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Punk–music to my ears

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Pepsi challenge: Punk dares the masses to bring this to their next dinner party instead of spirits.

With the wrestling business sorely lacking distinguishable heels capable of delivering unique promos that actually, you know, piss people off rather than “sports entertain,” one man stands shaved head and shoulders above the rest: CM Punk, the most charismatic cult leader since Charles Manson.

Last night’s RAW promo was merely the latest example of how Punk has mastered the art of wrestling psychology—the guy has a way of getting under your skin by merely turning up the volume on his legit straight-edge lifestyle to continually deliver the most pretentious, psychotic promos in ages. (Behold the power of Punk: He mentions “Katie Vick” and suddenly she’s the number 5 trending topic on Google this morning.) Although even a blinded Chris Adams could have seen last night’s Steve Austin swerve coming a mile away, I couldn’t help but think of what have been had Punk been around in the Rattlesnake’s heyday in the Attitude Era. You couldn’t ask for two more contrasting characters to engage in verbal warfare—the promos between the two would have been riveting.

Unlike, say, the Miz, who’s a little too cutesy and clever for his own good as a heel, Punk also has a way of inserting a great one-liner (e.g., last night’s “Tooth Fairy” comment) without coming off cool or likeable. In playground vernacular, he’s the ultimate goody two-shoes. (To quote Adam Ant, “You don’t drink, don’t smoke—what do you do?”)

When thinking of Punk’s developing personality, I’m reminded of something Jerry Lawler shared with me during a car ride to Louisville: “Your delivery is OK, but you’re doing the wrong kind of promos. You’re trying too hard to be the next Jimmy Hart or Jim Cornette instead of being the original Scott Bowden. Above all, you’re trying to hard to be funny.” From that point on, I focused less on one-liners and more on being my naturally sardonic self—only way more obnoxious (my friends and associates at the time would argue the difference was negligible).

While the recent firing of Serena, whom I always found irritatingly attractive, hurts the SES gimmick, Punk will again rise above—or sink lower, depending on your point of view. Unlike Punk, Serena reportedly wasn’t living the gimmick off-stage. Party’s over for you, Serena, but take heart in knowing that WWE wishes you well in your future endeavors. (I cannot confirm if Punk has offered Serena’s SES spot to Paris Hilton as part of attempt to save the heiress from the evils of cocaine, apathy and really bad movies.) Punk has already been saddled with questionable booking this year (too little time to build a classic with Rey at WrestleMania and losing the hair match at least one PPV too soon and, later, his mask on free TV), but I think he’s capable of being a big-time money player in the right spot. (The Extreme Rules rematch with Rey and Punk was loads better, even with only a little over 6 minutes of time alloted, with the crowd hanging on every two count and false finish–the fans were dying to see Punk lose his hair.)

Like all the great villains in cinema, Punk’s character is effective because he honestly believes in his cause, no matter how heinous or difficult it is for your average citizen to understand. He exploits our own vices, weaknesses and imperfections, challenging us to rise to his unattainable, self-deluded virtues. And for that, Punk, we love to hate you.

Then again, perhaps we all could learn a lot from Punk—just look at how Jeff Hardy’s career is turning out.

  1. Tape Fan
    August 31st, 2010 at 15:49 | #1

    I laughed last night when he told Big Show, “You’re not funny. Nobody likes you.” Why? Because it was the truth. He could have been talking to the entire roster then for all it mattered. I hate Punk for being the only decent thing in a field of mediocrity. Were it not for Punk, I could skip WWE programming all together and not worry about missing anything of any value.

  2. admin
    August 31st, 2010 at 16:45 | #2

    Excellent point. Personally, I thought that comment was directed at Michael Cole.

  3. PG-13
    August 31st, 2010 at 22:19 | #3

    oh god I’m so tired of Cole and him being inside the Miz’s rectum. and after years of watching Lawler and Heenan as heel commentators he just lacks that heat. I liked that 3 way tag match although I thought it needed about 5 more minutes and good to see Danielson and Ki on the same team even though Cole bashed the crap out of them. Would like to see Danielson put the cattle mutilation on Cole too bad he’s using that variation of the crippler crossface. to me the cattle mutilation is a much more impressive looking move

  4. Old School Sammy
    September 1st, 2010 at 08:01 | #4

    I find Miz a breath of fresh air, he gets heat that’s not “we hate you because you suck” heat, and that’s what’s needed on an all too boring “Cena is Superman” RAW show. I have been a huge fan of CM Punk since seeing him back in 2003 at a local ROH show against Samoa Joe (wasted talent for about 5 years by TNA—ugh), and he was doing the “I’m better than you” heel schtick back then very effectively as well. I just hate that he’s being wasted on Smackdown, I could care less if that show had 4 to 5 star matches every night, it’s on Fridays on a channel that I can hardly find, which gives it two strikes right out of the box. I would NEVER miss it on Thursday nights, and WWE in my eye buried that show by putting it on Friday nights, and I am sure the ratings history since that move would prove that. With it being on Fridays, and not being replayed on Universal HD like RAW and NXT are on Saturday nights, I’d rather just read the spoilers online and skip the show in its entirety.

  5. PG-13
    September 5th, 2010 at 10:49 | #5

    by the way I know this is an old topic but shouldn’t Punk be reminded he’s not the first Straight Edge Superstar in fact the original is Jerry Lawler. maybe Jerry could join the SES, I don’t know if he’s up for shaving his head but it would be nice to have confrontation or something or maybe Punk acknowledging that Lawler was the first and that he respects Lawler or something along those lines

  6. Old School Sammy
    September 6th, 2010 at 09:16 | #6

    Shouldn’t Hulk Hogan be considered Straight Edge too–he did drink his milk, say his prayers and take his vitamins afterall…

  7. PG-13
    September 6th, 2010 at 15:24 | #7

    yeah him and Barry Bonds went to the same vitamin shop

    I believe it was actually Hogan who was injected by Canseco in the bum not McGuire

  8. Old School Sammy
    September 7th, 2010 at 07:08 | #8

    Well if you believe all the Roasters from the David hasselhoff Celebrity Roast from last month on Comedy Central, Hogan was injected in the butt a lot over the years–LOL!

    (the comedians KILLED Hogan on that show, maybe even more than the Hoff!)

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