6. Cult Of Personality
Even a Punk detractor has to admit that he has pretty good taste in music. As much as I enjoy Killswitch Engage and other melodic metalcore bands (Shadows Fall makes great workout music), it’s hard to beat the sick riffs of funk metal at its finest, and Living Colour personifies that style to a T.
While some modern WWE themes stand out from the pack (Bobby Roode comes to mind), we’re not exactly in the golden age of entrance music any more. Maybe that’s just the crusty old fan in me, but when Punk first sauntered out to “Cult of Personality” on Raw seven years ago, it lent even more of a star quality to the company’s most head-turning talent of the day. It’s hard for the CFO$ Loop Machine to replicate that feel.
Part of the reason that the “Pipe Bomb” and other caustic Punk speeches hit their mark was because of the painful truths in his words. What made Punk himself the avatar of the audience is that so many fans that watched over the years could relate – they’ve wanted to cut those same promos themselves.
It was easy to relate to Punk because he saw the flaws that the common fan saw. Punk himself has at times come off as a regular guy who loves his baseball and hockey, his comic books, and his punk rock. He’s laid himself bare in his words that are oftentimes spoken from his heart. It was easier to see him as an underdog than, say, a certain ex-Shield member that is portrayed as underprivileged and held down, while receiving countless opportunities over the last four years. Kid Rock may not be all that well-liked among wrestling fans, but he was right when he said, “When it’s real, you’ll feel it.”
In truth, the idea of CM Punk existing on the tightly-scripted WWE plane felt like dropping an incompatible species into the wrong habitat. For someone that speaks their mind as much as Punk does, he presented a very real (and welcome) danger to WWE broadcasts, as indicated in prior examples like the “Pipe Bomb” and his riff-tastic commentary stint.
In this decade, very few wrestlers have ever brought that element of precariousness to WWE programming. Punk, along with the likes of The Rock and Paul Heyman, have ever elicited the feeling of, “Uh oh, he’s got the mic; what’s he going to say?” When the diet otherwise consists of rote dialogue that gets edited, re-edited, and hashed out by performers that are supposed to believe in what they’re saying, someone like Punk was the ideal contrast to that kind of artificial presentation.