Is CM Punk vs. The Rock meant to be?

CM Punk's first pipe-bomb explosion: Raw, June 27, 2011

In his now legendary monologue from the summer of 2011, CM Punk delivers a star-making soliloquy taking aim at WWE brass and voicing his frustrations with the sports-entertainment landscape.

Remember when CM Punk delivered his famous “pipe bomb” speech? Of course you do. Everyone remembers that, from the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin shirt to John Cena splayed out across the ruins of a table, the broken witness to The Second City Saint’s scorching oration. The way the WWE Universe’s boos of the pontificating Punk melted into stunned silence, then slowly into cheers as Punk exposed and condemned the backstage machinations of WWE.

Everyone remembers him rallying the fans and the powers that be alike into a call for change that has resonated throughout the past year and led to the emergence of unlikely champions like Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder and even Punk himself. Everyone remembers the story that got cut off at the very end. Everyone remembers Punk calling out John Laurinaitis by (a fairly un-PG) name and the promise that he’d become WWE Champion before the whole sordid series of events had run its course.

What gets lost slightly in our collective memory of the “pipe bomb,” in between all the corporate skullduggery and personal potshots at the McMahon family, was that CM Punk had a few choice words for “Dwayne” as well.

Rock reveals he will fight for the WWE Title at Royal Rumble then Rock Bottoms Daniel Bryan: Raw, July 23, 2012

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announces that he will compete for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble 2013 and then gives Daniel Bryan a Rock Bottom.

Punk’s sermon came during the height of The Rock’s comeback, only two months after he and Cena had agreed to meet in the ring at WrestleMania XXVIII. While the WWE Universe at large was basking in the glow of The Great One’s return at that point, The Second City Saint was among those left unimpressed by The Brahma Bull’s re-emergence. “A pretty good ass-kisser” was how Punk described The Rock in the “pipe bomb.” “Always was, and still is.” He later revisited the topic, claiming that Rock’s main-event spot at WrestleMania “made [him] sick,” seemingly implying that The People’s Champion had not recently put in the appropriate work to earn such a lofty platform on which to compete, that he was granted the main-event honor on pure pedigree, while Punk toiled in the trenches and received nothing in return.

The Rock, for his part, has never borne any ill will toward Punk for his remarks, at least not publicly. And Punk seemed to have backed off all his criticisms of The Brahma Bull in the eight months he’s held the WWE Title. Rock defeated Cena, and Punk got his championship. Everyone seemed to come away from the whole thing with exactly what they wanted in the first place.

CM Punk vs. John Cena: Raw, July 23, 2012 - WWE Championship Match

CM Punk defends his WWE Championship against John Cena in the main event until things get out of control when Big Show and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson get involved.

But that’s the thing we tend to take for granted with CM Punk: He never forgets. He’s never forgotten the feeling of being overlooked in the months (years?) leading up to his first WWE Championship win, which is why he’s always seemed so happy in his months on the mountaintop. But it's possible those old wounds were opened up by Eve and Big Show in consecutive weeks when they insinuated that Punk – despite his position as WWE Champion – was still being overlooked in favor of Cena, Rock, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and The Undertaker.

Punk brushed off the comments as he typically does: with a wink, a smile and a resounding victory on the mat. But something in him seemed to have broken on Raw 1,000. Punk stayed silent on the matter for the week, but shed some light on the subject during Raw 1,001: He felt disrespected by The Rock, found his actions to be brazen and selfish, and resented The Great One's attempt to, in Punk's words, make the show "all about him." ( POLL: WHO WOULD WIN, ROCK OR PUNK?)

It was a brief, albiet impassioned, explanation, but Punk will certainly have more to say. That’s the other thing about CM Punk: He’s never been afraid to speak his mind. One can only assume, should Punk keep the title in his cluctches, The Voice of the Voiceless is bound to air further grievances against The Brahma Bull. No matter what is said, though, it’s safe to say these two have unfinished business. No match has been made, no announcment forthcoming. Any battle between Punk and Rock is purely speculative at this point, but the truth is plain for the world to see: As much as there was bad blood between Rock and Cena, so too is there between The Rock and CM Punk.

Always was, and still is.

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