The Reign of Punk
So, this almost seems like the most fitting start for this little project as CM Punk's Pipebomb was what really got me into wrestling. Like, I had heard of it and I thought it was cool, read about it through sites like TV Tropes and Taimapedia, but I never really had the push to watch it until CM Punk sat down and pretty much open mic shot on the WWE, Vince McMahon, John Cena and anyone he could think of. It was an amazing moment that very few have been able to replicate (Miz's Talking Smack promo on Daniel Bryan is right up there) and it launched CM Punk into a veritable main event position. But... it wasn't without its bumps, mainly the beginning and the end. And the middle left much to be desired.
See, for as much as the Pipebomb smashed the glass ceiling for CM Punk, the WWE almost seemed determined to put it back together and shove him back underneath it. The problems are three-fold, as I see it.
1. Del Rio cashing in and winning it at SummerSlam to set up for a feud with Kevin Nash (which they had to walk back on due to Nash's medical issues) and later Triple H (which he lost) while Del Rio feuded with John Cena (so, the failed experiment vs. the guy everyone was becoming sick of) before finally having Punk win it at Survivor Series and hold it for an impressive 434 days. Sounds great! What's wrong with what? Well...
2. Once Punk got the belt, he was not given the main event spot. Now, in fairness, he immediately main evented TLC 2011 and the Royal Rumble should always headline the Royal Rumble PPV, that stands to reason. But Elimination Chamber was headlined by Cena vs. Kane in an Ambulance Match (the end of the predictable, Zack Ryder burying, drudge of a storyline that was Embrace the Hate) WrestleMania was Rock vs. Cena (okay, I'll be fair they hyped that shit for a year, so it was bound to main event) Extreme Rules was Cena vs. Lesnar (Okay, it was Lesnar's return match, but the pattern is really getting bothersome now) Over the Limit was Cena vs. John Laurinaitis (Yeah, this is around when everyone was calling "FUCK THIS!") No Way Out was Cena vs. Big Show in a Cage Match (Are you fucking with me here?) Money in the Bank was Cena winning Money in the Bank (Robbing Punk of another main event and a younger star of an opportunity? A double-decker sandwich of spotlight-hogging from Mr. Cena) SummerSlam mixed it up by having Triple H steal the spotlight for a match against Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk FINALLY main evented in 2012... because he was wrestling John Cena! At this point, Punk started getting more main events, headlining Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series before having to miss TLC 2012 with an injury (thanks, Ryback) and then we get to...
3. The 2013 Royal Rumble, where Punk astonishingly main evented, in spite of that whole conventional wisdom about the Royal Rumble PPV... and lost. To the Rock. While Cena won the Royal Rumble. And so after all that, after all of Punk's year-long work, busting his ass in some of the best matches on the card while John Cena put on absolute piss-breaks in the main event, CM Punk loses it to the part-timer movie star so he and Cena can have another overhyped slog of a main event at WrestleMania XXIX. It all returns to nothing. It all comes tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down...
So, I feel I've made a notable mission statement here, but let's get the ball rolling with a change before our first PPV with...
July 25, 2011The main event on tonight's RAW from the Hampton Coliseum is a major one. Rey Mysterio, who had won his first ever WWE Championship, makes his first defense against John Cena. Just as Cena is about to go for the Attitude Adjustment to defeat a weakened Mysterio, he's struck from behind by Alberto Del Rio's personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez. The ref calls for the bell as the match ends in a no contest, but Del Rio then runs down the ring as well, yelling for Ricardo to stand Rey up. He holds up his shiny red RAW Money in the Bank briefcase. Del Rio is gonna cash in... then Cena jumps Alberto as he gets in, Rey delivering kicks to Ricardo before tossing him out. Cena throws Del Rio onto the middle rope and Rey hits the 619 into the awaiting arms of the leader of the Cenation. AA to Del Rio and Rey looks to finish with a springboard splash... but gets struck from behind with a kendo stick!
The camera turns to see a man in a black hoodie just going to town on Rey's back before he sweeps Rey's legs and sends him to the floor. The hooded man slides into the ring and his jacket, revealing a tattooed body and a familiar WWE Championship belt. He flips off his hood... it's CM Punk! He's back! Triple H steps out onto the stage, yelling for security to grab him and get back their belt, but Punk just goes after everyone with kendo stick shots. Cena goes at him as well and the two throw hands as security scramble to separate them. Del Rio starts angrily attacking Cena, Rey goes to help and is jumped by Ricardo, and Punk slinks away through the crowd.
August 1, 2011We are thirteen days away from SummerSlam and on tonight's RAW, Triple H opens the show to say a few things about what happened last Monday night. First, he expresses disgust with CM Punk's actions, saying that he had invited Punk to the show simply to engage in contract negotiations and that he was instructed to not interfere in matters as he is not currently a contracted WWE Superstar. He's not happy about Del Rio interfering, but he is under contract and it is his right as Mr. RAW Money in the Bank, but what Punk did was a disgraceful act, as he nearly injured their current champion and put other Superstars at risk. However, Trips was able to get an agreement out of Punk that he could not appear on the show in any capacity until called upon. He'll get back to that.
He also chides CM Punk's outrageous demands. No, he doesn't want ice cream bars (but goddamn do I want some. It's only May and it's already fucking sweltering here in Mass) but instead Punk has demanded a term in his new contract to wrestle only on the Big Four PPVs: SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and of course, WrestleMania. He won't appear on RAW, Smackdown, NXT or even Superstars and he won't show for any PPV that isn't one of those four. This frees up Punk to do what he had promised and take the belt to Ring of Honor or New Japan, just basically any indie league that will have him. Those events WON'T be covered, mostly out of laziness, but just assume that if there was a major indie event that month (that wasn't TNA, CZW or Chikara) Punk is main eventing with "illegal" defenses of his WWE title against a top guy from that promotion.
However, Triple H does have a major announcement for tonight's show, which is that he has a contract signing for SummerSlam's main event: A Fatal Four-Way between CM Punk (the unsanctioned reigning champion), Rey Mysterio (the WWE sanctioned champion), John Cena (who got screwed out of his title and is also John Cena) and Alberto del Rio (in exchange for his Money in the Bank briefcase) and if CM Punk does not appear for the contract signing, he will be officially stripped of the WWE Championship and his reign will not be recognized. We do the show and come to the main event, where Punk does arrive, coming through the crowd. Everyone exchanges whatever words they have, Hunter warning Punk that if he touches any of them before signing the contract, he can kiss his title goodbye. Cena signs, Mysterio signs, del Rio turns in his briefcase and signs. Punk looks at the contract, checks all the fine print, maybe shoot on Hunter for a bit because he doesn't play by your rules, Hunter. And then he reiterates something Trips said to him in the form of a question.
"If I don't sign that contract, I can't touch any of you?"
"Not even you, Hunter?"
"Absolutely not, Punk. Now, are you gonna sign it?"
Punk smiles that CM Punk smile, he signs the contract... and then he levels Hunter with a kick to the head. We get your usual contract signing chaos as the four men go in on each other, security once again swarming the ring to hold them back as the show goes off the air...