CM Punk WWE: Latest Angle Showcases Sports Fans' Adoration of the Villain

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2011

Not everyone wants to admit it, but people love to root for the bad guy.

There is a reason that Darth Vader is one of the most popular Star Wars characters and there is a reason that LeBron James still moved jerseys and sneakers long after he did everything possible to ruin his public image.

People love to associate themselves with the bad guy.

This is never more evident than in wrestling, where some of the most popular groups and individuals in the history of the sport have been bad guys.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, arguably the most iconic wrestler in the history of the industry, was a bad guy who got over with the crowd and carried it all the way to millions upon millions of dollars for Vince McMahon and WWE.

The history of the wrestling industry is filled with groups who played the heel yet managed to become some of the sports biggest icons. Groups like The Four Horsemen, D-Generation X and the nWo are just a few.

Recently, the WWE has revisited this formula with CM Punk and John Cena, and tapped into that underground vein once more.

In this classic good vs. bad rivalry, we should hate CM Punk and praise Cena, the hard-working, All-American champion who fights for all that is good in the WWE world. 

Yet, when CM Punk took the microphone a week ago and started to rail against the WWE establishment, it was the fans who were chanting his name as Cena lay broken in the ring.

It was partially because the older fans have never respected Cena and partially because Punk was their voice, an echo of the anti-establishment heart that used to power the WWE.

Punk was saying what a lot of fans were thinking about the company's current product, and was tearing the entire organization down around him.

He spoke of other companies, he mentioned other wrestlers that no longer worked for WWE, and Punk referred to The Rock by his actual name, Dwayne.

The No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship has always been a favorite of the smart marks, or "smarks," if you will.

With this angle, he has crossed over from an underground wrestling hero to a full-fledged representation of all that is right with wrestling today, and he did it as a heel.

Now, Punk is the talk of the wrestling world, and it has drawn old fans back into the mix. The internet has been buzzing ever since Raw abruptly cut away, and this is the most buzz the WWE has had in a long time.

The reaction is this massive because the superstar lashed out and spoke from the heart, two things that used to be mainstays during the most recent golden age of wrestling.

In society, there has always been a fascination with the rebel, the outlaw, the bad guy, and CM Punk had fed off of that emotion and created an angle that none of us will ever forget.