Since I generally make it a habit not to watch RAW, I didn't even know anything historical was happening until my twitter started blowin' up about Punk and Colt Cabana and ROH. I managed to catch a vid of the promo on a friend's tumblr and let me just say... wow. Wow.
"Ooops, I'm breaking the fourth wall!"
I never, ever in a million years imagined I would say these words, but... I love CM Punk right now. And I used to hate him. I don't mean like cheap-heat-heel-hate, I'm talking deep profound personal hate. Back when I used to be a giant mark for Jeff Hardy, and him and Punk had that thing... remember that thing? Before Jeff quit the 'E? I thought Punk crossed so many lines during the course of that thing (and then turned out to be right about how much of an addict Jeff was, which only made me hate him more) and then came out to Jeff Hardy's music in Jeff Hardy's gear the next week? I was in the audience for that. I almost cried. I thought it was unspeakably cruel. (Now of course, I can't stand Jeff Hardy and think that angle was actually quite brilliant. The times they are a-changin')
But personal anecdotes aside, I never thought I'd actually like CM Punk, EVER, though I'd developed kind of a grudging admiration for him in recent months.
And now this.
The question everyone seems to be asking is, Is it a work? Is it a shoot? Is it a worked shoot? (Well, those are three questions, I guess. In any case.)
I think the basic fact of the matter is, if Vince McMahon didn't want it on TV, it wouldn't be on TV. Whether the whole promo from start to finish was scripted or Punk said "Hey I want to cut this promo on you, here are some things I want to cover", Vince allowed it. I want to believe that it was a shoot and somewhere Vince was screaming red-faced into a phone going "CUT HIM OFF NOW!" but I really doubt this is so.
I want to believe that the reason his mic was cut off and the show ended so abruptly was because he went off the Vince-allowed script and started REALLY shooting... but I don't believe that is so either.
I think it all boils down to the fact that this is a publicity stunt. It's been announced and acknowledged that Punk's leaving the 17th (which so happens to be Money in the Bank, how convenient for him) and Punk's a pretty big star, so that's a pretty big deal. As I recall, PPV buy rates are looooooow low low and have been for a while. Before Punk announcing it was his last day on the job, interest in MitB was probably "eh." After he announced it, it was maybe more like "Oh?"
Now, after this amazing promo and rampant news stories (including wwe.com front page headlines) that he's been suspended, interest for MitB has probably gone up to "WOAH." Everybody is talking about this promo, his suspension, if he's even actually really quitting on the 17th. This one singular, amazing promo has generated so much talk, which, if this is played right, will probably end up in a lot of buys for MitB.
Remember, Vince McMahon wants your money. He wants your money in his pockets and he doesn't care what he has to do to get it there. Will he promise you an amazing, historical PPV, take your money, and then give you a PPV that is meh at best? Yes, he will. And I think the 'verse is finally cottoning on to that kind of lousy bait-and-switch.
Now, with Punk, this promo, all the attention this has gotten... Vince has drummed up quite a lot of interest for a PPV that, until this, had probably mediocre interest at best. People are going to talk about it, and again, depending on how this is handled, people are going to buy the PPV to see what Punk does next, if he'll make more history.
And that is actually quite brilliant. As much as I want to believe that this is 100% shoot and somewhere Vince McMahon is PISSED... it's all just too convenient.
However, the fact still remains that that is a great motherf$%&ing promo, and CM Punk is amazing.
Also, this. I think I just became a mark for Punk. Oh geez.