Friday, July 22, 2011

CM Punk invades Comic Con & WWE's change of direction

As his Twitter bio states, CM Punk is an unemployeed WWE Champion. With his relaxed work schedule comes the opportunity to take more trips. CM Punk did just that when he traveled from his home in Chicago to San Diego for the annual Comic Con expo.

For those who don't know about Comic Con, it started years ago as an event for nerds, but it's become a pretty big mainstream deal over the last few years due to the popularity in Hollywood of superhero movies and whatnot. Comic books, movies, and toys are big events at Comic Con. Something that may be surprising to some is that WWE action figures are actually pretty big among collectors.

Each year, WWE sends representatives to Comic Con to talk about the latest toy lines. This year, Triple H and Rey Mysterio were having a Q&A discussion about the newest line. CM Punk decided to stop in and ask a few questions.

What's interesting about the CM Punk storyline is how WWE is allowing this to play out in nontraditional means. The storyline of Punk winning the WWE Championship and leaving the company is not being mentioned on television. For good reason; if this were a "shoot" aka real, would you really mention that your champion left the company? This angle is getting over mostly on Twitter and things like this; YouTube videos of this incident are springing up everywhere.

CM Punk's exit from WWE has seemingly launched a new era in the company. Continuing the recent trend of WWE "work-shoots," the company had Triple H, Vince McMahon's son-in-law come out and announce that the company's Board of Directors had a meeting and have dismissed Vince from the company. In reality, Triple H has gone from full-time wrestler to an admistrative position with the company to scout talent and will eventually take control of the WWE with his wife, Stephanie McMahon. In the storyline, Triple H has been given control of the WWE due to Vince's recent bad business decisions.

I'm excited about this new era for WWE. A lot of people were seemingly dissatisfied with the conclusion to last week's Monday Night Raw, whereas I thought it was refreshing and something different. My Twitter friend Tim (@TimExiled) felt the same way, as he posted a blog that pretty much sums up how I feel about the WWE right now. Click the link and take a look -

In the YouTube video embedded above, Punk asks a couple questions. One is directed at Rey Mysterio, asking Rey how he can wrestle for the WWE Championship when he holds the title. According to Vince McMahon, the WWE Championship has been vacated and Rey Mysterio and The Miz will battle for the championship this Monday night.

It will be interesting to see where they go with that. Miz and Mysterio will battle for the title, in a match made by McMahon. But, Triple H is in charge now. Will that match still go on? Will he try to reach out to Punk on Raw? In the video, he tells Punk to get in touch with him if he'd like to do business. Punk responds that Triple H's wife, Stephanie, has his phone number.

Punk also brings up one of the most-asked questions on the Internet of late - when will Zack Ryder be featured on television? Ryder is a cult favorite of wrestling fans over the last few months due to his series of YouTube videos. Titled "Z!True Long Island Story," the 3-7 minute videos are a collection of skits featuring Ryder and WWE announcer Scott Stanford, Zack's dad, Zack's friend "The Big-O," and a random assortment of other WWE superstars.

Ryder's character plays off his New Jersey heritage, hence his penchant for saying "Bro" and his love of hair gel ("Take care, spike your hair!"). He's goofy and has fun, and it's resonated through to wrestling fans. He's a young guy, just a year older than me. He's a wrestling fan and you can tell he enjoys himself in the videos. WWE has taken notice lately and given him some cameos on Raw and mentioned the videos on air.

The latest episode is embedded below. Look for the fun cameo from WWE Hall of Famer "Mean" Gene Okerlund. To see more (which I'd highly recommend doing), check out -

Monday, July 18, 2011

CM Punk and Daniel Bryan win big at WWE Money in the Bank

Yes, that's CM Punk holding his newly-won WWE Championship on the streets of Chicago, along with (from left) Ace Steel and Colt Cabana. Celebrity gossip website got the shots of the former Ring of Honor "Second City Saints" faction partying it up with the title and some random girls.

It's incredible to think what happened last night. The WWE finally paid attention and, for now at least, have rewarded two of the greatest professional wrestlers currently under contract to WWE.

CM Punk is the hottest superstar in years. On any other night, what Daniel Bryan accomplished wouldn't be overshadowed. Daniel Bryan - former Ring of Honor champion Bryan Danielson - won the Smackdown! brand Money in the Bank ladder match. Winning this briefcase allows him to have a match for the world championship any time he chooses in the next year. The interesting thing about this is that every person who cashed in the contract has won a World Championship.

Something that seemed crazy a few short years ago, it now looks highly likely that Daniel Bryan will become a future world champion. Click here to watch a very poor quality YouTube video of Bryan's win. Click here to see a photo gallery from

For the first time in a long time, jaded hardcore wrestling fans are excited to see what WWE does. The next few weeks and months should be very exciting.

My twitter friend Terence (@TOPolk) summed it up best on his blog. I'll leave you the link to his thoughts on CM Punk's win -

I'll have more on this later.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking at CM Punk's upcoming WWE exit

CM Punk noted last week on WWE's flagship show "Monday Night Raw" that there are only two times the mainstream media mentions WWE - when he talks or when wrestlers die. It was a shocking line and made me - a hard-nosed member of a group I hate to admit I'm part of, the "IWC" - do a double take.

That's not something you mention on WWE television. That instantly brings to mind the one wrestler that WWE doesn't want anybody to mention, Chris Benoit. Random Benoit appearances have started to pop up on classic footage, as long as he's not mentioned by name or is the focal point, and the closest WWE has come to mentioning Benoit is when Vince McMahon once made a snide comment on air about Nancy Grace (one of the harshest judges of WWE during the Benoit murder/suicide).

But, CM Punk said it and he said several other noteworthy things over the last several weeks of television. With four promos (his initial "work-shoot," his incident in Australia, and his two promos on last week's Monday Night Raw), CM Punk has become the "it" wrestler. He is, without a doubt, the hottest wrestler in WWE, TNA, ROH, etc... right now.

The sad thing is, Punk is leaving WWE this Sunday, July 17. His last match is as big as it can get, against WWE Champion John Cena, the modern-day version of Hulk Hogan.

Going back to Punk's comment about the mainstream media only looking at WWE when wrestlers die or when he talks, the irony of that is that lately it's been true. When was the last time any other WWE superstar was interviewed in GQ Magazine?

The interview was interesting for several reasons. First of all, it seemingly confirmed the long-standing rumor that Punk and WWE female wrestler Beth Phoenix are dating. Much more interesting than that, he basically tore into several facets of WWE, saying that he wasn't pleased with how things were run in certain areas and did not feel like he was appreciated enough for his efforts. As he put it, "I've been given some awesome opportunities, and I feel that I've always knocked them out of the park. But I've always been scaled back after that."

Punk has long been a favorite of wrestling purists. While Triple H and John Bradshaw Layfield were dominating the WWE, and Jeff Jarrett was holding onto the TNA World Championship, wrestlers like CM Punk and a small crew were plugging along on the undercard of those shows and the main event of Ring of Honor shows, putting on technical wrestling clinics. While JBL and the Big Show were lumbering through a 15-minute cage match in a pay per view main event, CM Punk was having a 75-minute draw against Austin Aries. Punk was helping set new standards for what real wrestling was. It wasn't "sports entertainment," where it doesn't matter how well you can wrestle, as long as you can entertain the fans. This was professional wrestling, which emphasized athleticism and hard-hitting action.

Then Punk signed with WWE in 2005 and shocked the world over the next six years by showing that not only was he an amazing professional wrestler, he could also be one of the top sports entertainers in the world. Punk is really one of the best all-around professional wrestlers going today. There is a small crowd that can go in and successfully work a key matchup at WrestleMania - and make that crowd happy - and also work a main event for the Ring of Honor championship - and make that crowd happy. John Cena couldn't do it. I don't think Randy Orton could. Rey Mysterio can't. Big Show can't. Mark Henry can't. Kane can't. CM Punk can. He has enough credibility as a wrestler to perform for the most wrestling-heavy promotion in the world, and he is entertaining enough to be a top performer for WWE.

Despite his talents, Punk has been overlooked and not allowed to be the star that his fanbase believes he should be. As he put it, "Instead of giving me the ball and letting me run with it, they would give me the ball to keep it warm for somebody else. I always just want to be the guy." While John Cena is being pushed down the fans' throats, CM Punk and others are fed to him in an effort to create credibility for the wrestler nicknamed "Super Cena" for his ability to always make a comeback, no matter what obstacle is put in his way.

Wrestling is one of the art forms where it really does not matter as much who is the best. Both wrestlers must work together in order to look good. One of the problems of being really good is that you are often used to make others wresters - Cena, for example - look better than he really is. A talented wrestler who has made a career out of making others look good was Chavo Guerrero, a member of the famous Guerrero wrestling family that included former WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero.

Chavo seemingly had a job for life in WWE. He made good money and was featured regularly. He just never won matches and was used to make others look good, including a 4-foot little person, whom he memorably feuded with in 2009. Wanting to wrestle to the best of his abilities and get the chance for himself to look good, Chavo recently asked for his release from WWE after 10 years. He weighed in on the Cena/Punk matchup on his twitter account, @mexwarrior:

Ppl will remember this PPV. U know Punk will bring "it". I've been in the ring with both of u & Punk has "it". Cena u have mic skills yes, but if u think ppl believe your BS lazy comeback that u do exactly the same every match then u are mistaken. Eddie & I taught u different..We never said "get lazy" & do the dame thing every night. We always said" think out of the box" & give the fans what they deserve & not rely on the "machine"to " get u over". I hope this lights a fire under your ass & U deliver this Sunday. Dont just rest on U being over cuz u are & that is easy. Challenge yourself & give the fans what they deserve. That's why they boo u. Because they aren't stupid. They know what they pay for & the "great" promo guy but the shitty "match" guy that u have become is not what they want. I understand "longevity" but at the sacrifice of the fans trust is not worth it. Deliver on your fans & deliver on why U got into this business.Eventually the fans that U have gained with from the purple t-shirts will turn on U. Take a lesson from the Hulkster. Give the fans there $ worth and dont become Just Another "promo" guy. I know u love this biz & dont get distracted from the McMahon $. Deliver plz!! Have enough respect for your fans.. Cuz without them, you're working at a fast food chain. Love u man & I support u & hope u see this cuz I know Punk will & I know he's going To bring it cuz he's got nothing to lose!

Guerrero basically said that Punk is going to deliver one of the best pay per view matches of his life because he has nothing to lose. And, in a message directly to Cena, said that the WWE Champion has gotten lazy because it's the easy thing to do. He's "over," which means people cheer for him. But, the reason he's over is because kids ("the fans you have gained with the purple t-shirts") don't realize that he's a bad wrestler and once they get older they'll turn on him. He's telling him to ditch the "Superman comeback" (which has come to be known among some as the "5 Moves of Doom") he's become so famous/infamous for and go out and have an amazing match on Sunday with CM Punk.

This match has been one of the most buzzed-about matches in recent memory. The numbers, which will be known in a few months, will speak volumes about this. How many people put down their hard-earned money and actually bought this pay per view to see the culmination of the CM Punk/John Cena feud? And, something else to look into, that I don't condone - how many people will illegally stream this pay per view to see the culmination of the John Cena/CM Punk feud?

Will CM Punk walk out of WWE with their World Champhionshp, as he has vowed to do? I highly doubt that, but with the "Money in the Bank" contract matches looming on the undercard of their match, there are several different scenarios that could see Punk winning the championship from Cena and then losing it immediately after.

I am very interested in how this plays out this Sunday, on pay per view. Based on the buzz from wrestling fans and the mainstream media, a lot of people will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of this match.

WWE Superstar CM Punk interview with GQ Magazine

Below is the full transcript of CM Punk's recent interview with GQ Magazine.

* * *

By Tom Breihan

In the wrong hands, professional wrestling can be a boring thing indeed, a rinse-and-repeat cycle of predictable storytelling and zero-stakes feuds. For a few years now, World Wrestling Entertainment has spent much of its time in a lamentable rut, focusing much of its attention on central figure John Cena and his kid-friendly potty humor and square-jawed heroics. But over the past month or so, that's been changing. Cena has a new foe: C.M. Punk, a tatted-up, fire-eyed, uncommonly erudite bad guy who thinks, and sometimes acts, like a good guy. But there's a catch to that feud. It won't last long, since Punk doesn't expect to be in the company a week from now.

C.M. Punk is a wrestling veteran, a guy who kicked around the small-time independent scene for years before finally linking up with the WWE. Within the company, he's had an impressive run: Three world championships, a few memorable speeches, a string of wonderful matches. But he's never been the focal point of the company, despite being arguably its most gifted in-ring storyteller, and that's always eaten at him. So, about a month ago, he announced on live TV that his contract was about to be up and that he would wrestle John Cena for the WWE title the night before leaving the company. That match would go down at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view event, which comes to Chicago's Allstate Arena on Sunday night.

Then, on an episode of "Monday Night Raw: two weeks ago, Punk absolutely laid into the company in a blistering, wild-eyed promo speech that indicted everything about the WWE. He invoked the names of fired wrestlers, he lamented the loss of emphasis on wrestling itself (rather than the more nebulous "entertainment" that the WWE likes to use these days), and he even tore into company figurehead Vince McMahon and his entire family. (In one particularly genius moment, he referred to McMahon's son-in-law and presumed successor Triple H as a "doofus.") He did all this with patience and writerly precision, eschewing catchphrases and building into a messianic fervor until his mic suddenly went silent and the show came to an abrupt halt. It was a genuinely electric moment on a show that's had too few of those lately.

Now, Punk was telling a story, not staging an insurrection. Two weeks after that blast of invective, he was trading barbs in the ring with McMahon himself—the two teasing a contract renegotiation before a fed-up Punk stormed off. This was more standard wrestling storytelling that what we'd previously seen, but even here, Punk's ferocious charisma shone through. At one point, he demanded the return of a discontinued line of WWE ice cream bars, and the crowd actually responded by chanting for said treats. It was a thing to behold.

The afternoon following his staged tete-a-tete with McMahon, Punk is at home in his apartment, a palatial loft in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Sitting amid strewn-about action figures and comic books while female wrestler Beth Phoenix lounged a few feet away, Punk took an hour of his off-day to tell GQ about his problems with the WWE, his tumultuous history with the company, and his plans for the future. An unstable live-wire in the wrestling ring, the off-duty Punk was measured and thoughtful, even diplomatic at times. But he remained a fierce devotee of the art of professional wrestling. Punk has become the most prominent crusader against the company that, at least for a few more days, employs him.

GQ: One of the things you said last night was that you made the WWE socially relevant, that the only times it's socially relevant are when you're talking and when somebody dies. Do you care to expand on that?

C.M. Punk: I think pro wrestling—for some reason, our company doesn't like to call it that, but that's what it is, so that's what I call it—it doesn't seem to get a lot of mainstream attention until somebody dies. There's a negative connotation to that, but Randy Savage just passed away of natural causes. The poor guy was driving his car, and he had a heart attack. I think that was the last time we got any mainstream attention. And then all eyes are on the program, to see whether they're going to do a memorial. Are they going to forget about this guy? Are they going to pretend he didn't contribute to their product? It's not just the negative stuff with stupid wrestlers dying in stupid ways. Savage was all over ESPN. Local news reported it. It was a big news story. They don't report what happens on every other "Monday Night Raw."

GQ: Why do you think that is?

C.M. Punk: Pro wrestling has always been ingrained into American culture. It was one of the first things that was ever on television, so everybody watched it. Countless people tell me, "I got into wrestling because my grandfather watched it." It was always there. No matter how much people want to pretend that they're embarrassed by it, that they don't watch it, everybody knows about it. It's truly, I believe, one of the only art forms that America has actually given to the world, besides jazz and comic books. The media, no offense, likes to latch onto negative stuff. They're not going to report that—there's no truth to this story; I'm just using it as an example—that John Cena and his wife just had an eight-pound baby. But you'd better believe that if somebody dies, they're going to report it.

GQ: But when a story comes along that captures people's imagination, like what you're doing now, it does become relevant. How does that not happen more often?

C.M. Punk: That is a fantastic question. I don't have the answer. If it happened more often, it wouldn't be as special, right? I hear a lot of people compare what I did three weeks ago to Stone Cold Steve Austin. Everyone's just waiting for that next polarizing character. I think that's why this worked. I've been saying I'm that guy for five years. Different people are afforded different opportunities. I've been given some awesome opportunities, and I feel that I've always knocked them out of the park. But I've always been scaled back after that. This time, the genesis of it is that I'm leaving. I'm done. I'm tired. "What are they going to do, fire me?" That's been my attitude for months and months now. That finally resonated through the television screen. And that's something that everyone in this economic world can 100% relate to.

GQ: Is that parallel to Austin why you wore a Stone Cold Steve Austin T-shirt when you were delivering that promo?

C.M. Punk: I do a lot of weird little things like that because people talk about it. I don't think it's any secret; I think the biggest match any wrestling company can do right now is C.M. Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin. I've thought that since I was 15. I'm straight edge. I don't drink. I don't do drugs. I don't smoke. And that is the perfect protagonist or antagonist to Stone Cold Steve Austin, depending on how you want to spin it. It writes itself. You would have to try really, really hard to fuck that one up. The idea of being on television is to wear your T-shirt so people see it and maybe buy it. I had gone out previously in the night and wrestled. You throw your T-shirt on the ground, and I don't know what the hell happens to it after that. I came to the back, and I was looking for another T-shirt. I sent somebody to go and get one, and they came back with a XXL. I was like, "I'm going to be swimming in this thing." And it's always creepy when you're wearing wrestling trunks with a shirt because it doesn't look like you're wearing any pants. I had a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt in my bag, and it fit me. I chuckled to myself and put it on. Am I planting seeds? I don't know. I can't guarantee to anybody that that match is going to happen. Do I want it to happen? Absolutely.

GQ: In pro wrestling in general and especially with you right now, it's hard to tell how much of what's on TV is a storyline and how much of it is actually happening. But you're really done with the company for now?

C.M. Punk: How much is real? That's 100% real. That's not to say that there are still not negotiations. It's not like I'm leaving and they're like, "Good. Go fuck yourself." I think that's why this whole thing works. I'm not doing my job if people are like, "What you do is fake." And literally people on the street are confused, generally, for the first time. That's a great thing. The funny part about it is that you're going to have your staunchest critic who says that it's all scripted. It's not! Dusty Rhodes told me a long time ago that the best promos come from the heart. You watch anybody who's ever cut a meaningful promo, and it means something to them. Everything I've said isn't somebody else's words that they put on paper. They tend to hand me things like, "Here, say this," and I'm not saying any of it. If I went out there and laid an egg, if what I did was boring TV and nobody cared and nobody was talking about it, somebody would probably be pissed off. But I went out there and seemingly turned the place on its ear, and I have yet to hear one negative thing about any of it. I don't really think Vince McMahon cares. The bottom line is making money. I'd like to think that that's what I did. Whether it's real or not is almost irrelevant, but I think people can see through it and realize that yeah, this guy's pissed off, this guy's fed up. They can relate to that.

GQ: Are you at all surprised at the enormity of the reaction?

C.M. Punk: Yeah. I'd like to go out there and do that all the time, but that's just not the case. So to actually strike that nerve is tremendous. Right after that night in Vegas, we hit the ground running. We flew to Australia the next day, and that's a 15-hour flight, so that's 15 hours of everybody talking about what I did. And when I landed in Australia, I wasn't really turning my phone on because of the roaming charges. People started emailing me and texting me. Jim Rome wants me on his show, and all these ESPN people are talking about it. Bill Simmons is writing about it. I wasn't on the nine o'clock news or anything like that, but it seems like I made it socially relevant for the first time in a very long time.

GQ: You've talked a lot about your treatment within the WWE and the way the company generally runs. How could it be done better?

C.M. Punk: A lot of the people who are in charge—and this isn't a negative thing—are old. They have a wealth of experience, yes, but there's no youth that's involved in anything. The youngest people there are all performers. I don't envy their job, trying to get inside somebody's head and figure out who they are and what their character is. It's a nerve-racking thing when you first get there. If you're like me, this was your dream job; you worked 13 years to get to where you are. The normal course of action is mouth shut, eyes and ears open, not stepping on toes. But that's how you get ahead. A squeaky wheel gets the grease. If something sucks, I've always been completely vocal about it, and I've been punished many, many times because of that. But I don't think I'd be in the spot I'm in right now if I wasn't me. I've always just been me. I don't think we should be looking externally for talent; there's plenty of guys and girls in house that are super-talented that we don't do enough with. A guy like Evan Bourne, who's a fantastic high-flyer, does the most fantastic stuff on the roster. I could go on: Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Beth Phoenix. There's Nattie Neidhart, Tyson Kidd. Tyson Kidd is a fantastic wrestler, maybe not the greatest promo. So let's help him. Let's teach him to get better instead of signing someone from Europe who failed at Euro football. I could talk about this forever. Part of it is that there's no territories; there's no place for people to learn. And the places that people can learn aren't the best, and they're completely looked down upon. Like independent wrestling. It's easy to shit on people from a great height, but it's another thing to pull them aside and try to impart knowledge. And I've been on the other side of the coin where I try to help somebody out and they blow me off like they know everything.

GQ: When you say you've been punished, what does the company do?

C.M. Punk: We have dress code violations. For a while, the big thing was that people who wear suits get ahead. I'm not a suit and tie kind of guy. I wear a suit once a year, for the Hall of Fame, or if I have to go to a funeral or something. It's just not me. And I think our travel is ridiculous enough. When we go overseas, it's sometimes two flights to get to where we're going, a three-hour bus ride, and then you're in a hotel for four or five hours. You have to eat and try to work out, and you're lugging your bags around. And you're getting the crap beat out of you on a nightly basis. The last thing I'm worried about is wearing nice, uncomfortable shoes. I've never worn a dress show that's been comfortable. I've always just worn dress shoes. On more than one occasion, I've heard that a champion should dress like a champion. But I'm a champion because of who I am. Who I am is not that guy. If everybody wears three-piece suits, everyone looks the same. When you hear "C.M. Punk," what do you think of? I'm covered in tattoos. For a while there, I had a crazy hobo beard. And you want me to shatter that illusion I'm projecting by wearing an Armani suit? Not only am I not that guy; that doesn't make sense business-wise for me.

GQ: When somebody like you comes from the indies, how do you even get a shot in the company at all?

C.M. Punk: I'm a very goal-oriented person. In 2004, I was working for [independent wrestling company] Ring of Honor. I didn't create the place, but I'm proud to say I'm one of the guys that made it a hell of a place to work, for young guys to learn. We did a lot of awesome stuff there, and I helped out. And I was really bored. I'd done everything: Been to Japan, been to Puerto Rico, wrestled in Europe. Every company that I was ever in, I'd become their champion. And I have a very strong bond to the old school. I'm friends with a lot of legendary wrestlers that I respect, like Harley Race. I look at what they did, and what they did is so drastically different to what an independent wrestler did in 2004. Me and my friend Colt Cabana were working four days a week, which is insane and unheard of. But then you look at guys like Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair, who wrestled every day of the week, twice on Saturday, and twice on Sunday. I craved that. I always said that I was born 20 years late; I would've thrived in the territory days. But I was bored. I needed something new. I set the bar high: Working with the WWE. I figured out that if I went to work there then, they'd say I'm not big enough, so I kicked my own ass and got into mega-shape. I ordered my own gear. They contacted me, and I said, "Give me three months to get into shape, so when I go there, you can't say no." That's what I did. In any situation, the cream rises to the top. I didn't have an easy go of it; they hired me and sent me into their developmental system. But I've always worked my ass off. I'm never satisfied. It's like that now; that's what keeps driving me. And I think that's how I worked here, because I don't take no for an answer.

GQ: When you look back at your time with the WWE, what were your proudest moments?

C.M. Punk: I will always say that my proudest moment was just being C.M. Punk. When I started wrestling in the backyard with my buddies, I was C.M. Punk. When we didn't know anything about the wrestling business and decided that we needed to run shows because we were awesome, when we built a wooden ring and eventually bought a ring and started running shows—these untrained goofballs that we all were—I was obsessed with being the best wrestler. I think it's an awesome story, that I've been C.M. Punk since I was 15, and that I went from rolling around in the backyard to Wrestlemania. I'm extremely proud of that. I've always been me. The last three weeks of my career, I've cut some of the best promos I've ever cut, and I do consider myself to be a promo guy. Winning the Heavyweight Title for the first time, when I cashed in on Edge, was awesome. The fact that I can work with anybody, from Undertaker to Big Show to Rey Mysterio.

I don't want to sound egotistical, but I'm egotistical to an extent. If you're in this business and you don't think that you're the best, or want to be the best, then I don't know what you're doing. I would never be happy with just coming to TV tapings, not working house shows, and just getting by, staying in the shadows. I'm proud of the fact that I can turn chickenshit to chicken salad.

GQ: What are some of your lowest moments in the company?

C.M. Punk: I'm not Superman. Eventually, the grind gets to you. If you're away from your friends, you're not traveling with anyone you like, and you're doing stuff that doesn't creatively stimulate you, that's when it becomes a job. Sometimes, I think it's easy to see who's talented and what works. Oftentimes, they go the other way, and that's frustrating. I was really bummed when Cabana got fired. I didn't feel like it was my fault, but maybe there was something that I could've or should've done to prevent it. He's a super-talented guy. I'm brutally honest; he knows that. I can look at him and be like, "Maybe trim up, work out harder, do more cardio." But when he's in the ring, he's the most entertaining guy. A company slogan is "We put smiles on people's faces." That's what that guy does, and he does it with his wrestling style. It's amazing. I was so bummed when he got fired because I want the best for my friends. If I could somehow trade places with him, I probably would, just so he could experience what I have. He deserves it. My buddy Luke Gallows got fired; that sucked. I was with the company when Chris Benoit's murder/suicide went down; that was a pretty fucking low point in everyone's life. I still can't explain that one. A lot of people don't like to talk about it. It still blows my mind.

Professionally, what bums me out is not feeling like they ever really got behind me. My fan base, how I became popular, was really despite them. It was very organic. Instead of giving me the ball and letting me run with it, they would give me the ball to keep it warm for somebody else. I always just want to be the guy.

GQ: When you finished up your big promo and went backstage, what was the atmosphere?

C.M. Punk: Gorilla position is our central base of operation, right behind the curtain. It's called that because that's where Gorilla Monsoon, a legendary wrestler, used to sit and watch all the matches. That's where the wrestlers come in and out. I cut that promo, and my mic was cut off. I knew we were on the air, and it didn't make sense for me to walk back through there. There was going to be a lot of angry people waiting for me. So I jumped off the ramp, double birds in the air: "Fuck this place, I'm leaving." I walked out a side ramp, and I actually walked past this gigantic group of people who were all waiting at the bottom of the stairs in Gorilla to see me coming out. I walked out and got to see everyone's legit reaction. It wasn't like, "Oh, he's coming," stone-faced. I walked behind people, and they had their hands on their heads, eyes wide open, looking around like, "Did you hear that?" I loved it. It couldn't have been any better. If I can do that with employees, I was immediately thinking that maybe we did that with the live audience. And you couple that with the millions of people watching on television throughout the world—somebody in Egypt is probably sitting their, hands on their head, mouth wide open, calling their friends. By the time I left the ramp and got to my phone, I had more than 200 text messages. It's a great feeling.

GQ: What kind of reactions have you gotten from your co-workers?

C.M. Punk: Nothing but positive stuff. Everybody wants to say what I said. There's a lot of unrest. There are a lot of people who are unhappy. I don't want to say I'm their hero, but a lot of people have said that. It's not like we work for a tyrant. It's like this in every job, I think. There's certain people who are afforded privileges and maybe, maybe don't deserve them.

GQ: When you do these promos, you weave in a lot of subtle references and inside jokes. Do you plan all these out?

C.M. Punk: No. Planning stuff out sucks. If you plan stuff out, you wind up talking in a very monotonous, unnatural way. For some reason, talking is easy for me. Practice does make perfect; I've been doing it for a while. Being out there in a high-pressure situation with a live audience and a live TV camera on you, it brings something out. It's very organic. Obviously, I think about what I'm going to say. But no matter what I think I'm going to say, Vince McMahon or whoever I'm out there with could say something, and it would have zero relevance to what he just said. I don't know an actor in Hollywood that could do what we do. For all of our superstars and divas who need improvement, they're still light years ahead of anybody in Hollywood. I don't think you could grab a Tom Hanks, and five minutes before he's supposed to go on television, hand him a five-page script. That's a meltdown. It's what I do. I can't explain it, really.

GQ: It was interesting watching you talk with McMahon. There seemed to be a little feeling-out period for the first couple of minutes...

C.M. Punk: And then it opened wide. I've always wanted to be in the ring to do stuff with Vince; I don't think there's anything bigger than that. But I've never been given that opportunity. So I'm not slowing down. Last night was that situation. I was going to go out there and do nothing but hit a grand slam.

GQ: Is he someone you feel comfortable talking to?

C.M. Punk: Yeah. He intimidates a lot of people. I'm certainly not intimidated, but he does have a very strong presence. If you ask for five minutes, he'll say he's got a TV show to write. But he's not really blowing you off. He's got a TV show to write. Only a few people can really command his attention, and I certainly couldn't do that when I first got here. I can definitely do that now.

GQ: What made you demand the return of WWE Ice Cream Bars last night?

C.M. Punk: If I have Vince McMahon over a barrel and he wants me to re-sign—If I'm Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, everybody wants me, I can get whatever I want, and I'm this prick douchebag—I'm going to ask for ridiculous stuff. The idea came from those crazy rock and roll riders: "I need a football field of green M&Ms." But I actually love those ice cream bars, and I would love to see them come back. And I'm always trying to crack up whoever I'm in the ring with. I think Vince subscribes to that theory, too. He's calling me "Phil." But that's the chemistry. It's just fun.

GQ: You always hear backstage stories, like about people like the Undertaker or John Bradshaw Leyfield being hardasses who keep everyone in line. What do you think your reputation is backstage?

C.M. Punk: I don't know, and I would hate to assume. I would love to find out, though. Obviously, guys like Bradshaw and the Undertaker have been with the company for decades, and they're good at what they do. They don't suck. They're fucking awesome; that's why they're here. If they have something to say, I would like to think that somebody's going to listen. I'd imagine I fall somewhere in between hardass godfather type and the who-the-fuck-does-this-kid-think-he-is guy. There's a lot of times when I'm throwing a fit because everyone has completely destroyed the locker room. I'm in these locker rooms more often than I'm sitting in my living room. To get back from working a main event match, where you're hungry and tired and hurt, and everyone's already left the building, there's luggage bag-tags, half-eaten food, sweaty wrist-tape, shit strewn all about—I'm that guy who says, "Hey everybody, we're going to have a meeting, and I'm going to tell you to clean up the fucking locker room." It never gets done; it's one of those things. I would think that is the genesis of adapting a leadership role in the WWE. I don't think the Undertaker was like that when he first got here. Imagine him when he first walked in the building. There's Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, Hulk Hogan, all these guys. They're probably looking at him like, "Who's this new kid? I gotta put him over tonight?" I'm sure he was quiet, too. But then eventually, all these people fall to the wayside. I'm the old guy on the road now. We were just in Australia, and somebody on the babyface bus comes up to me and says, "Cena was at an appearance this morning, so do you know who was on the babyface bus with the most seniority? Kelly Kelly." Your ascension as a locker-room leader is one of those things that naturally happens. I would like to think that, instead of being the guy who yells at them to pick shit up, maybe they look at me as a leader. But maybe that's premature in my career.

GQ: So there's really a babyface bus and a heel bus?

C.M. Punk: Absolutely.

GQ: Which one has the better atmosphere?

C.M. Punk: I don't know, depends on who you ask. The business has changed a lot. It used to be about bragging rights between the buses, about who partied harder. Now, I'm the only heel who's awake on the bus; everybody is passed out asleep. I can only comment on the heel bus. I wouldn't set foot on that other bus.

GQ: Who do you hang out with on the bus?

C.M. Punk: I miss Luke Gallows. There's really nobody I hang out with on the bus.

GQ: In Australia, somebody caught you on camera calling a ringside fan a "homo." When it went public, you apologized for it immediately. What brought that on?

C.M. Punk: It was just me doing my job, being a bad guy. I'm glad you mentioned something. When I saw that TMZ picked it up, because what a salacious story, I was legit embarrassed. My best friend Chez, ever since I have known her, has tried to curb anyone around her from using any gay slur. It's something that slipped out, more in reference to the guy's faux-hawk. It's not like he said anything that made me mad. It was just a back-and-forth that everybody was enjoying until I slipped and said something that could potentially damage somebody. I wasn't proud of it. I have gay friends, and sitting there in Australia, I was immediately thinking, "What are they going to say? Are they going to be disappointed?" Before I even talked to anybody in the office, I went to Twitter, and I apologized. It wasn't a public relations statement. It was just that I fucked up.

GQ: Now that you're ending your time with the WWE, do you have any plans for the future?

C.M. Punk: I have no plans. Cabana was fired on a Friday and wrestling on a Saturday. That is not going to be me. I haven't talked to anybody. Nobody's contacted me. I'm positive that people will try to contact me on Monday, but I just want to sit on my couch. That's kind of the idea. I've been doing this for a long time with no break. Especially over the last year, I had an elbow surgery and narrowly avoided hip surgery, so all my downtime's been used up by rehabbing so I can get back in the ring. And I never missed a beat; I was doing commentary with my cracked-up hip. That wears on you after a while. I'm looking forward to not setting an alarm, not flying anywhere, not having a schedule. I think everyone's dream is to do nothing. I want to have time off and not be injured. I want it to be summer vacation, where I don't have anything to do for three months. I can do anything.

GQ: Are you set for life? Could you never work again?

C.M. Punk: I don't know if this sounds bad, but I am set, yeah. I don't spend my money. I don't buy cars or have an expensive drug habit. The only thing I've ever bought with the money I've made is my house. My car was paid for in 2005. I don't like having debts. I don't like buying anything that I can't buy in cash. I didn't have a credit card until about a year ago. I'm not going to say I'm fortunate, because I've sacrificed a whole ton, but I'm set.

GQ: Does that have any appeal for you? Never working again?

C.M. Punk: No. Everybody jokes with me that I'm going to go crazy in the first week, and maybe I am. But maybe that's what I need to experience. I've never not done this, whether it was because I needed to pay bills or because I was so passionate and obsessed about it. But I think I'm reaching a point where I can step away and where I need to step away for a while.

* * *

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Looking at TNA Destination-X 4-way; Shiima Xion, Low-Ki, Jack Evans & Austin Aries

The long-anticipated X-Division pay per view spectacular, Destination X, will take place this Sunday, July 10. TNA has put together a pretty good lineup so far, with several unique matches that long-term and new X-Division fans will enjoy. Two of the X-Division pioneers will renew their epic rivalry, as AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels will face off. Samoa Joe, the unstoppable force of the X-Division in 2005 and 2006, will meet Frankie Kazarian, an X-Division pioneer in his own right. One of the biggest rivalries from the original ECW will be renewed, as former ECW, WWE and TNA World Champion Rob Van Dam will face former ECW and Ring of Honor World Champion and X-Division Champion Jerry Lynn. This match was originally supposed to take place at TNA’s ECW-themed “Hardcore Justice” pay per view, but a back injury to Lynn put the match on hold.

The match I am most interested in is the 4-way match between Austin Aries, Low-Ki, Jack Evans and Shiima Xion. The winner will receive a contract with TNA. Each participant won qualifying matches to earn their spot, and the match is billed as two X-Division veterans (Aries & Low-Ki) and two younger, X-Division style wrestlers (Evans & Xion).

I want to take a look at each competitor and look at the pros and cons of them signing with TNA full time, as well as offer a prediction on the match.

Austin Aries is arguably the best wrestler presently not signed to WWE or TNA. After initially making a name for himself in the 2004 ECWA Super 8 Tournament, Aries jumped to Ring of Honor and won his first World Championship, defeating Samoa Joe. Aries lost the championship to CM Punk, who was leaving Ring of Honor and threatened to take the title with him to WWE. That current storyline has been reversed, as Punk is leaving WWE and has threatened to possibly take the WWE Championship with him to Ring of Honor.

Aries signed with TNA at the end of 2005 and stayed with the company until 2007. He initially wrestled under his Austin Aries name, but later created a character named Austin Starr, whom he said in interviews was loosely based on Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

After his TNA stint ended, Aries returned to Ring of Honor and became the promotion’s first 2-time World Champion. His in-ring work improved, as did his promo ability and his character. He was a very compelling character and showed how versatile he was during his second ROH stint.

Low-Ki made a splash in the wrestling world by winning the 2001 ECWA Super 8 Tournament. He wrestled some preliminary matches for WWE before making history by becoming the very first Ring of Honor World Champion in 2002. He also helped make history by being one of the first X-Division Champions during the early days of TNA.

Low-Ki has had a couple different stints in TNA. His first was from 2002-2004 and saw him compete in the X-Division and tag team division, in the heel tag team Triple-X. His second TNA stint saw him compete as “Senshi” as there were issues revolving around TNA wanting to own his name for trademark purposes and Low-Ki didn’t want to sign over the name he had owned for nearly 10 years. This second go-round began in 2006 and ended in 2008. It was more of the same, with Ki winning the X-Division championship and briefly reforming Triple-X. Shortly after, Low-Ki signed with WWE and wrestled under the name “Kaval.” He appeared on season two of “WWE: NXT” in 2010 and appeared on Smackdown for a few months after that. He requested and received his release in December.

Jack Evans made his TNA debut earlier this week, but has a large cult following due to his strong body of work in Ring of Honor and Mexico. A cross between Rey Mysterio and Sabu, Evans is a high flyer who may be best known for his 630 splash and being the first person to perform a 720 moonsault (making two revolutions before hitting his opponent).

Shiima Xion is a recent competitor in the 2011 ECWA Super 8 Tournament. He has gained a cult following over the years in much the same way as Jack Evans, with his high-flying maneuvers. Unlike Evans, Shiima Xion has a flashy, cocky character he has honed on the local independents like Jersey All Pro Wrestling and abroad in Mexico and Japan.

Xion is the youngest and least-experienced of the group.

All four are skilled, competent wrestlers and each would make a good addition to the TNA X-Division. Who will get the spot? All four can work, both literally and figuratively. Let’s take a look at what each competitor can bring to TNA at this point and who may be the best choice.

Of the four, Aries is the best all-around. He can have great matches, he can play a serious character, a funny character, and he has charisma. If Austin Aries is committed to TNA and TNA is committed to pushing Austin Aries, then “A Double” would be an amazing full-time acquisition.

The key there is if Aries is committed and TNA is committed. Aries hasn’t wrestled much in 2011 and has posted some tweets a while back that indicated he was taking a break from the sports entertainment industry. So, either this match is a one-shot deal to get some publicity for both, or his break may be over.

If TNA isn’t committed to making Aries a star, I don’t see him settling for a midcard spot. He knows how talented he is and what he can contribute to the world of professional wrestling. He initially left TNA over the way he was being used and his spot on the card. I don’t see him coming off the best run of his career in ROH to settle into mediocrity in TNA.

Another factor to look at is WWE. Would TNA want to risk giving Aries a national platform to show how great he is and risk being quickly plucked away by WWE. Mediocrity in WWE pays a lot more than mediocrity in TNA.

Low-Ki would be warmly received by the TNA faithful. He has a hard-hitting style that is very believable and he has gained a reputation over the last decade as one of the more serious, take-no-prisoner wrestlers around. His recent WWE stint may help get him some attention from casual fans who remember him as Kaval. The thing that TNA would need to worry about with Low-Ki would be the fact that he has left the company twice before. The second time was widely publicized during a company-wide meeting with TNA Owner Dixie Carter, as she said anybody present who was unhappy in TNA could leave. He was the only person to take her up on the offer. After giving him a contract, would Low-Ki leave when he was unhappy? Again?

Jack Evans would have been a perfect fit for the X-Division in 2002. Unfortunately, Evans was a year behind and got more involved with Ring of Honor (working a lot with Austin Aries, both aligned with and against). While he’s very acrobatic and flashy, I don’t really see him as being a good fit for today’s X-Division. He doesn’t strike me as being overly charismatic, and while the crowd cheered loudly for him during his qualifying match, that pop was mostly due to reputation and word-of-mouth. I don’t know if he would be able to sustain that reaction from the crowd. Yes, they’ll pop for the high spots, but he will need more than high spots to succeed in TNA.

Also, there is the issue of Evans’ career in Mexico. He is a top star for the AAA (Triple-A) promotion in Mexico. Although TNA has a loose working agreement with AAA, I don’t see Evans leaving his prime spot at the top of the card in Mexico to go to the middle of the pack in TNA. But, I don’t know his specifics in Mexico. Maybe he likes it, maybe he doesn’t.

Shiima Xion didn’t actually wrestle for TNA. He was rechristened Zema Ion and is also using that name at the Destination-X pay per view. Xion is the only participant in the match who doesn’t have a huge resume and large highlight reel from a major company. And, that may work in his favor.

All of the other three can make some claim, to varying degrees, of being “stars.” He has less negotiating power of the four, and TNA may like that. Whereas the other three would be giving up some degree of power and ability to call their own shots in TNA, Xion doesn’t have as much to lose by being a middle-of-the-pack guy in TNA. He’s not coming off of 2 Ring of Honor Championships, or a stint in WWE, or a high-profile spot in Mexico. He’s likely hungrier than the other three and TNA probably senses that.

The fact that TNA changed his name for his appearances speaks volumes to me. Low-Ki didn’t want to sign his name over so they called him Senshi. They changed Austin Aries to Austin Starr a few years ago. They want names they can own and market. Shiima Xion belongs to Michael Paris. But, Zema Ion is a TNA creation. I could see TNA bringing in Shiima Xion for 2 matches and sending him back to the indies. I think they may have plans for Zema Ion, though.

Below, I have ranked each competitor in order of importance to TNA. I would like to see Austin Aries win the match and get a TNA contract, but I’m anticipating a Zema Ion upset.

1) Austin Aries - one of the best around; could show a global audience how well he has progressed since Austin Starr’s demise.
2) Zema Ion - young, good-looking highflyer that TNA could market as their own creation.
3) Low-Ki - former X-Division champ could slide back into TNA and not miss a beat.
4) Jack Evans - flashy wrestler that the crowds will cheer for.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DVD Review: Some random wrestling titles

Below are a few thoughts, a mini-review of sorts, on some of the professional wrestling documentary sets I have recently viewed.

Mick Foley: Hardcore Legend

Mick Foley is a world-renowned professional wrestler and has added a new dimension to his resume as a bestselling author (click here to read my review of his "Countdown to Lockdown" biography).

This was just a one-disk set, but it was broken up into two parts. The first half featured Mick Foley and TNA personality Jeremy Borash introducing Mick's greatest moments from his TNA career, starting with his TNA debut and ending with his November, 2010, Last Man Standing match against Ric Flair, which Foley said was most likely his last match.

The matches were good, as Foley has a unique style and has definitely learned how to mask and hide any physical shortcomings through a wreckless, entertaining wrestling approach. One of his better matches of the last decade was his 2009 cage match against Sting, the buildup and execution of which is the basis for his Lockdown book. The banter between Foley and Borash was entertaining, as they've proven to be a funny duo on television. They play off each other well and share a similar sense of humor.

The second half of the DVD takes a more serious tone and shows Foley away from the ring, as it talks about the charity work Foley does involving building schools in Africa. He is also interviewed about his family and the writing of his books. It's a very nice view of him outside of the wrestling ring.

Jeff Jarrett: King of the Mountain

This four-disk set is a career profile on the man who founded TNA, back in 2002. Released in 2009, it is broken up into small segments talking about a certain subject, for example his start in wrestling (as his father was a wrestler and promoter and his grandmother worked in the industry), which would then be followed by one of his TNA matches.

Several interesting topics are broached - his WWE and WCW careers, the last night of his WWE career where he allegedly "held up" Vince McMahon for money, the night Owen Hart died, the night Vince Russo "shot" on Hulk Hogan, the death of WCW, and much more. It was weird to talk about WWE and WCW things without the ability to show any WWE or WCW footage. For hardcore fans, it likely wasn't too big of a deal, but some more casual fans may not know all the details and would need some video as a reference.

The match selection is pretty good. A unique part of the DVD is some of the footage from the beginning of Jeff Jarrett's career, from his father's Memphis promotion. It's some of the only big footage from the "territory days" of professional wrestling that the WWE doesn't own. Some of Jarrett's first matches from the late '80s are featured.

Best of the Asylum Years: Volume One

TNA was formed in the summer of 2002 by Jeff Jarret and his father Jerry Jarrett. Its business model was somewhat revolutionary at the time (and proved to ultimately be unsuccessful) - to air weekly one-hour pay per views at only $10. Instead of what is considered the "standard" for a wrestling company - a prime-time cable show that builds toward monthly pay per views, TNA tried something different.

TNA's weekly pay per views were broadcast every Wednesday night from a building in Nashville that they dubbed the Aslyum. They ran pay per views in the Asylum from 2002-2004, at which point they switched to the more traditional format. Their "Impact" television show debuted on Fox Sports Net in 2004 before switching to SpikeTV in 2005.

What's even more interesting than the matches featured is the commentary between them. There are interviews with several of TNA's early names about the company and the matches on the disk. People like Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, Abyss, Alex Shelley, Dixie Carter (who is rocking some amazing cleavage on this set!) and more give a unique perspective to the company's formative years.

The 2-disk set starts with the first Asylum main event, a ladder match between NWA Champion Ken Shamrock and Sabu, all the way to the final Asylum main event, NWA Champion Jeff Jarrett vs Jeff Hardy. Inbetween, we see some great X-Division matches, including a great 2002 ladder match between Jerry Lynn, Low-Ki and AJ Styles; the brutal cage match between America's Most Wanted and Triple-X, the famous Hair vs Hair Raven vs Shane Douglas match (remembered for Douglas getting kicked in the testicles and puking in the middle of the ring), as well as Lex Luger's first match after the 2003 death of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hulette (better known in wrestling circles in Ms. Elizabeth... the death was drug-related and Luger was initially implicated in the scandal).

It's a good set to familiarize yourself with the early history of TNA, if you're a new fan. If you fondly remember this era of TNA, it's a must-have. The "Volumne One" tag indicates there could be future installments. I wouldn't mind that at all.

The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro

WWE released this 3-disk set last month. It has been hotly anticipated since it was announced earlier this year. Anticipation grew even more when it was revealed that "Diamond" Dallas Page, one of the biggest stars of World Championship Wrestling, would be hosting the set.

I bought it as soon as it was released. I wasn't disappointed... Sort of...

Like DDP says at the DVD's conclusion, it is impossible to encapsulate the very best of a weekly 3-hour program that aired for six years into 9 hours. The moments included are most of the historic matches and segments from Nitro's history. Disk one is the early years, from the show's creation in late 1995 until the formation and domination of the New World Order. Disk two is a collection of the best of wrestling's "glory years," 1998-1999. Disk three is sort of hit-or-miss. The last couple years of WCW were rough, as they were clearly losing the wrestling war to Vince McMahon's WWE. A lot of it was in the "so bad it's good" territory that I actually think a "Worst of Nitro" DVD set that chronicled the show from 2000-2001 would sell pretty well.

I enjoyed the set from a nostalgia standpoint. I was actually expecting to see more vignettes and interviews, as opposed to actual matches, but the three disks were very heavy on in-ring action. The special features on the disks aren't anything to write home about, but the body of the DVDs are very good. I'd recommend it to any person who was a fan during the "Monday Night War" era of professional wrestling.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Looking at CM Punk work-shoot WWE Monday Night Raw promo

When "Stone Cold" Steve Austin - one of the greatest talkers of all time - says that he just watched one of the best promos he's ever seen, you know you just saw something special. So, perhaps it was fitting that CM Punk wore a Steve Austin shirt Monday, June 27, and proceeded to unleash one of the most venomous promos in recent memory.

The buzz from this promo was off-the-charts. Was it real? Was it staged? Can you believe what he said about The Rock? I can't believe he mentioned Ring of Honor! Etc...

In wrestling, things are either a "work" or a "shoot." A work is something staged - this guy pinned this guy to win a title. A shoot is something that wasn't supposed to happen - this guy injured himself during the match.

As people got smarter and wrestling vernacular became a bigger part of fans lives, wrestling tried something new in the late '90s. They tried something called a "worked-shoot." This basically meant that what they presented on screen was staged, but they gave the impression that it wasn't; that they had gone off script. Brian Pillman made a career out of this. Paul Heyman did some good ones. WWE had some successful ones. The concept was fresh and exciting until WCW killed it in the early 2000's by doing too many and watering down the concept.

CM Punk's worked-shoot was one of the first and biggest in WWE in years. They acknowledged weeks earlier that Punk's contract was expiring and that he was leaving WWE. On June 27, they had Punk play the role of bitter employee and shoot on his problems with WWE.

It has since come out that Vince McMahon and some in the "inner-circle" of WWE had an idea of what Punk was going to say. Basically, Punk was given a microphone and told to shoot. He was told that his microphone would be cut when they decided he was done.

I want to look at some of the points made and discuss why they were so controversial.

This starts out as a typical "bad guy" promo until Punk mentions that he doesn't hate Cena; but rather, he hates the idea that he's the best. He hates that Cena and Dwayne (aka The Rock) kiss Vince McMahon's ass to get their spots and he's not appreciated for his efforts.

One of the most interesting things during Punk's speech was that the crowd cheered him a lot when he made his points. In fact, they cheered so hard that Punk started insulting them in an attempt to turn them against him. It didn't work. They agreed with him that they were tired of seeing John Cena in a top spot. And much like the 2002-2003 backlash against The Rock, they were tired of seeing the same song-and-dance in the main event spot.

Paul Heyman is one of the most revolutionary wrestling minds of all time. He led ECW from the early '90s until its 2001 death. He then took a job with WWE as an announcer and member of the creative team. His WWE tenure was marked with turbulence, as he was deemed too controversial to succeed in the WWE's political backstage atmosphere.

In 2005, Heyman was demoted to head writer for WWE's farm system territory Ohio Valley Wrestling. While there, Heyman made a star of a recent WWE-signee named CM Punk. Heyman reportedly lobbied hard for Punk to keep his name, which WWE usually changes for trademark purposes. Getting such a great push from somebody politically on the outs with WWE did not do Punk any favors, as he noted being labeled a "Paul Heyman guy."

Brock Lesnar, one of the top stars for the Ultimate Fighthing Championship, was WWE's "Next Big Thing" in 2002. He was one of the first "Paul Heyman guys," during a spell when Heyman was in good graces with WWE. He powered through the WWE elite, defeating everybody from Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Ric Flair, The Undertaker, etc.. to win WWE Championships and become a millionare. In 2004, he decided that wrestling wasn't for him and left. After all the effort that WWE put behind him, after making him a star, he bolted with little warning. After that, being a "Paul Heyman guy" took on a different meaning.

John Laurinatis is the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations with WWE. He's one of the top people behind Vince McMahon, and is in charge of hiring, firing and paying the wrestlers. Before this, he was known for three things - being the brother of Road Warrior Animal, being a part of the ridiculous "Dynamic Dudes" tag team and creating the "Ace Crusher," a move more commonly known as the "Stone Cold Stunner." He is not seen as a popular man by some, as CM Punk reinforced an opinion that several wrestlers have done in interviews outside of WWE, that he is a "yes man," and a douchebag (which is what Punk said that was edited out).

Vince McMahon's eventual death was brought up by CM Punk as possibly making WWE a better company. He decided that it wouldn't, because WWE would then be run by his "idiotic daughter" and "doofus son-in-law." For those who don't know, the plan for whenever Vince steps down from running WWE is for his daughter - Stephanie McMahon - and her husband - Paul Levesque aka Triple H - to run the company. Stephanie is the head of the writing team and Triple H has recently stepped down to part-time wrestler to accept an office position that deals with finding developmental talent. In his first big move, Triple H is responsible for bringing in Sin Cara.

It was amazing the stuff that CM Punk talked about. I'm curious about the comments Punk was going to make when his microphone was cut off. He brought up the WWE's anti-bullying campaign, "be a STAR" and a personal story involving Vince McMahon. I'm guessing the reason his mic was cut off was because Vince knew what that personal story was.

The promo created a buzz and hopefully WWE can capitalize on it and do something positive with this. A lot of people who haven't watched WWE in a while were buzzing about it online. There's not much more time for CM Punk to be in WWE. I hope WWE can take the magic he created one June 27, and turn it into something big.