The History of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan

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May 09, 2012

 CM Punk and Daniel Bryan's long, strange road to the WWE Title

The WWE Champion is not supposed to be here.

They said he was too small, a straight-edge scrapper who was about as far from the flamboyant WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels as can be, and far too much of an “internet darling” to reach the lofty heights of the title he now holds.

The No. 1 contender is not supposed to be here, either. He is a 5-foot-10 vegan in a land of red-blooded, meaty hulks, a man who wins matches with submission holds instead of bone-crunching strikes. Not exactly Hulk Hogan reincarnate, in other words.

And yet, here CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are. The important thing to realize is that it is not a rivalry born of natural animosity, like Austin vs. McMahon. It is not born of betrayal, like Hart vs. Michaels, nor does it stem from self-destructive impulse, like Triple H vs. The Undertaker.

Instead, 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.

But somehow, to the growing disbelief of even their most ardent fans, Punk and Bryan did succeed. One of them has held the WWE Championship for five months now. The other held the World Heavyweight Championship for four before losing it at WrestleMania XXVIII. And at WWE Over the Limit, The Second City Saint will put his prize on the line against the man who many believe to be his greatest foil, despite the fact they haven’t met all that often in the middle of the squared circle.

It’s as strange a WWE Championship rivalry as the WWE Universe is ever likely to see, and certainly one many thought they never would. And make no mistake: the road they took to get there was not an easy one …

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