Top-Down Smackdown: Punks, Flintstones and Genderswaps
Hmmm…what to talk about in wrestling today? Anything happening?
Oh yeah…CM Punk went on his pal Colt Cabana’s podcast, and finally revealed why he’s no longer in WWE. I haven’t had two free hours to listen to the whole thing, but have read some synopses. The key take-home is that he did not quit, but was suspended after he took time off due to untreated injuries…and then fired on his wedding day.
The untreated injuries issue is the most egregious – According to Punk, he had a lump on his neck that got a staph infection and became MRSA, which is fatal if unchecked. WWE doctors kept insisting it was just fat, even after it started changing colors. That’s a pretty serious indictment of their so-called wellness policy, which also called for Punk to be drug-tested more often than guys who were pretty obviously juicing (Punk singles out Ryback as a steroid-abuser and unsafe worker; Ryback replied on Twitter that Punk never confronted him about any of it). I suppose you could make a case that if Punk’s gimmick is specifically being straight edge, he needs to be held to a higher standard, and should have no issue with it. Still, everything he says points to a serious lack of safety as far as the superstars’ well-being.
So he then says that he walked out in January because he was hurt, got suspended for two months as punishment, and offered to resolve the issues after his wedding…then got fired on his wedding day. Nobody could blame him for being pissed off at that. There’s firing somebody, and there’s firing somebody in the worst possible way; the converse of the employee pissing on a boss’ desk as he quits.
Other complaints he has will come as no surprise to anyone with even a peripheral knowledge of the product. Vince is old and clueless; Triple H is arrogant and still wants to be the center of attention; good ideas from younger talent get poached and given to the bigger names, while Vince and Triple H take the credit. This is stuff that you’d presume everyone knows going in to WWE, though that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to deal with.
And then there’s stuff that really does sound like petty squabbling – they wouldn’t let him get the win over Brock Lesnar, they gave the main event of WrestleMania to the Rock instead of him, etc. This is the kind of thing I expect Goldberg to whine about, but not Punk – the Triple H angle he didn’t want to be involved with went straight to the top when Daniel Bryan ran with it. Is he saying they’d never have let him do that, or that it wouldn’t have been worth that if he had to work with Triple H? His most solid argument here is that even when he was selling the most merchandise, he wasn’t treated like the top guy. To coin a phrase, that’s hardly best for business.
Punk appears to be burning his bridge to WWE like nobody since the Ultimate Warrior, for whom it took a metaphorical and literal deathbed conversion. Fortunately for him, he has other things he can do, and isn’t too busted up to do them. Like Mick Foley, he is articulate and a decent writer, and he can presumably get by on Thor comics and Nerdist videos. Plus, if Batista can get a major superhero role, I don’t doubt that Punk could.
In a most amusing quirk of timing, though, he stars in the WWE Flintstones movie as “CM Punkrock”:
I’m less interested in seeing the WWE stars as prehistoric cartoons, though, than I am in seeing them as women. Chronicle writer Max Landis just directed a wrestling-based short in which he appears to have gender-swapped all the leads – Triple H and Shawn Michaels are women, for example, while Chyna is a man (go ahead, make the obvious joke).
His trailer for it doesn’t show much, but I’m excited to see what he does.
Now…will Sting be on Raw tonight? Or ever?