2011, the year CM Punk made pro wrestling cool (and almost real) again

“The only thing that’s real is ME, and the fact that day in and day out for almost six years, I have proved to everybody in the world that i am the BEST on this microphone, in that ring, even on commentary, NOBODY can touch me..” -CM Punk on Monday Night RAW June 27, 2011

Wearing a “Stone Cold” t-shirt, CM Punk hoists the clean cut, fan friendly wrestler John Cena over his shoulders, throws him through a table much to the chagrin of young fans in the crowd and the television announcers . He grabs a mic, marches to the top of the stage, takes a comfortable seat at the top of the entrance ramp and begins to let out what seems to be authentic frustration, vented up for the duration of his career. As Cena slowly regains consciousness, Punk continues his precise game of verbal target practice.

He touches on topics such as the value of the ass-kissing, the WWE product, mentioning former stars of the company, the McMahon family, admits to breaking the “fourth wall” and even goes as far as to cite that the WWE may actually improve no earlier than the death of Chairman Vince McMahon. It’s now when he puts the company’s anti-bullying campaign “Be A Star” in his crosshairs, where  finally, there’s intervention.

His mic is abruptly cut off and he’s left it to attempt vocalizing the remainder of his rant, without the aid of a microphone.   He looks into a camera shouts, still inaudible. the screen cuts off and the show ends.

This ending of June 27, 2011’s airing of Monday Night Raw serves as the catalyst of the stronghold Punk will take on the WWE and frankly pop-culture for Males over 15 and under 35. His impact is easily the most exciting thing to happen for professional wrestling in in over a decade.

Punk’s weekly takeover, is unconventional as it is brash, and controversial. Fans and even those who who have no interest, are forced to know who and what CM Punk are about and his weekly acts of disbelief, somewhat similar to another polarizing sports figure Tim Tebow.

Punk and Tebow resemble eachother in that they are not the vanilla and prototypical leaders that the companies like the NFL and WWE market and ride as “great”. Punk, like Tebow presents intrigue each time they are in the spotlight. They’re both very confident in their abilities, and represent those who appreciate greatness in diversity, rather than tradition.

Punk is at the top of the WWE’s pyramid. His antics and straight shooting demanor, brutally honest monologues and exchanges with other superstars resemble another highly influential “badass” from the infamous Attitude Era, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Punk’s ascension contributes to fans becoming more vocal about their disproval of Cena and his overdone and hard to believe clean-cut happy go lucky, all american representation. Cena’s edge is missing, and evidence by a recent play on a potential heel turn during a segment with Mick Foley, the demand to see him take a turn, will be the only way to regain this audience, just as Hulk Hogan did in WCW in 1996, when he became the leader of the NWO.

CM Punk’s summer included winning the heralded WWE Championship, and departing the company as a free agent, while in possesion of the title, as well as a feud with the returning Kevin Nash, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, Vince McMahon, and Triple H. Its his current war with top WWE authority figure, “VP of Talent and Relations” John Laurenitis, which does not appear to be losing steam, that can make the WWE’s top superstar of 2011, possibly the most influential for the next coming decade, just as Austin did in the 1990’s, with his continous conflict with McMahon.

Aside from the NFL lockout, Punk’s expiring contract saga was the must-see storyline of the summer. He represents anti- conformity and openly speaks on the taboo in the pro wrestling industry. He speaks on topics that mainly debated and discussed by bloggers and “smarks” a term used for internet based wrestling fans. Punk presents himself not as the new fresh face of wrestling, but a genuine fan himself, but one who can and will make a difference in the business, for the better.

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