So here we are, 365 days later. One full turn around the sun since CM Punk made Alberto Del Rio tap in New York City and took the WWE Championship for his very own. Eleven months since his first defense of the reign at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Seven months since he walked into and out of WrestleMania XXVIII as champion, and one night after Punk proved his own prophecy right by defeating John Cena and Ryback, The Second City Saint stood in Dayton and celebrated the one-year anniversary of his second reign as WWE Champion.
And after some introductory oration by Paul Heyman, Punk took to the ring and, with no small amount of pleasure, quickly placed himself above the likes of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock and proclaimed himself to be, as ever, The Best in the World. The Second City Saint then set his sights squarely on a date in the future: July 25, 2018, the 355th episode of WWE Main Event, when he would surpass Bruno Sammartino for the longest title reign in history. As for his greatest victory? For Punk, that answer was simple: His historic victory over Cena and Ryback, a win nobody said could be done save for Punk and Heyman himself.
It was a victory Punk seemed eager to relive, but at least one man wasn’t feeling the same nostalgia. Ryback’s music hit and the beast stomped down to the ring, fine/suspension be damned, to sink his claws into CM Punk finally. But once again, Ryback would be stopped short by the same men who cut him down the night before. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns swarmed Ryback halfway down the ramp, stopping him from getting to Punk (who seemed as surprised by their presence as anyone) before once again hoisting Ryback on their shoulders and pummeling him through the announce table.
While the three attackers stood stoically in the ring, Punk decided to bask in the moment all the same. The Second City Saint sauntered down to the prone Ryback, planted one foot on his chest, and for the first time in year No. 2 of his WWE Title reign, proclaimed himself The Best in the World.