Former WWE wrestler CM Punk holds the record of the longest reigning WWE champion of the modern era, as he held the WWE championship from November 20, 2011 to January 27, 2013 for a total of 434 days. CM Punk’s nearly 15-month title reign is the sixth longest WWE title reign of all-time, behind Pedro Morales [1,027 days], Bruno Sammartino [1,237 days], Hulk Hogan [1,474 days], Bob Backlund [2,135 days] and Bruno Sammartino again [2,803 days].
With CM Punk exiting the company in an ugly way, WWE doesn’t want to make reference to him as the longest reigning WWE champion of the modern era. As a matter of fact, they don’t even want to reference CM Punk at all, hence why they’re removing all CM Punk signs from their live events, and asking fans who wear CM Punk-related merchandise to their events to either change, or leave.
The belief is that Roman Reigns will walk out of WrestleMania 31 as the new WWE champion, defeating Brock Lesnar. It’s also no secret that WWE wants to make Roman Reigns the next John Cena. Well, the longest reigning WWE champion of the modern era before CM Punk was, in fact, John Cena. After Cena won the WWE championship for the third time in his career, he held the title for 385 days before an injury forced him to relinquish the title. However, at that time, WWE had no plans to have John Cena drop the title any time soon.
Like CM Punk, Brock Lesnar walked out of WWE before his contract had expired back in 2004. Lesnar had just signed a big money extension with WWE, but then decided that he no longer wanted to be a professional wrestler soon thereafter. Just two years earlier, Lesnar had become the youngest WWE champion in history, winning the title when he was just 25 years old. Four months after Lesnar departed from WWE in 2004, WWE wanted to erase Lesnar’s record as the youngest champion in history, so they had Randy Orton win the world heavyweight championship when he was just 24. Now, the two titles Orton and Lesnar won were different, but WWE did portray Orton as the youngest champion ever in the history of the company, replacing Lesnar.
With WWE wanting to make Roman Reigns their next big star, and, for the time being, wanting to erase all of CM Punk’s records, Reigns could be the man to break CM Punk’s record as the longest reigning WWE champion of the modern era, whether fans like it or not, which could be a mistake on WWE’s part, but time will tell.
[Image via WWE]