About Last Night
10:26 AM CST, November 21, 2011
The day after Lockport native CM Punk won the WWE Championship at the Allstate Arena in mid-July, there were photos on TMZ of Punk celebrating with the title on the streets of Chicago. Not long after that, Punk was appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and getting interviewed by ESPN’s Bill Simmons.
Unfortunately, there won’t be anywhere close to the same reaction after Punk’s WWE Championship win on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The buzz surrounding Punk is still strong these days, but nowhere close to where it was -- or where it could’ve been.
Punk had the wrestling world eating out of his tape-covered hands when he appeared to go off script June 27 during an episode of “Monday Night Raw." He revealed that his contract in real life was expiring and vowed to leave the company and take the WWE Championship with him. And like many of us have wanted to do when quitting a job, he told off his boss (Vince McMahon) and a few co-workers (John Cena, Triple H) in the process.
It was exactly the sort of honesty fans wanted to hear during a time when WWE ratings were down and storylines were, at times, stale. It was the kind of story that, as Punk himself pointed out, put WWE back in the mainstream for something other than a wrestler's death. As a result, the interview requests for Punk started pouring in, from GQ to Kimmel to ESPN's Jim Rome. Of course, I also sent an email to Punk, who I've emailed with here and there, but never heard back.
After Punk won the title at the Allstate Arena and ran through the crowd into the parking lot, where a car was waiting for him, know-it-all internet fans were stumped for the first time since I could remember. Few knew what would happen next with Punk or the title.
They got their answer when Punk returned with a new contract less than two weeks later -- barely enough time for WWE fans to feel his absence. Even contestants on "The Bachelorette" who quit the show due to work or family reasons know they need to miss at least 4-5 episodes to make their return mean something. It's just common sense.
WWE's writers only made matters worse by overshadowing Punk's return with storylines revolving around McMahon and his real life son-in-law, Triple H. Punk's spotlight? Gone. Punk's momentum? Gone. Punk's WWE Championship? That too was gone after he lost in mid-August to Alberto Del Rio (He's like The Situation and Scott Disick combined, right down to the gelled hair).
Sure, Punk now has the belt back after Sunday's win, and he did a few interviews last week in New York, including an appearance on "The Opie & Anthony Show" and Sports Illustrated's "Hot Clicks" podcast, but it could be too late. WWE's best storyline in years has already been botched, and many of the casual fans who came back because of Punk have gone back to watching football on Mondays.
As for me, WWE did what no ex-girlfriend could ever get me to do: They got me to stop watching wrestling. I haven't seen "Raw" in nearly two months. That's the longest I've gone without watching since high school. Will I come back? At some point. Maybe even tonight because of Punk's win. But unless things change drastically, I'm going to watch WWE programming from now on the same way I watch every Cubs season: Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.
Heads up: The Bears’ Matt Forte and VS Pink model Elsa Hosk will appear at the VS PINK store at Water Tower Place mall December 6. … Fellow Bear Lance Briggs will appear at Challenger Comics December 3 to promote his new comic book, “Seraph,” and his comic book drive, which will benefit his Briggs4Kidz Foundation.
About this week: Billy Corgan’s independent wrestling promotion, Resistance Pro, will debut at Excalibur Friday. Look for my interview with the Smashing Pumpkins singer in Friday’s On The Town section. … Comedian Hannibal Burress will perform at Zanies Comedy Club – Chicago November 30. … “Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story” will screen Monday at Addison Cinema in Addison, Gurnee Cinema in Gurnee and Orland Park Cinema in – you guessed it – Orland Park.
On the record: “Entourage is a great show, but it's fantasy. I spent my twenties in L.A. in this business, and my life didn't look anything like that.” – “The Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki in an interview with Details
Sightings: The Bears’ Jay Cutler was spotted at Public House following his team's win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday. Cutler and Caleb Hanie had dinner Thursday at Paris Club. ... Actress Jenny McCarthy was spotted at Cuvee, where she briefly got behind the bar and served drinks, and Paris Club’s upstairs lounge, Studio Paris, Thursday. Rapper Kid Cudi partied at Studio Paris Saturday. … Lance Briggs and teammate Israel Idonije celebrated their birthdays with a party at the House of Blues Friday. Fellow Bears Devin Hester and Julius Peppers were both on hand. … The Cubs’ Kerry Wood appeared on the Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group float during the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Michigan Avenue Saturday. … Former U.S. women’s national team soccer star Brandi Chastain was spotted at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in Rosemont Saturday. … Former Bear Chris Zorich had dinner at Viaggio restaurant Friday.Twitter @aboutluisgomez
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