If you've watched the past few months of WWE programming than you've undoubtedly heard CM Punk speak extensively of change.
Change we can believe in, change we can get behind, all that good stuff.
The pro wrestling business, as long as it follows the pattern is has for years and years now, will surely die. That's what Punk believes and it's the last thing he wants to happen, seeing as he loves it so much. That and it's his livelihood.
But what exactly is the problem, or, more specifically, who? That would be the men and women who have been in power for as long as anyone can remember -- the McMahon family, which now includes former superstar turned WWE executive, Triple H.
"The Game" made recent comments that WWE doesn't need to evolve but UFC definitely does. And not only that, the extremely popular mixed martial arts organization isn't actually competition to pro wrestling's biggest company. It's a different brand of entertainment that has no bearing on ratings and pay-per-view buyrates and what not.
This is, of course, not the case and as long as Triple H and the McMahons seem to believe so, they'll continue to get crushed at the box office. In an interview with MMA Hour, Punk expands on this:
"I wouldn't say [MMA has] 'hurt' us, I think that might be a little harsh of a term, but to deny that UFC is our competition is a little ridiculous. Cirque du Soleil is our competition. Mad Men and Breaking Bad is our competition . I think everything that people spend their time on and their money on is our competition and to blatantly say that mixed martial arts has no barring on what's good or bad in our business, is silly; it's close-minded. You're putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound."
Punk directly contradicting what his bosses are saying to the media is a quick way to find himself back in the role of curtain-jerker and let's hope that doesn't happen because the reality is, he's right. MMA is most certainly competition to WWE. In fact, folks like myself only discovered it because of pro wrestling.
There's a crossover appeal that an intelligent thinking brain can never deny.
Triple H is a lot of things but stupid isn't one of them. He's known as the "Cerebral Assassin," both in storyline because of the character he developed but it applies to his ability to manipulate and position himself in the best light possible as well. But as Punk explains, his "ridiculous" statements are borne from a lack of education more than anything else.
"Pro wrestling as a whole in my opinion has a lot to do to get to where I would like it to go. I think the people who discredit mixed martial arts in pro wrestling have very antiquated ideas and honestly, I think it's an education thing. I've had many conversations with Triple H about mixed martial arts, and he just doesn't get it. It's funny, because pro wrestling many people don't get, and there's an old saying, 'Pro wrestling is religion.' They're very similar in regards that if you're trying to explain to somebody who doesn't get it, there is no explanation that will get them to get it. But someone who gets it, there is no explanation needed. It's just very black and white."
Indeed, UFC operates on almost the exact same business model WWE created and has exploited for years. The problem is pro wrestling has become a watered down, stale product while MMA has exploded into the mainstream and is growing more and more popular as the years go by.
And instead of Vince McMahon and Triple H deciding to learn a thing or two from a business that has passed them by, they've decided to ignore it and act as though it's not actual competition. An odd thing, considering how prudent they are as businessmen.
Punk is fighting an uphill battle that many others have lost before him. The tide, as they say, may be too strong to overcome.