How can you rank a WWE Champion as one of the all-time greats in the company if they are aren’t considered the greatest in their current wrestling promotion?
It seems like a fair question when it comes to deciding what value CM Punk has to the WWE and where he would rank in terms of the greats to ever climb inside the squared circle. It’s hard to put a value on him, although he is one of the most loved, well-liked superstars of this era.
A champion or superstar must be able to wrestle, perform, be comfortable with a microphone and sell for his opponents. Punk would grade out as an “A” for those qualities. But that is where the separation starts.
Because of the business and the fact that so many things have changed over the past decade, sensibilities have changed, and so have the fans' perspective on the wrestlers.
They are tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. For that, wrestlers, promoters, managers and creative teams must be willing to change frequently to keep everyone’s attention fresh.
Punk’s appeal really took off when he gave the famous “shoot” interview that catapulted him to the top of the wrestling food chain and made him a true household name. While his gimmick as a loner and a voice of the unheard was great, it has now made him look like a sellout of sorts.
His words ring hollow. And while other wrestlers of our generation have tried that same approach in some respects (Raven, Undertaker, Kane, Abyss, Steve Austin), fans appreciate the value of an anti-hero of sorts.
Let’s be honest—Punk is not Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. He is not as stylish as the Ultimate Warrior and certainly not as flamboyant at The Rock or Chris Jericho. Like I said, he is not the best in the company at this time, conceding to the likes of Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Christian and maybe John Cena as talents who are better in the ring.
And when it comes to popularity, Cena has him beat by 50 miles.
So when it comes to judging someone in the fashion of how they stack against the past and the present, it’s hard to be definitive. Wrestling is a judgmental and subjective business. You are liked one day and hated the next.
But in terms of CM Punk and his place among the all-time greats, it would appear he has a rightful place, as long as the shtick he uses continues to flourish.