Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CM Punk Gets People to React... That's a Good Thing

Punk gets some boos, but no one sits on their hands
Photo Credit: WWE.com
I keep hearing about CM Punk getting "mixed" reactions like it's a bad thing. On one hand, I can maybe understand it. The calibration factor for Punk's reactions did not set a reasonable baseline. His two biggest appearances after the Las Vegas double taping were in Boston and Chicago. One is a town known for its smarky cheering habits and the other is Punk's home town. No doubt Punk wasn't going to get anything less than a hero's welcome in either location.

So, when he started getting mixed reactions in Indianapolis and San Jose, it shouldn't have been much of a surprise. Those are two cities that are places where John Cena still gets a good fan favorite reaction. Honestly, they've done nothing to lessen the reactions among the people who would cheer Cena either. So it's natural that there would be some wavering in the cheers that Punk was getting. The key though is that he's getting reactions. People boo him if they're not cheering him (although judging from the reactions he got at least this past week, I'd say even in San Jose, more cheered than booed). If you're in charge, don't you want your guy to at least elicit some kind of reaction?

If WWE is looking for a traditional reaction here, they're going about it the wrong way. Neither Cena nor Punk are playing up a classic bad guy. The closest thing to a true heel in this scenario is the specter of Vince McMahon, who is represented by John Laurinitis, but even he's just peripheral at this point. They've cultivated a split crowd, and that's what they've gotten.

So the fact that the crowd reactions have been there is the thing to look at here. This is very much a successful storyline from the standpoint that people are reacting. The crowd split makes it unique. I hope that WWE doesn't try to consolidate the crowd like they did with Cena and The Rock after WrestleMania. It's a great dynamic, and it can lend itself to having two top good guys that can carry two top feuds. It can only be a good thing.

So the crowd reactions being mixed isn't bad. The fact that Punk gets people reacting should be the main story here.

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