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CM Punk Turns Heel, But Is It Too Soon?

CM Punk heel turnThe WWE Universe is still buzzing from the conclusion of the historic RAW 1000th episode. WWE champion CM Punk turned heel and laid out The Rock. While it is exciting, I have to ask if it too soon for such a drastic change?

CM Punk is arguably the number two man in the WWE these days well behind John Cena and ahead of Randy Orton. Punk has become a cash cow in merchandise sales over the last year, again only falling behind Cena. Punk has a loyal segment of fans and hasn’t appeared to lose any steam lately which begs the question as to why turn Punk heel now?

It may seem like a long time but Punk has only been a babyface for a little over a year. Punk never “officially” turned with any angle unless you count the infamous RAW Roulette promo last June. Punk became an immediate hero to a growing segment of disenchanted WWE fans, yet he had been a heel for the last couple of years with moderate success.

Although I understand that there is a large segment of Punk fans out there that enjoy Punk as a heel much more than a babyface, I think this turn was short-sighted. Yes, you can get your series with John Cena with a clearly defined hero and villain. Yes, you can have that big match with The Rock vs. Punk at the Royal Rumble. But then what? An even bigger question is what the heck do you do with the guy from now until then?

The WWE are short on top stars. Once you get past Cena, Punk, The Big Show, and Orton you have the next tier of Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, and Dolph Ziggler. What are the options for Punk other than a few Cena matches and The Rock? Is anyone interested in a refresh of 2011 with Punk vs. Orton and Rey again? How about yet another series of matches with Jericho? There is potential in a Sheamus feud, but you are really limited with options.

I think that the WWE pulled the trigger on this one year too early. I think you could have gotten some great mileage out of Punk through WrestleMania 29. Think about it. Punk has been a babyface only one year of the last few if you consider Punk cashing in Money in the Bank against Jeff Hardy to be a heel turn. Why couldn’t the WWE run with a Punk vs. Cena series with both guys as heroes, yet heroes to different fans? Why couldn’t the WWE book a Punk vs. Rock match at the Rumble with both as babyfaces? This all just seems a bit rushed to me.

Could it work? Depending upon what your criteria of “working” is, it could. Yet at the end of the day I think the same group of fans chanting Punk’s name now will chant him tomorrow, next month, and so on no matter who he is wrestling. Turning his back on John Cena and laying out The Rock is exactly what they want to see!

Will Punk become a bigger draw as a heel? Right now Punk is not a draw no matter what his loyal fans may think. WWE house show attendance is average, Punk loses ratings, and he hasn’t done a thing for buyrates. That is the bad news. The good news here is that the only place for Punk to go from here is up.

Maybe this could work after all?

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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