The Complete History of the WWE Championship - Part 17
The 2011 version of the "Summer of Punk" was CM Punk's coming out party as a bonafide headliner in WWE.
However, despite that fact, it wasn't until the Autumn that Punk supplanted Cena as the main man in the company, at least as far as the fans were concerned.
Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio to become WWE Champion for a second time at the 2011 Survivor Series. That win kicked off an epic 434-day reign which was the longest title run since Hulk Hogan's inaugural WWE title reign between 1984-88.
Unlike Cena, Punk brought a gritty realism to most of his feuds as his dynamic stick work and energetic ring style saw him widely embraced by the WWE Universe.
However, in the eyes of WWE management, Cena was still the star of the show. At WrestleMania XXVIII, it was Cena's bout with The Rock which was positioned in the main event slot and promoted as the most important attraction on the card.
When the total pay per view buys came in at 1.2 million for the Show of Shows, it was Cena and Rock, not Punk who were given credit. The WWE Champion had to settle for a mid-card spot for his successful title defense versus Chris Jericho.
However, as his superlative reign took in blinding battles with Daniel Bryan, Punk earned the main event slots at Night of Champions, Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series and his title losing effort versus The Rock at the Royal Rumble.
434 days. It is likely to be a long time before any World title reign surpasses Punk's.
John Cena (September 18, 2011 - October 2, 2011)
After John Cena dropped his version of the WWE Championship to CM Punk; it seemed as if the former champion would have to drop to the back of the line, when it came to title rematches.
However, after Punk also lost the belt minutes later to an Alberto Del Rio Money in the Bank cash-in and got waylaid instead with a feud with Kevin Nash and Triple H, a spot opened up for a WWE title challenger.
Cena, the former nine-time champion filled it. The leader of the Cenation made full use of the opportunity and dethroned the new champion, Del Rio to lift his tenth WWE Championship. The match was not particularly memorable.
However, despite a record-extending victory, Cena's tenth reign was just as short as his ninth.
Cena's reign was not particularly memorable as Cena spent little more than a fortnight as the WWE Champion before he dropped it back to the Mexican in a Triple Threat Hell in a Cell battle at the titular Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event.
Cena would have to wait over 18 months before he would regain the WWE Championship.