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Friday, September 11, 2015

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Fall Of Society: SES

By Marquise Creek(@OMG_itsKhairy)

"Don't let these tattoos fool you, I'm a man of great discipline. I don't drink, I don't smoke.... My addiction is wrestling. My obsession is competition. Discipline. My name is CM Punk."

When a person believes in something, they do so without fear. They wear it like a badge and preach it like its gospel. They let the world hear them and make damn sure the world sees them. In no way, shape, or form will they allow the opinions of others deter their beliefs. When someone can stand on their own two feet and hold strong to their beliefs like that, others are sure to follow. This is no different when it comes to CM Punk and his disciples, the Straight Edge Society.

The SES was the brainchild of CM Punk and the beliefs that set him apart from not only the other superstars in the WWE but a majority of people in the world. CM Punk, both in real life and kayfabe, does not smoke, drink, or do drugs. He doesn’t partake in the vices that many succumb to on a daily basis. He does not poison his body. CM Punk saves himself from corruption and on the 11/27/09 edition of SmackDown!, CM Punk declared his goal to save the universe.

The first person to be saved from the destruction of vices was Luke Gallows F.K.A Festus. When Punk brought out Gallows, he announced that the reason his disposition was so weird previously was because his former partner, Jesse, kept him hopped up on drugs. He stated that CM Punk saved him and that he could save the WWE universe if they would let him. What proceeded next was one of the best angles in WWE faction history, as Punk actually offered fans the chance to be saved by him.

Now of course, one asks how would you be saved? Well it was simple, accept the Straight Edge lifestyle and shave your head to prove that you accept Punk as your savior. Week after week, Punk shaved the heads of fans in attendance. One week, one fan hopped the barrier and declared that she would do anything for Punk to save her. She would then shave her head and be announced as the first woman of the SES, Serena Deeb.

After his recruitment of Deeb, Punk went on to try and convert many of his fellow WWE superstars. Punk would interrupt many matches and promos with his own promos, where he would preach about how he could save the superstar. Sadly, no other WWE superstar took Punk up on his offer. This was one of the first mistakes with this angle, as not a single star took Punk up on his offer. Had they allowed Punk to recruit actual stars, this stable could have went down as one of the best in history due to its unconventional approach. Imagine Punk leading a stable of superstars that he brainwashed into thinking he is their savior. That would have made for some great television.

Fast forward to the 2010 Royal Rumble where CM Punk showed why he is the Best In The World and that the Straight Edge lifestyle was the way to go. Punk went on an elimination streak in dominate fashion, all while preaching that he could save every one of the stars he eliminated. He did so all the way up until(the IWC will love this) Triple H entered the ring and disposed of Punk after declaring how he looked like a drunk hobo. This was a sight to behold for a multitude of reasons. The first was because Punk preached after every elimination he made. The second was because Punk actually eliminated Beth Phoenix by hitting her with a G.T.S. Lastly, this moment was so special because of Punk’s look.

As mentioned by Triple H in the match, Punk looked like a drunk hobo. This in fact was true, gone was the bad boy looking Punk and born was a savior. Punk went all in with this gimmick as he let his hair grow out in length as well as his beard. To some, this meant nothing, but to wrestling fans, this made the angle that more fun to watch. Punk could have easily been mistaken for a Charles Manson impersonator, which his character was clearly intended to be similar to. In wrestling, it’s almost all about the visuals. When Punk grew out his hair, that could have easily been interpreted as him flaunting his purity, as Gallows and Deeb stayed bald, because they were still on the path of purification. Like I said, in wrestling, everything is almost completely dependent on visuals.

What followed next was what could be considered the prime of the SES faction. CM Punk walked into the Smackdown Elimination Chamber and cut another scathing promo mid match against his opponents. He specifically targeted Rey Mysterio and would go on to feud with him in what was one of the best feuds that year. Punk and the SES targeted Rey Mysterio in stalking fashion, like only a cult could. This brought upon one of the most infamous moments in SmackDown history when Punk interrupted a birthday celebration for one of Mysterio’s children. He berated Mysterio in front of his family and went on to sing a very creepy rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

The two went on to have a series of 3 matches. The first took place at Wrestlemania XXVI, where Mysterio put his mask on the line and walked away victorious. The second match took place at Extreme Rules the following month where CM Punk put his hair on the line. Due to the debut of a new SES member in the form of Joey Mercury, Punk walked away with the win. The third and final match took place at Over the Limit in which both previous stipulations were in effect. Rey beat Punk due to interference from Kane and saved the Straight Edge Savior’s head bald. This led to CM Punk dawning a mask and the downfall of the SES.

While the feud with Mysterio was great quality wise, they made the mistake of adding another unimportant member to the stable. Who cared about Joey Mercury? Sure, there was that moment where you said “oh that’s the guy who had his face ripped open by the ladder”, but after that did you care? No. His explanation as to why he joined made perfect sense and made up for his random inclusion. He stated that Punk helped him kick his pain killer addiction and helped buy his house. The second being very true, a perfect mix of kayfabe and reality that both added to the angle and Punk as a character.

Following the feud Punk and the SES entered into two completely one sided feuds that led to the downfall of the stable. The first was with Kane, who had been hunting for the people who attacked and injured his brother, The Undertaker. Aside from making Punk and the stable as a whole look weak at the expense of making Kane look strong, this led to an interesting revelation. Deeb debuted a video to prove that Punk and the SES were not responsible for attacking Taker due to her having drinks the night he was attacked. This showed that Deeb would sacrifice herself to save Punk, even if that meant being kicked out of the SES. The second feud was with the Big Show, who single handedly dismantled the SES.

The feud with Show was so one sided that it would not be worth writing about in detail. Show faced the entire SES in a match at SummerSlam, where Show won. Show faced them again in a handicap match where he again defeated them all. Frustrations led to Punk G.T.S’ing Gallows after continuously losing. Deeb was released from her contract shortly before Gallows himself was released from his contract after losing a match to CM Punk.
Combine this with Mercury being out due to surgery and you have the downfall of the SES in less than 2 months.

What could have been one of the greatest factions that WWE had ever created, fell through due to poor booking and below average members. There were some highlights that will last forever, but as quickly as their fire burned, it fizzled out. CM Punk went on to reach legendary status in his career before departing in 2014, but the same cannot be said of his former disciples. Mercury went on to become a trainer and then the personal security for current WWE/US champion Seth Rollins. Deeb went on to return to the independent scene before wrestling her retirement match on July 10, 2015. Gallows went on to TNA Wrestling where he participated in another stable ruined by awful booking, Aces ‘N Eights. In somewhat of a surprise, Gallows managed to bounce back and proceeded to NJPW/ROH where he is part of the immensely popular Bullet Club.

One can only wonder what could have become of the Straight Edge Society had WWE stayed behind the stable. Maybe if Punk converted more noteworthy stars, it would have been different? Maybe if they weren’t offered up to Kane and Big Show on a platter, the stable could have gone to new heights? One can look at the Shield and the Wyatt family and see exactly what can come from proper faction booking. Now we are left asking “what if” the Straight Edge Society conquered the WWE.



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