Are long title reigns cursed?

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December 07, 2012

Tattooed on the flesh of the WWE Champion is a classic phrase of rebellion, self-confidence and the general fearless attitude that often accompanies a world-beater in the vein of CM Punk.

“Luck is for losers,” the words go. Of course, in light of Punk’s recent scope to trim a cartilage tear in his left knee, he might want to rethink that particular credo. Not only has the injury effectively removed Punk from the main event of WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs and may endanger his 381-day reign as WWE Champion, but also as it turns out, the champ’s sorry serendipity is not without precedent.

Call it the “long-reign curse,” if such a thing exists, and before the WWE Universe starts crying foul or accusing us of undue superstition, consider the facts. Two of the longest-tenured champions of the last decade met similarly ignominious fates as The Second City Saint did during their runs at the top, ultimately relinquishing the title as a result of their injuries. The first instance came in 2006, during Batista’s unprecedented stint as World Heavyweight Champion. In the midst of a nearly 300-day run with the “Big Gold Title,” Batista suffered a triceps tear against Mark Henry at a WWE Live Event. The ramifications of the injury forced The Animal to relinquish his prize in a tearful address on the Jan. 3 edition of SmackDown, cutting his reign short at 285 days. (WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE HISTORY)

The second instance came at the expense of, oddly enough, the man CM Punk just surpassed on the list of WWE Champions of the modern era: John Cena. (CHARTING PUNK’S REIGN) The Cenation leader had been champion for a year and change when he tore his pectoral muscle clean off the bone in the midst of a match against Randy Orton on Oct. 1, 2007. Though Cena persevered and finished the contest, it ultimately came at a cost as Mr. McMahon vacated the title the next night on ECW. Cena’s injury ended his reign at 380 days. News of Punk’s knee surgery — eerily enough — broke on day 380 of his own stint as WWE Champion.

So we ask again: Are these simply unhappy coincidences? Or did Punk truly fall victim to the force dismissed by the marks on his skin?

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