It’s time to face the facts… CM Punk is gone. He was recently moved to the Alumni section of WWE.com, and as of yesterday, his WWE contract is officially expired. To mark the end of this era, let’s take a look back at his WWE career. Sorry, no commentary on his mental chess matches with Delirious in IWA Mid-South or his incredibly personal feud with Raven in Ring of Honor here, this will just be focusing on his eight years with the WWE roster. I’ll be sticking in a brief editorial at the end as well, and I’m sure it will have absolutely no controversial opinions whatsoever. Enjoy!
ECW (Summer 2006 – Winter 2008)
Punk’s time at WWECW was a bizarre little ride. At the time, ECW was serving as the bridge between the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental facility and the main Raw/Smackdown roster. OVW was the test to see if you could wrestle, and ECW was the test to see if you could handle yourself on TV. Nowadays, both of those tests fall under the much more streamlined NXT banner. Can you imagine if NXT (as we know it right now) had been around in those days? Imagine the Full Sail crowd reacting to a Kevin Thorn match.
But as I said, Punk got into some weird stuff during his ECW run. He smacked around Shannon Moore while he was still in his Guitar Hero create-a-character phase. He was scheduled to wrestle Chris Benoit for the vacant ECW Championship at Night of Champions 2007, but I think we all know how that one got infamously derailed. And then there was that unbelievable foreshadowing of Punk getting all buddy-buddy with Triple H during Survivor Series 2006. The sport coat was just a glimmer in his eye back then.
Money in the Bank (WrestleMania XXIV – Fall 2009)
It felt really important when Punk won Money in the Bank, didn’t it? Everyone was thinking “Wait, a former Ring of Honor guy has a title shot now? Are they going to have him lose? What does it mean?” The cash-in on Edge in June 2008 was really cool, of course. I find it poetic that one of WWE’s biggest nerds got the assist from the guy who would go on to play Drax the Destroyer. He told the world that he was a Fighting Champion who would Take On All Comers, but he never really got a noteworthy feud from that first title reign. Maybe that’s why WWE just sort of said “Hey, you’re not champion anymore” and got Randy Orton to unleash one of his patent-pending Instant Concussion Temper Tantrums backstage.
There was a bit of treading water from that point. He had that tag team championship run with Kofi Kingston, then a stint as Intercontinental Champion. But that was really all filler until Punk won his second Money in the Bank contract. THAT was when things kicked into high gear. Finally, we got the heel turn against World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy. This HAD to happen, right? The man who’s taken so many weird drugs that he can now probably see individual atoms colliding versus the man preaching the gospel of straight-edge. It was fantastic. We all wondered how Punk was capable of playing such an unbelievable jerk.
I’m going to forget the attempted Montreal Screwjob Lite against Undertaker at Breaking Point because I want to get to THE BEST PART.