CM Punk says that he is the best in the world. With his title reign now lasting over 310 days, he may be right. But to truly be the best, there are seven gimmick matches that he must wrestle.
It is one thing to say you are the best in the world. It is another thing altogether to actually prove that in the ring.
But being the best means more than words. It means more than the number of titles you win or how long you hold them.
Some of the best have never held the WWE title, such as Jerry Lawler, Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat.
Those wrestlers who are the true legends are the ones who can hold their own in the ring, in any type of match. They can tell a story with their moves and can hold the crowd’s attention and imagination, leaving them wanting more once the final count is made.
CM Punk is a great wrestler and storyteller. However, if he wants to cement his place in history and silence his detractors, these are the seven matches the WWE needs to put him in.
Best in the World, meet the best match in the world.
Two men. One hour. Score as many pinfalls as possible before time runs out.
There's a reason why this match is rarely seen: It is the hardest match out there, both in terms of general endurance and grabbing and maintaining audience interest.
WWE's other 60-minute match, the Royal Rumble, is a different beast altogether. With 30 (and sometimes 40) different men in the ring over the course of the hour, there are many different stories to tell and feuds to watch.
But with the Ironman match, all eyes are on only two men, and this would be Punk's ultimate chance to shine.
Some of the all-time greats have wrestled in this type of match. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels did it in 1996. So did The Rock and Triple-H in 2000. Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle went toe-to-toe in 2003. They went into the match on one level and they all left on a higher one.
Not many wrestlers today would be able to keep the audience engaged and hanging on their every move like Punk could.
Image what an Ironman Match between Punk and Daniel Bryan would be like. Punk would be able to pull out moves we haven't seen in the WWE yet, like the Pepsi Plunge.
This type of gimmick match could actually make another Punk/Cena go around a must see.
CM Punk may have already fought Randy Orton in this type of match in 2009, but he needs this type of match again to continue to build heat as a heel.
In a Lumberjack match, the ring is surrounded on all sides by other WWE superstars. Any time one of the participants in the match tries to leave or is thrown over the ropes, the lumberjacks are free to do whatever they please (or need) to get him back in the ring.
This all but guarantees a pinfall or submission victory.
Throwing CM Punk into a lumberjack match again would show what a huge target he is by being both the WWE Champion and the self-proclaimed best in the world. What better way to sell his quest for respect than by having the lumberjacks disrespect him?
This is another match that requires expert storytelling and the ability to wrestle like a god.
Perfect for Punk.
The match is scheduled for three falls instead of the traditional one. In order to win the match, you have to win two of those three matches.
This gimmick extends the normal match and can create some exciting drama for the fans. Imagine if Punk lost the first fall. Suddenly, he could be in danger of losing his title on something as simple as a count out or DQ.
As for Punk's image, this match could be used to show his dominance over another wrestler by scoring two straight falls. Or he could showcase his ruthlessness by purposely losing the first fall by beating his opponent senseless with a chair or by injuring their knee, elbow or arm.
The best heels always go for the kill.
This type of gimmick match isn't used very often, but it favors Punk in that it forces a more mat-based encounter.
In a strap match, the wrestlers are attached on opposite ends of some kind of restraint, from a belt, steel chains or a leather strap. The match is one by touching all four corners in a row, without stopping.
And of course, the restraint can be used as a weapon.
Since a strap match pretty much rules out any aerial attacks, Punk would have to go on the offensive and incapacitate his opponent with his wide array of moves normally not seen in WWE rings.
Punk is so versatile and able to adapt to any style that a strap match could easily let him shine. His Strap Match against Umaga at Extreme Rules was only a hint at what Punk could do in this setup.
The idea behind this match is simple: Beat your opponent down until he can no longer stand.
CM Punk fought Randy Orton in this match in 2011 at Extreme Rules. He needs this match again to show just how absolutely ruthless he can be. And he needs to win this time.
In fact, this would be the perfect match for that inevitable final clash with Cena.
If the WWE wants to really sell Punk/Rock at the Royal Rumble, then Punk has to put the final nail in his feud with Cena. What better way than to leave Cena in a bloody heap and head into January as an unstoppable beast?
The last I Quit match in the WWE was in 2011 and this is perfect for the Best in the World.
This is a one-on-one matchup with the only way to win is to have your opponent say the words, “I quit.”
Punk’s current run as a heel would benefit greatly from a match like this. Take a look at his Last Man Standing match against Randy Orton at Extreme Rules 2011 to see how brutal Punk can be.
If the WWE doesn’t want to end the Punk/Cena feud with a Last Man Standing match, they could just as easily do it with this one.
What a shock would it be...how out of character...to hear Cena give up.
Placing Punk in this match really means one thing: Punk vs. Undertaker.
This match screams for Undertaker and Punk. The only way to win this match is to throw your opponent is an open grave and literally bury him with dirt. There have only been five of these matches in WWE history, all involving the Deadman.
Punk and The Undertaker wrestled in an incredible submission match on SmackDown in 2009 and the two have also fought in a casket match. The WWE would have PPV gold with these two going at it again.
While not likely to happen, having Punk face Undertaker would also give him the opportunity to take out a true legend at his own game. It's not unheard of for Undertaker to lose this one. He's lost to Kane and Steve Austin.
So many wrestlers have tried to cement their place in history by taking out the Undertaker. With 'Taker nearing the end of his career, why not have Punk beat him? It won't hurt The Undertaker one bit, but it would bring Punk one step closer to his claim of being the best in the world.
As Ric Flair used to say, in order to be the man, you've got to beat the man. Or the dead man, as the case may be.