Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 07/14

#1 Randy Orton [--] (38-17-4)
[Money in the Bank Contract]
On the one hand, it comes as somewhat of a shock that Randy Orton leaps into the WWE Championship picture with his win at Money in the Bank. On the other hand, if you consider his 10 weeks as the #1 wrestler in the Kayfabe Countdown, maybe it isn't such a surprise, after all. Sure, win/loss doesn't mean the world, but success en masse does reflect a certain amount of support for a talent -- and he's been at the top throughout 2013!

Orton's tenure on Smackdown was a hot talking point when it first came about as a result of the WWE Draft. Now that the brand split is effectively ended and Orton's served his penance, it seems more than reasonable to think a return to the title picture is on the cards. The only question is -- will it come at the cost of another rising star in Bryan Danielson?

#2 [--] Sheamus (35-13-2)
#3 [--] Alberto Del Rio (32-9-5) [World Champion]
#4 [+1] Bryan Danielson (27-22-1)
#5 [-1] Kane (26-19-0)
#6 [--] Ryback (22-10-1)
#7 [+2] Roman Reigns (19-4-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#8 [new] Seth Rollins (19-8-0) [Tag Team Champion]
#9 [-1] Jack Swagger (19-9-2)
#10 [-3] The Miz (19-9-1)

#1 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (18-4-0) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (14-9-0)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (13-3-0)
#4 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (13-3-0)
#5 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (11-3-0)
#6 [--] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (11-6-0)
#7 [--] Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea Tensai (9-7-1)
#8 [--] Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (5-11-1)
#9 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (4-3-0)
#10 [--] Naomi & Cameron (4-3-0)

Superstar Spotlight:
#25 CM Punk (9-6-1)
For a staggering 434 days, CM Punk reigned as WWE Champion. It was a feat that took him through the entirety of 2012, and backed up his claim to being "The Best in the World". It's the kind of success that stands out in any age, let alone the fast and loose times of the "Entertainment Era". As Money in the Bank hands two any place, any time title shots to new challengers, it's a fitting time to acknowledge a Champion who restored a certain amount of prestige to the true top title.

Losing the belt to The Rock at the Royal Rumble cost CM Punk more than gold. In an unwinnable situation, with John Cena waiting to face Rock in the conclusion of a three-part Wrestlemania saga, Punk went from centre of the WWE Universe, to seat warming inconvenience. He was the perfect job guy to keep The Rock busy at the February PPV before 'Mania, with all the credibility so many "rematch clause" bouts lack. Even so, the demands of his success and the interruption of pre-existing, once in a life time plans cost CM Punk his direction.

With the weight of a top tier champion and no way to factor in to a WWE title match, Punk needed a big time Wrestlemania opponent. No better alternative could exist than The Undertaker's coveted undefeated streak. It was a step down from a four year run of excellence for The Undertaker, but it was still a worthy big time match at the biggest show of them all. It was, however, another unwinnable situation for the once undefeatable Champion.

A hometown crowd in Chicago brought Punk back from hiatus much sooner than anyone expected. He was booked without ever appearing. Paired with Chris Jericho; it was a throwback to their last feud in 2012. After starting slow, Jericho's credibility had been bolstered by a series of solid victories. It would be an a slightly awkward contest for two men who had fought to claim Best in the World status before -- but it would begin CM Punk's path to purpose anew.

The match was the brainchild of manager Paul Heyman. He spoke for Punk while he rested - on hiatus after losing to The Undertaker. It was an occasion CM Punk could rise to, even if it wasn't his first choice. The once nurturing Heyman would begin to show his old colours as the duplicitous businessman, harbouring interests other than Punk. Tensions would build between the stable of clients. Then the unthinkable. Heyman costs CM Punk his Money in the Bank opportunity and spills his blood after pushing a ladder into his head.

Just like that, CM Punk's purpose is restored. He has something better than a Championship match, for now. He has an enemy. Punk will hunt Heyman and his preferred clients: Curtis Axel and Brock Lesnar. With any luck he'll find his way back to the WWE Championship in due time. He does hold the distinction of having beaten Randy Orton on this week's RAW (7/1). For now, he has better things to do.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

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