Hello all, Iâ€™m back! As of now, the Morning Backlash returns. Iâ€™ll be doing Monday on whatever topic I like and Tuesdayâ€™s Raw Review, while the rest of the week will have guest Backlashers (Ziegler, Penny and another yet to be named). Iâ€™m also, many of you will be pleased to note, including me myself, off of news.
During Raw, CM Punk announced that he would be challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship and then leaving WWE and retiring with the title. Punk is here, once again, inverting wrestlingâ€™s past in order to tell a compelling story.
Prior to leaving ROH, CM Punk was granted one final title shot on his last night in the company. Upon winning the title, shocking everyone, Punk, the biggest face and hope of the company to that point, turned heel immediately and claimed he would take the belt off to WWE with him. He was forced to defend the belt through the summer, which became known as the Summer of Punk, as if he could just escape the summer with the belt, he could present it as a gift to Vince McMahon and ensure his place in WWE. The crowd utterly ate up this heel turn, feeling betrayed and it became perhaps the greatest storyline in indy wrestling history when Punk finally ended up losing the belt.
Now, Punk is not a huge face going into this match with Cena, but things are still remarkably similar. Punk is now not the face of the ROH fan, but he is the face of the older fan, the fan who likes wrestling and hates current champion John Cena. Moreover, the match will be in Chicago, Punkâ€™s hometown where he is a huge face. This match has the potential to be quite similar to when Rob Van Dam faced Cena in the Hammerstein Ballroom and the crowd nearly booed Cena out of the building. In a nice bit of symmetry, that was Punkâ€™s debut show and the heroic welcome the Hammerstein gave him lead directly to his first push.
This ability to play off history and craft stories that can be enjoyed on multiple levels is absolutely a huge part of what makes Punk so effective. Heâ€™s a call back wrestler to Jake Roberts and Ted Dibiase with his excellent promos and clear motivations that draw upon events to build to an often unforeseeable climax. If nothing else, if Punk loses to Cena and rides off into the sunset, heâ€™s created a memorable moment with a molten crowd. But if he winsâ€¦ if he wins we get Summer of Punk II leading into Summerslam. And that could be truly special.