Pro Wrestling Since 1997


Wrestling Soap Box: The Examination of CM Punk in a Post Royal Rumble World

-Wrestling Soap Box: The Examination of CM Punk


434 days of championship bliss was ended by the people’s elbow on Sunday night. The 26th edition of the Royal Rumble is officially in the books, and The Rock is your new WWE Champion. If you are a hardcore wrestling fan who scourers the internet, you were probably bored with the predictable nature of this show. If you are a casual fan who stays away from the internet, or one who used to watch wrestling and came back for the Rumble, you probably loved this show. I spoke to a boat load of former fans leading up to the Rumble and here are some of their poignant comments in regards to CM Punk.


“He is not all that”


“This Punk guy is a joke”


“He is not believable at all”


“Why would this guy be your longest reigning champion?”


“The Rock is fighting that guy???”


“He looks like a skinny crack head”


CM Punk is arguably the best worker in the business today, but today is a different time for professional wrestling. When The Rock did his thing in the attitude era, he had the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Undertaker, Mick Foley, Triple H, and Kurt Angle to work with. CM Punk has not had the same luxury of talent to work with during his run as champion. That is not a knock on the current crop of wrestlers but from a perception stand point, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, Daniel Bryan, The Miz, and Ryback are not as impressive as the latter.


You can’t knock CM Punk for this because he is a product of his time. Just like the true greats of this business, you make do with what you have. Punk produced some of the most exciting, most memorable and most talked about WWE championship matches in a very long time. However, besides his rematch with the Rock and his rumored WrestleMania match with the Undertaker, where does the Chicago native go from here?


Given the WWE’s track record, it is not outside the realm of possibility that CM Punk could get lost in the shuffle. Even though he may deserve a slight portion of the blame, Raw ratings hit record lows during his tenure as champion. Ratings jumped back into the 3.0 range once The Rock returned. What if ratings dive back into the 2.0 margin after WrestleMania? Even though Punk won’t be the champion, that wacky WWE logic could kick in and place the blame on the straightedge superstar.


I touched on this in a previous column, but it is highly probable CM Punk would have dropped the title to Ryback, at Hell in a Cell, if the match with the Rock was never booked. This means his reign would have been one month shy of a year which also means creatively, 434 days was never a company priority. We could see him assume the role that Randy Orton has been currently relegated to.


Despite mid-card status being a legitimate possibility, the painstaking and ingenious detail in which CM Punk applies his craft won’t allow that to happen. He is that rare breed of worker who is amazing in the ring and on the microphone. Punk’s match with the Undertaker is the ultimate consolation prize because Punk is the one guy on the roster who can give the “Dead Man” a match worthy of the streak.


Rock vs. Cena headlined last year’s WrestleMania without a stipulation. This year’s Rock vs. Cena match will have a stipulation: The WWE Championship. The belt is the reason why this rematch will be the highest drawing event in wrestling history and it’s all thanks to CM Punk. The body of work he exhibited during his championship reign dramatically increased the title’s worth.


Punk flipped the script in an era where title runs are almost meaningless. The belt wasn’t just an accessory to drape over his shoulder. It was reason for being. On Raw, CM Punk sold his title loss like a possessed mad man which is exactly how a dethroned king should act. In return, the payoff is more tickets and pay-per-views sold. When all is said and done, Rock and Cena should break off a piece of their bonus check to CM Punk and say “Thank You”.


Atlee Greene has followed professional wrestling for 25 years and writes about wrestling, mixed martial arts, and comic books on his blog, Midnight Logic. 

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7 Responses

  1. dave says:

    Completely agree and I don’t think Punks contribution will be lost or forgotten.

    Rock v Cena for the title will be fun, accept its probably happening and enjoy it.

    If Punk v Taker happens then I’ll enjoy the build up and hopefully the match.

    Post-mania? Who knows

  2. Whatthewhowhat says:

    I know i will probably watch wrestlemania off the internet the day after without spoilers but i still think if its Rock Vs Cena i will skip it.

    Don’t want to see Cena win.

  3. Whatthewhowhat says:

    Id rather see this at Mania:

    Lesnar Vs Taker Extreme Rules

    Punk Vs Cena Vs Rock and Punk wins

    The Shield Vs Sheamus, Ryback, HHH
    Tables Elimination

    Booker T & Goldust Vs New Age Outlaws Vs Team Hell No Vs Rhodes Scholars

    MITB Match: Orton, Benjamin, Sin Cara, Antonio Cesaro, Miz, Kofi


    Dolph Ziggler Vs A. Del Rio Vs Y2J

    Id love to see Y2J win a title as a face.

    Intercontinental Title:

    Wade Barrett Vs Big Show

    Possible giving the recent appearences.

  4. Chris James says:


  5. Atlee Greene says:

    Thank you all for reading my column.

    @Whatthewhowhat I like your card but I can’t stand the idea of triple threat matches headlining WrestleMania. My dream scenario would be for HBK to come out of retirement and face CM Punk at Mania.

  6. I think it’s difficult for hard-core fans to accept that Punk on his own isn’t really a draw. He was an awesome heel champ who made the belt mean something, but as you note, ratings have tanked, and if the Rumble does business, it’s because of the Rock. All that said, Punk’s antics got a lot of people talking during the past years, because you’re right, he made the belt seem a lot more important. Vince owes Punk huge for that achievement.

  7. Nick A says:

    I think he’s cemented himself as a major player in WWE. He may not be their strongest draw ever, but of the current roster, he’s still easily one of the Top 5 players they can draw on. While I am certain that Ryback will see his day in the sun in 2013 (especially if we see a Cena heel turn heading in to Wrestlemania) Punk will still be one of the top players in a main event field that has basically been a mess in the last year.

    WWE has a lot of hard work in the next year if they want to get anyone other than Ziggler and Ryback ready for true main event slots in 2013 and beyond.

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