The History of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan

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May 09, 2012

2011: A Change is a-Gonna Come

Less than a year later, however, 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.

“It’s a lot like certain people’s affinity for me,” Bryan said of the fame Punk brought himself with the pipe bomb. “It’s pushing against the system. He wasn’t somebody you’re supposed to cheer for. He’s not the poster boy for a WWE Superstar.”

Punk called for an uprising of the Superstars many believed were overlooked and under-appreciated as he vowed to relieve John Cena of the WWE Championship, staking Bryan’s old claim of “The Best in the World.” At least one person was listening. Later that month, at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, CM Punk made good and won the WWE Title from Cena, while Daniel Bryan won the SmackDown Money in the Bank briefcase. (WATCH: SMACKDOWN MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH) The victory guaranteed the onetime “Dragon” a World Title shot within the next year. Suddenly, fantasy did not seem so far off anymore.

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)

But, of course, nothing this great was ever meant to last, and no darling stays indie forever.

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