Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Mattel Flashback To The Unspoiled Days Of CM Punk

Long before the pink and starred "Macho Man" tribute tights, I often thought of CM Punk as a sort of modern day Randy Savage.  Punk marches to his own beat, captivated the wrestling business both in and out of the ring, and did memorable business with wrestling's "superhero" of the era.  Savage did all of that, too.  The other thing that both share could be described either as a steadfast hold on ones beliefs or as a hard streak of stubbornness.  Many point to that trait as the reason why Savage never returned to the spotlight to enjoy the accolades that so many of his legendary peers did.  Will Punk follow suit?

As of yet, CM Punk has not fully been scraped from the consciousness of wrestling fans.  His merchandise is said to still be sold at WWE events.  Items sold at retail will take even longer to disappear, as Mattel is still releasing figures of Punk that were planned long in advance.  One of these just began to hit collectors hands in the past few days.  An online retailer exclusive, the newest CM Punk figure in Mattel's Elite line is a Flashback entry.

The figure is a look back to Punk's reign as ECW Champion.  This was not the original incarnation of ECW, but rather its revival as a WWE brand.  For the various men that held the championship during this era, Punk was probably the closest to what Paul Heyman envisioned an ECW wrestler to be.  Even then, Heyman was a "CM Punk Guy" and there is little doubt that Punk would have been a standout in the original Extreme Championship Wrestling.

As a whole, this figure has a lot of red and black.  The handsome current Elite figure packaging is red with a large era-correct Punk portrait.  The window is filled, as it should be, with a variety of accessories.  Included here are an ECW microphone, rubber shirt, and the first Mattel release of the ECW Championship belt.  A lot of detail was put into the belt as well as the strap and I would not be surprised to see it show up again in a future release.

The attire is red and black which was one of his more frequently used color combinations.  Jakks figures from the time were produced in a similar design.  The shirt is the familiar skeleton design that he wore on many occasions.  Mattel has a fixation on rubber shirts, likely due to cost. I'd much rather see fabric shirts, but it does properly fit onto the figure with some patience.

From the tattoos (the Pepsi and Cobra logos are not present) to the tights, there is a very nice amount of detail here.  "DRUG FREE" is spelled out on the fingers and there's even black nail polish.  Everything that the angsty and angry wrestling fan could want.  The face isn't quite as spot on as the Jakks representations were, but it's very very good.  There's no doubt that this is Punk.

Online exclusives can be very hit-or-miss sales-wise.  Some will sell quickly and become sought after while others will languish for years as $11.99 Arbor Day specials.  I fully expect this to be the former due to the recent interest in Punk, the accessories, and the fact that it really is a nice figure, in and out of the packaging.

Going back to the beginning and the question of 2014: will that Savage-level of stubbornness keep Punk away from the ring forever?  As a thirteen-year fan of CM Punk I can honestly say that I do not know and I do not care.  Punk walked away from the business for a variety of speculated reasons.  The chants of his name at events absolutely boggle my mind. At first, the chants were likely due to confusion as to why he left and an attempt to copy the Daniel Bryan uproar.  The Bryan situation was a case of fans trying to get what they wanted from a company.  On the other hand, if Punk isn't there, the WWE can't present him.  Continual chants do nothing but interrupt other stars who are trying to entertain and further feed the ego of someone who would likely deny having one.

The most recent word is that Punk is tired of handling the fame and fortune.  Looking in from the outside, it's easy for any of us to be disgusted by that thought and think that we would easily exchange those problems with our own.  Allow me to be the first to volunteer.

I've previously chronicled in this blog that I've followed Punk since 2001.  I don't care for the "even then, I knew he was something special" cliche, but in this case it's true. You could also tell, even then, that his lifestyle wasn't always conducive with that of a professional wrestler.  If you look into that mindset through the attitude he displays, you have to wonder if he hates that idea of money and success so much that he has begun to despise himself.  Once again, I'll take both the money and success off of his hands if that's the case.

Before we get too dramatic and I feel the need to call noted wrestling psychologist Dr. Sydney M. Basil for his opinion, I will simply say that Punk has given us a lot to enjoy.  An absolutely fantastic career where, if it is indeed over, we never had to see a drop in quality.  That's something that we can all be satisfied with.


Hobgoblin238 said...

It is incredibly rude to walk out of one's contract...

J\/\/ said...

Yep. Like so many others that he complained about, he became entitled.