CM Punk vs. Ryback at Hell in the Cell for the WWE Championship offers a nice break in Punk's long-running feud with John Cena.
After more than 30 encounters between the two, is Punk vs. Cena in danger of becoming the next Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio?
Every good feud in the WWE needs time to build to get the fans invested, but sometimes these heavily-built feuds can go on for much longer than they should.
The Cena-Punk feud just might be reaching that point, something that happened with Sheamus and Del Rio on SmackDown.
Let’s consider the lengths of both feuds and the matches between both sets of wrestlers.
Punk and Cena first wrestled against each other on Raw in 2009, the first of three encounters. On just SmackDown and Raw alone, they faced each other two more times in 2010, a whopping 21 times in 2011 and just two times in 2012.
Sheamus and Del Rio’s record on Raw and SmackDown is a little less: four matches on both shows in 2011 and 13 in 2012.
In pay-per-view matches, Punk and Cena first appeared together at WrestleMania 22, when Punk was one of Cena’s “gangsters” for his special Chicago-themed entrance.
They fought on four different PPVs in 2011, including Cena eliminating Punk at the Royal Rumble. In 2012, they have met at SummerSlam and Night of Champions.
Sheamus and Del Rio have been together on PPV like mold on cheese. They first met at Bragging Rights in 2010, then in 2012 they have face off four times, with one matchup cancelled due to Del Rio’s concussion.
Punk and Cena have clearly wrestled each other more often than their SmackDown counterparts, yet they still seem fresh every time they meet.
WWE fans have quickly grown tired of Sheamus and Del Rio squaring off. The two never really clicked, and the chemistry just isn't there.
But the chemistry is there with Punk and Cena, and that is the biggest difference.
Sheamus-Del Rio has been shoved down the throats of the WWE Universe, even when it became clear that the fans just weren’t that into it anymore with less and less pops for the two.
With Punk and Cena, the chemistry is there, the fan interest is there and the two work off each other well. Their previous match at Night of Champions was a blistering 30 minutes, virtually unheard of these days.
They went that long because they could.
While both feuds have creaked along for quite some time, Punk vs. Cena still has some steam left in it.