How It Started vs How It Ended: CM Punk

Hello again everyone, and welcome back to How It Started vs How It Ended! Today’s column is all about the self proclaimed “Best In The World” CM Punk. Over the course of the column, I’ll take a look at the way Punks career started in ECWWE, a pair of his greatest feuds, and the way it all came to a screeching halt. Now that we’re all caught up, let’s take a look at what’s going down with CM Punk.

CM Punk made his WWE television debut on July 4, 2006, as a member of the ECW locker room. Punk made his first appearance by cutting a promo, speaking about his “straight edge lifestyle”. On August 1st, CM Punk would make his in-ring debut, taking on Justin Credible in a singles match. The match took place in the Hammerstein Ballroom, and Punk picked up the win, via the Anaconda Vise. Punk would continue his hot start, and go on to rack up an impressive win streak, defeating the likes of Stevie Richards, Shannon Moore, and Mike Knox. Punk would continue his success through that year’s Survivor Series event, where the straight edge superstar made his Pay Per View debut. Punk along with DX and The Hardy Boyz, defeated the team of Mike Knox, Gregory Helms, Johnny Nitro, and Rated-RKO. The early momentum would earn Punk a title shot, and at December to Dismember, CM Punk made his first attempt at claiming gold, competing in an Extreme Elimination Chamber Match for the ECW Championship. Unfortunately for Punk, he would be eliminated by Rob Van Dam during the early portion of the match. Punk would go on to have more wins than loses throughout 2007, and on the September 4th edition of ECW on SyFY, Punk claimed the ECW Championship. CM Punk defeated John Morrison for the title, doing so via the GTS. During his reign as champion, Punk defeated Elijah Burke, and Big Daddy V. Punk also put away The Miz and John Morrison at Cyber Sunday, in what was a Triple Threat Match for the title. Punk continued his reign as champion until January 22, 2008, on an episode of ECW on SyFy. On that episode, Punk looked to defend his title in a no-disqualification match against Chavo Guerrero, but would ultimately fall in defeat, after a spear from Edge allowed Chavo to make the cover. The 143 day reign as ECW Champion came to an end, but CM Punk and his WWE career had only just begun.

After winning the annual Money In The Bank Ladder Match at Wrestlemania in consecutive years, as well as a World Heavyweight Championship run, Punk cashed in the contract once again. Edge, who Punk previously cashed in on to begin his first reign as champion, took on Jeff Hardy in a Ladder match. Hardy won the match, and Punk crashed the ring, before cashing in the contract for the second time is his career. On June 28th, CM Punk defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Hardy, at the 2009 Pay Per View known as The Bash. During the match, Punk kicked the referee, after taking a blow to the face from Hardy. The referee called for the bell, and Hardy won the match, but Punk retained the title. Punk would later explain that Hardy injured his eye, therefore Punk had no idea that the kick hit the referee. Hardy didn’t buy what Punk tried to sell him, and Punk turned heel for the first time. Punk would soon begin to berate Hardy for his past issues with drugs and alcohol, claiming to be the superior to anyone who didn’t live a “straight edge lifestyle”. The two went on to have their second singles match of the now white hot feud at the Night Of Champions event. The end of the match came when Punk tried to leave the match, and retain the title via count out. Hardy went on the attack, and stopped Punk, before beating him back into the ring. Hardy followed up by hitting the Swanton Bomb on Punk, ending his 100 plus day reign as champion. Just one month later, the two superstars faced off in a third collision, this time at Summerslam. Punk regained the title in a TLC match, capturing his third World Heavyweight Championship in the process. Soon after the finish of the match, the lights began to flicker, and The Undertaker’s bell rang. The lights went off, as Punk stood over Hardy, and when the lights came back on, ‘Taker appeared, and choke slammed Punk. The attack foreshadowed an upcoming feud with The Undertaker, but Punk and Hardy had unfinished business. The end of the Punk and Hardy saga went down on the August 28th episode of Smackdown, where the two competed in a Loser Leaves WWE Steel Cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Punk retained his title, forcing Jeff Hardy to leave the company, and putting an end to the intense rivalry between the two. Though his problems with Hardy had came to an end, the previously mentioned feud with “the deadman” awaited Punk.

With Jeff Hardy out of the way, and the title back around his own waist, CM Punk headed into what would be a storied rivalry with The Undertaker. At the 2009 Breaking Point event, the two squared off in a grueling Submission Match, initially won by The Undertaker. ‘Taker won the match via the Hell’s Gate submission hold, but Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long reversed the decision, deeming the hold as illegal. The referee restarted the match, and Punk locked in his Anaconda Vise submission hold, as referee Scott Armstrong called for the bell in a “screw job” finish. Punk won the battle, but the war would be far from over at this point, due to the controversial victory. Taker and Punk would collide once again on an episode of Smackdown, competing in a traditional one on one non-title match. The end of the match came when Punk lured The Undertaker to the outside, and eventually outsmarted The Undertaker, by causing him to lose the match via count out. Things only escalated from there, as Punk and The Undertaker would steam roll towards October 4th’s Hell In A Cell Pay Per View, where they competed in the events namesake match. CM Punk and The Undertaker battled through a brutal match, and Punk hit ‘Taker with everything he had in him, including chairs. Punk eventually fell victim to the Tombstone Piledriver, like so many before him, and found himself as a former champion once again. Punk would fall short of reclaiming the title on Smackdown, and head into a Fatal-4-Way match with The Undertaker, Batista, and Rey Mysterio, for the World Heavyweight Championship. In the closing moments of the match, Punk would be tossed to the outside of the ring, allowing The Undertaker to score the victory over Batista. Fast forward to 2013, where Punk is now the “cult of personality”. By this time, Punk had been the leader of his own Straight Edge Society, as well as the leader of the New Nexus, and he had a chip on his shoulder much larger than anyone ever had. Punk became the character most of us loved to hate, but this time he went to far. During the build up to his Wrestlemania match against The Undertaker, Paul Bearer, best known for managing The Undertaker, passed away. Punk, and his then manager Paul Heyman, followed up by disrespecting Bearer in promos, and even stealing The Undertaker’s urn. Punk and Heyman took things even further on the night when Heyman dressed up like Bearer, mocking the deceased, and adding more fuel to the Punk vs ‘Taker fire. The story between CM Punk and The Undertaker came to a conclusion at Wrestlemania 29, when The Undertaker defeated Punk, and took back his urn. The match goes down as the final Wrestlemania for CM Punk, as the career of one of the WWE’s most controversial superstars would soon come to an abrupt end.

Rewinding things a bit, it would be a total miss to not talk about the “Year Of Punk”. On November 20th, 2011, CM Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio, claiming his second WWE Championship victory. Punks first reign as champion was a short one, after Kevin Nash, in collusion with Triple H, cost him the belt, allowing Del Rio to cash in the Money In The Bank contract on him. This time, Punk would hold on to the belt for 434 days, earning him the 6th longest reign in the championships history. During his time as champion, Punk defeated Del Rio, The Miz, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan, Kane, The Big Show, Ryback, and John Cena. Punk competed in two TLC matches, the Elimination Chamber, a street fight, and a Hell In A Cell match, defending his title every time. The 434 day reign came to an end at the 2013 Royal Rumble, when The Rock returned to the ring, and defeated CM Punk. Punk and Rock would face off yet again at the Elimination Chamber event, where Punk would fall short of regaining the championship, due to a miscommunication with his manager Paul Heyman. Punk and Heyman went on to have the previously mentioned feud with The Undertaker from there, and once the pair suffered defeat, they discontinued each other’s services. Heymans’ previous client Brock Lesnar returned, and defeated Punk at Summerslam, in a No DQ match. The feud continued, as Punk battled Curtis Axel, and Ryback, who were both being managed by Heyman at the time. The feud came to an end at the Hell In A Cell event, where Punk competed in the events namesake match once again, this time in a handicapped match, against Ryback and Heyman. Punk took care of Ryback in the ring, and delivered a GTS on top of the cell to Heyman, putting an end to their problems in the process. On December 15th, at the TLC event, then Director of Operations, Corporate Kane, booked Punk for a 3-on-1 match against The Shield, as punishment for Punks’ questioning of the Authority’s motives. Punk won the match, infuriating The Authority, specifically Corporate Kane. The D.O.O. forced Punk to be the first person to enter the 2014 Royal Rumble match, and Punk went on to have a strong showing. Just when it looked like Punk may win the Rumble, Kane attacked him, before slamming him through the announce desk, and eliminating Punk from the match. The next day, before an episode of Raw, Punk legitimately left the company. On July 15th WWE officially moved “The Best In The World” to their alumni section on WWE.Com, and Punk stated that he would “never” return to wrestling.

How It Started

How It Ended

That’s all for this weeks edition of the column. Be sure to join me here next Thursday, for an all new edition of the column, where I’ll take a look at the way things started and ended for “The Bizarre One” Goldust. Have a great day!