Should CM Punk respect Big Show?
On Monday, WWE Champion CM Punk dropped a mini–“pipe bomb” and declared that all future episodes of Raw would end as he believes they should: with him, the WWE Champion, standing tall over all opponents, having asserted his dominance as the peak performer in WWE and re-established that he is, in fact, the Best in the World.
And then Big Show knocked him out.
It’s not hard to see why; like Punk has said, this is all a matter of respect. We know Punk respects John Cena, despite their jaw-jacking, because the two of them have had their share of battles in the past year and they’re pretty dead-even in terms of competition. But the one person Punk hasn’t afforded respect — and the one person who seemed to demand the most when all was said and done on Monday — was Big Show. The fact is, it wasn’t The Second City Saint who triumphantly ended Raw, it was the giant who closed the evening by knocking out Punk — and Cena, by the way — mugging for the camera with his massive mitts all over Punk’s title for good measure. So where, exactly, are Punk’s props for the big man?
In all fairness, it’s easy to understand where CM Punk is coming from with his gripes. Traditionally, the WWE Champion closes out shows and competes in the final match of the evening. Punk — set to defend his title in a Triple Threat Match against Show and Cena at SummerSlam — has not competed in the final match of a single pay-per-view since December, when he defended the title against Alberto Del Rio and The Miz at WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (for the record, the final matches on pay-per-views since then have been: Royal Rumble Match, Cena vs. Kane, The Rock vs. Cena, Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, Cena vs. John Laurinaitis, Cena vs. Big Show and the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Contract). It’s fair enough that Punk, who famously toiled in the trenches en route to the mountaintop, should take this as something of an affront to the position he feels he’s earned.
But it is surprising Punk won’t afford Show the proper consideration as his equal, considering the giant is hardly a man to underestimate in the first place. He’s one of only three Superstars in history to have won every active WWE title (he completed the set with his Intercontinental Title win at WrestleMania XXVIII), the youngest WCW Champion in history and is a two-time WWE Champion himself, same as CM Punk. Since rediscovering his mean streak this summer, The World’s Largest Athlete has been on a furious tear through the WWE roster, dropping opponents (including Cena) at will with the WMD and paving a path of destruction in his efforts to reclaim the top spot for himself.
And yes, while Show has lost to Cena on two occasions, it did take the aid of Brodus Clay, WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, U.S. Champion Santino Marella and Zack Ryder to incapacitate the giant enough for Cena to win their Steel Cage Match at No Way Out in June. His record in the past two main events he’s participated in — the Cage Match and the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Contract — somewhat belay how good Show has been looking for the past couple of months. Ever since he threw his lot in with John Laurinaitis, selling his soul for an ironclad contract, Show has seemed like a rejuvenated version of himself; despite Mr. McMahon’s assertion that The World’s Largest Athlete was a chronic underperformer, the giant has looked anything but. Some might even say he’s finally reached his full, terrifying potential with the free reign given him by the contract that was Big Johnny’s final act in the General Manager’s office.
So, we ask again: Why is Punk not paying Big Show the proper dues as a competitor? We do know that CM Punk has been uncharacteristically glib toward The World’s Largest Athlete, dismissing him as an underachiever and a “shell of a man” whose only remarkable attribute was the number of zeros in his paycheck. Show, for his part, responded in the most simplistic manner possible: He calmly eviscerated Punk on the microphone, reinforcing the champion’s feelings of self-doubt and nurturing the seeds of resentment that would eventually grow and lead Punk to his current predicament.
And then, of course, Big Show knocked him out.
All in all, this sounds like a strategy The Second City Saint himself might have employed once upon a time: unman his opponent psychologically, foster seeds of doubt and cause him to question his very position as the champion, before finally exerting physical dominance over him.
The final step to that equation when Punk employed it was, of course, taking the championship itself, and it seems, like a true Voice of the Voiceless, that he’s inspired yet another underappreciated Superstar to follow in his footsteps. All this is just a complicated way of saying that while Punk laments the loss of his respect as champion, he might want to pay attention to the elephant in the room that might just end up relieving him of the burden — and the title — altogether.