CM Punk may be single-handedly saving pro wrestling. There was a time when wrestling performers took their characters seriously. The good guys weren’t seen with bad guys outside the ring, and the faces hugged the children while the heels slapped them. You knew it was all fake, but even then you weren’t quite sure where the storyline ended and real life began. That type of quality has been lost over the years but a recent storyline involving CM Punk is helping restore some credibility.
Several weeks ago CM Punk “told off” the WWE and several of its higher ups by name. He delivered the promo in way that felt very off-the-cuff and unscripted. It didn’t hurt that his contract was up and all signs pointed to him leaving the company. That single performance had every fan and industry analyst guessing about what would happen next. I can’t tell you the last time that happened.
Everyone started talking about whether Punk’s speech was real or fake or a little bit of both, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because it got everyone to stand up and notice. It will go down as one of the greatest and most memorable moments in wrestling history. It got even the most jaded fans (like me) pay a little more attention and get excited about a product they’ve seen swirling down the toilet for years.
As it happened, CM Punk won a hyped match at a PPV and left the show with championship belt…but wait, his contract was up, right? He was leaving the company… Once again, it had everyone guessing and wondering what would happen next. It didn’t matter if it was scripted, it was incredibly entertaining and had more cliffhangers than any other weekly network drama. Usually the PPV shows are the end of the road for storylines but this was different and it just kept rolling. CM Punk then took a page out of the old school wrestling hand book and showed up at a Comic-Con to antagonize the other characters, taking fan excitement to a level that hasn’t been seen in over a decade.
Pro wrestling is just like any other weekly episodic show, it has its good weeks and its bad weeks. Recently there has been more bad than good and even though wrestling is far from being what it used to be, the level at which guys like CM Punk are performing at is certainly a glimmer of hope.
Thank you CM Punk for restoring some of my faith in wrestling.