RAW Deal: You ain’t gotta get Punk to have fun
CHICAGO—Nowadays, whenever the WWE even so much as crosses the state lines into Illinois, there’s always gotta be some insinuation of CM Punk.
It’s always some form of “the WWE’s in Chicago, is Punk gonna come back tonight?” or “this spot would be a really good time for Punk’s music to hit.” One of the previous times Vince and Co. rolled into town after Punk left, Paul Heyman used this crowd-fueled tension and anticipation masterfully (this was a month after the incident and we weren’t sure whether he was taking a quick break or gone for good) in order to gain maximum heat.
That was a long time ago. Months have passed since the Royal Rumble. Phil Brooks has made it clear that he no longer intends to return (at least, for the foreseeable future) and a good number of people have moved right along. I get that he is one of the most entertaining, charismatic, and magnetic wrestlers to ever set foot in the WWE. I get that the product could definitely use the spark that Punk brings to the table.
But Punk doesn’t even have that spark in him anymore. If he doesn’t even have it, what right do we have to keep demanding that he give us something he can no longer give? Punk’s moved on, and so should the rest of us. The WWE Universe doesn’t realize it, but it is totally unfair to the wrestlers who bust their asses off night in and night out—especially to Punk’s own wife, who gives so much of herself—whenever the selfish crowd chooses to chant “CM Punk.”
It’s not always perfect (far from it, in fact) but once you get over the loss of one star, you’ll realize that there are so many others waiting for you to give them a chance. There’s Seth Rollins. There’s Dean Ambrose. There’s Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper and Eric Rowan. There’s Cesaro. There’s Dolph Ziggler. There’s Stardust. There’s Paige. There’s AJ. There are the guys putting in solid work down at NXT as well. There are a whole lot of other stars, and there’s even John Cena, who’s still criminally underrated. There is a whole galaxy of them out there and you don’t even need a telescope to see them.
So I’m glad Punk didn’t come out tonight on this very fun RAW. Not that he was ever planning to, but the Universe needs to be taught a lesson on how to let loose and appreciate what they’ve got in front of them. Again, it isn’t for all tastes, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a show I really, really enjoyed. This episode broke some formulas and got itself out of the rut it’s been stuck in for a while now.
On this episode of RAW, there were new stories, there were animals, there were briefcases spitting slime, and there were Curb Stomps doled out generously by the end, among a whole lot of other things going on. Fun for the entire family, and you don’t even have to be straight edge to love it!
- The Authority and Paul Heyman are two of the best heels in the game right now, and Seth Rollins is creeping up close. It proves that when the WWE puts their back into it, they can build real new stars.
- That triple threat for the Intercontinental Championship was a thing of beauty. It was a good showing for all involved, but it was a championship-worthy performance for the champion. There’s a host of guys in the midcard he could get in entertaining feuds with for, like, the next year or so.
- How great would it be if Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble (and Dave Finlay, too) were official henchmen for the Authority?
- Something is cooking for Luke Harper, and that can only be a good thing. If you don’t think he could be a singles star, then I’m not quite sure what show you’re watching.
- Watch the “security” guys try to stifle their laughs after Dean Ambrose accuses them of being Rosebuds. This entire segment is priceless.
- Mark Henry is still a lot better as a vicious heel than as a pandering face.
- Slater-Gator has a kick-ass new theme song, and a little alligator mascot to counteract Los Matadores’ El Torito and Adam Rose’s Bunny! NEVER MIND THE CRUISERWEIGHT DIVISION, LET’S BRING BACK THE SWAGGER SOARING EAGLE AND THE GOBBLEDY GOOKER AND HAVE AN ANIMALS DIVISION! LET’S CROWN THE BUNNY THE ANIMALS CHAMPION AS LONG AS IT’S SAMI ZAYN OR JUSTIN GABRIEL UNDER THE SUIT!
- The Seth Rollins/John Cena/Dean Ambrose/the rest of the Authority feud is progressing nicely (if a little bit slowly) and, more importantly, in a logical way. I still want Ambrose to feud with Orton while Rollins deals with Cena and/or Lesnar—should be a lot better than Orton/Reigns.
- The Authority needed that ending. They haven’t had any real teeth ever since Daniel Bryan was able to get back at them at WrestleMania XXX.
- Cesaro and Miz seem to be basically trading championship pursuits, and this doesn’t make the midcard titles look any better. This booking decision basically made the championships look equal in an environment where they cannot afford to be equal; and it’s not equally better, but equally worse.
- The thing about using Total Divas to fuel feuds on RAW and SmackDown is that this process totally makes Total Divas look fake. Not that it looks legitimate to begin with, but if you want to keep trying to present a reality TV show to be as real as you can sell it to be, this isn’t the right way to do it.
- Brie’s new theme is very annoying. Didn’t take me too long to notice that.
- Big Show yanking down the Russian flag is… iffy, especially since Show is a face. Rusev causing Swagger to drop the American flag to the floor is fine considering that Rusev is a heel, but Show should not be doing such disrespectful acts like that. If Vladimir Putin were a wrestling fan, he’d probably go to war with the U.S. over the things Vince McMahon allows on RAW.
Things you may have missed last week: You most likely missed Philippine Wrestling Revolution’s first public show, Renaissance, last Saturday at the Makati Cinema Square Arena. It was a bold step forward for local wrestling, and it’s definitely not a backyard fed. These guys know what they’re doing, they’re living the dream, and they’re doing it the best they can. Their next show is on Dec. 6, at the same place—don’t miss it!
Next week: Roman Reigns speaks! But are we still willing to care?