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.

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