CM Punk the WWE Superstar, who held the WWE championship belt for a total of 434 days from November 20, 2011 when he defeated Alberto Del Rio to January 27, 2013 when he was defeated by The Rock has left the WWE world and has joined UFC. His UFC debut is in Cleveland on September 10, 2016 fighting Micky Gall at UFC 203
From the early days CM Punk took wrestling seriously and wanted to join the ranks of the big WWE names. He saw himself as a wrestling Superstar. Finally, after wrestling in many lower rank wrestling divisions, CM Punk joined the WWE ranks in 2005 and ultimately became the sixth longest reigning WWE Champion in history. His childhood inspiration being Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the most outspoken wrestlers in WWE, Punk was influenced to follow Piper’s footsteps in speaking his mind and not care too much for authority. Punk mimicked Piper’s style of “sharp tongued” criticism of his opponents and the whole WWE management system. The rise and fall of CM Punk lies in his attitude and behaviour inside and outside the WWE ring.
18 -RISE OF CM PUNK-
17 Great Talent in the Ring
CM Punk was and is a talented wrestler. He didn’t just rise in the WWE by his candid comments and healthy lifestyle. He also could defeat superstars in the ring. From the early days as an independent wrestler, he took wrestling more seriously than his friends who were in it for fun rather than a career. After falling out with his brother, CM Punk took his passion a step further by registering at Steel Dominion Wrestling School where he was trained by Ace Steel, Danny Dominion and Kevin Quinn.
Punk made a name for himself in Ring of Honor Wrestling were he became the ROH World Champion before signing with WWE and making his way over to a major promotion where he continued to showcase his wrestling ability.
Punk’s signature finishing move is called “Go to Sleep”, better knows as GTS. The move was originally performed by the Japanese wrestling star KENTA. Punk adopted the move and put his own personal finishing touches to it. The move starts with Punk grabbing his opponent in a Fireman’s Carry, with his foe hoisted on his shoulders. Punk then proceeds to pull his opponent down from his shoulders, scoring a knee to the head of the opponent on the way down. The knee to the head knocks the opponent out, allowing Punk to make an easy pin fall for the victory.
Another signature move of CM Punk popular with WWE fans is his chock hold known as Anaconda Vice. Punk would lock on the opponent when he is flat on his back, bending back one of the opponent’s elbows and clutching around the man’s head pressing hard on the neck. This maneuver would extreme pain to opponent’s neck and head forcing a tap out.
16 Straight Edge Life Style
Punk throughout his WWE career kept a so called “Straight Edge” lifestyle shying away from alcohol and/or any recreational drug use. The “Straight Edge” term was adopted from a song called Straight Edge sang by a hardcore punk group named Minor Threat in 1981. His chosen lifestyle appealed to many young Americans and non-American fans of WWE. Due to his feud with Jef Hardy, over Hardy’s drug use, and another feud with Rey Mysterio, CM Punk initiated the “Straight Edge Society” in WWE. It was strict to the rules and required new members to shave their heads signifying a new beginning and defying their old life style. He went as far as turning fans and fellow wrestlers on to his “Straight Edge” life style and promoting healthy living away from alcohol and drugs.
In November 2009 on an episode of SmackDown, CM Punk took a wrestler by the name of Festus who was assumed mentally challenged under his “Straight Edge Society” and transformed him into the complete opposite of what he was under the name of Luke Gallows. Luke Gallows went on to be Punk’s friend and enforcer. As for the fans, A woman by the name of Serena called out to Punk from the audience to accept her into his society. Punk accepted the request and shaved her head as she became a permanent fixture next to Punk.
15 Charismatic Persona
CM Punks’ charismatic persona was another major contributor to his popularity among WWE fans and his rise in the organization. A key part of Punk’s popularity emerges from his defiance and ultimately challenging popular and accepted beliefs, traditions, and customs. He didn’t try to be anything that he wasn’t. He was portraying himself as he was, which appealed to a large number of WWE fans. He showed many that by being himself and not changing, he was able to succeed in the world of WWE and move up the ranks.
Like many WWE Superstars, Punk had his own signature slogan when entering the arena. When Punk entered the arena, he would shout out “its clobberin’ time” making reference to a song written by the hardcore Punk band, Sick of it All and the Marvel Character, The Thing. The fans would yell out the phrase with Punk whenever he entered the arena, thus raising his popularity with his fans.
Punk’s persona is not complete without his many tattoos and piercings. Many fans related to Punk through the large variety and quantity of his tattoos. His famous tattoo of the Pepsi Globe logo on his shoulder, Straight Edge on his stomach, and “Luck is for Losers” with some good luck charm symbols on his left arm were his trademark tattoos which the fans related with. Punk’s love for comic books is also portrayed in a tattoo of the Cobra Command logo, GI Joe’s enemy. An avid collector, his love of comic books provided a special relationship with many WWE fans who were also comic book enthusiasts.
14 Gift of Gab
One of contributing factors to CM Punk’s rise in the WWE ranks is his gift of gab. A controversial speaker sticking to his principals at all times. He spoke candidly regarding his feuds with his rival wrestlers and WWE management. In September 2011, he took to the microphone, sat down and addressed the audience with an unforgettable monologue dishing dirt to WWE higher-ups and also voicing his frustrations with the whole Sports Entertainment environment. He gained many new fans who were sick and tired of the same old good versus evil facade portrayed by WWE. He started by calling on John Cena and questioning the implication that Cena is the best wrestler in WWE. Punk goes on to say that he, CM Punk, is the best wrestler in the world and the only thing Cena is better at is "kissing Vince McMahon's ass."
Punk then turns his frustration and rage on to WWE management by calling Vince McMahon a millionaire who could be a billionaire and the reason he is not, is “because he surrounds himself with glad-handed, nonsensical, douchebag, yes men, who is going to tell him everything he wants to hear, and I like to think that maybe this company will be better after Vince McMahon is dead..."
This type of candid talk against the WWE management, let alone the owner, was not a common thing in WWE. Yes, there were wrestlers who voiced their indifferences with the WWE brass, but CM Punk took it to another level. He gained many new fans in America and around the world. My favourite quote of his is “I pride myself in being a jerk, because I am brutally honest all the time."
13 WWE Champion
CM Punk had already been a two-time World Heavyweight Champion in WWE by 2011 but was never taken seriously as a main event Superstar. Following the "Pipe Bomb" promo, Punk was set to challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship at the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View in his hometown of Chicago. With his WWE status up in the air, fans began to wonder just what would happen during that match.
When CM Punk arrived in front of the live crowd, what transpired was one of the greatest crowd reactions in WWE history. Even though Punk was working the match as the heel, he would receive a heroes welcome as the entire arena stood firmly behind their hometown boy and firmly against the WWE Champion, John Cena.
CM Punk would win the WWE Championship before losing the gold in controversial fashion at SummerSlam thanks to Kevin Nash. However, Punk would regain the title that same year at the Survivor Series Pay-Per-View and begin his historic reign of 434 days as WWE Champion. This title run was the highlight of CM Punk's wrestling career.
12 -FALL OF CM PUNK-
11 Gift of Gab
Yes, CM Punk’s gift of gab was also one of the contributing factors to his fall in WWE. His portrayal of an outspoken, sharp tongued, and anti-establishment character clashed with the WWE Management of Vince McMahon and Triple H. His disrespect towards Paul Bearer’s death was also a factor in which WWE fans took offence. He was not only disrespecting Paul Bearer, who had a long reign in WWE, he was also disrespecting one of WWE’s legends, The Undertaker. The Undertaker has a large fan base in WWE and disrespecting him by stealing Bearer’s urn did not sit well with the WWE fans.
CM Punk was also vocal about his failure to be the headliner in major WWE events such as WrestleMania, despite his astonishing achievements. He also was unhappy with being paid less that other mainstream Superstars despite being Vince McMahon's go-to man when Vince needed favours. His controversial rant against the company he worked for in 2011, made him many enemies in the upper brass of WWE. Things would never be the same for him again after that rant.
Vince McMahon in his interview with Steve Austin, apologized for the manner CM Punk was terminated and blamed it on lack of communication. He further went to say he would welcome CM Punk back to WWE and is willing to work with him again. CM Punk, however, rejected Vince’s offer calling it nothing more than a publicity stunt and was offended that Vince McMahon did not apologize to him personally.
Throughout his career in WWE, CM Punk experienced many types of injuries, with some quite serious. The lack of WWE Management concern towards Punk’s injuries was the last straw that broke the camel’s back in CM Punk’s leaving WWE. In a recent podcast hosted by his good friend, Colt Cabana, CM Punk listed off instances where WWE Management disregarded his injuries and asked him to perform despite his condition.
At one instance, he was recovering from a knee surgery which was scheduled to be between four-to-six weeks. WWE Management disregarded the recovery period and booked Punk for a TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) match just three weeks after his surgery. In another instance, CM Punk "passed" WWE’s concussion test when he was suspected to have a concussion. He questioned the accuracy of the test but was never given a straight answer. The more serious injury which could have killed him was he had a Staph Infection, but the WWE doctor told him that it was nothing serious. When he told his doctor that he has wrestled with this infection for the past three months, his doctor told him that he is lucky to be alive and he is lucky to have survived. CM Punk mentioned that in his final months at WWE, he was struggling with broken ribs, injured knees, multiple concussions, loss of appetite, and sleep deprivation.
CM Punk also raised concerns regarding the lack of proper training and skill some of his opponents possessed, specifically Ryback. There was a time that Ryback kicked CM Punk so hard in the stomach that CM Punk’s ribs broke.
CM Punk stated that wrestler's are known as independent contractors. This way, WWE can get away without paying insurance, social security, old age pension, medical insurance, and unemployment insurance. The wrestlers were responsible for paying to fix their injuries in such a high risk profession.
9 Straight Edge Lifestyle
CM Punk has called WWE “Creatively Toxic.” CM Punk’s Straight Edge lifestyle could have also clashed with the world of WWE. It’s a known fact that use of recreational drugs, especially in the '80s and '90s, were common with Superstars and only recently WWE has cleaned up their act with drug testing and suspensions. CM Punk started his WWE career at a time when presumably WWE had cleaned up its act and drugs were not so much part of Superstar’s lives. However, it has been cited that Vince McMahon had a love for cocaine which could or could not have been subsided. Apparently McMahon would brag about his drug use.
Vince McMahon was also charged over allegations that he supplied his wrestlers with banned substance (steroids). McMahon denied the charges and he was ultimately acquitted of all charges. It is still believed, even in today’s stringent drug tests, some of the wrestlers are still benefiting from the use of enhance-performing drugs.
The allegations and drug use were in direct conflict of CM Punk’s clean way of life. During one of his confrontation with Triple H and Vince McMahon, Triple H asked CM Punk to take a drug test shortly after his concussion tests claiming Batista took the same test. CM Punk contested to the drug test asking Triple H if he has done the same drug test to which Triple H did not reply. CM Punk has also gone to point fingers at Ryback calling him the Steroid Guy.
8 Royal Rumble 2014
On January 26, 2014 after having lasted until the final four in a Royal Rumble Match, Kane who was already eliminated earlier in the match by CM Punk, attacks Punk and choke slams him through the announcer’s table. Unbeknownst to fans, these were teh final moments of CM Punk in WWE. On the following Monday at Raw, CM Punk does not appear. Allegedly prior to Raw broadcast, CM Punk tells both Vince McMahon and Triple H that he is going home and walks out. CM Punk was suspended for two months after his walk out but was never asked to come back to WWE. CM Punk then proceeded to inquire about his royalties and after a long period of run around, WWE Management handed him his termination papers on June 2014 exactly on his wedding day.
While plenty of fans remain hopeful that they have not seen the last of CM Punk in WWE, these final images of a great wrestler are unpleasant for those who believed in a followed the Straight Edge Superstar during his WWE career.
7 Lost Interest in Wrestling
What exactly went wrong with CM Punk?
CM Punk admitted that he is tired of wrestling. Not the WWE and its politics, but the actual wrestling industry. Despite being the WWE Champion and having a large number of fans, CM Punk was never given the chance to work the main event of WrestleMania. In defiance to CM Punk's ill treatment by WWE, WWE’s lack of creativity, and WWE’s negligence to address CM Punk’s injury issues, CM Punk walks out of WWE bitter and discouraged from wrestling. He has enough money to live comfortably and not to have to wrestle again. CM Punk been there and done that in the world of wrestling and now it is time for something new and exciting. Something that would challenge him and move him up the ranks from the bottom. The way he started in wrestling and reached stardom.
6 -RESURGENCE OF CM PUNK-
5 Gift of Gab
Gift of Gab is everywhere when CM Punk is involved. CM Punk is candid with his words inside and outside of Octagon. UFC and CM Punk himself, through different sources of media have hyped up his first fight against a young opponent by the name of Mickey Gall. Mickey Gall is 24-years-old with a MMA record of 2-0 and is in the prime of his fighting career, while Punk at the age of 37, not so much.
However, CM Punk is being humble about his presence in UFC and his debut fight. He is not the same cocky, fast talking wrestler. This time he is acknowledging his shortfalls and present condition. CM Punk states: "The goal, obviously, is to get your hand raised. I think if you walk in there with anything less than that as your train of thought, you’ve already lost. I belong here. My team belongs here. And I’m confident in my preparation. But, just stepping foot in the Octagon, that’s a victory. Just rehydrating and eating on Friday, that’s a victory. That’s the way I look at it. I’m cool as a cucumber. I’ve stated before that I’m sure I’ll have pre-fight butterflies, but I’m looking forward to feeling that again. There was a long time before I’d go through a curtain, I’d just sit there. And just be like, they’re not coming. They’re gone, they’re gone. They were gone for a long time, and I’m glad they’re back. They should expect a fight. This is MMA, it’s chaos. And I’m going in there to win, and I don’t care how it happens." Confident words from a confident man, alas with less venom from his previous comments in WWE. He certainly will win many fans in UFC with these words and attitude with or without a win come his debut.
4 Straight Edge Lifestyle
CM Punk’s Straight Edge Lifestyle is very much in line with the UFC Code of Conduct in respect to drug use. In early 2015, UFC announced a very rigid drug testing and suspension regime. Drug tests will be conducted unannounced, annually including urine and blood tests with the possibility of collection at any time and any place without any prior notification. The penalties are harsh if caught. Two years’ suspension for a first time offender. That really could hurt one’s career for good.
Should CM Punk have a long and success career in UFC (as long as one could have at the age of 37), then his Straight Edge way of living will never place Punk in any negative positions regarding drug test policies. If CM Punk is as clean as he claims then his tests should never return positive results. Living the way Punk chooses to live has also helped his body heal in a more natural manner following his days in WWE.
3 Talented Athlete
Lets not forget CM Punk’s achievement as a wrestler. He is a talented athlete and his talent will come through in his debut in UFC. CM Punk off and on early in his career trained in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. CM Punk has made a video of his MMA training and has posted the video on the SB Nation web site. CM Punk’s coach, Duke Roufus has praised him for his striking abilities. In the recent article in MMA fighting website CM Punk quotes: "Everybody asks Duke, ‘Well, how's he doing?' and Duke tells everybody that he thinks my best area right now is striking, believe it or not. Which is mind-boggling to me. Striking is the one thing that I never did. I've hit mitts before. I've done boxing and stuff like that. But just all the little nuances, with like everything you need to do with your feet, your head, just movement, correct movement. That's been the most challenging thing aside from wrestling."1
His training regime is also very different from his wrestling days. During his time in WWE how would wake up in some town, have breakfast, and find a gym to work out. Now, he has his own gym, he sleeps in his own bed, and works out on regular basis starting with his MMA moves and then running. He only does weight training twice per week rather than everyday when he was in WWE.
CM Punk has made a very good impression on his coach and Roufusport teammates with his work ethics. He has always been a hard worker and his coach is confident that he will perform well in his debut fight.
2 Happy and Healthy
While CM Punk has developed the reputation of being a grumpy individual to be around, these days the former WWE Superstars appears to be in a better headspace. While CM Punk grew up loving professional wrestling and longing to make a living as a star of the profession, his love has faded in recent years.
Perhaps it is simply a case of a man burning himself out on something that he loved. Whatever it was, CM Punk clearly needed to step away from the industry, at least for the time being. inside of the Octagon, Punk will be able to unleash all that pent-up frustration. Oddly enough, fighting through anger has seemingly made CM Punk a lot happier and healthier as a result.
1 UFC Underdog
CM Punk has nothing to lose by competing in UFC, win or lose. He is an underdog from the start due to his age and multiple injuries he suffered while wrestling in WWE. If he loses, he can decide to train harder and be in it for a long haul or pack it up and call it a career. If he wins, then he will achieve superstardom in UFC immediately and will go on to fight some of the big names as a headliner. Something he never got in WWE.
While there are many (especially those in the wrestling community) that are hoping for CM Punk to fail in UFC, there is something appealing about the underdog fighter. Despite all those who stand against Punk, many will support his UFC quest. Win or lose, CM Punk is a true winner and an overachiever. Good luck to you CM Punk.