Smark Talk: The Undertaker Returning To WWE, CM Punk Rumors, WWE Raw & More
Hello! After ALLLLL the CM Punk blabber last week, I think every single wrestling fan deserved a break. Take a breather. Get some fresh air. Smell the roses. Watch the clouds. Just enjoy life away from all the backstage gossip and never ending rumor mills.
That being said, I am back. There are a few topics to discuss, as well as the usual comments. How about we kick it off with a Tweet?
Gurung Saurav: Your first impression of The Undertaker character? His #1 Moment? His #1 match?
Ah, The Undertaker!
If rumors to be trusted, he will return on the February 24th edition of Raw. For those keeping track, that show takes place from Green Bay, Wisconsin. I do not believe I will be in attendance, but that night is sure to be amazing. The Undertaker coming back would just be ONE thing to look forward to. With the WWE Network launch on that day, I can only imagine what the company has in store for fans throughout Raw. Expect lots of guest stars, surprise cameos, and/or legends returning.
As for the actual tweet:
My initial reaction was he stood out from the pack. In the world of wrestling, you have to be different. Taker was definitely unique.
Favorite match is easy. it is not only my favorite Undertaker match, but it is my favorite match of all-time. Of course, I am referring to WrestleMania 25 versus Shawn Michaels. Lists and countdowns are not my cup of tea, but that ranks right at the top of my ranking.
Moment is tricky. Do you go with King of the Ring 1998? Or his multiple title wins? How about his debut? His crazy over the top antics from the Attitude Era and Kane? Honestly, you could not go wrong with any choice. Mine would just be The Streak at WM every year. Just everything about his undefeated Mania record is epic. That is his legacy.
Philip: “Hi Justin. It’s has been awhile since I sent in my two cents to you; you still get a weekly read though. From reading your latest column about CM Punk, a lot of it does not make sense from working the Rumble to walking. Maybe he was p***ed that Bryan was switched to facing Hunter instead of him before his walk out and he was going in a different direction to Mania that he was not happy with? Still no excuse. As the wonderful IWC, no one will ever know what really happened and never will.
Personally, it does not bother me that he walked. I am well used to wrestlers leaving – it’s the nature of the business. As a long time fan, I saw the rise of many great superstars and enjoyed it immensely and during each rise, the same things always are said: “So and so” should have got the title before they did, but the company held off to make sure this was not a flash in the pan (cough cough Ryder Ryback) for the people with short memories.They know stars are getting older and have to be 100% sure in the talent to let them run with the ball like Hogan, Hart, HBK, Austin, Rock and HHH. Bryan will get his moment. It is called a slow build and when Bryan gets his win and run with the title, it will be on a big stage and be a big moment. This ‘now now now’ culture is ridiculous. Thank god these fans had no internet in the late 80’s to early 90’s when feuds and build lasted a lot longer time than now. People need to relax and watch the product, and if you don’t like what you see, turn it off and watch TNA, UFC, or Barney.”
Hey, come on now. Barney and UFC are pretty entertaining…
I wish I could argue with many of your points, but I can not. You hit the nail on the head.
Bryan: “Absolutely loved your article on CM Punk. But my question is not about him today. It’s about Alberto Del Rio. As you may have known, it’s rumored that he’ll be leaving the company once his contract expires. My question is should WWE go all out and try to renew his contract? I honestly believe that Del Rio is an amazing talent, but his gimmick needs a bit of tweaking, that’s all.
I feel once WrestleMania season is over, when all three part-timers are gone, WWE would need him. He can even be placed in mid card rivalries to legitimize the mid card titles etc.”
Thanks for the props on the CM Punk article. However, I wrote three (or was it four?) separate columns on him in the past week or so. I can hardly keep up what praise is for what exactly.
Concerning Alberto Del Rio, this is not news. I was writing about ADR leaving WWE when his contract expires back in 2011! Yes, three years ago. Del Rio has said publicly many times that he only wanted to be in WWE for five years. Get some exposure. Make a ton of money. Do what you can and retire. Wrestle in Mexico if need be afterwards. Keep in mind he is 36 years old – going on 37 in May. He will be just fine whether he stays or goes. I would like to see him stick around. I have enjoyed his work more times than not. His character has not always connected, but like you said – he fills a role and often times can move up and down the card with ease. Following Mania, ADR is the perfect guy to focus on again.
Of course, a lot of that could depend on CM Punk’s status with WWE. On that note, I suppose we have to discuss him…BUT FIRST! I have a small, tiny announcement to make.
Tweeting During WWE Raw In Two Weeks
I do not use my cell phone during movies. I do not have my laptop on when Raw/Smackdown/any television show is on. I do not work that way. When something is on TV, I watch it. However, we all understand how big Raw/Network launch date is for wrestling fans on February 24th. That Monday is huge, huge, huge! Thus, for the first time EVER, I am going to live tweet during Raw.
Mark it on your calendar now folks. For the mega-sized Raw episode in two weeks, I will live tweet during Raw for three hours. Interact with others and join in the social media fun for three hours. Three hours. Three hours! Never done before…may never be done after. We will see how it goes. My Twitter handle is listed below. Get ready.
Ashwin: “I am very surprised about your opinions regarding CM Punk’s quitting. Like I said in my previous email, CM Punk shouldn’t have walked out like this, but it’s not at all correct that Punk is getting all the blame and the mistake by WWE booking team is totally forgotten.
I saw you saying Batista has the right to act and behave like a jerk as he is a top guy, but CM Punk (who is equally a top guy) cannot do the same mistake. This is a hypocrisy shown by you.
CM Punk is advocating for the same thing that we fans have been crying for, give a chance to stars like Bryan, Cesaro, Ziggler etc. There may be guys like you who still believe Cena and Batista are the stars that are good for business and Punk and Bryan are just B+ wrestlers. So you think the 20,000 people watching live in the arena are also IWC geeks. Look, I live in India and here people who watch WWE don’t know what IWC or casual fans mean. They just love watching, and I have to say they wait to see new performers like Bryan and Punk. They are tired of Cena; it’s a fact. Look I respect CENA – the things he does for WWE are worth appreciating, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to stay on top always.
Give the same amount of push to a Bryan or Punk, and they will also be a top star. Now don’t say CM Punk wrestled top stars in the past few years or Bryan is featured in main events. If you think this push is the same like the push given to Cena or Batista when they were about to break out, then you must be joking.
I just want you to be honest and not act in a bias way. I have been reading your columns for a very long time, and I know you like Cena a lot and don’t like IWC fans, and I don’t have a problem with that. But please don’t think that who ever loves Punk must be a IWC fan. It’s not like that buddy.”
This is perfectly acceptable for the column. Thanks for writing in.
Honestly, there is so much to reply to. I am not sure where to even begin. To save everybody’s time and energy on this entire CM Punk debacle, we will try to keep this short. No promises though.
1. I am a fan of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Repeatedly made that clear for years now. However, when dealing with money and business, my fandom really means nothing. I am also a BIG fan of Alex Riley and Santino Marella. That does NOT mean I am jumping for joy over them main eventing WrestleMania XXX and featured in top spots year round. That is just ridiculous. Makes no sense whatsoever.
2. Arguing Punk is as big of a star as Batista is questionable. I would place Batista over him in terms of cross over appeal and money making scenarios – pay-per-view buys, television ratings, merchandise, upcoming blockbuster movie role, etc. Maybe not currently in 2014. However, do not underestimate just how popular and ‘over’ the big man was from 2005-2010. The problem is translating that to the modern era with Punk and others. No doubt, it has not been smooth so far.
3. No hypocrisy – just reality. If JTG pulled any kind of junk backstage or threatened to quit on the spot, he would be shown the door and fired. If any other lower card wrestler caused constant issues with fans, they would be gone. Punk has done countless things over the years and stayed because of his skills. Same with Batista. If some ‘no name’ guy on the roster got into it with Booker T, yeah – they would be fined/suspended/canned within minutes. Because it was a min event level star, things were worked out. Same with CM Punk currently. Things are being worked out. Anybody else below him on the card? Goodbye, see ya later buddy!
4. Not to plug my upcoming columns, but in any upcoming column (cheap plug!), I write about John Cena’s future with WWE. In my mind, 2014 or maybe 2015 will be his last year as the top dog under a full-time schedule. At the rumored $100 million per year for Cena’s brand name, he is just too valuable to WWE. However, age and inures are piling up. We are slowly seeing it before our very eyes. Do not mistaken what is going on right now. Cena knows his days are numbered. He can not ‘go’ forever.
He spent over 16 months away from the WWE Championship (late 2011-early 2013). Once the opportunity came up, he lost to Daniel Bryan clean in the middle of the ring at Summerslam. His repeated attempts versus Randy Orton have come up empty at gaining back the title. Now, he is *reportedly* set to feud with Bray Wyatt. Wow! Talk about a guy doing what is ‘best for business’ in recent year. Slowly but surely, WWE is moving away from Cena. They know his time is almost up. Maybe 2014. Maybe 2015. it is coming. Add on the two year deal for Batista, I assume after that he is done as well. Done. Gone. Finished. Retired.
5. Now, to bring this all home, CM Punk is not and never was going to be “the man” in WWE. Trust me, he wants no part of that commitment, responsibility or schedule. Daniel Bryan though? As noted many, many, many times, I have said that he WILL get his big win. He will! He has been the most featured star on television for close to a year now and is about to eclipse anything even imagined by fans. At Elimination Chamber, WMXXX, Extreme Rules, or whenever – I can not wait. It is going to be an excellent moment. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Bottom line: CM Punk handled it wrong, and WWE will continue making money with or without him.
Quick RAW Preview
Apparently, WWE has a sold out building from LA waiting for them on Monday. Good! I look forward to seeing AND hearing 15,000 fans watch some wrestling. Will it be positive or negative crowd noise? We shall find out soon enough…
What do you folks think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Email: email@example.com | Twitter: @JustinWatry
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