Skip to main content

CM Punk's Press Conference Backlash - Hard to Root For

I've always found the pro wrestling press conference to be an interesting dichotomy of the essence of the art form. In an era where kayfabe is dead (or not what it used to be) and the lines are immensely blurred between real life and storyline, or at times, mixed in for engagement, interest, and controversy, the press conference schtick, and the pre-show round tables, sit in this odd space.  

Does it live within the space of the pro wrestling world through the illustrious glory of kayfabe? Or is it a real, authentic, full-access medium to the real matters pertaining to the business of the product? 

Maybe, I'm the only one being worked. Possibly. 

As you can imagine, this is where my thoughts sit in regard to the now infamous CM Punk presser following AEW's Double or Nothing pay-per-view (or premium live event, if that's your vocabulary). I can't help but ask myself multiple times, "Why?" in response to the entire ordeal. And not in an intriguing way, but out of sheer confusion for its occurrence. 

Of course, we exist in an era where the backstage happenings in pro wrestling are more interesting than the on-the-screen product. But this...this was such a head-scratcher. 

When a "press conference" allows the star of a product to go in-depth on matters behind-the-scenes that no one asked about, asked for, or had an interest in at the time - as a fan, I'm just not sure what to make of it. Controversial? Yes. Will it incite interest? Of course! But at what cost? 

Look, I don't think CM Punk's return to pro wrestling has been a failure for AEW. However, I don't think it has been the overwhelming success I thought it would be following that awesome Friday night in Chicago. In my opinion, Punk hasn't been amazing, and in many ways has contributed to the growing feelings (at least for this fan) of AEW serving "names" and not building its own stars. 

It's the repeated trend for which TNA in its growing years was outwardly crushed. And considering the rating comparisons of both in their growing pain (and open for criticism) years, the hindsight on the history is quite interesting. But that's another discussion for another time. 

The entire two-minute expletive-laced "promo" (or whatever) by Punk felt more cringe as it moved on, because quite frankly, it didn't connect to current storylines, didn't portray his character in line with its current on-screen position, and simply stole the headlines away from what should have been the biggest story in the return of their best shot at a mainstream home-grown star in MJF. 

From the lens of it being shoot, brother(!), or as we're taking it, a talent just airing dirty laundry, it just comes across as even more head-scrathing. 

Again, why? 

Even more cringe? Bossman Tony Khan sat to his left making wildly shocking faces to the comments - some expressing disbelief - as Punk gave fans insight into the real-life scenario. Surely, Khan in that moment wrestled with thoughts of supporting this deal with Punk that surely comes with some managing negatives, while also having to support a band of EVPs that are responsible for helping him upstart this thing called AEW. 

What we ended up getting out of this was Punk being immediately sent home without being named, and the AEW World Championship once again in the state of limbo and question. 

Making matters worst, we just had a storyline that mirrored this exact real-life scenario with MJF, which is also rooted in real life. Make it make sense.

This can all be behind us in a matter of a couple of months. Backstage drama is not rare in pro wrestling, and we've certainly seen our share of real-life matters flood to the public's consumption unsolicited. 

For this fan, what this situation reveals is the kind of leadership to expect from AEW, specifically Tony Khan going forward. AEW's "honeymoon" phase is certainly over and with a revamped WWE product, relying on the "cool, anti-WWE" sentiment that once provided equity is beginning to disappear. And fast. 

I've felt myself slowly pulling away from the AEW product, and this situation does not help re-engage me. Nothing about a press conference that reveals details about behind-the-scene relationships (and drama) that makes the company's top star (at least positioned as such) look like a disgruntled and entitled bad person, is not a good look. Even worse, it's hard to root for. 

And that's the bottom line for all of this - for this wrestling fan - just hard to root for.


Photo Credit: AEW

Recently Read Posts

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/13/20

  3 Up 1. Vaccines - Well, it's here. The FDA approved emergency use of multiple vaccines (with more to come) and it now feels like there is a significant light at the end of this dark, scary tunnel. We're not out of it yet as the virus continues to rage, shutdown are pending, and vaccines distribution is sure to be polarizing. But at the very least, there is an answer forthcoming. Continue to stay safe, ya'll.  2. Rashinda Jones at MSNBC - This is small, but it is super cool. Rashida Jones - no, not that Rashida Jones of Ann Perkins...or Karen Filepelli fame - became the first black President of a major news network, taking over at MSNBC. The country needs a new shift in cable news in the worst way, and hopefully Jones can be a part of it. At the very least, it's nice to see the industry having representation at all levels.

Hard to Kill 2023 Review: "A Great Way to Kick Off 2023"

Impact Wrestling continues to be the most solid pro wrestling product - at least for this fan. Yes, there are some other exciting things going on in different companies, but for me, Impact does the most with the least, and that's a good thing.  As noted in some previous posts on Impact Wrestling, I was all about bringing in Bully Ray. I get the hesitancy because,  here we go with old stars taking up television time , but everything about the Bully and Josh Alexander storyline has been done well. It's been personal. It's a different look for Alexander. And it's a nice blend of history for the company with Bully returning, a nice mix of a veteran and your current top guy, and overall, something very different we've yet to see from Alexander as champion.  This is the case up and down the roster and the product for Impact. Add to this theory Mickie James vs. Jordynne Grace. And the tag team scene. And everything else. The company continues to rehabilitate older stars, l

Reaction to Nike's Kaepernick Ad

So in shocking fashion, the juggernaut that is Nike has now backed Colin Kaepernick and all that is, was, and has become, in this on-going dilemma. And of course, has now added a new layer to it all. Interestingly enough, the company fully supports Kap, and has centered the 30th Anniversary of it's "Just Do It" campaign around him, continuing a clear divide of idealism and ridiculousness across the country. And shall I say, even more absurd rhetoric on defining patriotism in the good ol' United States of America. First things, first. If you're new to this blog, I'll catch you up to speed on my stance - I've been with Kap. And no, I'm not "anti-American". But I'm pretty sure you will jump to conclusions and tell me that I am.

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Life Itself (2018)

Who is in it?  The happenstance and journey of a young New York City couple cause a reverberation of several instances and effects that echos and effects several others through various generations.  What is it about? Oscar Isaac - Will Olivia Wilde - Abby Olivia Cooke - Dylan Sergio Peris-Mencheta - Javier Gonzalez Laia Costa - Isabel Diaz Antonio Banderas - Mr. Saccione Favorite Scene:   The alternate scene from the original bedroom scene between Will and Abby shows a different version of what happened with the exact words used, just a different tone - indicating that life itself isn't the greatest narrator, and we all have our own versions of a story that is possibly part of a bigger story.  Favorite Quote:  "I crave a happy life, grandpa. I have an almost desperate craving for stability and happiness like fat people crave chocolate or lost hikers crave rescue. I want to live a big, great, fantastical life, but I am concerned that the tragedy that seems to follow me, the tra