CM Punk appears to be at his best as a heel. He has more freedom in his promos, which as a result become more scathing and impassioned, and as a heel, he is really able to delve deep in order to portray an evil character with layers.
Most critics and many fans love CM Punk's work as a heel, but that is part of the problem.
Now that fans have been empowered with the Internet, some fans do, say and cheer for whoever they please with little regard for what they are supposed to do. Today's fan is more jaded than ever and as a result, CM Punk will probably never be universally reviled as a heel.
In fact, it was his seemingly impossible-to-boo work as a heel that forced the WWE to turn him into a babyface just one year ago despite cutting a now famed promo where he took a dig at the WWE fans.
Some suggest that back then CM Punk was "so good as a heel," he had no choice but to embrace his sudden role as a babyface since fans refused to boo him. I would argue the opposite.
I would argue that CM Punk just went soft.
At the end of the day, the role of the heel is to be disliked. Through in-ring antics, cheap-heat during promos and questionable motives, the heel is a despicable human being who is not to be cheered by anybody, jaded or not.
The best heels are so good at being bad that to cheer them reflects poorly on one's character rather than their inside knowledge of professional wrestling.
Ted DiBiase, despite a work rate that made him a standout babyface during his time in the territories, was repackaged in the WWF as "The Million Dollar Man."
A self-absorbed, cutthroat aristocrat who objectified people to justify his stature, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase hit the ground running as a heel and never looked back.
During Punk's initial straight edge heel turn, this also appeared to be the case as he sanctimoniously preached his moral superiority during a hot feud with Jeff Hardy in 2009.
However, CM Punk could not maintain what was once definitive heel heat as his straight edge heel run persisted, and in all fairness, it's not all his fault given the growing pocket of fans who insist on straying from the script and rewarding strong heel work with praise.
Regardless of whose fault it is, becoming a true heel in today's wrestling landscape is now a testament of how good one is at making themselves unlikeable, which is the ultimate goal of all heels. Damien Sandow fits nicely into this description. CM Punk does not.
As a heel, CM Punk will, in all likelihood, receive a mixed reaction while still hearing his name chanted during matches and promos. The same can be said about John Cena.
So, tell me, who is really the heel here? Does it even matter? These questions shouldn't be asked in any given feud.
Perhaps it will be impossible for anybody to stay heel if they display enough "talent" for being evil. The bad guy benchmark may have to be reduced to some degree to grade heels based on how long they were able to be hated before organically transforming into babyfaces.
If this is the case, CM Punk, who has already seen that very transformation, won't fare very well as he attempts to reprise his role in the black hat.
Will CM Punk's role as a heel last? Follow Big Nasty on Twitter @ThisIsNasty and tell him using the hashtag #HeelPunk!
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