Pro wrestling is to MMA what the McRib is to slow-cooked Memphis barbecue, but every once in awhile, pro wrestling gets a little too real.
On Monday night in Sacramento, WWE wrestler CM Punk apparently went off-script during a sequence with WWE chairman Vince McMahon and backhanded a fan in the stands. The initial assumption is that it was staged — even a heart attack, is initially suspect — but a WWE statement released Tuesday afternoon to Yahoo! Sports makes it clear this was not part of the show:
"During last night's Raw televised event, WWE Superstar CM Punk exited the ring into the stands as part of the show. WWE security was unfortunately not in the appropriate place at the time. Given CM Punk's persona as a 'bad guy,' fans were naturally heckling him, but unfortunately a few fans began shoving him and one struck in him in the kidney and on the back. WWE regrets that proper security measures were not in place, and CM Punk apologizes for reacting in the heat of the moment. Other than this isolated incident, WWE always provides proper security to ensure the safety of our fans and our performers."
Amateur video of the event shows that Punk just flat-out lost his temper with fans badgering him. And, as is so often the case in these audience brawls, Punk apparently went after the wrong guy.
Laura Cole, a Sacramento CBS reporter, sought out the fan whom Punk decked. According to Cole's Twitter feed, the fan "says he never hit Punk," and that "his face is a little warm. … He also says Punk broke his glasses."
Cole further noted that the fan was filing paperwork with local law enforcement.
So what went wrong here? As you can see in the above video, Punk was almost completely swarmed by fans in the stands. Still, he's got to figure that at a wrestling match, people might just be a little hyped up. So, yes, while a lack of WWE security might have played a role, fundamentally it's on Punk to keep in control.
More on this as it develops.