Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cult of Personality

I took a Political Science 101 class in the spring semester of 2009 at Concord University. It wasn't something I'm very enthusiastic about, but it was interesting to learn the basics of that stuff. You know, stuff like Machiavelli, something about somebody stealing your apple tree, differences between the House and Senate, the European Union, etc... and so forth.

One day in class she said, "We're going to learn about a Cult of Personality." I thought to myself, "Like the song?" I looked around, waiting for somebody to say that. I waited for the professor to say it. We learned about what a Cult of Personality was without once mentioning the song "Cult of Personality."

Maybe that was a goal of the professor, to see if she could teach it without mentioning the song. If she had mentioned it she wouldn't have had to teach anything, because the song pretty much tells you what it is. In a nutshell, a Cult of Personality is a charismatic person with a huge following, based mostly on their image. The most glaring examples use their followings for evil.

CM Punk used two entrance themes when he was in Ring of Honor - "Miseria Cantare," by AFI and Living Colour's "Cult of Personality." When he got to WWE, he had probably one of the coolest theme songs in quite a while - "This Fire Burns," by Killswitch Engage. An interesting sidenote, that music was originally given to Randy Orton, who used it once in 2006. It didn't quite fit his character, so it was taken away and given to Punk when he debuted later that summer.

To an extent, the song "Cult of Personality" describes CM Punk. He has always had a huge underground following, even when he was a hated villian in WWE. The last few months, that underground following has turned mainstream as he has become one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE. It was very fitting, then, that Punk used "Cult of Personality" as his new WWE theme.

The video above is from July 25. CM Punk made his return to WWE after leaving with the title at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. The crowd was very excited to see Punk, as they demonstrated by cheering louder for him than they did for John Cena.

Since that night, it has been announced that Punk and Cena will meet in the main event of SummerSlam and the winner will be the only WWE Champion. So, the debate is now over - CM Punk is back in WWE. He has since said in an interview that he resigned with WWE on the day of the MITB pay-per-view.

Has this storyline been rushed? Yes, I believe so. CM Punk leaving the company with the WWE Championship is something that could have played out for at least a month or two before he came back. Instead, Punk missed one episode of Monday Night Raw.

I'm going to give this more time to play out before I offer any harsh criticisms of it. I'm going to say right now that I don't like where it is headed. It looks like this is positioning Triple H into being the top star in WWE again, and we don't need that. I enjoyed his WrestleMania program with The Undertaker, for the simple reason that we hadn't seen him for a long time and he was fresh. I really don't want to see Triple H every week on television anymore.

The week after the video above, when Punk cut his first in-ring interview since coming back, I think the audience was confused. It looks like Punk is a face - good guy - and I don't think the audience knew how to react to that, as he's been one of WWE's top heels - bad guys - since 2009. On top of that, Triple H then came out and questioned Punk's motives, further implying that he wasn't really a good guy. And on top of that, Punk is feuding with John Cena, the *ultimate* good guy in WWE.

I think it confused fans that, for two weeks now, Monday Night Raw has ended with CM Punk and John Cena in the ring with each other, smiling at each other and showing no ill will or outward hostility.

We'll see where things go from here. The return of Punk was a very cool moment, although I feel like it would have been cooler if it happened at the end of SummerSlam, as opposed to two weeks ago on Monday Night Raw.

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