Stars in Progress: Jack Swagger, Brad Maddox Up, CM Punk

Chris Cash

CM PunkCM Punk – One Step Up

The former WWE Champion is going to be just fine, regardless of what some fans and critics might be saying.

Regardless of Undertaker's status for WrestleMania, regardless of whether or not Punk is added to the main event at WrestleMania (and I don't think he will be), and even regardless of what happens in his match with John Cena next week on Raw, Punk is going to be just fine. He's simply too good not to be. And he still has Paul Heyman by his side for the foreseeable future.

We know Rock will likely leave again after WrestleMania; that immediately opens up room on top for Punk to re-enter the WWE Title picture. We also know Brock Lesnar is signed for another two years and that a big time, main event match between him and Punk is inevitable. Speaking of Taker, I still expect him to work 'Mania and all signs point to Punk taking on the streak. That's got "big money" written all over it.

Next week on Raw, I expect CM Punk to lay down (not literally, of course) for John Cena to help him get over on his road to 'Mania and his rematch with The Rock. That won't sit well with many fans, but it makes perfect sense. Cena hasn't beaten Punk, and he needs to before he can 100% claim he's the right choice to face Rock.

In many ways, you can consider CM Punk the MVP of John Cena and Rock's entire program. At the very least, he's certainly been invaluable shaping up their second match at this year's WrestleMania.

I think the next year is going to be huge for CM Punk. The one thing that will put it over the top is if Sunday, April 6th, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, sees CM Punk main event WrestleMania XXX against a returning Stone Cold Steve Austin. Screw the rumored Rock vs Lesnar match, I'll take Punk/Austin.

Actually, I'll take both, but I know which one plays second fiddle to the other in my mind.

Follow Chris Cash on Twitter @RealityofChris or email him at chris.cash@wrestlezone.com. You can also catch all of his VOW programs in the archive section of VOWLive.com.

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