On June 27th, 2011, after a match involving John Cena and R Truth…CM Punk sat with legs crossed at the top of the entrance ramp and poured his heart out to the WWE Universe. It, for all intents and purposes, was a shoot promo. It has since been called CM Punk’s “Pipe bomb.” Who knew just how long the effects of it would last?
In the weeks leading up to his departure, CM Punk referred to himself as the “Voice of the Voiceless.” A wrestler who would speak up for the fans of WWE and all the wrestlers in the back who were totally misused and underappreciated. Punk would eventually resign with WWE as a way to clear a path for the wrestlers who needed and deserved a proper push. Ultimately, Punk’s disenchantment with the company led him to quit and seemingly walk away for good.
In the time since that “Pipe bomb” promo was cut, things have certainly changed in WWE. More and more wrestlers who have or had indy credentials were being signed and given opportunities that quite frankly, probably weren’t going to get if that promo never happened. Maybe it was, in a strange way, the McMahon family’s wake up call. NXT was really the first brand that evolved and changed. It was no longer mostly filled with athletes from other sports trying to learn the basics of pro wrestling and sports entertainment, but legitimate independent stars from all over the world.
While a lot has indeed changed within WWE, as the old saying goes: “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” While NXT has definitely flourished using these stars from other, smaller promotions, many have floundered on the main roster. Whether it is Vince McMahon’s fault or simply not enough mainstream fans knew who they are, many of these wrestlers get mishandled and not used properly.
That brings us back to CM Punk. When Punk felt he couldn’t do any more and couldn’t take the corporate landscape of WWE, he took his ball and went home. He quit the company and hasn’t wrestled since. On the surface, it looked like Punk was simply a malcontent and a quitter. Whether you agree with that philosophy or not, CM Punk’s departure opened Pandora’s Box. Since he walked away, many WWE superstars have followed his lead.
Stars like Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Neville and more recently people like Tye Dillinger, Luke Harper and allegedly Sasha Banks have all requested their release from the company due to dissatisfaction. The WWE has granted most, if not all of those requested releases. Although, they may play hardball with some of them, depending on their behavior. Does CM Punk deserve credit for more wrestlers having the guts to stand up for themselves and speak up when they are no longer happy?
I think Punk deserves a lot of the credit. It surely is easier to quit and walk away from a billion dollar company like WWE, when another emerging billioniare starts a wrestling promotion such as Tony Khan has with All Elite Wrestling. That also cannot be brushed aside, but to me personally, it was CM Punk’s voice that created change. Some good, some bad…but certainly change.
“John Cena, while you lay there, hopefully as uncomfortable as you possibly can be, I want you to listen to me. I want you to digest this because before I leave in three weeks with your WWE Championship, I have a lot of things I wanna get off my chest.
I don’t hate you, John. I don’t even dislike you. I like you a hell of a lot more than I like most people in the back. I hate this idea that you’re the best – because you’re not. I’m the best. I’m the best in the world. There’s one thing you’re better at than I am and that’s kissing Vince McMahon’s ass. You’re as good at kissing Vince’s ass as Hulk Hogan was. I don’t know if you’re as good as Dwayne. He’s a pretty good ass-kisser. Always was and still is. Oops – I’m breaking the fourth wall.
I am the best wrestler in the world. I’ve been the best ever since Day One when I walked into this company. And I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy. You know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar. And he split, just like I’m splittin’, but the biggest difference between me and Brock is that I’m going to leave with the WWE Championship.
I’ve grabbed so many of Vincent K. McMahon’s imaginary brass rings that it’s finally dawned on me that they’re just that. They’re completely imaginary. The only thing that’s real is me. And the fact that day in and day out, for almost six years, I’ve proved to everybody in the world that I am the best on this microphone, in that ring and even on commentary. Nobody can touch me. And yet, no matter how many times I prove it, I’m not on your lovely little collectors’ cups, I’m not on the cover of the program, I’m barely promoted, I don’t get to be in movies, I’m not on any crappy show on the USA Network, I’m not on the poster of WrestleMania, I’m not on the signature that’s produced at the start of the show. I’m not on Conan O’Brien, I’m not on Jimmy Fallon, but the fact of the matter is I should be. And trust me, this isn’t sour grapes, but the fact that “Dwayne” is in the main event of WrestleMania next year and I’m not, makes me sick!
Oh hey, let me get something straight. Those of you who are cheering me right now – you are just as big a part of me leaving as anyone else, because you’re the ones sipping out of those collector cups right now, you’re the ones that buy those programs that my face isn’t on the cover of, and then at five in the morning at the airport, you try to shove it in my face thinking you can get an autograph and sell it on eBay, because you’re too lazy to get a real job.
I’m leaving with the WWE championship on July 17 and hell, who knows, maybe I’ll go defend it in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Maybe I’ll go back to Ring of Honor.
Hey, Colt Cabana, how you doing?
The reason I’m leaving is you people because after I’m gone you’re still going to pour money into this company – I’m just a spoke on the wheel – the wheel’s gonna keep turning. And I understand that Vince McMahon’s gonna make money despite himself. He’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire. You know why he’s not a billionaire? It’s because he surrounds himself with glad-handing nonsensical douche bag yes-men like John Laurinaitis, who’s gonna tell him everything he wants to hear. And I’d like to think that maybe this company will be better after Vince McMahon is dead, but the fact is, it’s gonna get taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law and the rest of his stupid family.
Let me tell you a personal story about Vince McMahon. You know we do this whole bully campaign— [microphone cuts off]
I’ve been silenced!”