March 4, 2014
I thought RAW was a really good show last night, in particular that first hour was amazing. Despite how good the show was, a lot of fans can't seemed to get their heads around the fact that CM Punk might actually be gone for the foreseeable future. I've had a lot of people ask me if I think Punk walking out is disrespectful to his fans and if I feel he should comeback. These constant questions annoy me a bit especially considering most of them come with a lot of opinion and assumptions about the motivation behind it. Unless you are close friends with Punk and have spoken to him about this, you have no idea why he did what he did, and unless you've lived through a few years on the road with WWE you have no understanding of how difficult this job and lifestyle can be. CM Punk needs to do whatever he feels is in the best interests of his long term well being, and WWE needs to do whatever they feel is in the best long term interests of their company; end of story. If the two can find amicable ground somewhere in the middle that suits them both great, if not so be it. As for the fans they really shouldn’t enter into it in my opinion.
I've never bought into the "You owe it to your fans mind set." Nor do I think wrestlers owe anything to the promoters they work for, or the promoters owe anything to the wrestlers they employ. That said wrestlers and promoters owe it to each other to treat each other with the level of respect and professionalism that each has shown the other during their relationship but that is where any long term debt lies.
Paul Heyman gave me a huge break in my career when he brought me into ECW. That experience was of great value to me later in my career, but he didn't bring me in to do me a favour, he brought me in because he needed talent that could go and who would work hard. It was a symbiotic relationship. He needed talent, I needed work, and we helped each other out. We had a great relationship, and developed a strong friendship, but the only thing we owe each other is continued friendship. The same can be said for WWE and CM Punk.
Now there is the issue of Punk being under contract and if I were in his shoes I would do everything in my power to finish out the term of that contract, but I don't know what promises may have been made when Punk signed that contract. If WWE made promises that they are not living up to, then Punk is not the one breaching their agreement. Again I don't have all the facts so I am not willing to place blame. This is a difficult and stressful job, if Punk is at his breaking point, forcing him to compete might just lead to people getting hurt, because if your head is not in the game, the ring is no place for you.
As for Punk owing something to his fans, as I mentioned earlier, I don't buy that. Yes without fans buying tickets, we wouldn't have jobs. Without fans cheering or booing us, we wouldn't get over and become big stars, but this is entertainment, you buy a ticket and we provide you entertainment. This too is a symbiotic relationship. Fans aren't buying tickets because they want wrestlers to be able to afford a new car; they buy tickets because they enjoy watching wrestling and want to be entertained. Provided we give you our best efforts that night to entertain you, you got your money's worth and there is no further obligation on either side. You sacrifice your hard earned money, and we sacrifice our bodies, and when this job is done well both parties leave happy. We don't owe you additional years of service and you don't owe us additional money after we stop performing. If fans and wrestlers want to continue to interact after the fact via social media etc. so be it, but no one is entitled to it or owed it.
I hope CM Punk comes back, because I enjoy watching him, but if he doesn't life goes on. If WWE is at fault, I wish Punk well, if Punk is at fault, he made his bed, he's a big boy he can lay in it. If it's a bit of both which is likely the case, it's none of my business. I still enjoy Raw so I'll keep watching; if you don't then stop. Nobody owes anybody anything except common courtesy and professionalism.
I also want to touch briefly on the HOF. Last night they announced Paul Bearer was going into the HOF this year, and I tweeted a scenario for The Undertaker to accept on his behalf. Many people loved the idea but many others brought up the question, "What about his family, where do they fit in?" I don't know his family so I can't comment for them but I will give you my thoughts on what I'd want done if I were going in after my death. Apart from attending if they wanted to, I wouldn't have my family play any role in my HOF induction. My wife and kids had nothing to do with my career, and Lance Storm would be going into the HOF not Lance Evers. Lance Storm's family are the boys in this business and they are the ones I'd want celebrating my career along with the fans who enjoyed my work. With the exception of a small handful of really close friend in wrestling who I've had to my home, I've kept Lance Storm and Wrestling very separate from Lance Evers and my life. For me a Wrestling HOF would be for Lance Storm and his wrestling family.
To that same end, and I've made this very clear to my wife and close friends, I do not want my wrestling career to be even a minor focus at my funeral. I've been to a few wrestlers' funerals and I always find it odd the constant mention of titles held or how good of a worker someone was. I hope I've amounted to more than that in my life and I want people who knew Lance Evers to attend my funeral and share stories of me the person not Lance Storm the wrestler. That does not exclude stories shared by people who knew me through wrestling taking about the great times we shared on the road or in the ring, but the focus needs to be the times we shared not the job we were doing. If others see it differently, to each their own. That'’s just the way I'd like my career and life handled.
Oh just one last after thought, because it is a constant topic of debate. If there is a way for someone to use my passing in an angle to further someone's career, have at it. I won't mind, I'll be dead, and you won't have to worry about offending my family, because none of them are wrestling fans, they won't be watching.
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