Welcome to The World's Most Dangerous Column, the Sunday home for your favorite 411Mania News Report's favorite 411Mania News Report!
If you're looking for a positive spin on the current world of pro wrestling, you've come to the wrong place homey. If you're ready to rant about the recent happenings, come on in.
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We're gonna work backwards here and talk about CM Punk first. You might have heard that a very dissatisfied CM Punk had a meeting with Vince McMahon 30-minutes before Raw went on air (meeting timing was reportedly not Punk's fault), and the results was CM Punk "going home" and being removed from all advertising and stories.
It was interesting to read and hear on Twitter about the lack of CM Punk on Raw. I watch on DVR, so I knew he wasn't appearing when I watched it. I can't say that I missed him. That's not a knock on CM Punk—I'm a big fan of his. But I didn't finish Raw thinking "Gosh, that show really needed some CM Punk!"
There are three major ways to look at this story. I honestly don't know which one is right and which one is wrong. It's fun to get wrapped up in conspiracy—but since the year turned 2014, the dirt sheets have been mostly right. It's easy to blame the WWE—they're what's wrong with professional wrestling, err, sports entertainment anyway, right? But you also have to look at CM Punk and see where he's wrong.
I don't know where to go, so let's take all three.
Stance #1 – This is an elaborate work.
This is the fun one. This has to be a work, eh? CM Punk is famous for his Pipe Bomb promo of three years ago. It caused a surge in popularity and got people talking. Let's start with some facts.
It's been reported that CM Punk's deal runs out in June. That's important because the promo I embedded above is from 2011. June 27, 2011 to be exact. If he signed in June 2011, then he was signed before any of the (WWE version) Summer of Punk started.
Pipe Bomb? Under contract.
Money In The Bank vs. John Cena? Under contract.
Comic Con appearance? Under contract.
In CM Punk's own documentary he says he signed a new deal at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view, which puts his deal in a July-to-July cycle. So what is it? Which one is the lie and which is the truth?
Maybe the deal actually runs out in July, but they just want us to think it's in June. Why? WWE Payback, that's why! The company's June pay-per-view event just so happens to be emanating from...Chicago! June first at the Allstate Arena, to be exact.
Raw also comes to the same arena on Monday, March 3. This is a week and a day after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Know why that's important? Because it's also a week after the launch of the WWE Network.
Know why that's important?
Because it's also the end of the one week free trial. Raw is in the WWE's craziest city at the end of the free trial to the WWE Network, and CM Punk is a huge question mark.
Imagine the scenario: the WWE refuses to mention CM Punk (which they tried to do last time—and failed...miserable). He slips from memories, only slightly. CM Punk then does a run in, through the crowd, at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Everyone tunes in for Raw, and the hard sell goes on. They promise updates throughout the week, providing them on the WWE Network—for free—to everyone.
Monday we learn, via the WWE Network, that CM Punk is in Chicago for Raw. During Raw we learn that The Authority, Triple H & Stephanie McMahon—or even Vince McMahon himself—have afforded CM Punk time to address the crowd…AFTER Raw. It won't air on the USA Network, but it just happens to air live on the WWE Network! Raw ends with Punk's entrance, and everyone races to their digital devices to finally sign up for the network and hear the latest Pipe Bomb.
After reading that you might think I'm crazy. Am I? Or am I brilliant, because you know that shit would work, son!
In the wake of all this speculation, there is a report from The Examiner that this is all a work. Now, if you read this guy from The Examiner, you'll see he makes Dave Meltzer look like he's literally reporting live from the WWE booking meetings. Read his past headlines, and you'll see that he has no freaking clue what he's talking about.
(And honestly, neither do we!)
Stance #2 – This is all the WWE's fault.
Yet another easy stance to take. I mean, how can the WWE expect CM Punk, a very passionate and motivated pro wrestler—not a sports entertainer, mind you—but a pro wrestler, sit back and watch as The Rock, Brock Lesnar and now Batista swoop in and grab the prime WrestleMania main event matches.
Sure, CM Punk had his 20+ minute classic with Chris Jericho. And sure, he was slated to face (and likely go over) Triple H at ‘Mania. But gosh darn it, CM Punk should be in the main event of WrestleMania! And if it weren't for Vince McMahon's "idiot daughter" and his "doofus son-in-law," we'd have just that!
Internet meme says it all?
It's so easy to see where CM Punk is coming from. He's "The Best In The World," right? (He's not, Daniel Bryan is.) He doesn't deserve to have "his spot" given to someone else! He earned it! He fought for it! Guys like Batista and The Rock, they had their chance! They left to make movies and now it's time for the guys of today like Punk and Daniel Bryan!
And see, Punk's not being selfish here, either. Nope! He's the Voice of The Voiceless, remember? He's standing up for the Daniel Bryans, Dolph Zigglers and Antonio Cesaros of the world. Someone has to vouch for the Zack Ryder, Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel, why not Punk?
The "fact" of the matter is, what CM Punk is saying is right, and I know Vince McMahon has GOT to be listening!
Stance #3 – This is CM Punk's fault.
Face it folks, the reports are true. (Which reports?) CM Punk has been miserable since Day One. Ever since he signed on with the WWE in 2005, he's been held down by the man, set up to fail time after time after time. (Yet he still signed, and re-signed.) It took Paul Heyman and Shawn Michaels to save CM Punk's WWE career, and that only got him so far.
CM Punk should be upset, he's only a 5-time former world champion. That's one less than Batista! And let's not forget that fact that during CM Punk's 434-day run as WWE Champion, John Cena & The Rock headlined WrestleMania ahead of him, and Brock Lesnar was brought in to gain more mainstream attention for the company.
The WWE obviously has no faith in CM Punk (despite giving him a "live mic" with no script on multiple occasions—and despite letting him carry the most important title in the company for over a year!) or he wouldn't have lost two straight matches to The Rock. They can't trust him (even though he was trusted to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29).
Finally there's the fact that the Divas division is stale. Not in the ring, but in the fact that CM Punk has already banged all of them. They need to bring up new
And dammit—HE NEVER GOT HIS WWE ICE CREAM BARS!
What's The Big Answer???
So what is it, Greg? Is CM Punk right? Is he wrong? Will he be back?
Listen people, CM Punk does have some legitimate gripes. So does Dolph Ziggler. So does John Cena! Everyone has gripes in the WWE, all to varying degrees of seriousness. But you know what they do? They talk about them! Not publicly, not via Twitter—but in an office, behind closed doors. Then they take a break to cash their six-figure paycheck!
CM Punk doesn't do that, he takes his gripes public. When he doesn't get his way, he walks out on the company at the start of the biggest three month stretch of the wrestling year. That just doesn't sit right with me. Maybe he has some really legitimate complaints. But he's easily pulling in over a million-dollars per year, he's nailing AJ Lee (and countless other Divas before her), and he's an icon in professional wrestling.
Many think he's doing this because he's so passionate about the business. I think it's because he's a big baby who isn't in the main event of WrestleMania. Hasn't that been his complaint for the past few years? Apparently, a win over Triple H (the biggest heel in the company) isn't good enough for Punk. He needs more, he needs to be front and center even if the marketplace clearly puts him at #3 behind Daniel Bryan and John Cena.
CM Punk will be back. You see, he decided to leave during The Road To WrestleMania. Which will backfire on him, because he'll soon be forgotten. Not forever, but we'll stop talking about this in a few weeks. He'll stop getting mainstream media calls, he'll stop being the unsung hero of the WWE. Then...he'll come back. Maybe at Elimination Chamber, maybe at WrestleMania, maybe at Payback. He's gone away, but he will be back. As soon we stop caring that he isn't there.
But there's an important point that everyone seems to be missing—CM Punk walked out on his fans. He basically said that the fans only get to see him perform when he's being booked his way. Do you think "Macho Man" Randy Savage liked needing Hulk Hogan's help to win the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IV? Do you think Randy Savage liked being turned into a jealous bitch on the road to WrestleMania V? Do you think he liked playing second fiddle to Hogan during his entire year as world champ? Nope. But he did it. He didn't complain. He didn't walk out.
CM Punk doesn't deserve to do his shitty rendition of the Macho Man Elbow anymore. Even if you come back, don't do it. It sucks anyway.
You see, CM Punk forgot the most important thing about being a WWE employee:
No one—NO ONE—is bigger than the WWE.
Not John Cena...not Randy Orton...not Daniel Bryan...not The Rock...not Brock Lesnar...not Batista...
Not even you, CM Punk.
A tradition started at the end of each point when I wrote The Wrestling 5&1, "You Decide!" is your chance to weigh in on a major question facing professional wrestling each week. Vote once per hour, and leave your opinions in the comments section!
The biggest story of the week—and year to date—is the apparent departure of CM Punk from the WWE. As of today, how do you view CM Punk?
Voting closes Wednesday night!
The Royal Rumble is nearly a week old, and I can tell you—this thing has not aged well!
The show got off to a hot start with the Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt match. In one encounter, the WWE cemented Bray as a major player for years to come. That was further solidified later in the show (more on that in a moment).
Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show was an outright squash, furthering the proof behind the internet reports of a Lesnar vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania XXX. #BrockWinsWeRiot
After two matches, the show isn't bad—not at all. You had a good squash win for Lesnar, and an awesome Daniel Bryan-Bray Wyatt match. It seemed like things were headed in a great direction for TNA.
But I remember Bound For Glory!
(Okay, this is a 2011 reference. But if you look up my thoughts on that show you'll see that it applies here!)
Instead of throwing out some Divas or another filler match, the WWE decides to give John Cena and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton the better part of an hour to do their thing—and they did it well.
Just well. Not good, not great, but not terrible either! The problem here is that an okay match ate up nearly 40-minutes of television time, and it had a cheap finish (after weeks of billing regarding the clean finality of this match). The Wyatt Family's interference made sense, and the attack on John Cena was exciting. But man, did it ever kill the crowd!
Yes, this was a case of a crowd hijacking a match. But it's because of what the WWE gave them. Last month we had these two man in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. What follows it up? A Traditional Wrestling Match?!?! If you're going to have a long drawn out match, at least make it 2 out of 3 falls or something!
This was a major miscalculation on the WWE's part. The WWE main event style is getting old, and the fans let them have it. But the event was salvageable. At this point there was one bad match, but it's the freaking Royal Rumble! The Royal Rumble match itself is a favorite of fans worldwide, and a great Rumble would turn this around and allow it to be called a good-to-great pay-per-view.
The WWE put on a good Royal Rumble match, but it featured one major miscalculation: it didn't include the most over guy in the company. Daniel Bryan, the most obvious choice for #30 since John Cena's surprise return in 2008, didn't even enter the match.
Now, I've heard the opinion that there was no reason to have Bryan in the match if he wasn't going to win it. But why not? Couldn't you say the same about CM Punk? If the original WrestleMania plan was Bryan vs. Sheamus, what better way to kick it off? Really, any program for Bryan could be started with his Royal Rumble elimination.
Batista won the Rumble, and it was a result that the crowd hated. While I don't want him in the WrestleMania main event, this isn't big Dave's fault—he was an innocent victim this one.
The decision to keep Daniel Bryan out of the Rumble, and to have a non-factor enter at #30 really killed things for this Rumble. Now, if the company decided to go all the way with the Roman Reigns push and have him actually win the thing? Royal Rumble saved. Instead the WWE put two bad decisions together in the Rumble, which followed the poorly received Randy Orton-John Cena match.
Add them all up and the amazing Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt match is lost in the shuffle—this Royal Rumble is a failure. In fact, I'd call it a bigger failure than most. Why?
I know many readers hate when I use that word, but it rings true here. I love seeing a promotion reach its potential, or come as close as possible. I've held it against TNA in the past, and I'm holding it against the WWE now.
Allow me to explain potential means in this instance. When you take a roster, put them on a certain event, create an atmosphere and build to something, you've created potential. If it's met, you've found some great success. When it's missed? Failure.
Take it from a scale of 1-100. The Royal Rumble likely had the potential to hit a 90. Cena vs. Orton was doomed from the start. Show vs. Lesnar was likely going to be a Lesnar victory that wouldn't factor into many fans' opinions of the event. Wyatt vs. Bryan had a ton of potential and met it. And the Royal Rumble is always loaded with potential. But if they had the potential to hit a 90, they missed it, likely hitting a 75/90.
Look at last Thursday's Impact Wrestling. You're revealing an investor and pushing Joe. Let's give it a potential of 80. TNA came close to reaching that potential, hitting (for me) a 75/80.
Same "score," a 75 for both shows. But TNA came much close to meeting their potential, whereas the WWE didn't.
IF you need a better way to look at potential, look at as my expectation level going into a show. For the Royal Rumble, I expected a 90, and got a 75. My "disappointment factor" was 15 (90-75). For Impact Wrestling. I expected an 80, and got a 75. My "disappointment factor" was 5, three times that of the Royal Rumble!
I know I said there wouldn't be math (I didn't, actually). But I want you to understand where I'm coming from. Maybe 90 was too much to expect from the Royal Rumble? I know the internet told me Batista was going to win, but the potential still exists.
So Ryback becomes the most entertaining wrestler on Twitter, and he's still hated by the Internet Wrestling Community?
In wrestling today, there is no show quite like Raw. Giving us moments and memories that we will cherish forever, and some we'd rather not ever recall again. This space is the chance to look back in time, each week, to a Raw memory.
I need to take a break from RAW to show you this video. It's Dolph Ziggler on the WWE App after his loss to Antonio Cesaro on Friday's Smackdown. It's got the WWE logo on it, so you know it's an approved promo. But it seems to come from the heart, and I hope it leads to something better for him.
Have a match or a moment you'd like to see here?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
DeMarcette #6, and "co-co-hostess" of the Greg DeMarco Show, Su Yung!
Follow Su on Twitter at @realsuyung!
Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, drop a line in the comments, and until next time...