CM Punk has been one of professional wrestling's hottest commodities since June 2011. He currently reigns over the WWE as the top heel and WWE champion.
He has his Night of Champions opponent John Cena to thank for that.
Before I delve into this, let me just say that I am a huge fan of Punk. I always have been. I think he's an incredible talent and one of the most well-rounded wrestlers to ever step between the ropes. He has worked hard and earned everything he's accomplished in this business.
That said, I can't help but imagine where Punk would be right now if it weren't for Cena. Would his summer breakout last year have been as effective? Would he have an almost 10-month WWE Championship reign?
Punk turned the wrestling world upside down with his pipebomb promo. It was the catalyst for his rise to the top. Punk addressed numerous topics—one of which was the idea that Cena is the best. If Cena hadn't been involved in the equation, Punk's promo would still have a sting to it.
While Punk's promo would have been a success with or without Cena, his matches at Money in the Bank and SummerSlam wouldn't have been. Cena's polarizing popularity was one of the leading factors in the electric atmosphere at the Allstate Arena on July 17, 2011.
Also, Punk and Cena's chemistry made for two phenomenal matches at those PPVs. Cena, who isn't renowned for his technical wrestling skills, incorporated mat wrestling in both encounters with Punk. Their matches told an excellent story from start to finish.
Punk leaving Chicago with the WWE Championship became one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history.
Even as WWE champion, Punk still came second to Cena as the WWE's top babyface. This became a factor that fueled his heel turn. The focal point of this current installment of Punk vs. Cena is Punk's demands for respect.
Despite the portion of the crowd that is vocally against Cena, he is still one of the most popular Superstars. As a foil to Punk, he helps put plenty of heat on Punk. In addition, Cena fits into Punk's current story better than anyone else would.
In essence, Cena fits the bill better than anyone else. He is the perfect foil to Punk. Cena has fit into every one of Punk's stories ever since Punk's meteoric rise last summer. Their chemistry in the ring and on the mic is simply incredible. They tell a story every time they talk and wrestle. Cena vs. Punk has made for some of the best WWE programming in a long time.
With Night of Champions quickly approaching, the anticipation for the next chapter of Punk vs. Cena is palpable. They have a new match and a new story to tell. I have no doubt that they will wrestle a great match and tell an even better story.
Like I said, Punk has worked very hard for everything he's accomplished. But if it weren't for John Cena, it's hard to say that Punk would be on top of the WWE like he is today.