WithLeather's Best and Worst of Raw is a fantastic column and has inspired me to write my own thoughts on the wonderful world of wrestling. While I'll never be as funny or as insightful as Brandon this will give me a chance to write more than I should in the comments section on B&W threads. THESTINGER can not be contained to mere discussion threads.
This week's column focuses on CM Punk. I have long been a fan of CM Punk and have enjoyed everything from his strident straight edge attitude to making Mysterio's daughter cry and going after Jeff Hardy for being a drug addict. He was a great heel and was so easy to hate even when he was being factually correct about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. We can all agree that the very zenith of CM Punk was this past summer when he was threatening to leave the WWE and had a fantastic match against John Cena at Money in the Bank.
For many weeks now I have felt somewhat annoyed by Punk. He was still the same Punk but something was wrong. He could cut a good promo and whenever he was actually wrestling, especially with Dolph Ziggler, I would isntantly become a huge fan of his again. There was something off about it, though. I think I have finally figured out what doesn't work.
Punk as a babyface has become something really awful and monstrous. CM Punk, as Brandon and others have said, has become Triple H. Triple H is really just the worst person in wrestling. Triple H is simply too cool for everyone else. Triple H thinks he's not just the best wrestler in the world but the manliest man that's ever manned in the whole man world. Triple H is loud, boring, and awful. While CM Punk will never be as bad as Triple H he is starting to do many of the things Triple H does that just makes him the worst. Punk is on a kick lately where he attacks heels by accusing them of having lady parts, by being boring, by having spray tans, and otherwise pointing out that they're little girls and that there is something wrong with that. It's not just sexist but it's juvenile and boring. Gone are the days where Punk stood for something more than the destruction of his opponents. Now all he does is try to bury Alberto del Rio or Dolph Ziggler and occasionally bring up ice cream bars. It's awful.
|Please stop doing that, Punk.|
CM Punk was a great revolutionary. Here at the Hammer Dialectic we love revolutionaries. CM Punk was fighting against the establishment. He was fighting against a corporate wrestling promotion that had a very strict idea of who a wrestler was and looked like. He was fighting against the corporate champion who epitomized everything wrong with the WWE. As an insurgent he manifested the frustrations of most wrestling fans. We love wrestling and adore its rich history but felt the WWE had veered so far from that history that it became something grotesque, something clean, something pandering, and something crassly commodified. CM Punk was the embodiment of a fan's feelings of love and estrangement. He managed to make wrestling exciting and immediately important to every fan while giving engaging promos and fantastic matches.
|I want more of this.|
The problem with CM Punk is that he won the revolution. He's champion now. The American Dragon is even champion on Smackdown. John Cena is in purgatory with a feud that only exists to give him something to do before Wrestlemania. Randy Orton is injured and not much missed. CM Punk's victory is total at this point. He's the man now. He's no longer fighting against the establishment, but instead he has become absorbed into the establishment. He's on top but nothing else has changed. Instead of John Cena calling Vickie Guerrero ugly before hitting Dolph Ziggler with an Attitude Adjustment we're getting CM Punk saying that Vickie Guerrero has bigger testicles than Dolph Ziggler before he does a Go To Sleep on him. It's the same formula.
|Punk has serious issues with women.|
At this point I am unsure of who CM Punk should feud with to make him exciting and sympathetic again. So far he's feuding with Dolph Ziggler and doing so in a way that would make Triple H proud. Dolph Ziggler isn't a big guy, he's not jacked up, he's just a really great heel who manages to make the most mediocre wrestlers look good. No matter how much Punk accuses him of being the prototypical WWE wrestler it won't be true. Instead of acknowleding any of that CM Punk just comes out and calls Ziggler a "woman" or otherwise tries to bury him. There's no real feud here so much as Punk is champion and Ziggler wants to be champion so Punk is trying to bury Ziggler. They put on great matches together but the feud isn't doing much for either wrestler.
|All Punk talks about is testicles and how other wrestlers are women.|
His feud with John Laurinaitis is one that no one wants. An interesting thing has happened along the way, however: Big Johnny became hilarious and likable. He postures as a corporate crony with a stick up his ass but he's shown himself to be hilarious and reasonable. CM Punk's feud with "Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim GM of Monday Night Raw" has mostly descended into Punk calling #bigjohnny a woman and accusing him of not having testicles. At this point I've started to hope Laurinatis wins against Punk. I'm an avowed Marxist and I'm literally at the point where I'm hoping a bourgeois corporate stooge beats an insurgent worker with tattoos.
|#bigjohnny has made me into a #futureendevhead|
Punk has always had an undercurrent of mean spiritedness in his feuds. That mean spiritedness has been oftentimes hilarious and understandable as he was the bad guy in most of his feuds. He's supposed to go after Jeff Hardy because no matter how often he points out that Jeff Hardy is a drug addict the crowd will still love Hardy. He has that same vitriol but instead he's using it to go after people the audience already hates and is doing so in a way that makes everyone know that Ziggler is no where near as cool as Punk and he never will be. It is really hard to bury a face but it's easy to bury a heel and Punk is starting to do that.
I'm still a Punk fan. I like it when he wrestles. I still think he can do great things on the mic when he manages to refrain from calling someone a woman, a girl, or otherwise attacking their sexual organs. I think that as the face of the company and the man on top that he is not living up to his high standards in the past and may in fact be doing more damage to other wrestlers who have a lot of potential. I don't think this is Punk's fault as he's doing what he's always done. Punk has a very specific role to fill and when he is tasked with something else to do it just doesn't work.
Thanks for reading!
.gifs from http://cmpunkgifs.tumblr.com/