The only wrestling history which matters to WWE is the version of wrestling history they write. And despite the bitter, litigious break-up between the company and CM Punk, The ‘E still recognizes The Straight Edge Superstar’s 2011 - 2013 run with the WWE Championship as “the longest of the modern era.”
Maybe not for long, though.
One side effect of the shocking continuation of Brock Lesnar’s time with the company, and as its Universal Champion, is that he’s poised to break Punk’s 434 day record. It’s a different belt, yes. In terms of lineage, AJ Styles has the title his fellow Ring of Honor (ROH) alum once held. But just as WWE can define “the modern era” to mean “after Hogan”, they can choose to add Raw’s current top prize to their standings, too.
And they’ll be able to do so if Lesnar is still holding the red strap on June 9, 2018.
That’s more than a month away, but as of this writing, we don’t know when Brock will next wrestle - let alone when he’ll put the title on the line. We know he’s not booked for Backlash this Sunday (May 6). He’s not advertised for any, but he could show up on a Raw or for a quick house show match this month or early next. The odds of him dropping the belt at anything less than a pay-per-view (PPV) are pretty long, though. Which puts us at June 17’s Money in the Bank (in Punk’s hometown of Chicago) - where even if he loses, The Beast Incarnate will have already held the Universal Championship for 441 days.
Which isn’t to say WWE specifically planned to have Lesnar set a new record, or that their motive for doing so is to get the other Paul Heyman Guy’s name bumped down the list. It could just be a side-effect of moving away from their alleged plans to coronate Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34. They can also decide to keep the WWE and Universal Title’s records separate.
But either way, Brock Lesnar has been Champ for a loooong time. Especially for the “modern era”.