It's still real to me, dammit.
Ask me anything
“I am the voice of the voiceless.” - CM Punk
That you are, sir. Tonight, and the last couple of weeks in particular but really starting around the time Punk was doing commentary, have been tremendous, especially for fans like me. Fans who have grown with the product and felt snubbed that “attitude” had now become “kiddie-tude.” Fans who have remained loyal to a product for nearly 30 years (in my case), yet felt like they’re on the outside looking in. CM Punk is the voice of a generation.
I know I’ve bagged on WWE a lot in the last couple of years. And with good reason — honest, hardworking would-be superstars like the Punk-mentioned Colt Cabana (known to WWE loyalists who didn’t blink for 5 seconds as Scotty Goldman) and Luke Gallows, talented guys who toil on the undercard in dark matches or on Superstars like Zack Ryder and Trent Barreta, who all have to step aside so that something like Michael Cole can have a Wrestlemania match instead of them. Incredible high-flying talents like Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston who get lost in the shuffle or yo-yo pushed because there’s no real cruiserweight / X-Division for them to stand out in. The best commentator to come along in years, Matt Striker, being taken off Smackdown to make way for King Bookah to come in and stumble over his lines (and hey, I have all the respect in the world for Booker but the announce table is not his forté). WWECW finally working its way into a solid, well-rounded program with a great premise (a launching pad for young guys like Sheamus / Swagger while offering a career resurgence for talent like Goldust / Hurricane), then unceremoniously being dumped for a horrible concept like NXT in which a bunch of guys are brought up from developmental to be made to look like absolute dogshit compared to their “pros” (and don’t even get me started on Daniel Bryan being mentored by The Miz - I don’t care if it was supposed to be ironic, that’s not good irony, it’s a waste). Not to mention the potential and then horrible botching of the Nexus angle.
But in just a few short weeks, WWE has redeemed themselves. For once, FINALLY, the voice of the common sense pro wrestling fan has been heard and represented by our savior, CM Punk. Now I’m wise enough to the business to know that none of this has, in any way, been a shoot. But it doesn’t need to be a shoot when it can FEEL real. And that’s what WWE has been lacking for a lot of years — that feel. That kick in the gut a fan can take when they know they just witnessed something big. If I’ve had just one complaint about WWE over these past few years, it’s been that everything felt like it was super scripted down to the letter. I don’t want that. I don’t know anybody who watches pro wrestling wanting it to feel like just another scripted television show — we watch it because there’s something that resonates in our souls, because we side with the hero or the villain and want to see the one we agree with come out on top, and get that satisfaction of “knowing” that something just happened. That’s why, 15 years later, I still get chills when I think about Sting breaking his silence and telling JJ Dillon “you got no guts.” That’s the kind of chills I got tonight when Punk said what he said, when Vince called him Phil, and when Cena was hung out to dry as the weakest link in an incredible main event segment.
TANGENT - can we all agree that CM Punk might just be the single most charismatic speaker WWE has ever seen? This man has gone from super-villain just a few short weeks ago to turning a friggin BOSTON crowd against Cena a week before a pay-per-view. Jesus H.
Where it goes from here remains to be seen. Maybe the whole thing will be swept under the rug, and it’ll be given the Christian treatment (go the “safe” route, keep the title on the status quo champ and return to business as usual). But maybe, just maybe, the tide is starting to turn and WWE can finally start feeling Raw again. If Vince has any sense in his ridiculous body, he’ll see how hot this angle has been and let it play out. Bring some feeling back into the product. Finally let “the next Stone Cold” happen, organically, as though it were meant to be rather than something some board of writers cooked up in a stuffy office. And that’s why I continue to watch. Why I continue to keep coming back after I feel like my generation has been pissed on and left unappreciated for our loyalty. Because I always hold out hope that things will get better… that shit will, once again, get real.
Even through the darkest days, this fire burns… always.