CM Punk has held the WWE Championship for 379 consecutive days as of this writing, a feat that has placed him firmly in the record books.
He has held nearly every major championship in WWE and worked some of the biggest names in the business including the Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Triple H, Randy Orton and of course, John Cena. But he has one opponent left to face and one mountain left to climb.
The time has come for CM Punk to face The Rock in the main event of WrestleMania.
To be honest, I have long held the opinion that Rocky will square off against Cena, in a rematch from this year’s Mania. Though Vince McMahon had advertised WrestleMania 28’s epic showdown as “once in a lifetime,” I for one was not convinced that would actually be the case.
After all, this is WWE we’re talking about here, where anything can happen, right?
Rock vs. Cena at WrestleMania 28 was a huge moneymaker for WWE, and according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com), was the biggest WWE pay-per-view of all time. Why would any promoter, especially McMahon, stop with just one match?
Why not cash in one more time? Certainly every issue between Rocky and John could not have been resolved with just one bout, why not give fans another great WWE moment?
A win over Rocky would vindicate John from this year’s loss and would once again reestablish him as the undisputed top dog of WWE. No doubt about it, that was definitely my train of thought when considering what the main event of WrestleMania 29 should be.
But after the way recent storylines have played out on Raw the past month or so, I have really changed my mind on this one. Why?
Because of the two Superstars, I believe that CM Punk is the one headed in the right direction for a prime spot against the People’s Champion on the grandest stage of them all.
Punk is the champ. Period. He has defeated every opponent placed in front of him, consistently turned in one great match after another, and done it all while still being as effective on the microphone as he was since he first entered the business. And with the addition of Paul Heyman by his side, Punk is stronger than ever before.
He is at the pulse of the company, the featured attraction on Monday Night Raw. As the champion, Punk holds the richest prize in the industry and has become the biggest heel on WWE programming.
Though Ryback has put him to the test, Punk always finds a way to come out on top and despite any criticism he receives due to ratings, the fact is that WWE has showed a real commitment to keeping Punk at the top.
Add to this the jabs that both Rocky and Punk have thrown at each other via Twitter over the past few months, and you have a brewing rivalry that I believe will not end at the Royal Rumble.
The Rock has a WWE Title shot on that night in January and for many fans, that is when CM Punk’s historic championship reign comes to an end. The biggest heel versus one of the biggest babyfaces of all time, what could be better than that?
But for me, this is a feud that once it really begins, will likely gain steam very quickly, and turn red hot in virtually no time.
Two of the best talkers in WWE history, trading shots in promos, feeding off of the live crowd, then getting in the ring to tear it up as only they can. The scenario is similar to the rivalry that Rocky had with John Cena, except for the fact that Cena is the face of WWE. He’s not going anywhere, and one loss at one WrestleMania does not change a thing for him.
However, for CM Punk, a victory against the Rock does nothing but add to his legacy in WWE. He became a “made man” long ago, but with that sort of win, Punk is perhaps no longer looked at as a very strong No. 2. Perhaps he would then be viewed as the No. 1.
And the truth is, that win could come at either the Royal Rumble or in the rematch at WrestleMania 29. CM Punk has earned that main-event spot next year. With the incredible build-up and spotlight that he has received over this last year, there is no better time in Punk’s career than right now, to grab that final achievement in WWE.
What more could WWE do in order to get Punk to WrestleMania? What’s left for him to prove that he deserves it?
And what about John Cena? Why exactly is he not headed for the second round of “once in a lifetime” against the Rock?
For me, it basically boils down to the fact that John has been so mired down in the AJ Lee situation on Raw and now only receives WWE Title shots because of who he is, not what he’s done lately. He is the go-to guy when Vince McMahon needs to sell a pay-per-view main event, and in that regard, he does his job.
But John has had his WrestleMania moment. He has had many of them, in fact. I believe that this is Punk’s time to shine. And, what better way to do that than at WWE’s biggest event of the year, against a future Hall of Famer?
WrestleMania is the night when the top guys of WWE get their payoff for a year’s worth of hard work entertaining fans all over the world. With that being the case, who in WWE deserves that payoff more than CM Punk?