PRO WRESTLING: Making a case for former WWE superstar CM Punk’s pro-union stance

CM Punk really is living up to his “Voice of the Voiceless” moniker when it comes to topics affecting the health and well being of a professional wrestler.

The outspoken former WWE superstar broke his silence for the first time since his exit from the company in January on Colt Cobana’s “Art of Wrestling” podcast on Thanksgiving night.

Punk is loyal to those who support him, which include his close friends. This is why he gave him the interview and trusted his good buddy Colt, who was a wrestler podcasting before it was cool. The lightening rod for WWE controversy these days also knew it would give the fellow Chicagoan exposure to a huge new audience.

There has been a windfall of reaction to the different facets of Cobana’s conversation with the “Best in the World.” Among them was a look at the levity of what unionization would do to pro wrestling today. The idea of unions has peaked its way in and out of this world for decades. However, nothing has really come of it beyond a dialogue.

Just because a devotee buys a ton of merchandise and purchases a ticket to see a particular WWE superstar, some feel they are owed something from the performer. I’m not talking about just appreciation, but all their time and attention.

We often forget the fact pro wrestlers from of all walks of life are human beings.

These ring warriors make humungous sacrifices, especially in WWE. They leave their families for much of the year. They go from airport to airport, many times on little or no sleep. After making it off the plane, fans in terminals wait in anticipation for signatures and photos. They EXPECT these superstars and divas to be rays of sunshine 24-7. The majority of these men and women put their best foot forward to accommodate them, knowing they still have a connecting flight to catch or have to make it to the hotel for maybe a little bit of sleep, before a show.

Pro wrestlers know what they sign up for when they make it to WWE. It doesn’t take away from the grueling schedule. They go nonstop, battling through sickness and injury to entertain an audience whose thirst for WWE is never quenched. The only vacation a superstar may get is if they have surgery or if working on a movie project for WWE Studios. Even on days off, the superstars and divas are booked for appearances. Graduations, weddings, births, holidays and even funerals are missed.

There are those in the WWE Universe who do have empathy for the performers. They look at it through the eyes of their idols and heroes.

As for the unionization of pro wrestling, would it be a bad thing if there was an off-season? WWE has been plagued with injuries recently. Creative is exhausted in their search for the next “John Cena.” There are weeks we see the same matches on television. Some time-off wouldn’t only help the superstar from a physical standpoint but also a character one as well. It would also help creative.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. That is why fans get excited for a return. Programming can get stale where you know WWE is pulling at straws and superstars are hurting. Why not remedy both with a little vacation for a little R&R and reducing dates?

The argument is that an off-season reduces earning potential, because you’re committing to fewer dates, but a union can potentially level the playing field. A worry exists among pro wrestlers that if they take off time to heal from injury, their spot would be lost. Motivation is good, but this isn’t a healthy motivation.

I love WWE. I enjoy watching my favorites like the next fan. Even though I would miss them from Raw, Smackdown or pay-per-view, I wouldn’t mind them taking time off to recharge their batteries. And if there was a union and a point of contention that would in affect lead to a strike or a lockout, it could be for the greater good. In playing devil’s advocate, it could help the big picture, making the workplace safer and happier.

No matter if you agree or disagree with Punk, one can’t deny his fearlessness to express himself freely. There are those who share his views.

Dialogue is good because it can lead to positive change. God Bless America.

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- Cabana and Punk will team again for another session, which airs soon, and fans can email questions to them at: Be respectful.

- Cabana is a talented indie wrestler who does a good job with his weekly podcast, 226 episodes spanning more than four years and counting.