Wrestling Post #1138
CM Punk has made something of a name for himself in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) since he cut his famous “quasi-shoot” (i.e., quasi-realistic) promo (i.e., ranting monologue) in July 2011 where he, among other things, “broke the barrier” by speaking candidly about WWE, its owner Vince McMahon, and the future (or lack thereof) of pro-wrestling. Since then he has been handed the ball so-to-speak and is, for better or worse, the lead man in the company — sort of. Due to sliding ratings and the general ineptitude of WWE bookers (i.e., the guys who write the stories), the company is struggling to regain its former glory. So naturally they turn to their greatest export, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, to come back and face CM Punk for the WWE Championship this Sunday at the Royal Rumble. That’s all fine and good, but let us never lose sight of the fact that before his rise to fame, CM Punk was one of the best talkers and grapplers on the wrestling indie circuit.
For proof of the former point, I give you this brief promo he cut years ago on Raven. For those who followed pro-wrestling in the 1990s, Raven was one of the more unique creations of the now-defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling. A “grunge” figure who used his real-life bouts with depression, drugs, and booze to advance an image of a counterculture heel (bad guy) that couldn’t be beat. In his declining days in the sport, he turned to Punk’s home promotion, Ring of Honor, for one last big run. CM Punk proved to be the perfect foil: a legit straightedge wrestler who made a name for himself with the tagline, “Straightedge means I’m better than you!” Tell that to a crowd of 500 dudes with their 7th beer in their hands and you have the makings of a riot.
In my view, this is Punk’s greatest promo. Short and to the point, and with enough autobiographical angst to sell the rage to even the most jaded wrestling fan.