While he is no longer the WWE Champion — after falling to The Rock at Royal Rumble — that hardly lowers the elite status of CM Punk. Like him or hate him, the outspoken competitor who calls himself “The Best in the World” is — to borrow the catchphrase from Triple H — “that damn good.” (WATCH HUGE PUNK PLAYLIST)
And as the dust settles on the longest-reigning WWE Champion in the modern era, WWE.com wonders, what is left for Punk to accomplish?
CM Punk’s WWE legacy is certainly “Straight Edged” in stone: World Tag Team Champion, two-time Money in the Bank Contract winner — on the Grandest Stage of Them All, WrestleMania, no less — Intercontinental Champion, ECW Champion, three-time World Heavyweight Champion and two-time WWE Champion — the latter of which carried with it the awesome mark of lasting 434 days. (WATCH HUGE PUNK PLAYLIST)
Punk formed his own faction — The Straight Edge Society — and rebranded the notorious Nexus in his own image, all before kick-starting a revolution on the back of his “pipe bomb” and headlining WrestleMania in an awe-inspiring WWE Championship Match for the ages against the legendary Chris Jericho.
So what exactly is left for a competitor with Punk’s resume?
For any other Superstar in his position, one single, solitary goal would be clear: reclaim the WWE Title, by any means necessary, and begin a whole new reign. But that’s just it: Nobody is really in Punk’s position. No one in the last 25 years has done what he’s done. This puts him in a very precarious place to say the least — not unlike asking the highest-ranking general in the military to repeat basic training as a lowly private. (WATCH HUGE PUNK PLAYLIST)
Pardon the pun, but when it comes to Punk, you also have to consider the “X” factor. After all, from the time he stepped into WWE, the former champion created opportunity where there simply was none — precisely by taking things in a completely different direction than they were suppose to go.
From the beginning, whenever a door has slammed closed on CM Punk, he’s either kicked it open again or created a whole new door altogether. WWE’s not interested? Redefine Ohio Valley Wrestling, redefine the relaunched ECW and redefine the very essence of what it means to be a WWE Superstar. Isn’t that what his infamous “pipe bomb” rant, and subsequent exodus from WWE with its most prestigious title in his possession, was really all about?
So perhaps the question shouldn’t be what Punk has left to do, but on what epic scale he’ll chose to do it? How will CM Punk once again redefine a playing field that insists he play by their rules or play somewhere else?
Whatever Punk’s next move will be, one thing is certain: It will be earth-shattering enough to rival his epic WWE Title reign. It sure won’t be about ice cream bars. Perhaps he’ll choose to unify the WWE and World Heavyweight Titles, creating one supreme champion for the first time in more than 10 years to dwarf all other Superstars beneath him. (WATCH HUGE PUNK PLAYLIST)
Maybe he will make the grand proclamation that he will win the 2014 Royal Rumble, calling his shot one year ahead of time in a move that would echo The Rock and John Cena making their WrestleMania XXVIII Match on the day after WrestleMania XXVII. If Punk said it, is there anyone that would not take the threat seriously for the next year?
Sometimes the only way to go, however, when you can’t go up, is simply out. If so, then Punk could certainly forge a new championship legacy inside an incredibly different, yet eerily similar, entertainment medium — as an upstart comic book publisher. Last year, the avid comic book reader wrote an introduction for Marvel Comics’ historic and controversial universe-spanning event, “Avengers vs. X-Men.” And there is certainly no shortage of battles to be fought in the world of comic mythology — especially armed with the power of Straight Edge!
The sky is the limit for CM Punk and, from the lofty heights that he has climbed to, who knows where the next “pipe bomb” will explode. The loss of the illustrious WWE Title after such an epic reign demands a powerful next step. And while no one knows for sure what the five-time World Champion’s next course of action will be, there is no doubt that it will break new ground, like only Punk can. (WATCH HUGE PUNK PLAYLIST)