Examining the Impact of the CM Punk and Paul Heyman Alliance 6 Years Later

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2018

CM Punk and Paul Heyman made WWE TV must-see in 2012-2013.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman made WWE TV must-see in 2012-2013.Credit: WWE.com

Few fans could have expected the Memorial Day edition of WWE Raw six years ago to be as monumental as it was, if only for the debut of the on-air alliance between CM Punk and Paul Heyman.

Nearly 10 months into his record-setting reign as WWE champion, Punk was riding high as the company's lead villain weeks removed from his hot heel turn at Raw 1000. He was also in the midst of a ruthless rivalry with John Cena, with whom he obviously had history from one year prior when the two waged war on a number of occasions for the WWE title.

Heading into their next one-on-one encounter at Night of Champions, though, Punk was missing a key element to his act that would firmly establish him as a full-fledged antagonist. Enter Paul Heyman.

In the main event of the Sept. 3, 2012, edition of Raw, Cena did battle with familiar foe Alberto Del Rio in a Falls Count Anywhere match following Punk's "walkout" earlier in the evening. Before the bout concluded, Punk interfered and laid out Cena with a thunderous GTS, resulting in a win for Del Rio.

As if that ending wasn't exciting enough, Punk posed over Cena before getting in a car being driven by Heyman. Of course, their real-life friendship had been well-documented by this point and thus the crowd in Chicago that night reacted to the reveal accordingly.

What started out as a cool moment for one night turned into a near-year storyline that not only reinvigorated the careers of both Punk and Heyman but also gave new meaning to the term "Paul Heyman Guy."

Credit: WWE.com

Aside from Punk's quick mention of being a longtime supporter of Heyman during his famous "pipebomb" promo, the mastermind behind ECW was only ever associated with Brock Lesnar upon his return to WWE in May 2012. As great of a partnership as that was, Heyman needed to be showcased on Raw when Lesnar wasn't around, and the pairing with Punk accomplished that.

For the remainder of Punk's run as WWE champion, Heyman was there every step of the way to boast about the history they were making and the records they were breaking. They genuinely seemed to enjoy their time together and brought the best out of each other on a weekly basis.

At a time when wrestling managers had largely become obsolete, the Punk-Heyman connection was an amazing example of how effective an advocate could be for a competitor who never truly needed a mouthpiece in the first place.

Even after The Voice of the Voiceless dropped the title to The Rock at Royal Rumble 2013, Punk and Heyman continued to be a beacon of light during an otherwise dark time on WWE television.

Eventually, tension was teased once Punk began branching back out on his own and announcing his intentions to regain the prestigious prize without Heyman's help. That was what led to Heyman having Lesnar attack Punk and kick off their heated feud that summer season.

It's interesting to note Punk was not the same Superstar post-Heyman and didn't produce anything nearly as memorable prior to his ultimate 2014 departure. Thus, it's safe to assume his advocate played an important role in keeping Punk around.

Credit: WWE.com

WWE tried to repeat the same success Punk and Heyman had by having the advocate manage the likes of Curtis Axel, Ryback and Cesaro over the next two years and deeming them "Paul Heyman Guys."

Axel and Ryback failed almost immediately due to not being worthy of Heyman's services. Cesaro, on the other hand, was dealt lackluster creative and their alliance was never given the chance to be what it could have been.

Punk was the only other person not named Brock Lesnar who could create magic with Heyman, and the duo proved the wrestler-manager formula can still work wonders with the right people.

Perhaps someday fans can see them reunite again, whether it be in a WWE ring or elsewhere.

            

Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.

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