Shahid’s Blog: CM Punk and The Culture of Personality

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Apparently CM Punk is returning from his brief hiatus to Monday Night Raw in Chicago.  Perhaps he’ll cut another promo explaining his absence, and is inserted into the title match.  Maybe he’ll complain about HHH holding him down, and switch positions with Daniel Bryan.  Neither the reasons regarding his departure nor the cause of his return are of importance to me.  If he was able to finagle himself into a higher position at WrestleMania, then God bless him.  Wrestling is a ruthless business, and the primary goal of an individual is to maximize their earnings while minimizing risk.  I’m not a fan of CM Punk, but I have admiration for his drive, and can appreciate his difficult journey towards the upper echelon of WWE.  Since he’s talked of retiring in the near future, he should use whatever leverage he has accumulated to achieve his main event goals before he rides off in the sunset.  He’s not a villain for doing so, and he is no different than any other wrestler who has used similar tactics.

He’s also no better than any of those wrestlers.  I’m aware of the legend of CM Punk.  An indy anarchist who overcame a broken home to walk his own straight edge path.  A super nerd who plows through the hottest women in (and sometimes outside) wrestling. A pipe bomb slinging truthslayer who somehow defeated the evil booking of Vince McMahon and the chicanery of the locker room politics.  He’s somehow reached the apex of WWE even though he’s a proud Paul Heyman guy, and not a muscled up manufactured mimbo like John Cena, Randy Orton or Batista.  And now he’s going to ride into Chicago as the conquering hero, due to the power of his fans, who hijacked the system and saved us all.

What a bunch of nonsense. CM Punk, after being frustrated with booking, decides not to resign when his contract expires.  He’s allowed to cut a shoot style promo, burying popular superstars, and playing into internet stereotypes, while being a heel.  He beats John Cena for the title at Money In The Bank in his home town, and leaves with the belt.  He comes back, while holding the belt, with a raise and a higher position on the card.  He has a high profile match with HHH and deals with some nonsense from Kevin Nash.  Then he wins the belt again, and has the sixth longest title reign in WWE History.  He has two main event title matches with The Rock, followed by a WrestleMania match against The Undertaker.  Not to mention a PPV match with Brock Lesnar at Summerslam.  Now, with him speaking of retiring again after his contract expires, he decides to go home because he doesn’t like his position on the WrestleMania card.  Or he needs a break from the road, or perhaps frustration with part timers moonlighting as super stars stealing his spotlight.  Or something.

How is any of that WWE’s fault?  Why is Batista being punished for being offered a position based on his name and legacy?   Why do we have to hear CM Punk chants during Randy Orton Matches, or angry fans chanting for Randy Savage or Husky Harris during main events involving young talent?  CM Punk left and came back on his own accord.  WWE didn’t send him home.  Vince, Steph and HHH didn’t frame him for a wellness violation. For all this talk about looking out for the full timers and young talent looking to climb the career ladder, his actions have done damage to those individuals.

I wonder how Daniel Bryan would feel if he got pushed down the card because Punk was rewarded for his temper tantrum.  I seriously doubt The Shield, or Kofi Kingston, or The Usos appreciate hearing CM Punk chants while they’re busting their ass trying to do their jobs.  John Cena, who is a bigger star than CM Punk, is in a midcard feud with Bray Wyatt for WrestleMania.  I don’t hear his fans throwing a hissy fit trying to derail the show.  People commend him on his bravery of speaking his mind, while not drinking the corporate Kool Aid.  Dolph Ziggler spoke his mind, and decided to ignore advice, and he’s suffering for it.  If Kofi Kingston decided to stay home to prove a point, he’d still be home.

For all the talk of CM Punk being a Paul Heyman guy, in truth he is a Vince McMahon guy.  People love to rightfully complain about his booking decisions, and how they don’t reflect what the fans want.  Yet CM Punk wouldn’t have worked his way to his current position without the blessing of Vince McMahon.  All of the snarky remarks, Stone Cold shirts, Macho Man trunks and pipe bombs happened on his watch.  This isn’t some Brian Pillman situation – Punk wasn’t going to show up in TNA with a bigger contract.  He played the game just like HBK and Nash, HHH and Hogan, and Austin and Lesnar before him.  Yet all of those individuals were savaged for their selfish actions, while Punk is treated as the love child of Malcolm X and Peter Parker.  I guess what Batista said on Smackdown was true – fans will cheer their heroes if they can convince themselves they could be them with enough hard work.  It’s also delusional and hypocritical.

I’m not angry at CM Punk, and I’m glad he’s back.  Adding him to the card will make a better show, and since I’m attending WrestlMania 30, I’m rooting for an enjoyable experience.  I just hope his fans don’t have a nerd-fueled heart attack if Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker close out the show….. -Shahid

Stunt Granny Audio #226

Hulk Hogan and Iron Sheik going at it.

Hulk Hogan and Iron Sheik going at it.

It must be that time of the week again. The time when Kevin and Dusty grace all you lovely people with their magical mystical presence. This week our heroes start things off by discussing TNA’s continued roster purge. This week the victims are Luke Gallows and Tara. Gallows’ exit mystifies them but they agree both Tara and Jeremy Maes have seen better days since their Heat stint came and went. They move on to talking about WWE’s latest Monday Night Raw. It was an attack heavy show as the Wyatt Family and The Shield both joined in on all the reindeer games. Just what are the names of the Wyatt family members? Does Mitchell Cool even know? How long is it going to take Mark Henry to actually retire? Dusty sidetracks things twice, first by having a terrible cellular phone and second by asking Kevin if there was anyone who could have replaced Hogan in the big push spot in 1984. They also talk about how there is Sum Tin Wong with journalistic fact checking these days, and a whole lot more, so you need to listen before you spontaneously combust.

Stunt Granny Audio Show #226

56 Days of WrestleMania – WrestleMania VIII’s Best Matches: Results

Now here are two kick-ass matches from 1992: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage for the WWF Title, and Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Title. (Can’t find a video of Hart vs. Piper, dang it!) I don’t know if this is a testament to the roster depth at the time, WWF’s willingness to keep title belts off people with names like Repo Man and Skinner, or the general greatness of these four wrestlers. And they weren’t even the main event of the show!

56 Days of WrestleMania – WrestleMania VIII’s Best Matches

Good job adding an I to last year’s curvy logo.

Playing catch-up here, so let’s get right into the vote for WrestleMania VIII’s best matches. I’ve stated many times that my favorite wrestling match is Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair from this card, but Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper was also brilliant for a handful of reasons, and who knows, maybe some of you liked Owen Hart vs. Skinner. Vote and let us know!

56 Days of WrestleMania – WrestleMania VII’s Best Matches: Results

Here they are, the top two matches from WrestleMania VII: Superstars and Stripes Forever! The easy first-place winner is Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage in a career match with an ending that either brings tears to everyone’s eyes, or their shoes are on too tight. Second place took a little prodding but went to the underrated tag team title match between the Hart Foundation and the Nasty Boys, managed by Jimmy Hart, who of course “knows all your weaknesses,” Hart Foundation! Cackle cackle cackle! (Come on, even at 11 years old, who didn’t think it was suspect that Jimmy Hart was wearing a motorcycle helmet to ringside?)

56 Days of WrestleMania – WrestleMania VI’s Best Matches: Results

In a shocker to no one, the match voted best at WrestleMania VI was the legendary babyface vs. babyface, champion vs. champion, title for title match between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. The fact that these two clods could execute such a compelling match is a testament to 30 minutes of focus on your craft and about 60 days of hard work from Pat Patterson. The result is above, as is the video of the second runner-up, Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire (who damn sure weighs 2-and-a-half) vs. Randy Savage & Sensational Queen Sherri. It’s harmless fun!

56 Days of WrestleMania – WrestleMania V’s Best Matches: Results

Is it weird to think of how many of these “best matches” include Hulk Hogan? Maybe not; what a hell of an entertainer. Here he is against “Macho Man” Randy Savage, tearing the house down in the main event. (Who else but Savage would get bodyslammed over the top rope to the floor?) Second place goes to the talented Rockers vs. the underrated Twin Towers, four great workers who work great together. Enjoy!

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