In the coming weeks, I am sure Punk will display personality traits of both hero and villain. Fan favorite and subtle rulebreaker. Babyface and heel.
His character, based on his real life discipline of abstaining from drugs and alcohol, can be presented as both a man of principles, and a champion who, with the exception of the drugs and alcohol he is above, will do anything to remain the World Heavyweight Title holder.
As Smackdown looks to hold onto its audience in the post-Jeff Hardy Fall Season 2009, the audience has a lot to be interested in.
What will Hardy's send-off be like? He surely has to be given time off. A man with two strikes in the Wellness Policy who speaks up publicly of his desire to go home for a while should not be pushed to stay on the road. That's a recipe for disaster.
Where does Edge's character go? Are there enough heroes to stand up in the face of adversity personified by heels Edge, Jericho, and Punk?
Is it time for the Vickie Guerrero-less Edge to become Smackdown's Last Hope?
And what becomes of CM Punk? Each week, as a new clue emerges for both sides of the heel vs. babyface debate, an uber-talented performer gets the chance to tease the audience, get them to care, make you wonder what's next for a champion you absolutely know is "the character in play" on Smackdown.
When the audience knows the WWE Universe revolves around a pivotal superstar, it gives fans a reason to discuss the latest twists and turns with their friends, to watch the television shows and to purchase tickets to the live events as well as the monthly PPV's.