Annotating CM Punk

June 29th, 2011 by | Tags: , , , ,

WWE has been in a major rut lately. They have all the talent in the world and yet they’ve spent the last several months mismanaging themselves. So much time and effort has been spent on shoving Cena and Orton in our faces as overly dominant heroes that everyone else looks like shit. This is even worse when they bring in older top guys like Triple H to tell everyone that he and the Undertaker have to have a big, high-profile match because everyone in the back smells and none of them are on their level. Most attempts to build up new talent screeches to a halt because they’d rather see how said wrestler would react on a professional level if they started looking like a joke day in and day out.

I can only hope they hit rock bottom (no pun intended) over the past few months because the company should know better than to be this lousy on a regular basis. Luckily, they’ve started to get enough forward momentum in the last couple months. R-Truth has taken his character to another level. Christian and Orton are having good matches. Good wrestlers are still having good matches when nobody’s watching.

A major happening came from this week’s Raw. The next PPV, Money in the Bank, which is in Chicago, will have John Cena defending the WWE Championship against CM Punk in what is billed to be Punk’s farewell performance. The writing was on the wall with this one if you follow the backstage hijinx of the company online, but Raw’s ending added a new level of interest in it.

In a tables match between Cena and R-Truth, Punk interfered to help Truth win. With a weakened Cena selling something for the first time in maybe a year, Punk sat upon the entrance ramp and had this to say.

Was it legit? Of course not! Like they’d have him talk that long and choose only then to cut him off. But it was cool! It was really, really cool and does a good job of building up the PPV as a situation where something intriguing could happen. It was shocking and buzzworthy.

Some of the more hardcore fans (or “smarks”) out there have said that the promo alienates the casual fans because they don’t know what he’s talking about. Too many inside references. That’s bullshit, of course. Anyone can pick up what he’s talking about and figure out what they don’t get. Still, the smarks get some extra flavor from Punk’s remarks as it speaks for the most of them. The response reminds me of a lot of Grant Morrison’s recent DC Comics work, only even more straightforward. Just because you haven’t read decades of Jack Kirby work doesn’t mean you can’t read through Final Crisis.

That got me thinking. David Uzumeri has been annotating Grant Morrison’s comics for the past few years. Maybe I could annotate CM Punk’s speech and give the casual fans something to go with an already fantastic rant. Let’s give it a shot.


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.

A couple months ago, word was spreading in the internet wrestling news sites that CM Punk was unhappy with the company and was planning on letting his contract expire. Many reasons were cited, including how they just haven’t been respecting him lately. After all, the man hasn’t been booked to win a PPV match in well over a year. He’s talented enough to maintain his lower main event spot through his mic skills and charisma, but he’s been pretty secondary lately. He’s been working his ass off and they haven’t been doing anything worthwhile with his character.

These news sites, of course, should always be taken with a grain of salt. Whether this situation was correct or not, Punk was aware of it making the rounds and proceeded to acknowledge it on his Twitter while making it sound overblown.

The last couple weeks have been about Punk earning a title shot at Money in the Bank. Upon securing it, he openly admitted on the show that he was going to let his contract expire the day after the PPV. The storyline is that he plans to win the title and leave with it.

Not-quite-coincidentally, that has a lot of similarities with another storyline Punk was involved in. When he wrestled for the organization Ring of Honor, he made a big deal about signing with the WWE and used it to garner heel heat from the fans. With his road to WWE already news to some, he shockingly won the ROH title and turned it into an angle where he was planning on bringing the belt with him to his new job. This made him the most hated man in the company, for sure, and he even signed his WWE contract over the belt for added style points. Eventually, he lost the title on his way out to James Gibson (Jamie Noble), saving the company from the fictional humiliation.

As part of this non-coincidence, Punk released a set of Tweets on his Twitter account that reprint his ROH-to-WWE announcement on his old Live Journal page. That has fans wondering: is he really leaving or is he setting us up?

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.

This is possibly meant to play lip service to the smarks. The basic take on John Cena by many is that he’s a hard-working dude and a really, really good guy… but he’s hated for being an invincible, lazily-written cartoon with a built-in win button. There’s no drama in most Cena matches. He just gets beat up a lot until popping back up like nothing was ever wrong and winning in an instant. It isn’t that he doesn’t deserve to be king of the hill. He just should be handled better because the status quo is killing more and more interest on a daily basis. If anything, he deserves better than the way he’ll be remembered by wrestling history.

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.

This is probably the closest he comes to saying that wrestling is fake. John Cena and his like are given their top spots as unbeatable heroes because they kiss McMahon’s ass. In-storyline, it makes Punk seem like a delusional dick because obviously those three got their spots by winning all their matches.

The fact that he refers to the Rock as “Dwayne” isn’t especially eyebrow-raising (pun not int… actually, I guess it was intended) since Cena referred to him by Dwayne multiple times months ago and it was never a big deal. The bigger deal is the namedropping of Hulk Hogan, who is usually a big no-no. While it’s not such a threat, TNA is still considered opposition and Hogan’s a big name there. I mean, they removed him from the opening WWE video sequence and regularly ignore his major role in the WWE’s history whenever possible.

That’s the first, “Wait, what?” moment.

Whoops! I’m breaking the fourth wall! *Punk waves to the camera*

Acknowledging the camera is usually another big taboo with WWE, though more in the backstage segments.

I am the best WRESTLER in the world.

He just said “wrestler” which is another seemingly minor term that comes off as shocking. WWE has been going out of their way to remove “wrestling” from their vocabulary. It’s been going on for years with them referring to wrestlers as Superstars, but lately it’s been said to be completely ridiculous. They won’t call themselves “World Wrestling Entertainment”, but “WWE”. They get all disgruntled whenever the media calls them wrestling because they’re really sports entertainment. Wrestling fans will still call them wrestling and people who aren’t wrestling fans will still call them wrestling, so who are they trying to kid?

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.

Paul Heyman, former head of ECW and later a major writer for WWE, rallied behind not only bringing CM Punk in but allowing him to keep the name. Every other indy newbie has to get some kind of silly normal name that the WWE can trademark and keep for themselves like how Bryan Danielson became Daniel Bryan. This is especially stupid for legacy wrestlers who are identified as being the son or daughter of a major wrestler despite not having the same last name for some reason.

As for being vilified and hated, there have been stories for years that CM Punk was “in the doghouse” for a variety of reasons, which was why he wasn’t being pushed as hard as some fans wanted him to be. His earlier major victories like his ECW Championship reign and Money in the Bank win came from other wrestlers getting suspended for drug use, so even then, it appeared like his success was because the company had less of a choice. It was always said that he was being held down due to either his attitude or his status as an independent wrestling circuit golden boy. To this day, Punk denies those doghouse rumors.

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.

Mentioning Paul Heyman isn’t the biggest deal, even though he isn’t in the company anymore. Mentioning Brock Lesnar kind of is. Not only did he leave on less-than-stellar terms and have a potential deal to appear at the last Wrestlemania fall through, but he works for UFC, which is more of a dirty word in the competition sense than any of the existing wrestling organizations.

I’ve grabbed so many of Vincent K. McMahon’s imaginary 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.

Again, something that echoes the smark opinion.

I guess by the signature, he means the opening video package. Which is a pretty good point when you notice some of the modern wrestlers who appear on there in his stead.

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!

The Rock is already scheduled to face John Cena at Wrestlemania and since Cena intends to be champion for it, that only makes the road seem pretty pointless. Not only that, but it follows the same mistake of the past Wrestlemania. So much emphasis was put on guys like Rock, Austin and even Snooki that the actual employees of the company came off as footnotes at best. Hell, by losing to Orton in a lengthy match, Punk came off better than a lot of the other guys in that lineup and he still has room to complain.

There’s been a lot of bad blood backstage due to these decisions and Punk is naturally touching on that.

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.

Yeah, this is probably a lot of real life frustration being released. Let it be said that a lot of wrestling fans can be outright terrible. Being a heel, Punk is able to mess with the fans more than most. His Twitter is usually a series of him insulting them on a regular basis.

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.

Oh, snap! To mention a wrestler who’s gone on to another fed is one thing, but to actually MENTION a fed by name is another beast completely. Especially Ring of Honor, considering it’s in the same continent. Plus there’s a taste of advertising in there. WWE wants people to believe that their wrestlers start and end their careers with them. Punk saying that he used to perform for Ring of Honor takes it another step over the line.

*Punk looks at the camera and waves* Hey, Colt Cabana, how you doing?

Colt Cabana is another major indy wrestler and close friend of CM Punk. Cabana had a short-lived WWE career under the name Scotty Goldman, who was immediately jobbed out and was fired for not selling right against Umaga or something.

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.

No matter how bad it gets, people are going to buy into the company out of habit. Sounds about right.

Vince McMahon is going to make money despite himself. He’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire.

I think that sums up the company right there. They aren’t hurting, moneywise, but they aren’t setting the world on fire. They’re only making a gradual downward slope that they refuse to rectify. It’s only going to get worse unless they do something impressive. They could do so much better, but they won’t. They’ll get those habit fans that Punk just mentioned, but that’s all they’ll get.

You know why he’s not a billionaire? Because he surrounds himself with glad-handing, non-sensical, douchebag 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.

Yikes. That last part certainly doesn’t need elaboration. Anyway, John “Johnny Ace” Laurinaitisis a former wrestler and WCW head writer who works backstage as Vice President of Talent Relations. He’s a bane to the smark crowd and usually gets the blame for a lot of terrible things (occasionally director Kevin Dunn gets the rest of the blame). Examples of Laurinaitisis’ behavior include seeking out Kelly Kelly to hire after seeing her in a modeling magazine. Most notably, he will go for looks over ability. If he thinks you’re too short? That’s too bad for you, Mr. Five Star Match Machine. He’d rather sign some immobile blob of muscle because he looks cool.

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!

WWE has been open that Triple H and Stephanie are legit married for the past few years. It used to be an obvious inside joke that they eventually just outright said. This statement by Punk follows a sentiment from fans that as senile as Vince McMahon seems, do we really want to see him step down? Do we want the devil we know or the devil we don’t? Because the idea of Stephanie in charge isn’t so appetizing.

Oh, and you remember those doghouse rumors from earlier? Triple H was said to be integral in CM Punk’s treatment, so take that as you will.

Let me tell you a personal story about Vince McMahon, all right. We do this whole bully campaign— *mic cut off*

There’s a lot to this one too. Vince McMahon has recently been messing with the talent in really eccentric ways. The two recent examples include having Mark Henry come out for an untelevized match after a show against Sin Cara, only instead of having Sin Cara come out, they spent a couple dozen minutes playing different theme songs with nobody coming out. This prank by McMahon himself was done just to piss off Mark Henry, who eventually left in a huff, while the fans were confused and disappointed.

The other example is the inexplicable treatment of WWE wrestler Zack Ryder, a bottomcarder who made a name for himself via his own hilarious YouTube series that has made him a cult phenomenon. While he gets the occasional appearance on Raw in the background, the company has refused to reward him because he got popular without their help. Even his peers, such as Cena and the Miz, have been openly claiming that he needs to be used more on TV. Unfortunately, Triple H has gone on record to bury him (I really don’t want to turn this into a contest of seeing how much I can rail on that guy, but he doesn’t make it easy), so we know that’s a strike against him. Anyway, Raw was set to be in Long Island, Ryder’s hometown, and they led him to believe that he would have a match or segment or something. Instead, he didn’t get a single mention, unless you count the crowd chanting, “WE WANT RYDER!” during a Santino vs. Sheamus match. All he got was a match on an internet-only show that nobody watches. Other wrestlers were said to be pissed about it and Dolph Ziggler – a bad guy – opening displayed his disgust at these actions on his Twitter page.

I wonder which story Punk was about to go into.


That was fun. So is CM Punk really leaving? Yes, probably. Is the WWE going to drop the ball on this when they now have the fuel to do something incredibly awesome? Yes, probably. But the potential is there. The buzz is there. WWE has a chance to step up. Maybe this time they’ll get it right.

If not, it was still a cool six minutes.

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11 comments to “Annotating CM Punk”

  1. Thanks for this. I’ve only recently started rewatching WWE matches (aftering picking up the All Stars game) and as much as I’ve been loving the stuff with Christian, you can tell there is a lot of talent that is really under utilized. I haven’t had the chance to watch a really good CM Punk match yet but this speech was thrilling. The annotations were very enlightening and a blast to read.

  2. It was a fun six minutes. It’s easy to get overtaken by the moment, but I have a hard time not saying that was one of the best promos ever. The Rock’s return, and promo, was clearly the best moment of recent memory, but I would say Punk’s promo was the best pure promo in recent memory. He was a bit Stone Cold, a bit Jake Roberts, a bit Roddy Pipper — pretty much a throwback to all of the guys who you actually believed were “legit” in this fantasy world.

  3. Oh this was great…and Gavok great job in the translation… The bully campaign line I bet was going to echo some politician who ripped into the WWE for doing it while promoting a company based on ultra violence….

    Long Live Punk!!! :c00lbert:

  4. Punk had a really great match with, believe it or not, Stevie Richards a few years back when WWE was still putting effort into the revived ECW. As I recall, Stevie even got a brief push not too long after that, so it may have even raised a few eyebrows backstage. I recommend it, if you can find it.

  5. Please, keep doing these wrestling annotations. I beg you!

  6. I too will join in with the humble grovelers, begging for your continued output of wrestling annotations. Between this and David “TETSUOOOOOO” Brothers I can’t leave this website.

  7. Thanks, guys. I’d love to, but I have no idea what else to work with.

    I do have the Summerslam Countdown coming up in a month, so there’s always that.

  8. yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

    I finally got to watch this RAW today and hot damn that was a great promo. I can’t wait until next week to…ok well I looked spoilers because I couldn’t wait, but I do want to see what happens with this. I really hope WWE can make this interesting and not kind of screw it up like they did with the Nexus. Though the Nexus did have a few good months at least, but then it just kind of petered out, and even with Punk they never really did much with it past a point.

    Though maybe if CM Punk is indeed leaving he can go to Chikara and have a feud with CP Munk.

  9. CM Punk was always the best part of RAW. This promo was the best thing I’ve seen in pro wrestling since I started watching again a year ago. The man is is operating on a different level from everyone else on that show: incredible matches, incredible promos, and a great look and character that hasn’t been done before in WWE. The crowds STILL chant for him even though he’s a heel with a terrible win/loss record so it’s not like he’s just a smart mark darling.

    Oh well. I guess there’s more money in vanilla gorillas like Mason Ryan and Ezekiel Jackson?

    Seriously, if Punk leaves, I see no reason to keep watching, unless Alberto Del Rio wins the world title tomorrow.

  10. I don’t know jack about wrestling but this was a fun read. Thanks.

  11. I actually thought that the Ring of Honor bit was an indication it was a work. If Punk really wanted to go and piss off McMahon, I thought he would have mentioned TNA instead.