When WWE champion CM Punk was seen entering a car driven by Paul Heyman a couple months ago on Raw, it was clear that the WWE had been turned on its head. Punk and Heyman have had a very fruitful partnership ever since, but it will be interesting to see how long it perseveres.
Punk is a guy who doesn't need anyone to speak for him, so when it became apparent that he and Heyman would be working together, it was unclear what type of dynamic they would have. Things have actually gone quite well, though, with Punk still doing the bulk of the talking and Heyman stepping in when needed.
Heyman has acted like a publicist in a lot of ways with Punk handling the important situations and Heyman basically taking care of his light work. It is very clear that Heyman is working for Punk rather than the other way around, but they are much closer to being equals than superstars and managers normally are, and I believe that works for them.
Fans are often impatient and want to know the conclusion of a storyline before it has really even gotten going, but I don't believe there is any end in sight for the Punk and Heyman coalition. Heyman is a master manipulator who uses his words to get under the skin of others, and his constant trumpeting of Punk as the best in the world is a perfect complement to the WWE champion.
I firmly believe that a larger, Heyman-led stable is on the horizon, and it is likely to start Sunday at Hell in a Cell. The WWE has very few options when it comes to the ending of the Punk vs. Ryback match, and the only feasible result that I can come up with is Brock Lesnar returning to attack Ryback and help Punk retain the title.
Lesnar has no allegiances to Punk, but he has always been a Heyman guy and it can be said that he was summoned back to the WWE by Heyman in order to face the toughest challenge of his career in the form of Ryback. Punk won't be beating Ryback clean, and I highly doubt Ryback will beat Punk in any manner, so a Lesnar return is the obvious solution.
If Lesnar joins forces with Punk and Heyman, and that is perhaps followed up in the coming weeks by another Heyman guy in Big Show and a potential stablemate in Dolph Ziggler, then Punk and Heyman will truly be entrenched. With Survivor Series taking place next month, it seems quite clear that a five-on-five match between Punk's team and John Cena's team is in order.
After that, Punk will have to defend his title at Tables, Ladders and Chairs before finally taking on The Rock at Royal Rumble. It's possible that Cena could beat Punk at TLC, resulting in Cena entering the Rumble match instead, but I'm guessing that we'll see Punk vs. Rock as it has been built up and teased ever since the 1,000th episode of Raw.
When will the Punk/Heyman partnership come to an end?
Heyman would most definitely come in handy as far as that feud is concerned since he has a history with The Rock. Heyman managed Lesnar during his angle with The Rock back in 2002 and led The Next Big Thing past The Great One. The promos between Punk, The Rock and Heyman would be absolutely incredible, and I doubt that the WWE will let that slip through the cracks.
There are countless possibilities regarding Punk's potential WrestleMania involvement, but I have a sneaky suspicion we'll see Punk vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at WrestleMania XXIX rather than at WrestleMania XXX as many have suggested. That would involve Austin making a shocking return as a surprise entrant in the Rumble match and ultimately winning it.
That may seem like a long shot at this point, especially with Austin nursing a knee injury, but the WWE has been pushing the Punk vs. Austin agenda in a big way through WWE '13 promotional tactics. I feel like it is going to lead to more than a fantasy matchup between them in a video game.
Heyman would once again be a major asset in that feud as a buffer between the best promo guy today in Punk and perhaps the best promo guy ever in Austin. Also, the WWE would have to make Punk's status as a heel very clear in order for the Punk vs. Austin feud to be a success. Heyman's mere presence would solidify that.
With that in mind, I don't see any scenario in which Punk and Heyman part ways prior to WrestleMania at the earliest. If Punk loses to Austin at WrestleMania, then perhaps that would spell the end of the Punk and Heyman duo, but if he were to win that match, then Punk and Heyman could truly be together for the long haul.
I'm not even sure if the WWE creative team knows precisely how far it will take the Punk and Heyman alliance, but it has been so effective to this point that I'm sure we'll be seeing it for a very long time to come.