Another wrestling year is nearing completion as 2012 goes the way of Abraham Washington. 2012 gave us Ryback, another Chris Jericho return and 1,000 episodes of Monday Night Raw. 'Tis the season to rank them in order of importance. Stories will be evaluated based on longevity, mainstream coverage and social media influence.
Top 10 of 2012, No. 2: 381 Days and Counting
CM Punk is admittedly an old soul. He remarks fondly about the Shawn Michaels' and Harley Races of pro wrestling, and he approaches his career with a workmanlike old-school mentality.
Following the death of Macho Man Randy Savage, Punk added the flying elbow drop to his arsenal. While babyface, the move evoked chants of "Randy Savage" from live crowds.
Punk became the WWE's it guy overnight following a memorable shoot promo in the summer of 2011. Since then, Punk has assumed a lion's share of promotional work. In addition to his relentless wrestling schedule of house shows, TV and pay-per-view, Punk has become the latest in a line of WWE champions to carry the venerable flag of the WWE.
CM Punk's dedication to the WWE has been rewarded in historical proportions. To date, CM Punk has enjoyed a WWE title reign that has lasted in excess of 400 days.
406 to be exact.
The reign has been the focal point of the WWE's storyline as Punk never fails to mention his ungodly rule of terror. He is the longest WWE champion of the modern era, taking down legendary dynasties in his path.
The Ultimate Warrior sunk deeper into the basement of WWE history on day 249. He blew by immortality when he passed Hulk Hogan on day 365. The Macho Man Randy Savage's yearlong reign became a footnote on day 372. Most importantly, Punk passed WWE poster boy John Cena's lengthy run as champion on day 381, officially becoming this era's Bruno Sammartino.
All this, and it only took Punk seven days to surpass Vince.
Even with a match against The Rock losing, there is no end in sight for a current empire that has taken on a life of its own. The Rock as WWE champion does not make sense logistically. The Rock's multitasking schedule of promoting movies would prohibit him from defending the strap at house shows.
The WWE may be best suited to let sleeping dogs lie come the Royal Rumble. Should that happen, Punk's reign will be equivalent to hibernation.
Top 10 of 2012: 10. One Night in Brazil | 9. Just Say Yes! | 8. Millions of Problems | 7. Orton Suspended | 6. AJ Lee Is a Crazy, Dirty Girl | 5. Brock is Back | 4. The Rise of Ryback | 3. RAW 1000 | 2. 381 Days and Counting...