Raw came and left Chicago without CM Punk appearing but his influence on both the crowd and the WWE booking was all over the show. Word on street was WWE made an offer to CM Punk to return that he rejected. Some people are trying to make him look like the bad guy here. How on earth can they say that without knowing what exactly this offer was? Hell do we even know why exactly Punk left in the first place? We have all speculated and have our opinions but only CM Punk knows why he isn’t part of the WWE at the moment. I would venture to say even WWE might not know exactly what his concerns are fully if they couldn’t make this work for a big return in Chicago.
Who knows if CM Punk was watching the show but if he was he saw an amazing battle outside of the contests in the ring itself between the WWE and the fans of Chicago. The night started out with C.M Punk’s theme and out came not Punk but his former manager and real life friend Paul Heyman.
Heyman being the genius that he is some how walked into the minefield and didn’t step on any. He started cutting a promo talking about CM Punk and why he wasn’t there and wasn’t going to be tonight. Heyman being the perfect guy to deliver that message cause as he has pointed out he would lie to his own Grandmother if it benefited him. So even though as it turned out he told the truth fans were more than willing to assume he lied.
He talked about Punk losing to the Undertaker last year and he blamed him for Punk not being around anymore and than he blamed the fans as well for him not being around. He went on to say that he was going to make things right by having his client Brock Lesnar defeat the Undertaker. It is a little out there considering that Punk/Lesnar feuded at Summerslam and Heyman had taken a royal butt whipping from Punk. Still it was brilliant and the typical great work from Paul. Brock was handed the mic and did not have the same success.
We had the tag titles switch hands as the Uso’s defeated the New Age Outlaws. You had the Wyatt’s and Shield fight again and have Seth Rollins walk away from The Shield causing them to lose and increasing the build to that break up. Tease of Csearo Face turn as Jack Swagger interfered causing Csearo to lose to Big E again.
They packed as much crowd pleasing stuff into the first hour and fifteen minutes of this show it was insane. By CM Punk not being there he forced the WWE to do a smart and well though out booking plan. This was one of the things Punk has been on the record as it not being good and one of the reasons people think he has left.
The crowd was getting there CM Punk chants in mind you but WWE did a masterful job of keeping them somewhat under control. Even to the point the hi-jacking Raw that had made its way onto Social Media also made it into Daniel Bryan’s Promo. Bryan and his Yes Movement were taking over the show until he got an answer from HHH on his challenge for Wrestlemania.
The promo and exchanges with both Stephanie McMahon and HHH was honestly some of the best mic work Bryan has done in his WWE career. Stephanie was almost drowned out by the boos anytime she spoke. Hunter stuck to his guns and refused Bryan’s challenge for a match at Wrestlemania against him. Kane would get called to the ring and Bryan would dive out and attack him leaving him laying.
Everything was well thought out all night long. Cena came out to cut a promo and refused to reference Punk by name. The fans who in this town truly hate Cena as the greatest rival to Punk let him have it. The Wyatt’s would cut a promo and it was done in a soft tone. At first annoying cause crowd was still hot at Cena and chanting CM Punk. They like Bray though and wanted to here what he had to say and so the quieted down.
Batista and Randy Orton were kept from cutting promos in front of the live crowd another wise move by WWE. There were some bumps in the road like a Christian vs. Sheamus match that not many seemed to care about. A Divas tag but with no A.J Lee involved as to keep the Punk noise down.
The Celebrity host came out with Ziggler who is popular with an audience like this. He helps Ziggler get the win distracting Alberto Del Rio.
The main event was Batista against Daniel Bryan. Randy Orton was at ringside the match would end via a DQ with a beat down with Kane HHH and Orton and Batista would all take their turned beating down Bryan. HHH would bend down to talk to a fallen Bryan and get a kick to the head for his troubles. Fans kept hoping for a heroic CM Punk to come save his Indy buddy Daniel Bryan but it never happened.
Just as we have seen far too many times, Bryan was laid out and the show ended.
Credit to all the performers that had a rough experience tonight dealing with a crowd that only wanted to see one guy and it wasn’t them. Well maybe a few they wanted to see but none more than CM Punk.
CM Punk indirectly minus a few things here and there including the finish that were not good by and large had far more thing that was good. Punk’s lack of appearance forced the WWE to careful construct a card that would allow them to make it through the night.
Punk not being on this show almost guarantees he will not be going to Wrestlemania. The longer he is away the more likely it is we may never see Punk again. I think Punk more than any other wrestler is capable of staying away.
Ironically enough Punk by leaving may have at least caused the change he was always searching for if only for one night. As much as people and WWE will try to turn this into CM Punk being selfish and not caring about the fans it is a load of crap. If Punk was that guy he would be hosting Wrestlemania as a past his prime joke. If he was that guy he would have come back and taken his Mania payoff and left in July when his contract was up. Punk is a guy with principles and a guy that has been smart enough to save his money along the way.
Punk represents a lot of the hope wrestling fans have for change and that hope has died a little with him gone. This is kind of sad at the end of the day. The future for the WWE should be bright and CM Punk has had a big influence on a lot of the young talent in this company.
The reality is setting in of a Wrestlemania that really on paper looks like it will be underwhelming.