WWE.com posted an article that examines the incredible history between WWE Champion CM Punk and No. 1 Contender Daniel Bryan ahead of their Championship match at WWE’s Over the Limit PPV airing this Sunday 5/20/12. Below are some excerpts from the article:
Excerpt 1: Not Supposed to Be Here: “…Punk vs. Bryan is a rivalry born of destiny, in an oddly roundabout way. The WWE Champion and his upstart, egomaniacal challenger are among a rare breed of WWE Superstar in that, from the very beginning, they were not supposed to reach WWE according to many . They do not come from the same kind of sports-entertainment pedigree as titans like Bret Hart and The Rock. They’re journeymen in the truest sense, hard workers who suffered and bled for their sport to reach for the top rather than be recruited by WWE’s developmental system, They are also the wiry, athletic type that is typically deemed too odd, too puny and too “indie-looking ” to thrive in the land of giants.”
Excerpt 2: 2002-2005 – The Early Years: “Though they are rarely alluded to on WWE programming, the independent careers of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have become something of sports-entertainment legend (PHOTOS: PUNK-BRYAN THROUGH THE YEARS). Bryan’s stoic, methodical work as the “American Dragon” has become a holy grail for wrestling purists looking to study the technical intricacies of the sport; his talents were so immense he was christened as “The Best in the World” by wrestling fans worldwide. Punk’s journey , meanwhile, was a model in style and individuality, blending technical prowess with an inimitable attitude that would eventually lead him to change the landscape of WWE with his infamous “pipe bomb” in the summer of 2011.
The two iconoclasts are so closely linked in the minds of many fans that it’s a common misconception they are longtime rivals. “We actually haven’t wrestled as frequently as people think,” Punk said, although he and Bryan both cite a well-known Florida contest between the two – what Bryan called “a 45-minute match in front of about 35 people” – as one of their more unforgettable bouts.”
Excerpt 3: 2005-2011 – The Big Stage of WWE: “It was Punk who [debuted in WWE] first, infamously (according to wrestling lore) using his independent championship as a clipboard to sign his WWE contract and igniting the “Summer of Punk,” a blaze-of-glory championship run that swept the independent scene in the final months before he relocated to WWE developmental. Punk’s first appearance with the company, however, was appropriately low-key, if not fitting with the underdog stigma that surrounded him: he was one of the faux-goons riding on the side of John Cena’s car at WrestleMania 22 in Punk’s hometown of Chicago.
Punk’s proper debut was far more dynamic, as The Second City Saint rattled off an undefeated streak on the resurrected ECW. Rising to the challenge of WWE stardom, Punk eventually captured a pair of Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Championship reigns. The “indie king” was fast in carving out a name for himself as a Superstar to be reckoned with, despite the under-the-radar pedigree that many said would be a hindrance to his rise.
While Punk ascended, however, Bryan continued to toil in the independent scene until he finally got his chance as one of the rookies in the inaugural season of WWE NXT. He was one of the first cast off the competition as The Miz’s rookie, and briefly parted ways with the company altogether until he returned at SummerSlam 2010. It wasn’t long before Bryan made a name for himself just as Punk had, winning the United States Title from his former mentor.”
Excerpt 4: Punk’s Promo / Both on Top: “…Punk would change the landscape of WWE with his game-changing takedown of sports-entertainment’s corporate culture, instantly turning the WWE Universe into his own personal acolytes and firmly redefining the parameters of a WWE Superstar.”
“At WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Punk defeated The Miz and Alberto Del Rio to retain the WWE Championship he had recaptured at Survivor Series, and Bryan cashed in his contract to relieve Big Show of the World Heavyweight Title. The first Raw after served as the indie-darlings’ coming-out party; along with newly crowned U.S. Champion Zack Ryder, they stormed the ring through the crowd, ECW-style, and celebrated the improbable underdog triumph they achieved with a heartfelt victory over Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and The Miz to close WWE’s flagship television show. (WATCH)”
Excerpt 5: Over The Limit PPV Hype – YES! vs. Best in the World: “Bryan earned the right of No. 1 contender [for Punk’s WWE Championship] … and now, to the disbelief of wrestling fans across the country, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will main-event a WWE pay-per-view with the WWE Title on the line. It seems like a few years ago, this never could have happened, that Bryan and Punk could not possibly get here without compromising their identity, their skills, or undergoing some radical change that would cause them to “sell out” and lose the identities that made them ideal opponents in the first place.
Excerpt 6: Mutual Respect: “I’m still in awe of his ability in the ring,” Punk said of his opponent. “I think me and Daniel Bryan is hopefully just going to be a straight-up pro wrestling match. I think it’d be kind of refreshing at this point.”
Bryan, for his part, agreed, with a small caveat: “CM Punk is great. He’s great at everything he does. I am better.”
And of course, that old stigma still remains, even as Punk and Bryan defy it. “I never anticipated we’d both be here and both in the situation we’re at now,” Bryan told WWE.com, repeating the mantra of this oddly historic rivalry. “We’re two guys who weren’t supposed to make it. He’s ‘skinny fat,’ I am ‘too small,’ we are not prototypical WWE Superstars … we are two guys who are not supposed to be here.”
View the full article from WWE.com co-written by Anthony Benigno, Joey Styles and James Wortman right here.