The closing segment of Raw was one wrestling fans had seen many times before: the contract signing.
The champion and the challenger are brought into the ring with usually nothing more than a table, the contract itself and an authority figure to make sure all the T's are crossed and the I's dotted.
It usually goes one of two ways. The first way being that both wrestlers sign the contract and then start brawling. The second option is one signs, then they brawl, and finally the other puts pen to paper while the other is either running to the hills or knocked out on the mat.
That's the formula and without fail, you'll see that nine times out of 10.
That 10th time would be the contract signing involving CM Punk, of course. And he was right to point that out last night. He got on the stick and questioned why they didn't just sign the paper and get to fighting since that's what it would inevitably lead to anyway.
He was saying what everyone already knew. The problem is he's already said it before. And when your character is one that is supposed to rail against all that is boring and stagnant, this comes off extremely hypocritical and annoying.
Punk promised to make the WWE fun again. But is it?
After Punk "returned" following his Money in the Bank title win, he spent most of his time involved in a feud with Triple H. The "Straight Edge Superstar" was convinced that the events keeping him away from the title were the machinations of Mr. Stephanie McMahon.
Leading up to their big match of Night of Champions, the two had a contract signing segment - something usually reserved for title bouts but hey, when you're the boss' son-in-law ... -- where Punk spouted out the same rant he did last night.
Standing inside the ring with his challengers - Alberto Del Rio and The Miz - I immediately felt like I had seen and heard this before. It was because I had.
CM Punk's character - once fresh and exciting - has been reduced to making fun of John Laurinaitis who - let's face it - isn't very hard to make fun of at all. Punk has been extoling change and that he wants to make the WWE fun again but his method of enacting such progress is simply to make fun of the stodgiest Raw General Manager since Mike Adamle.
The champ keeps going on about how boring "Funk Man" is but it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black since Punk himself is regurgitating material from just two months ago.
Cageside Czar Geno made a similar point to this in his post-Raw reactions where he said the champ is the "friend you have who you never watch movies with because he's always the first one to point out how ‘that would never happen'."
I couldn't agree more.
Wrestling fans are a curious bunch. I think they fall into one of three categories.
- A) The kiddos. These are the young ones who still think Randy Orton is some kind of man/snake hybrid and John Cena might just be the strongest man this side of Zeus himself.
- B) The smarks. They are hip to the business and think - scratch that, KNOW - they could run and book a promotion better than ... well, whoever is running or booking any promotion in question. They want things their way and if it's not, it sucks.
- C) The old wrestling fan. They've pretty much seen anything and everything under the squared circle sun and simply want to be entertained. It doesn't matter who wins or who loses, as long as it's entertaining, they're all for.
I would consider myself part of the third category. I used to be in the second, don't get me wrong. I thought I was pretty hot shit because I was hip to guys like Mitsuharu Misawa and preferred my Boyz to be Dudley rather than Hardy.
But I realized that I wasn't enjoying wrestling - even when it was legitimately good - because it wasn't what I wanted it to be inside my head. So I "Future Endeavored" the smark inside me and embraced my inner wrestling fan.
I don't need to be told that contract signings are boring and lame; I already know that. And if Punk feels the same, he should look to change it. It seems he's speaking to the portion of the audience who wants to sit at home, cross their arms, and say "Worst Raw ever."
If Punk really wants to change the WWE and make it fun again, then just make it fun. Stop being snarky and hip or edgy. There's nothing fun about not enjoying something.*
And above all else, don't fall into the same trappings that you claim have felled others.
It's not a good look, Punk.
* - The last couple of years of WCW notwithstanding. That stuff was enjoyable simply because of how huge of a clusterscrew it was.