Roddy Piper Quote

"Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions."
-WWE Hall of Famer, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Best in the World?

Welcome to the latest Blog on the world wide web.  Please allow me to introduce myself.  I'm Joe Allen - a Ring Announcer, a Commentator, a Talk Show Host, and an Author.  But mostly, I'm a fan.  I'm a fan of the most exciting form of entertainment in the world - professional wrestling.  Having been a fan of this fascinating art form since 1980, I've got a ton of stories to share with you in the coming weeks, months, and years....Lord willing that is.

C.M. Punk - Courtesy
This first post, of my first blog, comes during a week when one of the most shocking events of the year has unfolded in WWE.  C.M. Punk, largely regarded by his legion of fans as:  "The Best in the World", has decided that he would rather be a part of WrestleMania 30, by watching the event on Pay Per View television from the comfort of his own home.  This past Monday night, it's reported that Punk told Vince McMahon that he was "going home".  Now...this isn't the first time Vince McMahon has heard those words from a main event caliber talent.  Back in 2002, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin "took his ball and went home" (in the words of The Rock).  Austin's legacy was tainted some by his decision to simply head off into the sunset of his Texas ranch.  C.M. Punk's legacy will no doubt be tainted as well from his recent decision to simply leave.  No regard for his word, no regard for the contract he signed, no regard for the promoter who helped make him who he is today, and no regard for the fans who paid to see him each and every week and bought his merchandise.

If you read the internet responses to Punk's exodus from WWE, you'll find a vast array of reasons.  However, one reason seems to be clear and consistent.  Punk is said to have been upset at the fact that  so called "part-time superstars" were being put over for big time roles at the company's showcase events such as Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.  If this is true, the anger for Punk likely rests in the fact that the recently returning Batista, who hasn't lifted a finger for the company all year injury investment whatsoever into the company...suddenly finds himself not only as the winner of the 2014 Royal Rumble match, but also finds himself headlining the Main Event of WrestleMania 30.

Now, this isn't just any WrestleMania.  This is WrestleMania 30!  It will be one of the most anticipated WrestleManias in the event's 30-year history, clad with all the pomp and circumstance of celebrities, legends, and today's biggest superstars.  And Batista, with a single appearance on one Pay Per View, is in the Main Event.  I get it Punk.  I really do.  I feel very similar.  I understand how Punk and other superstars can be so frustrated that WWE continues to put over guys like Batista, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, and probably somewhere down the line, The Rock again too.  They come in once a year, or at best they appear on the biggest Pay Per Views on the WWE calendar, like WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.  But yet, other than that, they don't do very much to contribute to the company or the product on a weekly basis.

But that still doesn't give superstars like C.M. Punk, Steve Austin, and others who have decided they have had enough, to just walk away.  First of all, they aren't walking away just from an employer.  They are walking away from the fans.  Fans who have "invested" in them.  Fans who have watched a story line develop nearly to his climax, only to have to settle for an fill-in story line.

Such is the case with C.M. Punk, who was on his way to likely face Triple H at WrestleMania, ending the long and compelling feud between Punk and The Authority.  There are some rumors that Punk may not have been happy with the direction creative was going with him coming out of the Rumble.  But assumed match against Triple H would have been capable of upper-card status at WrestleMania.  And to face Helmsley, the man who has put himself into highly significant matches in the last three Mania's (once vs. Brock Lesnar, and twice vs. Undertaker), would have been about a good as a spot for Punk to be in come April 6th.  So, I don't buy the rumors that he wasn't happy with his creative.

I personally believe that C.M. Punk was tired of WWE putting over these part-timers in spots that could have been reserved for buys like Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and even himself.  But the fact is that Daniel Bryan is arguably the most popular superstar in wrestling today.  And Dolph has had injuries and some other off camera issues that have held him back.  Neither of those guys are suffering from "part-time" superstars making their appearances.  And neither did C.M. Punk.  He was the WWE Champion for well over a year.  He was in the Main Event of every Pay Per View the WWE promoted during his 400+ day reign as champion.  Even when he was not champion, he was facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania.  Who goes out for popcorn and drinks when the Undertaker is wrestling on WrestleMania?  Nobody.  And here, headed into one of the most anticipated WrestleManias of all-time, he was headed for a match against the premiere figurehead on WWE television in Triple H.

C.M. Punk has no excuse.  And unless there is some information we are not being made aware of as fans, he had no reason to walk out.  None.  It was very classless, very selfish, and very immature.  And he calls himself the "Best in the World"?  Sorry Punk.  Yes, you are a very talented wrestler and you possess good microphone skills.  But that title "Best in the World", is reserved for those who honor their word...those who stick it out in good times, as well as in bad times, including when they don't agree with every little decision that comes out of Stamford, Connecticut.  That title "Best in the World" is for those who take what they consider a bad situation, and they make the best of it.  And as a result, they give the fans who support them what they paid to see.

I respect CM Punk for what he has done in the past.  He is an accomplished over-achiever in a business that's as competitive as any out there.  But just like Bret Hart's decision not to go out in honorable fashion at Survivor Series '97...and just like Steve Austin's decision to "go home" prior to the 2002 King of the Ring, C.M. Punk's decision to walk out will be one of those things that one day he will regret, but will not be able to change.  Sadly, it will be one of the things that he is remembered for.  C.M. Punk was "arguably" the "Best in the World" before RAW on January 27, 2014.  But now, he simply joins a list of wrestlers, who didn't survive the competitive marketplace known as:  WWE.

C.M. Punk:  We wish you well in your future endeavors.

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