CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have been booked to face Luke Harper and Erick Rowan at WWE's upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view November 24. The match is a result of both Bryan and Punk each being attacked by The Wyatt Family on a recent edition of Monday Night Raw, and for many fans, this match is a long time coming.
The reason for this is because it marks the first time Bray Wyatt's clan will actually get their hands on some true main event Superstars. It also gives Daniel Bryan involvement in a storyline outside of the one he's been embroiled in against The Authority. And for CM Punk, this angle could very well be the one that leads him back to the WWE Championship.
For me, Punk's inclusion in this storyline is the perfect way to bring him back to the title picture. After all, he has not been directly linked to the company's top prize since losing in his bid to regain the belt from The Rock at Elimination Chamber.
Since that time, Punk has unsuccessfully challenged Undertaker's streak at WrestleMania 29, turned face again and then feuded with former best friend Paul Heyman and his clients. Punk has had a full plate over the past several months and the fact is that he has not really missed the WWE title all that much.
But many fans have missed seeing him with it.
Punk's 434-day championship reign is one for the ages, a time that Punk's supporters will never forget. For the first time in a very long time, someone other than John Cena was the focus of the company and was riding high with the industry's top prize.
Punk delivered in every way as WWE champion. His ring work was top-notch, with title defenses against Chris Jericho, Kane, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Daniel Bryan, among others. His mic work was second to none (as always), and he just seemed to get better and better every time he picked up the stick.
As far as attitude was concerned, Punk just appeared to be having the time of his life. Working alongside Heyman certainly had much to do with that, as the two men always seemed to be thoroughly enjoying every moment of their stint together.
Seeing Punk with the WWE Championship became as familiar and normal as always seeing Cena with it, and that is really saying something.
However, if there is one guy in WWE who perhaps does not need the title and can indeed get along just fine without it, it's definitely CM Punk. Punk has reached that place in his career that he can basically do anything he wants and he will likely always get the support and respect from the crowd as a whole.
In fact, considering that Cena remained the company's top guy during Punk's historic reign, I would say that The Best in the World was in no danger of losing his swagger.
The fact is that most of the time, Punk received the biggest pop despite who he worked with or what big storyline John Cena was involved with on any given night.
Many of the WWE faithful have consistently compared Punk to Stone Cold Steve Austin due to the rebellious antihero gimmick that both men use. But the true common denominator between them is that just like Austin, Punk does not necessarily need the WWE title in order to be successful.
In other words, Punk does not need the belt to get over. He's doing just fine, thank you.
But while he may not need the championship, it could be the fans who want him to have it. Again, they may miss seeing him with it, and if there is a storyline that could open the door back to championship gold, it's the one against The Wyatt Family.
The truth is that Punk works best when he is physically tested in the ring. Mixing it up against Bray and his followers is something fairly new for him, something fresh for him to sink his teeth into. There is a lot of material to work with in this angle, and Punk should have a blast with this one.
And let's face it: The fans want this rivalry. Punk and Bryan are each dynamic performers in the ring, but put them together and they will likely bring the house down. And as for The Wyatt Family, these three Superstars are still proving themselves night in and night out. They are working toward the level that Punk has enjoyed for two years now and are surely itching to get in the ring and go to work.
The bottom line is that Harper and Rowan will be on their game at Survivor Series; they want to impress on the main event stage. And that means that this match will be a must-see event.
But waiting around the corner could very well be Randy Orton and the WWE Championship.
By the time the two stars lock horns, Orton will likely have moved on from Big Show and his character will be ready for the next challenge. And considering that he is fully endorsed by Triple H and the McMahon family, it would only up the entertainment value with Punk added to the angle.
Where Bryan failed, Punk may succeed. Could he dethrone Randy for the title?
I believe that Punk's presence in the WWE title picture would add a new dimension to The Authority storyline and bring some fresh ideas to the angle that Bryan just left behind. The fact is that while Bryan was fighting for his life and his future as a main event star, Punk would be more laid back and carefree. Punk's concern would not be with becoming a "made man"—he already is one.
The moments he could have against the stone-faced Orton and the rigid structure of Triple H would likely be some of the most entertaining that we have seen in quite some time. Punk says what's on his mind and he does what he wants to do. Not only would that not fit in with Hunter's regime, it would certainly provide a much-needed breath of fresh air to the company's top angle.
CM Punk may not need the WWE title to get over, but WWE may need him to keep the title over, especially considering that John Cena is the man with the World Heavyweight Championship. And that opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities for the company and for fans.