When we last left our hero, he left Rock in a fishy heap at the end of Raw 1000, successfully ending the face portion of his championship reign. Of course, many argue that Punk didn’t necessarily dive head-first into heel territory and I would agree. However, this is the moment when Punk began his tendencies of weaseling out wins, taking cheap local heat, and essentially trying to top himself every week with despicable acts. So now, we pick right back up where we left off…
The Heel Half
July 30th, 2012: Monday Night Raw. Punk explains his actions to the world and, most of all, to Jerry Lawler. Punk discusses how he’s been slighted for respect in spite of being the WWE Champion. He’s interrupted by both Big Show and Cena who then start fighting each other, Punk looks bored in the background.
Summer Slam 2012: Punk vs John Cena vs Big Show. A Pay Per View famously labeled as the worst of the year which may be more indicative of that year than that of the show itself. It was a great year for WWE PPVs and, if you think about it, the only reason Summer Slam felt like such a bust was because the last two segments where a Kevin Rudolf concert and a lackluster Brock and HHH match that simply was just a series of take-downs and kimura locks. As for the WWE championship match, it actually was a lot better than what I was expecting. The majority of it was a game of King of the Hill with Big Show dominating and then we got the false finish with CM Punk locking Big Show in a submission hold as Cena appeared to be stretching Big Show’s leg and polishing his bald head (I’m told by certain people that this is called an “STF” but I have my doubts). Big Show taps and both Punk and Cena believe they win. GM AJ (how long ago does that feel) comes out and demands that the match be restarted. Big Show levels both men but doesn’t get the pin on either. Cena hits the AA and Punk pushes Cena out and collects the pin for himself.
August 27th, 2012: Monday Night Raw. CM Punk gets a Forrest Gump haircut and celebrates by blading during a steel cage match against Jerry Lawler.
September 3rd, 2012: Monday Night Raw. Punk attacks Lawler minutes before Raw started and revealing he wears studded belts. No wonder the Hot Topic crowd loves the guy.
Punk manages to do the impossible by getting boo’d in Chicago when he announces that he will not wrestle tonight.
Punk attackes John Cena backstage during a match against Del Rio. Punk drops Cena’s head onto the front of a car before leaning over Cena and saying “Respect.” Punk gets in the car which starts to slowly drive past Cena as Paul Heyman pops his head out of the driver-side window. The crowd loses their marbles.
September 10th, 2012: Monday Night Raw. In Montreal and interrupting Bret Hart, CM Punk gets the first thunderous boo’s from the crowd of his entire reign. Punk fights Jerry. Jerry has a heart attack.
Night of Champions 2012: Punk vs Cena. Cena debuts his breast cancer awareness gear, still kinda wish they put out CM Punk “Breast in the World” t-shirts. Punk seems to be one of the few people that’s able to get a really good match out of Cena and that’s what the case was tonight. Although, a lot of people have said what made this match memorable was Paul’s reaction on the sidelines. Cena hits a German suplex of the 2nd rope and the ref counts to 3. Cena’s music hits, he celebrates until the ref takes the belt away and give it to Punk as both men’s shoulders were on the mat, resulting in a draw. Cena complains to the ref. Punk smacks Cena in the face with the belt.
September 17th, 2012: Monday Night Raw. Punk loses in a tag match against John Cena and Sheamus even though his foot was on the bottom rope. The world is introduced to Ref McDreamy himself, Braddox.
October 8th, 2012: Monday Night Raw. Punk debuts an obnoxious yellow t-shirt, celebrates by clocking a fan in the head.
Hell in a Cell 2012: Punk vs Ryback. I remember what all everyone was debating among themselves leading up to this match. The biggest question was how Punk would get out of this match still champion without extinguishing all the momentum Ryback built up for himself. The answer? Braddox. It was an angle we should’ve seen a mile away and yet nobody did. It was an interesting match in that this was our first long look at Ryback in the ring and he has some promise…reckless and ended up injuring Punk but still, he has promise.
November 12, 2012: Monday Night Raw. Lawler returns from the heart attack and CM Punk waits an entire 3 minutes to interrupt and get heat off it.
Survivor Series 2012: Punk vs Ryback vs John Cena. Another solid match full of interesting moments, personally I enjoyed the look on Punk’s face when he was debating on helping Cena put Ryback through a table. The spotlight of the match obviously goes to the debut of The Shield, proving just how advantageous tactical turtlenecks can be.
November 19th, 2012: Monday Night Raw. Punk celebrates the 1 year mark of his championship reign.
December 3rd, 2012: Monday Night Raw. Another Raw that’s on this review mainly because I was in attendance BUT this is the show that ended with Miz’ lie detector test that ended with Punk getting attacked by Ryback and leading to Punk getting surgery, leading him to miss TLC…thus beginning the month of only promo work setting his sights on Rock.
January 7th, 2013: Monday Night Raw. Punk returns to the ring in a TLC championship match against Ryback, presumably the one we were suppose to get at TLC. Punk wins after another Shield run-in in what was another really good match that we all got for free, not gonna complain.
Later in the show, Punk comes out to deliver probably his best promo since THE promo in 2011. Even the little things, like taking the WWE mic cover off before he began talking. This promo is probably the perfect companion piece to the original one, a character revisiting his grievances after a year and a half and adding some new ones. Of course this gets followed up by low-brow humor and overall disinterest of taking anything seriously by Rock. In spite of Rock running through his catch-phrase bingo card, Punk soldiers on and continues to deliver. Seriously, the “box with God” line was about as perfect as promos get.
Royal Rumble 2013: CM Punk vs The Rock. Punk tried his best. That’s really all there is to say. Let’s face it, Rock is 41 years old and carrying more muscle than his frame can support. He’s lost a step just from natural aging added to the well-documented lack of cardio, which is ironic seeing as how during his championship reign, Punk had made guys like Mark Henry look like a million bucks. The match was fine, there were some enjoyable moments such as Punk refusing to destroy the Spanish announce table only for the table to no-sell a Rock Bottom. But, Shield attacking and Rock shaking it off after the match restarted was just weak sauce. Rock hits the People’s Elbow and it ends.
There was plenty to follow after Punk lost the championship. There was the rematch at Elimination Chamber that was about the same as their Rumble match. Punk went on to have one of his greatest matches ever on free tv against John Cena. Then there was The Undertaker, a feud that could probably have it’s own column some day just based off the Punk’s promo work. Now he’s taking a much-deserved break and part of the purpose of this column was to put into words just how deserved this break is. In 2011, Punk promised a lot of changes that he would bring about and some of them haven’t come to fruition just yet, some of them may never happen. However, at one point he said that he was going to make this fun again and he absolutely has. After his 2011 promo, we saw a lot of former fans coming back to check out the product, some sticking around and some leaving yet again, but that’s probably the best way I can describe experiencing Punk’s championship reign. It was fun and I’m sure he’ll make things fun whenever he comes back.
If you didn’t catch Part 1 of this series, you can do so by clicking here.
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Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,
The Answer: CM Punk reacts to losing the title exactly how you think he would.
Tags: AJ, big show, brad maddox, chris sanders, cm punk, john cena, ryback, The Rager, The Rock, The Shield, the undertaker, WWE