Whether or not this promo was scripted, a shoot or a mix of the two doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that it happened, and at that moment in time, it was happening. When the segment started showing up on various streaming sites, I sat down and watched it. Then I watched it again. And again. I felt like I was going to get a call from my internet service provider about my repeated reloading of the same page. I didn’t care. As it turns out, John Cena and Vince McMahon were not the only ones that needed to hear the truth that night A lot of fans did too. I’ll bet my slim bank account that I was not the only lapsed fan who got sucked back in thanks to the man who sat down in a Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirt and spoke his mind.
Oh, the only thing more shocking that Punk could do after the pipe bomb?
Yeah, he did that too.
In front of one of the greatest crowds in the history of wrestling, the man from the Windy City came home to take the greatest prize in the industry and disappear with it. John Cena vs. CM Punk at Money In The Bank 2011 was more than just a classic wrestling match; it was a wakeup call to people struggling in American Legion halls and Boys & Girls Clubs, wrestling, managing and refereeing for nothing or even having to pay to be on the show: if you love it, you can do it. A 6’1”, 218 pounder who used to wrestle to half-hour, forty-five minute and one hour draws in front of a few dozen people – a lost art – was the new WWE Champion. No politics, no bullshit. He earned it the old way.
A year later, CM Punk is putting together one of the longest reigns as WWE Champion since the guy he originally beat for the title. His opponent and rival for the past two months? Daniel Bryan, a 5’10, 210 pound journeyman who, at 31, has probably forgotten more places he has wrestled than half of the WWE locker room will ever know. Not since Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels first began to encounter each other on a regular basis have we seen two men so viciously buck a trend in wrestling. It isn’t about rising above hate, standing up for a personal lifestyle or even (in Punk’s own words) being in the “main event.” It’s about wrestling, and seeing who is the better man.
The way it should be.