First off, Daniel Bryan is golden and Randy Orton is slipping back into my good graces. Although Orton still has his moments where he appears completely bored during some matches and that still angers me.
Also, I’m kinda glad Punk hasn’t been roped into the “fight against the power” story because he and Paul and Heyman are working miracles right now.
And let’s address this AJ promo. I’ll admit that in the heat and excitement of the moment, I likened it to Punk’s promo. A couple days later and some time to rewatch and think it over and reasoning reigns supreme once again. Was it a complete shoot that no one knew about? I have my doubts but that’s my personal opinion based on that we wouldn’t get the cheesy yelling from the Bella triplets during the promo. Had this been an actual shoot then I would like to believe AJ has enough sense to exclude Natalya and maybe Naomi from the majority of her statements. Sure, she recovered slightly with the “I wasn’t born into this” line but still, it’s freaking Natalya. Also, I would like to think if this was a shoot, AJ would stay away from the hypocritical remarks especially when she’s on the heels of a year where her character made out with 5 different high profile wrestlers. Was it an effectively good promo? Absolutely because it bridges the gap between Divas we actually give a crap and the stars of Total Divas that will be forced onto our TVs anyways so we might as well get a decent story out of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what AJ has done and continues to do because she’s making the Divas division interesting for once. This is more of a critique of our collective reaction towards her promo. I get it, Punk’s 2011 promo in Vegas was amazing and it was like we got our first hit. We became instantly addicted and desperate for another one so much that once we witness a promo that slightly resemble it, we become giddy as if it’s June 2011 all over again. But I remember that Raw (so do you) and that was no CM Punk promo but it was a really good AJ promo.
And I’m not saying that all good promos have to be complete shoots, that would be unreasonable and nobody needs to air that much dirty laundry. Besides, how do we know Punk’s promo wasn’t partially a work? Sure, parts of it may not have been pre-screened by creative but do you really think that in this overly-sanitized age of WWE (and television in general) a disgruntled and foul-mouthed wrestler would be told that he had free reign? I imagine that the thought-process for creative was as follows: “Punk, we will allow you to say what you want to build this WWE championship match. You have to reach a point that will justify us cutting your mic off at the end but remember what WE consider to be reasonable speech that can be aired. All we ask is that you don’t cross certain line.”
Yes it was surprising for someone to say the word “wrestling” so many times on WWE programming and it was also surprising to hear him drop several “forbidden” names but I’m not sold that those words and names where necessarily banned in the first place. Those words just weren’t used because of business reasons. WWE is trying to build themselves at an entertainment company (something that’s been going on for decades, by the way) so they try not to get boxed into the wrestling corner.
However, WWE is also not dumb enough to forget that the word “wrestling” is still in the name of the company. So instead, almost as if it was on purpose, we’re made to believe that “wrestling” is a naughty word that leads us to feel a little flutter of excitement when CM Punk or, more recently Daniel Bryan, uses it on television. As for the “forbidden names” that were mentioned, it all goes back to being smart from a competitive business standing. Those were names that, at the time, had distanced themselves from WWE or currently employed by a rival organization so why would WWE ever acknowledge them and give their competitor free press?
It’s the same reason politicians only refer to people of a different party as “my friends across the aisle” and only use the term “democrat” or “republican” to really drive their point home or demean them. It’s almost a sign of inferiority when you see someone within a wrestling organization mention another company on their own airwaves. I’m reminded of the WCW days where they took advantage of airing live by giving the results of Raw, it was an act of desperation that Vince is far too proud to stoop to. But the ultimate turning point in that scenario was content. Content will be forever king and that brings me back to Punk’s promo…
The most important factor that made Punk’s promo golden was the content. It wasn’t the shock-and-awe name-dropping or whether or not it was put through the WWE sanitizing machine beforehand, it was the content and the conviction behind it. AJ’s promo was good but was done for a complete shock value to ignite another Diva storyline. The conviction was there but the content was hypocritical and that’s the true distinction between her and Punk’s promos. Every time Punk cut a promo, face or heel, it would be undeniably true and cut deep into the fabric of whatever story he was involved in. AJ’s had a lot of bite but ultimately it, much like the Diva’s roster, was shallow.
And remember, I got just as caught up in the moment like all of you did. I still loved the promo, even now after my ranting, and it was a good CM Punk impression but that’s about it.
Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,
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