WWE.com: Did CM Punk start a revolution?

Did CM Punk start a revolution?

During a live broadcast of Raw on June 27, CM Punk sat cross-legged on the entrance ramp in a vintage “Stone Cold” Steve Austin T-shirt and delivered a monologue that has become the sports-entertainment equivalent of William Wallace’s speech to the war weary Scots at the end of “Braveheart.” A pointed, stirring battle cry that both indicted the enemy and roused the people, the call to arms led legions of WWE fans to unite under one word — change.

Frustrated with the direction of an industry he’s loved his entire life, The Straight Edge Superstar wanted to see a younger generation take charge and in the weeks since his incendiary rant he fought an uphill battle to make it happen.

At WWE TLC, the “change” Punk spoke about finally began to take shape. On that night in Baltimore, not only did Punk successfully defend his WWE Championship in a thrilling main event, but Zack Ryder grabbed the United States Championship and Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Title.

Something was stirring in WWE and Punk could feel it. It was an emotion he expressed bluntly on Twitter:

CM Punk tweet

It's all in the reflexes.

Pale and unshaven with a hood yanked over his sleepless eyes, CM Punk may not look like the new face of WWE, but the face is the least distinctive element of this champion’s appearance. What sets The Straight Edge Superstar apart from Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, John Cena and every other well muscled American man that’s carried sports-entertainment’s most coveted title is his alternative appeal — the garage rock aesthetic, the blue jean and black hoodie uniform, the arms as illustrated as the rack in a comic book store.

No matter how hard they tried to convince you otherwise, WWE Champions have rarely been cool. Bret Hart’s Michael Jackson-inspired pink leather jackets with military epaulets weren’t cool, Hulk Hogan’s Fu Manchu mustache and wispy golden hair weren’t cool and John Cena’s jean shorts and low tops were definitely not cool. The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin were cool, but in a way that was completely foreign to the average WWE fan. They were action heroes, larger-than-life caricatures that always knew the right thing to say to the bad guy before they offed him.

CM Punk is not larger-than-life, but that’s exactly his appeal. He’s as real as it gets. He likes ice cream and Kurt Russell movies. He used to post pictures on his Twitter of oozing cheese pizzas he’d devour entirely, one would assume, by himself. He can dislocate a man’s arm with his bare hands, but that doesn’t stop him from staying up all night reading graphic novels. He’s flawed, frustrated and in love with professional wrestling — the type of guy a WWE fan can relate to.

Zack Ryder is much the same. A young Superstar who had early success as Edge’s lackey in 2006, he floundered in preliminary matches for the remainder of the decade before building his own fanbase through social media. By urging fans to like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter during his self-produced YouTube show, “Z! True Long Island Story,” the kid from the L.I. started what he called the “Ryder Revolution” — a grassroots campaign to get the attention of WWE. What started with a Flip camera in Ryder’s roommate’s bedroom soon became a national phenomenon. Before long, WWE fans were pumping giant foam fists and wearing spiked hair wigs as they cheered Long Island Iced-Z to a United States Title victory over Dolph Ziggler at WWE TLC.

Daniel Bryan wins the World Heavyweight Title at WWE TLC.

Daniel Bryan may be the most unlikely success story of them all. A humble, 200-pound phenom from Aberdeen, Washington, the submission expert wrestled his way across the globe for a decade, earning repute as one of the world’s greatest technicians in the process. He even locked up with CM Punk in armories on the east coast when the two were standouts on the indies. But, in spite of being trained by Shawn Michaels and William Regal, Bryan never fit the preconception of what a World Champion should be. He’s pale, he doesn’t eat meat, you won’t see him riding in a limo or a leer jet and his shoes probably don’t cost more than your house.

Still, at WWE TLC, Daniel Bryan became the World Heavyweight Champion by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase and pinning Big Show. Suddenly, two competitors who learned their craft in the dingy gymnasiums of the independent wrestling scene were WWE’s top titleholders and a hardworking Broski was right there with them. The following night on Raw, the three Superstars stood triumphantly in the ring with their titles in hand and the WWE Universe completely behind them.

Six months removed from Punk’s sermon on the mount, change had come.

7 Comments on “WWE.com: Did CM Punk start a revolution?”

  1. Cm punk my daughter have to say something to u…. Cm punk u are the best I’m am your #1 fan and I wanted to tell u two things one keep that title don’t let dolph Ziggler take it please and also um my brother is a fan of the wwe.he has a condition called downsydrume I hope that’s how u spell it.. Um I was hoping if u can write me back and see what we could do because I really lov him and seen him down no.lov u!! Reply please!!!!

  2. Cm punk let me start off by saying you are truely the best in the world your in ring ability and your skills on the microphone are prove that u are everything I say you are I haven’t been into wrestling this much since the attitude era you remind me of myself a little I was in the marine corps and I stood up to my bosses because they tried to disrespect my manhood but anyway I am your number 1 fan and I want you to know that u are a great inspiration to me I want to be a professional wrestler someday I’m 23 yes old I’m 5 ft 10 in 210 pounds I was wondering if you can give me some advice to be the best like you I’m looking forward to hearing from you punk I no you wont let m??e down because you are THE BEST IN THE WORLD love u link

  3. Punk is my idol and introduced me into the Straight-Edge life style, but I never learn from my mistakes. I try to break annoying habits but end up creating them. I don’t deserve to be your fan.

  4. Hi punk, I would first like to say I am a huge fan of yours. Secondly I like to say you are my hero. I’m 14 and you have inspired me not follow kids in my age group into doing stupid things like drinking or doing drugs. You have also taught me to follow my dreams and to work your hardest at everything and the best reward isn’t doing it for yourself but to face challenges face on and hope it will make a change. Another thing is that you speak your mind and that’s why I am a fan of yours, because I speak my mind as well. I want to say thank you for the hope, will power to better myself and to make changes where ever I can.
    Ps: You don’t have to respond to this just reading this would brighten my day knowing I got to say this to my hero

  5. CM punk, I think its so funny that you have created a character out of the whole Straight Edge thing, although its quite lame, its cool that you bring it back into popular culture and give kids a positive role model, but still its lame and not very. Inventive, I’d be interested to see u form a HXC band tht wld be quite a laugh.

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