Arguably, WWE's "Attitude Era" was the best time of professional wrestling. With in-your-face action, brutal matches and risque segments, Monday Night Raw was something not to be missed. The arrival of WCW's Monday Nitro was great for WWE, too, as it forced them to step their game up and deliver a better product.
The greatest thing about these faces is that they fit the era they were representing. Hogan was part of the family-friendly, sometimes overly dramatic, era. Austin was and possibly is the biggest badass the WWE has ever seen, which fit perfectly in the WWE's "Attitude Era."
Cena has served as one of the greatest poster boy's in WWE history. In the short-lived "Ruthless Aggression" era of the early 2000s, Cena was using his hip-hop gimmick while kicking ass in the ring. When the WWE decided to take the PG approach, Cena was more of a jokester to become kid friendly.
Lately, it seems as though we're stepping into a new era. The WWE Universe has started to familiarize themselves with the backstage happenings of the WWE. Most of this can be attributed to wrestling dirt sheets, but a lot can be traced back to the WWE themselves.
The WWE heavily encourages their superstars to use Twitter to help fuel feuds, further a storyline or develop characters. Because of this, things that used to be considered "taboo" are out in the open. A large part of this is due to current WWE Champion CM Punk.
Everybody is well aware of his incredible promo on Raw last summer. He openly discussed Paul Heyman, ROH, NJPW and made mention of John Lauinaitis before he became an on-screen character. The argument can be made that Punk helped usher in this new "Reality Era" in the WWE. However, that is not the only reason for him to be the new face of the WWE.
First and foremost, Punk is an incredible wrestler. WWE fans are absolutely more impressed with great wrestling as opposed to a compelling storyline (see: Evan Bourne and Tyson Kidd, guys who don't get major programs but the fans love to watch).
On top of being a great wrestler, his mic skills are more than impressive. He's a man who is never at a loss for words and rarely, if ever, loses a war of words.
Punk connects with the WWE Universe. He brings the badass, punk rock vibe to the ring every night. People enjoy that he's mellow, down to earth and on their level. He also gets down to business when he has to and gives off the "don't-look-at-me-wrong" vibe. However, the WWE seems to be missing out on the biggest reason Punk should be the face of the company.
The WWE is heavily behind their Be a STAR campaign. Punk has openly discussed how he was bullied as a kid. He's a perfect example of how someone can go from being picked on to becoming a success.
On top of everything else, the best thing about Punk for the Be a STAR campaign (which stands for "show tolerance and respect") and the WWE's PG rating is the fact that he's straight edge. Punk abstains from alcohol, tobacco and drugs. With the WWE's past of steroid and drug scandals, I'm surprised they haven't pushed his straight-edge lifestyle harder to the WWE Universe. Aside from that, "don't do drugs" is the best possible message they could hope to send to kids.
Punk is the ideal WWE superstar. He has the wrestling ability, the mic skills and his true lifestyle makes him marketable to fans of all ages. No, I don't feel he's being held back. He's the WWE Champion, yet he's still not the face of the WWE. If the company gets behind their champion a little more, he has every bit of potential to be the biggest WWE superstar of all time.
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