How many people were aware that we just passed the one-year mark of Punk’s famous raw ending promo from last year? I had honestly not thought about it till Twitter mentioned it halfway through Raw this Monday. A year since Punk vowed he was leaving the WWE. Well looking back on that year now, I can say that I’m sure we are all quite relieved that Punk never ended up leaving the company. He didn’t ever quite change everything the way I was hoping he would (though who among us was actually truly expecting that to happen) but he did make a mark. I would say that comfortably seven out of my top ten moments of the past year have something to do with CM Punk. So as always, Thanks Punk for sticking around. But this article isn’t about the wonders of Punk. This is about wrestling in the summertime.
Summer is the hardest time to watch wrestling for me. Back when I was in school part of the reason was because I would go from watching the weekly show with a whole group of guys to coming home for the summer and watching all alone save for the occasional eye rolling of a family member that happened to be in the room with me. But even beyond that, the early part of summer is still a difficult time to watch wrestling. There is usually still some leftover WrestleMania fallout, which has refused to die since April, and many of the PPVs are there just because we need one for the month (seriously is there any PPV that feels more like it’s just a three hour Raw episode than Over the Limit?) June can be the best example of this, with more and more of the show being made up of useless filler content while the PPV for the month has been a revolving door of terrible ideas for the past couple of years (This year, No Way Out with a steel cage instead of an Elimination Chamber, Last year Capital Punishment, and then Fatal Four Way the year before that.)
This is why I always look forward to the summer storyline, because it always seems to come at WWE’s darkest hour. Never have I been so close to giving up on WWE than halfway through the three-hour episode that ended with the first Nexus invasion. Then last year when June’s three-hour episode came and went without anything exciting, I feared that we were not getting a thrilling storyline for the summer, but a few weeks later Punk came out and changed all that. Which brings us to this year. It’s been a year since Punk’s promo. It’s been over two years since the debut of Nexus. We are rapidly approaching July with no real storyline to drive us from here till SummerSlam.
Maybe I’m asking for too much here. I’ll be the first to say that the usual Pocket of Suck (credit for the phrase to Sanders of The Rager) that follows WrestleMania every year has been for more enjoyable this time around. For the first time in recent memory, The Trilogy of Pointlessness that is three PPVs following Mania was in fact made up of three shows that all fell somewhere between didn’t mind and really enjoyed. So maybe this isn’t the darkest hour that WWE is usually dealing with around this time. I’m not quite ready to give up the way I have been in the past. But here is my fear. What if WWE thinks that they have given us that great storyline? What if unstoppable Big Show is supposed to be the thing making be turn the TV on every Monday?
Now I honestly don’t expect that creative actually thinks that this current Big Show story is the same type of gold mine that Punk and Nexus have been for the past two years. But I still watch the way that Raw went of the air this week with angry Show choking Cena. And I think how Raw went of the air one year ago with Punk and a mic. And I cringe.
Unrelated Thought: I recently had an opportunity to get a friend who was in no way a wrestling fan to agree to sit down with me and watch just one match. After some self-deliberation (which you can hear more about on this week’s Classy Ring Attire episode) I eventually chose Hell in a Cell with Mankind and Undertaker. Let me tell you for all the complaining that I do about wrestling, there are true moments of gold and this match is one of them for me. It was my umpteenth viewing of the match but getting to see it with someone who was seeing it for the first time, is now one of my favorite moments related to wrestling. While I don’t think I managed to convert the guy (he described it as finding someone who has never seen a movie and showing them Saw) for the moment he was fully invested in the match, standing and pacing the room by the time the bag of tacks came out. While you may have a different match of choice to show (and I’d love to hear them) I think this may always be my go to match when showing off wrestling.