CM Punk! WWE Champion! One! Full! Year!
Before we get too deep into tonight's show, let's just take a moment to reflect.
Last year at Survivor Series (Nov. 20, 2011), CM Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio to win the WWE Championship. Since then, Punk has beaten Del Rio, The Miz, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Daniel Bryan, Kane, The Big Show, John Cena, and Ryback to retain his title.
That is pretty damn impressive.
After Punk's victory last night (Nov. 18), he has held onto the strap for one full calender year. The 8th longest reign in WWE history. Only Randy Savage, Cena, Pedro Morales, Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, and Bruno Sammartino -- with two separate runs -- stand in front of him.
Again, that is pretty damn impressive.
For all the crap that we -- that I -- have given WWE for refusing to put Punk in the spotlight, and for constantly having Cena overshadow the "Straight Edge Savior," the man has been given a championship reign not seen in a long, long while. The punk from Chicago, who was supposed to spend his entire career in the indies, is now the champion of the biggest promotion in the world. Not only is he on top of the world, but he has been there longer than almost anyone in the history of sports entertainment.
Again, that is really damn impressive.
So before we enter Year Two of CM Punk's WWE Championship run, let us take a moment to acknowledge how great an achievement this truly is. Yes, the belt is little more than a prop, but it is the most important prop in the promotion. And it is a prop that the Chicago Made Punk has been holding high above his head for 365 days.
Let's see how long he can keep it up.
Punk! Cena! Ryback! Heyman! Ambrose! Rollins! Reigns! NXT! Invasion! Insanity! WWE Championship!
Last night ended exactly how we expected it to, but in a way no one could have predicted.
Ryback had laid out both CM Punk and John Cena. The two men were sprawled in the middle of the ring, easy pickings for the monster. All Ryback had to do was lay down on top of either one. Hell, he could have have stacked them both up and gotten the double pin. No questions, no doubts, no shenanigans. We were inches away from having a NEW WWE Champion.
And then everything changed.
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns appeared from no where to attack Ryback. The trio dragged him out of the ring and straight through the Spanish announce table. They left as quickly as they had arrived, leaving Punk alone to get the three count.
The Champion retains, and a new force has made itself known to the WWE Universe.
We do not know who the NXT stars are working for. We do not know what they hope to achieve with such an attack. Why Ryback? Why now? Does Paul Heyman or Brad Maddox play any role in this?
Are we looking at the new nWo, or the next Nexus?
These are all questions which will not be answered right away, nor should they be. Pro wrestling is best when it allows itself time to breath, when stories are given time to grow. That being said, hopefully we do get something tonight. We've been stuck in a holding pattern for far too long, too extend this beyond reason would only upset the fans even more than we have been recently.
A more spiteful man would sit here and say, "WWE should have done this last month at Hell in a Cell". An angrier person would wonder why we've had to sit through months of garbage just to have the NXT Trio debut at Survivor Series. A pissed off writer would exclaim that after months of non-finishes and shenanigans, the run-in loses much of its surprise and impact.
Luckily for all of you, I am none of those things.
Tonight we should get something new. Perhaps, we will find out if it is Cena or Ryback who will be challenging Punk for the title going forward. We may find out what the assailants wanted when they attacked Ryback. We could possibly find out if this is all part of a larger Heyman-controlled conspiracy.
I don't know about you, Cagesiders, but I have not been this excited for Monday Night Raw in a long time.
One! More! Thing!
The John Cena/AJ Lee/Vickie Guerrero love triangle is still a thing, except now Tamina Snuka is involved. I'm glad we are all caught up.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join Nolan, myself, and the entire CSS Monday night gang in the live blog right here.