Monday 27 August 2012

The Heel Turn That Wasn't

RAW 1000 ended with CM Punk giving The Rock a GTS. It was viewed as the WWE champion turning heel. It’s true that Punk’s demeanour and promos have been decidedly more villainous since he attacked ‘The Great One’ on July 23rd but does that make him a heel?

No. Not yet at least.

The GTS to The Rock was designed as a starting point, not a definitive signal that Punk is now a completely different character who must be booed by fans. Getting to that point will take time. The man has been pushed as the promotion’s number two babyface for over a year. Fans will not just turn on him for that one act.

Some people will support ‘The Straight Edge Superstar’ more because of his assault on ‘The People’s Champion’. The sentiment behind the assault doesn’t contradict Punk’s character. Nor does it contradict the fact that he speaks his mind, which is what helped him gain support in the first place. What will encourage the majority of fans to jeer instead of cheer is his new habit of demanding respect and using shady tactics in his matches.

It’s impossible to say when Punk’s turn will be finalised and he will be considered a bad guy. Whenever it occurs he will undoubtedly be the new lead heel. There’s not really much competition for that spot anyway (Brock Lesnar’s part time, Daniel Bryan hears as many cheers as boos, and everyone else is either a mid-carder or a glorified mid-carder) but Punk’s push, status and lengthy title reign would help him to supplant even the most dominant of heels.
This man is on a collision course with The Rock
I expect the champion’s clash with John Cena at Night of Champions will see him go farther down the path to the dark side. Cheating to beat the hometown hero would get a lot of heat and portray Punk as a poor sport, especially if the announce team were bright enough to remind us that Cena played fair in Punk’s hometown at Money in the Bank 2011.

If I had to guess I would say that Punk will be a full on heel champion by the time of Survivor Series. By that point he will be two months away from a clash with The Rock and will need to start being built up as an unstoppable villain in order to convince people that he can beat ‘The Great One’ at the Royal Rumble.

It’s an interesting character development and one that benefits the Chicago native. It allows him to stay fresh and relevant and opens him up to new feuds and situations. It’s also something new for the wrestling business and its fans. We’re used to things taking place in a very short period of time. It’s nice to see a turn booked with some clear forethought applied to it.

RAW 1000 was a signal. Get ready for the heel turn. It’s coming.

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