In professional wrestling, feuds are generally between two wrestlers, or in some cases two tag teams, who have a personal issue with each other.
Whether it's for a championship, pride, or just personal animosity, the feuds develop over the course of time and culminate in a big match at a pay-per-view.
After the grudges are settled, fans can debate about how great the rivalry was between the two singles wrestlers or teams and its placement of great feuds in wrestling history.
I think in this "modern era" of wrestling, fans don't realize that the best stories aren't usually just between two wrestlers.
The best stories usually involve multiple wrestlers, and sometimes, one central story can spawn multiple characters into the spotlight.
CM Punk's WWE Championship reign is not only historic because of the 434 days that he held it until losing to the Rock at the Royal Rumble Sunday. It's historic because his reign somewhat elevated new talent into the spotlight and kept established talent in the mix.
Punk feuded with Daniel Bryan and Kane during the summer. The three were involved in a love quarrel with AJ.
That feud spawned a rivalry between Bryan and Kane, leading to a match between Kane and Bryan at Summerslam, which Bryan won. The climax of the feud led both to taking anger management classes at the behest of AJ, who was Raw General Manager at the time, and being forced to tag with each other. Team Hell No was born and they are currently WWE Tag Team Champions.
At the Raw 1,000 show, the Rock came back and declared he would challenge the WWE Champions.
Bitter that a man who only competed in one match that year was getting a title opportunity, Punk shocked the world when he hit Rock with Go To Sleep, causing Jerry Lawler to declare that Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe.
Rock would not be seen til earlier this year, meanwhile, Punk defended the WWE Title against John Cena and Big Show at Summerslam and against Cena in a singles match at the Night of Champions in September.
After sneaking away with the title for two straight pay-per-views, it was believed a third match between Punk and Cena would be contested at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in October.
It was revealed Cena was injured and was not healthy enough to compete at the pay-per-view. Looking for a replacement over enough to compete against Punk in a main event match, WWE decided to give Ryback the big match, as he was an undefeated monster at the time and a star on the rise.
Ryback had Punk beat at Hell in a Cell until referee Brad Maddox low blowed him, and Ryback's undefeated streak was ended flukishly.
A few weeks later, Mr. McMahon made a triple threat match for Survivor Series where Punk defended his title against Cena and Ryback.
Punk's title again was thought to be in jeopardy.
Enter the Shield!!
The Shield made its debut at Survivor Series, powerbombing Ryback through the announce table after Ryback nailed Cena with Shellshock. Punk picked up the scrapps and made it to one full year as champion, having defeated Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Championship at the previous Survivor Series.
It was debated whether the Shield was in Punk and manager Paul Heyman's back pocket.
The evidence was clearly there. The Shield said they were out to cure injustice by attacking WWE Superstars.
They never touched Punk.
The Shield helped Punk retain the WWE Title over Ryback in their awaited Tables, Ladders, and Chair match on Jan. 7.
A week before the Rumble, the Shield attacked the Rock, leaving him vulnerable and for Punk to have the advantage in their match.
The Shield allegedy attacked the Rock during the match with Punk at the Rumble when the lights were out due to McMahon saying a week earlier if they interfered, Punk would be stripped of the title.
It was revealed on Monday's Raw during Paul Heyman's performance review that Heyman and Punk were colluding with the Shield and Maddox the whole time.
Before McMahon could say those two magic words "you're fired," to Heyman, Brock Lesnar made his return after quitting WWE in August and gave McMahon the F-5.
The Lesnar assault on McMahon more than likely lead to Triple H coming back to avenge his father-in-law and his loss to Lesnar at Summerslam.
Punk's title reign may be significant due to the class of greats he is associated with because of his long title reign. It's historic to be mentioned alongside Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Pedro Morales and Hulk Hogan for longest WWE Championship reigns in history.
But it's even more impressive that Punk's reign led to Team Hell No being formed,the rise of Ryback, the debuts of Brad Maddox and the Shield, the Rock winning his eighth WWE Championship more than 10 years after his last reign, and Brock Lesnar coming back.
And nobody remotely thought about this feat.
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