“What I have been through in the past year? I smell like smoke, son, because I have been through fire.” – John Bradshaw Layfield
December 2012 COTM - "Half Luck, Half Skul: Punk Is On A Roll!" by Skulduggery
Jan 17, 2013 - 12:36:45 PM
Very few people could outdo JBL in terms of zing. I’ll admit that I’m certainly not in that select group. I’ll bet, though, if you asked a certain CM Punk to counter JBL’s 2005 comment, which regarded the quantity and quality of competition that vied to dethrone JBL as WWE Champion, the Second City Saint would be up for the challenge more quickly than he would decline a beer.
Why? Not only is Punk a whiz on the mic (and he knows it), but he has a very valid claim. As much fire as JBL went through in 2004 to early 2005, where he reigned as champ, winning PPV after PPV for a very long time, CM Punk has that topped quite handily in the current day. In fact, CM Punk hasn’t lost a PPV match since Vengeance 2011, when he and HHH got got by Spider Soup and the Cleveland Screamer.
In honor of Punk’s recent tear of PPV victories (or at least non-losses), and the comparison we’ve already made to the man from New York City, Texas, I’ve decided to unearth even more comparisons: ten of the longest PPV winning streaks in the last ten years of WWE. (Note that I am only considering WWE PPVs. For instance, if Wrestler X won his last five WWE PPV competitions before taking a hiatus, returned to the WWE years later and won his first three PPV matches, an eight match winning streak is intact, regardless of the hiatus. Similarly, when Tom Brady won the final 15 games of the 03-04 NFL season and the first six games of the 04-05 NFL season, sports media bowed down to a 21 game winning streak, ignoring his backyard pigskin loss to his uncle’s clever but cheating team.)
10. Edge (7 PPV matches without a loss)
-Hell in a Cell 2010: Defeated Jack Swagger
- Bragging Rights 2010: Teamed with Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Tyler Reks, Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger & Kofi Kingston; defeated The Miz, Santino Marella, John Morrison, CM Punk, Ezekiel Jackson, R-Truth & Sheamus
- Survivor Series 2010: Drew with Kane
- TLC 2010: Defeated Kane, Rey Mysterio, and Alberto Del Rio
- Royal Rumble 2011: Defeated Dolph Ziggler
- Elimination Chamber 2011: Defeated Kane, Big Show, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre and Rey Mysterio
- WrestleMania XXVII: Defeated Alberto Del Rio
Edge’s unexpected and forced retirement in April of 2011 alluded much more strongly to Neil Young’s “better to burn out than fade away” than to T. S. Eliot’s “this is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a whimper” (thank you, Mr. Sandow), as it put an abrupt halt to the hottest streak Sexton Hardcastle had ever been on in his time in the ‘E. Edge’s non-loss streak, though it falls short in raw numbers to some of the others on this countdown, is impressive nonetheless for being one of only two here that did not end with a loss. Probability shouts loudly to the chance that its pair, who is leading the charge on this list, will eventually end with a tally in the L column, so Edge’s streak will one day stand alone.
After a return to active competition in early 2010 fizzled more than it dazzled, Copeland found himself winless in 4 of 5 PPV matches as a member of RAW. However, in the fall of that year, a trade to SmackDown lit a fire under the Rated R ass, and Edge quickly went from treading water on RAW to devouring sharks on Friday nights. He captured the heavyweight strap, putting him into double digit territory, and defended it successfully against seven distinct challengers. Barring his feud with Cena in 2006, Edge has almost unanimously found heaps more success on the Friday night show than its Monday counterpart, and his 7 PPV undefeated roll which commenced immediately after relocation to the former indicates that nicely.
9. Kane (7 PPV matches without a loss)
- Money in the Bank 2010: Defeated Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Christian, Matt Hardy, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre
- Money in the Bank 2010: Defeated Rey Mysterio
- SummerSlam 2010: Defeated Rey Mysterio
- Night of Champions 2010: Defeated Undertaker
- Hell in a Cell 2010: Defeated Undertaker
- Bragging Rights 2010: Defeated Undertaker
- Survivor Series 2010: Drew with Edge
Tying the previous record with a 6-0-1 record, yet eerily having the one draw against each other, Kane’s best run in the WWE (in terms of wins and losses, at least) is our next entrant. Exactly how this seven foot cueballed bundle of talent spent over a decade and a half in the E before getting his first world championship reign in which he had to shave is beyond me, but I’m thrilled that he got a decent run in the last half of 2010.
Hate to be succinct, but Kane’s stretch of W’s was simply a well-deserved thank you run. A guy that had been losing in order to establish other guys for nearly his entire career finally got a share of the turkey he had been cooking and serving for over ten years.
8. John Cena (7 PPV matches without a loss)
- WrestleMania XX: Defeated Big Show
- Judgment Day 2004: Defeated Rene Dupree
- Great American Bash 2004: Defeated RVD, Rene Dupree and Booker T
- SummerSlam 2004: Defeated Booker T
- No Mercy 2004: Defeated Booker T
- Survivor Series 2004: Teamed with Eddie Guerrero, RVD & Big Show; defeated Kurt Angle, Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak & Carlito
- Armageddon 2004: Defeated Jesus
You know…somehow, I just bet many of you had a feeling that Jorts would, one way or another, make his way onto this list. This one’s special not only because the white-hot Cena was almost unanimously cheered (yeah…it was a long time ago), but because this is the only streak on the countdown that was completed wholly in the midcard scene.
WWE obviously (and correctly) sensed something special in the rapper, as they used 2004 to compile momentum and credibility for the future face of the company. Unlike some streaks, however, the Thuganomicist had his fair share of significant TV losses in between the big shows. In addition to being sacrificial lambs in bigger storylines such as those of Undertaker and Big Show, Dr. Cena lost twice to Booker T in US Championship series matches; and he also lost said hardware to the Chia Pet Carlito on a SmackDown. So what’s the message with a guy who bats maybe a little better than .500 on TV but hits walk-off homers (albeit not in the World Series; remember, he was in the midcard at this point) on nearly all of the PPVs of the year? WWE was priming young Johnathan to be a big stage player. More or less worked, I think.
7. JBL (8 PPV matches without a loss
- Judgment Day 2004: Defeated Eddie Guerrero
- Great American Bash 2004: Defeated Eddie Guerrero
- SummerSlam 2004: Defeated Undertaker
- No Mercy 2004: Defeated Undertaker
- Survivor Series 2004: Defeated Booker T
- Armageddon 2004: Defeated Booker T, Undertaker and Eddie Guerrero
- Royal Rumble 2005: Defeated Kurt Angle and Big Show
- No Way Out 2005: Defeated Big Show
The greatest stretch of Wall Street’s wrestling career holds similarities to Cena’s run. In 2004, the tandem of SmackDown Johns took, there or thereabouts, parallel courses. Concerning PPV wins, the two simultaneously built a possibly unmatched pair of respective momentums that eventually collided at the incredibly pivotal WrestleMania 21. Of course, we all know the aftermath. One John went on to scale WWE’s mountains, and the other went on to…well, scale actual mountains. Fuck, Bradshaw, you just refuse to lose! Good on ya.
It’s not often that you’ll see such a winning streak or, tied loosely, such a lengthy reign as the top champ by a heel. Two things come into play that presented the conditions for the Wrestling God’s run at the top. First of all, notice the timeline. 2004 was post-Austin and pre-Cena (main event Cena, that is), and the company didn’t quite have a slotted go-to babyface. Answer? Give a heel the reigns. JBL was obviously a rather unlikely candidate, but on SmackDown, you had either him or Kurt Angle, who was occupied with his own Reigns.Bullet point number two is the brand split. Evolution was the solution on RAW, but the barely permeable barrier set up between Mondays and Fridays meant a diluted situation on SmackDown. The advantage was easily to be taken for Bradshaw, and he was given a serious tear (not the Kevin Nash kind, thank heaven) as a result.
6. Chris Benoit (8 PPV matches without a loss)
- No Mercy 2003: Defeated A-Train
- Survivor Series 2003: Teamed with John Cena, Kurt Angle, Bradshaw & Hardcore Holly; defeated Brock Lesnar, A-Train, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones & Big Show
- Royal Rumble 2004: Defeated 29 other superstars to win Royal Rumble
- WrestleMania XX: Defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels
- Backlash 2004: Defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels
- Bad Blood 2004: Teamed with Edge; defeated La Resistance
- Bad Blood 2004: Defeated Kane
- Vengeance 2004: Defeated Triple H
Pegasus Kid may not have had the sheer volume of some of the streaks that bettered this one, but try naming me the number of men who have submitted Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Brock Lesnar and lifting more than a few fingers in the process. Add the Crippler’s monumental Royal Rumble marathon and three World Heavyweight Championship victories over Trips, and this might be one of the most impressive rolls on this entire list.
He Who Must Not Named actually had a relatively large winning percentage when it came to those who were largely midcarders. String together a few standard W’s with a solo, deserved run with the big gold belt, and an eight match burner is born. I think that this winning streak, more than anything, is indicative of the WWE’s proclivity for giving the guys who spend a decent amount of time in midcard something of a reward run (Kane in 2010, Miz in 2011, Benoit here). Be it due to effort, talent, or a mixture of the two, the WWE (for all of its faults) has at least given a few nods to the performers who otherwise spend little time in the main event spotlight.
5. Sheamus (9 PPV matches without a loss)
- TLC 2011: Defeated Jack Swagger
- Royal Rumble 2012: Defeated 29 other superstars to win Royal Rumble
- WrestleMania XXVIII: Defeated Daniel Bryan
- Extreme Rules 2012: Defeated Daniel Bryan
- Over the Limit 2012: Defeated Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio
- No Way 2012: Defeated Dolph Ziggler
- Money in the Bank 2012: Defeated Alberto Del Rio
- SummerSlam 2012: Defeated Alberto Del Rio
- Night of Champions 2012: Defeated Alberto Del Rio
Save for that of the title character, PPV winning streaks don’t get much more recent than Sheamus’. The Ginge kicked his run off right around the same time as said title character, and it wasn’t until he was Big ShOWNed in October that the scorch was extinguished. After joining the overflowing “beat Jack Swagger” club, Beaker became only the sixth person in history to win both a King of the Ring and a Royal Rumble before hosting a hefty run with the World Title.
Funnily enough, prior to this burst, Shame for Fame whimpered through his WWE PPV career, even losing 11 consecutive PPV matches at one point. As Irish luck would have it, though, Little Red’s fate took a miniature Brogue Kick to the schnoz, and 180’d completely. What really caused Sheamus’ reversal of fortune?
“I’ll foight ‘em.”
When O’Shaunessy grew some balls and challenged Mark Henry, we witnessed a babyface Sheamus for the first time. I’ll argue (until my Canadian kicks in and apologizes) about Ginger Snap’s potential as a monster heel, but WWE obviously sensed a change in the summer of 2011. His run as a heel had been getting staler than a loaf of 19th century bread subjected to constant Gene Snitsky breath, so those in power popped the tab and turned Sheamus from a frowning Irish bully into…well, a smiling Irish bully. A simple flick of the wand, and a heel turn – or in this case, face turn – can do wonders for the success of a superstar.
4. Triple H (9 PPV matches without a loss)
- Backlash 2008: Defeated Randy Orton, JBL and John Cena
- Judgment Day 2008: Defeated Randy Orton
- One Night Stand 2008: Defeated Randy Orton
- Night of Champions 2008: Defeated John Cena
- Great American Bash 2008: Defeated Edge
- SummerSlam 2008: Defeated The Great Khali
- Unforgiven 2008: Defeated Jeff Hardy, The Brian Kendrick, MVP and Shelton Benjamin
- No Mercy 2008: Defeated Jeff Hardy
- Cyber Sunday 2008: Defeated Jeff Hardy
C’mon, now…you didn’t really expect Trips to be MIA on a list like this, did you? Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Triple H, but when you’ve had as much success as this guy did in the 21st century, a few strings of wins are almost inevitable. So is a hot wife. And bags upon bags of money.
We’ve seen something really similar to this in our #10 slot with Edge. What do you get when you pluck a star from the A show and drop him into the B show? A similar effect to relocating a millionaire from New York City to Buffalo Asshole, Kansas (population 2,433). Sure, one could argue that the first quartet of H’s wins in this run were achieved on RAW, but let’s be honest here. Any putz with a bit of talent, a bit of size, and the knowledge to use the right words can collect four consecutive PPV wins. Levesque, on the other hand, took advantage of an unexpected transfer to Friday nights to elongate his stretch to a mighty nine victories.
3. Trish Stratus (10 PPV matches without a loss)
- Bad Blood 2004: Defeated Gail Kim, Victoria and Lita
- Unforgiven 2004: Defeated Victoria
- Taboo Tuesday 2004: Defeated Molly Holly, Gail Kim, Stacy Keibler, Victoria, Nidia and Jazz
- Survivor Series 2004: Defeated Lita
- New Year's Revolution 2005: Defeated Lita
- WrestleMania 21: Defeated Christy Hemme
- Unforgiven 2005: Teamed with Ashley; defeated Torrie Wilson & Victoria
- Taboo Tuesday 2005: Defeated Victoria, Ashley, Maria, Candice Michelle and Mickie James
- Survivor Series 2005: Defeated Melina
- New Year's Revolution 2006: Defeated Mickie James
This one could easily be the surprise of the list, as, due in large part to today’s diva division, the ladies of wrestling lore are hardly on the clean mind of the average WWE fan. Seeing Trish's name pop up was certainly was a pleasant surprise for yours truly, anyway. Thinking about it makes sense, though, as it could easily be argued that, in regards to dominance at the top of her division, Toronto’s hottest was essentially John Cena with tits for a period of time.
In fact, in 2005, Lita was injured and then involved in the Matt-Edge storyline, Victoria was criminally underutilized (though, admittedly, another feud with Stratus would not have been the freshest thing), and the likes of Christy Hemme and Ashley Massaro were greener than Finlay’s toilet treasure following a spinach rich meal. WWE’s apparent inability to find someone to take top spot over the bombshell, even when she was injured, is the main cause for the continuation of Trish’s tear in 2005. When Mickie James finally defeated her for the title at WrestleMania 22, the beginnings of a real facelift in WWE’s diva division had happened.
2. John Cena (12 PPV matches without a loss)
- Survivor Series 2006: Teamed with Kane, Sabu, Lashley & RVD; defeated Big Show, Test, Umaga, Finlay & MVP
- Armageddon 2006: Teamed with Batista; defeated King Booker & Finlay
- New Year's Revolution 2007: Defeated Umaga
- Royal Rumble 2007: Defeated Umaga
- No Way Out 2007: Teamed with Shawn Michaels; defeated Undertaker & Batista
- WrestleMania 23: Defeated Shawn Michaels
- Backlash 2007: Defeated Shawn Michaels, Edge and Randy Orton
- Judgment Day 2007: Defeated The Great Khali
- One Night Stand 2007: Defeated The Great Khali
- Vengeance 2007: Defeated Randy Orton, King Booker, Lashley and Mick Foley
- Great American Bash 2007: Defeated Lashley
- SummerSlam 2007: Defeated Randy Orton
The leader of the Fruit Loop Troop has a lot of notoriety to his name, and I think it’s fair to say that this 12 match run, which made up the bulk of his 380 day WWE Championship reign, has contributed at least a bit to that notoriety. There were more than a few people who started getting sick of the Thuganomicist being at the top (which is almost ironic considering the Cena league of 2012), but consider the victims of his tear.
The sizes of Umaga and Khali lent nicely to their respective builds as nearly indestructible monsters, but the most important word in the first half of this sentence is “nearly”, not “indestructible”. They were never going to be faces of the company or have immensely long WWE Championship title reigns; the losses suffered by the two in ’07 to Cena (as well as Khali’s to Batista later that year) were tools to further establish the “good feeling” and credibility of Cena’s (and Batista’s) character. By 2007, Lashley was more or less packing his bags; and Shawn Michaels and Booker T were more involved in putting guys over than winning the top straps themselves. Hindsight is, of course, eagle-like vision, but Orton (the guy who eventually did end both Cena’s winning streak and, with an assist from injury, his championship reign) was by far the largest credible threat to dethrone John at that time in the game.
1. CM Punk (13 PPV matches [and counting] without a loss)
- Survivor Series 2011: Defeated Alberto Del Rio
- TLC 2011: Defeated Alberto Del Rio and The Miz
- Royal Rumble 2012: Defeated Dolph Ziggler
- Elimination Chamber 2012: Defeated Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Chris Jericho, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth
- WrestleMania XXVIII: Defeated Chris Jericho
- Extreme Rules 2012: Defeated Chris Jericho
- Over the Limit 2012: Defeated Daniel Bryan
- No Way Out 2012: Defeated Daniel Bryan and Kane
- Money in the Bank 2012: Defeated Daniel Bryan
- SummerSlam 2012: Defeated John Cena and Big Show
- Night of Champions 2012: Drew with John Cena
- Hell in a Cell 2012: Defeated Ryback
- Survivor Series 2012: Defeated Ryback and John Cena
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, usurping John Cena for the top spot in yet another numbers-related* category; CM Punk is most certainly on a roll. He’s conquered the allegedly insatiable Ryback, the WWE machined Cena and Miz, the similarly super-talented Ziggler and Jericho, the overrated Bryan, the fierce Del Rio – and those are just the guys he’s beaten multiple times.
Not unlike Sheamus, Chicago Made once had a headache inducing PPV losing streak that would make even the Kansas City Royals feel OK about themselves. Ten consecutive PPV losses and one win preceded a rather famous event. After said event, Punk went 2-4 on PPV before embarking on the monstrous streak that thrives today. What was that event?
On June 27, 2011, donning a Stone Cold T-shirt, CM Punk sat cross-legged and began the transformation of an incredibly talented performer into a superstar. He was a guy with a lot a talent and a mediocre amount of success; today we see a guy who will likely be mentioned in the same breath as John Cena and Randy Orton when talking about the greatest performers post-Attitude Era.
You see, wins and losses aren’t the biggest part of the story, but they often act as indicators of success. Shawn Michaels lost quite a few times, yet he’s considered one of the best performers in WWE history. Don’t get me wrong; winning a lot of PPV matches is not the cause of a superstar becoming great or even becoming very good (which contrasts with legitimate sports). However, it is my opinion that stringing together an abnormally large amount of PPV wins is a pretty good, if not perfect, indication of the WWE considering a performer as great, or at least, as very good.