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wrestling / Columns

Why Do Fans Still Chant For CM Punk?

November 8, 2018 | Posted by Steve Cook
CM Punk’s CM Punk WWE - Batista CM Punk’s Booker

As far back as I can remember, a certain percentage of wrestling fans have had a rebellious streak about them. They’ve used their voices to express discontent with that they’re watching at various points in history. There are three chants of this nature that have stood out over the twenty-eight glorious years I’ve watched professional wrestling.

”We Want Flair!”

Ric Flair Ric Flair's

Despite World Championship Wrestling’s best efforts, Ric Flair was often the most respected and beloved wrestler in their company’s employ. Whether he playing the role of a good or bad guy, WCW’s fans always had a lot of love for the man that carried the National Wrestling Alliance on its back in the 1980s while the World Wrestling Federation & Hulk Hogan were driving all the territories out of business. Flair, whether he tried to or not, became the visual representation for the style of wrestling that fans that shivered at the term “sports entertainment” preferred.

When he left for the WWF in 1991, and word got out that it was mostly due to the incompetence of WCW management (along with a little egotism on Flair’s part, but who can blame him?), the fans rebelled. The 1991 Great American Bash, the first major show after Flair’s departure, is known for being one of the worst PPVs in wrestling history along with being the site of a fan protest. Lex Luger & Barry Windham’s main event deciding a new World champion was met with chants of “We Want Flair”. The chant would pop up from time to time until WCW fans got Flair back in 1993. WCW management’s incompetence would rear its ugly head again a few years later, and Flair would disappear from television for six months in 1998. The “We Want Flair” chants returned, louder than before.

I think WCW fans have gotten a bad reputation over the years. There weren’t always a lot of them, but the ones that were there were always loyal to the promotion & happy to see what WCW presented…as long as Ric Flair was around.

”ECW!”

ECW

Extreme Championship Wrestling was the ultimate rebel in the wrestling industry. While WWF & WCW were a bit out of touch with their fanbases & where pop culture was going in the early & mid 1990s, Paul Heyman had his finger on the pulse. He knew that people were looking for wild, out of control activity combined with sexuality & some of the best pure wrestling in the world thrown in for good measure. There was something for everybody. The loudest chant at every ECW show was the three initials of the promotion. ECW didn’t have the largest fanbase, but I’d say it had the most dedicated fans of any wrestling promotion I’ve seen.

The first time I remember hearing ECW chants outside of ECW itself was in the promotion’s home town of Philadelphia. WWF held its 1995 King of the Ring event there. It was a dreadful affair that culminated in the crowning of King Mabel. The Philadelphia fans were less than impressed, and the ones there that supported ECW responded to the dull action by chanting “ECW”.

As business picked up & the Attitude Era bloomed, the “ECW” chant would be heard in both promotions, usually on one of two occasions: the appearance of a wrestler that had previously worked for ECW, or when somebody would go through a table. While “ECW” started out as a rebellious cry, it morphed into an appreciation of the source of WWF’s attitude & WCW’s general insanity.

The ECW chants continued for a few years after the promotion went out of business. WWE heard them, and decided to relaunch the brand under their umbrella for whatever money they could get out of it. While WWE’s version of ECW wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t the ECW that the fans were accustomed to seeing. Once older fans lost their connection to the initials & newer fans came in that had no idea what ECW was other than WWE’s third brand, the chants died off.

We needed something to replace the three initials. What three better syllables than the name of a former ECW (in WWE) wrestler?

”CM Punk!”

CM Punk’s CM Punk WWE - Batista CM Punk’s Booker

The story of CM Punk combines the qualities of our first two entries. Whether Punk was playing the role of a good or bad guy, he was respected & beloved by a percentage of the fanbase…especially after he highlighted the incompetence of WWE’s management on television. His status as one of the biggest stars of the 21st century to come up through independent wrestling gives him a connection with the more diehard members of the audience. He’s always had a rebellious reputation & has more than a bit of an attitude.

Punk’s a very divisive figure among today’s wrestling fans. For every fan you hear chant his name on a televised wrestling event, you’ll see plenty of fans on social media bitching & moaning about it. Some of Punk’s biggest fans during his wrestling career are now some of his biggest detractors. He had the temerity to leave pro wrestling, and he wasn’t very nice on his way out. They get really mad when fans in arenas chant that name. Which is just more encouragement for people to do it.

WWE does encourage it from time to time, whether they mean to or not. For Crown Jewel, they hyped up a World Cup tournament that would crown the best wrestler in the world. CM Punk spent a couple of years telling people he was the Best in the World. It got over & WWE put it on t-shirts. Why wouldn’t fans make the connection? Add in the fact that most fans seemed down on the whole idea of the Crown Jewel show anyway and chanting Punk’s name was a good way to poop all over the World Cup concept.

The way it ended up being booked, it deserved the treatment.

I think there are three main reasons why people still chant CM Punk’s name more than four years after his departure from professional wrestling. For one thing, it satiates their desire to be rebellious. We all like being contrary from time to time, don’t we? Secondly, it pisses the McMahons off. They’ll never admit it, of course. But the very existence of CM Punk outside WWE’s umbrella is a pain in the rear end of anybody with McMahon blood. No matter how many times Stephanie makes jokes about Punk in Chicago, the fact she keeps doing it shows how much it bothers her & the family. Then there’s another reason, one that we’re all afraid to discuss but know deep down in our hearts.

They want him back.

I mean, you’re telling me you wouldn’t take CM Punk on Raw or SmackDown right now? Even if you completely despise CM Punk, you wouldn’t want him on there over a lot of those guys? OK, he’s 40 years old, but that makes him a young pup compared to most of the people main eventing shows right now. Could you imagine him on SmackDown Live with the likes of AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan & Samoa Joe? It would be every 2000s indy wrestling fan’s wet dream. He’d be pretty cool on Raw with people like Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose too. A Punk/Ambrose feud sounds pretty interesting on paper to this observer.

Is it going to happen? No. Has that stopped us from wishing for things before? Absolutely not. After all, WCW fans got Ric Flair back. WWE brought back ECW. Bringing Punk back would make it 3 for 3.

article topics :

CM Punk, WWE, Steve Cook

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