This past Monday on Raw, a new chapter took place in what has the potential to be one of the best WWE feuds in many years. Of course I’m talking about the C.M. Punk-Chris Jericho program.
For several reasons this feud has captivated the minds of several within the IWC (internet wrestling community aka “smart fans”) and the reasons are quite obvious. Both are two of the top performers of this era. They are among the elite few in the WWE that can do it all. When it comes to working an exciting match, making their opponents look good and cutting consistently excellent promos (interviews), it doesn’t get much better than them.
They are also similar because they were both guys who many thought would never make it as far in the business as they did. They are both small guys by typical WWE standards (Jericho certainly was when he debuted in 1999 and Punk was, but the stigma of big men kind of changed by the time he came) and overcame their fair share of backstage politics to make it to the top. Anyone that has read Jericho’s second book, Undisputed, knows about the intense heat he had amongst the wrestlers and management when he broke into the company. And any real insider knows that C.M. Punk’s road to superstardom was filled with many potholes along the way. Plus Punk’s tattooed body and non-muscular physique is a far cry from the clean cut appearance of John Cena. I believe fans genuinely respect the two for all the obstacles they overcame.
Another striking similarity which sets both apart in the current WWE scene is their incorporation of “non-WWE style” moves into their repertoire. Before both arrived in WWE, they made a name for themselves in other promotions and have extensive international experience. Therefore, they are able integrate a variety of unique holds into their matches that are rarely seen from other performers.
I believe their similarities are the prime reason why this feud has been so hotly anticipated. In a sense, you could say that Punk is the next generation version of Jericho. From the storyline on Monday, it appears that Jericho is playing the role of the guy who has returned only to discover that all the top guys in the company have stolen all the concepts and gimmicks he popularized. That is a point well worth mentioning since, before he left in 2010, Jericho’s motto was “I’m the best in the world at what I do” and Punk currently refers to himself as the “best in the world.” His promo was excellent and it was the perfect twist of irony that Punk interrupted his promo only to stand in silence while Jericho blasted into him for having the audacity to not say anything.
It got better in the main event later that evening as Punk was about to make a pin attempt on Dolph Ziggler only to have Jericho take him off and score the win. To add insult to injury, Jericho grabbed Punk’s championship belt from ringside and then sat with it in the center of the ring in the same Indian-style pose that Punk has made into his own signature over the last few months. I’m sure every member of the IWC was rejoicing at that point!
It’s a given that these two will be competing against each other in one of the premiere matches at Wrestlemania. Both will be apart of the Raw Elimination Chamber match in a few weeks and its been heavily rumored that Jericho could win the belt and then go on to defend it against Punk at Wrestlemania. If given the right amount of time, I believe these two could possibly steal the show on the biggest stage of the year. However, I hope their Wrestlemania encounter will be the first of many more matches to come between the two.