CM Punk is on such a roll right now, he’s winning four times in one match. That’s basically what happened during Punk’s successful WWE Championship defense against an overwhelmed Dolph Ziggler at the Royal Rumble in St. Louis.
Despite the efforts of a conniving John Laurinaitis (who served in the odd role as outside referee), Punk had a relatively easy title defense and proved once again why he’s the best in the world at the moment.
As Punk’s opponent Ziggler says, “It’s not showing off if you can back it up.”
Well, with all due respect to Ziggler, nobody’s backing it up better than Punk. The WWE champ was so impressive at the Rumble, he unofficially defeated Ziggler three times before finally scoring a pin that came from the two refs.
With the in-ring referee incapacitated and being attended to by Laurinaitis, Punk first forced Ziggler to tap while locked in the grips of the lethal Anaconda Vice. Punk followed that up by placing Ziggler in a small-package pin and hitting him with the Go to Sleep—both to no avail.
But despite a nice counter by Ziggler out of another GTS, the ending was inevitable. Punk hit his finisher yet again and walked out of St. Louis with the belt still wrapped around his waist.
I have to give Punk his due. After his memorable summer of 2011, I wondered if the popularity boost Punk received was going to be short-lived.
Turns out, it has been anything but. Nearly eight months after his memorable rant against WWE, Punk continues to thrive in his current role as face of the company.
He’s still receiving hearty ovations from crowds all around the country and has a stranglehold on the WWE title. And with Laurinaitis now potentially out of his hair, expect the reign of Punk to continue right up to WrestleMania, and perhaps beyond (Chris Jericho be damned).
Let’s face it: This is clearly Punk’s time. He has replaced John Cena as the top dog on Raw and is on his game in the midst of a lengthy title run.
Ziggler may eventually turn into a solid WWE champion, maybe even sooner than later. But right now, Punk is operating on a totally different level. That was as clear as day at the Rumble, as Punk was never in any real danger of losing his title.
Punk remains the best in the world and it’s hard to argue against that after a masterful performance in St. Louis.