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How does CM Punk's near 300-day WWE Title reign measure up to history?
Since defeating Big Show and John Cena at SummerSlam, WWE Champion CM Punk has demanded respect from the WWE Universe and his fellow Superstars. Most notably, following the victory at The Biggest Party of the Summer, The Second City Saint implored John Cena to admit that Punk is “the best.” The Cenation leader refused, and perhaps with good reason. Although the length of CM Punk’s second — and current — WWE Title reign is impressive, he is still behind Cena’s 380-day reign — his third — as WWE Champion.
That is not to say that the current WWE Title holder’s reign is not impressive. As of Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, CM Punk surpassed the Cenation leader’s first title reign of 280 days, and has already left Cena’s eight other WWE Championship reigns in the dust. In fact, the Chicago-native has surpassed a number of former champions in the amount of days with the title.
This past Monday also marked The Second City Saint’s besting of JBL’s only WWE Title reign from 2004 to 2005 and Yokozuna’s second from 1993 to 1994 — both clocking in at 280 days. CM Punk has also surpassed the longest reigns of a veritable “who’s who” of former WWE Champions.
At 284 days, The Straight Edge Superstar has bested WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart’s second WWE Championship reign of 248 days, Randy Orton’s second of 203 days, WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels first title run of 231 days and WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s fifth reign of 175 days. An impressive list to say the least, but giving CM Punk the respect he demands, his current reign is merely 15 days away from being longer than all seven of The Rock’s WWE Championship runs combined.
The WWE Champion says he is “The Best in the World,” and he can certainly prove it by conquering the challenges that lie ahead, including a potential WWE Title defense against The Rock at Royal Rumble.
At Night of Champions, CM Punk will have been the WWE Champion for 301 days. If The Second City Saint manages to keep the title until Royal Rumble and face The People’s Champ, he will have been WWE Champion for 434 days, teetering on the brink of entering a 500-plus day, exclusive and respected class that is occupied by only four Superstars — Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan. But to reach a reign length that no one has come close to since The Hulkster’s began in 1984 and ended in 1988, “The Best in the World” has to overcome a Superstar who has earned and lived up to his own moniker – The Great One.
Do you think CM Punk can retain the WWE Title long enough to begin a chase toward surpassing the reigns of the all-time great WWE Champions? Or will his ultimate quest for respect be his undoing? Share your comments below and on Facebook.com/WWE and Twitter!