Believe it or not, there is more to the recent character change of CM Punk than just more attitude and a lot of substance.
The character change, whether perceived as a “heel” turn or not, is better for the WWE because of its effect on the company, veterans and younger wrestlers and the need to see the WWE Champion in the main event on television and in PPV events.
Last year, Punk gave us the promo heard round the world prior to Money in the Bank. This year, he gave us the “GTS” seen round the world when he took out The Rock at Raw’s 1,000th episode celebration.
And the move that sent “Dwayne” to the canvas may have more of an effect than the words spoke about him only a year ago. Here’s the thing; why hasn’t the WWE picked up on this before and played off of it?
I personally don’t think of Punk’s character change as moving from one side of the fence to the other or vice versa. What I see is a man who finally has come back to the character he created when he left with the WWE Title in Chicago at MITB.
The fact is, like we pointed out in other columns, the WWE Title was not getting respect. CM Punk wasn’t getting respect. History wasn’t getting respect. And The Rock wanted all the respect in the world.
Yes, he is without a doubt one of the reasons professional wrestling is loved by the millions (and millions) of fans each week. But he cannot come barging into the WWE, wrestle a few matches, claim to get a title shot at the Royal Rumble and expect the WWE Champion to sit there and take it.
Every wrestler has his breaking point.
Not only is CM Punk trying to command respect for not only himself but the title he wears, but he is also demanding it.
We saw more of his uneven attitude when AJ announced the title defense against Big Show and John Cena at SummerSlam even though we all saw that coming a mile away after Big Show destroyed Cena at Raw 1,000 and Punk beat Show to get to that moment.
The “change” in character is huge because frankly, isn’t this the CM Punk we wanted all along?
Gritty, mean and with a side of ego? The lone wolf and maybe not the anti-hero we all claim him to be? He is not Steve Austin as some of my readers have pointed out to me. But he has a chance to be one of the better free spirits the company has had on its roster in decades.
And while there are few in the ring who are comparable to him like a Daniel Bryan or maybe an Austin Aries or AJ Styles over in TNA, no one right now captures the WWE Universe with every word.
And above everything else, we have not heard from “Dwayne” yet and like Punk said, when “Dwayne” and Cena were on the card for WM 28, you could not shut him up. Funny how that works. It also looks like Punk has won the battle and the war at the same time.
We know that not to be true because at some point, two heads will collide and one of them will breathing fire like a Brahma Bull.
And in the end, or as it would be right now, the beginning, all CM Punk did was go back to a place we all knew existed and a character that needed to show its face again.
Good thing for us, because it restored faith in the idea that not only is his character one of a kind, the WWE Title he wears and defends should be treated as such and with respect as well.