Coming off the best pay per view not named Wrestlemania that I’ve seen in many years Monday held so much promise. How would they incorporate CM Punk into a show he is “no longer” a part of *wink wink*. Okay first things first, I’m getting ahead of myself. I want to say there has never been a wrestler with a crowd in the palm of his hand quite like CM Punk had that Chicago crowd. My friend Tom and I were in awe of it and my friend Aaron texted me several times in the first few minutes with phrases like “hot crowd”, “never seen a crowd this amped”. I said in my previous column (and yes I’m aware I didn’t get a single pick right, so for the few of you that asked how I can be a genius and get every pick wrong, well I just can okay) the crowd would be electric. Well electric isn’t a strong enough word, I’ve never seen a crowd like that, the only crowd I’ve seen come close was at ECW One Night Stand at the Hammerstein Ball Room. The passion, the love for Punk, the hate for Cena, it was all pitch perfect. Sure those kids and ladies tried the “Lets go Cena” chant but it was crushed by the “Cena Sucks” chants. I want this match put in a time capsule and sent fifty years into the future when robots have taken over the world, just so we can show our fellow humans what passion looks like and that maybe with that kind of passion we’ll be able to overthrow our robot overlords. Punk was awesome, Cena was surprisingly really good, and the whole thing played out perfectly. I honestly didn’t think the WWE had the guts to let Punk “walk out” with the title. I thought for sure Del Rio would have come down to “save the day” for Vince, but a perfectly placed kick to the head stopped that dead in its tracks. Punk did everything perfectly, he fed off of the crowd, and he even gave back to them in ways I’ve only ever seen The Rock do. The “You can’t wrestle” chant, he stopped and asked if they were talking about him or Cena was spot on funny. So few guys have a sense for the moment like Punk and Cena do. Cena seems so much better when the crowd is 90% against him, he seems to focus and actually give it his all.
Now on to Monday, which was a weird show to say the least. Let me just say the tournament idea was a surprise, and to be honest I didn’t like it at first. What I liked though was the complete absence of Punk, for this story to work he needs to be off television for a little while and continue the story on Twitter, facebook, and youtube. Let the WWE “come to him” for the title back. Now a few weeks ago Punk changed the WWE’s “PG Era”, he changed it completely. He brought “realism” to a world that hadn’t seen it in a long time. Punk seemed so genuine in his verbal assault on the WWE and the world that it has created. Vince created the universe, but special talents evolve it, change it, and make it their own. Guys like Hogan, Austin, Michaels, Brett Hart, The Rock, HHH, Cena and now Punk. They all put their own stamp on the genre, and do things we haven’t seen before. Punk has hijacked the narrative, how can a guy who “walked out” with the title get his name chanted at a show he’s not even at? Punk resonates with fans in ways Cena never has. People who were disenfranchised by Cena and the weak PG era he lead fled the scene, and Punk brought them back. Punk did the best shoot promo I’ve seen since Mick Foley in ECW. The WWE built off of that momentum this week with another trip into “realism”. For the first time they admitted on air that HHH was part of Vince’s family. HHH came out in a suit and tie and looked legitimately uncomfortable. He announced that Vince was fired by the WWE board of trustees. It seemed so real, who knew Vince and HHH could actually act, for those of us that saw the Chaperone this came as a complete surprise. Vince’s tears looked real, HHH looked sick to his stomach, and the crowd seemed legitimately shocked. The WWE is trying to add real stories to the show that has been on autopilot for some years now.
My friend Aaron was disappointed by Raw; he felt they didn’t build off of Punk’s momentum. I can see his point, and from reading the message boards his opinion is shared by many. I have to give my trust Vince, HHH, Cena, and Punk. They have carried us into this storyline so perfectly so far that I have to give them the benefit of the doubt. I love the fact that HHH is back on television, and now he is in the seat of power. What will this mean for Vince? Is he going to stay relevant, or will he fade away? CM Punk called HHH an unflattering name, how will that sit with HHH now that he is in charge? Will they let Punk continue to be Punk? Will they let Cena continue to evolve; I mean he even backhandedly hinted he’d go to Impact Wrestling while in the ring with Vince. The WWE is heading into uncharted waters; the realism has never seemed so real. So, yes I am going to trust them, they have gotten us this far lets trust them to see this through. Punk got his chance and he changed everything for the better, Vince use to be a visionary, does he have another great story arch left in him? I think so; I think HHH, Punk, Cena, and Vince are going to do this the right way. They are going to take us places we haven’t been, and they are going to test the boundaries of realism every week. I for one can’t wait, and I hope you guys are as excited as I am.
One last thing before I go that has nothing to do with the Punk storyline but it kind of relates, it has to do with Daniel Bryan. I have never been as surprised as I was when I saw Bryan grad the money in the bank briefcase. It shows me that maybe Vince and creative are starting to believe in the smaller guys, that maybe the WWE Wellness Program has done away with the steroid era of wrestling. No longer will we see guys too big to believe, power houses that use to destroy guys like Bryan and bury them. Maybe Vince and creative see this and are more willing to give guys like Bryan, Miz, Punk, and other smaller guys a chance. Bryan has every tool to be a champion, but I never thought he would be in the WWE. Now there is a very good chance he will become one. Again the WWE in a very short time has changed what it is, and who they are going to back. They know the ratings are slipping, they know that the product was stale, so they have taken the whole product off autopilot and they are trying very hard to change course. Will it continue to get better? I don’t know but it has us talking about things excitedly, no longer are we on autopilot as fans, we are actually excited for every show. I can’t say I’ve been this excited in a long time. The WWE has me hooked 100% again in ways I haven’t been, and I know in my inner circle of wrestling friends they all feel the same way.
Thanks again for reading and if you want to get in contact with me you can do so by emailing me here: email@example.com or you can bug me via twitter @JaredGebhardt. As always, I try to get to every single email and tweet I get.
The Wrestling Genius: Jared Gebhardt