History seems to be repeating itself once again. I remember back in the summer of 1996 where Stone Cold Steve Austin cut his infamous “Austin 3:16 Said I just whooped your ass promo”, The promo that may have turned the WWE around on how they did business at the time.
Before that promo, The WWF(Like now) was a circus. It was full of clowns, it was full of trash men, it was full of kiddy gimmicks that was sickening enough to insult the intelligence of any adult. Despite the hardworking efforts from the Harts, HBK, Undertaker, and a few others The mid 90s era was considered to many as HORRIBLE
This would probably go down as the worst era in wrestling to many including yours truly. After the whole horrific Chris Benoit incident, Vince knew he had to change the way he presented wrestling to the public. Gone were the blood, the chair shots to the head, the intense promos(which was replaced with corny scripted ones), midgets were getting heavy airtime, The same wrestlers were getting pushed down our throats and remained on top(Cena and Orton). Its been a horrible era indeed with a moment here and there but nothing really memorable(Aside HBK/Taker,Return of Bret Hart, Jericho’s new gimmick, Punk/Jeff Hardy and a few others):
Seeing the ratings starting to slip more despite “cleaning up” the product. Vince pulled out all stops to keep interest. He’s brought celebrities to guest host RAW despite the fact that many of them had no clue about wrestling, He’s tried forcing John Cena and Randy Orton down people throats despite the fact that people are rejecting them. While the merchandise stayed a seller, The product as a whole was becoming more stale
With the ratings becoming mediocre. Vince knew he needed someone to bring some excitement for Wrestlemania season. He called up one of the biggest stars of the 90s to host Mania and it ended up being the Rock
It seemingly overnight The Rock brought that excitement that was lacking in the WWE product for years. Especially when he verbally destroyed the Internets most hated wrestler John Cena and just like that, The Rock turned the WWE around and made it cool again.
He brought back that feeling and energy that was lacking throughout the years and why casual fans enjoyed wrestling in the first place.
Despite having The Rock coming back to secure those Wrestlemania buyrates and bring that excitement back. Reality after Mania started to set back in as Vince knew the Rock wasn’t gonna stick around on a weekly basis so it was back to the drawing board with corny promos, confusing storylines, and the same guys getting pushed in the forefront.
What people don’t realize that it wasn’t until the manifestation of Ron R.Truth Killings character from happy-go-lucky rapper to psychotic antagonistic conspiracy nutjob is what kickstarted interest back into the WWE. When R.Truth started shooting on the Pg fans aka “Little Jimmy’s” He started building serious momentum and most importantly was ENTERTAINING.
People were interested in R.Truth’s rants and unpredictability as it would prove in the ratings leading into the Pay Per View Captial Punishment. But unfortunately R.Truth would lose his bout against John Cena at Captial Punishment and the momentum he had built would eventually sent him back into mid card. It was the same story with Christian as he would drop the belt to Orton 5 days after he won it, People were getting fed up with the “same ol shit”
A SAVIOR Arrives
After a hard-fought contest between John Cena and his nemesis R.Truth with Truth getting the win(Due to interference from his other rival CM Punk), Punk shows up wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin T Shirt. It looked pretty odd at first but then Punk proceeded to walk up the stage and sat indian style with a mic at hand. Staring at a already visibly beatened John Cena, CM Punk opened up to the world and spoke what was really on his mind. This was possibly one of the greatest promos of this decade:
Punk was saying everything the people wanted to hear. That he was held down in favor of many other lesser talented, How the PG Era along with the bullying campaign was a joke and even acknowledged guys like went out on bad terms with the WWE such as Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. He also went on to throw shots at the Rock and Hulk Hogan during the segment.
Punk’s promo since then has brought more interest into the product. Its gotten tons of coverage(even Worldstar hip hop jumped on it) The promos have improved a great deal as it seems like guys are coming more off the dome and less off a script. The matchups and feuds are becoming more interesting than before and even The WWE’s past two PPVs Money in the Bank and Summerslam were stellar.
Its unknown on the months to come of where this storyline will go but it gave the company a real rejuvenated shot in the arm that was desperately needed. Cm Punk along with The Rock and R. Truth is responsible for it but being that the focus point is on Punk at this point, The ball is on his court to turn the company around. We’ll only know in the months to come.