Punk Turns Heel at Summerslam
by, 08-17-2012 at 06:39 PM (6609 Views)
At Raw 1000, we all saw what we thought was a Punk heel turn. Everyone bitched about how weak of a turn it was because really all he did was fly in and hit The Rock with a clothesline. It came off really half-assed to me, only because they had both been in the ring together in an earlier segment with Daniel Bryan. The fact that we had already seen the two of them in the ring together coupled with the announcement of Rocky's random Royal Rumble (say that five times fast) title shot and subsequent Punk/Rock staredown really watered down the "shocking ending" of Raw's 1000th episode.
I remember watching that segment and noticing Punk seemed like he was breaking kayfabe. Literally the entire time Rocky was in the ring going back and forth with Bryan, Punk was just sort of leaning on the ropes casually. Much too casually. He seemed incredibly unimpressed with everything The Great One did, he just stood there staring blankly. It seemed like there was legitimate tension in that ring. Sure, he played his part at the end of the segment and was fine character-ing himself up when the direct challenge was made right before Rocky left the ring, but when Rocky exited Punk went right back to bending the rules by not really acknowledging shit that was going on.
If anyone could really pull that shit and get away with it on TV, it's Shawn Mich- err... it's CM Punk. And since we're in an era now where every uttered syllable is put under a microscope (stethoscope?), if Punk really did have a problem with Dwayne and wanted to vent it on TV, he nailed it perfectly. Then the twist came at the end of the show and everything started to make sense. The Bryan/Punk/Rock segment was done that way on purpose. It gave Punk a reason to attack Rocky without turning into a mega-heel right away but it still had enough of shock factor to cap off Raw's biggest show ever.
I really thought the following week Punk would come out and verbally rip everything good-natured to fully cement his status as a heel. I knew they'd be smart about it and he'd have believable reasons, but I was positive he would be forced on us as the new top heel, a la Steve Austin after Wrestlemania X-Seven. They'll still let him be PUNK, but more of the egomaniac SES Punk who told everyone what to do and was generally a prick. As soon as he sat down cross-legged on the announce table glaring at Jerry Lawler, I knew exactly what was coming. Oh look! Punk is doing unique Punk things sitting on tables and shit... and he's about to become a full-fledged heel in seconds by ripping apart one of the WWE's most loveable legends. I could've changed the channel right then and there and known exactly how people would feel about Punk the second that segment was over. Man, am I glad I kept watching.
Instead having Punk rip Lawler apart for the forced, unnecessary, all-too-cliche reason of: "You told these people that I turned my back on them but really they turned their backs on me! So now I'm really angry and yep, you guessed it bitches, I'm a bad guy now! #Heel", Lawler was simply used as a puppet. Everything he said in the promo made the entire Bryan/Rock/Punk segment valid. Everything began to make sense. The promo with King explained the nonchalant attitude Punk had when he basically decided no-sell Dwayne's Raw 1000 promo and, more importantly, it explained where the angle was (and still is) headed.
Since Raw 1000 and the Lawler promo, Punk has basically stayed true to himself and only adopted a slight heelish edge. He might neglect to inform us that it is indeed the precise time to clobber during an entrance or two, he'll scowl a bit here and there and put an end to the 17,879th Cena vs Big Show match on his own terms, but people won't hate him yet. Why? Because well, did anyone actually care who won Cena vs. Big Show number 17,879? No. We wanted to see what Punk would do and we ended up seeing him make a great statement without actually doing all that much. All Punk had to do was speak softly and carry a big stick (microphone?). He's developed a bit of an edge like his old heel characters, and he's showing some heel tendencies, but he hasn't actually turned heel yet.
And that's the point of this entire angle; he hasn't actually turned yet. We are supposed to think that the turn came at the 1000th episode of Raw and either hasn't really worked or is some sort of soft turn where Punk gets to stay relatively neutral... but neutral is bullshit. Cena may be the lone exception of a wrestler you keep as a good guy even though everyone is booing the shit out of him (or vice versa), and it's purely because of business. Wrestling is a business and there may never be a better wrestler for the business... so Cena gets to stay neutral. However, the rest of the wild and wonderfully wacky world of wrestling must to adhere to the 'rasslin rulebook and that shit says when you turn one way or the other, you TURN.
So now we have Punk stuck in wrestling limbo, he's still a fan favorite, he's brought back his whole freakin' (clobberin'?) entrance, and he's still being the loveable, comedic Punk ("Oh NOW you want to tag me!?") we've all come to know and love. On the more important side of the coin, the way more shiny side, he's sick of the WWE championship not being the most important thing on the show. He's sick of Jerry Lawler talking about who's going to be in the main event instead of calling the match taking place. He's sick of people talking about Brock Lesnar instead of CM Punk and he's DAMN sick of not being in the main event.
I'm surprised they haven't mentioned this on TV, but Punk wasn't even in the main event when he won his WWE Championship. He won it from Berto on the same night The Rock and Cena tag-teamed at Survivor Series last year. He had main-evented at TLC the month after, and was technically the main-event at Royal Rumble, but hasn't been in it since. We've seen Cena vs. Kane main-event over Punk's Elimination Chamber match, Cena vs. Big Johnny over the clinic he put on with Daniel Bryan... Technically Punk hasn't ended a PPV since 2011 and he's been the champ since Halloween.
Suddenly we get tweets from both Heyman and Punk saying how they don't need to team up because Punk can speak for himself (a valid reason) and it's never going to happen. Why not just say nothing at all? Why even address it? Because Punk is turning heel, and he's going to do it by attacking Triple H. Obviously Lesnar vs. Trips is going on last, after Punk's WWE Championship match, and if you haven't got the point by now I'll make it real clear. Punk's character is fed up with not being THE guy. He's fed up with the WWE title not being THE focus of the program. He's not working with Rocky until 'Mania season comes around, he never really did finish that whole "You sent the text, he sent the text" angle with Hunter from way back when. It all just comes together a little too perfectly. Besides, Punk said it himself... He's a Paul Heyman guy.