So, we all know CM Punk’s in the doghouse… well, according to “Internet reports” and sources that talk with the Dave Meltzers of the world. First WWE gave him a HEAT tryout match, with Mickie James as his valet, and HHH and Shawn Michaels apparently thought he was too “indie.” Then he was kept in WWE’s developmental program at Ohio Valley Wrestling for what many hardcore Punk fans thought was an eternity, and many cynics thought was being done to “reprogram” him and force him to learn “WWE style” wrestling. Rumors swirled that WWE tried to get him to be a member of the Spirit Squad, but he turned down the opportunity to go to RAW as a male cheerleader. Was that the nail in his coffin? Was Punk destined to make cameo appearances in his hometown of Chicago — like he did as one of John Cena’s henchmen at last year’s Wrestlemania — or would he eventually get a chance at the bigtime?
Punk’s saving grace came in the form of Paul Heyman. No, I’m not talking about his booking of a hot CM Punk/Brent Albright feud down in OVW. I’m talking about the resurrection of Extreme Championship Wrestling and Punk’s rise (push?) to just below the top of the card, where he became a pretty instant fan-favorite, even getting cheers louder than those for DX and the Hardy Boyz prior to their Survivor Series match this past November.
Unfortunately, according to reports in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter* and elsewhere, Punk’s recently found out that when you start out with people thinking you’re “nothing but an Internet darling” and/or “Heyman’s pet project,” and then Heyman gets axed… it’s probably best not to piss off all the road agents. Ya know, the guys responsible for training the wrestlers on the road, producing the matches including those that appear on TV, and reporting/making suggestions directly to Vince & Steph.
However much of these stories are true, for someone who really wants/wanted ECW to succeed as a third, “alternative” brand under the WWE umbrella, they’re quite annoying. Everyone’s favorite “ECW Original” Rob Van Dam gets the WWE TITLE put on him, and then gets arrested on drug charges. Sabu’s arrested with him, somehow still gets pushed, but then decides taking naps backstage is a good idea. And now the only other babyface on the roster that anyone cares about, CM Punk, is rubbing the wrong people the wrong way backstage. According to the Observer:
- When Punk was in Iraq, he was excessively making out with his girlfriend Maria, when it’s obvious WWE wants its fans to think that all of the divas are single;
- He found out that the Big Show agreed to tap out to his Anaconda Vice during the Extreme Elimination Chamber at the December PPV, then supposedly complained backstage when he found out that Heyman’s plans were changed by the agents and Vince;
- When Arn Anderson — a legend — tried to give him advice on his match at the 12/19 TV show, he reportedly blew AA off and said something along the lines of “well, what I’m doing is working, since I’m over.” Then, when the Hershey, PA, crowd dared boo him at the 12/26 house show, Punk got mad he wasn’t getting loud pops that other crowds have given him, and he reportedly made a scene in the locker room.
Meltzer says that this all came to a head before the 1/9 TV tapings, where Arn, Finlay and other agents spoke out and eventually had the finish of Punk’s match changed to a clean win for Bob Holly, breaking Punk’s TV win streak. The agents felt that Heyman pushing him strong out of the gate got to his head. Me? If this is all true, I just wanna go up to Chicago and slap him.
Okay, I admit it, he got a bad wrap for being “Heyman’s boy,” and I think the agents who feel Punk was getting over only because of Paul’s booking (or due to being linked with Kelly Kelly) are on crack. Heyman reportedly wrote an angle (that Vince nixed) where Mike Knox would abuse Kelly, with hopes that the crowd will chant for Punk… But doesn’t WWE realize that the crowd still has to chant for Punk. Sure you can manipulate the crowd here and there, but Punk is a guy that fans were truly getting behind, and I think a lot of that was BECAUSE he was new and fresh to them. And while, to an extent, I can understand the old school mentality of “earning your spot,” like most people who follow the industry, it seemed to me that WWE had gotten over that way of thinking when HHH acknowledged the “C-M-Punk!” chants at Survivor Series.
Well, it looks like I was wrong. But like RVD and Sabu, if the reported antics are accurate, “potential main eventer CM Punk” has no one to blame for his current midcard status but himself. And while they continue to collect their paychecks, the fans are the ones missing out on the fun, particularly that which comes as an exciting new wrestler rises up the ranks.
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