Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CM Punk - Blurring the Lines

There are few times in the modern era of Professional Wrestling (or Sports Entertainment as Vince McMahon wants you to say) when you aren't quite sure what you are seeing.

Shoot?  Scripted?  Half-shoot? 

If you happened to watch Monday Night Raw on June 27, 2011, you would have experienced one of those unique moments.

CM Punk by all accounts is one of the best all-around performers in the entire industry.  A true throwback in professional wrestling, Punk is unique, gritty, realistic, and also has an unpredictable factor to him that makes you want to watch him and not the rest of the show.  By industry standards, he is a true draw in an industry that has very few draws in this era.

When the camera rolled onto Punk during the latest edition of WWE's Monday Night Raw, you knew it was a special night right from the beginning.  Anyone who has been watching Punk for sometime knows that even though WWE is a controlled environment, he still finds ways to improv lines that most WWE employees wouldn't even think about. 

It all started when Shawn Michaels made his return to Monday Night Raw to promote his reality show.  Once the promoting was done for the Shawn Michaels Macmillan River Adventures show, Punk made his way to the ring with the new Nexus and microphone in hand.  Once in the ring, the usual back and forth microphone battle begun. 

Even though we have all seen this exchange many times before, there was one exchange that stood out above all the rest:

Shawn Michaels:  "You and I are not alike.  Sure, we have similarities.  We don't smoke, we don't drink, we don't do drugs…." 

CM Punk:  "….anymore."

Shawn Michaels:  "Fair enough."

Dialogue like this just doesn't happen in the more family friendly, PG environment that the WWE has produced in recent years.  Much of the content both in and out of the ring has been pretty tame as opposed to recent years.  Drug and sexual references are normally a no-no.  However, as previously stated, CM Punk doesn't necessarily abide by these restrictions.

Of course, it may not hurt that Punk has been rumoured to leave the company this Summer for quite some time.  (A rumour that is also Punks latest storyline)

Looking at the facts now:

    •    Throwback wrestling personality
    •    Superb mic skills
    •    Disgruntled performer talking about leaving (both on camera and off)
    •    Free reign on a live microphone

What happened at the end of RAW is something that hasn't happened in wrestling in a very long time.  With WWE Champion John Cena down in the ring, CM Punk grabbed a microphone, sat at the top of the stage, and began one of the very first "shoot" promos the company has seen in a very long time.

Here is the full CM Punk transcript below, courtesy of the Heyman Hustle (www.heymanhustle.com):

John Cena, while you lay there, hopefully as uncomfortable as you possibly can be, I want you to listen to me.  I want you to digest this because before I leave in 3 weeks with your WWE Championship, I have a lot of things I want to get off my chest.

I don’t hate you, John. I don’t even dislike you. I do like you. I like you a hell of a lot more than I like most people in the back.

I hate this idea that you’re the best. Because you’re not. I’m the best. I’m the best in the world. There’s one thing you’re better at than I am and that’s kissing Vince McMahon’s ass.
You’re as good as kissing Vince McMahon’s ass as Hulk Hogan was. I don’t know if you’re as good as Dwayne though. He’s a pretty good ass kisser. Always was and still is.

Whoops! I’m breaking the fourth wall! (Punk waves to the camera)
I am the best wrestler in the world.
I’ve been the best since day one when I walked into this company. And I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy. You know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar. And he split just like I’m splitting. But the biggest difference between me and Brock is I’m going to leave with the WWE Championship.
I’ve grabbed so many of Vincent K. McMahon’s brass rings that it’s finally dawned on me that there just that, they’re completely imaginary. The only thing that’s real is me and the fact that day in and day out, for almost six years, I have proved to everybody in the world that I am the best on this microphone, in that ring, even in commentary! Nobody can touch me!
And yet no matter how many times I prove it, I’m not on your lovely little collector cups. I’m not on the cover of the program. I’m barely promoted. I don't get to be in movies. I’m certainly not on any crappy show on the USA Network. I’m not on the poster of WrestleMania. I’m not on the signature that’s produced at the start of the show. I’m not on Conan O’Brian. I’m not on Jimmy Fallon. But the fact of the matter is, I should be.
This isn’t sour grapes. But the fact that Dwayne is in the main event at WrestleMania next year and I’m not makes me sick!
Oh hey, let me get something straight. Those of you who are cheering me right now, you are just as big a part of me leaving as anything else. Because you’re the ones who are sipping on those collector cups right now. You’re the ones that buy those programs that my face isn’t on the cover of. And then at five in the morning at the airport, you try to shove it in my face and get an autograph and try to sell it on Ebay because you’re too lazy to go get a real job.
I’m leaving with the WWE Championship on July 17th. And hell, who knows, maybe I’ll go defend it in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Maybe…I’ll go back to Ring of Honor.
(Punk looks at the camera and waves)
Hey, Colt Cabana, how you doing?
The reason I’m leaving is you people. Because after I’m gone, you’re still going to pour money into this company. I’m just a spoke on the wheel. The wheel is going to keep turning and I understand that. Vince McMahon is going to make money despite himself. He’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire. You know why he’s not a billionaire? Because he surrounds himself with glad-handed, non-sensical, douchebag (censored)  yes men, like John Laurinaitis, who’s going to tell him everything he wants to hear, and I’d like to think that maybe this company will better after Vince McMahon is dead. But the fact is, it’s going to be taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law and the rest of his stupid family.
Let me tell you a personal story about Vince McMahon alright. We do this whole (anti) bully campaign
Mic cut off.
Work?  Shoot? 

Does it even really matter?  Whether the heat from this promo is legit enough to keep Punk off of television or not, people will tune in just to see what happens next.
That's what wrestling (not sports entertainment) is about, isn't it?


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