“The Talking Dead” HQ Screencaps

I added some HQ screencaps from Punk’s appearance on The Talking Dead, you can check them out in the gallery.

2 Comments on ““The Talking Dead” HQ Screencaps”

  1. Here’s to hoping that eventually Punk will understand the context and subtext that he and his situation in WWE has placed him in. Things like the AvX intro and this stellar Talking Dead appearance are a great move for giving CM Punk a social relevance among a variety of demographics that wrestling as a whole would be smart to go after and to tailor some of the onscreen and in-ring entertainment to. However—the social relevance of what Punk HAS been doing and IS doing in the ring and on the screen doesn’t gel with the rest. There are a lot of folks beginning to call CM Punk “whiny”, “petty”, “insecure” and other adjectives which not only aren’t flattering, but which are indicative of a turn against him which reeks of Eric Bischoff heat—the kind that doesn’t mean that people “hate” you for being a heel, but that they truly don’t want you on their T.V. screens anymore. I am not personally saying that these gripes are legitimate, because I think that reading context and subtext properly, it is clear that WWE wants Punk to fill a certain heel role right now and that he has applied all of his inestimable skills to it. The problem is that the majority of Punk’s potential audience is NOT reading that context and subtext, and in certain ways it is not only understandable why they’re not, but it is clear and reasonable why they are not. Punk’s explosion through the glass ceiling was due to a very edgy shoot promo which skirted a fine line between reality and fiction. Now, Punk is firmly esconced behind fiction again, and worse—has “betrayed” the very ideals that he espoused originally. There is only one way for most fans to take that. Because the issues that were at the center of the promo and the subsequent rise of Punk’s popularity and interest touched on very socially relevant real-life issues, there was no way for Punk to turn heel in the way he has without engendering real-life anger and disappointment. This particular kind of anger and particular kind of disappointment are NOT those which are going to produce “heat” in a positive way when they are tapped. In the current socio-economic circumstances in this country, that kind of anger and disappointment hits too close to home. The sad thing here appears to be that Punk himself, and this is just the way that it comes off through his public persona–I’m not saying that it’s true for him personally—has a certain disdain for the opinions of anyone who disagrees with him and defensively will do the exact opposite of what is suggested in the disagreement. The end result of this, which seems to be far along the way, is that Punk is going to watch himself very quickly and very permanently lose any mass support that he had as a performer. We can reference the Walking Dead in this context. The show, and the comic it came from, are both full of very thoughtful characterization, and the characterization is set in and driven to some extent by very socially relevant storylines. Ex: None of the people in Woodbury want to know how the Governor keeps them safe—-sound familiar? There is a direct and very overt reason why this story element works. Not only has the WWE in general not made any attempt to modernize wrestling for long-term survival in the 21st century by upping the ante in terms of three-dimensional characterization and compelling, relevant stories which can be highlighted by great storytellers with in-ring work—but Punk, while commendably showing a high degree of insight into the nature and structure of what works and what doesn’t story-wise on the Walking Dead—doesn’t seem to apply that ability for insight to his own on-screen character. The storyline of his heel turn, the way that he has executed it, and the way in which he presents himself in other media has contributed to a confusing and mostly detrimental character as far as becoming socially relevant. One one hand we have CM Punk on the Talking Dead—a very engaging and positive addition to the show. Then we have CM Punk who uses Twitter to play a malicious prank on the “wrestling press” by announcing X-rays in a way in which it sounds as if he is to undergo suregery. Then we have CM Punk on RAW and WWE programming, who is playing a very outdated “cowardly” heel very much along the lines of a Bill Watts character—one who must cheat constantly to win. Just with the preceding three examples, we are unable to form a cohesive “character” out of CM Punk. Are there times and certain stories where it is a benefit to have a non-cohesive character? Yes—but this isn’t one of them, and wrestling in 2012 is definitely not one of them. The line between “kayfabe” and reality has become too thin when done correctly to NOT be cohesive. This was proved by the great reaction Punk got to his promo last year. It skirted a social reality that was relevant to many people in similar situations as they regard work and authority, and while Punk was still angry and almost “heelish”, he was understandable and the promo and the subsequent couple of weeks added a great dimension to his then “heel” persona. Now however—that character even has been completely altered, and again–the cowardly, cheating heel, straight out of some 1980’s territorial playbook not only doesn’t match anything previously established with Punk’s character in a real way, (yes, there is the “respect” thing–but it is a bit of a stretch to imagine the character before turning this much because of a perceived lack of it)—but the sometimes immature Twitter insults, (how many times can you belabor spelling—yes most of the people communicating with him are dolts–I think most other people are aware of that without being reminded 12 times a day or more), and then completely incongruous to the first two, we get the guy who impressed everyone who watched Talking Dead with his knowledge and acumen—as well as his politeness and likable demeanor—the same guy that was the Grand Marshal of Chicago’s Turkey Day Parade while wearing a hilarious Ferris Bueller T-shirt.
    So which is which? Again, this is not a positive thing for Punk that nobody can tell. To go back again to Walking Dead—what would the ratings be there if on one episode Rick decided to slap his son around and tell him that he never loved him—and then the next treated him with sugarsweet kindness, with no intervening story to even make an attempt to draw the two together in any way? Probably people would tire of a show like that, wouldn’t they? Isn’t most of what makes Walking Dead work the fact that there are very solid character bases that evolve over time as the story progresses? Even when a character does a “surprising” thing—once it happens, we can look back and say “ahhhh–that makes sense—that’s clever”. Unfortunately, at no time has WWE or Punk done this as it concerns his current heel persona. And his inconsistent carriage of himself in other media doesn’t help. It is very cool to “be yourself” on a T.V. show–in fact, some people are calling it the best Talking Dead ever. However—on Twitter, sometimes he doesn’t appear to “be himself”. So kayfabe exists on Twitter, but not on a T.V. show? Or maybe only some T.V. shows? Or only on Twitter or social media SOME of the time? And how much of it relates to the character we see on RAW? There is no consistency here—and that is on top of the fact that the heel persona is not socially relevant at all in the first place. To go full circle—it is a very interesting time in our country and around the world now. Punk tapped that vein last year. Now though—nothing. In fact, the complete turn away from that vein he tapped instead of capitalizing fully on it has damaged his overall perception. That he himself seems to ignore or downplay the severity of this situation doesn’t help. Maybe it’s WWE’s fault–perhaps he was never given the creative freedom to take things where they should have gone and perhaps other creative decisions made by WWE hindered him. Perhaps it is Punk’s fault and Punk’s alone. No matter which, the problem persists that can be summed up thusly: The guy in these screencaps is incredibly socially relevant and is engaged in a socially relevant acitvity at which he shines as a luminary. However, he is there because his fame is derived from another entertainment venue. In that venue–he is not socially relevant at all, and while he once shined—the tarnish more recently has been getting pretty heavy. I just hope that Punk pulls it all together before it’s too late. Eric Bischoff “go away” heat is no joke.
    As a simple coda: How many times can you make fun of the people that can’t spell and are nitwits before the people than CAN spell and AREN’T nitwits get tired of you? Then, you’ve left yourself with one small audience—the nitwits that can’t spell. Then a self-fulfilling prophecy can take place, where no critical input reaches your ears because all you hear from are nitwits—and only nitwits care about you–so you feel justified in thinking that nitwits are all you’ve ever been surrounded by. A recipe for eventual disaster.

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