For the better part of 2 years there has really only been one man that has been any sort of competition to the wonder boy John Cena in regards to the WWE’s pecking order. One guy whose work ethic, creative ideas and self-promotion have created one of the biggest fan favourites the WWE fan base has seen for quite a number of years regardless of whether he is booked to be a face or a heel. The former darling of the independent scene has now kept the most illustrious belt in western wrestling firmly around his waist for well over a full calendar year, an accolade that hasn’t been heard of over the past 25 years. This man dropped his Pipe Bomb on June 29th 2011 and began the summer that would be known as the summer of Punk.
CM Punk was here and he was not going away.
How strange it is now looking back at that legendary promo and realising that CM Punk was genuinely thinking about leaving the WWE as he felt underutilised. Thinking he could edge his own career out much more to his liking at other promotions or to take a break from wrestling in general. It was that promo and that alone that gripped my attention. I’ve been a fan of wrestling for many a year, even participated in the sport myself for some time but as usual, life had gotten in the way of both, but I had always kept a distant eye on wrestling much as you would an old friend who you had drifted apart from. You thought about them every so often and use the internet just to keep an eye on them. One day my social media interests were overrun by people shouting about a promo on RAW: how it was unreal, the best thing in years – I had to have a look, and I haven’t looked back again since.
This has been the impact I’ve heard many a fan claim, Punk made enough noise for the true wrestling fans to pay attention to PG era WWE again. For that he will always be one of our favourite guys.
And we still love him, very few can claim to be close to his ring craft and not a single person in the WWE comes close to his ability on the mic. WWE should count themselves lucky that he injected what was a stale product with a good old fashioned dose of attitude right into the heart. As my introduction states, he’s been no slouch since then.
CM Punk though is not a man to rest now he’s accomplished close to all he ever wanted. He’s fully aware that he will need to constantly re-invent his character and his associates to remain fresh and current. As rumours abound as well, it would appear Punk now has some power as it comes to his own creative control. How true this is may be is another matter but I’m inclined to believe that WWE management would allow a guy as experienced and invested in the product, who is also a role model to the locker room to have a certain degree of control. Big Vinnie Mac will always have last say though forever and always.
It’s this very desire and knowledge that the WWE need to launch new stars and, given the right talent, Punk would never mind putting some newer guys over. He is fully aware of what his own fan base like and what they want. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had some degree of sway when it came to who got selected from NXT to be a part of The Shield. This group may have come about due to WWE needing an excuse for Punk to defend against Ryback and John Cena at Survivor Series but it doesn’t appear to be a rushed idea, especially with the current roster. Any number of situations could have resulted in Punks retention of the belt whilst protecting Ryback but instead we see this group appear who are so well meshed already that it simply couldn’t be a lucky break,
Instead we get three men, each with great skill making waves already. It’s quite obvious to everyone that, it would appear, Punk or Heyman is in control of them. No matter how much they deny it. Of course creative could decide to go in a new direction which wouldn’t surprise me but all signs quite obviously point to yes at the moment. And I really hope this is where they are heading.
With an established champion in CM Punk at the head of this group, the impact they are already making could very well be dwarfed. The group itself feels fresh already with the independently proved talent already in there rather than the machine fed WWE projects that don’t tend to go anywhere. A group which is quite obviously appealing to the older male demographic who will find their ability and pedigree highly appealing. And there are always great reasons for an all-encompassing heel group to help the greater good.
Back 10+ years ago stables were all over the place. From the main event stars involvement to the lower card stable feuds, you couldn’t move for stables, and that’s no bad thing. See, stables can always be there but don’t have to be referenced every 5 minutes: if a match requires a dodgy ending, the involvement of a performers group is always an option rather than the sloppy, under whelming finishes we get now. WWE lately have given up on stables. I believe it may be a theory by someone at WWE that if an individual is involved in a group, you simply won’t create individual stars. If this is the case it’s an outlandish idea.
If I may name DX as probably the greatest stable in WWE history and use them as an example. If it weren’t for DX, Triple H would never have gotten as big as he was. Or at least as quickly. As he was starting with his Triple H gimmick he had the association with Shawn Michaels that fans could see and knew. Instantly he and his name were involved in the major storylines. Take The Rock and see how many times he beat down the entirety of DX, causing him to be more over than he already was. That’s the magic that heel groups can create. They can create great heels within their ranks but even better, mould the up and coming baby faces by giving them cheap victories over a number of heated guys in as little as one segment. Instant success!
It’s a tried and tested formula that’s been used for years and as I said earlier, something I’m surprised WWE have moved away from. That’s why we need a heel team and CM Punk as the leader would be amazing. His prowess on the mic and ability to put situations over will cascade down to the members of his cult. The general viewing public will despise them and want to see someone, anyone beat them senseless. Unlike other groups though, this could be quite interesting.
If we assume as we are that The Shield members are in cahoots with Punk, we have 4 guys that the avid fans will want to cheer, causing a divide in the audience. This can be viewed as a bad thing but I disagree. If the fans are conflicted against each other, that just provides more fuel to the fire as it relates to audience reaction. Each group wanting to show their opinions, causing them to become louder. DX had a similar “problem” in that they were both hated and loved by the audience and they had massive feuds with some top faces over the years. Of course this relies on picking the right guy to put over them. If the fans don’t like a face that’s being given the rub, it can fall on its face. But at least management will know immediately instead of what happens currently in that they get pushed so hard we get sick of their image.
The Cult Of Punk could create stars in Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns. At some point I would book them to each have a title. Punk the WWE champion, Rollins the Intercontinental and Ambrose and Reigns the Tag Belts. You build them up high enough that they become the franchise players but have them be so hated by their involvement with the group and their pack mentality to help and protect each other in title defences that you can’t wait for someone to come along and beat the whole lot of them in one fell swoop. If one of the group gets too big for his boots and starts to garner more cheers from the crowd, you have them break from the group and start a face turn as they battle the entire stable. The audience will take to them immediately. Evolution and Randy Orton anyone?
In closing, CM Punks brain can create a truly irresistible stable. Creating stars in its fold in the members of The Shield alongside anyone else who joins. I would love to see other Indy talent join the ranks to give this group a pure image. How about current US Champion Antonio Cesaro? Maybe that old Indy magician Daniel Bryan? Who, if they wanted to do it sooner rather than later, could turn against Kane at the Rumble to join them after losing the tag belts. Maybe that same night CM punk is revealed as the man pulling the strings as they help him beat down The Rock for the Title. An amazing group created just before ‘Mania.
The timing is perfect.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
We are currently seeking WWE contributors on WhatCulture. To find out more about the perks of being a WWE contributor, click here.