CM Punk made history in the “Summer of Punk.”
His 2011 “pipe bomb” shoot promo put Punk on the map as an antihero. He spoke for himself and the adult wrestling fan audience. It led to him becoming the longest WWE champion in 25 years. He had quality matches during his 434-day reign until it ended at the Royal Rumble, courtesy of The Rock.
Since then, it seems Punk is disinterested. His WrestleMania 29 storyline with the Undertaker saw Punk apparently phoning in a promo with the urn. According to Cagesideseats.com, rumors are swirling Punk is unhappy with the current direction with the WWE Creative team.
Is CM Punk not taking time off after the pipe bomb haunting him?
Well, why would it haunt Punk after his success?
Punk had Match of the Year candidates with many on the current roster, including Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan and John Cena. His encounters with Chris Jericho for the WWE title are underrated. Punk crafts his stories and puts together matches worth talking about.
But then again, there was a problem on the flip side: He wasn’t the main event.
John Cena and his character overshadowed all of those matches. Though, Punk’s super match with Bryan wasn’t the main event at Over the Limit; Cena vs. John Laurinaitis was. Punk fought Cena and Big Show at SummerSlam in the co-main event; Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar was the main event.
Punk only main evented five pay-per-views as the WWE champion: 2011’s SummerSlam, TLC, 2012’s Night of Champions, Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series and 2013’s Royal Rumble. That’s not exactly a banner year in events for the champion.
But what would’ve happened if Punk did take the time off? Obviously, Punk would’ve returned setting up a possible rematch with Cena for the title. Punk’s rest would have the Internet buzzing about his return, if he ever did. After all, Punk’s contract was kept top secret until he returned one week later.
If Punk did get his rest, it might’ve caused the WWE to fall further than it has ever been. Whoever held the title would probably have been called a paper champion, a placeholder. Cena could handle the heat, but guys like Alberto Del Rio couldn’t.
Keep in mind that’s if Punk won the title at Money in the Bank. If he lost, it would be business as usual with Cena as champion. However, the backlash would be even worse. The crowd in Chicago turned on Cena when he went to the ring for the match. It would be detrimental if the WWE gave Cena the title over Punk.
The bottom line is Punk put the WWE in a difficult spot. It had no choice but to give Punk the title and risk him walking away. It could have been a domino effect on not just the WWE but also those who debuted during his reign. Would Ryback and The Shield be the same as they are now? Would Jericho even come back to face Punk at WrestleMania 28? Would Punk even turn heel and join forces with Paul Heyman?
Regardless, the WWE might not have ever been the same if Punk took his time off. Now with the strap off him, CM Punk can finally get his rest, at least until after WrestleMania 29.