If you watched Stone Cold Steve Austin’s live podcast with Vince McMahon on Monday night, you heard a lot of talk about having “it,” and reaching for “brass rings.”
Here’s Vince’s statement on Cesaro, followed by his problems with younger (or simply newer) members of the roster:
“He doesn’t quite have the charisma, he doesn’t have quite the verbal skills. Maybe it’s because he’s Swiss, I don’t know in terms of European style… at the moment, he lacks it.”
“They’re not as ambitious, quite frankly… they don’t necessarily want to reach for that brass ring. The last one to really reach for that brass ring in all likelihood was John Cena.”
The Internet wrestling community (the actual one meaning “everyone who talks about wrestling on the Internet,” not the derisive one we use to insult people we disagree with) has been up in arms all day about these comments, arguing back and forth about what it means to have “it,” and how one could possibly reach one of Vince McMahon’s brass rings. What about Daniel Bryan? Didn’t he reach something? What about Zack Ryder? He got himself over from nothing and was torpedoed. What about CM Punk?
That’s a good question.
The other podcast that has people talking this week is Punk’s appearance on The Art Of Wrestling, which was largely about the difficulties of going against the WWE grain. With those two interviews in mind, today’s a good day to revisit Punk’s legendary “pipe bomb” promo from the 6/27/11 edition of Raw. You know it, you’ve heard it. The promo itself starts at 1:49, and covers two points that are as relevant today as ever. The idea of John Cena being “the best,” and this quote:
“I’ve grabbed so many of Vincent K. McMahon’s imaginary brass rings that it’s finally dawned on me that they’re just that, they’re completely imaginary.”
It’s interesting to know what happened after that promo — Punk’s rise to mainstream stardom, complete with a 400+ day WWE Championship run — and know that it still didn’t constitute “grabbing the brass ring.” It still resulted in him playing second-fiddle to John Cena, never main-eventing a WrestleMania and sitting in Colt Cabana’s studio apartment as a comic book writer, explaining where it all went wrong. How do you win? What do you have to do? How do you grab something imaginary in an imaginary world?
I’ll keep listening until I figure it out.