Brendan Behan once stated that “there is no such thing as bad publicity, except your own obituary.” After the week that World Wrestling Entertainment has had, I’m sure they vehemently disagree.
The embarrassment of last Sunday’s Royal Rumble has been talked about ad nauseum, so I won’t get too deep into that. The short of it is, despite a packed arena chanting in unison for Daniel Bryan, all in attendance were left unassuaged as he did not even appear in the thirty man-over the top rope challenge. Fans were so irate that they booed everyone still competing in the ring, even long-standing babyface Rey Mysterio and the newly returned Batista, the latter’s post-show interactions with the fans won’t earn him any points with them or probably with upper management.
Not even forty eight hours after, CM Punk (one of the top superstars in the company) no-showed the Tuesday taping for Friday Night SmackDown. He reportedly had a conversation with Vince McMahon and stated “I’m going home.” Now, whether this is attributed to the rumors of him being physically battered and burned out, or, as many believe, he was tired of the lack of upward mobility for himself and a few others (whom the crowd seem to cheer more so than some of the ‘company pets’).
But this is “sports entertainment.” Daniel Bryan being kept out of the Rumble could be a clever ploy to get the fans even more angry and even more behind Bryan. Punk leaving could be a clever angle, much like what was pulled in 2011. But considering how the WWE now has a movie star in the main event of Wrestlemania three years in a row, and that no-showing an event a wrestler was contracted to appear at is not good for business, this all appears to be real. It also appears to be more of “the Fed” doing what they think is best for business…as in giving their buddies a push, ignoring the fans and proving how out of touch with what makes a superstar in the 2010s.