While I am sure that the WWE wanted a lot of buzz the week before Survivor Series 2012, I don’t know if this is the buzz they were looking for. Thousands of fans are outraged over a segment on Monday Night RAW and it is time to ask whether the WWE went too far with its Punk-Heyman-Lawler segment.
CM Punk and Jerry Lawler interrupted Lawler. Punk proceeded to cut a scathing promo on Lawler, including telling Lawler that he would have beaten him to death had Lawler not left the ring. The promo was capped off with Paul Heyman mocking a heart attack. It was at this moment that fans went ballistic in the social media world with outrage and disappointment.
I jumped into the social media debate on Twitter taking the side that it wasn’t nearly as disgusting as some people had dramatized. My point of view was that Jerry Lawler not only had to sign off on it, I would not be surprised if it was his idea. I watched Memphis wrestling for years and this is something Lawler would have done in a second in his own promotion. Lawler loves wrestling and I could easily see Lawler looking at the angle and seizing the moment. I don’t know this to be true but it is just a hunch.
This all goes back to the whole debate fans have when Jim Ross would get mocked or bullied for years on RAW. Fans would get angry and disgusted over it yet Jim Ross continued to show up and cash his check weekly. My take was that as long as Jim Ross signs off on it, who am I to complain? Nobody is forcing anyone to do what they don’t want to do.
In the case of Lawler this isn’t a guy that needs a job and will do whatever is asked. Lawler is known for being smart with his money and saved well. Lawler has a fun job but he has walked out before when conditions dictated it. Who am I to get outraged over something pertaining to Jerry Lawler when Lawler gave the okay and participated in the angle?
Was it tasteless? It certainly was. Did the WWE really need to do this? CM Punk was getting over just fine as a heel. It wasn’t as if he needed the angle to boost his heat, although I am sure he got a great boost. Punk was also involved in a controversial angle regarding his family earlier in the year. This is a guy that obviously likes an edgy angle. Everyone could have said no and it was certainly tasteless, but it was hardly what I call crossing the line.
The biggest hypocrisy to me is that a lot of the same people outraged over the angle are the same people that complain all of the time that the WWE needs to return to the Attitude Era, or got excited when Linda McMahon lost thinking that the company would move away from being PG. You can’t have it both ways. That angle could have been ten times worse in the Attitude Era.
Did they cross the line? I don’t think so at all. I like a little realism in my wrestling. I would probably be critical if they didn’t do this. Why would someone like CM Punk not come out and cut a promo like that on Jerry Lawler? Wouldn’t it look kind of ridiculous if he didn’t?
I honestly don’t know how you could have expected anything different.