CM Punk is one of the most overlooked wrestlers in the WWE today. How can I say that about the number two man in the WWE?
Lets look back at CM Punk’s history, before joining the WWE CM Punk was the biggest name on the independant circuit. He was the main attraction in Ring of Honor and had a brief spell in TNA and was known as being different from the norm when it come to wrestlers. He wasn’t 6′ 4″ and a former body builder instead he was a tattoo covered, stragiht edge, long haired average sized guy but what made him stand out from the rest was his ability to make a crowd love him or hate him when he had a microphone in his hand and that he could back up what he said in the ring.
In 2005 Punk joined the ranks of the WWE and many of his loyal fans thought he would be drafted straight to the main roster but like any star signed by the WWE he was sent to OVW, where he was told bluntly that he would not be called up to the main roster. It was during his time on OVW that he met Paul Heyman, who begged WWE management to give Punk a chance but his requests were always shot down. This was until the WWE decided to bring back ECW under the leadership of none other than Paul Heyman, who convinced the WWE to let him have Punk on the ECW roster. After debuting in ECW in 2006 Punk gained a large following in the WWE universe and he had an impressive 6 month undefeated streak that helped his credability. Punk quickly rose to be one of the top stars in ECW and was soon in and around the title picture and eventually captured the gold in 2007. 2008 would be an even bigger year for Punk, after losing the ECW title in January he would go on to win the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania, get drafted to Raw and win the World Heavyweight Championship by cashing in his MITB breifcase against Edge (this would aslo lead to a slammy award for OMG moment of the year). Many thought this would be Punk’s push and his chance to shine, however Punk was nothing more than a transitional champion and his reign was overshadowed by other fueds going on at the same time. He also never technically lost the title due to him vacating it before the championship scramble match at Unforgiven 2008 after an attack by the newly formed legacy. After this Punk had a tag team title reign with Kofi Kingston and also won the Intercontinental Championship and became the fastest triple crown champion in WWE history.
At Wrestlemania XXV Punk won his second MITB match and would go on to cash it in again Jeff Hardy and win the WHC for a second time after being drafted to Smackdown. The two would go on to have one of the best fueds in recent WWE history, in which Punk turned heel. After months of battles and title changes, it culminated with Jeff Hardy leaving the company at the hands of Punk. This fued was the first real chance fans got to see Punk as a main eventer and he shone in the spotlight. Punk would then go on to fued with the Undertaker and would eventually lose the title to the Deadman.
Punk would then find himself out of the title picture but this would lead to the development of his heel character and showed his ability as a natural leader as he was the head of both his own Straight Edge Society and also became the leader of the New Nexus. Although neither of these groups really achieved anything or had any meaningful fueds, it gave Punk a chance to showcase his impressive mic skills.
After the collapse of the New Nexus, Punk found himself on the verge of the of the WWE title scene and gained victories over the champ John Cena, Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio. Punk would then get the biggest push of his career when he dropped his infamous ‘pipebomb’. This pushed Punk to be the name of the WWE and the revelation that his contract would expire at the MITB pay per view and his promise to leave with the WWE Championship. This was the first time that Punk was a genuine main event attraction and at the MITB he delivered on his promise to win the championship in his home town and leave with the title. He returned later and feuded with newly crowned WWE Champ John Cena about who was the true champion. After winning the match he became the undisputed WWE champ but lost it later that night after an attack by Kevin Nash lead to Alberto Del Rio cashing in his MITB briefcase to win the title. Punk recaptured the at Survivor Series 2011 and would go on his history making title reign of 434 days.
During a title reign of this length you would expect Punk to be in the main event of every PPV, however for much of this reign he was overshadowed by long time rival and face of the WWE John Cena. Even though Punk put on great matches week in week out and fueded with some of the best the WWE have to offer, he was still number two. For much of Punk’s reign if he had not have carried the title with him to the ring any fan could have been forgiven for thinking that Cena was the Champ. He only began to feature in the main event when Cena came back into the title picture and when The Rock returned to the WWE, the person he would eventually lose the title to so that the WWE could use the Rock’s star power to bring in fans for Wrestlemania. Punk also had to carry around the title designed for John Cena, even though this was changed by the Rock after only a few weeks of being champion.
This to me shows that CM Punk will never be the guy in the WWE. He was champ for 434 days, yet was still second to John Cena. He carried around a title that was designed for John Cena, rather than a new title design that would have reinforced Punk’s character as the guy who walks to the beat of his own drum. 2012 should have been the year of Punk and it could so easily have been, however it was the year of Cena still being number one even though he silly fueds, nothing matches and no title.
This was the best chance for Punk the be the main event yet the WWE never had faith in him. I hope one day Punk will be the headline act for a pronlonged period of time, however I don’t see that happening. He joins the list of names that just can’t unseat John Cena as number 1.