Richard Reacts To CM Punk/Paul Heyman "Heart Attack" Angle From WWE Raw

What's your take on the CM Punk/Paul Heyman segment where they mocked Jerry Lawler and his heart attack on this week's WWE Raw?

This was the most asked question of the day so I want to make sure and address it as thoroughly as possible. My first surprise of the evening was the fact they were filming when Jerry Lawler got the paddles backstage and was shocked back to life. The fact someone decided to get that on tape leaves me with some questions. While JBL likened it to an NFL game, I'm not sure I agree. Sure there were cameras around the event but what's the purpose in filming something like that? Even if it was filmed for say, legal purposes, is it really necessary to re-air it?

I spoke with a lot of very upset people that night and the fact someone had the audacity to film Lawler as he laid there dead, pretty much tells you all you need to know. Nothing is off limits in Vince McMahon's world but showing that particular footage left a bad taste in my mouth.

The video package was meant to get people as emotionally connected as possible to turn it into an angle that would result in enormous cheap heat on CM Punk. I'll admit I got "chill bumps" when Jim Ross announced Jerry Lawler and his music hit for his emotional return. I even Tweeted about how good it was to see The King walk down the ramp to a tremendous ovation.

I stepped away from the TV for a moment and returned to see Punk on top of Paul Heyman, "performing" CPR on him. I immediately knew this was something that would be very controversial and something they never would have done while Linda McMahon was running for public office. Yes, this was the first angle where they decided to "push the envelope" for the first time in several years.

As for my reaction I wasn't offended by any of it. Perhaps it's because I know when it comes to Vince nothing is off limits but offensive wouldn't be the right word for this. I didn't like the footage being shown of Lawler getting shocked just because there's nothing entertaining about watching another human being struggle to hang on to their life. That was a very real moment that had a lot of people extremely shaken up. Moments like that shouldn't be used for fictitious wrestling angles and I thank God he didn't die that night.

The stuff with Punk/Heyman was a way to generate enormous cheap heat and I honestly didn't have a problem with it. Distasteful? Perhaps. Unnecessary? Probably. However, I wasn't outraged to the point where I turned it off. It was more of "Vince being Vince" and him being able to peel back that sick layer in his head he hasn't been able to use since Linda has been running for public office.

The angle worked well in that it generated a massive response and is all anyone is talking about. A lot of the people complaining it was sick, disgusting, shameful, embarrassing, etc. are the same people that say PG needs to go and it's time to return to the Attitude Era. News flash folks, the Attitude Era was full of moments, much worse, than what CM Punk and Paul Heyman did on this week's WWE Raw. The Attitude Era was all about pushing the envelope as far as they could and at times was embarrassing to watch. But to say you want this type of programming to return then are "outraged" when it does, is clearly to talk out of both sides of your mouth.

All and all, this week's Raw was one of the better episodes in several weeks. The fact something happened that has my Ask WNW mailbox flooded is good news as the audience has been dwindling going into Survivor Series on Sunday. The footage of Lawler being shocked back to life and receiving medical attention was uncalled for but as for the Punk/Heyman stuff, they were just generating heat. Had Lawler have actually died, it would have been an entirely different story.

Remember questions with proper grammar and spelling stand the best chance of getting answered. The next installment of Ask WNW will run on Wednesday, November 14, 2012.

Check out the Ask WNW archive at this link.

Submit questions to: [email protected]!

  • LOL at anyone who was offended.

  • VLG

    I did not have a problem with the segment, so long as Jerry Lawler gave it the ok. It was a wrestling angle, and so long as people understand it was an angle, then there shouldn't be a problem. Yes, it was probably a bit unnecessary, but it got CM Punk cheap heat which was the goal. I'm pretty sure CM Punk wouldn't have gone through with that without Lawler's blessing. If Jerry Lawler didn't give his blessing, then I might be a little upset, but at the end of the day its a wrestling angle, and so long as it doesn't spill into real life, then there's no need to get all up in arms about it.

    • Richard Gray

      While Jerry didn't have a problem with it, I don't really like the argument "as long as Jerry gave the OK." Guys, Vince is going to do what he wants to do…

      • Hitman310

        I was shocked that the cameras kept rolling during but then i realized that if it makes good tv then Vince is gonna put it on tape. Im sure a new Jerry Lawler DVD might be in the works and they will use that footage.

      • Jay

        I wish Vince quit and Richard became the chairman of WWE

  • Mike

    I completely agree with Richard. I was more put off by the CPR and the defib than I was by Punk and Heyman. I do, however have this one question, and maybe Richard will see fit to answer it, if he knows. Did Vince run the Heyman/ Punk spot by Jerry before they ran it?

  • Daniel

    I agree full heartily with this article. It was different and edgy. Did I like it? No, did it make me a upset at Punk and Heyman… Honestly yes, that was the reaction they wanted from doing something like this. But, I stand by the key point that a lot of people may have missed and I didn't see it brought up, Richard.

    It is a television show, and if it invokes a type of emotional response in it's viewer, then it is doing it's job.

  • AnnO

    I pretty much agree w/everything you said, Richard. I walked away from the TV when they aired the footage of Lawler’s emergency. That was uncomfortable and tasteless. After the initial shock of Punk and Heyman’s interruption, I appreciated the segment for what it was. Punk’s tweets after Raw were funny actually. The video package before was still awful.

  • that_one_guy

    Thank u for clearing it up as alot of people just don’t understand the biz if the king ok’d it than im ok with it

    • Jay

      Jerry ok'd it? What choice would he have had anyway, for all we know Vince could have said to Jerry "this is whats happening in the promo, if you don't like it, there's the door"

  • Monty

    If people want more edgy shows than expect the unexpected and some bad things along the way. The great thing about attitude era was how each show between wcw and wwe was ets one up the last weeks show.

    I think now that Linda is out of the way expect Vince to turn up the heat leading up to wrestlemania

  • Steve C

    Richard you beat me to the punch! I was also going to say about all the moan about wwe not being edgy and we want the attitude era back. As soon as we get a glimpse of it people are in uproar! I am one of those people who did and still does want the attitude era edginess back as that's what made me love wrestling and I was not surprised to see that they used this as an angle!

  • Stephen

    I said the exact same thing on twitter Richard. The people who were complaining are the same people who cry for WWE to get edgier. Last night proved that most people arent truley wanting that era back. I was only disturbed by the video before hand. The Punk promo brought back memories of the attitude era for me and it was kind of refreshing.

  • Patrick Peralta

    Lawler had a real Heart attack on live TV it was not a Fred Sanford fake heart attack you would see on Sanford and Son.. BIG difference. I didn't like it agree with it it was un called for and sickening for WWE to make light of a real life issue.

    and I supose it would have been fine if WWE had done a Storyline angle soon after Owen;'s death..of someone falling from the Rafters.

    My dad had a heart attack about 15 years ago and while he is no actor on TV or a wrestler…I sure as hell would not like some one making fun or light of it.

    yeah Vince has a history of duing such stupid things but doesn't make it right. nor do I agree with it. some lines you don't cross that sure as hell was not entertaining to me I'm not entertained by others making fun of someone's real life issue for the sake of raitings I sure as hell would not put up with it if I worked in WWE I'd quit. there are other jobs out there. the fact JR and Lawler put up with Vince is their problem. Vince doesn't care about anything or anyone.

    • Snap

      How is it any different from WWE exploiting Eddie Guerrero's death?

      While he definitely deserved the induction, WWE couldn't wait to use his name as a selling point for the Hall of Fame, not to mention using Eddie's death as the driving point for Rey Mysterio winning the Royal Rumble and World Heavyweight championship.

      Unless it's something heinous like the Benoit tragedy, WWE will capitalize on ANYTHING.

      However, your reaction is precisely what WWE wanted out of it: anger towards Punk and Heyman as they are the big villains in WWE at this time. How are they supposed to get heat? Glorified baby-talk insults which insults your intelligence along lines of what John Cena would use under the guise of "keeping it PG"? Keep in mind that Vince also takes shots at himself and makes himself look like a complete idiot on TV.

      People keep whining about the PG rating and demanding the return of the Attitude era, don't people remember Jerry Lawler making homophobic remarks against Goldust? How about DX vandalizing the Nation of Domination's locker room with racial slurs and framing the Hart Foundation? The heart attack angle falls right in line with Attitude era programming, with Austin constantly flipping the double bird, inciting "Asshole" chants and basically just showing a lack of respect to anybody and anyone.

      I seem to recall WWE making light of death with the Big Bossman "crashing" the funeral of the Big Show's father. Anybody else remember Bossman dragging the casket behind his truck while Big Show "rode" the casket? Bossman also kidnapped Al Snow's dog and FED IT TO HIM!

      Come on, guys, if you're calling for the return of the Attitude era, you can't pick and choose where you'd like to be offended.

  • Joel

    Honestly, the angle did sort of bugged me a little cause I lost my old man to a heart attack when I was a kid and saw him go through it. But at the same time, it was a good way to get Punk even more heat and I was one of the fans that was booing him. Served it's purpose. And as emotional as I was seeing Jerry back, I got even more emotional with Foley's promo and wanted him to kick Punks ass!

  • Mark3man

    The only problem I had is the guys in the ring (punk,heyman and Foley ) 2 of them put my ass in my seat 12 years ago and the other one is the only reason to watch raw ATM. They need some more stars. And sorry to all the Iwc, been good in the ring doesn’t make stars, characters and story lines and dialog does, as this angle has clearly shown, people are talking about this and where will it lead. Richard hasn’t answered a question today about zigglers multi elbow drops that looked amazing.

    Look at Tna, while they’re not WWE they use stories and characters/gimmics and they now have at least ten people that would be believable whc. WWE maybe has 4

  • Leo Devlin

    Vince McMahon is the type that would probably have a film crew at how own funeral just to document the event. I was not offended by what happened because first of all, Vince did something much worse with Jerry Lawler and that was having Michael Cole talk about Jerry’s diceased mother only a week after she died. Hell, let’s go back to the most embarrassing angle of all time, The Katey Vick angle. They messed with necrophilia! How about the idea that was pitched about an incest angle involving Paul Birchill and Katey Lee? That never happened but it would have. It’s just how sick and demented Vincent K McMahon is! Like Gray said, there’s no limit! Now that Linda is no longer running for office the safety net is off!

  • dave c

    I'm pretty sure all those people who talked out of both sides of their mouth never experienced the attitude era first hand, they were probably told by older wrestling fans about it and longed for those glory, or in some cases infamous, times to come back, but when they experienced it firsthand they didn't know how raw it could be, remember the katie vick incident

  • John

    Everything that happened in the segment was obviously approved by Jerry Lawler, so if he didn't have a problem with it, why should anybody else care?? Thankfully Jerry Lawler is now healthy and back doing what he loves to do, so there's no reason for anyone to be upset about it!

  • AntGilroy

    Stop watching. Is what I say to you people who take this seriously….. but I guess they have done their jobs because everyone is talking about it..

    Personally thought it was good I would have liked to see ryback or cena come out instead of Foley but either wAyers no problem with it and I know Alot of people whoh’ve died from heart attacks or who have had them. Don’t take it so personally

    Shock value 10.

  • Luke

    ok, how can you relate the footage to entertainment Richard, they were just showing it as an informative piece, to capture the respect for him, not for simple entertainment

  • craig

    it might be pushing the envelope which i like but it wasnt creative it was lazy

  • Andrew

    Awful television. Awful. Distasteful isn’t the word. Disgraceful is.

  • Evonreese

    It makes Punk look like the Punk he is. He’s getting the wrong kind of attention for this one

  • Sam Anderson

    I agree that the footage was just in bad taste but the segment also made me cringe just because they could’ve let it go.

  • 1-800-NWO-0242

    The Punk/Heyman segment reminded me of the nWo days. It was something that i could see the nWo doing just like they made fun of the four horsemen when they all dressed up like them and Kevin Nash’s award winning performance on playing the role of Arn Anderson was hilarious! It would have completed the segment if they had the nWo voices like sweeeeeet! And, the deep nWo voice and, the nWo laugh while they were doing the segment. Really wish Punk, Heyman, Lesnar, Nash, would revive the nWo and bring it back!

  • Robert olley

    End of the day it must have gotten jerrys green light vince might have nothing off limits but he’s not inhuman. Next it achieved what it was designed to do it got heat for punk and heyman, got millions of people talking and is the first step in taking the wwe back to when it was best pushing the envelope imagine what punk,sandow,orton etc could do when they aren’t held back by the envelope being held back.

  • David F

    this reminded me of when Orton told Rey that Eddie was in hell just after Eddie died just so Orton can get cheap heat. I hope Triple H and Steph dont use same cheap heat tactics as Vince after a real life event but I am not holding my breath

  • Valerie

    I'm actually surprised that a lot of people have the same mindset 🙂 I was totally OK with the segment and thought it was great pushing that envelope. I would of been surprised if Punk DIDN'T come out when Lawler came back. I watched Punk's DVD and I know he loves the extreme reaction of people (like Devil chants with the S.E.S) and I wanna see how much reaction he can garner. I just agree with everyone else with the footage of Jerry having CPR and being shocked. It really made me cringe and I thought it was in extremely bad taste. I also thought that King got back into character too quickly with him already "annoyed" at Cole when it was Michael Cole who saw Jerry collapse and call over the EMTs basically saving his life.

  • H.M.

    This was well written Richard, and I can't agree with you more. The video clips of the CPR's and the backstage medical attending was unnecessary and was the only thing that actually offended me but aside from that I felt somewhat of a wave of nostalgia watching this.

    Have people forgotten the essence of what a true heel is? They can cross barriers within reasonable bounds – and I contend that this within those bounds – and truly make you hate them. That's what Punk did. I long for the days where I would actually hate the heel while knowing in the back of my head that he was just playing a character. Now I just look at the heels/faces with the eyes of an analyst who rarely if ever feels emotions welling up over whatever they are doing. There's no attachment left.

    Y2J/Punk was pretty good though especially with the way Y2J would go after Punks family. Family doesn't need to be brought into all of this but that feud was one of my favourites in recent memory because it connected with me in entertainment value.

  • unknown

    this just seems like something that would've been done in the attitude era. people ask wwe to go back to pushing the envelope and when they do they think it's horrible. though it does show cm punk would have flourished in the attitude era

  • Michael

    I was offended, I was disgusted, if Lawler was a work then fair enough.. but it wasn't


    "A lot of the people complaining it was sick, disgusting, shameful, embarrassing, etc. are the same people that say PG needs to go and it’s time to return to the Attitude Era."

    Have to respectfully disagree with you Richard. I for one have no real problem with the "PG" Era and I found the segment distasteful. As I stated in a comment on another post I understand why they did what they did but I still think it was very uncalled for. Did I turn it off or change the channel?…No. But I still believe that they should have just welcomed him back warmly…period. Just my humble opinion.

  • Richie

    I LOL’d when Punk said he brought Heyman back to life.

  • Ryder

    lol same people who are complaining are the same ones that want the attitude era back

  • kvb

    We need a new version of new age outlaws, Dudley, Hardyz and edge and christian, as well as the storylines in the attuide era!! Smash cars, throw ppl and things off bridges and all that fun stuff, screw the PG crap and bring back the interesting stuff!!

  • the great one

    it was disgusting..i lost my dad and sis to cardiac arresta and there is nothing funny about it..cole mentioned on raw that it wasnt part of the nights "entertainment" and that it was very real..and then they do this 2months later..way to go wwe