After what was a somewhat questionable attack on The Rock just one week ago, rumors began swirling of Punk's transition into a heel. Most assumed it was time for Punk to turn back into the bad guy, which he excels at (he is also fantastic as a face).
With prime faces in John Cena and The Rock as his opposition in the upcoming months, it seems as though he would take the role of heel. However, this past Monday he explained his actions, and unlike most heels, what he said made sense.
As WWE Champion, he does deserve respect, and The Rock didn't give it to him. He didn't turn his back on the WWE Universe, because as he said, The Rock is not the WWE Universe. With that said, what exactly is Punk? As of now, it isn't exactly clear what WWE is doing with him, as he seems to be in a transition phase.
If WWE truly does want to pull the trigger on a heel turn, it will be fun to see how the crowd reacts if he is going against them. The turn will also be good for WWE as a whole, due to the lack of a top heel right now.
I can see The Miz eventually settling into the role, but it may not be for a very long time. Kevin Nash has hinted at NWO reunion in WWE, and if he is telling the truth, a heel version of today's CM Punk would be the perfect man for the job.
While some may dread the idea of Nash and Co. back in WWE, if guys follow Punk into the newer version of the stable, it could once again earn its spot as a legit threat.
Adding in Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, AJ, Dolph Ziggler, and even another big name (Brock Lesnar part-time?) would do wonders for the group as a whole, each superstar individually, and any storylines they are involved in.
However, I don't see Punk entering a full-fledged heel turn. Instead, I can easily see him go back to the tweener state he was at just one year ago. Coming of the heels of his epic shoot promo, CM Punk was WWE's resident anti-hero. While he was always fighting evil, he did things for himself.
WWE had the perfect character but eventually transitioned him into a face. While he was still fantastic as a good guy, he seemed to lose his edge. Yeah, he went against authority, but it just wasn't the same.
As a tweener, Punk went after authority, even if they were faces, the main sample being Triple H. After the transition, Punk went as far as to team up with Hunter in a pay-per-view match.
My least favorable option is definitely the idea of him staying as a face. Recently, Punk's has been doing the same old song and dance, and his reign is beginning to grow predictable and stale. WWE needs to do something different, and keeping him as a face wouldn't do the job.
The only way I see this happening is he explains his actions and fights both Cena and Rock in Face vs Face matches (Similar to Cena vs Rock). I wouldn't be a huge fan of back-to-back rivalries without a single heel involved (Big Show is meaningless and doesn't count for much).
This is what I think (and hope) will end up happening: With both a heel and a face in his upcoming match at SummerSlam, WWE really has the option of whether to push his turn quickly. If they manage to slow down the transition, I expect him to settle back into his role as a tweener.
For two years straight, WWE has struck gold with exciting, logical, storylines that grabbed every viewer's attention. WWE can strike gold once again, as long as they manage to execute.