Saturday, July 16, 2011

Special Spotlight: CM Punk

Since it's been all but confirmed that this Sunday is CM Punk's last appearance with the WWE, whether or not he wins the belt (which, personally, I hope he does) I wanted to do a special look at this superstar. Love him or hate him or somewhere in between, you have to admit the term suits him.

(Part two)

I start out with this match for a number of reasons, but mostly because it was intensely personal to me at the time. I'm sure you've seen me mention several times that I hated Punk during this feud, partially because I was just a ginormous Hardy mark, and partially because I thought Punk overstepped about a dozen lines in his quest for legit heat against Hardy. WWE loves to blur the lines between reality and storyline (see also: Matt Hardy, Lita and Edge) but I think a man's past, upbringing and dead mother should be off the table in a storyline situation. Called me old-fashioned.

You could argue that Punk's heat absolutely worked. Two years later (god has it been two years? Holy crap) I'm still talking about a feud in a company that goes through a "major feud" every three months or so, or involve the same couple of people (John Cena and Randy Orton, much?). And the point of the heel is to be hated... and I definitely hated him.

I remember watching this match with my heart in my throat and a knot in my stomach; every logical impulse I had, everything I knew, all the dirt sheets I'd read... I knew Jeff was gone after this match. I knew. But I still watched, and hoped... and then I'm pretty sure I cried. Don't judge me. I was a different fangirl then.

Next I go all the way back to 2004, where a blonder, less tattooed CM Punk takes on Homicide in ROH. One of the things I really enjoy about this clip besides the fact it was the only ROH match I could find is how raw Punk's skills are in the ring. Whether that's account of Punk being green or that's just the way ROH plays the game (inadvertent Triple H reference), I loved watching it. Punk in the WWE is quick. Precise. You could probably almost say elegant, dispatching his opponents with either a submission move or his Muay Thai inspired high kicks. (Did I just call CM Punk elegant? Oh my god.)

But here, in 2004 ROH, he's suplexing people, flying off the top rope, calling Rocky Romano a pussy (For serious! At 3:15!) and in part two, a superplex (1:05) and a gorgeous belly-to-belly suplex at 2:33.

Plus he has a move called the Pepsi Plunge. What's not to love about that?

Next up is Punk's WWE/ECW debut, which a quick trip to Wikipedia tells us happened on August 1st, 2006. I like this clip for two reasons.

1. A preponderance of all those pretty Muay Thai legkicks I mentioned earlier. (Yep, I just called CM Punk pretty. Moving right along.)

And 2. Notice Punk as a wrestler. Notice his gimmick, notice his gear. This debut happened slightly less than five years ago, but he still has the same theme music, the same straight edge gimmick, the same basic ring gear --black leg gear, black trunks with bright colored stripes (minus the Stars of David), taped wrists with the black X's on the back of the hand. CM Punk has maintained exactly the same character gimmick for five straight years. In the WWE. Sure, sometimes he's heel, sometimes he's face, sometimes he's Jesus but it still remains... the exact same character. That is awesome.

Oh my god, you guys.

All the way from 2000 and care of St. Paul Championship Wrestling, I bring you baby Colt Cabana vs. baby CM Punk. Colt Cabana's theme is "I Wanna Sex You Up" by Color Me Badd. Colt Cabana is heel. Could not make this stuff up.

Match gets into good standing at about 5:30.

I'll let the rest of the match speak for itself. Considering it's from 2000, from an indie promotion in Minnesota, and that this was the opening match, this match is awesome.

Oh man, speaking of awesome indie matches.

CM Punk vs AJ Styles in IWC, during 2004. Special guest appearance by AJ Styles' curvaceous lower half.


Since my one-track mind has just gone off on the wrong track, here's a vid of Punk and Cabana giving a lapdance to one very lucky ladyfan.

What, did you think I was kidding? Would I joke about something like that?

Another quick video without any discernible merit, other than it makes me laugh.

CM Punk dancing in a serape during his Jesus Straight Edge Society phase. While in Mexico. One of these days I have to do a compilation post of wrestlers doing silly things.

Alright, back to serious business.

Ahh, here we go. What's more serious business than winning the World Heavyweight title?

Punk wins the title for the first time back in '08. But how? Capitalizing on half beat-to-death current champ Edge (by way of pissed off Animal Batista) by turning in his Money in the Bank briefcase. How deliciously underhanded and sneaky. (Of course he does nearly the same thing to Jeff Hardy a year later, though turning in his briefcase on the champ who had been champ for roughly a minute and a half. And I was pissed.)

It's kind of funny that the superstar who used to be known as Mr. Money in the Bank is choosing the PPV of the same name to go out with a (hopefully huge and amazing) bang.

Oh hey, speaking of.

Yep. I remember getting accidentally spoiled for this. Back at that time I didn't watch the PPVs, so I would avoid the internet like the plague until Monday nights. I happened to be watching TV when there was a commercial for RAW and there was a shot of Punk with the belt. My reaction was something along the lines of "Why is Punk the heavywe-- *huge indrawn gasp noise* OH MY GOD."

Ah, memories.

Here we have a highlight of Punk's last Wrestlemania match against Randy Orton.

The music is slightly fannish and annoying, but it does show off a lot of nice bits from the match. Perhaps skewed towards the Randy Orton fannish side, but that's okay, we can appreciate that too.

And finally...

The promo that turned the 'verse on its ear.

I just want you guys to know that in the process of putting this post together, I have found myself becoming a 100% confirmed CM Punk fangirl. (Self from '09... I'm sorry. Really sorry. If it's any consolation, you're still really in love with The Miz for whatever reason.) It would figure I become a fangirl the day before he's set to leave the company forever.

I'm sure I missed a thousand awesome matches, but I hope I managed to get some good ones too, and that you guys enjoyed the ones I found.

Extra credit -- Interview with Punk via GQ. Yep... that GQ. (Notable note: there are actually separate buses for heels and faces. The more you know.)

Extra extra credit -- Colt Cabana rings in on Punk's promo and MitB... which he plans to attend.

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