(This is a longer article from WWE.com)
CM Punk did it. He opened a black hole in the WWE Universe, seizing the WWE Championship in his hometown within his final hours as a contracted Superstar of Vince McMahon, sufficiently embarrassing The WWE Chairman and conquering a presumably fired John Cena, “The Champ.”
As time precariously ticked away toward the expiration of Punk’s contract, a fretful Mr. McMahon’s overzealous acts during the high stakes bout enabled The Second City Savior to supplant Cena as the new WWE Champion. Then, averting the last-ditch desperate measures of WWE’s CEO – including an attempted Montreal-esque Chicago Screwjob and a cash-in coup by Money in the Bank contract winner Alberto Del Rio – Punk escaped through the crowd with the WWE Title and its 48-year lineage, as he blew Mr. McMahon and WWE a kiss goodbye.
McMahon, who’s waged war with the likes of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Bret “Hit Man” Hart and more, witnessed the end of a dynasty he himself established. After, when asked for his comments on Sunday night’s events, The WWE Chairman refused comment.
Never has distaste for The Cenation Commander-in-Chief been so resounding as it was Sunday night, the echo of jeers sharply contrasting the wild reception for Punk in the same arena that welcomed Cena in his 2002 debut match. The underdog in a building swathed with signs reading, “If Punk loses, we riot,” the defending titleholder couldn’t channel the energy he typically garners from the WWE Universe. And every maneuver administered simply couldn’t keep Punk down.
Anxiety mounted as the WWE Title bout raged on in front of 15,000 extremely vocal WWE fans. Then, as Cena cinched in the STF, The Chairman of the Board made his way to the ring with WWE Executive Vice President John Laurinaitis for a potential screwing not seen since Survivor Series 1997. Ever the dignified combatant, Cena released the hold and foiled the ruse by knocking out Laurinaitis. An opportunist in his own right, CM Punk sprang upon the moment, dropping Cena with a GTS for a pin that caused seemingly all of Chicago to erupt.
Next, the road leaving Chi-Town and departing WWE was nearly impeded by Alberto Del Rio, bearing both his oft touted destiny and, of greater consequence, the Money in the Bank briefcase. Winning a future WWE Title bout just an hour sooner, the moneyed Mexican jetted to the ring at Mr. McMahon’s call to cash in on the fatigued new champion, disgusting the Second City crowd who feared the imminent downfall of The Straight Edge Superstar. Though Punk would unquestionably go down a veritable martyr, it’d be in defeat and failure in his purpose, nonetheless.
The lip-ringed riot-inciter was well prepared, however. Punk deflected the strike and like a thief in the night, the new WWE Champion fled through his devotees.
For CM Punk, there was alignment of several symbolic moons above the Allstate Arena on Sunday night: The dwindling hours of Punk’s WWE contract in The Second City Saint’s hometown against the antithetic square-jawed Superman of WWE (red tee in place of cape). The tattooed upstart could land the crushing blow to the organization he’d grown to abhor supported by the Chicagoans in the arena where he’d made his very first WWE appearance. Though not wearing gangster-inspired garb like he had while heralding Cena’s entrance at WrestleMania 22, Punk planned on exacting a plain-sight heist, the biggest in WWE history.
If victorious, The Straight Edge Superstar vowed to abandon the WWE Universe and sequester the richest prize in sports-entertainment in his exodus. The scarlet sweatbanded Cenation leader became a bull’s-eye for Punk, whose furious, acrimonious tirade weeks ago commanded the immediate attention of the world, including the WWE CEO. The vile-tongued competitor was suspended but reinstated after Cena’s passionate beseeching of Mr. McMahon, securing a match fueled by the controversy of Punk’s unfiltered words and the implications of his victory – the besieging of WWE’s most cherished title, defended for half a century.
The conflict polarized the WWE Universe around the world, but not in Chicago, where the attending masses all but carried pitchforks to see the ascendancy of CM Punk and consequent fall of John Cena. Ultimately, apropos of Chicago’s Windy City moniker, the winds of fate blew in the direction of CM Punk on Sunday night.
McMahon tried to negotiate all the way up to the 11th hour but certainly wouldn’t risk the livelihood of his publically traded corporate and entertainment juggernaut by placing it solely in the hands of Cena. His involvement was not as reprisal against the tattooed teetotaler or even to avenge The WWE Chairman’s – to quote Punk – “idiotic daughter” or “doofus son-in-law,” but purely to rescue his company and any future champion from the depths of possible irrelevance. And, though ready to affix all blame on Cena (who would be fired if Punk left the pay-per-view with the prize), in a word, McMahon failed.
No ice cream bars, no souvenir cups, no more “clobberin’ time.” As he promised, CM Punk is gone and so is the WWE Title. Proudly adorned in the colors of his native city and a lustrous golden championship, the straight edge warrior slinks out of the spotlight and moves forth to a future that remains unclear other than re-acquaintance with Cobra Commander and comic books.
But what of John Cena? Having endured one of his darkest hours, The Cenation Commander-in-Chief must regain his footing to march along on a journey that may not include the WWE Championship, a WrestleMania XXVIII showdown with The Rock, or WWE at all, assuming The Chairman keeps his word. Whatever lies ahead, it will all happen on a permanently altered WWE landscape with no CM Punk, no WWE Championship, and perhaps no John Cena – a vision that none might have believed they’d ever, ever see.