Let me take you back in time for a second: The year was 2011. Barack Obama was the president, LeBron James was in the NBA Finals and Johnny Manziel was in no way mentally prepared to be an NFL quarterback. Okay, so not much has changed between then and now, but one thing that did happen that changed the way the world perceived pro wrestling, even temporarily, was CM Punk‘s now-legendary “pipe bomb” promo, which turns five years old today.
Punk closed out the June 27, 2011, episode of Raw with an epic, fourth wall-shattering rant firing shots at John Cena, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Vince McMahon and, of course, his “idiotic daughter” Stephanie and his “doofus son-in-law” Triple H, while name-dropping New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and Colt Cabana. WWE then deactivated Punk’s Facebook and WWE.com profiles, sending the internet full-on foam-at-the-mouth frenzy that CM Punk had gone rogue.
(Here’s what you probably won’t remember until you watch the pipe bomb video, though: CM Punk’s interference at the end of Raw helped R-Truth get a clean victory in the main event over John freakin’ Cena. I’m assuming R-Truth sends CM Punk a floral arrangement every year on this day as a show of gratitude.)
We now know that it was all (kind of) a work sending us into the Summer of Punk v2.0 that made some serious corkscrew turns in the forms of Kevin Nash, Triple H and Alberto Del Rio, but still, the pipe bomb led us to one of the greatest crowds (and best main events) in the history of WWE pay-per-views at Money in the Bank the following month:
Five years later, some things have changed: CM Punk is no longer in WWE, having acrimoniously quit the company in January 2014. He’s now preparing for his first-ever professional MMA fight at UFC 203. Triple H has rehabbed his image with the IWC thanks to his stellar work with NXT. John Cena is still John Cena, though. Good ol’ potato salad. Always consistent.