In TNA, all the news is surrounding Jeff Hardy; whether or not he'll be at his professional best or not and whether or not he's in any condition for TNA to place their trust in him. WWE is facing, quite possibly their best year out of CM Punk, having re-placed him on the top tier of their cards. I thought it'd be a good idea to do some credential comparisons. During the duration of this comparison/ contrast, I would like to point out some vast differences in the climate in which their gold reigns have been earned. First off, CM Punk.....
- Earned WWE Championships (includes Intercontinental, WWE, and World Heavyweight Titles) vs.
John Cena, Undertaker, JBL, Edge, John Morrison, and Jeff Hardy
During the victories and consequent defenses of these titles, WWE was going through a bit of a transition...no, a HUGE transition from one era into another. Each of the competitors, save for the Undertaker and JBL, was in the prime of their respective careers. HOWEVER, his one and only Tag Team Title was won in the most dead time for tag teams in WWF/E history.
Next, Jeff Hardy.....
Earned Championships (includes all top tier televised wrestling organizations including the WCW Tag Titles and TNA) vs. Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson, Triple H, Edge, CM Punk, Jerry Lynn, Bradshaw, RVD, William Regal, and Umaga.
During Jeff Hardy's early title reigns and defenses, WWF was the in the Attitude Era, and the veteran performers were still in their primes, no exceptions. I do separate JBL from Bradshaw as these were two VERY different personas, despite being the same person. His 7 Tag Title reigns were during a peak in the WWF/E's tag team division success.
Having talked about primes, just as Shawn Michaels experienced a re-emergence as a 5 star match generator, it can be said that Kurt Angle has done very similar things for TNA. While Ken Anderson isn't on the same level, truth be told, his in ring performance has improved, putting him on par with a great deal of WWE's current best.
Whose current career looks best? My thoughts are Hardy as 90% of the talents he defeated for titles are either no longer employed with WWE or, in Umaga's case (R.I.P.), deceased. If you don't know Jerry Lynn or RVD, you should. Look 'em up. William Regal was about as good a heel as WWE has seen in the past 15 years and Jeff Hardy was one of the few people Triple H has chosen to put over without re-burying.
CM Punk right now, is in danger of being buried in the coming weeks and I daresay, without some kind of management intervention, could ruin whatever credibility Punk has earned in the past month and a half. Jeff Hardy, on the other hand, is coming off a 5 month suspension with a real life underdog storyline that could put him out of this world in terms of popularity and give TNA the kind of boost it needs to really pick up a head of steam and do some good numbers in the ratings.
Who wins? Punk? Hardy? Right now, it could be either, but I would wait until after TNA and WWE's respective PPV's have come to conclusion before making a final decision.