In the second episode of Carnage, AEW kept the promise they had kept for weeks. ‘Cause there in the sold-out United Center was CM Punk, live and in the flesh, in front of thousands of fans chanting his name. It was one of the greatest moments in wrestling history as Personality cult echoed through the stands and the voices of the voiceless made their way to the center of the stage, soaking up every moment before saying how happy he was to be back in pro wrestling. While Punk’s arrival was wrestling’s worst-kept secret, that didn’t stop the rowdy crowd reacting with ridiculously huge pop. Because after seven years of absence, their hero had returned.
While many wrote off a Punk a long time ago, people’s desire to see him in the ring again has never wavered. Punk’s name was chanted in wrestling arenas around the world as his legend continued to grow stronger after his departure from WWE. And as they say, “absence makes the heart more affectionate”. In Punk’s case, it certainly was, because the further away he stayed, the more people were eager to see him return. The star power of punk has remained intact and on the contrary, it has increased. By the time he made his comeback to wrestling with AEW, the excitement was at its height with thousands upon thousands of idle fans tipping in just to see him. The wait was worth the wait.
▶ ️ https://t.co/VMXcR7HfTS pic.twitter.com/Eut0zGybNZ
– All the elite wrestling (@AEW) August 21, 2021
While the reaction to Punk’s comeback wasn’t enough to show that he was still one of wrestling fan’s favorite stars, the movement of his t-shirt cemented him. As AEW always does, Punk’s merch unfolded on the night of its debut, and in no time, it became one of the best-selling items in AEW history. Orders were arriving faster than the company could process them because the ShopAEW.com crashed due to order volume. Not to mention the shirt sold in the arena, which saw lines climb the escalators just so people could get their special “I was there” merchandise. Needless to say, on Friday night a legion of fans would arrive at future AEW shows with the name and likeness of CM Punk on their chests.
AEW’s cargo machine did a great job capitalizing on early days and major moments, but with Punk, a top-selling t-shirt (the flag and sticker were the only other items available so far. ) not enough. Fortunately, it seems based on recent comments on WarnerMedia’s plans to put the full extent of their promotional machine behind it, that AEW won’t stop with just a t-shirt and a few accessories. They shouldn’t either. The merchandising machine officially needs to step up a gear in a way that AEW has never done for any of its wrestlers at this point.
– ShopAEW.com (@ShopAEW) August 21, 2021
If someone does, the Punk logo should be on it because people will buy it. It’s literally an invitation for AEW to just print some cash as there may not be a greater wrestling merchandising opportunity than what AEW has found itself in with the return of the best in the world. Punk should have its image in everything. That means baseball caps, stickers / decals, face masks, action figures, posters, pins, sneakers, scarves, mugs, drawstring bags, and ice cream bars. Yes, ice cream bars.
And maybe it was in the wake of Friday Night’s Rampage that AEW gave us a taste of more to come on this front as they kept Punk’s promotional promise of free ice cream bars. , with the Punk mark on the packaging, for all those who have the Uni Center.
Punk, Cena and Manipulated Product Sales
By the time 2011 began, CM Punk had long established itself as a star in WWE. He was a three-time heavyweight world champion, an impressive accomplishment for sure. But none of those realms had really seemed so important. As much as Punk was on the main event scene at the time, his championship reigns seemed more transient than anything else, with the longest of the three only lasting 69 days. Punk was booked as a star, but just one of a crowded headlining field at a time when WWE had no shortage of big names. But that would all start to change in 2011.
Feeling underestimated heading into your WWE Championship match with Jean Cena To Money in the bank that year, Punk cut the now infamous pipebomb promo in which he said: “And yet no matter how many times I prove it, I’m not on your cute little collector’s mugs. I am not on the cover of the program. I am hardly promoted. I can’t seem to be in the movies. I’m definitely not on a shitty show on USA Network. I’m not on the poster WrestlingMania. I’m not on the signature that is produced at the start of the show. I’m not on Conan O’Brian. I’m not on Jimmy Fallon. But the point is, I should be.
That said, Punk was indeed one of WWE’s best merch engines. However, there was a feeling at the time, which was suggested by those who previously worked for the company, that WWE never wanted Punk to sell better than Cena. Even as their titles program approached and the 434-day reign of Punk that followed, WWE seemed to believe Cena had to be the best merchandise seller, perhaps because of the attraction to children. Cena was the ideal, prototypical face of the business, while Punk was not. So throughout history, WWE has manipulated the sales of merchandise. As Konnan, Bauer Court and Saint Laurent discussed on MLW Radio in 2015, “As soon as John Cena started to be oversold by CM Punk, they [WWE] did 3 more John Cena designs, they refused to do a second CM Punk design and they started shipping the CM Punk design on purpose. For every CM Punk shirt they would ship to the arena, they would triple the John Cena shirts and create 3 John Cena designs. So all 10 jerseys in the arena, if 9 are Cena, only one is Punk. “
There’s no guarantee the story is the truth, but it would make sense, especially considering that at one point Cena had the same t-shirt available for sale, in around seven different colors. And for the kids who idolized the Cenation leader, their parents bought them all.
Despite the growing popularity of punk, WWE didn’t take advantage of the amount of merchandise it could move. And when CM Punk embarked on its campaign to bring back WWE Ice Cream Bars, the company failed to capitalize on it either.
CM Punk and the legend of the ice cream bar
In 1987, WWE launched the “WWF Superstars of Wrestling Ice Cream Bars,” with extremely popular fanfare. Because after all, ice cream and wrestling together, what not to like? The bars remained a hit for decades as WWE’s top superstars took turns putting their names and likenesses on the redesigned version of a classic ice cream sandwich. For some reason, in 2009 the bars were cut short by Good Humor, leaving a legion of disappointed fans who demanded their return. The support from the fans was overwhelming, but it wasn’t just the fans pushing for the bars. Within the company, at least one prominent wrestler wanted to see the return of ice cream bars, and that was CM Punk. Mainly, Punk wanted his face on one of them, a point of contention that was part of Punk’s contract negotiations with Vince mcmahon during the 2011 edition of the Summer of Punk. It was Punk’s # 1 request, but it wasn’t the last time he mentioned the return of ice cream. Fans joined in the Punk Crusade, chanting “We Want Ice Cream,” whenever he referred to the popular treat’s return. In fact, it has become synonymous with bars to such an extent that WWE actually put its face on a… a bit. They put her face on an ice cream bar on a t-shirt, and sure enough the product sold.
But giving WWE all the credit for the ice cream shirt would be a poor characterization of the process because according to CM Punk, he was the author of the design. “My inspiration for the shirt? Punk told WWE.com in an interview shortly after making his debut with the jersey at Night of Champions, “I want to get the fucking ice cream bars back! … I’m still working on it.” But in the meantime, I’m going to keep pushing it down people’s throats. Because everyone loves ice cream, which goes up in the mouth and then down in the throat. “
Seeming to suggest it was good humor that didn’t want to facilitate the popular dairy dessert’s return, stating, “Good mood, we’re giving you a gift. We give you an option here, and if you don’t want to take it, we’ll sell our wares elsewhere, ”Punk hoped his shirt would get the world talking. It was, but it wasn’t enough and, as WWE claimed, the jersey was “the closest we’ve ever seen a cookie with the face of Voice of the Voiceless.”
Well, the closest until 2021 or 2022, when AEW has the opportunity of life.
Whether it was WWE or good humor that finally called for an ice cream revisit, it wasn’t until last year, long after Punk left WWE, that they returned to shelves nationwide. And not coincidentally, these are the best sellers of derivatives. Roman reigns, Becky lynch, and John Cena who graced the new look of frozen snacks. wild randy macho man was the fourth model, in a package sold with Cena in the front and center of the box.
– WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) May 13, 2020
CM Punk might not be the man who brought home the ice cream, but his campaign to do so gained such popularity as last year during one of his appearances on Behind the Scenes of WWE, he was led to try ice cream but was not impressed. Jokingly, suggesting that “the check was in the mail,” Punk examined the new sandwich with a shrug. “It’s an ice cream sandwich,” he says. “It’s not covered in chocolate, there is no hard cookie, I’ll give it a 4 out of 10.”
With Good Humor in alliance with WWE, AEW will have to turn its attention to another company in order to facilitate Punk’s ten-year mission, which, in one aspect, has yet to be fulfilled. Good Humor introduced the ice cream sandwiches but didn’t bring back the ice cream bars. And as the man said himself, “There are other ice cream makers out there.”
– Driver Boz (@JaxBoz) August 21, 2021
There are other wrestling companies as well and Punk has chosen to join another which is not called WWE. Maybe in AEW, not only will he flourish creatively, but he’ll also be satiated with the sweet taste of chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream with a cookie crunch.