The WWE Champion has made a lot of people mad.
An awful lot of people, really, from disgraced and dismissed former Raw General Manager, AJ Lee, all the way up to The Chairman himself, Mr. McMahon. He has defied them, denied them, spit in faces and stepped on toes, but has still survived as WWE Champion through a perfect storm of cunning, determination and yes, a little bit of luck as well. He’s outlasted the efforts and expectations of anyone who has doubted his tenure as champion. But at Survivor Series, CM Punk won’t have to worry about any of these Superstars trying to take his title because none of his opponents in the traditional Survivor Series Match he’ll be captaining are interested in championship gold.
They just want to get a piece of CM Punk himself.
Led by no less a WWE Legend than Mick Foley (another Superstar who took issue with The Voice of the Voiceless these last weeks), Punk will first have to answer to Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, who once hoisted the Tag Team Championships alongside The Second City Saint some years past. Next up will be the bickering duo of Team Hell No, the irascible current Tag Champions who clashed with Punk this past summer over both the WWE Championship and the affections of AJ Lee. Number four is Randy Orton, the venomous Superstar whose history with Punk is long and ugly, going back to The Viper’s robbery of Punk’s World Heavyweight Championship in 2008.
And fifth? Well, the fifth man is Ryback, who failed to take The Second City Saint’s title at Hell in a Cell thanks to the reprehensible actions of referee Brad Maddox. Ryback has also made it clear with chants of “Feed Me Punk!” that he will not rest until he feasts on CM Punk like he has so many other digested Superstars.
Of course, Punk and his lieutenant, Paul Heyman, are no bush-league strategists themselves. They’ve recruited The Miz to keep Kofi occupied, Team Rhodes Scholars to distract Team Hell No, and Alberto Del Rio to keep The Viper at bay. Punk himself will round out his own squad, evening out the match on paper and giving everyone somebody else to fight.
But like we said: CM Punk has made a lot of people mad, including the five men of Team Foley (six if you want to count the Hardcore team captain). If there’s any solace Punk can take, it’s that his precious title will not be up for grabs, and The Voice of the Voiceless will retain his championship one year after the pay-per-view in which he won it. Make no mistake, though, Punk’s teammates are a smokescreen, a distraction from the real main course. If push comes to shove and the façade falls at WWE’s fall classic, The Second City Saint may find himself alone in the ring with everyone he’s wronged, embarrassed, and outwitted these last few months.
A victory for Punk is not off the table here (it never is), but at Survivor Series, the walls will be closing in, his chickens will be coming home to roost and the WWE Champion will face his greatest, most personal challenge yet.