Lutz's Blog: Undertaker offers a lesson to C.M. Punk on how to walk away


prowrestling.net
MEMBERSHIP INFO | LOG-IN | CONTACT US | SUBMIT NEWS | ABOUT US
Insider News • Live TV & PPV Coverage • Hitlists • Results • Blogs

HOME | WWE NEWS | TNA NEWS | MMA NEWS | ALL NEWS | TV & PPV | ARENA REPORTS | VIEWPOINTS | PRODUCT REVIEWS | AWARDS



Dot Net App
GOT AN IPHONE, IPAD, IPOD TOUCH, SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB, OR ANDROID PHONE?

THEN BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD OUR NEW FREE APP
(or SEARCH "pro wrestling" in App Store or Android Marketplace)

Dot Net Podcast
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO DOT NET FREE PODCAST IN ITUNES OR CLICK HERE FOR LISTING OF LATEST SHOWS

Blogs


Lutz's Blog: Undertaker offers a lesson to C.M. Punk on how to walk away
2014-04-21 14:31:14


By Jeffrey Lutz

I wasn't particularly vexed by C.M. Punk's decision to leave WWE until after Brock Lesnar ended Undertaker's WrestleMania undefeated streak.

Those events are barely connected except for the fact that each represents, presumably, the end of a career. That decision hasn't been officially or publicly made by either Undertaker or Punk, but most signs point to each being finished.

I was initially supportive of Punk's decision because I believed that he was left with no other choice, and I understood his similar belief brought on by injury and disillusionment over the direction of the business. After witnessing a more graceful and exceedingly shocking departure by Undertaker, aka Mark Calaway, I have set up shop in his corner, even though I still understand why Punk left.

While Punk was clamoring for a spot on the souvenir cup, a more prominent placing in the signature during Raw's theme song, and, of course, an ice cream bar featuring his likeness, Undertaker willingly gave up the most marketable aspect of his character because he felt it was right (if not best) for business. That decision was so stunning and disappointing that we hoped it was made by someone other than Undertaker. Let Vince McMahon be responsible -- it won't be any less anger-inducing, but at least we'll know that Undertaker was protective of his legacy and The Streak.

Even if he was at peace with letting go of his undefeated WrestleMania record, Undertaker completely lived up to his legacy by letting someone else capitalize on what The Streak meant. It might not be Lesnar, who is established enough to handle the pressure of beating Undertaker but too established to truly gain from it, but the person who beats Lesnar will instantly be made a star because that aura will be transferred to someone new. As I've written before, Undertaker is probably the most loyal performer to walk through a WWE curtain, and his last act as an active performer lived up to that billing.

Punk, meanwhile, never found peace with abandoning the most distinctive aspects of his real-life personality that made him such an effective and unique character. That stubbornness is admirable on many levels, but it's not how the wrestling business usually works. As Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett and others have learned, 95 percent of performers in the industry are forced to eat crap before finding their niche or even being allowed to find it. Punk had obviously found his niche, but he wasn't prepared for the down-cycle his career had predictably entered after a WWE Championship reign of more than 400 days.

Punk loved wrestling but he probably wasn't made for the highest level of the business, which is more of a criticism on a business that is often slow to adapt than an admonishment of Punk's refusal to reform and conform. Punk, an outsider from the start because of his straight-edge lifestyle and his loner mentality, never completely navigated the business in a way that made both WWE and himself look good -- for example, while he was doing the best work of his career as champion, WWE neglected to bill him as a true main-eventer. When Punk cycled down to the mid-card and learned that he once again wouldn't achieve his goal to headline WrestleMania, he walked away because his benchmarks looked permanently unattainable.

Which is probably how Undertaker's goals looked to him in 1994, when he was an established star and a former champion but when WWE was in a severe creative lull because of the distraction of Vince McMahon's steroid trial. Undertaker, of course, wasn't as close to the end of his career as Punk would have been even if he hadn't left, but there were certainly greener pastures for Undertaker to explore and probably facets of his real-life personality to which he believed he wasn't being true by staying in WWE.

Undertaker, though, did stay, apparently happy with just being a cog in the wheel, a designation lamented by Punk during his pipe-bomb promo three summers ago. Punk had been simply a cog, and after earning a taste of the luxury and fame his hard work had allowed him to realize. Punk wanted more progress, while Undertaker learned to live with the peaks and valleys, becoming a locker room leader in the process and helping others cope with similar unavoidable circumstances.

My goal isn't to come down hard on Punk. I believe what I wrote in the immediate aftermath of his departure, that he likely had valid reasons to leave and that walking away without a grand announcement was true to the low-key but attention-seeking balance he managed to find. After this much time away, though, Punk owes his fans an explanation even if he has no motivation to give one. I understand his desire to take a break -- even if it's a permanent one. I don't understand leaving the people who loved him enough to help him reach stardom out to dry.

Undertaker, at least until he's ready to break character to permanently become Mark Calaway, might not give an explanation, either. But he will give. That's all he has done since his arrival in it -- give. When he transitions away from his character, he'll probably continue to give. Contributions to DVD projects and books. Training and instruction to up-and-coming wrestlers and the training facility. Hall of Fame induction speeches. Undertaker gave more than he had left for one final match because he believed it was right to end The Streak.

Punk always wanted more, while Undertaker always made the best of what he had. Both traits are commendable, but there is a reason why Undertaker will be forever celebrated while Punk may slip out of the consciousness of wrestling fans sooner or later. In walking away, Punk stayed under WWE contract even though he's not working. He took the money and Undertaker paid it forward.

Jeff Lutz has written for the Wichita Eagle newspaper in Kansas for over a decade and debuted with Prowrestling.net on November 4, 2012. He can be reached via email at jeffdlutz@hotmail.com.

RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE:


READ OUR INSIDER NEWS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE! BECOME A MEMBER FOR JUST $7.50 A MONTH (or less with a year-long sub) - GET THE FIRST LOOK AT EXCLUSIVE INSIDER DOT NET NEWS, TONS OF EXCLUSIVE AUDIO CONTENT, MEMBER MESSAGE BOARD ACCESS, START YOUR OWN BLOG, AND VIEW THE SITE WITHOUT ANY ADVERTISING: SIGN ME UP (or MORE INFO)



RELATED ARTICLES FROM MGID AFFILIATE SITES...



MEMBERSHIP INFO
Become a Dot Net Member right now for $7.50 a month or $66 a year ($5.50 a month avg.). Get exclusive audio, first-look insider news, Forum access, member blogs, more...

CLICK FOR SIGN-UP INFO


The Current Must-Read List
WWE News: New TLC pay-per-view match set at the Smackdown taping
11/25 WWE Smackdown TV taping spoilers: Full coverage of the taping for the Black Friday show (spoilers)
11/25 Powell's WWE Main Event Live review: Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Life post-Authority begins with Daniel Bryan in charge, Seth Rollins teaming with Noble and Mercury, Triple H and Stephanie crying, and the return of an awful concept!
TNA News: First tapings for Destination America set
Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Pathetic followup to Survivor Series, Daniel Bryan as guest general manager, the Anonymous GM returning, Ryback is a meathead again, Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose, Big Show's explanation
11/24 Powell's WWE Raw Live Review: Sting? Triple H and Stephanie McMahon farewell address, new general manager for the evening
Powell's Blog: "I don't know if Sting can have a good match with (fill in the opponent)"
WWE News: Vince McMahon and Steve Austin podcast details
Powell's WWE Survivor Series Hit List: Sting debuts, Team Cena vs. Team Authority, Miz and Mizdow win the WWE Tag Team Championship, Nikki Bella wins the Divas Championship, no post show
ACCESS PREVIOUS MUST-READ ARTICLES

Vote In Our Latest Poll

WWE Survivor Series: Grade the event
 
pollcode.com free polls
VOTE IN OR SEE RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLLS
VOTE IN OR SEE RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLLS

Dot Net Free Podcasts
11/22 "All Access" WWE Smackdown audio review – Triple H decimates Team Cena, Ambrose and Wyatt Promo, and more
11/17 Prowrestling.net Live Special Edition Podcast: Jason Powell and Zack Zimmerman take your phone calls following the final WWE Raw before Survivor Series
11/14 Prowrestling.net All Access Podcast: WWE NXT audio review: Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship
11/08 "All Access" WWE Smackdown audio review – Tag Team Championship Cage Match, Ziggler vs. Kane cage match...
11/07 Prowrestling.net All Access Podcast: WWE NXT audio review: Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze to determine the No. 1 contender for the NXT Championship
11/06 Prowrestling.net Live Podcast: Sean "X-Pac" Waltman and Jonny Fairplay's uncensored podcast
11/01 "All Access" WWE Smackdown audio review – Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane, Halloween themed Divas battle royal, and more
10/31 Prowrestling.net All Access Podcast: WWE NXT audio review: Sami Zayn vs. Titus O'Neil, tag title contenders determined, and more
10/30 Prowrestling.net All Access Podcast: TNA Impact Wrestling audio review - Bobby Roode wins TNA Championship, Tag tournament continues, Madison Rayne turns heel, Davey Richards is conflicted, and more
10/25 "All Access" WWE Smackdown audio review – Big Show Interview, Ziggler vs. Cesaro, Ambrose and Rollins hype
CLICK FOR FULL LISTING OF ALL PODCASTS

Latest from Our Affiliate Site

_pwtorch.com_
CLICK HERE FOR MORE PWTORCH HEADLINES

© 2008-2012 LAST ROW MEDIA LLC • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -- PRIVACY POLICY