Professional wrestler CM Punk has garnered controversy over a line he spoke on the live flagship program of World Wrestling Entertainment. On the latest episode of Monday Night Raw, held in Dallas, Texas, Punk declared at the conclusion of a promo speech boasting of his abilities that "I am God."
According to the International Business Times, the remark sparked ire among many wrestling fans and many on Twitter weighed in on what Punk said.
In addition to Twitter, comments posted on the IBT story and at Yahoo Answers found divided opinion on the line spoken by Punk on Raw.
"It was pathetic and sad.He is an atheist,thats another story, … .It was pathetic," posted "TCP" on Yahoo answers.
"If this happened in a movie nobody would care. Same thing here it's just a fictional television program," commented "Daniel" on the IBT story web page.
Rhetoric of this nature has been used by Punk before. In January, then WWE champion Punk confronted the challenger for his title, former champion and movie star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who would face him at that's month pay-per-view "Royal Rumble."
"Your arms are just too short to box with God," said Punk to his Royal Rumble opponent, who would go on to defeat him for the title, ending his 434-day title run.
This is not the first time individuals have found Punk's role on WWE programming to be religiously offensive. Back in 2010, CM Punk formed a faction called "The Straight Edge Society." As part of the gimmick, he declared himself the "Straight Edge Savior," offering to save audience members from themselves. Individuals who came forward to "join" the SES would get their heads shaven as a symbol of purity and pledge their allegiance to "One nation, under Punk."
Lamont Cranston, contributor to the Bleacher Report, a website that chronicles news and opinion about sports and sports entertainment, wrote a column denouncing the controversy the Straight Edge Society gimmick gained.
"So Punk is booed by fans because his character is a contradiction. He claims to be a pure soul surrounded by addicts, when in reality, just like a cult leader, he is addicted to his own power over his disciples," wrote Cranston.
"So there's nothing Christian about Punk and 'The Straight Edge Society' at all. Unless Christians are saying that Christianity is like a cult?"
As to Punk's actual religious views, the Internet offered differing claims on the matter, with some comment posters on different sites claiming that he is a born again Christian and others claiming he is an atheist.
The IBT article refers to Punk as an atheist. However, at his MySpace page the WWE wrestler lists his religious views as "Christian – Other." The page itself has not been recently updated.
Throughout his pro-wrestling career, Punk has never been far from making heated remarks regarding a myriad of topics, mainly as a way of acting as a "heel" or a bad guy. In pro-wrestling, "heels" are expected to turn the crowd against them and will often put down things they believe the crowd likes, such as a local sports team.
The uproar over Punk's "I am God" line comes at a time when WWE has gained headlines for having a character based off of the Tea Party Movement. Zeb Colter, the manager for pro-wrestler Jack Swagger, received plenty of negative feedback from conservatives like Glenn Beck over his promos regarding America and immigration.