By: David Stephens
Are you ready? Then stop questioning your heart and join me, because it's time for "That's a Wrap"!
Nope you're not hallucinating; this column is actually making a return. It's been a long time, but hey I had something on my mind and decided to share. Think of this like Superman Returns, except absolutely nothing like that at all. Actually, that's an awful comparison. Instead think of me like a columnist who found himself alone with a computer and enough free time to put to paper some of the thoughts in his head. Or Superman, you can definitely think of me as Superman if you want. CM Punk v. Chris Jericho
The WWE Championship match is currently suffering from the plight of being overshadowed by two bouts on the WrestleMania card: John Cena v. The Rock & HHH v. The Undertaker.
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat, the WWE Championship deserves to be overshadowed at 'mania this year. I certainly don't need to make the case for why those matches are more important to the company's bottom-line, it's obscenely obvious. But where do these marquee matches leave the pinnacle Championship of Professional Wrestling? It's probably going to end up third from the top of the card. Honestly, it might even end up fourth from the top of the card if a Divas match is used to break the tension before the main event.
So where does that leave CM Punk? The so-called straight edge savior, the anti-hero, the pipe Unabomber is not one to be relegated to the side. His entire shtick is based around not being curtailed.
Let's flash back to RAW this past Monday night. Out of seemingly nowhere, Jericho pulled out the alcoholic father card. The question that seems to be getting highly debated this week is whether or not Jericho went too far, and whether or not the storyline needed this infusion of familial guilt. Personally, I say no to the former and yes to the latter.
The whole best in the world angle is intriguing, but it's also a bit overplayed. Punk proved this point when he stated that Hart has been saying he was the best decades ago. Ric Flair was saying, "to be the man, you have to beat the man", for years before Hart (which was just a play on being the best). I mean let's face it, at its core fighting for the WWE Championship should and is about being the best.
After all, when two guys are fighting for the belt, the ultimate ending game is proving who is better. The Title is a symbol for success and power, but more importantly it is the symbol for the performer who is being recognized by the WWE as the top of the business. Now granted, there are joke champions, and swerves – but I'm talking about in terms of generalizations. I don't want to go down the road of discussing the importance of the belt, because I've never really been into the whole belt mark club. It's important sure, but in the end the WWE is a business (hence Cena v. Rock main eventing).
I bring up the role of the belt simply because it illustrates my point that fighting for the WWE Championship should almost always be about proving you are the best in the world. Basing an entire storyline around being the best is not enough this year for WrestleMania. Not when you have 5 of the "best" Sports Entertainers of all time involved on the card (The Rock, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker & HHH).
Punk and Jericho are going to have to have the best match of their careers in order to steal the show away from those names. It's not an easy task. The problem is that just having the best wrestling match of the night won't be enough to generate the proper water cooler talk the next day if there isn't an intriguing storyline resolution to accompany the match.
Besides, isn't Cena v. Rock really about proving who the best of all time is? I mean sure, Punk would argue that he is the best "wrestler", but that qualifier almost diminishes his success. Jericho on the other hand has the guts to say he is the best at everything he does, but his marginal success in some ventures would beg to differ. Every time The Rock reminds the audience that he is the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, Punk & Jericho's statements start to get deflated. Even HHH v. The Undertaker is built upon the precipice of proving who the best of an era was.
So what about CM Punk? What about Chris Jericho? Well, someone realized that fighting for the WWE Championship was already about defending claims of being the best. The solution was a bold infusion of a dark storyline.
For those that have followed CM Punk over the years, Jericho's revelation wasn't all that shocking. Punk has used the story of his father over the years, perhaps most notably during his feud against Raven. Still, the majority of the WWE audience was no doubt shocked by Jericho's promo. I would, however, venture to say that the more shocking aspect of Jericho's revelation wasn't the material itself, but the fact that he would bring such harrowing details to light in front of the WWE Universe.
I can sympathize and understand why some people are critics of the alcoholic father storyline. First of all, it's a deeply personal issue for many people in society. Alcoholism is a very serious crisis, so I certainly understand the hesitance of some fans to embrace this storyline. To these fans I would say to give the story some time to develop. While WrestleMania is rushing upon us, I do believe that if anyone can pull this one off, its Punk and Jericho.
My point in dusting this column off for the first time in months is for a couple of reasons. The first is that Punk v. Jericho has not been getting the attention that it rightfully deserves. It's not as forgettable as the World Heavyweight Championship match (which could very likely kick off the show once again this year), but it is definitely being heavily overshadowed by other matches on the card. My second reason is to implore my readers to not jump the gun on derailing the "CM Drunk" storyline before it has time to gain some steam.
Punk and Jericho were suffering from severe storyline fatigue. This should be the jolt that pushes their encounter from really good to great.
So 'that's a wrap'.... Love it? Hate it? Disagree with everything I said? Just want to chat wrestling? I'm always up for reading your thoughts so send them 'em on over.David Stephens
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Follow me on Twitter!@TheDaveStephensThe Teacher's Lounge (Saturday)
"The Teacher's Lounge" is a weekly podcast archived every Saturday on the Wrestleview Radio Network featuring hosts David Stephens and "Mr. V" Anthony Valvo. The show reviews all of the news from the week, tosses out Gold Stars and Detentions, PPV previews and special guests. Past Interviews include: Colt Cabana, Hernandez, Sara Del Rey, CZW Owner DJ Hyde, Shane Douglas & more!