For the last 365 days, Punk has been given the world on a plate. He's had a longer title reign than any other man is entitled to in this era. He's had carte blanche to say what he feels on the mic, allowed to point out that certain talents are uninteresting (essentially burying them), all in the name of building himself and his buddies up. And unlike most champions in this day and age, whose feuds boil down to random attacks and opponents boldly declaring that they deserve to be the title holder, Punk's been allowed to participate in actual storylines. Essentially, our little internet darling has grown up to become The Man we always wanted him to be. Show-stealing pay-per-view performances. Video packages encapsulating his greatness as though he's Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, and Abe Lincoln all rolled into one greasy, tattooed package. He's gotten everything. And it's all shown one thing: Punk's not the man who's going to change the wrestling business.
Yes, Punk has become the second biggest merchandise mover on the active roster, behind only Cena. But by failing to surpass Cena, Punk's proven that he deserves to go second-to-last on PPVs. Cena didn't get to be the biggest draw in the business because he went on last. Cena got to go on last because he became the biggest draw in the business. Punk hasn't done that. Ratings may be in the tank partially because of Raw becoming an indomitable three-hour marathon. But Punk's show-closing segments and quarter-hours weren't setting the world on fire even before July 23. Sure, Punk's had a fun reign. He's my favorite wrestler of all time, and I've enjoyed every second of it. He's become a legend, an integral part of this era and WWE history as a whole. But he's where he belongs. And in spite of all the evidence pointing to that conclusion, Punk's reign as proven that his fans on the internet will never accept that.
My favorite moment of Punk's reign? His match at Extreme Rules with Chris Jericho. I got to see my favorite wrestler defend his title against his heated rival in front of a raucous hometown crowd. No disqualifications. No count-outs. Just disdain-fueled fun. I got to savor each and every second of it as Punk and Jericho proved themselves to be an integral part of the best show of the year.
And then I got to watch John Cena and Brock Lesnar show me what a real main event looks like.
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