It has been more than 290 days since CM Punk's current WWE Championship run began. And, since his next title defense is not scheduled for a while, he will—barring bad conduct or plain bad luck—undoubtedly cross the 300 day mark. If he is favored by the gods backstage, he might even hold the championship beyond the 366 day mark. (Note: Only Hogan and Diesel have reigns between 300 and 365 days in length, so NWO conspiracy theorists might have a sign to look forward to. Then again, Randy Savage had a 371 day reign.)
As a fan who is interested in seeing a championship grow in value, I am highly appreciative of CM Punk's reign, which has certainly brought stability to the WWE Championship. More value is undoubtedly lent to it by the fact that two of the biggest faces of the WWE—John Cena and The Rock—are booked to be contending for the title.
The title itself—if it were alive—should be glad to be adorned on more important waists than Miz's and Del Rio's in 2011. (No offense to Miz or Alberto, but they were pathetic as champions. That's coming from somebody who usually enjoys the heels.)
There is one problem with a long title reign: the ones that follow are often abnormally short and can lead to a game of hot potato. This is because many new championship feuds are suddenly tried out in a short span of time to compensate for the limited booking opportunities with a single champion. And, the pending "rematch clauses" are bound to accumulate. (Of course, scramble matches and the Elimination Chamber are the remedy!)
The WWE Championship is currently pegged, however. With the Rock already featuring on the Royal Rumble poster in the title match, his opponent has to be someone with the caliber to match him. With the current booking, it only seems feasible if his opponent is either John Cena or CM Punk. And, there is a problem.
Who would you want to see win the Punk/Cena feud?
Cena and Punk are currently feuding for the WWE Championship. Either Punk will take the title with him into the Royal Rumble, or Cena will. And, here are the scenarios that can happen:
1. Punk Wins Feud Against Cena, Heads to Rumble
This will have Punk accumulating too many miles on the WWE Championship to make his match against "Dwayne" as good as it can be. If Dwayne wins, it will say that a part-timer can end WWE's longest championship reign in modern history. If Punk wins, the Rock's prophecy will have been a bust, and—more troubling—Punk will be cemented as a "Super" character, much like Cena and Sheamus have been.
2. Cena Defeats Punk, Faces Rocky
This leaves a loose end in CM Punk. He either has to lose the title at Night of Champions, which will further give credence to the claim that he is not capable of ending the show. Or, he has to lose it later on, which would probably have him with a claim to a rematch while Dwayne is getting the title shot. (Or we can just throw him into a feud with Kane, right? That's what we do to former champions we have no plans for...)
Also, the outcome of Cena/Rock II in this scenario leads to a Cena/Rock III without fail. Either Rock wins and Cena gets a rematch, or Cena wins and the Rock/Cena feud needs a tiebreaker. And, that would be one too many Rocky matches involving John Cena.
3. Hot Potato
Cena defeats Punk. Punk defeats Cena. Cena defeats Punk. Punk defeats Cena. This goes on with the title changing hands repeatedly on pay-per-view, Monday Night Raw and that Saturday morning kids' show—okay, maybe not so much. But, it changes hands a few times. Cena and Punk are both involved in a triple-threat with "The Great One."
While that would make an ideal scenario for Dwayne to leech a victory off both "jabronis" as he would call them, it would make the WWE Championship worth nothing by the time he gets to shine it up.
4. Another Superstar Wins Title Between Now and January
This is not a single scenario, but a conglomerate of possibilities. Either Punk or Cena could get a victory (at the TLC pay-per-view, perhaps) over the transitional champion to defend at the Rumble, or—if the transitional champion is capable—he can be the one that defends against the Rock.
The first scenario would see either Punk or Cena defend a refreshed championship against Dwayne, while the other can be put in a feud against the deposed champion, who wouldn't end up being a neglected has-been after his reign ends. Possible options include—but are not limited to—The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett and Kane.
The second scenario will give something even more fresh, especially if someone like Brock Lesnar can carry the WWE Championship into the Rumble against Rocky, while everybody else fights it out—in the Rumble match itself—to face the winner at WrestleMania. Since both Dwayne and Brock will probably appear every week in the "Road to WrestleMania," it will be a great opportunity to milk whatever drawing power both these superstars have.
Who should be in the WWE Title Match at WrestleMania?
My Ideal Scenario
Wade Barrett gets a title shot against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell and wins after Punk is distracted by the Rock. Barrett successfully defends in the return match at Survivor Series and Brock Lesnar is declared the new number-one contender by Paul Heyman—who should be the GM of Raw by then.
Lesnar defeats Barrett at TLC, heading into the Rumble to defend against the Rock. Lesnar wins.
Wade Barrett wins the Royal Rumble. While everyone speculates he will go after Lesnar, he waits until the Elimination Chamber to decide. Lesnar destroys all his opponents to win his Chamber match.
The next night on Raw, Lesnar gloats and is interrupted by Wade Barrett. But, Barrett challenges the World Heavyweight Champion—hopefully Randy Orton.
Lesnar laughs in the ring, saying everybody is too scared to face him.
Barrett says he is not scared, but there is somebody else who wants to face Brock at Mania. Then, the lights go out...