Here's to you, CM Punk. As I predicted, you managed to escape with your championship once again, all but setting up your match with the Rock at the Royal Rumble. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. You have been able to accomplish what most people thought impossible: put yourself in prime position to become sixth all time on the list of longest-reigning WWE Champions.
Officially at 365 days, you have cleared the path of all challengers. It seems so long ago now, that night in Chicago, when you shocked the world and won the WWE Championship from John Cena, leaving the company just hours later.
That was a special moment. It marked the beginning of the Punk era, where for the better part of a year-and-a-half, you have been either champion or No. 1 contender.
And did I mention 365 consecutive days as champion?
You'll pass John Cena's 380 days in just over two weeks! That will put you at sixth all time. Now, you have no chance of catching Pedro Morales, who's 1,027 consecutive days as WWF Champion will likely never be surpassed by anyone. But let's not be negative tonight.
After all, Punk, you deserve your day in the sun. Those of us who grew up in the Attitude Era clamored for years for someone like you, and you have given us hope. A hope that, amid all the PG language, action and storylines, somewhere, someone was there to give us a taste of what we once loved. What wrestling should be.
Now, I know that people will boo you, people will hate you, people will find reasons to complain about you. But you ignore them. You, CM Punk, are the savior of the WWE. You are the Anti-Cena. You are the Voice of the Voiceless—those fans like me who long for a return to an adult product, a product where wrestlers can be themselves without worrying about Senate campaigns or saying something too risque. Lead your revolution and we will follow you, and those like you, into a new and better WWE.
I know your reign will end at 434 days, when the Rock defeats you at the Royal Rumble. I will lament when he raises the WWE Championship above his head. But until then, I will bask in the glory that is you, CM Punk, and will only hope that you can finally get your moment in the sun at WrestleMania.
Godspeed to you, CM Punk, the last best hope for wrestling.