, honestly, Punk always struck me as a man who really wouldn’t worry about burning bridges as long as he felt he was morally right.
At the end of the day, I don’t boo or cheer a man for the actions they lead outside of the ring. If I did, I’d cheer like a 5 year old boy every time John Cena came to the ring. I don’t, however. For me, what happens in the ring is all that is important (with one MAJOR exception, but this post isn’t the time or place for it). If you like Punk, cheer Punk. If you hate Punk, boo Punk. Let personal issues remain personal and don’t boo or cheer someone based on their career decisions.
If Punk comes back, he should be brought into the main event for the title.
Punk wants to headline Wrestlemania. He’s told us that many times over the last few years. He’s had huge matches over the last two Manias as well. One as champion, the other against The Undertaker…the man who ONLY wrestles at the Grandest Stage. Neither of those matches went on last. Both times, Punk was pushed aside for the returning “part timer,” The Rock. A lot of people believe that Rocky coming back stole a spot from a member of the current roster. That’s the argument with Batista headlining Mania this year.
Honestly, I never bought that argument with The Rock. The reason The Rock was given that spot is because no other wrestler on the active roster could generate the buys that Rock could. They weren’t in that upper echelon yet. As much as I love Punk, he’s not reached Rocky status yet. Neither has Bryan. Now, with Batista, I completely agree. There are many on the roster that have eclipsed Batista at his brightest. Daniel Bryan right now is hotter than Batista ever was. He is taking a spot that, truthfully, is rightfully Bryans.
There are a lot that believe that if Punk comes back and is given a spot in the title match, that he is no better than Rock or Batista. Now, shocker, this one I kind of agree with. Does Punk deserve a Wrestlemania main event? Without a doubt. Does he deserve THIS one? No. This one is Bryan’s. If anyone else is going to get entered into that match, it NEEDS to be Bryan. Punk entering that match, with no build up since no one has even said Punk’s name in two months, would make no sense and would still keep Bryan out of the main event match that he deserves.
Punk is the reason that Bryan is wrestling HHH at Mania. If he never left, Bryan would be in the title match!
This one I call straight BS on. If that title match spot was/is Bryan’s, then he’d go into it regardless of what Punk did. This comes from the rumored Wrestlemania card that featured Punk Vs. HHH. If Bryan’s now calling out HHH, then that HAS to be because Punk is gone, right? Wrong. Sure, it damn sure looks like that’s where they’re putting him on the Mania card, but I feel this is probably better than what they were going to give Bryan to being with (unless this was all a long build up to finally enter him into that match anyway). Remember, that same rumored Mania card that featured Punk/HHH also featured Bryan/Sheamus…a match that NO ONE wants. At least Bryan/HHH is a blow off to the current “Solid B+” story line. A match with Sheamus wouldn’t have had any reason to happen other than they have wrestled at before.
Punk isn’t keeping Bryan out of the title match. WWE is.
Wait…what? What does this one serve? Punk still doesn’t headline Mania. Bryan still doesn’t get the title shot we all want him to have. Why would this be an acceptable outcome at all?
Would I love to see the match? Yes. Should this be the outcome from this situation? Oh Hell No! It’s nothing more than wrestling fan masturbation. It doesn’t pay off any story, doesn’t move anything forward, and doesn’t address any of the concerns we have about either party. Plus, in Punk’s case, it STILL wouldn’t headline Mania as we’d still be left with Batista vs Orton.
Let’s hijack Raw tonight to show our displeasure!
I guess this is the part where I play the old man of the IWC, but I hate this idea. I think the idea of the crowd turning their backs to the matches and segments in the ring is entirely disrespectful. Is the WWE giving is something that the vast majority (or at least the vocal majority) doesn’t seem to want? Yes. However, at the end of the day, they’ve got your money already. If you want to make a statement about you not liking the product, stay at home. Don’t buy the PPV. Don’t give them your money. We can yell for CM Punk or Daniel Bryan all we want, but they’re not going to go deviate from their plan until they’re good and ready. I have been in “wait and see” mode for months with Bryan because I was sure that they would give him the title at Mania. Now that it seems like they’re not going with that idea, I’m convinced they’re just not going to pull the trigger with Bryan any time soon. I don’t think that we can chant for Bryan any harder than we do already…or voice our displeasure with their choice not to put the title on him any louder. I feel that chanting for other people or, God forbid, turning your back on the performers is incredibly disrespectful to the people in the ring. Is it Randy Orton’s fault Bryan isn’t wrestling? Is it Cena’s? Batista’s? No, at the end of the day, it’s Vince’s. If you’re unhappy with what Vince is feeding you, stop eating at his restaurant. Simple as that.
I’m looking forward to Raw tonight to see what happens. I’m still holding out hope that Bryan ends up in the title match. I’m holding out hope that Punk comes out tonight…hell, I still hold out the smallest shred of hope that he’ll bring Colt Cabana with him! I hope they setup Mania to be one of the biggest of all time…but, if they don’t pay off the way I want them to, I’ll go elsewhere. Chikara’s coming back in May. I’ve got thousands of hours of back catalog to watch on the WWE Network. Hell, I’ll watch NXT, because Arrival was the best thing that WWE has produced in years. But I won’t worry about the personal dealings of the in ring talent or worry about disrespecting the show in the ring.
But that’s just my two cents, I guess…