Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Reflecting On CM Punk's Career

It will officially happen tomorrow but it already unofficially has happened through a couple events last night that CM Punk and WWE have parted ways.

C.M Punk’s career is probably one of the better documented even though a good portion of it took place on the independent scene. His story really is a fascinating one that we all have already heard. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of Phil Brooks or C.M Punk’s life. See, I think we all know C.M Punk, but the list of people that know Phil is a much shorter one. For as public as he has been over the years since his fame really took off in the summer of 2011, (which was the WWE’s version of the “Summer of Punk”) He still holds a large portion of who he is too a small circle. Yet a guy that honestly keeps his fans at arm’s distance from his life, is still able to have such loyal and dedicated fans to him. It is just one of about 10,000 contrasts about CM Punk that make him not just an interesting person in wrestling, but an interesting person in life in general.

Not a lot of people think like him and have the real brilliance that he has inside him. He is talented, temperamental to flat out a jerk at times, yet if you understand him you love him. However, I think what people most connect with Punk for his just one simple yet magical word that he has come to represent. CHANGE is that word and he in the WWE made himself the poster boy for that word. It was a brilliant way to position yourself if you’re Punk, as the vehicle of change in a company that has clearly gotten stale and needs some shaking up. As quickly as fans have chanted U.S.A for Jack Swagger pitted against an evil Russian in Rusev they will react just as quickly to someone that wants to shake up the system. Challenging the status quo, has always been a good thing in professional wrestling and perhaps no one has mastered that art form more than Punk.

I hear this same tired argument that Punk shouldn’t have left how he did and that he should have honored his contract. I submit that with the creation of the WWE Network that the WWE itself broke the spirit of their agreement with not just Punk but all of the talent on this roster. They were left in the dark on how they would be paid with advent of the network and thus had no answers. Combine this with injuries and a growing dissatisfaction with creative, it makes a world of sense why he left. While the WWE legally did nothing wrong, morally they changed the rules of the business in a way that it was going to cost talent money with no explanations being offered as to some solutions. Add in the fact that C.M Punk has saved his money for the most part and is rich by anyone’s normal standards of living he could afford to go away.

He really was the complete package in the ring and out of it for fans of a certain mindset. Punk is the anti-hero and he will always be that guy. As much as Punk sees wrestling the traditional form of black hats and white hats, he himself no matter what he does will always be in the shades of grey. As bad as Punk may try to be in the role of a heel, he is just to good at it that at some point you go that "you know what I think he is right." If he is your fan favourite he is just a little to rough around the edges to be trusted to always do the right thing.

In many ways I  look at Punk and see a guy that in very different ways had kind of a similar journey to him in  Randy ”Macho Man” Savage. Punk like Savage was always considered "1B" instead of "1A", as Savage had to take a backseat to Hogan and Punk to Cena. Punk more with his words and Savage with his actions you were never quite sure what they would do or say next. In their own unique ways they were compelling and that is not something you learn in wrestling school. If a person has the ability to control your attention and focus, that is power. Like Punk said in one of his famous promos that the microphone in his hand was power and he was right in the hands of someone as compelling and unpredictable as him it was just that.

When you have the ability to gain that kind of attention and focus it makes the ability to have someone suspend their disbelief becomes far easier to accomplish. People cared about Randy Savage and they care about CM Punk. They are invested in them not just as wrestlers but as people. When you can make that strong a connection with your audience all the rest of wrestling becomes simple.

From Randy Savage saying he wanted to kill Dennis Rodman, to CM Punk saying he was going to win and walk away with WWE title, I was willing to buy in and root for these things to happen.

I have seen a lot of people complaining about Punk and his fans causing such a stir on social media and WWE Live Events. Just stop for a second and instead of complaining ask yourself how amazing this guys has to be to get this kind of reaction with doing next to nothing to receive it. Ask yourself why this guy above all others seems to have some of the most dedicated and loyal fans in wrestling. Why if he is able to have done this can’t other guys do the same?

The conclusion you will come up with if you’re being honest with yourself is that guy is pretty damn impressive and has done something that very few have ever done. Make no mistake about it CM Punk will go down in history as one of the greatest and if he never wrestles another match on merit is a hall of famer in my eyes. The thing is so is Randy Savage, but he is not in there at moment. Will C.M Punk and WWE ever do business again?

In the world of wrestling there have been far too many examples to discount anything. So it is always going be a possibility. Although keep in mind CM Punk is a very unique cat and long before there was any signs of trouble he warned us his entire career would end far sooner than people expected.

It would be nice to see his wrestling story end with a better chapter and maybe it will someday. That doesn’t mean CM Punk is done writing his story and whatever you may feel about him it seems clear publicly that he looks to be much happier and healthier. Which if you were a true fan of Punk is all you should really want for him.

It is just for a lot of wrestling fans his career ended is like the idea that the change he fought for has died with that career ending. This is the sad part of fans of wrestling that believed in him. Batman couldn’t save Gotham City and has gone off and retired.

In comics and in wrestling there is always a way to comeback to life and live to fight another day. If that day ever comes for CM Punk only he really knows the answer to that. In an era that John Cena has overshadowed and de-valued so many C.M Punk was able to cut out his own impressive career just like Randy Savage did in the shadow of Hogan.

Impressive stuff and not easy to do, but CM Punk always seemed to choose the more challenging road. 

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