On Sunday night (Mar. 6) at AEW Revolution, CM Punk entered for his Dog Collar Match against Maxwell Jacob Friedman to music that was unfamiliar to a significant portion of the show’s audience.
It was AFI’s “Miseria Cantare”. Like the song, Punk’s attire was also a callback to his Ring of Honor run from the early part of the century. It made sense, because much of his feud with MJF referenced that era of his career, and the Wednesday before AEW owner Tony Khan announced he’d purchased ROH. For fans who were caught up in the moment or just didn’t make the connection, AEW announcer Excalibur explained the significance of what we were seeing and hearing while Punk made his way to the ring. The company later tweeted out a video with the explanation:
Calling back to his ROH days, @CMPunk is walking out to his old theme, ‘Miseria Cantare’ by @AFI!#AEWRevolution is LIVE on PPV right now! Available on @BleacherReport & @FiteTV (Int.) pic.twitter.com/UwFXJILJfa— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) March 7, 2022
There were a lot of conversations like the one we had in the Cageside “office” during Punk’s entrance. I’m paraphrasing, but it essentially went like this...
People who didn’t watch Ring of Honor in the aughts: What’s this? Is this his ROH music?
People who did: Yeah, it’s his whole old entrance & look.
Wrestling Twitter probably saw some exchanges like that take place, but they aren’t the ones still getting attention 48 hours after the fact.
Instead, the issue — about which there absolutely can be legitimate debate and discussion — has become just another way for AEW & WWE diehards to dunk on each other, and for troll-types to insult everyone.
Rather than simply wonder if this kind of Easter egg for longtime fans is the most effective means to tell a story, people are slamming All Elite for being wrestling snobs, accusing them of alienating viewers who aren’t as well versed in history as Khan is. Instead of just explaining what the reference is and why they’re excited about it, others are mocking newer fans as somehow “fake” or calling them Vince McMahon stans.
The maelstrom even sucked in CM Punk and a Wrestling Observer writer. Paul Fontaine tweeted “What am I missing with this Punk entrance?” A lot of people jumped down his throat for it, he sniped back at a few of them... it’s a familiar dance to anyone who’s spent much time on what Carmelo Hayes calls the bird app*.
Punk saw all that and fired off his own smartass response (“A deep understanding of story telling [sic]. A brain.”). He caught a ton of flak for that, deleted it, and later tweeted an apology/explanation. Fontaine accepted it. They seem okay now.
— player/coach (@CMPunk) March 8, 2022
Maybe everyone who’s been making pronouncements about the greater meaning of three minutes on a PPV can also shake hands and move along? Probably not the shaking hands part. They’ll move along when they find the next shiny thing to fight over, though.
* The simplest solution to this problem is to just... not pay attention to Wrestling Twitter. I hear it’s a wonderful approach to the business/artform. Unfortunately for me, it’s a work requirement. The things I do for y’all...