My Father used to tell me: "Son, it's alright if you make a mistake. Just don't make the same mistake twice...or, I'll go upside your head."
Apparently, the brain trust of the WWE never had anyone tell them this before. (Or, go upside their heads. Which is rather unpleasant.)
The WWE is making the exact same mistake twice.
CM Punk has been in the WWE for almost seven years. He joined in September 2005. For six of those years, the WWE attempted to make a gimmick out of the fact that Phillip Brooks made the personal choice not to drink alcohol or partake of any drugs.
For six years, his character was pushed as the "Straight Edge Superstar." As a face, they touted it as though he had a higher moral standard. As a heel, they used it as an angle to make him a cult leader.
The entire time, it did nothing but hold him back as a performer. Only rarely would it actually ever produce a meaningful feud, such as the excellent angle between Punk and Jeff Hardy.
Primarily, it was Punk's ability on the mic and in the ring, that got him to where he was in the company, as an ECW, World and WWE Champion.
But, even with those accolades under his belt, Punk was never recognized or treated as The Man, like he is now, in the WWE. He was always second fiddle to the WWE's chosen ones. John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Triple H, The Undertaker, Edge, all were given higher rank.
However, that all changed when CM Punk cut his epic work-shoot promo which sparked the "Summer of Punk" last year.
No "New Nexus" cult. No Straight-Edge Society. No Straight Edge at all. CM Punk, the same CM Punk that fans remembered from Ring of Honor and the independent scene, finally showed up.
That's really all that happened with the Summer of Punk. The WWE realized that Punk might have been out the door, and rather than lose him, they unleashed him.
And the same acerbic, witty, over-the-line performer who made everyone want to see him succeed in the first place, dropped a pipe-bomb and set the industry on fire.
You would think that the WWE would have learned the moral of the story:
A personal health decision does not a superstar make. Rather, letting a superstar be themselves, or play the role in which they are most comfortable, creates a true superstar.
And yet, if you tuned in to Smackdown on Friday, you would've seen a blaring repeat of the same story: Daniel Bryan, World Heavyweight Champion, spinning his wheels in the middle of the show, preaching to everyone about being a Vegan.
It was almost a mirror image of the days the crowds had to endure CM Punk preaching about the benefits of being Straight Edge.
As bad as that was for CM Punk, he was able to navigate it into a successful career, until the WWE realized it was finally time to let Punk be Punk.
I believe this might not be the case for Daniel Bryan, however. It will be a far worse road for him to travel, and one that may ultimately doom his career before we ever reach a "Summer of The American Dragon."