MJF's Promo and Where the Feud with CM Punk Goes Now


For the last little while, the MJF/CM Punk feud has been the best thing in wrestling. However, last night on AEW Dynamite, it went to a whole different level. Everything has seemingly been turned on its head now. 

If you haven't seen MJF's promo from last night, you should watch it right now.

This was great promo work for multiple reasons. Yes, MJF is a heel and that felt like a very "face" promo, but that doesn't make it bad. In fact, that makes it great. One thing that makes AEW interesting is that, for the most part, the wrestlers feel like real people. They're not just a collection of catch phrases and t-shirts and slogans. They're real people and real people have layers. CM Punk coming out in street clothes without music or a mic or anything else further highlights this. 

Very rarely is someone just a bad person from the minute they're born. MJF is a total jerk now, but was he always that way? And, if he wasn't, what made him that way? Going into his history makes him a better, more well-rounded character. He's not just a cocky jerk who makes fun of your hometown and tosses out insults. He's more than that. And that makes him more interesting.

If everything he said in that promo is true (and he told CM Punk that it is), MJF was bullied as a kid. He was treated badly, but he had sports and wrestling to keep him going. When sports betrayed him and the other kids on his team mistreated him, all he had was wrestling. And then wrestling betrayed him when CM Punk walked out.

So now he had nothing. 

He said that motivated him to show the world that he's the best. He couldn't count on anyone or anything, so he felt like he had to do it all himself.  The unsaid part is that those feelings of rejection also caused him to turn into a cocky asshole. And he didn't have to care about anyone else because no one else cared about him. 

So what does that mean? Is he justified for acting the way he does because he was mistreated? Or is everyone responsible for how they deal with their own circumstances and their own trauma? Plenty of people are bullied and they don't turn out to be assholes. He didn't need to turn his own insecurities into cruelty, even if others were cruel to him. 

Should we feel bad for MJF because of how he was treated? Or should we continue to hate him because of how he acts today?

This segment also added layers to the CM Punk character. Since he returned to wrestling, it's been mostly all happiness and smiles. But that's not how everyone feels about him, or how they felt about him in 2014. He touched on it in his return promo in Chicago, but some people likely felt let down when he left wrestling. They may have even felt betrayed. He needed to do it, but that doesn't mean people weren't disappointed when he did. MJF is the first guy to really highlight this. Punk has his own past and the things he's done have affected people too.

Going further back, CM Punk has had his own trauma. He had numerous family issues growing up and his father struggled with alcoholism, which inspired him to follow a straight edge lifestyle. He's called himself a "Sociopathic Straight Edge Atheist Jerk", but he's also gotten through a lot of his trauma and come out on the other side as someone who wants to be a better person.

He took something bad like his father's drinking, and used that to make himself better. He also took what happened to him in WWE to become a better person, which is evident by how he acts today. He didn't let him trauma turn him into a bad person in the same way MJF did. 

CM Punk and MJF seemed to have taken two different paths, but they both have trauma.

In comic books and movies, super heroes are often born from trauma (a criminal kills Peter Parker's Uncle Ben, Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered, etc.) and that trauma causes them to dedicate their lives to doing good. But villains are also often born from trauma. Dr. Connors tried to regrow his arm but the formula turned him into The Lizard. Dr. Fries was caught in a laboratory mishap while attempting to cure his terminally ill wife, turning him into Mr. Freeze. These people turned their trauma into evil. And it's easy to see why they did. Letting something awful turn you awful is often easier than using something awful to become better.

So where does the CM Punk/MJF feud go now? There are a few options:

  • Punk feels bad for MJF and MJF tries to take advantage of that situation because, ultimately, he's a jerk
  • Punk calls out MJF for allowing his trauma to turn him into a villain 
  • MJF made the whole thing up to try and get into Punk's head
Any of those situations could be fascinating. 

Punk feeling true empathy only to be attacked by MJF who doesn't care about anyone but himself could add new layers to both characters. Punk would learn to be more cautious and potentially worry that he's gone "too soft" while MJF would be shown to be pure evil. Maybe he was a good person once, but he's been corrupted so badly that he now cannot be saved. So he must be destroyed.

If Punk calls him out for turning into the same type of person he was trying to avoid growing up, that could also open up new avenues for each character. Is Punk not understanding enough? Or is he right? Is MJF weak for acting how he is? Or is he right? What would that mean for their match at Revolution?

If MJF is making the whole thing up, man, what an asshole. Punk needs to end him.

Either way, it's a fascinating storyline and one that will likely have ramifications for both characters even after this feud is over. 

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