He's Better Than You: What Makes CM Punk Great?
CM Punk is the top heel on WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown! How did he get to where he is? What makes him great?
There is no formula to success in the world of professional wrestling but CM Punk has without a doubt found that success. I’ve done the research, now I’m going to tell you what I’ve found.
Phillip Jack Brooks was born on October 26, 1978 in Chicago, Illinois. CM Punk found his calling at a young age while watching Rowdy Roddy Piper feud with Superfly Jimmy Snuka and he got his start in professional wrestling at the Steel Domain wrestling school in Chicago where he was trained by Chris Guy, aka Ace Steel.
While wrestling for Steel Domain he met Scott Colton aka Colt Cabana whom he would feud or partner with throughout the early part of his career. It was his matches with Colt Cabana that led CM Punk to Ring Of Honor.
Much like his career with WWE, CM Punk started out as babyface but unlike the WWE, he quickly turned heel in ROH. He won several titles during his time with ROH and it was in ROH that Punk developed his ultra-hated “I am better than you,” straight edge persona.
How did a man who abstains from dangerous vises such as drug use or alcohol among others become the biggest villain in all of professional wrestling? Considering the WWE has moved to a child friendly product, wouldn’t this be the person they would want as the face of the franchise?
Certainly, they wouldn’t want him villainized, would they? As it turn out, the WWE would be foolish not to let CM Punk berate crowds for their chemical dependencies.
CM Punk developed this over the top, holier than thou gimmick from his own lifestyle. He made a decision to avoid alcohol after learning that alcoholism may be hereditary.
Soon thereafter CM Punk discovered the band Minor Threat, who stimulated the straight edge lifestyle.
After realizing the ideals of straight edge aligned with his own, he declared himself straight edge and began supporting its philosophies as well.
As CM Punk feuded with the ultra popular Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Championship, both fan favorites at the time, the crowd was quickly beginning to side with the troubled Hardy.
Punk began to dredge up Hardy’s past struggles and offered to help Hardy with his demons. Ironically, this led to more cheers for Jeff Hardy and more and more jeers for Punk.
The heel turn was completed when Hardy accused Punk of exaggerating his supposed eye injury to retain his title causing Punk to claim supremacy over Hardy and his fans because of his straight edge lifestyle.
CM Punk’s unyielding approach to any vise and his ability to articulate that to the crowds elicit huge jeers which Punk uses to further his “I’m better than you” position.
By simply turning the boos into another addiction the WWE Universe can’t break away from (without his help, of course), he has become the greatest heel in the company.
It takes more than being the single most hated wrestler in the world to be great. CM Punk also has a deep playbook to work with.
Because he can strike from anywhere in the ring at any time, Punk is considered one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the world. He possesses a large variety of knee strikes, kicks, elbows and hand strikes but that is only the beginning.
He utilizes a plethora of wear-down holds designed to weaken specific parts of his opponents body, depending on his in ring strategy. His clear mind permits Punk to stay one step ahead of his opponent, beating them to the punch time after time.
Most often, Punk uses the Go To Sleep, GTS to finish off matches but if there are situations or opponents where the GTS just won’t work.
For instance, at Breaking Point (9/13/09) Punk was involved in a Submission match with much lager and more powerful Undertaker. For most wrestlers, when their signature move can’t beat an opponent, they lose the match.
This is not the case for CM Punk because he can also unleash a vicious submission hold that can take down the largest of opponents, the Anaconda Vise. It was the Anaconda Vise that Punk used to defeat the Undertaker at Breaking Point.
Prior to becoming the most hated man in wrestling, CM Punk’s merchandise was among the most popular with the WWE Universe, another sign of superstardom in wrestling. Unfortunately for Punk, berating your potential customers is a poor marketing scheme. Who knew?
However, it does sell tickets. Many will pay the price of admission just to see Punk put in his place. Unfortunately for them, CM Punk proves time and time again that he is better than his opponent.
Now that he has established himself as a bone fide superstar on Friday Night Smackdown!, CM Punk has dedicated himself to saving others. Through his guidance, Luke Gallows, formerly known as Festus, has extricated himself from the haze of drugs.
A short time later, he would help Serena overcome her addictions and as a sign of her dedication, she shaved her head and the three formed the Straight Edge Society (SES) under CM Punk’s leadership.
More recently, Punk has offered to help fellow wrestler Rey Mysterio Jr. overcome his shortcomings. This didn’t sit well with Mysterio and has led to a feud between the two.
The future is bright for CM Punk and the Straight Edge Society. The Smackdown roster is full of intriguing opponents or potential SES recruits depending on who CM Punk decides to destroy or save.
The most titillating opponent is Christian. Captain Charisma is one of a select few who can match CM Punk in a war of words as well as hold for hold. These two could potentially carry Smackdown while other wrestlers work their way into the main event.
For the professional wrestling fan, a feud between CM Punk and the Straight Edge Society and Christian and his legions of Peeps around the world, is as good as it gets.
Pro Wrestling Illustrated; wikipedia.com; cmpunk.com; better-than-you.net; thesaurus.com
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