Editor’s Note: In March of this year, we posted an article titled Why We Chant For CM Punk. Although Punk has long since moved on to greener, more bruised pastures, this post is still one of our most clicked links from search engines and so we are doing an updated version of it here.
Last night, Monday Night Raw came to us from Cincinnati, OH. The fans began chanting for CM Punk during the Cruiserweight match. It was a disrespectful move to Tony Neese and our Cruiserweight Champion, TJ Perkins, but it almost seems unavoidable. No matter how often Punk stresses that he is done with WWE, fans continue to not only chant his name, but bring signs catered to him at live events.
Punk made his UFC debut in Cleveland, Ohio on September 10th against Mickey Gall. He was submitted via rear naked choke at 2 minutes and 14 seconds in the first round. Punk outlasted Gall’s last opponent, who submitted at the 45 second mark in the first round. After 20 months of training and two surgeries, Punk made a strong debut regardless of what the haters may say. He refused to give up until there was no other option and lasted longer than many of his fellow fighters could have. Still, it was a dismal debut.
I was genuinely nervous during Punk’s UFC fight. I have never been so invested in two short minutes. It was heartbreaking, exciting, and put my husband and I through a whirlwind of emotions in just a few seconds. Current and past WWE stars have had mixed reviews on his debut, ranging from “uncomfortable” and a sign that he should pursue another career, to “inspiring” and a great effort for a first fight.
As can be expected, a lot of people have hinted that his so-called failure in UFC should prompt Punk to return to WWE where he is already established as a winner. Not an event goes by in his hometown of Chicago where we don’t see fans wearing his shirts and hear at least one crowd chant for his appearance. And as we saw on Monday Night RAW, Punk is clearly still over as a fan favorite.
We can probably safely say that Punk will never set foot in a WWE ring again, and we can also safely say that the chants won’t stop for a long time. It’s not about the hope of him returning anymore, we’re past that. We chant for CM Punk because us Punk fans respect the hell out of the man. Even though he isn’t watching Monday Night Raw, we chant his name and hope somehow he knows how much we appreciate what he has done for professional wrestling. Regardless of where he goes from here, we’ll be supporting him and looking for any excuse to chant his name.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
Be sure to check out our Twitter page to enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of WWE’s Greatest Stars of the 90’s on DVD! Contest runs now through midnight this Thursday. Check out our gallery at the end of this post for our live photos from last’s Clash of Champions! For more photos, check out our Instagram page. And now, our Monday Night Raw coverage.
After spending a few hours at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Clash of Champions, my voice is nearly non-existent from cheering and I’m ready for Raw to resolve some issues that weren’t put to rest last night. Raw kicks off in Cincinatti, Ohio with our new United States Champion, Roman Reigns. Right off the bat, he will be defending his title against Rusev. Rusev gets Reigns down on the mat early on, but Reigns is able to counter and get Rusev in a headlock. This crowd is definitely more behind Reigns than we were in Indianapolis. Rusev targets Reigns’ back with kicks before hitting a suplex into an unsuccessful pin. Reigns is able to get Rusev in the corner and hit chops to the chest, and Rusev counters by hitting a fallaway slam that sends Reigns out of the ring. After the break, Rusev has Reigns on his back in the ring as Lana looks on. Reigns fakes his injuries about as well as John Cena, if not somewhat worse. Reigns hits a few punches, but Rusev counters with a dropkick. As Rusev lands kicks, Reigns starts to do that mini headbang to get himself psyched up. He hits Rusev with a clothesline, then cocks his fist and goes for a Superman Punch, but Rusev catches him and both men go flying out of the ring.
They break for a second time for commercials, and we return to Rusev in control. Reigns is placed on the ropes, and Rusev tries for a suplex but Reigns is able to hit punches and knock Rusev away. He dives off the ropes and hits a clothesline, then hits a Samoan drop into a cover. I really wish Corey Graves would quit calling Reigns the “big dog.” Rusev tries pin after pin, but can’t keep Reigns down for the three count. This match started off a bit slow, but it’s really picked up the pace. Rusev calls for the Accolade, but Reigns catches him by the foot, then hits a Superman Punch into the cover, and nearly wins. Lana jumps on the apron as a distraction, allowing Rusev to roll out of the ring. Reigns follows, throwing Rusev into the steel stairs and then into the crowd. The referee counts both men out and calls the match, but the two are still fighting in the crowd. Rusev throws Reigns back into the ring area, then slams him into the barricade and ring apron. A “this is awesome” chant starts right before Reigns throws Rusev into the barricade. Rusev grabs a steel chair and takes Reigns down, nearly finishing him off, but Reigns is able to hit a spear and takes Rusev out. We’re a little over thirty minutes into Raw at this point; I’m surprised they gave these two that much time. Reigns grabs the steel chair and sits by Rusev, who is out cold, while holding his belt and talking trash. Once Rusev gets up, Reigns gets one good chair shot in before continuing his celebration. Not the match I would have booked, but they both did a good job. Compared to last night, this was a better match.
Mick Foley gets in the ring to address the Best of 7 series that concluded last night at Clash of Champions in a draw; medical staff decided that neither man was able to finish the match. This was very confusing to me as a fan who was present, as our seats didn’t allow us to see the move that “injured” the pair, and Cesaro hopped back into the ring to try and continue the fight. Foley invites Sheamus and Cesaro to the ring, and Sheamus is angry because he wants his title opportunity that Foley promised either he or Cesaro. Both men consider themselves the winner even though the series ended in a tie. Foley decides that both men get a championship opportunity, but it will be as a team for the Tag Team titles. What? This was seriously unexpected! I like it!
Speaking of our tag titles, our champions come to the ring to compete again against The Club. Kofi Kingston gets control of the match early, as Woods cheers him on via trombone. He starts using quick tags with Big E to keep Anderson down, but Gallows attacks Big E outside of the ring, then hits Kingston with a clothesline that flips him completely over. As Kingston gets back to his feet, Anderson hits him with a dropkick, then rolls him back into the ring for a cover. Gallows hits Kingston with a chokeslam after an unsuccessful attempt by Kingston to knock him down. Anderson tags in during the break and will not allow Kingston to tag in Big E. After a miss by Anderson, Big E finally tags in and hits him with a Belly to Belly. Outside the ring, Kingston takes down Gallows. Anderson dodges Big E, sending him into the ringpost hard, and trying for another pin. This is essentially the same match we were given last night. It isn’t bad, but having just seen it 24 hours ago, I could do with something different. New Day nearly win after hitting The Midnight Hour, but Gallows breaks the pin. Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer on Big E and almost win it, but Kingston saves the match. He is able to get the pin on Anderson for the win, but has blood gushing out of his head! What the heck happened?
Bayley makes her way to the ring now, facing a local soccer mom named Anna Fields. Fields pins Bayley on the rope early, hits her with her forearms, pins her in the corner with her foot, and then goes for a pin. The crowd starts chanting for Bayley, who is in a headlock. She finally breaks away from Fields, slamming her head into the turnbuckle. She hits Fields in the back, then with a running clothesline. Bayley picks up a quick win after hitting the Bayley to Belly. I’m confused. It strikes me as odd to give Bayley a random squash match at this point in time. After the match, Tom Phillips asks Bayley how she feels about her match last night. She calls Charlotte and Sasha Banks the top two women in this industry, but promises that she’ll be back in the title picture soon.
Backstage, Foley accuses Stephanie McMahon of playing favorites when it comes to Kevin Owens. Because last night, Chris Jericho interfered with the match and was not disciplined and because McMahon “took her time” getting a new referee for the title match, she was helping Owens. McMahon snaps back at Foley, telling him that she was picking up his slack and he isn’t doing his job. He needs to stop letting his ego get in the way and stop accusing her of not properly doing her job. Foley admits that he was out of line, and walks away like a hurt puppy dog.
It’s Cruiserweight time! Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann versus Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak. Swann and Dorado start the match off, and both men are so acrobatic that neither can land a move. This is awesome. Dorado gets the first pin but Alexander saves his partner. Dorado sends Swann outside of the ring and into Gulak and Alexander. He then moonsaults off the top rope and takes down all three men. After the commercial break, Gulak is in the ring with Swann and has him down on the mat in a chinlock. He tags in Dorado who tries to get Swann down for the three count. Swann dodges a dropkick, sending Dorado into the ring post. Gulak and Alexander tag in, and Alexander dominates immediately. It’s amazing watching the cruiserweights fly around the ring. Alexander flies off the top rope into a pin, but Dorado breaks it up. Gulak suplexes Alexander back into his corner where he tags in Swann. He hits Gulak with a hard kick into a bridge cover for the win! These guys should hbe given the thirty minutes allotted to Sheamus and Cesaro; they are truly amazing athletes.
Cesaro and Sheamus awkwardly walk to the ring together to battle Nick Cutler and Willis Williams. Cesaro and Cutler stat things off, and Sheamus is already refusing to tag in. Cesaro gets him tagged in when he is playing to the crowd, and Sheamus proceeds to show off at the expense of Cutler. Cutler tags in partner Williams, who is immediately taken down by Sheamus. Cesaro tags himself back in and hits Williams with an uppercut. The crowd starts a “let’s go jobbers” chant, which isn’t a good sign for our new tag team. Cutler tags back in and targets Cesaro’s shoulder. Cesaro hits an uppercut to Williams, then goes for the neutralizer on Cutler. Sheamus jumps in and Brogue kicks both Williams and Cutler, allowing Cesaro to get the pin and win the match. This was… different.
TJ Perkins joins Tom Phillips backstage, saying that winning the Cruiserweight title is a dream come true, and debuting on Raw is a dream come true. He is interrupted by our resident pirate, Brian Kendrick. Kendrick is still very bitter about losing the CWC and losing his match last night at Clash of Champions. Kendrick says that Perkins owes him for his entire career. I personally am very glad that Perkins is champion over Kendrick.
Our women’s champion, Charlotte, is on now with Dana Brooke. She calls Clash of Champions “her night” thanks to her win; she is now 12-0 at PPVs when defending her title. Charlotte admits she isn’t huggable like Bayley, isn’t an internet sweetheart like Banks, but she is the face of the division. Sasha Banks interrupts, saying that last night may have gone her way, but that is still her title. Bayley was pinned, not her, and she is still owed her one-on-one rematch. Charlotte says she is “just as much better” than Banks, but admits that Banks has earned a title shot. She agrees to fight Banks next week because if she doesn’t, Banks will just whine until she gets her way. Banks delivers a hard slap across Charlotte’s face, then attacks Brooke. Charlotte gets back up and Banks throws her and Brooke from the ring. I was hoping they would have the rematch tonight, but next week works just fine.
Backstage, Seth Rollins runs into Mick Foley. Rollins is currently not medically cleared for competition, but is determined to go out to the ring during Chris Jericho’s segment with Kevin Owens. He knows McMahon is sabotaging him and wants to confront Owens instead of just let him brag. But first, TJ Perkins comes to the ring! He will be facing Tony Neese, who is a bad ass. Neese tries to lock Perkins’ wrist, but our champ flips around too much for him to lock it in. Perkins locks in a knee bar, but Neese grabs the rope. Neese lands a superkick, then dives from the ring to take Perkins down. They break for commercial only a couple of minutes into the match, which is frustrating. THIS IS HIS DEBUT RAW MATCH. As we return, Neese is in control. The crowd starts an obnoxious CM PUNK chant as Perkins goes for another pin. Perkins tries for a tornado DDT, but Neese blocks it and nearly gets the win. This crowd is filled with a bunch of dicks, chanting names of other wrestlers as these two put on a clinic. Perkins gets the tap out victory via knee bar. This was an awesome match. A shame some idiot fans have to ruin it.
Jericho’s Highlight Reel is up now, and Jericho is adding more stupid idiots to his list. Sorry, unnamed cameraman. His BFF, Kevin Owens, is his guest for this evening. Jericho says that Owens proved what excellence was last night during his match. Owens says that he proved that he is the man, he is the main event, and he is better than Seth Rollins. He then calls out Rollins for injuring John Cena, Sting, and Finn Balor. Cue Rollins! Every security guard in existence rushes out to stop Rollins before he can get down the ramp. Foley and the security team manage to get Rollins backstage, but now Enzo and Cass are here! The crowd loses it; I wish they had been at the PPV last night. This is funny, and Jericho’s threat to go sit on their lap was fantastic. YES! I have never laughed this hard at Jericho ever. Our main event is set; Enzo and Cass versus Jericho and Owens, right after the break.
Jericho and Enzo are in the ring after the break, but Owens is quickly tagged in. Owens demands “the big one,” so Cass tags in and is immediately targeted. Cass slams Owens in the corner, then tags in Enzo who dives into Owens. With Jericho and Owens outside of the ring, Cass lifts Enzo over his head and throws him on top of both opponents. Cass throws Owens back into the ring, gets a knee in his midsection, and then gets hit with chops from Jericho. Cass counters with a sidewalk slam to both opponents, then tries to hit Jericho with a kick, but Jericho grabs the ropes and sends Cass flying. After the break, Owens is thrown to the mat by Cass who then tags in Enzo. Owens tags in Jericho, and he is hit over and over by Enzo. He goes to the top rope and hits a crossbody on Jericho, then kicks Owens off the apron. Jericho tries a quick roll up but Enzo kicks out. Owens grabs Enzo by the legs, assisting Jericho in knocking Enzo out. Owens then throws Enzo into the barricade and showboats for the crowd, then does a fantastic impression of Enzo’s dance. Enzo is stuck on the top rope thanks to Jericho, but he is able to counter and knock Jericho off the ropes. He dives off, but Jericho hits a kick and knocks him out. Owens tags in and nearly gets the win on Enzo, then argues with the referee. Jericho goes for a lionsault, but Enzo gets his knees up. Owens and Cass get tagged in, and Cass starts hitting shoulder tackles. He hits a fallaway slam, then kicks Jericho right in his face as he tries to interfere. Cass hits the Empire Elbow, takes out Jericho again, and tries to finish Owens, but he ducks away. Cass manages to regain control with a well timed kick, then tags in Enzo. Jericho slams Cass across the face, so Cass gives him another kick to the head. Meanwhile, Enzo hits a DDT on Owens, but can’t win the match. This is a great main event, guys. Owens hits the Pop Up Powerbomb and wins the match.
Next Monday, Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson will be guests on Raw to confront Jericho and Owens. Brian Kendrick will get his rematch against TJ Perkins to try to win the Cruiserweight title, and Sasha Banks also gets a rematch against Charlotte for the Women’s title. Let us know what you thought of tonight’s Raw in the comments below, and give us a follow on Twitter at @facetoheel. We’ll see you tomorrow for Smackdown.
Face To Heel at CLASH OF CHAMPIONS!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Greetings, pro-wrestling fans! This has been a very interesting week in the world of sports entertainment! We shit the bed on Monday and Tuesday and missed our weekly Raw and Smackdown Live episodes. Our sincere apologies. Our laptop bit the bullet and left us stranded. We had to improvise most of the week but we are finally back and better than ever! So here’s what you may have missed this week in wrestling.
— The late, great Mr. Fuji got his own Collection added to the WWE Network featuring his work as a solo competitor, tag partner, and manager. Alberto Del Rio officially got released by the WWE. Fans around the world were left wondering if his girlfriend, WWE Superstar Paige, was transitioning out of the company as well. The beloved fan favorites American Alpha took their tag team antics to Sportscenter’s Off The Top Rope Wednesday night to discuss their start as partners, amateur careers, and future as a team. The Coach kept it light and it was just a likable interview for the pair of future Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
— Wednesday night gave us some serious wrestling action as NXT saw four matches during the hour long broadcast including: Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, Ember Moon, and TM61. It was a fun show and the Full Sail Crowd was lively. Read all about it HERE. Following NXT, the WWE Network gave us the final round of quarter-final matches for the Cruiserweight Classic. Zack Sabre Jr. took on Noam Dar and T.J. Perkins wrestled Rich Swann. It was two more classic matches for the CWC and set the stage for next week’s live two hour finale. See who made the Final Four in our full review.
— Thursday Night! I knew you’d come! Yes, TNA brought us a brand new episode of Impact Wrestling. And yes, Broken Matt Hardy treated the entire world to another fantastically epic moment in pro-wrestling history. Decay (Rosemary, Abyss, Crazzy Steve) invaded Cameron, North Carolina and tried to steal King Maxell. It was one for the history books as Decay or Delete gave us more fireworks, more green mist, and more insane Hardy moments than ever before. And if that wasn’t enough, Gail Kim tagged with Jade, the King of the Mountain Championship was retired, and The Miracle got an opponent for Bound For Glory. Don’t hesitate to read all about #ImpactOnPOP!
— AXSTV brought us some killer tag team action on Friday’s new episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was worth watching and featured some of Japan’s biggest names. Read all about the phenomenal hour long broadcast HERE. We don’t typically cover UFC on here, but we did this past Saturday as UFC 203 saw the debut of former WWE World Champion CM Punk in the octagon. Unfortunately it was a brutal first fight. Mickey Gall tapped Punk out in the first round. We covered the event briefly HERE.
— And of course, last night Smackdown Live presented the 2016 Backlash pay-per-view. It was a premiere event and was arguably one of the best live WWE Network shows put on so far this year. We crowned a first time ever Smackdown Women’s Champion, first time ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions, and both the Intercontinental and World titles were defended. Who won? Who retained? Well, you don’t think we’re gonna give that information away here do ya?! You have to go read our article with full match results and feedback. That’s all for now. See you tonight for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
CM Punk quit wrestling. And although this is a wrestling blog, first and foremost we are a fighting sports household and we support all things Phil and AJ Brooks. As such, we were crazy excited to learn that CM Punk was trying his hand at UFC. Plagued by uncertainty and injuries, some doubted we would ever get to this moment. Nobody took Punk seriously. In fact, most thought Punk would be embarrassed beyond words. “Tonight’s going to be fun. You’re going to see a celebrity get beat up.” Those were the sentiments of Mickey Gall, Punk’s opponent this evening.
The stage was set for Punk to put his entire reputation on the line. Win or lose, the entire world was watching. And when the smoke cleared and the dust settled… CM Punk was not victorious. And now, a play by play of the actual match.
Mickey Gall walks out to the song “Oh Mickey, You’re So Fine” fixing his hair and looking like a frat boy who just got acquitted of his rape charges. For all the shit he talked during the last few weeks, he does not at all carry himself as a confident man. He nearly drops his mouthpiece when he fumbles to put it in. He dances to his obnoxious song. For all outward appearances, he does not seem to be taking the fight very seriously which could cost him. Then again, maybe he just doesn’t see Punk as a threat.
Meanwhile CM Punk comes out to his Cult of Personality entrance song he used in WWE. He laughs at the crowd’s reaction, then wipes the smile off his face and comes out wide eyed and looking about as anxious as a man having a debut fight on a live PPV can be. This isn’t wrestling. It isn’t pre-determined. Punches aren’t pulled here. Punk is in a whole other league. Time to sink or swim. Joe Rogan says he is excited to see this fight because he has no idea what to expect, and says to do this with no previous experience at his age means Punk has balls. When Punk takes his shirt off he looks ready. He is slimmed, muscular and ready to go. Punk enters and Gall smirks and follows him around the ring. Vegas odds are +300 for CM Punk, the clear underdog here.
Just before the ref starts the match, the crowd starts a CM Punk chant. Right out of the gate, Gall takes Punk down and lands several big shots. It is ugly and scary. Gall gets on Punk’s back and tries for a choke hold. Punk manages to block it momentarily. Choke is locked in. Punk gets out of it. A few moments later, Punk is bleeding. Gall gets the choke hold in and Punk taps the mat. The ref calls it. The crowd boos Gall and he mouths, “What did you think was going to happen?” Of course he did, immature kid. After the doctor checks on him, Punk goes over and congratulates Gall and raises his arm in victory.
Punk’s left ear and his face is bloodied and swollen in parts. He looks on the verge of tears and who can blame him? He worked his ass off for this and it was over in a matter of seconds. After watching The Evolution of CM Punk, I really wanted the guy to either win or at least go the distance. It wasn’t meant to be. Too old, too outclassed. It’s a shame. After the fight Punk tells Joe Rogan it has been the second best night of his life after marrying AJ. And he assures the crowd he will be back. Face To Heel wishes Punk all the best and hope he lives to fight another day. One loss isn’t a career. To put things in perspective, even Brock Lesnar has lost fights. And we’re pretty sure CM Punk isn’t on steroids. What did you think of the fight? Does Punk have the bones of a fighter that he can build upon and come back to win future fights? Let us know in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
We’re two weeks our from Pop TV’s epic failure, airing endless commercials on loop as Impact Wrestling was to air live, a rare occurrence. We’re also two weeks away from Destination X, that will hopefully air without error. Tonight begins with The Miracle and his wife, Maria Kanellis. Last week, The Miracle, Mike Bennett, stole the X Division championship and Maria got Dixie Carter temporarily suspended. Bennett wants to cash in his title at Destination X and win the World Championship. Lashley comes out after hearing Bennett talk about how he’ll never be as good as The Miracle. Lashley says that Bennett woke the sleeping giant, but Bennett refuses to be intimidated.
Ethan Carter III is out now, telling Lashley that in the main event tonight, he will win back the Heavyweight Championship. EC3 also points out that Bennett cheated his way to that title and flat out calls him a piece of shit. Billy Corgan interrupts, using some big fancy words and then screwing up when trying to say “observer.” EC3 proposes that the X Division championship be on the line Tonight, Tonight. He makes Corgan giggle, and it’s hilarious. Corgan agrees; Bennett will face the winner of an X Division Battle Royal. Bennett decides to attack EC3, who gets some good hits in until Lashley knocks him down, and then two attack EC3. Drew Galloway finally makes himself known to help EC3, but then delivers a Claymore and takes him out too. A hell of a lot happened in our first 15 minutes.
Our first match is a Knockouts Championship match. Our champion Sienna will face Gail Kim, the latest inductee into the TNA Hall Of Fame. Sienna comes out with Allie and she looks like a giant angry crow. Allie is shrill and obnoxious, mocking Kim for her accomplishments and basically making fun of her for being “old.” She tells Kim that she should retire, then says that Sienna will force her to retire. Gail Kim goes on the offense immediately, not letting Sienna make any moves. She goes for a pin, then tries for a submission hold, but Sienna hits a Samoan Drop and forces the break. As Sienna argues with the ref, Allie briefly attacks Kim. Sienna gets Kim on the ropes, but Kim counters and knocks her on her back. Jade comes from backstage and attacks Allie, but Marti Bell attacks Jade. Back in the ring, Sienna hits a Silencer and pins Gail for the win.
Backstage, Broken Matt Hardy is hanging out with Reby Sky and Maxel. Man, that accent. He says he is confined to the “chair with wheels” and that “it’s not ova… ever!” Galloway confronts Bennett as well, and Bennett is still confident that he will defeat his opponent tonight and win the World Title in two weeks. Galloway tells Bennett that it will be him he’ll face in 2 weeks and that he only has a victory over him because of his witch of a wife.
Fact of Life is up now with the King of the Mountain Champion Eli Drake. Dummy. YEAH. He’s talking about a dinner he had with his father, letting us know that Drake’s do two things well: Make mashed potatoes and kick ass. James Storm is his guest tonight, and Drake wants to discuss the drought that Storm has been in lately. Storm calls him Eli Dork and the crowd starts chanting it. Storm creates a drinking game out of the Dummy button and proceeds to drink beer as Drake drones on and on and pushes his button over and over. I just realized that Drake is wearing a sleeveless suit. Storm promises an ass beating in Drake’s future, and Drake throws the beer at him, to which Storm replies with a Last Call, laying Drake out. We then briefly see Jeff Hardy backstage, who promises to address his brother later tonight.
Rosemary of Decay is backstage with Bram, making it clear that he’ll either come to Decay willingly or he will be forced. Super creepy. Back in the ring, Matt Hardy gets pushed out to the ring in a wheelchair by his wife. He’s in full cripple mode. “My extremities will not allow me these luxuries!” He apparently can’t stand to get into the ring so Reby is pushing him around the ring in circles as he talks in that godawful accent about how he hates everything. Shout out to the kid with the Matt Hardy is a Coward sign. I wish I was in the crowd because my laughter would be audible over his incessant whining. Jeff Hardy answers his brother’s call, limping out to the ring as Matt pouts. Matt is going to “dog his dreams” and will “neva eva” stop pursuing him. Matt wants six weeks to recuperate from his “life-threatening” injuries and then they will fight again, and the winner will win the name Hardy. Didn’t the Bella Twins do this?
My husband points out that Jeff looks like he’s under the influence of something right now. I really hope he isn’t, but he also just tried to start a Daniel Bryan YES chant so, I’m a little worried. He is slurring his words and acting unnecessarily giggly. Matt Hardy miraculously regains the use of his legs as Jeff argues with Reby and attacks his brother. Matt starts hitting Jeff with a steel chair, then gets Jeff’s head lodged in the chair and hits of Twist of Hate. Cue piano music. Both brothers are a trainwreck tonight. Matt promises that the match for the use of the name Hardy will happen next week in the sanctuary of their genesis, AKA their home in North Carolina. The “final DA-LETION!!!” Don’t do drugs, kids.
The X Division Battle Royal is happening now to decide who will face Mike Bennett for the title. Bennett and his wife are on commentary for the match. Rockstar Spud is the first over the ropes, but lands on the apron and stays in the match, only to be eliminated 30 seconds later. Mandrews is eliminated next. DJ Z looks like he’s taking control, but is eliminated when he tries to go to the top ropes. Bennett interferes in the match and causes Eddie Edwards to be eliminated. Braxton Sutter manages to eliminate the Helms dynasty and is the last man standing, earning his title shot. Gregory Shane Helms isn’t pleased with this and goes on the attack with his two lackeys. A CM Punk chant starts for some reason.
Sutter’s title shot is immediate, and Bennett wants to start the match while Sutter is still flat on his back. The ref agrees for some odd reason. Bennett takes his time after the bell rings, carefully folding his jacket and taking time to mock the crowd. As he approaches Sutter, he goes for a quick roll up but Bennett kicks out. He quickly takes down Sutter and gets the pin to retain his title. After the bell rings, he gets in Sutter’s face to gloat.
Backstage, Grado and Mahabali Shera are arguing over money and victories. It’s a segment that wants to be funny but doesn’t know how to get there. Grado knows a guy who will help them get a win, but I missed the end because the feed temporarily froze before cutting abruptly to commercial. The Tribunal and Al Snow come out to the ring for their match with Grado and Shera. As Grado tries to get their third man out to the ring, Snow and The Tribunal go on the attack. As they’re attacking the two men, Tyrus’s music hits and he has new boots! Tyrus quickly eliminates the Tribunal and goes after Snow and his whistle. Tyrus is back in monster-mode and I love it. The match finally begins, with Grado and Shera taking control immediately. Once Tyrus is tagged in, he dominates all three opponents. He’s impossible to take down and wins the match for his team. Tyrus is back!!
Time for the main event; EC3 vs Galloway vs Lashley for the Heavyweight Title. There are only ten minutes left in the broadcast by the time the bell rings; not a lot of time for a triple threat match. EC3 and Galloway decide to work together briefly to take down Lashley, and they take turns kicking him while he’s down in a corner. It’s a good strategy, until EC3 tries for a pin and Galloway breaks it up immediately. Lashley finally gets to his feet and goes on the attack. Galloway is thrown from the ring and Lashley pins EC3 but he’s able to kick free. Galloway hits an amazing suplex to Lashley as he holds on to EC3, throwing both men over his head. EC3 is now outside the ring. The crowd is chanting “Lashley Sucks” as Galloway tries to regain his footing. He hits another suplex to take Lashley down.
EC3 comes back to the ring and the two men try for a Double Suplex on Lashley, but settle for throwing him face first into the mat. Lashley and Galloway are both now outside the ring, and EC3 takes advantage; he goes to the top rope and takes out Lashley. Galloway barely missed getting hit, and EC3 gives him the finger before sliding back into the ring. The two trade punches and chops, and EC3’s chest is now bleeding. Galloway hits a DDT and goes for the pin, but Lashley breaks it up and pins Galloway, who is able to kick out. Everyone is in the ring now. Galloway hits EC3 with a Claymore kick, Lashley spears both men, and finally manages to pin EC3 to retain his title.
I wanted to see Gail Kim become champion again, but after tonight, I’m not sure that is in her near future. After the confrontation between Eli Drake and James Storm, will we see them in a match at Destination X? This whole Matt and Jeff Hardy situation has got me confused, but I suppose we’ll see it come to an end next week. It was a shame to see Sutter’s joke of a title shot, so I hope he gets redemption in the future. I absolutely love the return of Tyrus as a serious monster and hope it keeps going. With Lashley retaining his title, we now know that Mike Bennett will be challenging him in two weeks, and will likely have to find a creative way to cheat his way into a victory. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and we will see you next week.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
WrestleMania. The word is infused with magic. The descriptions surrounding it give credence to something not of this world. “The Showcase of the Immortals”, “The Grandest Stage of Them all”, “The Show of Shows”; phrases that sound like they belong more on a magician’s Las Vegas show than to pro wrestling. In twenty-four hours, the 32nd annual WrestleMania will air on the WWE Network.
This time of year is always a reflection. We look back on what happened over the last year, where we’ve come, and where we are going. I’ve seen a lot of WrestleManias in my lifetime. It’s tradition. In the spirit of that, my co-writer and wife will join me in discussing our favorite matches in WrestleMania history. I’ll begin.
The year was 1997. The place was Rosemont, IL at WrestleMania 13. Stone Cold Steve Austin was hot off his King of the Ring victory the previous year. Austin 3:16 was catching fire, but one obstacle in his path was Bret “The Hitman” Hart. A few months earlier, Austin had cost Hart a shot to win the then WWF World Heavyweight Championship. This feud was exploding and the tension leading up to this match was thicker than deep dish pizza.
Both men fed the hype machine leading up to this match. Bret Hart believed he was, “Screwed by the WWF, screwed by Steve Austin,” and it would leave him an angry, disgruntled man. Bret Hart’s fans began to turn on him. “Bret Hart on his best day can’t lace my boots. And I’m gonna prove that to the world.” That was the pissed off Austin going into this brawl. The peak of their verbal sparring came when Austin told Bret, “If you put an S in front of the Hitman, you have my exact opinion of Bret Hart.” It was a no DQ, no count out, submission match. And both men would be tested.
Ken Shamrock was the special guest referee to ensure things were fair and even. Stone Cold comes out first and even back then he had signs and t-shirts in the crowd, with a pretty decent pop. The rocket was on and he was shooting straight for the moon. Austin gets in Shamrocks face and the two yell at each other. Bret Hart comes out to a mixed reaction from the crowd. Austin’s eyes never leave Hart as he makes his way into the ring. Hart walks towards Austin and the Rattlesnake explodes out of the corner and takes him down. The bell rings and they go to war. It leads to trading punches outside of the ring.
Austin picks him up and drops him right on his testicles on the steel barricade, then clotheslines him over. They start fighting through the crowd. Austin takes a fan’s Coke, takes a sip and then slams it into Hart. They continue fighting deeper into the crowd. Once they get back outside the ring, Austin throws Hart hard into the steel steps, then waits for him to get up, flips him the bird and drops on him. Austin picks up the steel steps but Hart catches him in the stomach with a boot and he collapses. Austin pulls Hart face first into the corner post. And finally they roll back into the ring.
Hart hits a devastating spinning neck breaker and takes control of the match. He goes to work on Austin’s left knee. Austin writhes in pain. Shamrock asks if he wants to quit and Austin flips him off. Austin hits Hart with a Stunner. Hart locks in a figure four leglock using the ringpost for leverage. Austin refuses to give up. Hart picks up the ring bell and a steel chair. He puts the chair on Austin’s left ankle. He climbs the top rope but Austin pops up with the chair and decks him with it. Hart falls to the mat. Austin hits him with another chair shot and the crowd erupts. Austin whips Hart into the corner, then hits a suplex. Austin climbs to the second rope, flips off Bret and then drops an elbow on him. Austin stomps him in the groin. Bret Hart’s daughter is shown ringside covering her eyes.
Austin suplexes Hart and locks his arm into a submission hold. Austin breaks the hold, only to put Hart in a Boston crab submission. Hart reaches the ropes and Shamrock breaks them apart. Austin goes to put Hart in a Sharpshooter, but Hart rakes his eyes. Austin tosses Hart out of the ring. Hart whips Austin into the timekeeper area onto some chairs. Austin is now busted open after colliding with the security railing. His forehead is open and blood starts going everywhere, running down his arms and pooling on the floor. Hart throws Austin’s head into the turn post. Back in the ring, Hart pounces on Austin with kicks and punches to his bleeding head. The ring mat is smeared with blood, but Hart doesn’t let up.
He goes after Austin’s left knee again with chair shot after chair shot. Austin stops a Sharpshooter submission and kicks Hart in the junk. Austin whips him chest first into the corner. Then proceeds to stomp a mud hole into Hart. Austin’s face is a mask of blood. He lifts Hart onto the top rope. He climbs up and suplexes him onto his back. Austin leaves the ring and grabs a long extension cord. He wraps it around Hart’s neck. Hart gropes the ring and finds the ring bell. He smashes it right into Austin’s bleeding head wound. Hart locks in the Sharpshooter. Austin screams but continues shaking his head when Shamrock asks if he wants to quit. Blood drips from his head onto the mat. Austin visibly begins to fade. He struggles one last time to fight out of the hold. He nearly breaks it, but Hart keeps it locked in and Austin reaches for the ropes. Ken Shamrock yells, “Steve, do you give up!” Austin is unable to respond because he is unconscious. Shamrock stops the fight.
The history books record this one as a Bret Hart victory, but truth be told Stone Cold Steve Austin never tapped out, he never said I quit. He embraced the pain until it consumed him. After the match, Hart attacks Austin’s knee. Shamrock puts a stop to that and the crowd goes bananas. Hart leaves among boos from the crowd. Someone holds a sign up towards him that says CRY BABY. A ref comes out and tries to help Austin up. In typical Stone Cold fashion, Austin hits the ref with a Stunner and walks out under his own volition, solidifying himself as the toughest son of a bitch on the planet. Crowd starts chanting “Austin! Austin! Austin!” as he limps up the ramp into the back.
WrestleMania 13 isn’t the greatest Mania of all time. The match card was weird, featuring a couple of odd tag team matches. But Austin vs Hart has been my favorite WrestleMania match for almost two decades. Nothing has ever topped it for me. It was a crowning achievement that featured a rare double turn, with The Texas Rattlesnake turning from heel to babyface, and The Hitman turning from face to heel. This would ultimately lead to Bret Hart escaping to WCW via The Montreal Screwjob and Stone Cold ushering in The Attitude Era, forever changing the landscape of wrestling forever.
My husband challenged me to write about my all-time favorite WrestleMania match, and I quickly realized that it was going to be near impossible for me to do. I only started watching wrestling on a regular basis during CM Punk’s championship reign when we learned that The Rock was coming back to compete, and prior to that had only seen highlights of past Manias. I went from being a very casual and sporadic viewer to tuning in every single week, but there was still a lot that I missed. Even now, with a handful of Mania’s under my belt thanks to the Network, picking one single match is impossible. Instead, I want to take a look at my all-time favorite WrestleMania; the 30th annual event in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This was the first Mania to be broadcast on the Network and via PPV simultaneously. CM Punk, having walked out of the company after the Royal Rumble, was sadly not present in any of the matches. The preshow match, a fatal 4-way tag elimination match, was all about Cesaro. Even though he failed to win, his team was responsible for eliminating two of the four teams present, plus he got the final moment in the match after turning on his partner, Jack Swagger, and putting him into the Cesaro Swing. He came back later in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and won via huge upset by eliminating Big Show. It was a major show of strength and such a huge honor to think so highly of Cesaro that you would give him the first ever win in this new tournament.
Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker was a match I will never forget. The two went at it for nearly half an hour, with Lesnar dominating Taker from the second the bell rang. The Undertaker looked worn down and outgunned, but he would not give up. Submission holds, F5s, chokeslams, and powerbombs didn’t seem to be quite enough to put either man down, but we all watched with the knowledge and expectation that Taker would somehow find a way to win. When Taker attempted a Tombstone Piledriver, Lesnar managed to counter and hit an F5 that put Taker down. The second that the ref’s hand hit that mat for the third time, I was frozen. Everything was silent; the arena did not immediately hit Lesnar’s music, the crowd didn’t say a word, and no one in my house could even take a breath. Eventually, the “21-1” graphic was displayed as Lesnar exited the arena to a chorus of boos. The Undertaker received a standing ovation and I was pretty damn sure that we would never see him wrestle again. It was such a shockingly good ending to the match, and part of me still wishes that it was the last we saw of Undertaker, because what a way to go out.
I truly felt for the Divas to have to follow that; they not only had the job of putting on a fantastic match, but they had the job of getting the crowd back in the right mindset. At the time, AJ Lee was our reigning Divas champ, and in my opinion, the best we’ve had in recent history. She was paired with Tamina Snuka as her bodyguard, but was forced to defend her title in a 14-Diva match where the first fall or submission won the title. Not every Diva involved brought their best, but AJ always did. She was the first female to ever defend this title at WrestleMania, and she did so successfully via the Black Widow submission hold. While she didn’t compete at the two previous Mania’s, she was important enough to be present at both and have an impact on the matches. AJ broke us out of our sorrow over the fall of Undertaker and got us cheering again with her historic and successful title defense.
We can’t talk about WM30 without talking about Daniel Bryan, who competed twice. The first match on the main card saw he and Triple H face off for a spot in the main event match for the WWE World Heavyweight title. We had been hearing Bryan get called a B+ player for months, told he wasn’t good enough and didn’t look the part by Steph and her husband, something you know for a fact was the honest feelings of Vince and/or Creative. He was short and scruffy, lacking in defined abs or a chiseled jaw, but he was capable of doing amazing things and us fans couldn’t care less about whether or not he looked like a clone of Randy Orton or the guy who changes our oil at Walmart. Bryan was our guy, and watching him get screwed over time and time again made us insanely excited to see Triple H get beaten. After Daniel Bryan won his match against Triple H and qualified for the main event, he suffered a beating that looked as if it would put him out of the main event. We were certain that we just saw Bryan get screwed one last time.
The main event was a triple threat match between Batista, Bryan, and then-champion Randy Orton. This was the WWE’s day of fixing their mistake of having Batista win the Royal Rumble, a choice that the fans revolted against so strongly that it resulted in this rewrite. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Batista, but it was a kick in the face to see him win the Rumble almost immediately after returning while Bryan continued to get passed over. This match was intense and Bryan did not stop for one second. He destroyed Orton and Batista, took out Triple H and Steph, and even managed to get rid of referee, Scott Armstrong (who was sent in by Triple H). At one point, Bryan was loaded onto a stretcher and carried from the ring, but he was able to quickly return to action. We had a moment where it looked as if Batista was going to steal a victory, but Bryan took the win with his YES! Lock, forcing Batista to tap and beginning one of the most phenomenal YES! chants in history. Watching the confetti rain down as Bryan held the two belts above his head, seeing him embrace his family, and watching every single person in that arena raise their arms in the air alongside him was such a fantastic sight.
This is the WrestleMania I want to watch over and over again. The moments that were great the first time around are still just as great the 20th time I see them. For someone who only got serious about wrestling a few years ago, I connect a lot more strongly with the current (and recently retired/departed) roster than I do with some of the older lates and greats. There are countless legendary WrestleMania moments out there that I have yet to lay eyes on, but for me at this moment, nothing comes close to beating WrestleMania 30.
Article by Mr and Mrs Jamie Baker
CM Punk has not been present in the WWE since early 2014, but that doesn’t stop fans from chanting his name, especially when a live event is held in his hometown of Chicago. His departure with the WWE isn’t one that happened on the best terms, as he was “accidentally” terminated on his wedding day; the story is that no one realized he was getting married on that particular day, but I’m simply not buying it. Punk chose to left for a long list of reasons, and considering the way he was treated and underutilized, I can’t blame him. He has since moved on to sign with the UFC and will debut later this year (we hope).
Even though Punk is done with the WWE, the fans are not done with him. Prior to AJ Lee retiring, the Punk chants filled the arena when she would walk out; not very respectful to her, but I can understand the urge to do it. When my husband and I attended the 2014 Payback PPV in Chicago, we chanted for Punk all night, plus had the signs and the shirts as we hoped he would come back. The March 7, 2016 Raw in Chicago started off with a bang with Shane and Vince McMahon squaring off, and Vince ended up being interrupted by a booming “CM PUNK” chant as he berated his son. On last night’s WWE Roadblock, Canadian fans started out the night with a spur of the moment Punk chant. We still see the signs, the t-shirts, and we will always have that group of fans that hold on to the sliver of hope that Punk will one day surprise us all with a triumphant return to the squared circle. I personally don’t believe it will ever happen, but I’m guilty of thinking “what if” from time to time.
We chant for Punk because he wasn’t lying when he printed Best In The World on his t-shirts. When he was a heel, I truly hated him. He didn’t resort to using easy insults to get booed, he made you want to punch him square in his smug face. He tore down whoever the current hero was in a way that was uniquely his. When he was a face, he demanded the crowd cheer for him without changing his personality or chasing cheap pops. He seamlessly transitioned into whatever role was required without compromising the person he was. His departure left a gaping hole in the WWE that no one has been able to fill yet.
We chant for Punk because he brought something special to the WWE. His infamous Pipe Bomb paved the way for countless other wrestlers to stop being afraid of the consequences of breaking the 4th wall, going off script, or speaking their mind. His wife, for example, subsequently delivered one of the greatest promos a female wrestler has ever given in the WWE. He made it okay to be a smart ass, to say things that were once forbidden, and to not give one single shit about what anyone thinks of you so long as you think the world of yourself. He gave people the go ahead to have a backbone and to demand something better.
We chant for Punk because his MMA debut is going to be a must-see event and is one of the most highly anticipated debuts in recent history. You have the fans that have followed Punk from the beginning, those who only know him from the WWE, and then you have the group of people who detest the man and want to see him fail. People on both ends of the spectrum are going to be buying the PPV, or at the very least scouring social media and YouTube for updates and video. My husband and I have already decided to buy it, which will make it our very first UFC PPV purchase.
We chant for Punk because he lives his life for himself, not for the fans. He (and wife AJ) don’t post selfies at the gym or in their home. His meals aren’t getting posted to Instagram, along with arsty photos of the park he jogged in this morning. He lives a private life and doesn’t spend one second trying to win the approval of anybody. His wedding was a private affair and he was pretty damn upset when a wedding photo leaked, stealing a moment meant for a few and giving it to the masses. Punk remains shrouded in mystery, and it’s hard not to respect what he does to keep things that way.
But most of all, we chant for Punk out of respect for everything that he has done during his career and for never giving in to pressure. From his early days in 1999, to Ring of Honor, to ECW, to WWE, to Marvel’s comicbook landscape and now to the UFC, he has commanded every stage he’s set foot on. He puts 100% of himself into everything he does. When he doesn’t have 100% to give, he doesn’t waste his time trying to give anything at all. His UFC debut will be one to watch, because Punk isn’t the type of person to waste time on something if he can’t conquer it in every possible way. And when he finally walks out to that cage and touches gloves with his opponent, we will all loudly and enthusiastically chant for CM Punk.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
You know the story by now. CM Punk, like Austin 3:16 before him, took his ball and went home. We haven’t seen him since early 2014. He bailed on WWE and then they fired him. Blood was in the water, with both parties filing lawsuits, and then Punk announced he was going to be an MMA fighter. But what initially looked like a good shoot, having Punk genuinely get pissed at WWE and Vince McMahon, may actually be one of the greatest works in pro-wrestling history.
What if…all this has been a big buildup to bring CM Punk back into the fold? Yes, this is extremely unlikely and would indicate a well thought out slow burner from WWE. But, Paul Levesque (Triple H) has broken kayfabe in interviews stating that at one point Vince McMahon would plan out ideas and gimmicks six, twelve, even eighteen months in advance. Given the track record CM Punk has with holding McMahon over a barrel and getting exactly what he wants, maybe this entire thing is just giving Punk time to fully heal, enjoy the married life, and come back stronger than he’s ever been.
With all the public animosity between Punk and WWE, one would think AJ Lee would suffer the wrath of McMahon. But she hasn’t. In fact, she has been given the Divas Title multiple times since Punk’s departure and subsequent termination. Also, the WWE has bent over backwards giving her time off, something almost unheard of even for top tier superstars. WWE let CM Punk beat John Cena and “leave” the company as the champion, in his hometown of Chicago. They gave him the 6th longest title reign of all time. They let him face Undertaker at WrestleMania. Despite the bumpy beginnings with the company, and the lack of main event matches as champion, WWE has, for the most part, given CM Punk the top spot. What better way to get a guy over then to let him heal up, allow the new talent to hit their full potential, and bring him back as a big, badass draw. Can you imagine CM Punk vs Seth Rollins or Daniel Bryan or Dean Ambrose as they are now? Epicness.
Again, this is all probably pure marking out fantasy booking. But, here’s some food for thought. CM Punk held the WWE World Title for 434 consecutive days. If Brock Lesnar retains the belt at WrestleMania and then holds it for most of the year, his 434th consecutive day will fall on this year’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view (October 25th, 2015.) How cool would it be to have Lesnar successfully defend his title one last time at Hell in a Cell and then have CM Punk come back the next night on Raw and challenge him. Maybe they could drop the title to the returning Punk. Or let Lesnar break his streak and that becomes a lynch pin of their feud. Of course, this means that Seth Rollins has to lose cashing in his briefcase. And that Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns have to take a backset for another eight months. Paul Heyman has turned on Lesnar before. We are all assuming he will turn on him in the coming months making Seth Rollins a certified Paul Heyman Guy.
But what if instead, The Authority turns on Seth Rollins, purposefully making him miss his opportunity to win the title with a cash-in? Lesnar and Heyman align themselves with The Authority and we see a powerhouse that not even Super Cena can defeat. We see month after month of Lesnar laying waste to the WWE and we think no end is in sight. Until October 26th, when Cult of Personality hits. Or maybe The Authority doesn’t turn on Seth, but Randy Orton comes back and costs him a cash-in win. At SummerSlam we get to see Orton vs Lesnar, with interference from Rollins. Lesnar keeps the belt all year and CM Punk returns. Poor Seth Rollins in both scenarios, but the guy has superstar written all over him. Failing to cash-in the briefcase would only make it that much sweeter when he finally reached the mountain top. (see: months and months of terrible Daniel Bryan booking leading up to WM30)
The absence of Brock Lesnar intermittently at the end of 2014 did its job: it made him and the belt matter. It made us crave more of him. We’re not ready for Hulk Hogan 3.0, Roman Reigns, as a champion. Daniel Bryan shouldn’t get the belt either as nothing could live up to last year’s triumphant WrestleMania payoff. And to be quite honest, Seth Rollins shouldn’t cash-in for a victory solely on the grounds that he has yet to fully go solo after disbanding The Shield. He has The Authority, and Kane, Big Show, and J&J. It may be too early for these guys to be the top draws. And maybe that’s the end game for WWE. Let Lesnar coast for the rest of the year, bring back the biggest star since Stone Cold Steve Austin and put him against the new class of badasses. Yes, this includes bringing some of these NXT guys up to the main roster as well.
The probability of any of this being legit scenarios is astronomical. Don’t hold your breath. Like, at all. But it is interesting to consider. And wouldn’t it be one of the greatest works and biggest payoffs in WWE history?
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
I recently read the transcript of Colt Cabana’s podcast with special guest, CM Punk. His appearance on the podcast was not announced, adding to the shock value of what he had to say. I want to take the time now to look at some key moments of this two hour discussion. A lot was said, a hell of a lot of people are pissed off, and many people are choosing sides. Let’s begin our own discussion on this and hopefully we can end the debate on whether Punk had reason for wanting out of the WWE or if Punk truly is a quitter.
Punk: “Maybe I’ll switch to fight shorts because then I have sponsors and these guys are already in place. I told them my idea and he says ‘nope, you can’t do that. Sponsors for Raw would get mad, other wrestlers would get mad.’ We had a conversation, it wasn’t my hill to die on, so I let it go. Cue, what, a year later? Brock Lesnar comes back and the motherfucker has sponsors.”
This is one of the first issues Punk addresses. While it may seem petty, it’s an issue of compensation and fairness. If a low level guy asks for this privilege, turning him down while allowing Lesnar makes sense. Turning down Punk wasn’t a good business decision. Sponsors on fight shorts would have to be limited, of course, in order to keep matches from looking like one big advertisement. But if Punk and Lesnar were on two different paths, following two different storylines, surely both could wear shorts sporting two different sponsors. It could have also worked to build a relationship with a new company that could later help sponsor WWE in a more direct fashion.
Punk: “I did everything Cena did, to put it in perspective because people know how much John does. I did everything he did. They just don’t advertise it. It sounds shitty to complain. I did as many Make-A-Wish’s as he did, they just don’t advertise anybody else doing a Make-A-Wish. Occasionally here or there you’ll hear like ‘oh, Randy Orton did a Make-A-Wish.’ Everybody does them, it’s just Cena is the poster boy.”
You can’t argue the truth in this one. I can recall a Make-A-Wish granted by Natalya that was featured on Total Divas, I can recall one with Daniel Bryan, and I can recall countless wishes granted by Cena followed by even more highlights of his wishes, thank yous for his wishes, and so on. As far as poster boys go for that foundation, Cena likely appeals to more people than a tattooed guy who says Fuck a lot, but that doesn’t explain why I’ve never once heard about Punk granting a wish. This is a lesser gripe for sure, but in the issue of fairness, it does seem odd to only highlight Cena while ignoring the work virtually everyone else on the roster is doing.
Punk: “Twitter is like the fucking open window in my kitchen and somebody’s yelling in it and I don’t want them yelling in it, I close the fucking window. Shut the fuck up. This is my house. You didn’t buy my fucking house. I bought my fucking house. I think that’s like a weird generational thing, that entitlement. Just because you bought my t-shirt, which I appreciate, thank you, and I got a fraction of the money for that, they didn’t make me who I am. WWE didn’t make me who I am. I was CM Punk before I got there. WWE was a fucking pit stop and I will not be defined based on what I do for a living. I don’t think anybody should be.”
Punk blocks people on Twitter, as do I and as do a lot of people I know. Only for some odd reason, he isn’t allowed to without being called cowardly (or worse). As a public figure, I would expect him to use it more than the average person. I’d expect any celebrity to have to use it frequently because people are horrible. People will harass you endlessly as they sit on their couch and poke away at their phone. Blocking someone isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s simply pressing the mute button and removing a bit of nonsense from your life. As far as not being defined by the WWE, anyone who has followed Punk’s career or has taken the time to look back and see where he came from knows that his time in the WWE is hardly the greatest thing he’s done and likely won’t be the greatest thing he’ll do from this point forward.
Punk: ” WWE doesn’t do anything to protect the wrestlers, they do things to protect themselves. They do it so it looks good on them in the public. I got a concussion in the Royal Rumble, it’s pretty goddamn obvious. They were like ‘we want you to take this test.’ And I was like ‘your test is bullshit.’ I took the test while texting you and listening to my headphones and I ‘passed’ with flying colors. Then they were like ‘we want you to go to the ring and run the ropes’. And I was like ‘but I just passed your test.’ They’re like ‘yeah, but we still think you have a concussion.’ I was like ‘so, your test is worthless.'”
Punk is not the only wrestler that has come out and said that the WWE tends to ignore injuries in order to preserve storylines and upcoming PPVs and live events. The Authority stated “best for business” on Raw more times than I can count as part of a storyline, but there is a lot of truth behind it. WWE has recently been hurt by the injury and loss of Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan, putting to a halt the push planned for both men. Injuries hurt the business, there is no denying that, and Punk is adding his name to the list of many who claim that in the WWE, business always prevails over health.
Punk: “I think when they call a meeting, Vince is like ‘what’s next for Cena?’ Because that’s all he cares about. And I think that’s the wrong way to do business. I was always trying to set myself up to work with somebody else. I didn’t want to turn heel. Vince came to me and was like ‘Rock’s coming back and he wants to work a bad guy. You’re the champ.’ It was either I turn heel or I drop the title to Daniel Bryan and I was like ‘well, I would like to work Rock, that sounds challenging,’ you know. He told me, he goes, ‘I’ll tell you what, Phil, if you do this for me, I’ll owe you one.’ I was like ‘sweet, great.’ And at the time, the goal was still WrestleMania main event, so I turned heel. Not the biggest sacrifice but still a sacrifice when you’re babyface and you’re making Cena merch money and beating him in sales. I kept asking what was going on for ‘Mania and Vince kept very disappointingly telling me that it was going to be the rematch between Cena and Rock. I was just like ‘that’s going to be awful, how about we do this?’ I guess if people want to call me a politician, I was trying to politic my way into the main event but it wasn’t like ‘let me beat everybody’ it was ‘hey, let’s do a three way elimination. Have somebody pin me in fucking five minutes. And then I’ll be able to be like ‘ha, I did the main event at WrestleMania’ and I’ll be able to move on.”
I absolutely hated Punk during this heel run, which tells you how successful it was. He is a fantastic heel and he made this rivalry work. I would have loved to have seen Punk vs Cena vs Rock for the main event instead of our Once In A Lifetime match becoming a regular occurrence. It would have added a dynamic element that was absent from that match. We’ve seen Cena main event more PPVs and Raws than we can remember, but we’ve never seen Punk take the main stage at WrestleMania. Can anyone give me a good reason why this is? Considering his lengthy championship reign, it seems quite odd that he’s never main evented WrestleMania.
Punk: “I got surgery Wednesday morning. I’m walking out of the hospital and Vince calls me. ‘Heard surgery went well, pal.’ And I said ‘yeah, I guess. I’m just going to go back to my hotel and start rehab later tonight and get rolling.’ ‘Good. We just announced you’re wrestling Ryback in a TLC match on the 1st Raw of January.’ And I was like ‘that’s in two-and-a-half, three weeks?’ He’s like ‘yep! Prognosis for your surgery is four-to-six weeks.’ And I was like ‘so you book me in a horribly dangerous match with a horribly dangerous opponent.’ He’s like ‘well, that’s when Rock’s coming back so we’ve got to start that program right away.”
The fact that athletes are thrown back into action before they should be medically cleared is extremely troublesome. A TLC match is seriously intense, moreso when you throw Ryback into the mix. Why risk someone’s entire livelihood for one match? But the decision was not made with Punk’s health in mind, it was made because it worked with The Rock’s schedule. When I have a backache, I don’t want to leave my bed. I can’t imagine being asked to compete in a TLC match after having surgery. It’s insane.
Punk: “I’ll work Ryback. And I go up to Ryan and I go ‘hey, man, clean slate. Let’s fucking kill this. Let’s fucking show ’em that you’re better than they think you are, let’s show them that I’m better than they think I am, and let’s turn this mid-card shit into a fucking main event.’ ‘Yeah, I’m really excited, great, blah blah blah.’ First night out, gorilla press through a table, fucking misses the table, dumps me on the concrete fucking ground, tilts me on my pelvis, fucks me up for weeks. I’m compensating because of my knee is still fucked, both my knees, the one that had surgery six months ago and the one that was fucking torn up and I refused to have surgery on, I just wanted to rehab, which I did. And then, like, now it’s at the point where I walk up to him and I tell him ‘you can’t tell me you didn’t do that on purpose because you’ve done it so many times now. You either tell me right now you’re dumb as fuck and you suck or you did it on purpose.’ And he was like ‘I’m dumb as fuck. I’m sorry.'”
I don’t care if this “I’m dumb as fuck” like is true or not because it makes me laugh every time I hear about it. I can 100% believe that conversation took place exactly as described. I also refuse to pick a side; I can be a Punk fan and a Ryback fan simultaneously without the world exploding around me. That said, I do agree that it’s incredibly irresponsible of Ryback if he is in fact trying to legitimately hurt people. With him, it’s hard to tell sometimes. There are moments that look seriously brutal in his matches to where I can’t tell if it’s him going overboard or just his opponent selling the hell out of it. You get a guy like Dolph Ziggler in the ring, someone who can make a light slap look like a devastating punch, and it makes you question the abilities of everyone else on the roster. Punk is one of those guys that makes hits look legit. I’d like to believe that Ryback wasn’t out to hurt him, but the truth is, when he and Ryback wrestled, Ryback still had a lot of growing to do both in and out of the ring. Ryback denies everything Punk has claimed, and I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in between.
Punk: “Hunter goes ‘Punk, you were in the best match at WrestleMania last year and that was the main event.’ And I was like ‘I’m not fucking stupid. The main event is the last match. There’s always been one main event, and I deserved it. I still deserve it. And now Daniel Bryan deserves it. And you think you’re just going to give it to Batista and Randy?’ I was like ‘when you look at the roster, how many active members have been in a WrestleMania main event? How do you expect anybody to get fucking better? I needed the experience of a main event at WrestleMania with somebody equal or better than me so I could learn, so I could further become an asset to the fucking product. So I could draw more instead of always being told ‘well, you’re not a draw.’ ‘How do you know? Why don’t you give me a fucking shot?’ And anytime they did give me a fucking shot, I knocked it out of the fucking park, ran, caught the ball myself and then shoved it down their fucking throats to remind them, yes, I am all that, and then some and more. What it boiled down to was that it was just an old, out-of-touch man’s decision. ‘No, this is going to be the greatest main event of all time.’ And then they wound up changing it, and I’m so fucking stoked that Daniel Bryan got his main event. But Hunter told me I was in the main event because I wrestled Taker and I said ‘tell me I got paid the same amount of money as you, Brock, Cena, Rock, or whoever.’ Once again, he had nothing to say. And I was just like ‘right on, all right. I’m fucking out of here.’ And Vince, with tears in his eyes, fucking stood up and I stuck my hand out and he went in for a fucking hug. And I looked at Hunter and he stuck his hand out and I shook his hand, and I said ‘good bye’ and I walked out.”
This conversation is one that I wasn’t aware of until this podcast. I didn’t know about the BS line that Punk vs Taker was the main event of WM. Call it whatever you want, a match that doesn’t close out the night is not a main event match. I didn’t know about Punk putting Triple H on the spot about how much he is paid versus Lesnar, The Rock and Cena. Whether you agree with Punk’s statements or not, there is no denying that his value was deemed to be much lower than Cena, Rock, Lesnar, and Triple H. The same goes for Daniel Bryan, although thankfully he was given the opportunity to show the world that he can main event and should do so more often. Punk was never afforded that luxury, and after injury on top of injury, he had enough and walked away.
Punk: “It’s the 11th of June and [Triple H] texts me if I have time to talk and I said ‘I’m a reasonable guy. I’ve always had time to talk, I’ve always been just a phone call away. But I’m getting married in two days and I’m going to my honeymoon. How about we talk the day I get home. In the meantime, reissue me that royalty check that I’ve been asking about for the past two months. Send me my royalties. That is reasonable, and then I will talk to you when I get back.’ He did not respond. The day of my wedding I got a FedEx in the mail. It was my termination papers. I was fired. So, take that, everyone who says I need to be… quieter on Twitter. I was fired, on my wedding day. Very calculated and very deliberate.”
After being suspended for two months, CM Punk’s now-wife AJ Lee dropped the title to Paige and then went on a short leave of absence. This was likely to prepare for the wedding, to relocate to Chicago, and to spend time with her husband. During this time away, people speculated about what AJ’s absence meant and if she was leaving the WWE along with Punk. Not once did I hear anything about termination papers being sent as a wedding gift.
Punk: “Here’s Vince, who wants to hug me goodbye and he has tears in his eyes and he’s like ‘oh, we’re family’ and he fucking fires me on my wedding day when I was just trying to get… The letter was ridiculous. It was like ‘your contract is terminated, you forfeit all of your royalty rights, you’re in breach of contract as of Jan. 27’ which, I’m not even a fucking lawyer and I know you can’t claim retro breach.”
There is no denying the lawsuit. It came off as petty then and it plays as petty now. It was one more kick in the ass after multiple punches to the throat. If Punk was in breach of his contract, it should have been addressed at the time the breach occurred, not months later after terminating his contract via FedEx. It’s difficult to make an argument in your favor when filing a lawsuit as a reaction to feeling shunned rather than as a reaction to the event in question.
The actual conversation between Punk and Colt Cabana is much longer and detailed, and I highly suggest you listen or read the full transcript. The WWE is a business at the end of the day, and businesses want to make the most money possible while spending the least amount of funds and effort. In my opinion, it was decided that Punk was costing too much money and not creating enough profit to be worth the hassle. Had he shut his mouth and played ball, he would likely still be part of the WWE. Since he’s not a puppet, he’s gone and it’s probably for good.
Even if we allow for a bit of creative embellishment and assume that things were not quite as bad as Punk claims they were, this situation is still pretty screwed up. CM Punk held the WWE Championship for 434 days. Four hundred and thirty-four days, and the guy never got to main event Wrestlemania because Cena was more important. Cena, who main evented WM 22, 23, 27, 28 and 29, edged out Punk because he’s the golden boy, the money maker, and there was no way he was going to be pushed down the lineup alongside The Rock just so Punk could take his place.
This is not about kissing Punk’s ass. This is about the fact that Punk was never treated properly, was never valued in the way he deserved to be, and was pushed to the side and eventually fired for caring about his health and for refusing to stay quiet about things he didn’t agree with. This revelation should force us to think about the way WWE conducts business and treats their employees. It should make us angry that good talent is forced to stand to the side so that John Cena and a parade of part-timers can take all the main event time, leaving scraps for everyone else. It should make us question how a 434 day reign as champion isn’t enough to get a WrestleMania main event.
I want to leave this open for discussion and with one final word from Punk: “Yeah. And I’m out and I’m super stoked and I focus on shit that makes me happy. I’m writing comic books, I’m training my ass off, and I’m married. That’s the important shit.”
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
Wrestling rumors never seem to stop coming. If a Diva takes some time off, she’s pregnant. If a former star makes the vaguest reference to competition, he’s planning a return. If someone trips, they are seriously injured. There is always something to speculate about. The funny thing is, a lot of times, these crazy rumors turn out to lead to very true events. Here are a few of the current rumors floating around, plus a take on whether or not we should be paying attention.
The Rumor: “Brock Lesnar was seriously injured at Night Of Champions.” Lesnar’s match with John Cena at NoC was high paced and brutal. During the match, Lesnar was sweating profusely and turned an alarming shade of purple. This has led people to speculate that Lesnar has some sort of heart condition, which would explain why he was absent from Raw the following evening. He will also not be competing at Hell In A Cell due to heart complications.
My take: WWE has issued a statement claiming that Lesnar is perfectly fine and with no heart condition to speak of. He’s a big guy, and guys tend to sweat and get worked up when competing in any sport. Lesnar sweating everywhere is nothing new. As far as his absence on Raw, Lesnar was never scheduled to appear in the first place. Champion or not, he is not going to be like Cena and show up at every single live event. Keep in mind he is only contracted for so many appearances per year.
The Rumor: “Another network is very interested in TNA Impact Wrestling and will begin airing episodes on January 7th, 2015, ending their affiliation with Spike TV.” While no deal has been signed yet, talks are underway and a deal will be signed soon. The show will remain on Wednesdays once it moves to the new network. January 7th’s taping will be live at the Manhattan Center as a way to kick off the new affiliation in a big way. Network possibilities include WGN American, Velocity Network, or CMT. Velocity Network is said to be TNA’s “worst case scenario.”
My take: Talent has been jumping ship, but TNA continues to work on expanding their roster, leading me to believe they aren’t going to just roll over and die simply because Spike TV is finished with them. I have no doubt that we will see TNA in their new home in 2015. Now, whether or not Vince Russo will be working for them, that’s an entirely other rumor.
The Rumor: “CM Punk will be returning to WWE for Hell In A Cell.” CM Punk has been avoiding Twitter lately because he is in talks with the WWE about his return. The plan is for Punk to return and create a “party crasher” scenario between he and Sting, setting up a future match between the two. Another proposed plan is for Punk to face Cena and Lesnar in a Triple Threat HIAC match in October for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
My take: I WISH! I want this to be true with every fiber of my being. But with the lawsuits flying back and forth, the problems it’s caused for the release of WWE 2K15, the way Punk simply walked away from the company prior to the end of his contract, and the fact that Punk chants are being muted and signs are confiscated, I’d say this is nothing more than a longshot. Rumors have Punk returning multiple times a month. Until we see it, there’s no reason to believe it. Also, Punk has publically stated in interviews that he has retired from professional wrestling. Chances are we’ll see him take on the sport of MMA before we see him back in a WWE ring.
The Rumor: “AJ Lee is expecting a baby!” AJ Lee is pregnant, but this time it’s for real! Rumors started back when AJ took time off to marry and settle in with CM Punk. Her return to action squashed that story, but her third title run isn’t going to last long because she is expecting a child. She will quickly lose her title, likely to Nikki Bella, and take a leave of absence to have her first child. Her sudden interest in parenthood on Twitter is what indicated to fans that she was trying for a child and was successful.
My take: Nope. Sorry. This is nothing more than hungry fans of Punk and AJ wanting them to create a little super wrestler. In time? Sure. But I don’t know their plans, they are both private people when it comes to personal matters, so my suggestion would be to leave it alone. If AJ becomes pregnant, chances are we will be the last to know.
The Rumor: “Stone Cold will face John Cena at WrestleMania XXXI.” The WWE recently requested production on several new Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirts. He’s been active in promotions lately and opened WM XXX. Austin commented on Ric Draison’s podcast that he was trying to get back into shape for a comeback. Out of nowhere, WWE began pushing Austin’s podcast as a way to entice him back to the ring, which is what sparked the deal.
My take: I wish this one was true as well. Stone Cold is one of the greats, no doubt about it. His contribution to WM XXX was one of the best parts of the show. But there is a reason he stopped wrestling, and it sure as hell wasn’t some trivial reason that can be ignored. Getting in shape has nothing to do with a return to the ring. Austin’s affiliation with the WWE is a job; he’s banking on the appearances and getting publicity on Raw for his podcasts. He also has a reality show. I’d love to see him in one more match, but it’s probably never going to be in the cards. Besides, Austin vs Cena isn’t all that appealing. Austing vs Punk? Give me a hell yeah!
The Rumor: “Kurt Angle will return to the WWE in the coming weeks.” Kurt Angle has been sidelined with an injury, acting as Executive Director of Operations on TNA in storyline and staying out of in-ring competition. Recently, he tweeted out that his knee rehab was going well and he would be wrestling soon. With TNA’s future still uncertain, Angle is going to let his contract expire and make the switch back to WWE in January. He stated on Ring Rust Radio that he’s “in the process of structuring a deal and I do have a company in mind. I can’t really say who it is or where I’m going but I can tell you it’s going to happen in the next two weeks before my contract is even up.”
My take: Probably true. If Angle has a no compete clause, it would explain the gap between his contract expiration and the January start date. If he was resigning with TNA, it wouldn’t be a secret. Right now, WWE seems like the safer option as far as job security goes for someone like Angle.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker