To my surprise, WWE generated a lot of buzz around last night's Raw, but unfortunately it wasn't the kind of buzz they were probably hoping for.
Lots of headlines about CM Punk and an incident with a fan. Mr. Tito published a column saying that punishment should be coming Punk’s way.
‘What the hell happened?!?,’ I wondered.
Turns out, as Raw was going off the air, Punk rushed into the crowd, like many heels have done in the past. Vince McMahon, who evidently made a return, was telling Punk who his opponent would be for the upcoming pay-per-view, Hell In A Cell.
That’s when the incident with the fan happened. Punk was evidently annoyed by a few of the fans, but the camera cut to Mr. McMahon, who was still in the ring. When it cut back to Punk, he snapped and backhanded the fan behind him.
Speculation began immediately. Was this fan provoking him? Reports from fans in attendance said the fan was trying to push CM Punk down the stairs. Punk’s supporters rallied behind him, saying, ‘What would you do if you were being pushed down the stairs?’
A fan by the name of DaJoel was there live and thanks to his YouTube video, it’s easy to see what happened.
Punk shoves off a couple of fans. A black-haired fan in a Brock Lesnar t-shirt shoves him back pretty hard. Punk turns to face the fan, fairly annoyed, but he returns his attention to McMahon.
Then, the fan that ended up getting walloped gets shoved into Punk.
At that point, Punk turns around. After a death stare, he, again, returns his attention to McMahon.
A fan in a white t-shirt is flipping Punk off and pushes his middle finger into the back of Punk’s head.
The fan putting his shades on at that point never touches Punk, but Punk doesn’t know that because his focus is on McMahon, who is still in the ring. That’s when Punk snaps and backhands the dude in the glasses. He knocks the glasses right off. Based on the fan’s expression, he wasn’t expecting it. Why would he? He wasn’t provoking Punk.
A backhand wasn’t enough though. Punk goes on to shove/punch the guy in the face.
A slew of opinions and questions have been served up already. 'Punk could have torn his ACL if he fell down the stairs!' 'Where was security?' (fair point on that one).
The biggest question seems to be: what happens to Punk now?
Personally, I do think Punk should be punished. He attacked a fan! He’s the WWE Champion – a figurehead of the company. That’s a big responsibility and there’s a lot of pressure on him, particularly right now, when Raw’s ratings are so low and members of the creative team are getting shuffled around.
That doesn’t excuse Punk’s actions though.
Could you imagine any other sports figure going into the crowd and beating up on a fan, even if they were shoved a couple of times?
No, fans shouldn’t touch wrestlers, but, like it or not, you open yourself up to that when you go into the stands. That’s fan territory. It's not like these fans jumped the barricade.
WWE serves alcohol at their events, so fans are expected to be a little rowdy. That's the entire concept of Raw.
So what’s next? Banning wrestlers from going into the crowd? It’s possibly the answer WWE will come up with. I don’t see the issue with it, seeing as how it’s been done time and time again. No, the issue is Punk.
The thing I take away from this is that Punk has a short fuse and should probably lose the WWE Title very soon. He’s clearly not the guy who should be representing the company.
It’s ironic that WWE is doing a storyline about Daniel Bryan needing anger management classes when Punk seems to be the one with a short fuse.
He called out Chris Brown on Twitter earlier this year for abusing Rihanna. That one didn’t get Punk in any hot water because his verbal opponent was Chris Brown.
Then he told a fan on Twitter to kill himself, after the fan made a comment about gay marriage.
There was footage last year of Punk calling someone a homo at a house show in Adelaide.
After last night’s incident on Raw, I think it’s safe to say this is not the guy who should be representing the publicly traded company. As much as he bores me, John Cena is someone who can handle that position. You’d never see Cena involved in something like this.
Chris Jericho remained cool under pressure after getting hit with a glow stick at a house show.
He did what a proper heel should do. He created a moment, egging the fans on, encouraging them to throw their glow sticks at him. Why does he care if they want to throw the things they just shelled out $20 for?
CM Punk clearly likes to play the bad guy with the fans, but hitting a fan? Not just verbally challenging him, but hitting him twice? Even if the guy who actually did hit Punk had it coming, you don't provoke a fight in that environment -- with kids nearby.
What's worse is that the fan, who was attacked without cause, stood there, keeping his cool at the end of Raw. He looked like he wanted to stand up for himself, but he kept his cool -- even after Punk didn't. Kudos to him for that.
Maybe the fan who was attacked won’t lawyer up (if he does, I don’t blame him one bit) and he’ll take a sweet trip to Wrestlemania next year, allowing this whole thing to blow over. Whether or not WWE gets sued over this, I think Punk’s days as WWE Champion are numbered. A fine and/or suspension is coming his way.
If this were 1997 or 2000 or even 2005, then maybe that wouldn’t be the case.
It’s 2012, though, and WWE is all about being PG and promoting anti-bullying -- all while Linda McMahon is trying to get into the Senate in Connecticut.
In the current WWE environment, Daniel Bryan gets fired for ‘choking’ a ring announcer with a tie, Chris Jericho gets suspended for desecrating the Brazilian flag, and Abraham Washington gets fired for making a Kobe Bryant joke on Raw.
Agree with those situations or not, that’s the current WWE environment. If you’re going to represent the company, you can’t do things like that. As a member of society you shouldn’t do things like that, but when a million-dollar career is on the line and you’re the figurehead of WWE, you really shouldn’t be doing things like that.