It's One CM Punk WWE Promo - Not The End Of The World

No one wants to see a safe CM Punk. The man who has built a career on being the "Voice of the Voiceless," on speaking truth to power, on making that permanent chip on his shoulder a personality trait that comes through via his sharp tongue was underwhelming on the mic last night — his first address of the WWE Universe on "WWE Raw" in nearly a decade. 


He came across as generic and sanitized — a far departure from the Punk we've gotten used to over the years. But Punk's words were also the victim of oversized expectations built over the previous 72 hours from fans filling in the gaps with predictive text about what he'd say. (The three hours of constant hype throughout "Raw" on such a polarizing and controversial figure getting a live mic didn't do him any favors either.)

But let's also keep things in perspective here. It was one promo. It was fine. It's not the end of the world ... yet.

What Did Fans Expect?

Following CM Punk's stunning return at Survivor Series, there was palpable excitement heading into "Raw" that hadn't been felt in years — and for good reason. The mercurial Punk had left AEW a few short months ago under the worst of circumstances, and had remained silent for the most part since. His departure from WWE nearly ten years ago was hardly filled with sunshine and rainbows. So there was a natural curiosity as to what he might say with a mic in hand given all that history.


But what did fans really expect was going to happen? He was never going to tear into AEW or Tony Khan or the Young Bucks or Jack Perry. Putting any shred of his anger or bitterness over how things ended in the other place on full display wasn't part of the equation. For one, it's almost certainly not legally in the cards, because if you don't think there are NDAs in place to prevent Punk from running down his former place of employment (and vice versa), then you haven't been paying attention.

But additionally, this is WWE we're talking about; that's not how it operates. Other wrestling companies' existences are barely acknowledged as it is — something that has changed moderately in recent memory — but WWE isn't going out of its way to throw attention the way of another promotion it doesn't see as remotely on its level. Therefore, a Punk airing of grievances about his former employer was never going to get a green light. But you know what was? What we got last night. 


All The Love In The World

Punk's comments last night were all about love — love for the fans, love for the company, love for professional wrestling. It was the standard speech that WWE would want him to give. It was about him returning, him coming home, him making his way back to the only place in wrestling that really matters (in WWE's estimation), the biggest game in town, so to speak.


And it's easy to see why that wouldn't sit well with more than a few wrestling fans. After all, Punk has been less than gracious in his comments about WWE over the years with all the water that's gone under that nearly incinerated bridge.

Where was his bite? Where was his edge? Where were the things that made Punk Punk? Don't worry. They're coming.

Just Be Patient

But this wasn't the time nor the place for that guy to fully show up. Not yet. This is the time to preach patience and let him find his initial direction. Once he starts getting into feuds, rivalries, programs, and angles, his track record should provide you with enough confidence that we'll get the Punk many have gravitated toward over the years. It's only a matter of time.


Happy Punk may be good for the man's personal life, but it makes him far from compelling as a wrestling persona. He wasn't all that interesting in the beginning stages of his AEW run when he was radiating positivity, and that doesn't change now just because the address of his employer did. But one needs not look very far for a hint of the vintage Punk we had hoped to see last night.

Just before "Raw" went off the air, Punk put his mic down and spoke directly into the camera, stating, "I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to make money." That's the ticket. Punk's first WWE promo was not the home run people wished it would be. It's hardly in the upper echelon of his best segments. But the sky is not falling, and this is not a failed experiment because of it. So pack away the hyperbole and give things time to settle. This is not the end of the world for the "Best in the World." It's just the beginning.