Seth Rollins has enjoyed a strong run as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but that reign will come to an end at the hands of CM Punk.
How are we living in a world where CM Punk has returned to WWE? In the hours since Survivor Series: War Games, the wrestling community has been rocked by the “Second City Saint’s” triumphant stroll into the Allstate Arena. Fans have expressed happiness, anger, indifference, and pure disbelief at Punk’s choice to come back to the place that he raged against for nearly ten years.
Amid Chicago’s outpouring of emotion, a certain visionary joined in by flipping off the returning star. The World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Freakin’ Rollins also expressed his disdain during a live show the following Sunday by stating his mission to ignore Punk completely. But how long can one ignore the ghosts of their past? With the history that Seth and Punk share and the animosity that is present, it is safe to assume that the self-proclaimed Voice of the Voiceless could be in a primed position to take the World title from The Architect. Let’s explore Punk’s possible motivations.
CM Punk Being Partly Responsible for Seth Rollins’ Success
On the infamous Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana podcast, CM Punk mentioned that he was the mastermind behind the creation of The Shield. Though Chris Hero (fka Kassius Ohno) was a part of the original lineup, WWE offered Roman Reigns to join the stable with Jon Moxley (fka Dean Ambrose) and Seth Rollins. The mercenary group that attacked Punk’s opponents early on grew to become fan favorites and icons individually. This year, Rollins, Moxley, and Reigns reached the top three of Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s 500 list due to their dominance as champions and enthralling personalities.
If The Best in the World decides to challenge the World Heavyweight Champion, he could play mind games with Rollins by giving himself credit for Seth’s triumphs. Can you imagine how much angrier that would make a prideful champion like Rollins? With that type of heated behavior, Punk could take away the biggest accomplishment of Rollins’s career so far.
Punk’s History with the World Heavyweight Championship
Another factor in CM Punk knocking on Seth Freakin’ Rollins’ door for the World title is his checkered past with the previous iteration of the storied crown. In his first run in WWE, Punk became a three-time World Heavyweight Champion by defeating the likes of “The Rated R Superstar” Adam Copeland (fka Edge) and Jeff Hardy. But it can be argued that his championship reigns were not treated with the same reverence as others.
Though Punk worked for every opportunity he received, the point of view behind the scenes was that he did not fit the image of what the face of the company could be. Thanks to his success, that mindset has changed with the likes of Bryan Danielson, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Kofi Kingston rising to the top of the ladder. If Punk were successful in taking the title off of one of his wrestling kids, he would be treated like the star he is. He is no longer the underdog looking to prove himself. Punk is the main event player he always knew he could be. A reign with the World Heavyweight title would only solidify his large aura.
Punk Facing Off with Rollins Could Be The Ultimate Test of His Relevance in Today’s WWE
You do not get to call yourself the Best in the World in today’s wrestling climate and not back it up. Since Punk left in 2014, WWE’s roster has gotten more diverse with talent and personalities, and Seth Rollins is one of the great pillars of this modern bunch. As Punk explored wrestling in All Elite Wrestling (AEW), his in-ring work was solid, but missing a couple of steps. To face a talent on the level of the World Heavyweight Champion, Punk will need to polish his abilities and lock in on all of his strengths to defeat him. During Punk’s first WWE run, he faced off against a crop of stars who were either not active or outside of the company. With a newer generation of wrestlers in the fold, CM Punk will need to up his game and not rest on the laurels of his legend. Fighting a complete athlete like Rollins will test him intellectually and physically. But as long as his resolve remains pure, their battle for one of the richest prizes in WWE will be iconic.