216. The number of cumulative days that CM Punk has been WWE Champion, all within the past 12 months.
213. The number of days that Bobby Roode has been the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, all within the past 12 months.
In the current era of wrestling, long championship reigns are becoming cool again. And we have these guys to thank for it. TNA X-Division Champion Austin Aries is a longer reigning champion than both at 258 days, and TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim isn't far off at 195 days.
But Bobby Roode and CM Punk are the alpha dogs in their present companies. Yes, Sheamus is the World Heavyweight Champion, but he appears to have fallen off a bit since winning the championship. In fact, the man he beat in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28 is arguably in a better position than the Celtic Warrior (or Great White, if you must) at this point. Roode is carrying TNA, a point that Hulk Hogan is putting over on television. Punk's reign has cemented him as the guy while John Cena is stuck in creative purgatory for the time being.
But they didn't start out like a John Cena—not at all.
CM Punk was, as he puts it, a Paul Heyman guy. I'm sure they've had a great conversation or three backstage since Heyman's return. Here's the thing about being a Heyman guy. Heyman leaves and you're no one's guy. Dave Lagana has written about creative's support of CM Punk and how many ideas got shot down, and how Shawn Michaels saved Punk's push. Punk doesn't look like a "face of the company guy." Yet one famous promo last summer and he's there. He "walked out" as champion, made a scene at the San Diego Comic Con, and returned as quickly as he exited. In doing so, he was elevated to elite status.
Bobby Roode was just another guy in Team Canada. Sure, had tag title reigns, but Petey Williams was the star of the bunch. And Eric Young broke out first. Bobby Roode did end up with a singles push as Robert Roode. Remember "It Pays to be Roode"? They teased a big name manager for Roode, and he ended up with Traci Brooks. And that ended in a feud with Ms. Payton Banks (Rain). Then came Beer Money. Even that... everyone saw James Storm as the breakout star, not Roode. Roode wins the Bound For Glory Series, but doesn't beat Kurt Angle at Bound For Glory itself. The week prior, Hulk Hogan is quoted as saying "Bobby's not the guy" while putting over Jeff Hardy as the guy. James Storm wins the title first, and everyone goes nuts for it. But then Roode gets desperate and turns heel—leading the "Selfish Generation" and becoming World Heavyweight Champion. He cheated to win—or sometimes just to love & retain. But he's slowly building into a credible champion. Most heel reigns start off with a legit tone and the champion slowly becomes desperate. But as Hulk Hogan has said, they did Roode's reign in reverse. He's now winning matches like a champion. He's becoming dominant. And honestly, there is no end in sight.
CM Punk retained his championship at WrestleMania 28, defeating one of the most beloved superstars around in Chris Jericho. After ending the feud at Extreme Rules, it was hard to see what he'd do next. Thankfully the WWE paired him with Daniel Bryan, 2012's fastest shooting star. They recently introduced a new wrinkle with AJ—Punk "kinda digs crazy chicks." As a feud, the sky is the limit with Punk & Bryan.
Bobby Roode recently overcame James Storm, and followed that up with a ladder match victory over Rob Van Dam at Sacrifice. As TNA builds Slammiversary, they have potential challengers in AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson and now Sting. They could easily bring back The King of The Mountain Match with those guys. They won't, but they could.
WWE Champion CM Punk and TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode are on top of the world. They're the top champions in their respective companies, they're both at the top of their game, and there really is no end in sight for either. In a world where championship belts are props and toys, two men have made them important again. Bobby Roode and CM Punk.
You Decide: Are Punk & Roode a great pair to sit atop the wrestling world?