The Complete History of the WWE Championship - Part 16
Since January 2014, what wrestling fans the world over have been asking is will CM Punk return to the business one day?
Speculation is rife in 2019 with rumors swirling of a potential WWE return. However, the question of whether Punk will ever make a comeback to pro-wrestling remains unanswered.
What can be declared with certainty, moreover is that the reason fans have such a fondness for Punk, a half-decade after he left wrestling, is the brilliant performances he is remembered for.
Punk became the hottest star in wrestling during the "Summer of Punk" in 2011 after he cut a worked shoot promo that set the wrestling world alight on the June 27, 2011 episode of Raw.
In said promo, Punk directed his ire at John Cena, stating: "I hate… this idea… that you’re the best… because you’re not. I’m the best. I’m the best in the world. There’s one thing you’re better at than I am, and that’s kissing Vince McMahon’s ass. You’re as good at kissing Vince’s ass as Hulk Hogan was. I don’t know if you’re as good as Dwayne though… he’s a pretty good ass-kisser… always was and still is."
Punk shifted gears and turned his wrath to WWE management: "Vince McMahon’s gonna make money despite himself… he’s a millionaire who should be a billionaire… you know why he’s not a billionaire? It’s because he surrounds himself with glad-handing nonsensical ******* yes-men like John Laurinaitis, who’s gonna tell him everything he wants to hear… and I’d like to think that maybe this company will be better after Vince McMahon is dead, but the fact is it’s gonna get taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law and the rest of his stupid family."
Punk's words had such an effect on the wrestling business because it was nothing short of extraordinary to hear a WWE contracted performer laying into WWE management and their golden boy, John Cena. A star was born. Punk, who had labored at times since his WWE debut in 2006 to be truly accepted as a top guy, suddenly had the keys to the kingdom.
Later that year, Punk would kick off a 434-day reign as WWE Champion; the longest in the modern era since Hulk Hogan's 1,474-day title run between 1984 and 1988.
This slideshow charts the WWE Championship's journey from WrestleMania XXVI in March 2010 through to Alberto Del Rio's first title run in the summer of 2011.
Previous parts in my series can be found here: