As we found out on Monday, poor CM Punk had his feelings hurt by The Rock. The allegedly aloof Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson didn't have time to shake his hand, say hello and make a little small talk before he appeared on the November 14 Raw, the go home show to the Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) Rock was headlining. How rude!
To be perfectly honest, I find the whole wrestling ritual of having to shake everyone's hand backstage an arcane relic that is pure poppycock in the year 2011. I mean, hello, kayfabe died decades ago now, yet you're still clinging on to this ancient tradition which no longer serves its intended purpose and is well past its sell by date. But in this case, it's a particularly galling bogus complaint.
As Dave Meltzer emphasises in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rock is currently on set full time filming his latest blockbuster G.I. Joe. On the day in question, he had to get up at three in the morning, act all day, fly from New Orleans to Boston, learn his lines for his segments on Raw, perform in front of the people and catch a red-eye return flight, so he would be back in time to start work on the movie the very next day. No wonder Rock didn't have time to make idle chit chat with someone he wasn't directly working with!
But now CM Punk, craving the media attention, just can't shut up about The Rock's ruthless time management skills, even when he's supposed to be shilling the WWE '12 video game in an interview for the gaming section of ESPN.com:
"I don't know if it's some weird vanity project for him to come back and fraternize with us little people, but I appreciate it. If it puts more money in my bank account, that's cool, even if I'm not a money guy. I'm very passionate about wrestling. This is what I do. I'm not leaving to go film movies. It's just me and the rest of the crew, the men and women of the WWE who are on the road constantly, and I'm not the only one who is, I don't want to say bitter, because I get it, it's a business move where Dwayne comes in and people buy some pay-per-views, but it's the attitude that gets to me. He's very bourgeoisie Hollywood, and I just wish he would say hello to people backstage and not act like he was above everybody. Cena doesn't act like that. Cena sits and talks and fraternizes with everybody, but Dwayne just can't be bothered. Then again, I don't know if anyone really wants to hang out with him. He was in the "Tooth Fairy." If he's so good at what he does, why doesn't he impart some of that knowledge to the young guys and help out? I guess I'm just trying to figure out why he came back. I don't think it's money. I think he's OK money-wise, so I don't know."
At least Punk got the memo from Randy Orton, who was also disappointed with Rock hogging the spotlight at this year's WrestleMania, that he should put over how it has helped WWE's flagging business of late I suppose.
He even continued to bash The Rock while confirming Dave Meltzer's reports that 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin probably won't be wrestling him or indeed anyone else at WrestleMania 28, because Austin's first match in nearly a decade shouldn't be wasted on a show that will already do giant business thanks to the year long hype for Punk's BFFL John Cena and his new shoot enemy:
"I would rather see Austin/Punk, too. I would love to poll everybody who is going to order Wrestlemania and ask them, what would you rather see: Would you rather see Cena/Rock or Stone Cold/CM Punk? I'm biased, obviously, but I think we'd have a landslide victory. It's up to Steve, really, but he's certainly not going to do it this year. Honestly, if Steve Austin comes back to wrestling, he should be the main event of Wrestlemania, but he can't right now, because Dwayne is. I think Dwayne would get a little bit hurt if Steve took his Mania spot, but then at least Dwayne would understand how the rest of us feel. So I know that's not going to happen this year, but I would love for it to happen next year. I don't want to say it's a goal of mine, but it's definitely something that would be challenging and fun to do. I think Austin was the best worker for many, many, many, many, many years, and that's even pre-Stone Cold. "Stunning" Steve Austin was amazing."
On the issue of who he'll work with instead, Punk unsurprisingly wasn't letting the cat out of the bag:
"So who am I going to wrestle? I don't know. I get a lot of, 'You should wrestle Undertaker.' I would love to. That would kick ass. He is one of my favorite guys to work with. I get a lot of, 'It's going to be you and Jericho,' but you know what, he doesn't work here. Obviously, he could come back between now and then, but who knows."
Speaking of Chris Jericho, later this week we'll have more about the mixed signals about whether he'll be unveiled as the man behind WWE's latest viral marketing campaign for a mystery man to return on the January 2nd, 2012 edition of Raw. Lets just say for now his immediate poker faced denial shouldn't necessarily be taken at face value.
However, the saddest thing about Punk's interview is that when confronted with some of WWE's most questionable booking decisions regarding his character, he's now starting to sound like the ass kissing, corporate stooge that he rallied against in his wonderful worked shoot promo on Raw in late June:
"In a perfect world, yeah, you could stretch everything out more, but realistically, it's a business. You needed a main event for SummerSlam. So for all of the armchair bookers out there who are like, "No, Punk came back too soon!" I agree with you, but, the second-largest pay-per-view of the year, what match are you going to put in the main event? People need to take that into account. Nobody ever likes to look into things, they just like to bitch and complain about everything.
That's life. That's the way it is now. You can pick apart Tom Brady and say he sucks one minute, then he does some miraculous fourth-quarter comeback and he's the greatest thing ever. I'm just happy people are emotionally invested enough to tweet to me 6,000 times a day that I suck and that I shouldn't have come back so soon."
You know, those Twitter followers might have a point when WWE creative took the hottest feud of the year and took just four weeks to book it into oblivion so that the SummerSlam 2011 PPV buy rate hit rock bottom. Just saying!