Very little in wrestling surprises me anymore. As a fan on and off since 1990, I have seen basically everything wrestling has up their sleeves. From cobra bites to screwjobs, to simulated rape, professional wrestling has always "gone there". More recently, the product has returned to its roots and the "edgy" bits had been toned down, but every now and again something pushes the envelope. Last year it was the Nexus. Last night, someone may have taken the envelope, pissed on it, then set it on fire.
For the third week in a row, Raw featured a "theme". This week from Las Vegas, it was of course "Raw Roullette". Having a theme show means more matches and less storyline development, so in order to push your stories, something special needs to happen. For Raw's main event, that's exactly what happened.
As John Cena took on R-Truth in the main event, most fans with a brain were wondering how CM Punk would mess with the bout. The answer was to pull a table out before Cena could Attitude Adject Truth through it for the win. Then he scuffled with Cena, allowing Truth to recover and drive the champ through a table for the win. If that was the end of the night, it certainly would have gained heat for the feud, but as it happened, that action was a drizzle compared to the storm that was about to ensue.
Punk, adorned in Stone Cold's t-shirt, took a mic and sat down on the stage. While Cena attempted to recover beneath the wooden rubble he lay in, Punk began to lay into anything and everything he pleased. From Vince to the fans, to John Laurinitis, Punk held nothing back, cutting one of the best worked shoot promos any of us have ever heard.
This 6 minute diatribe has been the talk of the internet and I'd be hardpressed to merely make it part of the weekly HOT or NOT. Early feedback told me to devote an entire article to it, so I have. Quite honestly, I think it's the right decision.
The number one complaint about the WWE is that nothing shocks and amazes anymore. Most of the time, I agree with that sentiment, yet we all still watch. Five million people watch each week and I believe it is on the hope that something like this happens. An event, a moment that leaves you breathless, takes your speech away, and puts a smile on your face to serve as a reminder as to why you are a wrestling fan. This is why we watch wrestling, because missing a big moment would be depressing.
Last night brought that big moment and perhaps ignited a story that will captivate the audience for a time to come. Step one has already been accomplished, it got people talking. Step two is bringing in a bigger audience next week to see what happens next. If that happens and this thing takes off, maybe, just maybe, CM Punk will find what he's looking for and stay.
After that promo, I think I speak for most wrestling fans when I say that losing Punk might be the biggest loss for the WWE in a long, long time if it does indeed happen.