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As a man named Haiku Hogan (as far as you know... After all, there's no such thing as women on the internet, much less a wrestling forum), my shtick here is to boil down my main point into seventeen syllables. Of course, editorials weren't built off the back of seventeen syllables, but at the least, I can sum up Punk's 365 days as WWE Champion in such a way.
Where are all the fans?
Perhaps the most telling thing of CM Punk's title reign is how much the WWE has fed to Punk to get the man over, without actually getting results from him. In one year, they gave Punk a sympathetic back-story (family addiction), the hottest girl in the company (AJ), and meaningful wins over the top wrestlers (Cena, Jericho, etc). None of this has yielded the expected results; allow me to share with you the top five worst overrun ratings in the history of the WWE;
1. Punk/Bryan/Ryder vs. Alberto/Ziggler/Miz – 12/19/11 – 2.67 overrun rating
2. Punk/Ziggler vs. Team Hell No – 10/1/12 – 2.7 overrun rating
3. Cena/Punk/Heyman in-ring segment followed by Punk/Foley/Ryback backstage – 9/24/12 – 2.74 overrun rating
4. Punk vs. Sheamus lumberjack match followed by Punk/Ryback brawl – 10/22/12 – 2.89 overrun rating
5. Punk vs. Bryan/Tensai – 5/7/12 – 2.94 overrun rating
Notice a pattern here? This isn't just an overrun thing; two weeks ago, WWE had one of its highest rated segments in months, a 3.38, with Jerry Lawler returning. By the time the segment was over, and Punk, Heyman, and Foley had come out, the segment had actually lost 876,000 viewers.
It would seem Punk's reign marks the first time in history that a wrestler becomes a transitional champion for one full year. Fans are tuning out, and will return when the perceived bigger stars return. When The Rock returns in January, the WWE will do its best business in months, and it will have more to do that people actually want to see The Rock. A significant number of fans are tuning out with Punk at the helm.