"A year and a half ago I spoke about being just a spoke on the wheel...Now I am the wheel!"
~ CM Punk
A year and a half ago, CM Punk, an often overlooked, underused and undervalued well of talent, sat atop the entrance to the coliseum of the WWE universe and unleashed a scathing proclamation against the very foundation that built the grounds in which he sat.
His disdain, anger and hatred for the current direction, hypocrisy, ideas and policies that plagued the WWE extended from his lips into the waiting ears of those who longed to hear all of their shared pleas come from someone who had the power to accomplish the change they sought.
His words—harsh and laced with a toxicity long since outlawed within the WWE kingdom called "truth"—combined with a firestorm of passion, revelry and anarchy that exploded throughout the wrestling universe creating, what is now referred to in the annals of WWE history as "The Pipe Bomb".
And with its marvelous explosion came the birth of a new star to shine forever brightly along with all of the universe's past and current stars, legends and gods.
With its magnificent explosion also came the birth of a new WWE landscape. A once-lush, green, high-definition, family-friendly, clean environment had now turned into a wasteland of deserts, underground passageways, and a looming cloud of uncertainty that cloaked the land in a shade of gray.
No longer were the sounds of CeNation and its children heard laughing, but if you listened closely you could now hear the crackling sound of a distorted radio and the chanting of those that were now dialed into its melody.
The Pipe Bomb. The birth of a new star, the birth of a new WWE landscape...
The birth of a revolution.
The Cult of Personality and His Triumphant Quest for Change
With the drums of war and the hearts of his loyal followers beating in rhythm closely behind him. CM Punk's revolution descended upon the WWE kingdom, its rulers, its most beloved icon, John Cena and everyone and everything that stood in its way.
Within a few short months of the explosion that changed the world. The self-proclaimed "Best in the World" CM Punk had become the kingdom's new champion to much fanfare and excitement.
It was a monumental change to an entire industry, now fueled by the passion that was now re-injected back into a product that had been running on empty for nearly three years.
CM Punk, in a short span of time, had brought change as he promised, but he brought something much more special back into the universe.
He brought back that which was slowly being drained by those that sit, watch and wait with their finger on the "censor button," those that parade their shameless self-promotions, hypocritical propaganda and agendas, those that run for real-world senate seats living by and hiding behind the initials "PG", and those that lack the creativity, will power and determination to write better stories with relevant characters.
CM Punk had brought life back into a dying product.
The once-overlooked, forgotten, undervalued and misused Punk had accomplished something that no one thought he could do. Not only had he successfully navigated the perilous journey from backyard wrestling, Ring of Honor, TNA and ECW on his way into the golden gates of the WWE kingdom, but he did it without conforming to the policies, prophesies and willpower of the "suits" who acted more like obstacles, rather then guides along his path.
CM Punk was his own character, one that fit perfectly into the changing culture, society and trends of this era in wrestling. While his initial actions were based in anger, resentment and reeking of desperation, his message to those that followed—and especially those that later joined the revolution —was clear.
Follow CM Punk, his revolution, his determination to make a better future and product, and his need to lead a more creative WWE.
Punk had become one of the largest stars the WWE had seen in years, and within months of his scathing proclamation against the WWE foundation. The product was immensely better, drenched in Punk's euphoric aura that spread like a wildfire exhilarating children and adults alike. His popularity grew side-by-side with the number of days he held the "richest prize in the game," the WWE championship.
CM Punk had now become a myth, a sign of hope for all those that willingly chose to follow his own path, a pillar of strength for the future and beyond.
Punk was not a young cavalier who blazed his way to success from the beginning, like his nemesis John Cena. Punk, now older and entering the twilight of his years in the ring, had finally found his place within the industry he adored.
He was someone people could relate too, he was someone who extended far beyond his television character of "Best in the World" or "Voice of the Voiceless," and had become something that embodied every hardworking, undervalued and overlooked patron of the WWE universe.
The revolution was a growing and vibrant success. Those that followed Punk into the fiery flames of war were rewarded with a better landscape, product and the satisfaction of knowing they chose to align themselves with the "savior of wrestling," holding onto that feeling that they too helped rebuild.
However, the growing resentment, anger and desperate attitude of Punk was beginning to resurface, while those around him continued to regale him as a savior and "Best in the World." It was something he already knew, without the coddling and reassurance from those he was beginning to grow tired of.
And without due cause, reason or notice to those that follow blindly, CM Punk changed the course of his revolution from the greater good of the industry and WWE kingdom to his own personal quest for entitlement, career fulfillment and something he was given in copious abundance, but felt he deserved more of...
Perhaps it is the nature of man to grow tiresome of the status quo. Perhaps it is human nature to greedily lust after more when given so much, but perhaps it is inevitable that when your fingers slowly lose their grasp around something you hold close to your heart, you surrender your soul to the powers of evil in order to do what is necessary to retain the hold.
Within every man lies a darkness that sits idle. A potent poison of the mind and spirit that brews beneath the heart of every man, woman and child. A caged electric cable, detached from its lines, that dances wildly, randomly and with such ferocious velocity that once the cage door is unlocked, this cable propels toward the nearest source of water and electrifies the soul. It is this poisoned electricity that takes over the body and creates an atmosphere of unknowns within the mind and actions of its inhabitant.
And in the blink of an eye, CM Punk, in the middle of the night, while his loyal followers were deep in sleep, grabbed his WWE championship and went his own separate way...
Turning his back on the WWE universe, his revolutionary followers and those that gave him the stage to become what he is today...
The Isolated Champion and his Counsel
Not alone in his actions and retreat from those that brought him the fame, glory and star power he claimed to be entitled to, CM Punk brought along the one man who always conveyed appreciation and respect for him: Paul Heyman.
Paul Heyman, known as a rogue renegade that has seen his fair share of quarrels with those who sit idle in the throne room and command and direct the WWE universe.
He, like Punk, share similar interests, convictions, views and attitudes towards the WWE kingdom. A master manipulator, politician and folk legend, Heyman is now the only one Punk trusts enough to keep in his camp. A camp that, overnight, went from millions to one.
And while Punk remains the kingdom's champion, in the bright headlights of every man, woman, child and rising opponent gunning for his demise, he has now become nearly untouchable.
He's been granted the privilege of being able to pick his opponents as his reign as champion continues to grow with (in Punk's misguided view) no suitable contender to his precious WWE championship.
Can we blame Punk for his actions? Have you not, in your lifetime, done something to shape, mold or create a better world for someone only to see the credit or respect given to someone else? Is it not a human instinct to feel the sting of resentment when those around you are showered in shared praise for something you alone accomplished?
Was CM Punk given a stage without a spotlight? A spotlight that continued to shine on one man, John Cena, even though he was not the kingdom's champion?
Who was it that headlined big event after big event while Punk's growing, successful revolution continued to change the way we viewed not only the product, but the majesty and prestige of the WWE championship?
Can you ever remember a time period within the history of the WWE when the champion continued to play second fiddle to gimmick matches, returning, part-time stars and an abundance of the same old smoke-and-mirrors that suffocated the creativity of the product, before Punk's pipe bomb?
Does CM Punk deserve Respect? Yes, but it is the path that we choose to follow in order to preserve gain that we are judged by. Punk, in a desperate, defiant act, chose the path of evil and has now been judged, tried by his peers and those within the universe, and is now waiting to be captured for execution.
And while Punk is aware that he is being hunted, he continues to laugh in the face of everyone that cares to, in his mind, disrespect him.
Berating, harming and challenging the authority, virtues, commitments and opinions of anyone who dissents against him.
All while the glowing warmth of the WWE championship shines high above, and Punk is held up by his only follower and friend, repeating and confirming to Punk that he is and always will be "The Best in the World."
As Punk continues to disregard claims that in order to gain the respect he seeks he must defeat John Cena within the confines of the kingdom's must treasured, hellish concoction—The Hell in a Cell—his confidence, cockiness and malice continues to grow inside him.
Not even the creator of all the land that Punk, Cena, the adoring fans and those that perform for them inhabit, Vince McMahon; Not even he can contain the wild, rebel outlaw that now hides with his shadow counsel in abandoned buildings, tunnels and streets clutching to the one thing that gives him meaning, purpose and his voice: the WWE championship.
Once the leader of a proud, history-defining revolution has now become public enemy No. 1 to the kingdom upon assaulting the kingdom's creator, McMahon, in a cold-hearted, childish, carefree act to command the respect no one seems to want to give him anymore.
In an attempt to wrangle in the outlaw, Vince McMahon gave Punk an ultimatum that only he, the king of all the land, could give him: Either chose to proudly defend his beloved WWE championship against John Cena inside the Hell in a Cell, or become feed for a growing beast that has been lurking outside the gates of the kingdom for some time now... a creature known as Ryback.
And when cornered by Cena and Ryback, his counsel indisposed due to McMahon, and moments away from capture, CM Punk retreated back into the forest... right into the waiting, angry arms of all those he left lost, confused and alone...the remainders of his dismembered revolution. And in an act of anger, Punk unleashed all of his malcontent and poisonous evil, and struck the only people who may have forgiven him and offered an olive branch.
Drenched in the aroma of paranoia, completely unhinged, unglued and unremitting, CM Punk has now gone past the point of no return. He will be hunted until the day he no longer has his confidence, his counsel, his WWE championship...his voice.
And what exactly is CM Punk to the WWE universe without the golden glow of the championship belt wrapped around his waist?
What or who will CM Punk become once the inevitable happens? What will become of our once-savior, leader and rebel turned outlaw?
Punk and Heyman try to figure out the best course of action following McMahon's ultimatum, sitting in the enclosed, safe confines of their hidden lair, one thing stands certain...
The Hell in a Cell awaits...
“Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall"
~ Mahatma Gandhi