Former WWE Champion CM Punk has been the subject of many articles. Many detail his reign as champion, others discuss the ending of Punk's time at the top, and some look into the future, and ask what it holds for the only Straight-Edge WWE Champion in company history (to be fair though, sXe is something just about anyone could be without saying it. So perhaps we have had Champions who were straight-edge before, but just never made a point to say it. I digress though.)
Still, there's an interesting trend I've been seeing regarding Punk for a while now. It's something that's been on the lips of many people for months now, and it boggles my mind whenever I read it.
People, before CM Punk's reign passed John Cena would go on to state things along the lines of "If CM Punk's reign doesn't pass Cena's it's pointless." However, the 380-day mark was passed. So crisis averted, correct? WRONG!
Around the time of The Royal Rumble PPV, many people argued again about Punk, his title reign, and the legacy he has/will leave behind. Again, they went on to make claims along the lines of "If Punk drops the title to The Rock, just so Rock can drop the title to Cena at Mania, Punk's reign will have been for nothing, and we'll be right back where we were before."
Putting aside the general absurdity of that statement, I have to ask fans of CM Punk something. Maybe it's just me missing a part or two, but Punk has the fifth-longest WWE Title reign in history (granted, nobody really cares about fifth place,) has had some very good promos the past couple of years, and has beaten the face of the company on six occasions (I get that they weren't clean, but that's not the point, so drop it).
He is a six-time World Champion (yes, we're counting the ECW Championship,) former tag-team champion, Intercontinental Champion, 2-Time MiTB Winner, Slammy Award-winner, with a list of other minor accomplishments to his name not just in the WWE but some big stuff on the Independent Circuit as well.
Explain to me, how all that apparently means nothing if CM Punk can't beat The Rock, if John Cena is ever put above him, or if some other magnificent thing doesn't happen to Punk?
All the time, I see people making comments that say things like "Punk needs to beat The Rock to cement his legacy," "Undertaker letting Punk go over at Mania would cement his legacy," "If John Cena wins the WWE Championship, Punk's reign will have meant nothing," etc.
Honestly, at this point, if CM Punk's legacy isn't set then that tells me a few things. The first thing that tells me, is that if you think Punk needs every accolade in the book to have a great legacy, you're probably a mark. Not to say that there's anything wrong with being a mark, but you have to realize the WWE doesn't have to revolve around your guy for him to have a great career.
Another thing this tells me, is that if you think Punk's legacy isn't cemented at this point, then it likely never will be. Punk can't get everything, just like Cena can't get everything. Which actually brings me to another point I want to bring up.
Punk doesn't always have to be better than Cena. His career doesn't have a co-dependent relationship with Cena's. When people act like if Cena ever does anything better than Punk or does something Punk hasn't done it makes Punk look bad.
That type of thinking actually buries Punk, because it's more like you're more tied up with Cena and his fans, you fail to realize the good things happening with Punk, for fear Cena will one-up him.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've read comments that sound like "Wait 'til Cena gets a 540 day reign," as if that effects Punk's career and his legacy, (barring the obvious one of Cena's reign bumping Punk's back on the list.)
My point is, CM Punk is a legit superstar. As much as I dislike him, I'll give props where props are due. Punk's done very well for himself—better than I ever expected him to.
If Punk never holds a title again, if he never battles a legend in a big match like he has with The Rock, if he never wins a Royal Rumble--or if he retires the night after WrestleMania this year, Punk will go down as one of the best, most impressive characters the WWE has had. A future Hall of Famer no doubt.
He's similar to Chris Jericho. We all know how good Jericho is, WWE knows it, the fans know it, and he didn't need to be the top guy to make all that happen.
The same could be said about The Undertaker. Usually dwarfed by The Rock, Hogan, Stone Cold, etc. he still managed to make a name for himself, and he'll go down in history for it.
Punk has found his place. He, like the men before him, may not be the top guy, but he certainly brings something to the table, and the fans are proof positive of that.
Consider Punk legit.