WWE: How does CM Punk’s pipebomb promo hold today?

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: CM Punk attends the WWE Survivor Series 25th Anniversary party at Madison Square Garden on November 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: CM Punk attends the WWE Survivor Series 25th Anniversary party at Madison Square Garden on November 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage) /

CM Punk’s pipebomb in WWE remains discussed today.

Back in 2011 during the June 27th edition of WWE Raw, the infamous CM Punk ‘Pipebomb’ was dropped. It caused an explosion that reverberated throughout the entire wrestling industry.

As time has passed, certain details have come to light that makes this historical promo less spontaneous on how this closed the broadcast. What remains intact is the buzz it circulated. How it brought issues behind the scenes and openly divulged that certain performers were prioritized for reasons that were self-serving.

Going into the working world, you must be prepared for one of the saddest truths of life. Not only is death and tax inevitable, so is politics. This is frequently demonized. That’s unsurprising because its influence is often used for personal gain rather than the greater good. WCW is a prime example of how backstage politics can turn out disastrous.

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For wrestling, these tactics often involve dictating wins & losses, controlling a person’s image on-screen, and keeping hold of the gold or position, which in turn determines a wrestler’s earnings.

Essentially certain performers want themselves to look great, while others are the stepping stones to maintain their steady stream of bountiful pay-cheques.

Now, it is in the best interest of any promotion and even business, to generate the most income possible. They should also operate effectively by creating the next featured attraction.

John Cena around this time had spent his sixth year as a prominent figure and held his 10th heavyweight title. This proved a clear indication that WWE wanted to stick with him as their comfort zone.

When Punk’s run up until that point seemed like a series of switches. One minute he’s on fire, the next it isn’t allowed to be followed up. As the leader of two factions; The Straight Edge Society and The Nexus, he proved to have an impeccable command of the audience.

The man behind the ring name, Phil Brooks, is an intensely motivated individual. A person that continues to push himself to be the absolute best at what he’s doing. That self-belief translated during his performances. Officials in the company didn’t think CM Punk looked like a champion. Despite this negative criticism, it did not stop him from earning those opportunities.

Another trait of Phil Brooks, CM Punk, is that he’s an outspoken and critically thinking individual. Consider this, and him being faced with a company that is littered in hypocrisy.

While his efforts are focussed on proving what he has to offer, a spoken word behind the scenes could outrank it. That gave a clear picture that it didn’t matter how hard he worked, it only mattered how much someone sucked up to the officials.

As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Whoever screams loudest is heard. This continued backside smooching had a negative impact on the entire locker-room. While people are taking shortcuts, deserving talent got overlooked. The product no longer came across as organic, it’s not being motivated by creativity but instead out of a sense of necessity.

John Cena is a performer that deserves a tonne of respect. He’s a true workhorse, whether you like him or not. At that time, the fans who resented him early on were continuing to grow in numbers. The PG-rated product that he was instrumental ushering in wasn’t losing any steam. The focus was clearly set on maintaining that plateau.

Long were the days where  Steve Austin could transform himself into the biggest draw in the business. The King of the Ring 1996 promo, Austin 3:16 took the wrestling world by storm. CM Punk knew this, he admired Stone Cold Steve Austin and craved to reach those heights. To follow in the footsteps of his childhood hero.

Coming back to 2011, Punk is frustrated. He’s upset and becoming vocal. His contract is up for renewal and there’s a new attitude.

An attitude that doesn’t care about the consequences. I don’t think him signing a new deal really factored into his plans, at least not until Vince McMahon decided to take a chance on him. Punk’s emotion towards Vince McMahon was real and the chairman knew that this controversy could lead to big things.

Live on RAW, Punk took a shot at what was bothering him. The audience watched struck in awe He took the crowd out of a John Cena main event into something far more compelling. The reality that exists behind the curtain. Voicing the truth of the tactics took place off-camera.

Throughout this improvised promo, there’s confident pauses and no hesitation. Slow, methodical, firing point after point across. It’s clear by his voice and body language, he’s speaking the truth. The people can feel that pour through their screens. There are references made, that never before would be authorized for television. Other promotions and wrestlers were named. All live on a live broadcast. Anything and everything to stand out from the norm.

Just before being cut off, Punk was about to comment on arguably the hottest contradiction of all, the bullying policy. He was about to implicate Mr. McMahon for being a bully and that ended the promo. The powers at be once again suppressing CM Punk, cutting him off, as they’d done for years, but this time, the audience knows what’s going on. Their eyes and minds are now open.

This promo served as lightning in a bottle. John Cena’s appeal took second place. A new face would takeover.

Finally, CM Punk harnessed this momentum and went over Cena at the Money in the Bank 2011 PPV, and ‘left’ the company carrying the tier belt. In actuality, Punk did sign a new deal. Besides a bumpy start creatively through pitting him against the likes of Triple H and Kevin Nash, they successfully pulled off a meaningful title reign going over 300 days.

At the dawn of 2014, both parties would bitterly part ways. To this day the resentment can still be felt from both sides. The fans would still chant for years to come, hoping they’d reconcile their differences. As time went by, this occurrence started to wane.

Fans saw CM Punk as a lifelong wrestling enthusiast, through and through. They believed he’d turn up at another promotion and continue building his legacy. Because wrestling is what he loved to do. Sadly, the overall experience working in WWE proved to ruin his desire to continue.

In conjunction with the Fox network, CM Punk did return in a fashion. To be a critic on WWE Backstage. An underwhelming return, one that hasn’t progressed into seeing this talented performer return back inside the squared circle.

It will remain one of the greatest promos in history, that’s without a doubt. But one that should have led to a whole lot more. When Austin 3:16 was born, that momentum lasted throughout the remainder of Steve Austin’s career. Even now it’s stood the test of time.

This Pipebomb will also be looked back on another historical run that was tragically cut short due to long-standing issues with forcing wrestlers to work injured and creative indifferences. From Punk’s perspective, his employer trusted him at the crucial moment to deliver that promo, over time, others made out they knew better how to channel it and got their way.

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A testament that once again WWE chose the comfort zone above being innovative. Punk figured out that although a revolution was sparked, that flame slowly faded out and plunged back to square one. Miserable, unheard & determined once more to leave the business, and has never returned since.