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The Commentary: He Truly is the Best in the World
- Updated: March 5, 2013
RAW has been good the past two weeks. Really good, in fact. So good that I can count the amount of true filler segments on one hand (with a stretch or two). For a three hour show that airs weekly, that’s pretty darn impressive (and the 3.54 rating seems to show it).
While he’s not the sole reason why, it’s hard to make a case against CM Punk as being the single most consistent facet of RAW right now. No matter what he does, when was the last time one can say that they saw Punk fail to impress? He literally makes just about every person he is involved in a program with look golden.
Now let’s make it clear from the start: I am not a Punk mark by any means. Am I a fan of his work? Absolutely, but I understand above all else when something is good for business or if someone can afford a loss. Get out any thought from your head that I am being biased towards the former WWE Champion of 434 days. But do remember one thing, and one thing only. He really is the best in the world.
Last week, I categorized a great wrestler as someone who can tell a story inside the ring, not just with their move set, but with pacing and strategy. Punk takes that, and adds dimensions. On the microphone, there is no one better in WWE. After a clean loss to John Cena on last week’s show, Punk came out Monday night and did what a textbook heel should do, that is, make an excuse for the defeat. But instead of bickering for one more chance at the title, he accepted the outcome, and instantly made something else his priority. The Streak.
Never before have we had such a declaration of desire to take down The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Sure, past competitors have stated they wanted to be “the one,” but none have done so in the matter in which Punk did. He openly stated that he who breaks it will be the most vilified person in wrestling history, and he wants to be that guy. He wants to be above the title. He wants to be immortal.
And this is, perhaps above all else, what Phillip Brooks does best. He takes something, and whatever it may be, he makes it important.
Let’s examine the 434-day title reign. Prior to winning it at Survivor Series in November, the championship changed hands seven times in 2011. From Nov. 20, 2011 to Jan. 27, 2013, it stayed on the shoulders of the self-proclaimed “Best in the World” and at no point seemed like it was going to be shifting direction. Every feud Punk was involved in was centered around the prestige of the title. Sure, while the WrestleMania 28 feud with Jericho was based around what was essentially copyright infringement or alcoholism and family issues, it ultimately revolved around putting the belt around the waist of where it belonged (use your own detriment there). Take even his rub of the new title. When Rock presented his new one, Punk stated that was the one he wanted. Endorsed by the Straight Edge Society itself.
It may have taken a long time, but the WWE Championship is the focal point of WWE’s programming once more. No matter what your argument is, it is invalid. There is no full-time performer in WWE right now who could have done that in this era other than CM Punk.
Yet now that that’s over with, he tells us to keep our eyes on him. He wants to be “the man” to take out Undertaker’s streak, because it means no matter to him if he is the most hated man to ever step in the ring. He has put The Deadman on a pedestal (as if he wasn’t already) and glorified what has become of the 20-0 run. Moreover, he brought out three other men who were willing to fight a guy fresh off a historic championship run just for that opportunity.
For the second episode in a row, RAW had the feeling of a big main event, and it is no coincidence that Punk was involved in both of them. The bout itself delivered exactly what a fatal 4-way match should produce, including a balanced approach at storytelling between each individual competitor. Punk was cast as the guy who wanted the prize but was more interested in stealing it than winning it at first, but did as necessary when all was said and done: He won.
It may have been a quick steal of a win, but the fact of the matter is he hit his finisher and won a match involving three other competitors. And he did it clean. No help. No interference. No screwjob. He did it straight away, and as a heel.
I am extremely anxious to see this feud get started. One would have to imagine that Undertaker will reference Punk’s promo from last week, as it undoubtedly had laid the foundation for what is to come. And while it is much more likely that The Streak will extend to 21-0, maybe, just maybe, this is the one where we are thrown for a shocker.
The fact that there is a slight bit of doubt, at least in this writer’s opinion, is a very good thing. Suspend the belief, and let me think for just a little bit that perhaps Punk can win. With his track record over the last two years, there’s no reason to believe that he stands no chance. After all, he is the best.
One may say, in the world.
By the way. Interrupting Mae Young’s birthday song with absolutely zero regard? Gold. Even the top heel needs a little old lady heat.
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