CM Punk’s WWE Championship reign is officially going to hit the one-year mark.
In the main event of Sunday’s Survivor Series pay-per-view, Punk retained the WWE title that he’s held for 364 days by defeating John Cena and Ryback in a Triple Threat match. His big win came with a major and shocking assist, courtesy of NXT stars Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, who attacked Ryback and allowed Punk to pin Cena for the victory.
I think it’s safe to say that no one saw that finish coming and that it will have a domino effect on the WWE’s biggest storylines going forward.
As for Punk, he appears to be heading toward the dream match that most of us have expected to happen for months now: A WWE championship match against The Rock at the 2013 Royal Rumble.
That pay-per-view is roughly two months away, though, which means that Punk is going to need something to do until then, and there are plenty of potential directions Punk could go in.
Punk could very well be in cahoots with Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose, which may lead to the formation of a stable of sorts involving all four promising superstars. But I think it’s more likely that Punk reignites a feud that he’s sort of had on and off for the last several months—his rivalry with Mick Foley.
Of course, the main-event match that was originally announced for Survivor Series had Team Punk taking on Team Foley; a result of growing tensions between the WWE Champion and the future WWE Hall of Famer. The WWE obviously changed that plan, but I think that the beef between Foley and Punk will still come into play as we head toward the next pay-per-view, WWE TLC.
Truth is, the WWE somewhat backed itself into a corner by announcing The Rock’s Royal Rumble title shot so far in advance and then making it rather obvious that it would be Punk vs. The Rock at that pay-per-view. In turn, that’s made almost everyone overlook TLC because it likely won’t end up mattering too much.
So the WWE now has to ask itself: What can we do at TLC that will keep the title on Punk but still be interesting and perhaps even draw a decent PPV buyrate?
A WWE championship match against Mick Foley, that’s what.
There has been a lot of animosity built up between those two over the last several months, and according to F4WOnline.com (via WrestlingInc.com), there are at least tentative plans to have Punk vs. Foley at WWE TLC.
I’m all for it too.
We all know that Punk isn’t losing the WWE Championship at TLC no matter who his opponent is, so my theory is that you might as well take a risk on a Punk/Foley match rather than having Punk take on Ryback or Cena again.
We’ve seen Punk take on Ryback in two straight PPV main events now, and of course, Punk and Cena have main-evented against one another a bunch of times over the past couple of years. Foley and Punk, however, have never been able to settle their differences in an actual match.
But now, the WWE has a perfect opportunity to make what—though certainly not on the level of Punk/Rock or Rock/Cena—would be a dream match of sorts between one of the biggest stars of today and one of the biggest stars of the best period in wrestling history.
Even if Foley is past his prime, the fact that he’d be wrestling his first WWE match since 2008 could generate a solid buyrate for TLC, which is probably going to stink it up in that department otherwise.
I’m not saying that a Foley/Punk feud is the greatest option for the WWE or that the two would have a fantastic match if that’s the route that the WWE decides to take.
What I am saying, though, is that, from both a storyline perspective and a business one, it makes sense. And let’s be honest—TLC ultimately won’t matter much in the long run anyway.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!