Blah blah blah boring intro.
So a lot of people seem to be on the fence about this supposed CM Punk character arc: is he heel? Is he just a disgruntled face? Is he a “tweener”? I’m going to just call it like I see it, and that just so happens to be the way the WWE wants it to come across: Punk is slowly going back to his heelish roots.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, Punk is in a unique situation with the audience. The IWC and older wrestling fans love Punk and all that he stands for, but the women and children fanbase view his actions against The Rock and at last Monday’s Raw to be cowardly and wrong (which are the qualities of your generic heel). Punk hasn’t gotten that kind of negative reaction since his run as the leader of the New Nexus. This split of the audience’s favor isn’t something new to the business, because for the last five years we’ve had the John Cena Experience; however, the audience reaction is a mirror image of the typical Cena response.
The reason for this heel turn is simple. Look at the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin for inspiration; had he remained the Ringmaster, we wouldn’t be wearing Austin 3:16 shirts and shouting “What?” at wrestling events (that last one I could do without). Punk as a heel allows him to drop more sincere pipe bombs that a face persona would not allow. Didn’t Punk’s diatribes seem a bit neutered when he spouted off at someone who wasn’t Johnny Ace? While it’s true they were scripted that way, the goal of Punk’s rise was in selling this idea that he could represent the people. With kids in the audience, Punk would have to be careful about what he says and how he says it if the company is intent on boosting his star power with that age group and, therefore, their parents. A rise in recognition and merchandizing sales doesn’t hurt, right? Now Punk can return to his best job title: the Voice of the Voiceless, which just so happens to be the IWC.
If you still think Punk is a face, chew on this:
1. When Raw opened, Punk confronted Jerry Lawler. Yes, he had every right to defend himself, but Lawler is the face commentator. In fact, throughout the night he continued to belittle Lawler’s commentary and not once questioned Michael Cole’s antics. Look at how quickly Cole championed Daniel Bryan after he won the World Heavyweight Championship. A good indicator of whether a wrestler undergoes a change from face to heel is how he/she is treated by the running commentary and conversely how he/she treats said commentators.
2. He complained to AJ about having to face both Big Show and John Cena at Summerslam. The face Punk we’ve come to know has never backed down or complained about any challenge set before him. Look at last year’s Triple Threat at TLC and his battle with Dolph Ziggler at the Royal Rumble. Both matches were designed to give him the highest rate of failure and he didn’t so much as bat an eye.
3. Punk’s ego went from large to super-sized. When he gloated about what was done to The Rock in front of Cena, that reminded me of last June during the weeks leading up to Money in the Bank. Despite the pipe bomb that turned him into a hero, Punk was technically still a heel and verbally bashed the hell out of Cena. It’s okay to have an ego, especially when you’ve had a run as successful as Punk is currently on, but when it gets overloaded we begin to see the makings of a villain.
To Punk and the WWE’s credit, they’re doing a great job keeping Punk’s qualms grounded in a grey reality. He is absolutely right that the focus should be on the WWE Champion, and I like how he didn’t directly state it should be all about HIM (whether the title was involved or not). He was also unbiased on commentary about the abilities of both Show and Cena, whereas most heels would claim their opposition just plain sucks. Ultimately, what would be ideal for me is if Punk continues to win his matches clean and speaks his mind more freely as a heel. That is the Punk I’ve come to respect, and I’ve always believed that a heel who can back up what he says is far more interesting than a whiny, spoiled, cowardly baddie.
Tout, on the other hand, is just plain stupid. It’s a 15-second Youtube clip with a trendy name that the WWE invested in, and so of course they’re going to shove it in your face. The only way you’ll ever get on the air is if you keep it kayfabe and PC anyway, and how many of you reading this are willing to sacrifice your integrity for that?
Actually, scratch that bit about remaining PC, because Albert/Tensai/Matt Bloom managed to let loose a pipe bomb of his own.
And this guy gets to make a comeback despite ZERO response from the crowd every week and questionable booking decisions like letting him bury Tyson Kidd.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: aj lee, big show, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jerry Lawler, john cena, John Laurinaitis, Michael Cole, Mike Gojira, monday night raw, royal rumble, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Summerslam, Tensai, The Rock, TLC, Tout, WWE