Tuesday, 30 August 2011

CM Punk:FEATURE, From Zero To Modern day Saviour

Phillip Jack Brooks, known commonly today as CM Punk, has become WWE’s top player in its company. It wasn’t all plain sailing. How did he manage to turn from Jobber to Heavyweight great when so many assumed he’d be another out the door indy guy?

As First time WWE Champion

Punk started out on the independent circuit. He began on the IWA (Independent Wrestling Association) in the Mid West, in his early 2000’s. Here, he grappled with the likes of Chris Hero, A.J Styles, Colt Cabana and the late Eddie Guerrero. Battling with Cabana earned him notoriety, then becoming acknowledged by, and joined ROH (Ring Of Honour).

Initially liked by the crowd, Punk became entangled with Raven and soon switched sides. The 2003 feud was regarded as one of the best for heel Punk against Raven, whom Punk claimed resembled his alcoholic father. This began embodying his straight edge persona. After Punk defeated Raven in a Cage match in November 2003, he then joined NWA:TNA at the same time, in which, oddly enough Punk became a part of Raven’s stable, The Gathering.

A fitting goodbye

Losing at ROH’s Second anniversary tournament, challenging for the heavyweight title to AJ Styles, Punk, coming in second, sent himself flying to the top of the ranks there. A 2 time Tag Champion with Cabana become just one of his many highlights for the promotion.

Wore a suit for ROH as Champion, does Undertaker approve?

Over in TNA, Punk was off of TV following a fight at a restaurant between himself and Teddy Hart, which Sabu intervened and broke up. Many believed he was fired for it. It was claimed Hart had planned and executed three unplanned finishes which put talent at risk. This claims to be the catalyst. Punk claims he stopped appearing at shows, due to the fact his angle wasn’t over with the fans. He turned heel again on Raven, this time in TNA, and was joined by James Mitchell, alongside his companion the whole time, Julio Dinero. With the storyline cut, Punk officially left TNA in March 2004.

A member of The Gathering in TNA
TNA had issued a “no compete in ROH” rule to all staff. Punk was not allowed, according to TNA, leading to a dispute during the Rob Feinstein controversy.

On June 12, 2004, Punk returned to ROH, facing Samoa Joe in a best of three series, for the heavyweight title. Both went toe to toe for 60 minutes, as neither were able to submit nor pin the other, making it a no contest. The rematch due for December, was hurried forward from  October 11 to October 16th 2004, in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, due to Steve Corino being pulled from a match with Joe in another organisation.  Again, both had their rematch, which resulted in yet another sterling draw. It was the biggest selling DVD for ROH, at that time, and given 5 stars in Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter. This was the first 5 star for seven years. The last was at Badd Blood ‘97 between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. The series had to end. Joe defeated Punk in a no limit rubber match. Win or loss, Punk had to be happy with that.

In June ‘05, Punk finally dotted the I’s and T’s with corporate ink, to join WWE. Punk still kept his options open, and defeated Austin Aries, then champ, for the ROH title, with the Pepsi Plunge on June 18th. It was here, Punk threatened to take the ROH title to WWE. It was Mick Foley, then with ROH also, whom insisted Punk should do the right thing and  defend it on his way out.

Is this sounding familiar?

August 12th was the day Punk dropped it to James Gibson (Jaime Noble), alongside Joe, and Christopher Daniels, in a four corner elimination match.

Cabana defeated Punk in the final match of his ROH career, in a two out of three falls encounter at Punk:The Final Encounter. Yes the PPV/event was named in his honour. He was showered with streamers - showcasing a sign of respect from his superiors. A heartfelt flurry of tears from Punk defined what this business means to him. It wasn’t a choice he chose to leave on lightly.

On Feb 11th 2006, Punk made one last appearance for the company, teaming with Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) defeating Jimmy Rave and Adam Pearce in the process.  He was due to fight Low Ki (Kaval) but changed when Ki had left shortly beforehand.

Meanwhile, over on WWE shores, in September 2005, Punk was sent to developmental territory, OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling), in which his frustration would begin. In his debut, Punk received a ruptured eardrum and broken nose after gaining a stiff shot from Danny Inferno. Punk, to his credit, finished the match.

IC Title was another welcomed success for Punk

Defeating Ken Doane (Kenny Dykstra/Spirit Squad), he became the OVW heavyweight champion on November 9th.After receiving many ups and downs at developmental, Punk was called up to the newly rebranded ECW. Under WWE’s direction, it was bound to be a washout.

Punk, however, to WWE’s surprise became the star attraction and the only reason most tuned in for. Punk turned in appearances at ECW PPV’s, including the awful December to Dismember, which Paul Heyman took the fall for, from WWE. (Hopefully they have worked out those differences). Punk was first to be eliminated in the Elimination Chamber match on the PPV. That was a blow dealt many were unhappy to see. That choice would lose a lot of respect from the audience, as Punk, whom was building momentum as a mainstream star, was unexplainably dropped. There was no justification to it.

As WWE ECW Champ

He eventually defeated John Morrison for the ECW title. He later lost it to Chavo Guerrero. WWE cannot back up that booking decision credibly with anyone in the business watching intently. Edge, speared Punk to cause the loss. The ‘Edge wannabe’ who didn’t know how to ‘work’, then began a new chapter.

Claimed the briefcase back to back, twice

Punk won the Money in the Bank Ladder match at Wrestlemania XXIV (24), which guaranteed him a title shot in the next yearly period. The audience were thrilled with the prospect, yet sceptical how WWE would play it out.

On June 23rd, 2008, Punk was drafted to Raw. Batista was miffed with then Champion Edge, and left him battered after an onslaught. Edge was down, as Punk entered with briefcase in tow, to defeat the Rated R Superstar, and become the heavyweight champion on the flagship show for WWE. Punk had made his comeback from troubled times of rising the ranks with the likes of Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Arn Anderson, throwing spanners in his creative progress.

As World Champion

He lost the title to Chris Jericho in a steel Cage match, on the September 15th Raw, after a near 3 month reign. He also won the slammy award for Oh My God Moment of the year, for defeating Edge.

Another excellent feud with Jericho

Punk, whom held the World Tag Titles (with Kofi Kingston), also won the IC title soon after dropping the tag belts. Punk became the nineteenth Triple Crown Champion in WWE history. (Winning all 3 titles on the brand, Tag, Heavyweight, and Intercontinental).

19th Triple Crown winner in WWE

At the following Mania, Punk won the MITB again, becoming the first double winner, and then being drafted to Smackdown in the annual draft again.

Punk also had the accolade of sending Jeff Hardy out of WWE, in a loser leaves the company match , on August 29th, which also grabbed him slammy of the year 2009, for shocker of the year.

Caught up in controversy with Undertaker over the title, and battling on with Rey Mysterio and Batista, Punk was set as one of WWE’s top men for the future. Once losing to Undertaker, the SES (Straight Edge Society) was born. Joined by Luke Gallows (Festus) and Serena, this tandem, didn’t do drugs, alcohol or any other substance in existence and kept themselves 100% natural.

Leading the SES
They irked many stars along the way, including mentoring NXT’s Darren Young, where Punk took a swipe at WWE, claiming he didn’t want to be there and was met with dubious inside practices that now made him a leading role for the company's future. The SES, was eventually dropped and Punk remains the only member currently among the WWE roster.

Given the task to train rookies.

Losing Hair battles, most recent against Mysterio, as well as messiah esq promos at PPV events, not forgetting the infamous Royal Rumble/Jeff Hardy epic, Punk was now left alone. His next step…

He was drafted back to Raw, again. This time taking Evan Bourne’s place at the Bragging Rights Raw Vs Smackdown match, (after injuring Bourne, in the storyline) to which he lost. He received a hip injury in the process, putting him out for the time being - not a great start, just being drafted to Raw and in a main match. WWE opened up a place for Punk on the announce desk. Commenting for a few months with Jerry “the King” Lawler and Michael Cole, was rather refreshing for the viewers, WWE, and Punk. But it wasn’t for long. Maybe watching the action close-hand reignited Punk’s passion.

Was refreshing over Michael Cole's blabbering

Impressed with his leadership and verbal commentary, Punk was unveiled as the ‘secret leader’ of the Nexus super group. The heel faction, which lost members like flies, and down to 5 men, needed Punk instantly as it could get him. Punk brought it back to life, the problem, was WWE’s failure to book new stars in a role to which they should have progressed higher. Punk forced Wade Barrett out and took charge. Punk V Barrett - a chance to make the ‘New’ Nexus  and Barrett as a solo star, was neglected. Barrett shortly switched sides to Smackdown - where his chances floundered.

Became WWE's leading man for Nexus
After feuds with John Cena and Randy Orton, while butting heads with Sheamus, on occasion,  Nexus eventually diluted. Mason Ryan suffered injury, which he is still out for, David Otunga and Michael McGuillicutty were teamed, and Punk went solo.

I can call you Phil, right?
Displeased with his treatment (Punk had not won a single Pay Per View match since Extreme Rules last year - the last 9 PPV’s were losses), he became a verbal explosion WWE had to acknowledge. Punk revealed the true face of the business in a shoot angle - which was pre worked and therefore, not a shoot, seeing as contracts were signed beforehand. Nevertheless, CM Punk decided to expose the WWE’s disgraceful attitude. Mr McMahon was vividly upset to this (on camera). Going hardcore, Punk bashed everyone in the company from McMahon, his daughter, son in law and the hire and fire man, before going onto certain practises. (some may have been elaborated from WW)…

Taking the yellow armband on
Initiating the first ever contract negotiations - in the ring was a first from Punk. The defeat of Cena also meant Punk 'removed' the Mr. McMahon character for WWE TV...

Bye Bye Babe...{Mwahh}

Punk has lastly been in title controversy with Cena. Lost to Alberto Del Rio and is receiving a forthcoming challenge in Kevin Nash and the corporate WWE. Someone is out to ’get’ Punk. Vince? Stephanie? Triple H? Johnny Ace? Being WWE - it wouldn’t surprise me to see Michael Cole being said perpetrator - just because…

One will not be silenced.

All he wants for X-Mas is an ice cream bar...
Regardless, Punk is on form more than he ever has been. Using the title storyline from the indy days with his ignited passion and ’fight’ to the WWE themselves, Chicago’s own is travelling on a path towards a brighter future. Becoming WWE Undisputed champion, is the latest highlight received. Don’t discount a possible Royal Rumble 2012 victory. A Raymond Carver fanatic, perversed by the corporate clones, and secretly in love with Max Waltham, CM Punk’s last goal - is to resurface the WWE ice cream bars - now who wouldn’t want to lick that smiley vanilla face?

Not sure about being a Raymond Carver - those are big boots to lace..
 but voices for the voiceless - MW understands...
WWE have realised they have a future in CM Punk, only problem is now, you need to let him create newbie’s just like Randy Orton has and continues to do, as well as making expert matches come to life. Don’t leave it another 4 years to create a star in the young and the hopeful.  

As it stands today- the best in the world (Punk proclaims)
Definitely one of the best so far..

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© Max Waltham  30th August 2011

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