The Best in the World?

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Hitting the Ropes – The Best in the World?

So the top of the Wrestlemania card is shaping up, and if we’re being honest, it is pretty underwhelming.  The “face” of the WWE, Randy Orton is scheduled to headline the event versus Batista, a match exactly zero people are excited to see.  Maybe WWE management will add Daniel Bryan to the match to please the fans, but as of now Bryan is scheduled to wrestle Triple H.  And besides I’m not a big fan of changing matches the night of a show.  I like the build.  I like the storylines.  That’s what sells it for me.  Not last-minute changes.  It took 2 years for the Mega-Powers to explode, and when they finally met in Atlantic City it was a memorable moment.

I just don’t get it.  Why did the WWE force Batista down our throats?  Why couldn’t Triple H and Stephanie just book Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton (or the current champion) in the main event?  It is what the fans want.  Why deny them when they are paying customers?  Orton vs. Batista?  I doubt I would have purchased a travel package had I known this back in August of last year.  [Oh and thanks for making us pick our Axxess sessions in January, then add Ric Flair and (most likely) Hulk Hogan soon thereafter.  It is safe to say I would have chosen differently had I known the true line-up of expected talent.]

John Cena is going to wrestle Bray Wyatt which is fine, but the real spark is between the Shield and Wyatts as we saw at Elimination Chamber.  This feels like a step down for Cena.  I guess you could argue this is a big push for Bray Wyatt.  I have enjoyed his work over the past 6-7 months and I give the entire Wyatt Family credit for being fresh and original.  Their characters are a nice combination of cool and creepy, and the three of them can deliver solid matches in the ring.  But do you think Wyatt has any chance to beat John Cena?  If he does it will be because of considerable outside interference, and that hardly matters in the long run.

The WWE has once again dusted off the Undertaker for his yearly match, this time to face Brock Lesnar.  I would be more excited for this match if 1) Lesnar had any chance of winning, and 2) Lesnar hadn’t already lost to Triple H.  Soooo….I guess he isn’t really a beast incarnate after all.  Why am I the only person who hates this streak?  21-0?  Who cares?  It is scripted entertainment.  When the Patriots went 17-0, now THAT was impressive.  The Undertaker would be much more interesting if he was avenging a previous defeat.  As it stands we’ll be “treated” to another 15 minute entrance and subsequent Taker victory that will inevitably take up so much time a large portion of the roster won’t get to appear on the card.   Fantastic.

It has been well-documented that Hulk Hogan is back in the WWE, and his first big appearance will be to “guest host” Wrestlemania XXX.  What does that mean again?  I remember the Rock was the guest host of Wrestlemania 27 and I thought it was pretty unnecessary.  Wrestlemania isn’t a game show.  I am a time-honored Hulkamaniac so I am thrilled to see Hogan back in the WWE in some capacity, and at least they aren’t booking him to wrestle a match like Bret Hart did in Phoenix, AZ.  Wrestlemania 26 still gives me nightmares.  But in the end, the opening segment of this past week’s RAW is as good as it is going to get for Hulk Hogan and us, the fans.  Which is kind of sad.

I understand that the WWE is in a bit of a tough spot.  The top of the roster is a little thin due to the retirement of some featured stars like Shawn Michaels, and part-time guys like Undertaker, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar can only help so much.  The Rock isn’t here this year to give the show more star power and Steve Austin seems further and further away from “one more match”.  Therefore building to the biggest show of the year has presented some real challenges.  Add to that the terrible reaction to Batista (by the fans) and the weird opposition towards Daniel Bryan (by management), and this is where we are.

And yet there is one guy out there that could have added some real spice to Wrestlemania XXX.  Someone who is a big part of the WWE, not another part-time attraction like Chris Jericho.  Someone who is actually a world-class performer capable of tremendous storytelling and emotional reactions.  Someone who deserves to be featured on this show because he has become synonymous with WWE these past few years.

Obviously I am talking about CM Punk.

But CM Punk won’t be in New Orleans this April because CM Punk is angry with the WWE.  CM Punk took his ball and went home, so to speak.  The specific reasons for Punk’s anger have been debated all over the Internet these past few months.  Maybe the whole think is a work, maybe Vince is crafting this elaborate storyline around Punk to give him some much needed (and deserved) time off to heal his body.  If that is the case then I guess I look like a fool for falling for this.  But right now it sure seems like Punk is just pissed off and walked out on the biggest wrestling promotion in the world.

Now, I like CM Punk as much as the next guy.  I respect CM Punk a great deal because he scratched and clawed his way to the top of a very competitive industry.  His journey is nothing short of remarkable.   I think Punk deserves tremendous credit for revitalizing his character and in some ways, the entire business, with his pipebomb interviews and raw personality.  With all that being said, given the fact that many Americans are unemployed and finding it tough to survive this economy, I am having a really hard time supporting him in this case.  I don’t enjoy watching millionaires act like spoiled brats, “straight edge” or not.  CM Punk is certainly compensated handsomely for all of these self-perceived slights, isn’t he?

The biggest rumor going around is that Punk is mad that Batista was given the headline match in New Orleans.  Hard to fault him there, nobody likes this decision.  But you know Punk would have been utilized in some capacity on the show, which is still a tremendous honor.  The last time I checked Wrestlemania is still the biggest show of the year.  I just worked a small independent show in Mt. Carmel, PA.  Each and every single guy in the locker room would have killed themselves for a tryout with NXT, yet along a spot on the main roster.

Doesn’t it bother you that someone who has achieved such wonderful success in his career would show such immaturity?  I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised.  This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors about CM Punk being…umm…difficult to work with.  The bottom line is I don’t know the whole story, but I do know CM Punk is a huge star with a very lucrative WWE contract, yet despite all of this he walked away from his fans and fellow wrestlers during the most important part of the wrestling calendar.

Doesn’t all of this count for something?

Should CM Punk have headlined Wrestlemania XXX?  Maybe.  You could argue he’s earned that right.  Should CM Punk be the WWE world heavyweight champion?  Again, you could make that argument.  But it’s not like he NEVER wrestled a big match at Wrestlemania!  It’s not like he NEVER was a champion in WWE!  He’s had a great run these past few years, one that many people will never forget.  Throw in the big paycheck and beautiful girlfriend (Ms. AJ Lee) and that all seems like a good deal to me.

And yet he’s ticked off!  Irritated!  Upset!  Mad at the world!

I mean, I guess that is what he is feeling.  It would have been nice if CM Punk had simply told us why he was leaving.  I would have enjoyed hearing his side of the story.  I know he doesn’t OWE me or his fans anything, but aren’t we ultimately the ones who showed promoters this was a guy who could draw attention to their product?  It wasn’t our blood, sweat, and tears…but it WAS our money.  If Punk were injured I would feel badly for him.  However his recent actions show he truly doesn’t give a damn about his fans and supporters.

Did CM Punk forget where he came from?  Did he forget when he was wrestling for peanuts every night?

I know CM Punk doesn’t care what I think.  But by walking away like this, when he still had time left on his contract, Punk is shoving his own personal agenda right into my face.  I enjoy watching him wrestle.  I bought a Wrestlemania XXX travel package to see the world’s best performers wrestle on the grand stage.  That won’t happen now.

CM Punk, you’re not the only one who feels disrespected.

— David B.  (@dlb19338), OWW editor-in-chief

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