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The Trial of CM Punk


Liam O'Rourke

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For this week's podcast we're returning to our "court case" debate format to argue over CM Punk, on the charge of fraud and misrepresentation - in that he and his WWE career didn't live up to all the hype (the internet and his own) surrounding him going in (and throughout his run).

 

We're looking for your thoughts on which side of the fence you sit on. Do you feel CM Punk lived up to the internet cheerleading and underground buzz that was synonymous with his name for years and surpassed it, or do you think he fell short of his and his supporters' claims about Punk's abilities?

 

As always the best contributions (or "witness statements", in this instance) will be read on the show and you'll be credited accordingly. So where do you weigh in on this, guilty or no, and why?

 

EDIT - The Trial of CM Punk (featuring a great many of your contributions is now online and available to listen to at the following link: http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/play/w98psn/SCGRadio71-TheTrialOfCMPunk.mp3
 

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CM Punk is arguably the last massive star they've had. Daniel Bryan is up there, but outside of that one run he had leading to WMXXX, he never had the longevity of CM Punk. Things soured towards the end when he got a little half-arsed and bought into his own hype, but now he's gone there's a huge gap they haven't been able to fill yet.

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Punk got as high as he was allowed to withing the WWE structure. In the aftermath of the pipe bomb he was poised to become THE guy in WWE popular and becoming desired by outside media. However instead of riding this fresh character and storyline to it's logical conclusion Punk was fed to Kevin Nash and HHH in one of the stupidest moves of recent memory. True he was Multiple time champion but always seemed to play spare tire (they pulled him out when needed) instead of cementing him as the top guy.

 

To my mind he is NOT GUILTY but WWE certainly is   

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The first time I saw Punk, I saw a skinny, ugly, wannabe wrestler with shit tattoos and worse hair. If you'd told me then that he'd go on to be World Champion in WWE for over a year, be in tons of main events and be genuinely over as a mainstream act - I'd have suggested you were on crack.

 

He could talk, that was always obvious, and his work was alright if you like that obviously choreographed shite, but he had nothing at all about him that suggested he'd reach the heights he did. So from that POV, I think he massively over-acheived.

 

I think he's guilty of hypocrisy. He's all about the money and the fame. That's fine, I've no issue with it. Unless you strenuously deny it. His big run was built on him not being "that guy" but as soon as he was offered "that guy's" wedge, he fell quickly into line.

 

He's got some just complaint about never having been in a WM main event given his standing in the company over several years. I'm not sure when he would realistically have got it though. Actually, I know the answer, it's fucking now! But he's skulked off into that other fake fighting company. :)

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I always liked Punk, scrappy little underdog that he was. I think he massively overachieved, given the fact he was not wanted from day one and Heyman had to fight just to keep him around, to go and become as big a star as he did is unbelievable to me.

 

The fact is Vince never saw him as THE guy, so even when champion he never headlined, he looked small when competing with The Rock, or Taker or Lesnar, or even Cena to a degree, I thought he was a fantastic promo, always managing to blur the line between fiction and reality.

 

All in all I would say Punk more than lived up to any hype, what more could he have done, he fought the system, became a multiple time HW champ and left on his own terms with plenty of money in the bank.

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I pretty much missed his whole WWE career - except that bit where he dressed as a gangster during someone's entrance that time - but I HATE Punk.

 

From his theft of the straight edge gimmick (he would adamantly claim in public to be straight edge but was seen drinking so many times) to his tattoos of multinational corporations and racist prison tattoos, he was the phoniest of phonies in a business built on phoniness. Now ordinarily that wouldn't bother me but straight edge means a lot to some people, and there is an army of idiots who believed in his schtick.

 

And then we have Punk the worker. I'll admit I could be wrong and that, in the years after he joined WWE, he became a top hand, but Christ was he terrible! Remember that time in the Ted Petty when he took a billion attempts to do the Pepsi Plunge?

 

Punk before 2006 was a jerk and a shot wrestler and a fraud. He's still a jerk but I'll let the defence build a case for his post-2006 activities...

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Punk, much like Bryan, succeeded FAR more than I ever expected him to in WWE. He just wasn't the type of guy that they would get behind when I was watching his ROH career.

 

Yes, he had the skills both in ring and on the mic, but there was never anything about him that made me think he could be a top guy in WWE.

 

Even moreso when he joined and they didn't really know what to do with him on the main roster, and he clearly wasn't at a level where he should be getting a title run.

 

Yet somehow it all fell into place along the way. The various incarnations of his character worked, his matches worked, and he dragged his way up to the level he believed he should be - nearly.

 

He was never ever ever ever ever going to be on the level of a Rock or Austin or Hogan, but he did very well for himself and to be honest I think he should be proud of where he got to. Again, it's the same with Bryan. Both guys who were adored on the indies and had something about them, but never really matched up to what Vince wanted. I don't think either guy has anything to complain about overall.

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Punk was fed to Kevin Nash and HHH in one of the most hilarious and awesome moves of recent memory. 

 

:laugh: Don't get me wrong I like Nash but I just don't see why he was used when he wasn't going to be a long term guy 

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When was Punk pictured drinking many times, Linus?

I'd love to know this too. Also, that time he took a billion attempts on the Pepsi plunge was on his opponent, a green as gooseshit Mdogg 20, who kept losing his balance. A true pro would of simply called a different finish on the fly instead of repeatedly trying again but Punk was hardly a ring general in 2002.

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After the death of ECW and WCW, I became a right indy mark. Which is funny because I didn't really watch ECW or WCW when they were around. I was a huge RoH fan in its early days and had a massive lob-on for Danielson/Bryan, Low-Ki, Daniels, Doug, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. CM Punk however, I wasn't a fan of. I liked his character, appreciated his mic skills and enjoyed his feud with Raven but thought his in-ring work was a little sloppy.

Fast forward to his WWE tenure and my opinion of him changed. Perhaps I was a little rose-tinted at seeing one of the old indy boys in a prominent position, despite being far from one of my favourites, but I got behind him. As well as this, I started to really like his work.

His look wasn't polished but I thought he looked different enough to stand out. He didn't look imposing, but Christ who does these days? He did look skilled, though. As soon as he turned hell he was one of the best in the business in my opinion. All he needed was the momentum from the fans, which he got after that match with Cena (one of my all-time favourites). However it wasn't enough to make him the top face, he never quite reached that level as a blue eye. More like a Jericho level, which to be honest is more than I expected him to achieve.

When he turned heel again, then I thought his stocked raised ever further and he was certainly the best heel in the company for me. But timing is everything, and unfortunately the WWE had another chance to have The Rock headline. They weren't going to pass up on that. Still, that WrestleMania Punk got the next best thing- a match against Taker (a superb match on a terrible card). All this following the longest reign since Hogan in the 80s. That's pretty good going.

I think he is big enough to headline a WrestleMania for sure (as Rick says, definitely now!) but only if the moment is right. Whereas with a Brock or Cena they can headline WrestleMania without question and have the card/leading angles built around then easily. He's not that level, no way.

In summary, he certainly exceeded my expectations by some distance and was even done well by WWE. And not 'treated well for an indy guy' but treated very well period. That incredibly long title run, many other title reigns, rubbing shoulders with The Rock twice (only Cena has also had that privilege), headlining countless PPVs. The one thing I do think the WWE possibly wronged him in was not giving him more time off to rest up, instead they rushed him back for a forgettable feud with Jericho, I think it was. That really was the downfall of him as a performer (apart from the Brock match, he was rubbish and uninterested after).

I hope, and think, he will be back one day. Everyone goes back and Vince will have anyone back that can do business. A Punk return could do very good business I think.

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