Okay, folks; here's the scenario:
This week, tweets from CM Punk have brought him back into the limelight. Apparently, JBL, calling a match on RAW recently, made a reference to putting young talents over. Punk responded thanking JBL and Edge, claiming they were the only guys willing to put over young talents on the roster back when he was on the roster. This got me thinking.....
At what point did CM Punk actually become relevant? More to the point, when did CM Punk rise into the top tier and actually look like a threat to anyone holding a title? Some would argue that it began when he won his first world title, but I would contend that it came a bit later. To illustrate my point, I say we go back to 2009 at the Extreme Rules PPV. Punk was on the rise at the time, but there were a few names he had to contend with who were already secure in their top spots; Edge, Randy Orton, John Cena, Triple H, and Jeff Hardy, who had just secured his second reign at the very same Extreme Rules PPV. Enter Punk with the briefcase to win his second reign with the title.
From the very next week in April all the way until August, Punk feuded with Hardy, creating a persona and solidifying his place in the upper echelons of the WWE. During that time, Hardy was beginning to sour on the schedule and his body needed time to recooperate, which the management didn't care for, leading to his return to TNA, where he remains to this day. Nevertheless, Punk's first long term feud that was worth the time to watch unfold happened with Jeff Hardy and THAT'S where I place a mark in the books that say Punk is going to be something special to watch moving forward and not just a fluke victory making him a placeholder for someone else.
From this humble perspective, I have a few favorite wrestlers who were notorious for putting talents over as they reached the twilight of their careers and never lost popularity.....
These guys were all phenomenal talents and, in spite of that talent, they were very proactive in putting over younger guys to give them a spotlight and their own top spots. Without them, we wouldn't have had guys like Cena, Batista, JBL, or some of the rest. Eddie pitched the idea for JBL, leading to his first World Title reign. Benoit gave Randy Orton his first title reign. This doesn't just go for titles, but for outrageous worthwhile feuds that were all around great to see from beginning to end. Give Jericho vs. Michaels a watch or any feud with Edge AFTER the Matt and Lita eyesore.
The point to all this? Punk may have had an opinion, but history says something a bit different and that's the perspective I choose to take as well. I know there are others who aren't on the list above, but these are only examples of the many who were generous enough to either voice preferences or had no ego to bruise in giving young bucks a chance to shine.