My plan was to skim the Tues., May 13 edition of WWE Backstage and maybe mine a few CM Punk-specific bits for a post. At the risk of exposing wrestling blogger kayfabe, I’ll tell you this... wrestling fans are still really interested in that guy.
The Voice of the Voiceless started off his night on FS1 by continuing the fun the show’s been having with the SmackDown anonymous hacker angle and fan theories it could be leading to Punk’s return. I figured that (and one other bit I’d seen on some other sites that we’ll get to at the end) would probably be my angle.
But I ended up watching the entire episode for the first time in I can’t remember how long - and that includes Punk’s past monthly appearances. This edition followed the cable channel’s re-airing of WrestleMania 3, so after a quick round-robin discussion of recollections about that 1987 event and current WWE events featuring the entire panel (Christian joined Punk and regular hosts Renee Young & Booker T this week), Backstage transitioned into conversation between Punk and Ricky Steamboat about the legendary Steamboat/Savage match in the Silverdome.
It’s pretty fantastic.
Thanks to podcasts and the like, we get a lot of wrestler’s talking shop these days. But these aren’t guys who are regulars on that circuit. And watching Punk heap praise on The Dragon and his showstealer with The Macho Man while breaking it down adds another layer.
Plus, we get his Harley Race impression while they shoot the $#!+ about going broadway!
If that’s not enough for you, there was also pre-tape of Shawn Michaels & Sting putting over Savage & Steamboat’s classic, and Ricky telling Punk & Renee about his memorabilia collection. If you doubt Phil Brooks is still a wrestling fan, watch him mark out over some of Steamboat’s stuff.
From there, we were on to the man Punk specifically requested for the show: Mr. Money in the Bank, Otis! This didn’t disappoint, either. Mostly because Dozer outing himself as a Green Bay Packers fan pissed off all-things-Chicago Punk and brought out his heel side, so he counseled Otis to ditch both Tucker AND Mandy Rose in pursuit of singles glory. But also because I lol-ed every time he called Punk “Phil”.
On a more serious note, Otis does tell Booker it looks like he’s a singles competitor now, so maybe take that rumor about him cashing in on for the tag belts with an extra grain of salt.
After some talk about WrestleMania 3’s main event (Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant) which doesn’t involve the Straight-Edge One and the episode’s breaking news, it was time to go a little more in depth on Money in the Bank’s Climb the Corporate Ladder matches. It’s a good discussion all-around, but my favorite part was watching Renee stifle a smirk when Punk mentions Vince McMahon.
The moment wasn’t about the Punkster, but his reaction to a surprise cameo is part of why this might have been the best part of a really entertaining show:
Finally, the show closed with what I thought would be the only thing I’d have to write about... Punk’s review of the ice cream bars he demanded from Vince back during the summer of 2011. It’s a review that includes an overt shout out to Becky Lynch, and a subtle one to Bret Hart, so you know it’s great.
Believe me, I know that even in these quarantined times it can be hard to justify adding another hour of wrestling #content to your schedule. But if you find yourself looking for something to watch - and especially if you miss Punk and/or love Steamboat or Otis - grab a perfectly average ice cream sandwich and give this week’s WWE Backstage a try.