While I agree to a degree with your post, mainly the points about how screwed up the pay-off to most of his feuds has been in the past, but i think you fail to realize how much of a push he has been handed consistently for years, despite not entirely deserving it.
Like you said yourself, he wasnt even ready when he won his first world title, but they put the title on him regardless, had him working against Batista the second biggest star of the PG era. For all the IWC bitching about the "big man fetish", here they put the title on a skinny dude with tattoos who looked like a 14yr old school kid standing against batista, despite the fact he didnt deserve it.
As I said, the reign shouldn't have happened (at least at that point without more building up of Punk) but he didn't exactly look strong against Batista from what I recall, and once again that has to do with booking. He looked like a weak champ because he was booked as a weak champ. Going against Batista at the time while not bad, didn't do Punk any favors either.
The summer of punk 2009 is often regarded as one of the best angles of the post Attitude era. It was a huge main event push on Smackdown against one of the most over stars of the past decade, Jeff hardy. Yes Taker killed the momentum of the feud, but it doesnt take away from how much exposure he got by working with these two top stars.
While against Jeff Hardy, he got great exposure. But not all exposure is good. He was essentially Taker's whipping boy for a couple of months, and even though Taker is a legend and it's never bad to lose to him, it's terrible to look as bad as Punk did to Taker to anyone. Once again gets exposure, but it's not exactly good when you're booked to look like you don't belong in the main event. Like I said this is what I think really hurt Punk's image in the eyes of the casual, and the worst part is if the reports are true, Punk did it to himself.
As for Nexus/SES thing, WWE had enough faith in him to make him the leader of two major heel factions on both the A-show and the B-show of the company. At one point, he was the biggest heel in the company. Once again, you dont realize the magnitude of the push. Cena, Orton, Rey, show are all huge babyface characters, working with them itself is big. Yes, Summer of punk 2011 did not end well but it wasnt drawing much to begin with. MITB bumped 20,000 extra buys and ratings stayed the same throughout.
But once again, him and his groups were made to look like chumps. Bad exposure is bad. It hurts his image to see time and time again that he fails in his feuds and it makes it harder for the casuals to get behind him.
About the main event thing, I dont exactly understand what difference it would have made even if he did main event over Cena? Whats the point if it isn't the key drawing match for the PPV anyway? Just assume he does main event over Cena/Show and Cena/Laurinaitis, so now he main evented 4 PPVs out of 10, what does that prove? Is he a draw now because of it? Cena matches are still the ones responsible for PPV buys and everyone knows that for a fact. If anything this main event thing is an effective excuse for punk fans, to cover up his lack of drawing power.
He's the WWE Champion. It devalues the title when it's never the main event despite the fact that it's supposedly the most prestigious prize in the business, and hurts Punk's reign (and image once again) that he's constantly playing second-fiddle to Cena, even when he has the title. So even if it's not the key drawing point, if it's promoted on Raw as the main event as it should be, at the very least the title credibility and reign is preserved to some extent. Casuals don't really know who draws and who doesn't... at least as far as I know. It's not something they think about.
And the other thing is when I say for Punk to main event, I don't necessarily mean him just being the last match on the PPV, but to week in and week out be the focus of the show. Now I know you're just going to point to this Monday's Raw as an example that you can't use Punk as the center of the show, but once again there are plenty of reasons why the rating was so low that had nothing to do with Punk. For all we know even if Cena was the one featured throughout the show it would've still been a low number. Hell Cena was advertised in the last part of the show and it still did underwhelming. Essentially all we know is Punk's first two segments kept the show afloat.
Now if Punk was given the opportunity to go out there for the next 3-4 weeks and be the center of the show and ratings get lower or don't budge, and then they give Cena a week as the center and ratings go back up, then yes, that would be proof Punk can't be the main event and center of the show, and as such he has no business being WWE Champion for the more than a couple of months. But Punk never had that opportunity. He had one terrible overrun that lost viewers in an uninspired match which put him against Tensai and Bryan (which by the way I'm not sure if he was the center of that show either, but I'd need to check), but even HHH has lost viewers in the overrun on more than one occasion. But Punk has never been given a shot to prove he could consistently hold the numbers together for the show and to prove that number was just an odd occurrence. Instead he's a very little or non-factor as a mid-card WWE Champion while Cena is treated as the top prize in the company. He can never prove his worth if not given the chance, and only giving him a one-off shot every few months isn't giving him a chance.
He was turned heel on RAW 1000 because his face character completely ran out of steam, it came to a point where its either a heel turn or lose the title to Cena for punk and WWE decided to turn him heel by having him lay out THE BIGGEST STAR IN WRESTLING INDUSTRY today in the middle of the ring, at the end of the biggest RAW show of the decade which drew massive rating as we all know.
See here's my problem with these excuses, If you're a wrestler who needs 6 yrs of constant push and every one of those to end well in your favor with the right pay-off to *atleast* show signs of being a draw, then in my opinion you're NOT worth that investment to begin with.
I mean how many wrestlers who made their debut during the same time as punk, get to say they were ECW world champion, two time MITB winner, 3 time heavyweight champion, leader of two top heel factions, worked with the likes of Edge, Batista, JBL, Jeff hardy(and retired him), Taker, Rey Mysterio, big show, Randy Orton, John Cena, Vince Mcmahon, Triple H, Chris Jericho, the guy who was allowed to "shoot"/break kayfabe on live raw, the guy who turned heel by attacking the biggest star in the company? How many superstars could claim to even half of that push?
As I mention above, like most of the Punk marks on the internet you're so obsessed with these excuses that you fail see how much he has been handed since day one. I am not a big advocate of Kevin Nash's "Vanilla midget" looks theory but in punk's case it might be true. Punk needs tonnes of hype, top stars and main event buzz surrounding him to draw, if at all. When left alone, clearly he cant deliver.
People refuse to see this guy as a top star because he lacks "IT" factor. Simple
And obviously No, he's never going to a hbk or hhh or taker or even Jericho or kurt angle. Thats just not happening.
First, it's not needing every single push to be successful, it's needing a few of them. He's looked weak time and time again after a short time of looking like a main eventer. No top draw got over by having their pushes constantly derailed. ....., Austin, Rock, Taker, Lesnar, HHH, Cena, etc. All almost always were booked to succeed in their feuds and never made to look like chumps as WWE Champion, even as heels. Imagine if Austin had tapped out to Bret at WM13 and then stopped being Austin 3:16. No way Austin/McMahon would've been as successful. Imagine Rock never leading the Nation. Imagine Evolution getting destroyed by Benoit in 04 and Orton and Batista becoming nothing. Imagine HHH losing the title to Foley at the RR and the WM ME that year being Rock vs. Foley. How about during HHH's 9 month reign, not only does he get overshadowed by Rock/Austin and Rock/Goldberg, but then Goldberg's feuds overshadow HHH's and HHH looks like a mid-card act in comparison, along with the title? Or how about JBL defeating Cena at WM21 and Cena getting traded to Raw before he could win the title? Or how about winning the title, but then losing in the I QUIT match to JBL? Lastly, what about Taker beating Lesnar in the cell at NM?
None of those men would be the same if those things happened, and for Punk I still believe that the time he could've been big originally was 2009, but what we saw was what would've happened if the last thing I said happened in that last paragraph. Punk's SES would've been more successful if he was champion similar to Evolution. He would've never had to take over the New Nexus or they would've just had him convert them to the SES. He would've been a top heel and a top draw.
You don't need the "IT" factor to be a big draw. You need the "IT" factor to be the biggest superstar of all time. Punk would've never been that, but he could've been big draw by now. But they fuck up his heel run, and then they fuck up his face run. Now he's back to heel trying that again, but it's only a matter of time before that's fucked up. I don't believe HHH had the "IT" factor, but he had proper booking, character development, and excellently written storylines. I'd say if he did have the "IT" factor, he could've very well been the biggest star of all time. But that's just me.
Are these excuses? I prefer to think of them as reasons. Are they valid reasons? Absolutely. Fact is none of his runs were booked properly all the way through. Because of that all those championships. accolades and guys he worked with in the past were all for naught. It's exactly why a poorly executed push can destroy someone. Punk's been dealing with it for the majority of his career. He's dealt with it for the past year and his title run, his face run, and his drawing power have suffered because of it.
Hell, another example of someone who's been failed by failed runs constantly is Randy Orton. 2004? Evolution's bitch, but he was also still emotionally immature so that falls on him. 2006? Again, fucked himself up after having all the momentum and getting put back over by Taker with his immature behavior. 2007, they failed to give him the title at SS when they should've, but he still did go on to have a good reign as champion, though he looked weak at times, like getting SCM every week for like 5 weeks in a row (I think). 2009 he had his gigantic push though, and that was fucked up. He remained a draw and the people he worked with helped and the storyline he had helped, but once he was taken away from them and given the title in 2010 and forced into the same position Punk's been in for the majority of the last year (playing second fiddle to Cena), his numbers suffered and he wasn't a "draw" by the standards we've been using for Punk. His title run went nowhere, his World Title reigns flopped, and he's been doing nothing of relevance ever since. And Orton's peak was actually hotter than Punk's, so if that could happen to Orton after failed push after failed push, it's no wonder it happens to Punk.