WWE Royal Rumble 2013: What's Next for CM Punk After Loss to the Rock?

Bill PivetzCorrespondent IIIJanuary 31, 2013

Is CM Punk's next big challenge The Undertaker and his streak? Photo by: WWE
Is CM Punk's next big challenge The Undertaker and his streak? Photo by: WWE

After losing the WWE Championship to The Rock at the Royal Rumble, CM Punk’s historic 434-day title reign is over.

John Cena won his second Royal Rumble match by last eliminating Ryback. This pretty much sets up a rematch between The Rock and John Cena for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.

Now, a championship-less Punk opens up many doors from now until WrestleMania for the WWE.

However, we must not jump ahead until WrestleMania. There is still the Elimination Chamber event that could reveal more of the WrestleMania card.

With Cena not facing Rock until April, the WWE continues with the Punk/Rock feud until the next pay-per-view.

There is still unfinished business between these two. Punk complained on Raw that the WWE Championship was stolen from him and that Vince had no right to restart the match.

Later in the night, Rock cut a promo about how great it felt to once again be WWE champion. Punk interrupted and demanded a rematch with The Rock in three weeks. Rock accepted. At Elimination Chamber it will be Rock vs CM Punk II for the WWE Championship.

However, is WWE going to keep John Cena off the Elimination Chamber card? His feud with Ziggler seems to be over. He didn't cross paths with anyone of importance on the heel side during his time in the rumble match.

After Elimination Chamber, there are seven weeks until WrestleMania. This gives WWE ample time to build up a huge match for Punk. Two names that have been thrown out there are Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker. I’m banking on the latter.

Austin hasn’t been in a WWE ring since 2011, when he gave a Stunner to Michael Cole. Undertaker, on the other hand, competed at last year’s WrestleMania and came to the aid of Kane at Raw 1,000.

Punk is a top star with the WWE and facing anyone else besides Cena, Rock, Austin or Undertaker at WrestleMania would be an injustice to Punk and what he can do in the ring.

Until Elimination Chamber is over, we can only speculate on who Punk will face at WrestleMania. In the meantime, CM Punk has his sights set on The Rock and the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber.

With the match all but official, it should be another classic match between two stars of two different generations.

CM Punk is still in the WWE title picture. His stock hasn't fallen that much, but I will bet that he won't hold the WWE Championship until at least Night of Champions.