It is hard to argue that CM Punk has become one of the most dynamic, charismatic and entertaining pieces of the WWE roster. His rise was awesome to be a part of and to witness, his heel turn had him burning white hot and to this day whenever Punk steps into a WWE ring the only thing better than listening to his superb promos is watching his sound technique and thoroughly entertaining matches. Whether he be the leader of the new Nexus, which seems to be less and less a part of his persona with each passing week or looking back upon his Straight Edge Society, pseudo-savior act you’d be hard pressed to find flaws within his execution of everything that he has been given over his time with WWE.
I have to admit when he was the smiley, friendly CM Punk I was not the biggest fan. I could enjoy his matches, and sure there were times when I cheered for him but there seemed to be an undefinable one dimensional quality that tends to varnish over the gloss of many performers and bury their amazingly interesting personalities under the stereotypical nice guy act. Case in point could easily be Randy Orton whose vicious, violent heel position was all the more enthralling than the current smile bearing, happy-go-lucky once dangerous now tame viper that comes out on Smackdown every Friday in what appears to almost be a struggle to maintain an aire of friendliness. This doesn’t take away from Orton in the ring, though his matches are becoming eerily Cena-like in their “superhero” nature and the argument could be made that the rise of John Cena as a face has in some ways diminished the dynamic spin of what a face is.
Either way, face or heel, it is the duty of a performer to connect with that crowd and get them reacting. A heel will love the boos as much as a face will love the cheers and the worst thing you could get when walking out to that ring is silence. As soon as his music hits, CM Punk is serenaded with a sea of boos and a growing section of cheers. Who could forget the 2010 Royal Rumble when Punk preached to the crowd while waiting for new participants. A genius move that could only be pulled off by someone gifted enough to make it work. Then there was the period of time when, during injury, Punk performed commentary on Raw. His work on commentary added a special flash and flare to what had become, and continues to be, a lackluster broadcast from a group of men who are either out of touch with the product, don’t care or are attempting to maintain some terrifically mediocre sense of normalcy. Either way, Punk was a gift during that time and though it was short lived, it kept Punk fresh in our minds so that his return to the ring would be all the better.
The Nexus storyline began in WWE with a shocking moment that polarized the fans and caught everybody’s attention. Following that it is hard to argue against the fact that it was bungled, screwed up, failed to maintain consistency and lost it’s way over the months which followed. Bringing CM Punk in as the new leader seemed to offer some glimmer of hope that what had begun as a good idea was going to continue on and become even better. Obviously that did not happen as these days the only member of Nexus you see more than once in a while, besides Punk, is Mason Ryan. Punk came in and immediately brought power back into that group. His presence as their leader made them appear to be a force once again, though WWE dropped the ball for whatever reason, Punk continues to thrive because love him or hate him you can’t help but be drawn into him.
His contract status with WWE has been a target of speculation for months now. There has been a steady back and forth debate about whether or not he will leave or remain in WWE. If he were to leave there is no sure answer as to what he’d choose to do. Perhaps take some time off, return to ROH, move on to TNA? Only Punk could possibly have these answers. Is there anything WWE could do to make him stay, or want to stay? Again, no one has these answers except for CM Punk himself and he’s, not as of yet, sharing information on it. However, based upon CM Punk’s apparent penchant for sharing his honest feelings it doesn’t seem, whatever decision he makes, that we’ll be left in the dark wondering why.
All of this has been building up, everyone has been waiting to see what happens. It appears to be culminating next month at the second annual Money in the Bank PPV where CM Punk will be the number one contender for the WWE title. This past Monday on Raw, Punk promised to do the “most honest thing” in WWE history. It turned out that his honesty was explaining not only is his contract with WWE ending July 17th, but that he was planning to leave WWE as the Champion. Though I would personally love to see Punk capture the title, I’d hope it would ultimately result in him sticking around WWE for a while longer. I can’t imagine the bland malaise that will come in his absence and what middle of the road segments will come out to try and pick up the massive slack left behind. Perhaps we’ll get new Hornswoggle segments to horify us or more dancing competitions between Vladimir Kozlov and Saninto Marella. I dread the possibilities.
CM Punk is one of the best, most talented, entertaining and gifted members of a roster whose depth will come into question should he choose to exit. This is a man who, love him or hate him, not only makes you want to watch him but have to watch him. There is no doubt that he has been a high point of WWE television for quite a while now and WWE are undoubtedly aware that his exit could strike a harsh blow against them. WWE needs to pull a rabbit out of a hat here and work whatever magic they possess in making every attempt to keep CM Punk signed on for the long haul. We’ve only scratched the surface of everything he has to offer and it would truly be a sad day indeed to see him walk away. Perhaps if Vince McMahon agreed to turn straight edge? Hey, it’s worth a shot Vince.