In Rocky III, fictional boxer Rocky Balboa is as rich and famous as ever after defeating Apollo Creed for the World Heavyweight Championship.
He's in Maserati ads, on the cover of countless magazines, doing commercials, appearing on late-night TV shows and even has his own "Rocky" pinball machine.
Rocky has it all, except the edge (the "Eye of the Tiger") that he once had—the hunger to win that he once had. As a result of becoming complacent and losing his edge, Rocky loses his world title, self-respect and even his manager, Mickey. Luckily for Rocky, he's able to get his edge back.
At Money In The Bank 2011, CM Punk defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship. Going into the event, CM Punk generated an astronomical amount of momentum with a single June 27, 2011 promo in which he audaciously voiced his frustrations with the WWE brass and landscape.
The promo was so incredible that GQ decided to interview Punk, and radio host Jim Rome offered Punk a microphone on his radio show.
After defeating John Cena at Money In The Bank, CM Punk's momentum increased even more. The "Best In The World" shirt that he wore at the event (which was only sold at the event) sold for as high as $585 on eBay before WWE decided to start selling it on WWEshop.com.
Besides mainstream exposure, DVDs and shirt sales, CM Punk still holds WWE's most coveted prize—the WWE Championship. Not bad, huh?
Nearly a year after Money In The Bank, CM Punk seems to have it all—except the intangible edge that he had last summer: the rebellious "I don't care what you think of me" attitude that he showed in the buildup to Money In The Bank.
Where has it gone?
After telling the fans that they were a big reason why he planned to leave WWE after Money In The Bank, CM Punk now smiles to fans and fishes for cheers. Doesn't he (or WWE) realize that "nice guys finish last," or that the reason fans originally fell in love with him is because of how he once behaved as a heel?
It was perfectly fine for him to be a babyface in his hometown of Chicago at Money In The Bank, but not everywhere else.
When Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock turned babyface, they did not completely change what got them over with the fans in the first place. They didn't change their attitude. They wouldn't have called the WWE Championship design "ugly," and then later kissed it before matches—as CM Punk has done.
If CM Punk has no control over how he presents himself on TV, I apologize to him for criticizing him here. However, if he does have control, I urge him to get his edge back before he becomes a cookie-cutter WWE "superstar."
CM Punk once tweeted the following:
Punk: square peg in a round hole world.
While that statement will likely always describe CM Punk, it never fit him better than during the buildup to his WWE Championship match with John Cena at Money In The Bank.
That's fine, but how can CM Punk get his edge back?
Turn heel at the earliest and most reasonable time possible. Heels have more freedom to be who they want to be than babyfaces do.
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