Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CM Punk's Validation from... John Cena?

John Cena, WWE's narrator incarnate?
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Last night's overrun did more than just provide groundwork for the Night of Champions WWE Championship match. When John Cena came out and lambasted Alberto del Rio for the way he gained the Championship at the end of SummerSlam, he did more than just wax hypocritically (I'll have more on that this week), he legitimized CM Punk as a top tier player.

Wait, what? Legitimized CM Punk? Yeah, he did. Words are powerful in wrestling, sometimes even moreso than the actions that will secretly speak to a wrestler's true intentions. That's why guys like The Rock could hold so much sway. When Cena spits fire like he did last night, he's in that elite category. So, when he told del Rio that he had no problem with the way Punk won the title from him last night, that was the biggest sign that hey, Punk now belongs and is worthy of your respect. Granted, a lot of people, namely, the men in the audience, already have given Punk their allegiance, but there are a lot of wrestlers who get support from the crowds who don't get it from management, so to speak.

For better or worse, Cena is part of the management now. It's not explicit, but if he gives you respect on camera, especially when it comes to a Championship that he seems to monopolize lately, then it's an explicit sign that you have made it and that people have faith in you. Granted, the fact that the show prior to the main event had heavy doses of Punk and Punk-related storytelling was another sign, and the fact that he's been the main focus of the main show for the last two months is another big sign. That being said, I look at Cena's stamp of approval to be the final part of his validation.

This is very important to remember when looking at his pattern of winning over the last couple of months. The more pedantic point of view would be to look at his wins and go, "HE ONLY WON AT MONEY IN THE BANK BECAUSE CENA WENT TO INTERCEPT SUPER DAVE OSBOURNE!" or "BAH! HIS WIN AT SUMMERSLAM WAS TAINTED BECAUSE CENA HAD HIS FOOT ON THE ROPES!" In a medium of entertainment where the finish can be everything, yeah, maybe I can see that as a lack of faith in Punk. However, when the Corporate Champion comes out and blatantly tells you not to pay attention to the finishes and instead pay attention to the body of work, then it's a big clue that the finishes aren't meant to be as analyzed as they're being and that yes, Punk belongs.

So that's something to chew on while Punk is away from the title to gain his revenge and to figure out who among the sleazy cast of corporate characters is going to be his Vince McMahon. Cena gave him validation, and whether you care about it or not, it's an important piece to the narrative.

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