Throughout CM Punk's lengthy title reign, he was somehow consistently overshadowed. No matter what he did or who he fought, Punk played second fiddle to John Cena by being bumped from every pay-per-view main event, in spite of holding the WWE Championship. Punk was left off the top of the card so Cena could face the likes of John Laurinaitis, the Big Show, and part-timers like the Rock and Brock Lesnar.
After holding the top prize in the company for so long, Punk's character had plateaued. Why? Because he had nothing to chase, no injustice to correct, no wrong to be upset over. As charismatic as Punk is, that extra fire and palpable feeling of desire for change was missing.
At the end of the 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW, Punk outshone everyone. His presence went unnoticed by none. He walked out with his title as Cena was left lying motionless in the ring. The monstrous Big Show was down for the count as well.
Punk's biggest statement by far came when he knocked out the People's Champion, The Rock. It wasn't just the fact that he did it, but it was how he did it. He came out of nowhere to interrupt the "most electrifying move in sports entertainment," the People's Elbow. When he clotheslined the Rock, you could hear the air get sucked out of the building and the shock come over those in attendance.
And it wasn't simply that you couldn't help but notice Punk. With his actions and his conviction, he commanded you to notice.
Punk sent shockwaves through the WWE Universe with what he did. At the end of the monumental episode, Punk stood taller than today's top superstars in the company. He imposed his will upon one of the most beloved living legends in WWE history,
Punk even managed to add that old cockiness and swagger (the kind that only CM Punk can offer) when he stalked the Rock, waiting to hit the GTS, just like the Rock had done to so many competitors before he would hit the Rock Bottom.
For those crying fowl, saying Punk's heel turn was a poorly timed, unnecessary mistake, think of how the entertainment value here is maximized. The WWE roster is incredibly thin when it comes to good heel characters. I mean wrestlers with seriously convincing heel personas that can get under your skin and draw your hatred.
And very few, if any, are better at that than CM Punk.
Some argue that Punk did not make a heel turn. Perhaps this will tweak his character a little, give him more of an edge. Or maybe he's more of a tweener than a heel.
Regardless of how you choose to classify Punk, one thing is for sure: An angry, frustrated CM Punk who speaks his mind and goes against the grain to get what he wants is compelling television. Punk is always trying to get his point across, that he's the "best in the world." Now, he gets to rub it in everyone's face while he tries adamantly to prove it on a weekly basis. Hopefully Punk has plenty of "pipe bombs" coming soon. Because he finally has everyone's attention now.
So if you're a WWE fan, you can complain (a completely valid reaction which you can take advantage of by using the comment section!) or you can sit back...and enjoy the ride.
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