-The First Shot-
Hello everyone and welcome to your 49th edition of The Shoot. This is the second of two wrestler spotlight columns as a result from the 2009 Year End Awards. I promised that I would spotlight the tag team of the year, which ended up to be Jerishow? as well as the singles wrestler of the year, which ended up as CM Punk. So this column will detail the straight-edge superstar’s career up until this point. I have all of that for you along with Quick Shots, and a little NFL talk in Culture Shock this week. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Ring of Honor is set to introduce a Television Championship? all I can say is FINALLY! Ring of Honor has needed a mid-card title for a LONG time. The Pure Championship was a novel idea, but it was too gimmicky. ROH needed that secondary title to help build more feuds around the mid-card. The mid-card feuds have been great, don?t read me wrong here, but there is only so much you can do before it gets stale. Adding that secondary title will be a breath of fresh air and it makes for a much more interesting card. I, for one, cannot wait to see it all unfold.
AJ Styles stated in an interview that he has heard the horror stories about the WWE and didn?t wish to work there. He said that TNA is more like a family where they all work together to create a better product where the WWE guys politic and backstab their way into the company’s top spots. While the issue isn?t exactly a secret, sometimes that’s how the wrestling business is. I just wonder if AJ’s opinion will change when TNA is dead within two years.
Another dry week for news this week? at least in things that interest me? wrestling news needs to pick up!
-The Big Shot: Wrestler Spotlight: C.M. Punk-
All right everyone? here we are once again with the second Wrestler Spotlight as promised. Next week we?ll be back to doing regular columns, so if you have endured this far, I am sure you can endure one more column like this.. besides, I do get great feedback on these as people love seeing their favorite wrestlers careers detailed and fleshed out. They will be done in the future, but I may just hold off for quite a while since I have overloaded you all this time around. With that being said? here we go!
CM Punk (Phil Brooks) started wrestling when he and his friends created a backyard wrestling ?fed? in the mid-1990s called the Lunatic Wrestling Federation. It was here where he gained the name CM Punk when a guy ditched one of his cards. He picked up a partner named CM Venom and the two of them became a tag team known as the Chick Magnets. Despite the fact that everyone believes that the CM in CM Punk stands for Chick Magnet, Mr. Brooks has stated in numerous interviews that the CM in his name has stood for many other monikers. The true meaning behind the CM in his name is still a mystery to this very day and I believe it will stay that way for quite a long time to come. It may even be another unresolved wrestling mystery much like DDP’s benefactor or the while limo driver or who was behind GTV.
Punk soon left the LWF and traveled to Chicago, Illinois where he enrolled in the Steel Domain. This was a wrestling school ran by ROH and IWA: Mid-South veteran Ace Steel. Ace Steel, along with Damian Dominion and Kevin Quinn trained CM Punk to become a professional wrestler. Punk soon started wrestling for Steel Domain Wrestler out in St. Paul, Minnesota. This is where he came in contact with a guy named Scott Colton, better known to all as Colt Cabana. The two became great friends and their partnership and feud became very well known all across the mid-west which eventually spilled into Ring of Honor.
In fact, Colt Cabana and CM Punk were both in their first stable together along with ?Scrap Iron? Adam Pearce, Chuckee Smooth, and manager and current ROH on HDNet announcer Dave Prazak. Together, the group was known as the Gold Bond Mafia.
While Punk started in SDW, he soon transitioned to IWA: Mid-South. It was here where CM Punk really started to make a name for himself with his first big feud with Colt Cabana along with guys like AJ Styles, and the late, great, Eddy Guerrero. In fact, CM Punk defeated Eddy Guerrero to retain the IWA Mid- South Heavyweight Championship, a title that he has held five different times. CM Punk has also held the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship on two occasions as well.
The most famous feud that Punk had while in IWA: Mid-South was against Chris Hero. On top of several 60-Minute time limit draws between Punk and Hero also wrestled in a 55 Minute Tables, Ladders, Chairs match and a 2 out of 3 Falls Match that went 93 minutes! For you fanboys who cry ?WORKRATE? that should be match of the decade for you.
However, as great as the matches between Hero and Punk were, there were allegations by Punk that IWA: Mid-South owner, and former ECW star, Ian Rotten was mis-treating Hero. This lead to Punk refusing to work for IWA: Mid-South. Luckily for Punk, his feud with Colt Cabana got him noticed by Rob Feinstein and Gabe Sapolsky. This brought the two of them into Ring of Honor where they entered the company as two guys who feuded with each other over a plane ticket. The winner of the feud would get flown to all future ROH shows where the winner would have to drive to each show.
Around the time of CM Punk’s arrival in Ring of Honor, a paradox of sorts began. CM Punk also signed with TNA Wrestling. This is where if you were an internet wrestling fan, things seemed a little weird when watching both shows. In TNA, CM Punk was paired with Julio Dinero and placed in Raven’s TNA faction known as The Gathering. In TNA, Punk would often come out during matches and mimic Raven to show his allegiance. In fact, he did so during an X-Division Championship match where Champion Chris Sabin was defending against Paul London. The weird thing was that in Ring of Honor, at the same exact time, CM Punk was playing the role of the villain in a blood feud against Raven. While he was a stable lackey for Raven in TNA, the storyline was much deeper in ROH.
In Ring of Honor, CM Punk developed the Straight Edge gimmick in this feud. Raven brought up demons in Punk’s past about his father being an alcoholic. At one point, Raven even tried to force beer down Punk’s throat. Many great hardcore matches came out of this feud? most notably the dog collar match between Punk and Raven and let’s not forget the Clockwork Orange House of Fun match. Punk fell into his own here with his whole ?Straight Edge Means I?m Better Than You?. What you see in WWE today started right there with that feud in 2003 in Ring of Honor!
Because of this, Punk’s popularity started to climb in ROH. Ring of Honor introduced the Pure Championship? a mid-card title that followed more strict match rules to bring out the purest form of professional wrestling. Punk was placed in the tournament to crown the first ever champion. Punk made it to the finals where he lost the tournament by being defeated by AJ Styles. Soon after, Punk formed a stable and a tag team with long-time friend Colt Cabana. Punk and Cabana, along with Ace Steel, were known as the Second City Saints and even went as far to unseat the current six-time ROH World Tag Team Champions, The Briscoes, on two separate occasions.
Also in 2003, Ring of Honor had a wrestling academy to train future stars for its promotion. CM Punk was given the honor of being the Academy’s first ever trainer. With CM Punk also having above average mic skills in comparison to the rest of the ROH Roster, Punk also lent his voice on commentary for DVD releases. He commentated alongside Jimmy Bower, who was the alter-ego of ROH head booker Gabe Sapolsky!
In the beginning of 2004, CM Punk disappeared from TNA. Punk believed that he was taken off of TNA Television due to a scuffle he had with Teddy Hart over his hijinks at ROH’s Main Even Spectacles show. If you haven?t seen it, look it up on YouTube for a visual, but basically, ROH had a scramble cage where the object was to dive off of a platform onto people in the ring to eliminate them. Teddy Hart, while presumably high, drunk, or both, did three unplanned high spots onto wrestlers both in and out of the ring, which endangered their health. Hart then disgraced himself by vomiting in the ring and at ringside. The scuffle between Punk and Hart was broken up by Sabu, but it turned out that TNA just wasn?t happy with their villain characters and decided to take them off TV.
Punk quit TNA in March of 2004? right in the middle of the ROH Rob Feinstein fiasco. Cary Silken stepped up and took the reins of ROH at this point and 2004 would become a landmark year for CM Punk and another individual.. the, then, ROH World Champion, Samoa Joe.
CM Punk wrestled Samoa Joe at ROH World Title Classic on June 12, 2004. The match ended up in a 60 Minute time limit draw. It wouldn?t be until several months later, in October 2004, where Punk would get another shot at Samoa Joe. That match, too, went to a 60 minute time limit draw and it far succeeded the first match. The match was so good, Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded the match his highest rating of five stars. It was the first time Meltzer awarded a match with five stars in the United States since 1997. The match was so epic, the entire show was named after it and thus it was called ROH Joe vs Punk II. On December 4, 2004, Punk had his final shot at Joe, and at the near 35 minute mark, Joe busted out 2/3 of his Chimera-plex and went into the Coquina Clutch to put Punk away and end the feud. This was known as the famous Joe/Punk Trilogy and it has become legendary among the fans of ROH.
Later that month, Joe lost the title to Austin Aries at Final Battle 2004. CM Punk did some excellent commentary for that match!
Punk kind of floated in ROH until it was announced in June of 2005 that Punk had signed a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment. Punk was then placed in an ROH World Title match against former WWE Superstar, and, then, ROH World Champion, Austin Aries. Everyone thought that Punk would do the job as his farewell to the company, but much to the shock of everyone, CM Punk defeated Aries and became the new ROH World Champion. Punk then gave one of his greatest promos ever. He talked about the old man and the snake and how the snake was the devil. He said and I quote ?The greatest thing the devil ever did was convince the world that he didn?t exist?. With that, Punk turned heel, claiming that the fans ?fell for it?.
Punk then sealed his heel status by doing the biggest move in indy wrestling history that no internet smart mark would want to see. CM Punk signed his WWE Contract on the ROH World Title. CM Punk would then be chased off by a returning Christopher Daniels. The two would feud, but it ended up being a fatal fourway match between Punk, Joe, Daniels, and former WWE superstar James Gibson. After being injured and taken out of the match, Gibson came back and delivered, what is known now as the Gibson Driver (tiger powerbomb) off the top rope onto CM Punk and defeated him for the championship. At this point, Punk broke down into tears and turned face. Punk closed out his time in ROH by having his final match against Colt Cabana in which was truly a very emotional night.
Even though Punk was under WWE Contract at the time, CM Punk was granted permission to make an appearance at ROH Unscripted II in February of 2006. This was to replace Low Ki after Ki bailed on ROH. This was Punk’s final official appearance for ROH. During this show, Bryan Danielson poked fun at the WWE by telling Punk that if he ever wanted a shot at a WRESTLING championship, to give him a call. Funny that Danielson said that seeing that he is currently employed by a certain sports entertainment multimedia conglomerate.
Punk reported to Ohio Valley Wrestling, which used to be WWE’s training facility before choosing Florida Championship Wrestling. Punk saw success in November of 2009 when he defeated Ken Doane to win the OVW Television Championship. Right after he won the title, he began a feud with Brent Albright, which would become quite the storied rivalry.
Punk continued to feud with Albright up until his lost the championship in January of 2006. It was in a three way dance where Albright eliminated Punk, but Punk returned and screwed Albright by helping Aaron Stevens win the championship. This set up their feud for a much more heated rivalry. Albright sought out Punk’s respect? and OVW used this feud to pull something off which is not easy to do in wrestling? and that is a double turn. After interference from the Spirit Squad, Punk turned face while Albright became heel as he allowed the Spirit Squad to attack Punk.
On a side note, at Wrestlemania 22, during John Cena’s entrance, CM Punk was one of the 1930’s style gangsters. In fact, out of all the gangsters, his face was given the most television time!
After Tough Enough 3 champion, and, then, OVW Heavyweight Champion, Matt Cappotelli left the company due to a brain tumor, a new champion was to be crowned. CM Punk was in the title tournament and, like his ROH Pure Title shot, made it to the finals, but was defeated by Brent Albright. After a few successful defenses against Punk. Albright became paranoid and finally lost the title to CM Punk in a strap match.
On July 28, 2006, CM Punk and Seth Skyfire captured the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship, making Punk a double champion, but they lost the titles a week later to Deuce and Domino. Punk continued to hold on to the OVW Heavyweight Championship until eventually losing it to Chet Jablonski. At this time, CM Punk was called up to the WWE Main Roster.
Punk made his TV debut on ECW on SyFy. In his debut match he defeated Justin Credible with the Anaconda Vice? a submission hold he started using toward the end of his ROH tenure. Punk’s first feud in ECW was with Mike Knox over Knox’s girlfriend Kelly Kelly, whom he had been mistreating. This lead to several matches, including a match at Survivor Series in which Punk teamed with DX and the Hardy Boyz.
After this, CM Punk was placed in an Elimination Chamber match for the ECW Championship, but he was the first man eliminated courtesy of Rob Van Dam. Punk would then go on to have feuds with Hardcore Holly and, now WWE Smackdown commentator, Matt Striker. Punk had his big break when he defeated Johnny Nitro (now John Morrison) to qualify for Wrestlemania 23’s Money in the Bank Ladder match. Punk did not win the Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania 23 as he was taken out by Mr. Kennedy.
After this stint, a feud started brewing between the ECW Originals and the New Breed. Punk turned heel by joining the New Breed faction. The heel thing didn?t last long as Punk unveiled his new finisher, the Go 2 Sleep (made famous by Pro Wrestling NOAH star KENTA) on Elijah Burke, the New Breed’s leader. Punk then sided with the Originals in a six man tables match in which Punk helped Dreamer and Sandman win.
The ECW Champion, Bobby Lashley, was drafted off the show and a tournament was held to crown a new ECW Champion. CM Punk advanced to the finals where he would face Chris Benoit for the vacant championship, however, Benoit’s life came to a tragic end, and was replaced by Johnny Nitro. Punk was defeated by Nitro and missed his chance to become the new ECW Champion. Punk and Nitro had a series of matches in which Punk lost them all until on the September 1st edition of ECW, Punk defeated Nitro in a ?last chance? match to win the ECW Championship.
Punk held onto the title until January 22, 2008, when he lost the title to Chavo Guerrero following interference by Edge. This would be a foreshadow for revenge as Punk won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 24. CM Punk was then drafted to Raw and gave Edge a dose of his own medicine when he cashed in his MitB briefcase after Edge had just finished getting beat down by Batista. Punk then defeated Edge to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. This title win also garnished Punk with a 2008 Slammy Award for the ?Oh My God? moment of the year, an award gimmicked after Joey Styles? catchphrase. Punk would hold the title until Unforgiven where he forfeited the title due to being unable to compete after he was attacked by Randy Orton.
One month later, Punk would find gold again as he and Kofi Kingston defeated Priceless to become the World Tag Team Champions. Their partnership would lead CM Punk participating in his second Survivor Series Team? this time he was on Team Batista, taking on Team Orton. Punk was then placed in an Intercontinental Championship tournament. During the tournament, Punk and Kingston lost the World Tag Team Titles to John Morrison and The Miz at a WWE House Show. The very next day (December 14, 2008), CM Punk defeated Rey Misterio Jr to win the tournament. This placed Punk into a mini-feud with William Regal.
During the first match with Regal, Punk won the match via DQ. A rematch was issued and this time, Punk lost the match via DQ. To settle it once and for all, Punk and Regal wrestled in a No DQ match where we saw Punk defeat Regal to capture the Intercontinental Championship. CM Punk was now placed in the history books at WWE’s nineteenth triple crown champion.
CM Punk held the Intercontinental Championship until March 9, where he lost it to JBL, but in what seemed like a continuation of Punk’s super push, Punk went on to Wrestlemania 25 to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, becoming the first wrestler in history to win the match back to back. It was after this that Punk was drafted to WWE Smackdown where he started a feud with Umaga over the fact that Umaga continuously interfered with Punk trying to cash in his briefcase for a title match.
Punk did eventually cash in his briefcase. In Edge-like fashion, after Jeff Hardy defeated Edge to win the championship, Punk ran down, cashed in, and defeated Jeff Hardy to become a two time world champion. This began one of the greatest feuds of 2009. Punk was a heel in the WWE and he revitalized his straight edge heel persona that he had previously developed in Ring of Honor. This would lead to an exchange of matches between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy that would see Hardy defeat Punk to regain the world title, only for Punk to come back and chase Hardy and the belt. The end result of the feud saw Hardy lose the championship to CM Punk at Summerslam. Despite being attacked by The Undertaker at the end of the match, Punk went on to have one final match with Jeff Hardy on Smackdown. The match took place in a steel cage where the loser would leave the WWE. CM Punk defeated Hardy to retain the title, but more importantly, CM Punk retired Jeff Hardy from the WWE.
Once the Hardy/Punk feud was finished, CM Punk turned his attention toward the Undertaker. The Undertaker and CM Punk wrestled each other in a submission match at WWE Breaking Point. The Undertaker lost the match to CM Punk when they re-enacted the 1997 Montreal Screwjob. Punk placed Undertaker in a submission hold and the bell was called for without Undertaker tapping. This lead to a rematch between Undertaker and Punk at WWE Hell in a Cell. Punk was soundly defeated by The Undertaker which caused Punk’s third reign as world champion to come to an end.
Currently, Punk’s gimmick has been taken to new heights. He is now being portrayed as a savior of society by preaching the straight edge lifestyle. Punk is currently teamed with Luke Gallows who is played a gimmick as someone who was saved by CM Punk’s preachings. Punk is currently acting like a cult leader, getting planted audience members to convert to the straight edge lifestyle and convincing them to shave their heads as dedication to the change.
There you have it folks, the detailed and storied career of YOUR Straight Edge Savior? C.M. Punk!
As I said, I had some NFL comments to make in this week’s culture shock.
I know a lot of people are sick and tired of hearing about Brett Favre. I know he was the topic of discussion last season as well as this season, but after his game against the Saints back on Sunday? you can?t help but feel nothing but respect for the man. He was hit about 16 times in that game and not once did a single hit count as a sack. He got pounded, and even suffered an ankle injury and came back and fought until the game was done. Show me one quarterback that would have toughed it out like that. I guarantee you not one would, but Brett did at age 40. Whether this is Brett’s final season in the NFL or not? if it truly was, he went down fighting. I may not be a Vikings fan, but Favre earned my respect after that game.
My playoff predictions came eerily close to coming true. I picked the Colts over the Jets and that one prevailed and even though, like I said, I?m not a Vikings fan, I did want to see Favre and Manning go at it in the Superbowl, but I guess I?ll have to settle on Drew Brees, but you have to give it to him, thought. Brees and the Saints did a hell of a job getting there and this is their first Superbowl. Should be an interesting game neverless.
When it came time to pick the Vikings or the Saints, I couldn?t pick a winner.. I literally did a coin toss and it ended up being Vikings and I actually made a bold prediction right then and there and said? even though the coin chose the Vikings.. whether they win or lose, that game would be decided by a field goal? and that, I was right. 31 to 28, New Orleans heads to the Sunshine State.
So now we have the Colts? we have Peyton Manning? fouth quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 passing yards, looking for his second superbowl championship. On the other side, we have the hungry Drew Brees, looking to score their first superbowl win in their first superbowl. You know.. Patriots are my first choice team, Colts are my second choice team? I am not a Saints fan? I would love the Colts to take home a second superbowl, but I just don?t see it happening. I just have this odd feeling that The Saints will win it this year. So I am picking a team I hate? I?m picking a team against my second favorite team in the NFL? I?m picking the Saints to win it, but it won?t be as close as the game against the Vikings.. I?m saying Staints 38 to 28.
No Japanese stuff for this week? I felt I would give a little spin on the Culture Shock this week and stick some good ol? American Football.
Oh hey.. by the way? did you hear that the United States Football League is looking to make a comeback in Spring 2011?
-The Final Shot-
That’s going to do it for me this week. If you would like to submit anything as far as column feedback, wrestling discussion, culture shock topics, anything? you can do so by using any of the methods below.
Until next week?