Whenever the WWE makes its way to Chicago, you can bet you're going to hear more than a few chants for hometown hero CM Punk. Even when the "Straight Edge Savior" was considered the heel taking on John Cena for the title at Money in the Bank in 2011, there was little chance that you ever heard one wrestler get such an enormous pop from a crowd, complete with countless signs that read things like, "If Cena wins we riot." It's fair to say that the man born Phil Brooks has a Windy City fanbase almost as diehard as the Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Bears or Blackhawks do even two years after the Chicago native and his former employers parted ways in a very unfriendly fashion, and that fanbase is still very vocal whenever the WWE comes to town for a live taping.
This time, Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon was ready for them.
In the past, the WWE has found new and interesting ways of trying to shut down Punk's fans, from confiscating signs and ejecting people to straight up trolling tactics like playing his entrance music only to have Paul Heyman walk down to the ring instead. Yet the latest McMahon burn was something a little more. Sure, the fans are hijacking live television for a few moments by chanting the name of a former champion whose unceremonious split with the company was very public news that moved beyond the wrestling world, but it also sounds like an attempt by the WWE to put a final nail in that coffin. Why would people want to keep chanting Punk's name if McMahon or any other person with the mic could just lob a joke about Punk's one-sided loss to Mickey Gall in his first UFC match?
What goes on behind the curtain to prepare for each live event is known to a select few, but there's a pretty good chance that the WWE's way of thinking when it comes to fighting CM Punk's hometown fans is simply to troll them enough and sooner or later they might stop chanting his name. He isn't on the roster, he embarrassed the company and came out looking like the winner in the situation but now he's not looking so hot after being embarrassed at UFC 203. Why wouldn't the company strike back at an opportunity like that?
It seems like a smart idea, but chances are, next time Raw or SmackDown is taped in Chicago, the chants will start up again, and you probably won't hear them die down for a very long time.