CM Punk made his return to live TV on the June 17 edition of WWE Raw when he confronted newly crowned World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. The spot led to a main event match between the two Superstars that instantly stirred memories of their WWE Championship bout back in 2011. It also raised the very real possibility that Punk could eventually take the belt from Del Rio.
Are we perhaps looking at the next historical title run from CM Punk?
I have to admit that the moment Punk interrupted Alberto’s celebration I immediately had mixed feelings on the spot. It was not because of the match itself, however.
The fact is that at any given time Punk is arguably the best worker in the company and Del Rio is one of the hardest-working guys in the ring. Their rivalry in 2011 was entertaining and they did good business together during that time.
So I had no problem with their main event bout on Raw.
The mixed reaction was due to the fact that in my mind I could envision Punk hoisting the World Championship over his head as the crowd cheered his victory. Now if you’re a Punk fan, then that image is likely working for you. After all, there’s nothing quite like your favorite Superstar riding high at the top of the company with some gold around his waist.
But this is not the gold that we are accustomed to seeing around Punk’s waist. This is not the WWE title, this is the world title. There is a big difference.
Depending on what particular era and which champion you’re talking about, the truth is that the World Heavyweight Championship has traditionally been thought of as the No. 2 title in WWE. In many ways, it is a holdover, a reminder of WCW, a company long since gone. And if not for the sheer size of WWE’s roster, I question whether or not the world title is even necessary to begin with.
Basically, the belt is there to give more main event opportunities for more Superstars in the company. While some fans may argue that the WWE title should be the only major belt, I believe that the way the company is set up that the big gold belt actually does serve a purpose.
But at the end of the day, for many fans, it will always be WWE’s secondary belt.
So, why exactly would you put that title on CM Punk? He has held it in the past and now Punk has more than proven himself over the past two years as a true main event player in WWE. His title run is the sixth-longest in WWE history and a talent like that should not just drop the belt and within a few months accept a consolation prize.
Of course, there is a flip side to that argument, the one that suggests the Superstar makes the championship and the championship does not make the Superstar.
Imagine CM Punk and John Cena as the world and WWE champions. Two men who have been heated rivals for the past few years suddenly reigning at the top of Vince McMahon’s company. For those fans who continuously boo Cena out of the building, there perhaps would be nothing sweeter than to see one of his biggest opponents competing for the spotlight with his own championship hardware.
Would the World Heavyweight Championship be elevated higher than the WWE Championship?
And it could very well be a win for WWE. Two men who are thought of by so many fans as being McMahon’s one-two punch, standing side by side with the two top straps. WWE could have a field day just marketing that fact and it could eventually lead to a title unification at some point in the future if the company wanted to go that route.
But while the possibility of Punk once again becoming world heavyweight champion is an intriguing one, the truth is that the guy just returned to WWE. He was attacked by Brock Lesnar after the match with Del Rio ended on Raw and right now there is no indication that WWE is interested in putting Punk back into a similar role that he held for 434 days wearing the other belt.
Plus, there is also the matter of former world champion Dolph Ziggler, who will receive a rematch for the belt. His program with Alberto has now taken a new twist considering that both men practically had a double character turn at Payback. There is definitely some new ground to cover in this rivalry if Ziggler does indeed become babyface to counter Del Rio as a heel. This does not leave a lot of room for Punk, at least for now, to win the world title.
CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio faced off on the June 17 edition of Raw in a match that reminded fans of their feud back in 2011 for the WWE Championship. While Del Rio is now the world champion, the fact is that the chances of Punk taking the belt from him at some point may be somewhat slim as both men are currently distracted by other opponents.
The possibilities are intriguing, but the question is will WWE go with Punk as world champion?