Since capturing the coveted title at Survivor Series 2011, Punk has had a stranglehold on the WWE. In fact, it's been 25 years since any superstar has maintained such a lengthy title reign.
But as one of the WWE's premier events inches closer, those days are numbered.
Ever since Punk turned heel and attacked The Rock at the 1,000th episode of RAW, the stage has been set for an epic clash between one of the WWE's brightest stars and one of its most popular living legends.
And unfortunately for Punk—who's been a fan favorite since breaking through with the company in 2008—he'll be kissing his championship gold goodbye this Sunday.
The Rock's comeback has injected some new life in the generation of fans who grew up watching The Brahma Bull capture countless championships and captivate thousands of fans. However, The People's Champ has spent more time on the silver screen than pursuing championship gold in recent years. At the Royal Rumble, that will change.
Punk has taken down a litany of opponents during his lengthy reign: Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho and John Cena. But as dominant as he's been over the past year and a half, he hasn't faced an opponent quite like The Rock.
It's been 11 years since The Rock won his last WWE Championship when he defeated Kurt Angle and The Undertaker in a triple-threat match at Vengeance. And while he's been starring in Hollywood more than in the ring, it's time for The Rock to reclaim his rightful place as champ.
A victory for The Rock would benefit both the superstar and the company.
With several movies set for release this year, The Rock's star status would only be enhanced by carrying around the WWE title belt. Moreover, his unique ability to hold an audience and generate such excitement amongst his fans would definitely be something the WWE would like to exploit.
Punk is a popular star in his own right, but there's none quite like The Rock.
From a storyline standpoint, having the The Rock enter Wrestlemania as the champ would create more of a buzz than if Punk was still the title holder. The WWE could play out the redemption angle for Punk, or bring in a new challenger—perhaps The Undertaker or Triple H—in a classic battle between two legends.
The People's Champion may be past his prime, but he can still turn it on on the big stage. Ratings would be through the roof, especially since he'd be able to capture both the older and younger audience who know of his legend. If The Rock comes through at the Royal Rumble and finally puts an end to Punk's title reign, it could lead to a thrilling Wrestlemania.
What more could the WWE want?
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