What is your stance on the CM Punk Chants?

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CM Punk Champion

It is no secret that chants for former WWE champion CM Punk have been shouted loud and clear in 2017, with the name recently been blared during certain segments on Monday Night Raw.

Much discussion and debate has risen as a result and whilst some are against the chanting see for example, What Culture’s video on the matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHTfiXrUaRc others sit on the opposing side of the fence and are unfased by the noise of the fans in attendance.

What I was wondering though is how do people at home feel about it in general? Do you like or hate the CM Punk stuff? Or do is not bother you either way? I thought it best to present the case for and against, and try to allow everyone to discuss their standpoint accordingly.

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Prologue

99% of wrestling followers know exactly who the man in question is, but just in case you’ve been living under a wrestling rock the past 10 years, or you’ve not been into WWE for too long, let me quickly run down a brief overview of CM Punk.

Punk was a massive indie star before arriving in WWE and as a result, he almost always had the backing of the fans as he broke onto the biggest scene before exploding into the biggest star in the business after his infamous pipebomb promo.

After that he was on top of the world and held the WWE Championship for a massive 434 days, but after missing out on his dream of being in the main event of Wrestlemania to the Twice in a Lifetime matches between The Rock and John Cena, he left the company the day after the 2014 Royal Rumble. He was banged up and worn out but even in leaving his action paved the way for Daniel Bryan to take centre stage at Wrestlemania XXX, one of the finest moments in WWE history.

Because of his amazing promos, his fantastic matches (my personal favourites being against Jeff Hardy, Brock Lesnar and many times against John Cena) and his stratospheric popularity people want to remember him in WWE. A lot of people would also consider him their favourite wrestler, and rightly so, he was/is one of the best in the world.

Chants have really picked up in volume recently however as a fake AJ Lee was bought out on a dark segment at Raw, as part of the film WWE and The Rock are making based on Paige. During this thunderous rendition, Rocky called Punk and left him a voicemail, Punk duly responded with a grateful tweet: https://twitter.com/cmpunk/status/833905165145145344?lang=en

Since then they have continued; very notably so in segments involving the Raw women, Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins and HHH, which leads up to this discussion, what do you think about people chanting CM Punk? And why perhaps, do people continue to chant his name?

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For

Everything mentioned in the above introduction shows exactly why people want to chant for their hero, and since they’ve paid their hard-earned money for ticket to the show, why the fuck not? So long as no offence is being dished out and no harm is being done to anyone, then the fans are free to enjoy shouting about their favourite wrestler, whether they’re still with the company or not.

If you’ve ever been to a wrestling show of any kind you’ll also know that shouting together as a huge audience is really, really fun. This might not always project through the television screen but by and large people are having a laugh and getting involved with the show, rather than trying to kybosh it as some may feel.

Crowds also often chant CM Punk in the direction of heel authority figures, namely Stephanie, Hunter and even a while ago, Vince. Seemingly the Punk chant represents a sort of ‘fuck you’ to the authority, which is exactly what the man stood for both in the sense of kayfabe and reality; personally I find that all quite amusing and enjoyable, especially when it elicits a response such as Stephanie’s recent classic, ‘if you could keep that up for 2 minutes and 15 seconds, you’d last one second longer than Punk did.’

Oh and finally in this section, do you actually need me to explain why Chicago will forever chant for Punk after gifting them the best wrestling moment the city has ever seen? Nope, didn’t think so, cheers.

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Against
Here’s where things could get a little spicy… There are seemingly 3 primary reasons why people dislike the CM Punk chanting. Irrelevance, trying to make the show about the crowd rather than what is going on in-ring and, most pertinently, throwing off segments.

Firstly, the point of irrelevance. CM Punk, fantastic as he was, hasn’t been seen in WWE since the Royal Rumble in 2014 and with his name being all but blacklisted by the company, he doesn’t currently have any place on Raw and Smackdown. Hence then why people do not see the point in the fans in attendance shouting the former champion’s name throughout arenas; it’s seen in a similar vein to the ‘what’ or former ‘ECW’ chants as it is just unnecessary.

Show goers trying to make their presence felt at home and almost attempting to make themselves appear more important than the wrestlers is something that has raged on for a while, especially in NXT since Owens labelled them ‘the John Cena of wrestling fans.’ Some of the Punk chants have the same effect and whilst, as mentioned, it is fun to get a reaction, it can go too far and feel like the crowd just want to take over the show instead; making it very tiresome for many.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, throwing off and even ruining segments is something that really has got under the skin of fans when the CM Punk chants begin. Rollins’ segment a few weeks back really suffered as while he was giving an emotional speech the crowd seemed to ignore him and chanted for Punk instead. It took the shine off what was a crucial moment in the lead up to Mania and that really isn’t cool.

Conclusion

So I pose the question to you all again, what is your stance on the CM Punk chants? Do you mind them? Do you hate them?

Personally, I’m of the volition that it is all fine if the timing is right. During Steph’s promos it pretty fun because she bites back, but when Bayley is speaking or when someone like Rollins is stating something really important, Punk chants are something we could really do without. There really is a time and place for everything, even Punk chants.

Dropping the Ball: When will Triple H explain his recent actions?

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Kevin Owens has been WWE Universal Champion for approximately month and a half now and his feud with Seth Rollins looks set to culminate at the upcoming PPV event, Hell in a Cell. The cell match should be used to finalise the storyline but we are yet to discover exactly how Owens became champion. Why did Triple H choose him? Why did he turn on his golden boy?

The week after Owens’ victory on Raw there was a great atmosphere of excitement as fans tuned in to hear Triple H congratulate Owens, raise his new protégé’s hand and explain his interference in the previous main event. Instead we got an Owens title celebration and a confrontation between Rollins and Stephanie as the story of Seth being unable trust the wife of the main who screwed him out of the championship. It was sloppy, and way too much focus was put on Rollins’ relationship with Steph, Hunter and even Foley.

Immediately this made Owens take a backseat instead of driving the vehicle of momentum forward as the lack of Triple H appearance or any sort of reasoning for him gift-wrapping a win for KO left fans confused and frustrated that everything was still and mystery. Plus, we had no top babyface to rally behind as, given that Stephanie and Foley were positioned as faces, Seth’s intentions still remained murky too, a factor that really hurt their otherwise brilliant Clash of Champions face-off.

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Such fan frustrations reign true to this day. Whilst Rollins has transitioned into a more overtly good-guy he is still walking the line between heel and face, and we are yet to find out what the hell is going on behind the scenes with Triple H. Surely we are going to end up with a mega-face Rollins versus Triple H match somewhere in the next year but we don’t have any clue of when that might be. Will Hunter appear at Hell in a Cell, or Survivor Series maybe? Or will the trigger be pulled as far away as 2017 instead?

Viewers are left longing in the dark and the steam around storyline has been lost; sure, a HHH v Rollins feud and match will be awesome but why leave the fans confused and deflated, and why not give some extra momentum to Owens via a Triple H promo? Striking whilst the iron was hot would have surely added fire into the Raw main event picture, rather than slowly burning through another Authority angle. How many more can they churn out?!

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Luckily the champion has managed to remain on track thanks to his partnership with the always-excellent Chris Jericho – Owens has been able to avoid taking pins in his tag matches with Y2J and has been involved is the most entertaining segments of Raw because everything Jericho touches turns to gold. JericKO’s promo with the New Day had me balling. Now we just need that sweet sweet Triple H endorsement to round off this chapter so that Owens can begin to branch out alone and likely have a world title clash with Chris after abandoning their already fragile friendship.

Given the direction that both wrestlers are moving in, Rollins will likely lose inside the cell due to some sort of tomfoolery which could likely involve Hunter and the tale will probably continue until Wrestlemania as having Seth v HHH overshadowed by Brock v Goldberg at Survivor Series would be an odd decision. This is a main event match-up on every card apart from perhaps Wrestlemania and Summerslam so it shouldn’t be wasted half way down a PPV card.

I want to make it clear; I’m all for Triple H choosing Owens to be the top guy and I’m all for a match between him and Seth, but things need to start picking up some pace, otherwise fans will be left tired of the constant cliff-hanger and struggle to get behind the feud because nothing has been answered. They’re testing the fans’ patience with this one but I really hope they address the elephant in the room before the crowd gives up on the angle.

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CWC Community Survey Results

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The inaugural Cruiserweight Classic tournament concluded last a week ago and most fans have stated that it was a massive success overall and did a wonderful job in displaying the very best wrestlers under-205 lbs walking the planet today. After picking up impressive victories throughout the tournament it was T. J. Perkins of The Philippines who stood tall over fellow finalist Gran Metalik and was crowned the first Cruiserweight champion of this new and exciting era of pro-wrestling.

Personally I couldn’t get enough of the showcase and after tuning in every week I was always left wanting more – it reminded me of the G1 Climax in this sense as, whilst the format, competitors and style are completely different, it gave me that same wrestling craving.

The presentation, the commentary, the wrestling itself, the lesser heel/face dynamic, the whole thing just worked perfectly and regardless of what direction the Cruiserweight division moves on Raw this tournament will be looked on with fond memories by myself and many, many others.

Interested to hear what others thought of the contest I issued a survey to the wrestling community and after 1436 responses, the results were as follows. I will be showcasing the top 5 results from each of the large categories but at the bottom of this page there will be a link to the results in a spreadsheet for your viewing please.

#1 – Who was your Favourite Wrestler in the CWC?

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The golden star of this tournament, Kota Ibushi takes the crown as the most-loved wrestler to appear in the CWC; from night one in his match against Sean Maluta to the final night when he succumbed to T.J. Perkins he constantly thrilled the crowd at Full Sail and at home. Experience from big matches in Japan clearly helped as his vast arsenal of moves won the hearts and minds of the western viewers too. He killed it.

Second place was fellow Japanese pro, Akira Tozawa, third was the gentleman Jack Gallagher, fourth, technical master Zack Sabre Jr. and fifth, the champion, T.J. Perkins. All these guys offered something entirely different to one another and epitomised what was so wonderful about the CWC; many style and cultures of wrestling combining to create something unique, interesting and mind-blowing.

Personally picking, I was torn between Tozawa, who won me over as he progressed through the tournament, and Brian Kendrick. Kendrick stunned me with his work and I wanted him to win the trophy so so badly as his performances got me so emotionally invested in him, but hey, at least he is on Raw and getting a second shot at the biggest company in wrestling.

#2 – What was your Favourite Match in the CWC?

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Seemingly the tournament match quality peaked in round 2 as Ibushi met Cedric Alexander in a 15 slobber-knocker. Both pulled out a whole heap of creative offence and showed why they were two much talked about names before the tournament kicked off. The only disappointment with this one can be that it wasn’t later in the bracket as this clash and Cedric himself both deserved to appear in the latter stages.

The Japanese sensation also featured in highly acclaimed matches against Perkins and Kendrick which were voted in second and fourth respectively. Third went to the best contest of the first round as the DIY tag partners, Gargano and Ciampa, beat the living crap about of one another, and fifth was the amusing and extremely fun battle between Gallagher and Tozawa as the twosome showed how well alternate styles can mesh in the ring. My favourite, Metalik v Tozawa from the quarter-finals, landed in seventh place, just behind the final between T.J. and the aforementioned luchador.

#3 – Who was the Biggest Disappointment in the CWC?

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Now this one is set to cause some controversy, and before I get into the results I would like to say that I left this question open to interpretation but the community have spoken and they have voted that T.J Perkins was the biggest disappointment in the CWC. It could be because fans did not feel he was the rightful winner of the tournament, that people hate dabbing or maybe even that his style wasn’t enjoyable to some, I certainly do not know, as personally, I thought everything surrounding T.J was wonderful.

Ho Ho Lun being so high on this list is unsurprising as he looked very green, especially in his opener against Ariya Daivari; he looked much better against Noam Dar in the second round so hopefully it will be onwards and upwards for him. British wonderboy Zack Sabre Jr. was certainly the most polarising wrestler in this tournament as after being voted 4th favourite he has also been placed at 3rd most disappointing. This is likely down to his unconventional wrestling style, which personally, I love.

4th and 5th were Noam Dar and Rich Swann. Both of these guys have been signed to the division on Raw and will hopefully excel there as both are extremely talented young men who are surely set to expand their skillsets and learn a lot as a part of wrestling’s premier weekly show.

#4 – Who did you predict to win the CWC?

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Massive pre-CWC favourite Kota Ibushi again tops the polls, as the biggest name in the tournament it is unsurprising that he was voted to the top here. Had he signed with WWE he almost certainly would have taken home the gold but he states that he still has more to experience in Japan instead. The choice to not sign with WWE may have also been the reason Zach Sabre Jr. did not win too – having won PWG’s BOLA and being arguably the biggest name in British wrestling he was hyped up as a potential winner.

Finalists Metalik and Perkins were also voted into the top 5 as many people made good calls that these two fine fighters would make it very far. Hotly tipped Jonny Gargano didn’t make it nearly as far as people had predicted but he did have two stellar matches in the bracket and we will thankfully be seeing him a lot more on the network in NXT.

#5 – Who do you think should have won the CWC?

And a final victory on the votes for former New Japan star Kota Ibushi; even though he hasn’t put pen to paper and remains a free agent, a large number of fans still believe he was the right man to win the trophy and the belt as he would have added a ton of prestige to both as the debut victor. Actual winner T.J. followed just behind him and was certainly a rightful winner in my eyes – he has worked his entire life to get to the summit and can be an excellent face at the forefront of the Cruiserweight division.

Metalik, Tozawa and Sabre Jr. would have all been worthy winners too. All 3 had some great matches that will be re-watched time and time again, and whilst it isn’t too late for the first 2 to win the Cruiserweight Championship in WWE, for now, Sabre doesn’t look like he will ever get his hands on that prize.

#6 – Out of 10, how highly would you rate the CWC overall?

Only 10.2% of people who took this survey gave the tournament a core of 6 or less which is a fantastic statistic to showcase how much many people enjoyed the Cruiserweight Classic. I hope that WWE takes the superior presentation, wrestling and timing into account when producing their other shows because as an overall package so many people enjoyed the hell out of the weekly production as over half of voters rated the tournament either a 9 or 10!

These percentages then lead well into our final question…

#7 – Should there be another CWC next year?

Just under 60% said yes, meaning just over 40% said no. I for one, am very surprised by this and expected a much higher amount of people to want another CWC next year. However, people probably don’t want this concept to be worn out, as seeing a new set of 32 stars in 12 months may not be possible and instead, the rumoured women’s invitational, or an extended tag team tournament may be more favourable to keep the format fresh.

So thank you to WWE for putting on one of the finest wrestling contests we have seen, here’s to more Crusierweights on Raw and any future tournaments of this kind.

Thank you for reading, further responses to this survey can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZNwI8a4qowU9PAFwt421yadPv706O4KcLNYL4Oz-4sI/edit#responses

 

Should Roman Reigns win the US Championship at Summerslam?

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This Monday Mick Foley confirmed that Roman Reigns would have the opportunity to dethrone US champion Rusev in 11 days’ time at Summerslam. Their match takes place amongst a stacked card and should be one of many high-quality bouts to take place at the 2nd biggest WWE show of the year. Who will walk out the winner however remains unclear. Should Roman take the title from the Bulgarian Brute? Or will the mighty Rusev keep rolling with his great year?

Rusev has been a very strong midcard champion throughout both of his title runs and has truly, along with the work Cena did last annum, made the US belt a legitimate and valued trophy once again. He parades his belt perfectly, even claiming that Raw doesn’t need another championship because they have his, and the title never takes a backseat, even in crazy segments like we saw on Monday involving his marriage to Lana.

Roman on the other hand completely bypassed the midcard area on his meteoric rise through WWE and immediately was placed atop the card. Winning the Rumble, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and main eventing Wrestlemania twice in super-quick time certainly didn’t give him the backing of the fans. But now he has dipped into the second band of stars where many have argued he should be been initally.

Reigns floored Rusev with a spear on the August 8 edition of Raw

Casting my mind back to Wrestlemania 31 where Reigns battled Lesnar, people across the WWE community suggested that Roman should have been lower down the bill and in the place of John Cena as he beat Rusev for the belt in question. This would have likely gathered support around Reigns as he would have knocked off a hugely-hated heel and not frustrated the fans by being in a spot many felt that he didn’t deserve, especially in comparison to Daniel Bryan who was obviously red hot at the time.

So what should happen when he actually gets a shot at the US Championship? Well it largely depends on what future plans are for Roman and Rusev. Should Roman win, he will probably stay bubbling under the main event picture, a place where he can grow in the eyes of the crowd and possibly be the face character that WWE want him to be before eventually returning to the top of the card, which I personally believe would be a godsend for him as he has been very entertaining and a lot more loose and comfortable on the mic over the past couple of weeks.

Rusev dropping the title could go either way for the Bulgarian though. If he drops the title at the August event then it might be time for him to move up the card and have a well-earned shot at the Universal Championship for a PPV or two. But equally he could lose relevance as he did when he previously lost his precious belt, something I really do not want to see as Rusev is a quality in-ring star and his segments are always entertaining in one way or another.

So if they push Rusev up and keep him as a star on the Raw brand and give Roman a chance to hold another belt and garner support by producing solid matches with the likes of Cesaro, Zayn and Owens I would 100% be up for a title change as both men could move in a positive direction as a result. This match has a lot of intrigue surrounding it then as the pair have a lot to perhaps gain from the match, but I feel Rusev has a lot more to lose.

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In reality I expect a Rusev win in a fuck-finish, maybe with Lana getting involved after the cake incident on Monday evening. After this I would expect Roman to get a rematch on Raw before quickly dashing back to face the Universal Champion who I likely believe will be Rollins; whilst Rusev will probably get a full programme versus Cesaro or Sami Zayn considering the champion’s good chemistry with the former and that the latter isn’t doing anything right now.

So whilst I believe Roman Reigns should walk out of Summerslam as the new United States Champion in a move that could certainly benefit both parties, I predict that the title will remain round the thick waist of Rusev. Either way though, this match has a lot of potential and I am really looking forward to seeing them clash at the back end of this month; both are workhorses and have the ability to showcase a great fight, I just hope they get the allotted time to shine.

5 of the Best: Finishers in WWE

Finishing a match in the right way is one of the most discussed and highly important factors in the making of a WWE wrestler. Along with a certain person’s look, music and promo skills we wrestling fans often spend time debating over whose finisher is the best and who’s doesn’t quite make the cut. With that said, here then are my picks for the top 5 finishing moves currently on the mail roster, so no NXT stars or part-timers like Lesnar, Taker and HHH this time round.

 

#1 RKO – Randy Orton – Smackdown

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We kick things off with the most viral finisher around. Randy’s RKO became an extremely popular meme a year or two ago, and whilst this was all fun and games, it was actually quite a testament as to what makes this cutter so special in the eyes of the fans.

Orton’s perfect timing in the ring allows this move to be hit from almost any angle and on any occasion and as such, fans’ interest is always peaked towards the end of his matches as a crescendo of activity leads to the RKO spot. Simply put, his match could be all-action and then suddenly end in the blink of an eye, with the fans erupting in sheer surprise.

Fast and brutal, this finisher probably has the best highlight reel of the current generation with the real standouts coming against Evan Bourne and Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 31. All that is left for Orton to do with this move is somehow reverse Lesnar’s F5 into it at Summerslam; if they somehow pull that off I’ll be beaming with joy.

 

#2 Bank Statement – Sasha Banks – Raw

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A stretched bridging crossface often transitioned from a double knee backbreaker, what is not to love about that?! This move, in my opinion, has everything that makes a finisher truly fantastic and fits Sasha’s ‘The Boss’ personality like a glove.

The name is impeccable, the move looks seriously painful, the backbreaker fits in with her knee-based offence, and the smooth transition is very inventive. Banks really has perfected this one since her days in NXT and seeing her finally claim the WWE Women’s Championship with this manoeuvre on Monday night was wonderful, even if that match could have been saved for Summerslam.

Her best version of this move surely comes from the classic Bayley versus Sasha match from NXT: Brooklyn last summer. Having worked Bayley’s formerly broken hand throughout, Sasha stomping on said hand whilst applying her submission was a genius heel move and helped make Bayley’s triumph in the bout even more impressive.

 

#3 Red Arrow – Neville – Raw

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Probably the most obvious one on this list; Neville has mastered the art of flippy shit (him versus fellow master Ricochet would be a dream) and nothing epitomises this point better than the fact that he has the most fantastically flippy finisher in the business today.

This corkscrew shooting star press is like nothing you have ever seen before and is a stunning sight; the little Englishman has somehow revolutionised and already insane move and made the ending to his matches a true spectacle. I cannot fathom how a person can twist their body so much in such a short space of time, it baffles the mind.

Having been fittingly placed in his new home on Raw and with the Cruiserweight division just around the corner, Neville and his time-stopping Red Arrow look set to light up our Monday nights and I predict we will see this move win the first Cruiserweight championship should it be reinstated.

 

#4 Magic Killer – Gallows and Anderson – Raw

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NXT has seen a resurgence in tag team finishers, which were long absent in the WWE, with many graduates such as The Vaudevillians, American Alpha and The Ascension all making use of a double team move to end their matches. Gallows and Anderson though, having run roughshod with it in Japan, have the pick of the bunch for me.

The Magic Killer, which is a snap swinging neckbreaker from the shoulders of the twosome, lands with devastating impact and has left a whole heap of superstars (eg. Cena, Usos, Big E) motionless afterwards. And given that this requires a large amount of setup, the end product almost-never looks clunky or poorly executed.

Similarly to in Japan, the number of guys that the Magic Killer manages to put away is continually growing, certainly making it one of the most protected and destructive moves on the entire roster and it may well be the spell that ends the New Day’s record title run at Summerslam…

 

#5 Dirty Deeds – Dean Ambrose – Smackdown

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If the Magic Killer is the most protected tag team manoeuvre on the main roster then Dean Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds may well be the most devastating singles finisher in 2016. In one swift and decisive DDT Ambrose has put a number of opponents down for the count and is exactly the sort of punishing move you want your top champion to have.

Dean has put down Rollins, Reigns, Jericho, Owens and even destroyed then-champion Triple H on Raw with this incredibly powerful move. Imagine if he had dropped Brock Lesnar at Mania with it; it honestly would have been sat atop the finisher mountain with Stone Cold’s stunner.

I would go as far to say that of all the moves on this list, this is my current number 1. I love the fluidity of it which allows for creative counters and struggles (a la his match with Jericho at Payback) and it perfectly fits Ambrose’s smash-mouth, off-the-wall, style.

 

So there you have it folks, my current favourite 5 finishers on the main roster; big shout outs to Bray’s Sister Abigail and AJ’s Styles Clash too, both are fantastic. But what is your favourite finisher on the main roster today and why?