Four hundred and thirty-four. That’s how long CM Punk was WWE champion. From winning the title at Survivor Series in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden, to losing the title in controversial fashion at the Royal Rumble, CM Punk etched his name into the WWE history books forever as the longest reigning WWE champion of our era.
While our grandparents had Bruno Sammartino, and our parents had Hulk Hogan, we had CM Punk. That’s an incredibly awesome feat that Punk should be proud of.
However, after ten long years The Rock returned to have one last run as the People’s champion. And while many die-hard wrestling fans can appreciate and support CM Punk no matter what he does, the instant Punk “turned on the WWE Universe” was the instant the countdown on his reign began.
Remember, this isn’t WCW where it’s cool to be bad. This is the WWE where the goodies get cheered and the baddies get booed. Or at least that’s what WWE would like from its fans.
CM Punk, when he turns… he turns completely. He denounced the importance of the people. You and I, according to Punk, didn’t matter. How could we cheer for someone like that? The Rock as The People’s champion needed to win so that good could prevail.
Morality aside, CM Punk’s reign was initially a crusade to change how the company worked. Punk knew he was the best wrestler in all ways conceivable, and was tired of guys like John Cena getting all the breaks. Within those 434 days, Punk proved that you don’t have to have the physique of a Ryback to be the Man; and in the process he gave us the best matches and brought prestige back to the WWE championship.
Even though Punk’s reign didn’t result in a new WWE title design, or ice cream bars, or RESPECT! he accomplished this historic title reign on his own terms. He didn’t belittle himself with a name change, or a ridiculous gimmick, he did it as CM Punk.
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