The Straightedge Society: How Will It Rise & How Will It Fall?
Let me first be very clear, I do not want, or indeed foresee, the end of the Straightedge Society occurring for a long time yet. The purpose of this article is to gauge opinion on the direction you guys can see the Society going in it's continual rise and inevitable fall before any rumours, spoilers and genuine story-lines develop to give us the answer. Now is also a good time to reflect on this topic as the Society is destined to start a new journey whatever that outcome of the Pledge vs Hair Match against Rey Mysterio at Over The Limit.
The Immediate Future
So lets consider this match first of all, if Punk loses he is shaved bald, thus losing the symbol of purity and greatness. Now, I do not like this option because for its leader to have two such high-profile embarrassing losses to a cruiserweight (also at Wrestlemania) so early in its growth is not symbolic of a potential super stable. However, one B/R commenter, sorry I cant remember the name, suggested that a bald Punk may become more psychotic and with the promo and psychological skills of the man that angle would certainly be fascinating viewing.
Alternatively, Mysterio would have to join the Society in the case that he loses this match. This would most likely lead to two new members, with the masked man also joining the Society. Although this scenario makes Punk more dominant and the Society larger in size, my concern is the storyline would then be built around Mysterio and his fate rather than the greater purpose of the Straightedge Society.
I think Smackdown needs Mysterio as a top face at the moment so I see the immediate future of the Society lies with a bald Punk, hopefully a psychotic one at that.
Whatever Over The Limit brings the WWE would be foolish to not see the goldmine they have here and at some point the Straightedge Society will explode, hopefully monopolizing most of the Championships and certainly with its Saviour on top as World Heavyweight Champion. I have said previously that this should happen in the autumn and have Punk head into Wrestlemania 27 as the super- villain Champion.
A consistent theme in people's comments on the subject is that for such dominance to occur it simply needs more members, the former Festus and an, as yet, inactive Diva is not enough. I will leave others to debate who these members should be but I wholeheartedly agree with this idea of membership growth. If we look at the most successful factions, Nation of Domination, Ministry of Darkness, DX etc etc they all had many more than three members at their lofty heights.
I mention the Nation of Domination as I have been learning about them recently and think their model could be followed here. By this I mean there is great scope in the Straightedge Society to have a turnover of members with story-lines of Punk dismissing members who fall short of the Straightedge ideals, thus further putting over Punk's "I'm better than you" gimmick. Also, a young heel, Cody, Dolph or Drew could get over by 'doing a Rock' and trying to usurp CM Punk, but this time I would have Punk win.
So I see the Society's rise involving a significant growth in membership and a monopoly of the titles. This would be followed by Punk eventually losing the title at Mania after which we enter a period of consistent changes of membership as Punk tries to find his true disciples.
In my mind this is the crucial point for the Society. It should become a super stable, but a super stable, unlike Evolution or D-Generation X, with a very simple Straightedge gimmick. It would therefore be insufficient for it to follow the normal path to failure, the break-up of the Straightedge Society has to uniquely link in with the Straightedge aspect.
Importantly, the Straightedge lifestyle has to come out looking like a face gimmick. Many have been shocked by the WWE's use of a Straightedge heel in a PG Era but I have argued that its Punk's attitude to people that is portrayed as heel, not his attitude to drugs. This has to continue throughout the Society's lifetime and by the end of it the kids must be made to understand that a Straightedge lifestyle is admirable for those that choose it. With this in mind I propose two scenarios for the fall of the Straightedge Society.
1. The Society is absolutely dominant and running rampage across all of WWE preaching its message, they couldn't be more on top. CM Punk then has an epiphany and realizes that what he has created does not follow the true principals and morals of Straightedge and that he has lost his path. He then turns on the Society and leads the revolt against it. This would be a courageous route for the WWE to take and could touch in more detail upon the religious and cultural imagery and suggestions used by the Society. This is my preferred option for its originality and bravery. Also with his tattoos Punk would always be associated with Straightedge so he would have to turn face.
2. CM Punk as the Society's preaching "Saviour" has become increasingly psychotic and delusional in his hunt for domination, moving further and further from his ideals. The death nail would be Punk being found to be a liar and a hypocrite as he is found to be drinking and smoking, (I must point out that I realize this would have to be achieved without Punk actually drinking or smoking). This would allow for Punk to stay as a super heel but is an extremely unlikely storyline to be found on PG WWE television shows.
Well there you go, I have made my suggestions for the future of the Straightedge Society but now I'm very interested in hearing yours. Thanks for reading and I look forward to comments and feedback.
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