CM Punk accomplished something on Monday night that many, myself included, thought impossible in this day and age of smart fans, dirt sheets and internet spoilers: he made us question, even if only for a while, whether what we were seeing was actually for real.
Make no mistake, I believe this was a worked-shoot – the entire segment was pre-planned, right down to the Sopranos-style ending but what’s important is that the angle contained something that wrestling, WWE especially has lacked in recent years: spontaneity and unpredictability. With a single promo, CM Punk was able to make even the most jaded fans suspend their disbelief and question, WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? That single question my friends, is what drives the wrestling business and I guarantee Money in the Bank will score a great PPV buy rate as a result.
Now “Breaking the Fourth Wall” as Punk put it, is nothing new in wrestling. In fact you can see worked shoots on IMPACT Wrestling on an almost weekly basis, however given their frequency of these promos and the style of that show I guess they don’t seem to have the same “impact”, if you’ll pardon the pun. When Punk tore into the backstage politics including Triple H and the McMahon family, he was playing to our preconceived notion of reality, a complete contrast from the predictable PG show we’ve become accustomed to and in this writers opinion made the promo that much more effective and believable.
What’s clear here is the WWE have hit a home run with this angle and now have one of those rare opportunities to change the wrestling landscape and put itself back on the fast track to mainstream success and it all hinges on how they build on this moment, starting with RAW next week.
In the many of the e-mails and tweets I get from you dear readers, I hear the same things over and over again – how the WWE is stale and predictable and the blame lies with the decision to run a PG/Family friendly product which limits what the talent can do and say. Many of you have advocated a return to the “Attitude Era” as the only solution…my question for you now is – Have WWE just proven that wrestling can be exciting and unpredictable without the need for the crash TV style with cursing and lewd behaviour?
Who would have thought something as simple as a talented WRESTLER and a realistic storyline would be the solution…Until next time folks, thanks for reading.