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CM Punk Wins At WWE Money In The Bank 2011 – A Look Back One Year Later

C M Punk wins the WWE title at Money in the BankCM Punk was the talk of the Internet one year ago, specifically Money in the Bank. Punk shocked the world on July 17, 2011 and left the WWE with the WWE championship. Has Punk lived up to expectations one year later?

This is a very subjective question to ponder. A yes or no all depends upon what your criteria is for success or what your expectations were? Some expected Punk to become the biggest superstar in pro wrestling? Some expected Punk to revolutionize the industry the way Steve Austin and The Rock did? Some expected Punk to make the WWE more mainstream? Some expected Punk to shatter business records? Some didn’t expect much at all.

[adinserter block=”2″]I always look at pro wrestling as a business. I look at the bottom line when it comes to the WWE or a WWE superstar. You can tell me someone is a big star all that you want, but I look at the numbers. Unfortunately for me, Punk’s numbers are a big disappointment. Business is about the same sans for the special appearance from Brock Lesnar or The Rock. Punk is a ratings loser most weeks. Punk is a huge merchandise seller, some report right behind John Cena. But at the end of the day if he isn’t bringing any more butts to the seats, the payoff was a disappointment but it’s not Punk’s fault.

Punk was set up to fail from the start. Fans bought into the idea that Punk actually could leave the WWE with the title. Some even created this fantasy where Punk would travel to ROH or another indy and actually defend the title. None of that ever happened and that may or may not be his fault. Punk set up completely unrealistic expectations with his promos leading up to Money in the Bank. Whether that was Punk’s doing or the WWE, I don’t know, but you just can’t make those kinds of innuendos and not deliver on any of them.

Bringing Punk back a couple of weeks after the championship win was murder. Punk returning so soon took the air out of the hysteria balloon that was created over the weeks leading up to his title win. Would it have killed the company to hold Punk out a few months? I think Punk would have been a goldmine if he was held out until 2012. Unfortunately the WWE either got greedy or paranoid and went to the well too early as the late, great Gorilla Monsoon would say.

Punk also had to overcome years of being portrayed as a mid-card WWE superstar. It wasn’t as if Punk had been rolling over the competition before MITB. Yes he went over Rey Mysterio, but imagine what a clean win at WrestleMania 27 over Randy Orton would have done? Orton was seen as a much bigger star a year ago and the win would have gotten fans prepped for his title run. Instead, it was just another mid-card guy who got lucky.

The storyline of John Cena winning the WWE championship and Punk wrestling a title vs. title match just soured the story. Punk had only been gone a few weeks and now the WWE was expecting fans to take John Cena seriously as a champion? It didn’t work and it took a lot of steam off of the angle in my opinion.

Punk also came off…like a punk. The feud with Triple H could not have been booked worse. Punk came off to me as an arrogant, spoiled, jerk instead of the cool “shooter” that he was going for. Triple H is still popular, maybe the most popular in the WWE, and the wrong guy for this storyline. I know a lot of older fans who were lukewarm on Punk during this time that grew to absolutely hate him. On top of that, he lost! He was a babyface who couldn’t back up any of the bragging or accusations, in other words he was booked as a heel.

Finally, there was the Cena factor. Punk may be the WWE champion but he has played second fiddle to Cena from day one. The more you keep telling fans that Punk is not in Cena’s league, the more the casual fan will believe that. Why do you think they tune out of Punk’s matches on RAW? That is because he is not seen as the “main-event” even though he really should be as champion. Yes he has the belt, but he has yet to get the full commitment of a championship push from management.

To be fair this story may be far from over. There are rumors that Punk may be turning heel soon on the basis of being promoted behind Cena. If the WWE can use this to their advantage, maybe Punk comes out of this as one of the greatest heels of the era? If that is the case, we may have to re-evaluate the situation one year from now.

[adinserter block=”1″]It has not been a total failure. Punk is now established as an elite WWE superstar for life. He is out of the mid-cards and at a level that nobody before him has been able to reach in recent years. He broke the glass ceiling. He has done a fantastic job with media and cementing his name in pop culture. People who aren’t even wrestling fans anymore have heard of CM Punk and that has to be a good thing.

Overall I’d call the last year more disappointment than anything else. There was so much potential in what could have been when Punk walked out of Chicago with the WWE championship a year ago. Sadly, very little of it has been realized.

[amazon_link id=”B004ZKKKWE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: Money in the Bank 2011 DVD[/amazon_link]

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5 COMMENTS

  1. While I agree that the whole "leaving witht he title" angle was botched by the WWE, I think you have to look at the influence Punk has has over the past year as positive for one simple reason, it set a new standard. By this I mean that it has allowed the door to be opened for a new style and type of wrestler. Someone of Punk's size and ability is now deemed acceptable and believable as a WWE champion. I feel that Punk doing what he has done the past 12 months has allowed wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler to be considered as main event material even though they are not 6'6" and 300 pounds. Just like when Bret Hart broke through in the mid 90's, it opened the ceiling for guys like HBK to follow. And I think the we all, as wrestling fans, can benefit from that.

  2. In all honesty, I think the Punk angle was a failure on the WWE's part. I dont think they ever expected him to leave, so he was booked pretty poorly until he said he wasn't re-signing, so then WWE had to go all in on him to convince him to stay. Since that angle has he cooled down? Absolutely, but I dont think it's his fault. He lost momentum when they crowned a new champion when he was gone, when Del Rio cashed in on him, AND when he lost to HHH. You can't blame that on him. He has become a lot more watered down, but I think if a heel turn is in the works, it could work for him, but I think it's going to be hard to boo against him when John Cena is the main face. And you also have the Rock, Brock, HHH in the mix. The only possible way I can see him getting over as a heel is a program with Austin for Wrestlemania, there arent any babyfaces strong enough to turn him heel at this point, in my opinion

  3. Surprise, surpise. Another article on this site about how Babyface Punk sucks, but Heel Punk is awesome. News Flash, there's no chance, in this era of the WWE, for a GREAT HEEL. They're all booked like losers. Remember the last time he was heel, he was smack bang in the middle of a 2-yr ppv loss streak. Disgusting for someone of his talent. He may not be the same as he was last year, but don't kid yourself into thinking he has no talent. That's just a slap in the face to fans of wrestling.

    • Oh oh, look out the Punk police is on patrol. I'll be completely honest with you. I am not a fan at all. I don't get his appeal at all. BUT I do respect those that do and there are plenty on the site that write positive pieces on Punk. If you read the article carefully you will note that the blog is not necessarily a criticism of him but the way he was booked and has been booked since MITB. I do appreciate your passion and I do appreciate you visiting the blog, but don't take it so personal if someone disagrees with you. There are plenty of people that see it both ways. That's what makes wrestling and blogging for that matter fun.

      As for being better as a heel, etc again you didn't comprehend what I said. I never said he was a better heel. All I said is if he does turn heel, maybe the mistakes made since MITB could be used in his favor. I also said it'd be fair to evaluate it in a year. So where you get that I said he is a better heel than a babyface is beyond me.

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