WWE: Analyzing CM Punk's New Character Direction
Since the 1,000th episode of RAW, WWE Champion CM Punk has slowly, but surely become a different person. It wasn't long ago that he was pandering to the fans and going through all the face motions, but after attacking Jerry "The King" Lawler mercilessly on RAW the past couple weeks, Punk's transformation is evident.
Although Punk himself hasn't exactly admitted to turning heel and continues to try to justify his actions, he obviously isn't the same. Punk's heel turn has pretty much come from out of left field as there wasn't any indication that it might take place, but it has been intriguing to say the least.
Here is a breakdown of the events that have ultimately led to Punk's change of heart, as well as analysis of whether or not his actions have been justifiable.
Overall Lack of Respect
The entire theme of Punk's heel turn thus far has been that he feels he is being disrespected. You could argue that there have been many such instances, but the most glaring took place on the 1,000th episode of RAW as Punk felt like The Rock didn't show him a proper amount of respect.
There was a segment during the show where Punk and Daniel Bryan were cutting a promo in the ring, but it was interrupted by The Rock who ultimately hijacked it, gave Bryan a Rock Bottom and stole the show. Then, after Punk retained his title against John Cena, The Rock came to the ring to save Cena from a beat down at the hands of Big Show.
Punk clearly wasn't a fan, however, as he interrupted The People's Elbow with a clothesline and then hit The Rock with a GTS. Apparently that was the boiling point for Punk as he has since mentioned several instances in which he has felt disrespected and feels like he should be referred to as the best in the world.
Left Out of Main Event
Have you liked Punk's character transformation to this point?
The fact that CM Punk hasn't main evented the past 10 pay-per-views is something that his fans have lamented for quite some time and now it has become a part of Punk's heel turn storyline. The WWE Championship used to be considered the most important thing in the entire company, but that title now clearly belongs to John Cena.
Cena has main evented essentially every pay-per-view during Punk's title reign and Punk hasn't hidden his displeasure. Over the past several weeks, he has said that every RAW should end with the WWE Champion standing tall and the same can be said of pay-per-view events as well.
Since Punk will be facing Cena at Night of Champions, it looks as though his main-event drought will come to an end, but respect is still an issue. Cena claims that Punk will earn the respect of the fans and everyone else if he manages to beat Cena on his home turf in Boston, so there will be a lot at stake from a storyline perspective next month.
Jerry Lawler's Proclamation
After Punk's attack on The Rock to end the 1,000th episode of RAW, Jerry "The King" Lawler said that Punk had turned his back on the WWE Universe. Most fans took this to mean that Punk had officially turned heel, but Punk was quick to deny that. In fact, he and Lawler have had a rivalry ever since those comments as Punk claims that Lawler slandered him.
Things really heated up last week when Punk forced Lawler to apologize for his comments and then kicked him in the head when he wouldn't call Punk the best in the world. If that didn't officially make Punk a heel, then the events of Monday did as Punk challenged Lawler to a steel cage match, defeated him and beat him to a pulp because he still wouldn't call him the best.
I loved the way that this was done because it helped get Punk a ton of heat. Many have maintained that a heel turn won't work because fans will still love him, but Punk was getting plenty of boos as the show came to a close.
Had he attacked Cena and done the same thing to him, it wouldn't have mattered because half the audience hates Cena anyway. Even though Lawler has deteriorated as an announcer, he is still universally beloved and the manner in which Punk embarrassed him was extremely impactful.
There is still plenty of work to be done when it comes to Punk's character transformation, but I feel like most are interested in where this is going. It has certainly rejuvenated Punk. His character was getting a bit stale, but he is so good as a heel that I have a hard time believing this will fail.
The respect card is something that the fans understand and agree with, and that is a big reason why this angle has been successful thus far. Punk is a changed man and I have no doubt that it has been and will be for the better.
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