Now that CM Punk’s reign as WWE Champion has reached the one-year milestone, surpassing even Hulk Hogan’s legendary run, it’s time for WWE to figure out exactly how the dynasty will crumble.
The timing and circumstances of Punk’s inevitable downfall are of tremendous importance for the WWE, and the ripple effects will shape the foreseeable future of the company.
So when should the streak come to an end? On its 434th day, that’s when. And here’s why.
For far too long, the WWE championship bounced from one titleholder to the next with dizzying frequency, devaluing its importance. Championship matches were no longer main-event material, but instead shunted down to the mid-card or beyond.
But Punk’s ascension as a true champion – one who values the title above all else, and will do anything to defend it – has brought a sense of credibility and value back to the championship. He has restored the belt’s former status as the Holy Grail every wrestler strives to obtain.
One wrestler who has clearly stated his intention to reclaim the championship is The Rock. Given his winning effort against John Cena at the last WrestleMania, a championship run for The Rock doesn’t seem out of the question.
At the 1,000th episode of Raw last July, The Rock boldly proclaimed that he would challenge the reigning champion for the title at the next Royal Rumble.
That reigning champion should be CM Punk, who will then be enjoying his 434th day with the gold.
A loss to the Rock at the Rumble would mean several things for Punk. First, it would mean that the conniving heel finally gets what’s coming to him, which must happen sooner or later according to the gospel of wrestling. Second, it would give him a perfect adversary for verbal sparring, since few men in wrestling history are as razor-tongued on the mic as these Punk and Rock.
Most important, though, it would put Punk on a laser-guided trajectory toward a main event rematch against The Rock at WrestleMania – a headlining spot Punk clearly deserves (and has complained about not reaching in the past).
A stellar performance at WrestleMania 29 could shift the affections of the fans (as it did when the Rock and Hogan had a role-reversal during their WrestleMania 28 match), and establish Punk as the unlikely favorite. Since Rock will likely vanish back to Hollywood after WrestleMania, Punk would be the hero who ensures the championship belongs to a fighting champion.
And the best part: the entire scenario would put the kibosh on a Rock-Cena rematch. “Once in a Lifetime” was probably enough.