A heel for a new generation of fans
It hurts to say it at 23 years of age, but I am an avid wrestling fan and have been since about as early as I can remember. It's gotten to the point where my girlfriend isn't worried about me bringing girls back to my place, because there's an Intercontinental Title Belt and a Razor Ramon action figure hanging on the wall.
Humiliating anecdotes aside, I am pretty much an old schooler. Anything from the mid-80's on is pretty much my game. That being said, I stopped watching contemporary wrestling in 2002 when Vince killed the nWo after their return to WWE.
Being the Scott Hall mark I am, however, I started watching a bit when he and the rest of the Wolfpac signed to TNA in January of 2010. This, of course, didn't last and here I sit a year later completely unimpressed with the state of pro wrestling. That is, until last Sunday night.
I was actually pretty excited to see the Rumble. Not excited enough to pay, but excited nonetheless, so off to a friend's house I went. I enjoyed the opening matches, but the whole time I was itching to see the Rumble match. For years, the only thing I looked forward to as much as WrestleMania was the Royal Rumble. This event is what separates the stars from the jobbers, the up and comers from the jabronis. It can bring a veteran back to the main event scene or launch a young star's career.
Right off the bat, CM Punk comes out at No. 1. Now, let me make it clear that I haven't watched WWE enough recently to know this young man's talent, and I wasn't sure what the WWE was trying to do having him come out at No. 1. After hearing about his deal with the rest of the Nexus, I was curious to see how effective his strategy would be.
What is the most important trait for a heel to possess?
Once the entire Nexus was in the ring and dominating every opponent that entered, something happened to me. For the first time in years, I was absolutely at the edge of my seat.
The 10 year old inside of me was marking out, I realized I was watching the best heel since Hollywood Hogan circa 1996-1997. Punk was not only sitting behind a group of monsters ready to do his bidding, but he could actually wrestle and defend himself. Punk was (believably) enjoying every moment of it too.
The sadistic smile, the way he sat down cross-legged rocking back and forth and the way he just waited, knowing his plan was working, made me feel as if there was an actual psychopath in the ring. It was like watching the Joker in a wrestling match.
Another thing to note is that with this gimmick, CM Punk is not an anti-hero, but he is a pure heel. If I was a kid, I would hate him. In the PG Era, it's hard to find a heel that is actually evil, rather than annoying or just feuding with John Cena.
Speaking of John Cena, what in God's name was the WWE thinking? I'm not one to complain really, but why build all that steam for Punk and the Nexus only to completely negate it with John Cena tearing them to shreds. I understand he's the top face. I understand that he's as close to Superman and Hulk Hogan a wrestler can get these days.
But why make a group of four people look completely powerless against one man, not only in just a few minutes but right in the middle of the Rumble? On top of that, they insulted the intelligence of every fan no matter what age by having Cena and Hornswaggle decimate at least four entrants after it.
OK, rant over, back to Punk.
I know CM Punk has been around for a while, so I did some research. Punk has five-star skills both in the ring and on the mic. It's clear to me that he can be a driving force in this era to bring some old fans back and most importantly, create new ones. WWE needs to realize a great face is nothing without a better heel. Superman needed Luthor, Hogan needed Piper and I think the Cenas of the world need Punk. Pure good vs. pure sadistic, unadulterated evil.
So let me know what you think, Bleachers. Are there any heels you can think of that are comparable? What about with mind games and the psychology of being a heel?
Thanks for reading, chicos. Stay Classy...