I’ve been thinking about CM Punk vs MJF for the better part of a week now.
I understand that if you’re seeing my name on this website, it’s more than likely that you’re looking for my football content, especially draft-based content this time of year. I recognize that this is wildly different from most of the pieces I produce here, but its existence is justified. This wrestling match is an itch in my brain that I simply must scratch, and if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll indulge me.
Writing about professional wrestling is an elusive beast for me. I don’t enjoy writing about bad wrestling in the same way that I take just a bit of sadistic glee in writing about bad football. I can berate a bad football team, even my personal favorite team, until the cows comes home, but bad (or even mediocre) professional wrestling is simply not a source of inspiration for me. I really do try to see the best in wrestling, but believe me when I tell you that there’s a lot of bad wrestling out there.
Pretty rarely does the sport of professional wrestling elevate itself to being art. There’s an art to it, but most of the time, I do not believe that wrestling itself is art. Even my personal favorite match of all time (The Young Bucks vs the Lucha Brothers at AEW All Out 2021) does not fit the bill of fine art, at least not in my opinion. But CM Punk and MJF’s dog collar match at AEW Revolution 2022 is a massive and glaring exception to this rule. The match itself, along with the result, storylines, circumstances, competitors, and all the things that the match accomplished afterward, combine into a perfectly balanced cocktail of genuine cultural significance, wearing the crimson mask of a bloody spectacle in a sports-based medium that’s often been called a “male soap opera.”
The only place to begin to analyze this decades-long pro wrestling museum exhibit is, of course, from the beginning.