At the 26th annual Survivor Series, CM Punk will defend his WWE Championship in a Triple Threat match against John Cena and Ryback. But does the history of title defenses at the November event prove Punk will win?
With The Rock confirmed to wrestle for the title at the Royal Rumble, his opponent could be any one of these three men. (Wrestlingnewsworld.com)
The answer to whether Punk can be successful in his title defense may lie in the details. Since 1999, there has not been two consecutive Survivor Series where the WWE Championship has changed hands.
If you don’t include 1998 when a new champion had to be crowned because Steve Austin was stripped of the belt after he was fired, then you can go back to 1997.
Survivor Series is the second-longest running pay-per-view in WWE history. (WWE.com) It made its debut in 1987, appearing a few months after the very successful WrestleMania III.
In the 25 previous editions of the show, the WWE Championship has been defended 15 times. It has changed hands nine times. That means 60 percent of the title bouts ended up with a new champion. If you include the 1998 title tournament to fill the vacant championship, then it jumps up to 66 percent.
Not looking good for Punk, right? Wrong.
Let’s take a closer look.
The first title match and title change occurred in 1991 when The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan. It next changed hands in 1994 when Bob Backlund beat Bret Hart.
In 1995 Hart defeated Diesel. Then in 1996, Sycho Sid conquered Shawn Michaels for the strap. In 1997, Michaels famously took the belt from Hart in what became known as the Montreal Screw Job.
These years are the only time in Survivor Series history the champion was beaten in straight events.
The only other title changes occurred in 1999, 2002, 2008 and...2011.
With Wrestling Inc. mentioning that the WWE plans to have The Rock defeat Punk for the title at the Royal Rumble, the pattern appears to be holding.