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Blog: What worries me about Punk’s heel turn



There’s no more tweener, CM Punk is clearly a heel. If you thought that Punk was trying to play both sides of the fence before last night’s Raw, I could see your point. But roundhouse kicking Jerry Lawler in the head to close the show cemented the deal for me — Punk is a full-blown heel.

Good. I blogged previously that I like Punk as a heel. It’s more natural. But that doesn’t mean that WWE is doing the right thing at the right time turning Punk.

John Cena and Sheamus are the top two babyfaces, in the world title pictures, on both branded shows. By definition, they’re the top two babyfaces in the company. Unlike WWE’s heel roster, the depth on the babyface side is fairly thin. Chris Jericho is part-time and he’s on hiatus. Triple H is part time. Undertaker is part time. Shawn Michaels, when active, isn’t a wrestler.

Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio appear to be the next rung below Cena and Sheamus on the babyface roster, but with strikes against them on the Wellness Policy and Orton’s history of being a loose cannon, it’s hard to imagine that WWE would feel comfortable strapping the world title on Orton’s waste when he’s one outbreak away from getting banned for a year. Mysterio had a short life span as World Hvt. Champion and since hasn’t had a sniff of a world title with exception of his two-hour reign on Raw last year and he’s been plagued by injuries for the better part of two years.

By turning Punk at this point in time, WWE could really handcuff itself down the road, God forbid something happens to Cena or Sheamus.

It’s a physical sport. Cena himself has a checkered injury past — albeit he has managed to stay healthy in recent years — if he’s on the shelf for 6 months, who steps into that spot on Raw?

Kofi Kingston? R-Truth? Santino? Sin Cara? Zack Ryder?

Who are the options?

The heel roster already had a strong core of “next level” guys just waiting for an opportunity. Dolph Ziggler is ready for a big push, as is Cody Rhodes. WWE didn’t need Punk to be a heel, but they’re one injury or suspension away from really needing him to carry the load as a babyface.

Surprise, surprise, but the booking philosophy is short-sighted. They wanted a big angle to close the 1,000th episode of Raw last month, and they got it. But at what price?

They can’t just flip the switch with Punk again if something happens. Sure, it’s wrestling, and they can do whatever they want, but at what point is that just bastardizing his character?

Right now, everything’s kosher. Guys are healthy. They better hope it stays that way.

Opinions on this post? Leave a comment below or send me a message on Twitter @MisterMcMahon. Don’t forget to follow @Gerweck for all your latest pro wrestling and MMA news.

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15 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    I still don’t think Punk will get any kind of major heel reaction even after laying out Lawler, especially if they continue programming him against Cena. One group of the fan base hates Cena straight out and will root for his opponent no matter what. Another group are more than happy to cheer for an outlaw Punk, Stone Cold style.

    I still strongly suspect Punk will get at least half the fan’s support even if he works his way through beating up every sympathetic character on the roster… at least if the goal is to continue the feud between him and Cena.

  2. Johnny ComeLately says:

    This is ridiculous. At any point, they CAN flip the switch on Punk. He’s a tweener AT BEST right now. The thing they have going with Punk is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they have going on with Cena. Marks and kids LOVE Cena, and Smarks HATE him. Smarks absolutely LOVE Punk, but kids and marks are jumping on the we hate Punk bandwagon. At any point, literally, things can be flipped. The smart thing about the Punk character is…. they keep him keeping it real. Lawler disrespecting him. The WWE Champion not closing out shows. Not even main eventing PPV’s. Respect for the belt. Even marks can semi agree that this is truth spoken for years unless Cena is in the main event. The writing for Punk himself and his storylines has been excellent, even if it doesn’t go over with the normals.

  3. jim says:

    Punk should be the edgy guy he was last summer. That was perfect. He was too soft as a face and now all the sudden he isn’t good enough to get a clean win as a heel.

  4. The Other Mike McMahon says:

    My main problem with a Punk heel turn isn’t just the lack of other faces. Punk won’t draw sympathy towards babyfaces because when he’s more interesting and more talented than them. He became one of the faces of WWE for being unique and essentially the anti-Cena. Turning him heel in a feud against Cena doesn’t change that. People who enjoyed seeing Punk beat Cena last summer will enjoy seeing him do it again. They must be banking on Boston loving Cena but his hometown pops haven’t been all that impressive. This sets Punk up for a mediocre heel run. If a top face guys down, WWE can just plug Orton or Mysterio in while developing a new babyface but those guys don’t offer anything new either. Then their options are Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler face turns. Both are relatively easy to pull off, and both could have amazing feuds that light up WWE. But trying to establish Punk as a heel while trying to establish either of them as a face could backfire when the crowd just enjoys all of them, face or heel.

    Punk had an interesting character that could attack the Rock without turning. Punk wanting the spotlight because he’s the champion and the best was completely consistent with his face character and his rise to the top last summer. He didn’t go in it for the “WWE Universe” or for anyone else but himself, and that was fine, because we all loved what he had to say. Now he has a lot of fans who would rather see him than more Cena, and they expect him to get booed for it. At the end of the day, why should anyone who liked him a month ago feel inclined to feel bad for the people he’s beating up? Never count on fans to turn on a man with legitimate complaints.

    And just for the record, MC should learn how to play defense with 5 skaters instead of cherry picking like the fat kid on the playground.

  5. GTS= go to sleep, sleepy head! says:

    CM Punk is on a genius level with his mic skills, combined with a good ring psychology, he is a timeless legend in the making. Not many in the business can turn on the babyface/heel switch at the drop of a hat and that’s why folks he IS the best in the world!

  6. AJ Starr says:

    Why can’t they flip the switch?

    Kane made his 4th heel turn this year last night.

    WWE has no logic or direction. Hell, if they want, they can “Benoit” the kick to Lawler. Not like they haven’t done that hundreds of times.

  7. Joe says:

    I don’t think they’re looking to make Punk a heel. I think they are making him a parallel to John Cena. Cena is booed by the “attitude era fans” but loved by the “PG era fans”. On the other side Punk is cheered by “attitude era fans” but set up to be booed by the “PG era fans”.

    Lets look at what the WWE has set up here. Despite what jim says Punk did win clean at Summerslam by throwing Cena out of the ring and pinning the Big Show. He didn’t cheat. He also technically retained the title after Cena and Punk made him tap (tie goes to the champion). He hasn’t insulted the fans, hasn’t asked for anything that isn’t true. Punk is the top champion in the biggest wrestling organization in the world which makes him the best in the world.

    Also, attacking Jerry doesn’t mean as much as people would like to think. He could have attacked Jerry after he said he turned his back on the fans. He could have attacked yesterday after Jerry refused to tell Punk he was the best (as stated previously he technically is). He didn’t though, he kicked Jerry once after he physically provoked Punk by shoulder checking him. It wasn’t an attack. It was retaliation technically.

    I think they’re letting people see what they want to.

    I can see why you’re worried about faces in the company though. Sheamus still hasn’t clicked as being a top babyface. Like you said Orton on Rey have strikes against them in the wellness policy and injuries. Other options are Christian, Santino, Truth, Kingston but I can’t see the WWE backing them as much as they would for their prized pig Cena.

    It’s all as easy as turning someone. Bryan could be a top face, as could Ziggler. Even then there is still Punk to lead the show.

  8. Truth says:

    I think they want him as the heel when he faces the Rock and lose the belt to him. This will set up the rematch against Cena at Mania and Rock will pass the torch! It’s just good business and will sell PPV’s.

  9. AttitudEra76 says:

    @Truth… Why in the world would you have Punk drop the belt to Mr Disney movie??? It would not make Punk a true heel if he lost to Rock the 1st meeting, to solidify Punk as the main heel in the company he needs to go over both Cena at NOC then Rock at Royal Rumble… Taking the belt off him now is a mistake in my opinion.
    Cena certainly doesn’t need another run with the belt. He is a 10 time champion already, not sure if they want him to pass Triple H or Ric Flair as most title reigns. If anything WWE needs to keep the belt on Punk for at least until after Summerslam next year.

  10. Renato says:

    BTW!

    If you want to sell product, my advise would not be to have a heel as the brand image in an annual product that renders you loads of cash, AKA, WWE’13

  11. seanyd.93 says:

    honestly, I agree with @AttitudEra76
    to solidify Punk as THE heel, they’d have to put him over Cena, and maybe even The Rock….
    Think about, if somebody goes heel, they need to reign for a while, they need to always get the upperhand…. If the heel isn’t succesful and constantly beating the babyfaces that challenge him, then where is the pay-off?
    If Cena takes his title at NOC, then CM Punk doesn’t seem like a champion, he doesn’t seem like a star who will last and be up the top of the list in years to come….. If they want Punk to last and be respected as a heel, they need to ride it out, he needs to constantly get the upperhand before he is beaten….

    For example, Edge, one of the greatest wrestler and greatest heels of all time…. He almost always beat Cena when it was for the title, he almost always found a way to overcome SuperCena, and if he lost the title on PPV, the next day on RAW he made it clear he had a plan and would be getting his title back…

  12. Chris Epic says:

    Punk is the problem, last year he said as he pleased, talked down all the things we hate about WWE. In a recent interview he sayd “social media is the future of wrestling, so get.over it” & “wwe is only gonna get better”. Looks like the the Voice of the Voiceless, is Voice of the Corporate. Punk is one of my all time favorites but he’s allowed himself to sell out & be watered down.

  13. syll the real says:

    Well, I am not a smart mark or mark, I am just a person who love wrtling. WWE is entertainment, not wrestling. I do not LIVE OR DIE on WWE, tna or roh. It is justENTERTAINMENT, PEOPLE. As far as punk being a heel who cares, Yes, he needs to be AUSTIN IN HIS OWN WAY, but do not copy him. Can,t anyone be their qwn person in the wrestling biz. Like Whoopi Gold berg said in Sister Act 2, Maybe being an indivudual, your own person, maybe too much.

  14. Chris James says:

    I’m not sure if one can be the best heel if one does not have the perfect face to go against.. And punk tried so hard to get us all behind him with all the shooting, now he has to attack Lawler to get heat. I have faith in punk but idk.. Even Austin had to get with Triple H to be more believable as a heel..

  15. Chris James says:

    It’s almost like punk is the best face but wants to be the best heel but it’s hard cuz duh, we cheered him for 9 months..

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