If you ask around, it seems to be the consensus among fans and insiders alike that The Rock will defeat CM Punk for the WWE championship at the Royal Rumble on Sunday, ending Punk’s title reign at 434 days and setting up a WrestleMania rematch with John Cena.
Regardless of the outcome, Punk’s reign is the sixth longest in the 50-year history of that title, and combined with his first 2011 reign, Punk ranks 10th in total days as WWE champion. To understand how much of a feat that is in this day and age, consider the length of title reigns in the other five active WWE titles:
• The WWE World championship has changed hands five times since Survivor Series 2011 and nine times overall in 2011 alone. Triple-H and Batista are the only two men to hold the World title for even half as many consecutive days as Punk has held the WWE title.
• Since Punk’s reign began, the Intercontinental and U.S. championships have changed hands a combined 11 times. And in WWE history, only one man has held either one of these titles longer than Punk has: The Honky Tonk Man. If you count the NWA/WCW version of the U.S. title, that number jumps to a whopping two, thanks to Lex Luger’s 500-plus day reign in 1989-90.
• The WWE tag team championship has changed hands three times since Survivor Series 2011. The only reign that exceeded Punk’s belongs to Demolition, who enjoyed a 478-day run between WrestleMania 4 and July 1989.
• The Divas title has changed hands four times since November 2011, and outside of the Fabulous Moolah’s 28-year stranglehold on the title, only three women (Trish Stratus, Sensational Sherri, and Rockin’ Robin) have held either the Women’s or Divas title longer than Punk had held the WWE title.
No, Punk will never eclipse Bruno Sammartino’s 2,803-day reign, but that was in a different era. If CM gets past The Rock on Sunday and announces he’s taking aim at the all-time mark, after we stop laughing, we’ll discuss that in a future blog.
PWI Contributing Writer