WWE's CM Punk vs. John Cena: A Feud Without Traditional Pro Wrestling Roles

Sexton HardcastleAnalyst IAugust 12, 2011

CM Punk and John Cena have created something special. It has been one of the most intriguing storylines ever seen in pro wrestling.

This Sunday, Punk, Cena and Triple H will write the next chapter in the feud. There's an intangible with this feud that makes it unique to anything we have ever seen before. 

It's been a trending discussion. Many analysts have attempted to find this intangible. The majority have attributed the success of this angle to the combination of reality and Kayfabe. CM Punk started this feud, shocking the world with possibly the best worked shoot in history. 

The feud has developed with Punk's legitimate frustrations with backstage politics clashing with the traditional wrestling Kayfabe that John Cena brings.

Cena is, or was, the hero of this story. He was determined to bring down Punk, who's goal was to shake the foundations of the WWE, a goal that has been achieved. 

Money in the Bank 2011 proved to be one of the most memorable pay-per-views ever. The weeks following that night have been significantly different.

Triple H is now the COO, acting as a mediator to the feud. It goes beyond the surface of the storyline. CM Punk is no longer portrayed as the villain trying to create anarchy in the WWE. Consequently, John Cena is no longer the hero.

This storyline has evolved, and the focus is now on more than the WWE championship.

Traditional pro wrestling roles are no longer evident in this feud.

The "heel" and "face" alignment roles aren't played in this storyline. Alignments have been the foundation for pro wrestling storylines for as long as wrestling has been around.

Stone Cold Steve Austin was the face, Mr. McMahon was the heel. Perhaps the greatest babyface of all time was Hulk Hogan.

The "Hulk Hogan" of our time is John Cena. The ultimate role model who stands for hustle, loyalty and respect. 

The initial stage of this feud played up to this alignment model, at least from the WWE's perspective. CM Punk was portrayed as the man trying to bring down the WWE by leaving the company with the WWE championship. 

Punk was, by all measures, a heel in this storyline. But as it turns out, Punk, already with a fanbase, became the hottest property in wrestling. Adults, Internet fans and anyone frustrated with the WWE product flocked to Punk.

Despite this, WWE still portrayed Punk as the "bad guy."

However, since Money in the Bank, the scene has changed. It's no longer about Punk walking away with the championship. It's about the true WWE Champion. More than that, it's about the superstar's ideologies.

Fans have been expressing frustration over the slow degradation of the WWE product since the Attitude Era. CM Punk is the figurehead for these fans. He's expressing the same frustrations on live television. 

It's made Punk look real in an industry of actors. Punk represents the change that many of us want to see. Punk now has a large fanbase that is represented at every show.

John Cena has not strayed too far from the norm. He's still the same hustle, loyalty and respect-based role model he has been for the last five years. 

A major criticism of Cena is that his character has become too one-dimensional and stale. Arguably, Cena's role in this feud is the same as it always is.

Granted, he employs more of a serious tone on the mic. He seems to have stepped up his game in-ring. Yes, the "five moves of doom" are still there. However, he has added far more variety to his overall matches and seems to be less complacent in-ring.

Why does Cena's act feel refreshed? It's due to his opponent. His opponent isn't a heel. It isn't someone who commits devious acts to get heat. 

It's CM Punk, a man who opposes everything that Cena stands for. Not only that, but he lays out his ideology. Punk is disillusioned with the podium that John Cena is placed on. CM Punk is backed by every fan who is just as frustrated with Cena.

That is the essence of this feud. The WWE Universe is not being told who to support. They are subscribing to the philosophy that best suits what they want out of the WWE.