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KELLER'S TAKE
KELLER: Punk put himself in a potentially volatile situation and dealt with it in worst possible way

Oct 9, 2012 - 9:33:29 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

The statement issued by WWE today draws a picture of the circumstances that led to C.M. Punk hitting a fan. It was a situation that could have been prevented with security being ready to create distance between Punk and the fans pestering him.

What the statement does not cover is that Punk was way, way out of line in what he did. He had his back turned to the fan that he wildly, blindly swung his arm toward and hit. Even worse, he then turned around and palm thrust the fan in the face with no indication the fan was making any aggressive motion toward him.

Two other points. The fan he hit was clearly not touching or pestering Punk at the time Punk hit him. The fan had both arms in the air as he was putting on a pair of sunglasses. Also, Punk could have missed and, for all he knew, hit a parent holding a young child. Or he could have knocked that fan over and that full grown man he hit could have fallen onto someone - a child, a baby, an elderly person, a pregnant woman.

In other words, this could have been a lot worse.

Punk put himself in that position. The fans around him, some of whom were simply sitting or standing at their assigned locations, were bystanders who did nothing to ask to be in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation.

Punk should not have gone into the crowd without full knowledge that, as WWE's statement indicates, as a heel he might get pestered and prodded by fans. Unless Punk has the discipline, in the heat of the moment, to know he would never wildly swing his arm blindly in a crowd of fans or lose his composure and punch a fan who was no apparent threat to him, he should not have ever gone into the crowd.

What happened among the fans was to be expected. Punk has been around and he knows what fans are like when you plop yourself in the middle of them. He was at fault, 100 percent, for reacting poorly in a situation he shouldn't have put himself in. The idea that he struck a fan - twice - without any apparent evidence that fan was an imminent threat to him is a lesson that he shouldn't be going into crowds.

When I was a kid, I went to AWA shows at the St. Paul Civic Center. Stan Hansen wildly swung his cowbell and rope through the fans as he made his way to the ring. There were no security railing separating fans from wrestlers in those days. They just had a few security guards surround them and push their way through the crowd. As a kid, I loved it. I got to be close to the wrestlers. But it was my choice to get close to the wrestlers. If Hansen had gone into the crowd and swung his cowbell wildly, that would have been different, as he'd be in the space of fans who maybe weren't mobile enough to get out of his way quickly (parents with kids, elderly, pregnant women, etc.). And certainly no wrestler should put himself in the middle of the crowd unless he has the composure not to escalate a situation by punching a fan just because he was annoyed or stressed out.

WWE's statement indicates they are backing Punk, at least publicly, in this situation.

"WWE regrets that proper security measures were not in place, and C.M. Punk apologizes for reacting in the heat of the moment."

For legal reasons and p.r. reasons, we may not hear from Punk on this matter. Punk, though, was out of line. He should have removed himself from that situation, not escalated it.


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