WWE | Pro Wrestling

The more WWE things change, the more WWE stays the same – Inside The Wheelhouse

Triple H CM PunkWe all very well could be looking like fools yet again in the eyes of the WWE Creative Team. Vince McMahon, Triple H, Kevin Dunn and the cast of characters in the backstage area of WWE shows may all be having a good laugh at all of our expenses yet again. Were we really supposed to think that Wrestling, specifically the wrestling in the WWE, was yet again changing right before our very own eyes?

We all became believers that we were watching another edition of a Renaissance man taking the Wrestling world and bringing it into another era of wrestling that was mirror imaging the golden days of the “Attitude Era.” The comparisons of this wrestler to a past Renaissance man in Wrestling, Steve Austin, were becoming very parallel to their paths of a meteoric rise. We were all led down that path again, feeling like we were in 1997 watching wrestling fans voices become important and strong again; we as fans like we could dictate the product yet again.

Boy, were we wrong.

It appeared that the WWE finally listened to their fans outcry for a new wrestler to carry the torch in an era plagued by John Cena & Randy Orton. As time grew on those wrestlers distance themselves from the 18-34 age groups that grew up in the “Attitude Era” and beyond due to the way they were booked week after week, match after match, pay-per-view after pay-per-view. It wasn’t entirely their fault as they were simply doing their job as directed by Vince McMahon and the band of “creative” writers that wrote storylines.

That wrestler that appeared to break through that mold was CM Punk. He was the wrestling fans wrestler in the era of “sports entertainment.” He personified what was good in wrestling, gave us that nostalgic feel of what wrestling used to be pre-John Cena & Randy Orton and made us believe that once again, wrestling could be relevant and cool. CM Punk had the wrestling world in the palm of his hands and the wrestling world felt welcomed in CM Punk’s embrace.

While the knee jerk reaction of the angle and the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View was that of excitement, the way we look at this angle now will be personified in what it does the next couple of weeks & months. Remember how “red hot” the Nexus angle was when it was happening in the summer of 2010? Remember how excited fans were for the feel of something new? Remember your hopes & dreams of that very sentiment being crushed when John Cena was “fired” for two seconds and prevailed over the entire Nexus group with one hand tied behind his back & Mr. Fugi’s sand in his eyes?

I do…I do.

I was pumped for the CM Punk angle. I was locked in and tuned in to RAW like the same exciting feel I once had from 1997 to around 2001. It was nostalga at it’s finest, wrestling was cool again. Friends of mine that tuned out of wrestling tuned back in because of how pop culture, not just wrestling fans, was reacting to what Punk was doing week after week. Wrestling was back in American pop culture!

I was marking out, you were marking out, Wrestlechat.net was marking out, every week on “The Still Real to Us” Show (available for download at wheelhouseradio.com & wrestlechat.net) we were marking out. It felt good to talk wrestling again and be excited again! Finally we were getting a breath of fresh air when all of a sudden…

“IT’s TIME TO PLAY THE GAME!”

Ok, ok. I actually like Triple H. He was a great wrestler & personality from like 1997 – 2002 and then the whole Evolution stuff I just wasn’t a fan of because he was squashing everyone in his path (Kane, Goldberg, Orton, Rob Van Dam, Booker T etc.) & making himself a monster heel while banging & marrying the boss’s daughter. It’s good to be the King…of Kings.

He wasn’t putting anyone over or making them better from 2003 to about 2005 and then realized fans hated him not because of being a heel but because of some alleged backstage politics & some easy to see programs where not one wrestler broke through the Triple H ceiling until John Cena (surprise, surprise). After 2006 to about now I was a Triple H fan and have enjoyed what he has done & given to the business. He is one of the best performers all-time whether you like him or hate him.

So Triple H returns to WWE Television as the new Chief Operations Officer/”I run shit in the WWE” now. His days in the ring as a full-time performer appear to be done and he’s back as an on camera character. I’m cool with that because it’s new and it’s fresh. Something we desired all along in wrestling, specifically the WWE.

Then I read reports of the initial script for CM Punk’s return to WWE television (which could be used for another blog) and read that the plan for Punk’s return. In the first FOUR scripts, the plan was for Triple H to pedigree CM Punk (naturally, right?) and Alberto Del Rio to cash in his “Money in the Bank” briefcase to win the WWE Championship (for the fifth or sixth time in rough draft scripts). Boy, that sure sounded like a good idea, I don’t know why the WWE didn’t pull that trigger (Author’s note: Please note the sarcasm in that last line, even the brightest “textbook” John Cena fan could figure that out)!

CM Punk is/was (depends on Summerslam) red hot in the Wrestling world. He had one of the best reactions (some might call an “Attitude Era reaction”) in his hometown of Chicago, fans were buzzing about every little thing he tweeted, posted on TMZ, an Indy wrestler he put over or did with an HD Flip camera following him around. Oh and his t-shirt from Money in the Bank was selling for $500 on eBay…can you say “over.”

Pedigring CM Punk might have led too many fans & those fans that returned because of the buzz tapping out on the product, so thank god they didn’t do that. But I’m sure the “cookie cutter” WWE crowd in Lexington, Kentucky would lose their freakin’ minds over it and pop like crazy. If Triple H did that in New York, Boston or Philadelphia the fans might literally riot like they threatened in Chicago if Punk didn’t win the gold at Money in the Bank.

So that was fine that they scrapped those plans after the fourth script was written for that RAW episode. Then I come to read that the original plans all along for the CM Punk angle was to put over freakin’ TRIPLE H in his new role on WWE television. Are you freaking kidding me right now? I’m supposed to pop like a jack in the box after Triple H pedigree’s the most talked about wrestler (CM Punk) in wrestling in quite sometime? Isn’t Triple H already over?

Hey WWE, if you want to put Triple H over, why don’t you have him do what he was supposed to do to CM Punk to oh I don’t know…JOHN CENA! You know, that guy who every time he comes out to cut a promo, or wins a match after coming back against all odds and gets BOOED by your “hardcore” fan base? If you want to put over Triple H in his new role, do it the same way The Rock caught fire yet again after making his return in the WWE, by putting over the most hated wrestler by most fans today, not the guy the fans are actually caring about (CM Punk).

If you listened to last week’s edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” (which you can still download by the way at wheelhouseradio.com & wrestlechat.net), you can hear the frustration in my voice as myself and Eric Gargiulo talked about this very subject. The WWE Creative Team continues to give wrestling fans “blue balls” every time they get excited about something new & different and then they take it away or plan for it to end with something stupid. Please WWE; don’t go down this road you are rumored to go down.

We don’t want these changes to lead us to the same old stuff we have seen the last couple of years. Make wrestling relevant, cool and entertaining once again. Give CM Punk the ball and let him run up & down the field with it.

Join Eric Gargiulo & myself for the Thursday August 11th edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net .

Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at www.blogtalkradio.com/thewheelhouse and at www.errorfm.com @ 2am ET/11pm PT

Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site..”

If you would like to subscribe to “The Wheelhouse” on iTunes simply subscribe for free at iTunes by typing in “Wheelhouse Radio!”

You can follow “The Champ Jeff Peck” on Twitter at www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck you can also follow Wheelhouse Radio on twitter at www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse and you can e-mail them @

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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