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
I’ve skipped the predictions for the last two PPVs due to the lack of buildup and interesting matches, so I’m very happy that WWE has given me something to look forward to in TLC. Every title will be on the line and we have three matches involving tables, ladders, and/or chairs. John Cena is absent, which is either a major letdown or a reason to celebrate depending on which side of the line you stand on. The Brothers of Destruction are also off the schedule for this event, which is a shame, but their story was rushed to the conclusion before it even got legs. Let’s take a look at the TLC match card and make some predictions.
Charlotte (c) vs Paige – Divas Title Match
This should be a stipulated match. Having the title above the ring, Charlotte and Paige fighting to climb a ladder and retrieve it before their competitor. Making one put the other through a table to secure their victory. Instead, we’re getting the same lackluster match we’ve seen on Raw over the past few weeks. Charlotte will be forced to stay in the shadow of her father while Paige enjoys yet another shot at the title. I want to see someone other than Paige in the title picture as a serious contender. I want Charlotte to be someone other than Ric Flair’s daughter. And I want the Divas division to quit playing it safe and give us something worth watching.
The ECW Originals vs The Wyatt Family – 8 Man Tag Team Elimination Tables Match
The Dudley Boyz returning was exciting, and adding Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno made it even better. Putting them against the Wyatts is a match made in wrestling heaven. Since the Usos are back, the Dudleys are no longer involved in the tag title picture, which is fine if we’re going to get a serious rivalry going with the Wyatt Family. I’m happy to see these eight men in a tables match; there is no doubt in my mind that this will be one of the highlights of the evening.
WINNERS: The Wyatt Family
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Jack Swagger – US Championship Match
The whole MexAmerica gimmick is over, to the relief of everybody, but it lasted long enough for Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio to get into it. With Del Rio part of the League Of Nations, he had to separate himself from Zeb Colter. I’m not sure if this means we’ll see Swagger and Colter together or not, but at least Swagger is back on TV. I’m assuming Zeb will be ringside for this match, but I’m not sure if he’ll be back on Swagger’s side or not. This should have been a stipulated match; a ladder match at the very least. It’s difficult for me to get excited about this one, but I’m hoping they surprise me.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio
Ryback vs Rusev – Singles Match
Lana is back with Rusev, since WWE Creative couldn’t manage to ignore TMZ and felt forced to work their engagement into the storyline. She is transitioning away from her Russian accent and back in full heel mode. I’m not a fan of the damsel in distress act, even if it’s just for show, so I haven’t been enjoying what has been going on with Ryback “injuring” Lana. This last minute match is also free of tables, ladders, and/or chairs, which is a waste. When you have two competitors of this size, you have to involve one (or all) of the objects that makes TLC such a great PPV.
The New Day (c) vs The Usos vs The Lucha Dragons – Tag Team Title Match
The New Day took a garbage gimmick and turned it to gold. They have made the tag division interesting again and made the titles meaningful. I’m a bit disappointed that the Dudleys were pushed out of the title picture to make room for the Usos, but they seem to be just fine where they are, so hopefully we get to see them fight for the title next year. There are fantastic athletes competing for these titles, and I’m excited to see who comes out on top this time around.
WINNERS: The Usos
Kevin Owens (c) vs Dean Ambrose – IC Title Match
Owens and Ambrose are two of my favorites, but it’s such a waste to not have any stipulations here. Even without any, these are two strong personalities, two fantastic wrestlers, and two very popular athletes that will make this one of the better matches of the evening. Owens has been on fire since debuting on Raw and has no intention of slowing down his momentum. Ambrose is completely over with the fans, but creative seems to be at a loss about what to do with him. Perhaps the involvement in the IC title picture will give him some direction and allow him to be something other than Reigns’ right hand man.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Sheamus (c) vs Roman Reigns – TLC World Heavyweight Title Match
I was beyond angry when Reigns won the title, and then couldn’t stop laughing when Sheamus kicked his head off and took the title away from him after a little over five minutes of him winning. Sheamus isn’t my top pick for WWE Heavyweight Champ, but he isn’t Reigns and that makes me happy. I want this to be the last time we see Reigns fight for the title for a while. He isn’t ready by a long shot to be “the guy.” He’s horrible on the mic and too cartoonish in the ring. Sheamus, on the other hand, is a seasoned wrestler, and is now part of a faction that could be very dominant. I’m happy to see him hold the title while Seth Rollins heals and can eventually come back and take what is his.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
I recently finished Have a Nice Day! by Mick Foley. And wow, what a treat. The most amazing thing about this book is there are no ghostwriters. It’s all by Mick Foley, written by hand, on notebook paper–more than 750 pages, in less than two months.
The Hardcore Legend discusses, in stark detail and vivid imagery, about his long list of injuries, his days with World Championship Wrestling, and about Ric Flair being a booking moron. The reader gets behind the scenes insight into Foley’s childhood rejections, the ebbs and flows of a dreamer’s life, and much like a really great wrestling match, the action is fast and the pacing is fluid. Bottom line: Mick Foley is a fantastic story teller.
But he isn’t selling fiction. He’s telling his life’s story, and his memory is flawless. We learn about his oddball father who hoarded newspapers and who wasn’t afraid to throw out expletives in front of his children. There’s several sections of the awkward adolescent who had yet to find his true calling, going through rejection and heartbreak only to reinvent himself as the charismatic Dude Love. As he practiced taking “bumps” by himself on frozen winter ground, he prepared himself for a career of abuse. Through his first match in WWE–a tag match with Dynamite Kid whooping his ass–to his rise as WWE World Champion, this book is a no hold barred look at a truly remarkable professional wrestler.
Reader be warned: the book can, at certain points, seem like just a random assortment of quirky stories thrown together with no real narrative. Foley can often go off on unrelated tangents, but ultimately the content is entertaining if somewhat confusing to follow at times. There are also lots and lots of black and white photographs riddled throughout the pages, but most often they don’t really relate to the topic at hand. They seem to be stuck in at random in some spots. But it is interesting to see Foley as he aged and all the wrestling superstars and famous people he’s seen over the years. The book runs on a little long (the paperback version I read was 735 pages), with a few sagging areas, but for the most part this is an excellent memoir for the former World Heavyweight Championship.
Chapter six is one of my favorites, where Foley talks about his exploits in Africa, fearing for his life and returning home with meager pay. Lousy wages would become a common theme for Foley, but he struggled on because above all else, he just wanted to wrestle. And the best always do. If you really want it, then you will get it. That’s all, period. If you don’t want it, you will fall to the wayside and get left behind in the annals of wrestling infamy.
There’s compassion in these pages, a deeper, softer side of a man who, quite honestly, could make children (and even ex-girlfriends) cry when they saw the type of injuries he sustained throughout his career. Over the years, we’ve seen Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and Mankind. And all though all three are extensions of Foley, none of them really paints a proper picture of what is essentially a tragically wonderful man who’s as odd as he is caring. Have a Nice Day! isn’t just a book about wrestling. It’s a coming-of-age tale, a memoir of a man who has been all over the world and back again, picking up a collection of tales that leave the ring and quite literally follow the track of everyday life. Basically, even if you aren’t a fan of professional wrestling, you can relate because Mick Foley is an everyday journeyman.
He isn’t an Adonis. He isn’t a warrior. He isn’t a hero. He’s the Average Joe, who despite the odds manages to pay his bills on time and put food on the table. He’s a poorman’s superhero. Not the one who gets the girl, but the one who shows up at the last minute to use crazy, hilarious antics to save the city. He doesn’t have six-packed abs, or thirty-six inch biceps. He doesn’t have a white smile or even a complete set of ears. But he has scars and heartbreaks. Just like you and I. Mick Foley is not a hero, no. But he is relatable and through his writing you can understand a little more about yourself and about life and about what it means to follow your own path.
From gymnasiums with 200 in attendance, to a six-figure WCW contract, Mick Foley rose to stardom in professional wrestling. But he was never truly a star. He was on the fringes, an outlier. With his assortment of near career-ending injuries, we almost never got to see Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy become a household name. But he made it to the mountain top. He signed with WWE, billed (begrudgingly) as Mankind, battled The Undertaker and Triple H, and the rest is, well, wrestling history. He is the King of the Death Match. He is the Hardcore Legend. And he is a best-selling author, perhaps his most esteemed title and one he has earned with his first outing in the literary world.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker