Remember when CM Punk was World Heavyweight champion?Â It feels like a long time ago, doesnâ€™t it? And yet it wasnâ€™t even two months ago. In this post-Attitude era, where light change title speeds still linger, that doesnâ€™t seem like such a big deal. And yet, Punk is not just no longer World champ. Heâ€™s back down at the bottom of the card, and out of any major angles. His first post title feud? A beef with referee Scott Armstrongâ€¦ say, arenâ€™t we not supposed to know the refs names anymore? Havenâ€™t we been being trained to see the refs as black and white shirted specters? So why should we care that Punk has an issue with one of them?
Now, Scott Armstrong is from a talented wrestling family. His father is wrestling legend Bullet Bob Armstrong.Â His brothers include Brian, better known as former Degeneration Xâ€™er and New Age Outlaw the Road Dogg Jesse James, and Brad, aka Badstreet and Buzzkill and Arachnaman. And heâ€™s a former wrestler himself, whose resume includes a brief stint in WCW as a tag team with brother Steve. Given his background, thereâ€™s really no problem with putting Punk in a feud with him, so long as itâ€™s going somewhere. But itâ€™s gone nowhere. Armstrongâ€™s wrestling past was never brought up, and he was systematically destroyed by Punk. It was just a time killer to wrap up the loose ends of the â€œover before it startedâ€ Punk/Taker feud.
And from there, it seems Punk falls even further. Survivor Series is on the horizon, and we are once again being treated to a handful of traditional Survivor Series match ups (where teams of five strive to survive). In one, we have Team Miz versus Team Morrison, in a battle of the under card talent. No problems there. In the other, we have a welcome continuation of the Randy Orton/Kofi Kingston feud, as Orton and his flunkies in Legacy go against Kofi and his back up team of Worlds Strongest Man Mark Henry and MVP. But as we all know, itâ€™s teams of FIVE striving to survive, and both these teams are a couple hands short.
ECW champion Christian will be siding with the Kingston Trio, while his current rival William Regal will be on the Legacy side of the ring. This is understandable, given the feud between the two for Christianâ€™s title belt. And Punk will also be on Ortonâ€™s side, as is befitting a top heel from the other nightâ€™s show, appropriately matched up againstâ€¦ R-Truth.
In a move straight out of a random match generator, Punk, as the low man on the Legacy team totem pole, is being matched against a guy who, entrance aside, exists almost solely as an enhancement talent. His most recent PPV appearances were in a misplaced match designed to get over Drew McIntyre (a match that was built up almost entirely by McIntyre punking out Truth. No pun intended), and as part of a last minute replacement Smackdown team in the Bragging Rights match, where he did nothing of note.
Now Iâ€™ve never been a fan of R-Truth. Not as K-kwik, and certainly not as Pretty Ricky (seriously, what were the point of THOSE vignettes? Anyone?). I didnâ€™t see his initial TNA run as Ron â€œThe Truthâ€ Killings, but at least it sounded interesting at the beginning. By the time I DID see it, he was tag team partners with Pacman Jones. No, thank you. As far as Iâ€™m concerned, heâ€™s right where he needs to be: an enhancement talent whose entrance makes the crowd care about him on the spot just enough to make them care when the other guy beats him. And if the WWE was to push him seriously, I would hope that they make note of the DMX quality of his voice and make him a little more serious- ditch the floppy Coolio braids and air brushedÂ jeans, and take a cue from Punkâ€™s feud with Hardy (and also from what I understand, the original Truth character) and have him go after the more stereotypical WWE characters like Cryme Time over the image theyâ€˜re presenting to the world (of course this would require the type of kid gloves we can no longer count on the WWE to provide). Instead, Truth is just being dumped out there as Punkâ€™s counterpart in the SS match with naught but a fluke win as part of the Scott Armstrong issue, and an opening match on tonightâ€™s Smackdown, to put any friction between the two.
While there is certainly the possibility that this is an attempt at building Truth, the presentation does more to bring Punk down. They are the least important guys in a match whose focus is the Kingston Trio vs. Legacy.Â Thatâ€™s a huge step down for a guy who was main eventing shows and PPVâ€˜s as a World Champion in a incredibly heated feud with Jeff Hardy; and more than that, itâ€™s a noticeable one, even to the average fan.Â Supposedly this is all due to some backstage folderol regarding Punkâ€™s attitude and attire. To which I have to say: who cares?
I certainly doubt the fans do. More than any one else on the Smackdown roster during the last half year, Punk was the one who fans most wanted to pay to see get his ass kicked. If there was any one who truly was accepted by the fans in the main event spot as a World Champion, it was Punk. I hardly think whether or not he wears a suit and tie off screen matters a lick to them, especially given his character and genuine punk roots.Â And given that most fans won’t know about any sort of backstage rumors, it makes it look like Punk couldn’t cut it, and isn’t actually the top superstar he claimed to be. Iâ€™ve seen people try to justify the Punk and Truth scenario to Orton and Kofi by saying both feuds are based around an upper card guy bringing a lower card guy up to his level. But Randy Orton has been a bonafide main eventer with the WWE since 2006. In that time, he’s almost never been outside of the main event or a championship program. Punk got 2-3 months, tops, to bring his name up to that level. He brought his A-game, the fans responded, and in return, heâ€™s the 5th man on a Survivor Series team focused on someone elseâ€™s feud, arguably expected to then give the rub to an under card talent trying to move up the ladder.Â Any feud that is being created here helps no one. Either the ex-champ who needs to stay looking strong looks weak, or Truth looks like he beat a fluke champion.Â Either way, both guys stay standing right where they are, in a never ending game of chutes and ladders.
In the long wrong, this probably wonâ€™t hurt Punk- the crowd has stuck with him over these ups and downs before, and sooner or later heâ€™s going to get another run at the top. But an attempt to capitalize on that already dwindling heat in order to get the guy whoâ€™s claim to fame isnâ€™t his ring work or look but rapping his entranceâ€¦
Letâ€™s just say itâ€™s just going to be interesting to see who survives the Survivor Series.