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

CM-Punk-cm-punk-29763250-680-768

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

Annual Sting to WWE jibber jabber has officially begun

Sting-in-Scary-Outfits-with-Champion-BeltSo here we go again with the Sting to WWE rumors and speculation. The first shot was fired by the incredibly proper and reliable Rob Feinstein’s Facebook page Sting has signed with WWE and will debut the Raw after WrestleMania 30. This should probably not be considered genuine but then if we did there would be very little to write about.  So there, story over. Ink is dry and now we just have to wait.

I was just informed Sting has signed a deal with WWE in the last 24 hours. I still think personally he will show up after Mania since it seems like Undertaker vs Brock is what they are aiming for. Reminds me when everyone thought Brock would debut in Miami but they waited for Raw
See, told ya. Making the story even more legitimate is this from Sportsrant.com who has the proverbial “reliable source” stating Sting has already agreed to a deal.
I have heard it from a good source that Sting and WWE have actually agreed to a deal, including a WWE Hall of Fame induction. The Hall of Fame induction may not come in 2014, but possibly 2015 as WWE may want to feature Sting and get the fan base familiar with him on WWE Television over the next year so that his induction is even more special. I anticipate a career DVD will also be in the mix later this year as well as a heavy presence of Sting on WWE Network.
The deal includes a Hall of Fame induction in 2015 so that audiences can get familiar with Sting. It wasn’t meant as a slap in the face of Dixie Carter and TNA but it sure was a slap in the face. I commend Anthony Dimoro for this statement. The average WWE audience now has no earthly idea who Sting is and why he will be treated as important.Introducing Sting to an after WrestleMania crowd will give him instant credibility with the longtime fans going nuts over the aging star. It also allows Sting the opportunity to get in some sort of in ring shape after years of wrestling with a t-shirt.Oh my god I am doing it. I am writing as if any of these reports hold any credibility.

Look, it is entirely possible Sting will end up in WWE. His TNA contract is up and they write him off TNA television, oops, spoiler.  When that happens everyone will know for sure. These type of signings always leak. If and when there is a confirmation then we can all start complaining or all start celebrating. Until then, let’s not start the cycle already. -Jeremy

Eric’s Blog: What’s right and what’s wrong with Randy Orton

“I’m gonna sock you in the nose!”

Randy Orton successfully defended his WWE Championship this past Sunday at the 27th Survivor Series, against the much larger Big Show, and after months of cheating, yet defeating, his previous arch-nemesis Daniel Bryan.

And somehow, “the face of WWE” continues to play second fiddle to the usually overbearing, always long-winded, semi-retired sports entertainer and the latest ina revolving door of heel authority figures, Triple H.

WWE has done quite a few things right with Orton’s current championship reign, but the negatives throughout the storyline are tipping the scales out of Orton’s favor. Let’s take a quick look at the good and the bad.

Good: For someone like Orton, dragging the Money in the Bank around seemed like a demotion. However, it was a guaranteed title shot, and he cashed it in at Summerslam, atthe opportune time for an evil heel – when his on-again, off-again bearded buddy and brand new WWE Champ Daniel Bryan least expected it and could least combat it. A couple of swift moves and, boom, new WWE Champion.

Bad: It happened at the whim of Triple H.

Good: Orton loses the WWE Title back to the still red-hot Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions, only to devilishly demand it back the following night on Monday Night Raw, through a web of lies, deceit and nefariousness.

Bad: All of those lies, that deceit and that nefariousness were actually at the hands of Triple H.

Good: Big Show is introduced into the storyline, as Bryan’s bestie but befuddled by bad breaks in finance, bringing him to the beck and call of the bad guy’s side. Orton saves a little face thanks to a no-contest after Big Show’s hesitant interference, injecting an ancillary player into a headlining spot.

Bad: Big Show was actually intimidated into this whole thing by the mean boss who bought his mortgage, Triple H. Hunter then holds the title in “abeyance,” a 10-cent word that should never be uttered in pro wrestling again.

Good: Orton wins the WWE Title in brutal fashion against his summertime nemesis, Bryan, in the demonic Hell in a Cell, becoming once again the face of WWE.

Bad: That only happened because Bryan was superkicked by special referee Shawn Michaels, best friend of Triple H.

Good: Orton gets a win over Big Show at the (former) fourth-biggest pay-per-view on the WWE calendar, Survivor Series, using the punt kick that has shelved numerous opponents in the past.

Bad: Orton had to capitalize on non-physical interference by Triple H.

Yet to be determined: Survivor Series closes with a staring contest between World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and WWE Champion Randy Orton, teasing a future contest between the two.

Bad: John Cena was standing next to Triple H.

Subtract the common thread of You-Know-Who, and WWE has done an excellent job booking a heel champion, and even more important, making lemonade out of lemons. The underachieving Orton has spent 11 years in the WWE, kinda sorta over with the crowd as both a heel and a babyface, but never really carrying the WWE torch.

Now, if he can’t carry it, it’s because he can’t wrestle it out of the grasp of a guy who doesn’t even wrestle anymore.

When it comes time to book the big blow-off match for this months-long storyline, who will you pay to see get beaten up? I’m not sure, either.

Headlines: @WWE announces WM30 location, @IAmJericho of all people defends Triple H

New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to IWA-Mid South ‘Unwashed Massed 5’!”

According to PWTorch.com (Go VIP!), the rumors are true, and WWE WrestleMania 30 will be held in New Orleans, La., at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. You know, the same venue where Super Bowl XLVII was held this past Sunday? The same venue that suffered a power outage three-fourths of the way through the biggest game of America’s new pastime sport? Yeah, good to see WWE setting up its grandest stage in a third world country. WWE often reports that WrestleMania week infuses between $30 million and $50 million into its host city’s local economy. Expect to see that money spent wisely, on beads, tits and spray paint.

According to Prowrestling.net, Chris Jericho commented on Bret Hart’s recent quotes saying Triple H isn’t even in the “top 1,000” wrestlers and that his match against Undertaker at WrestleMania 28 was a “4 out of 10.” (By the way, I think it’s awesome that Arda Ocal is writing for the Layfield Report. Two smart cookies. Hopefully no cream in the middle.) Says Jericho:

I think that Triple H has had a lot of great matches, dozens of great matches. I could think of two or three that I was in with him myself, so, maybe, I don’t know why Bret would say that…

Maybe because Triple H is a dick?

“You might say ‘well this guy’s a jerk’ or ‘I don’t like him personally’ or ‘backstage I don’t like him’ or ‘politically I don’t like him'”

Yeah, you might! Remember, though, Bret looks at the world through pink-colored wrap-around sunglasses, shrouded by bitterness and inflated self-worth. Add old age to the equation, and that guy will say anything. Then again, Triple H looks at the world through McMahon-purchased Lasik-corrected vision, bathed in green lighting, territoriality and that same inflated self-worth. And the guy who is coming to Triple H’s defense looks at the world from underneath the bangs of an ever-present mullet, happy to forgive a boss-in-training who once said “he can’t work” as long as he brings in some sweet WWE cash in between stints with Fozzy. What a cluster… and it’s no surprise. -Eric

WrestleMania 29 Announcement

So it’s going to be in New Jersey next year. Outdoors.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will head a press confernce tomorrow to announce the 2013 version of WresteMania will be held at Metlife Stadium, outdoors, in East Rutherford, NJ. The date for the show was not announced other than a release saying early April, so likely the first Sunday of April, which is April 7. March 31 is also a possibility.

Representatives of the WWE, the New York Jets and the New York Giants are expected at the press conference. This will be the first time WrestleMania will be in the Northeast at an outdoor venue, which, unless precautions are made, could be a weather risk.

 
I strongly believe they should have held off doing a show at this venue until SummerSlam 2013, but at the very least this probably means WrestleMania 30 won’t be held at Madison Square Garden, which is awesome because I cannot stand watching shows held there. – Dusty
 
Update #1 – I bet Theo Huxtable will be there, since it’s right near his place.
Cliff:: All right. Now you have got to have an apartment, because you are not going to live here. [taking more money]So an apartment in Manhattan will run you at least $400 a month.
Theo: I’ll live in New Jersey. [takes back $200]

Update #2 – Thanks to my good friends at weather.org, here is the weather history for April 7 in East Rutherford the past five years, just to give us some kind of idea of what we might be able to expect. I’m really going above and beyond the call of duty with this post, I know.

2011 – http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KTEB/2011/4/7/DailyHistory.html?req_city=East+Rutherford&req_state=NJ&req_statename=New+Jersey

2010 – http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KTEB/2010/4/7/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

2009 – http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KTEB/2009/4/7/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

2008 – http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KTEB/2008/4/7/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

2007 – http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KTEB/2007/4/7/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

So they’re probably hoping for a repeat of 2010’s temperatures, but it’s more likely we’re going to get mid-40s with a minute chance of precipitation.

Update #3 – I just noticed that he speculated a show announced for early April could get held on the last day of March. What a goddamn moron.

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