CM Punk, Samoa Joe, sixty minutes, best of three series, one of Ring of Honor's best moments. The second match even ended a drought of five-star matches in North America.
His promo at Wrestlerave '03 on why he hates Raven so much, as it was this promo (and his feud with Raven in general) that really helped make him a legitimate name in Ring of Honor and really, in indy wrestling in general.
And then, when he finally won the ROH World Championship, he did an immediate Face Heel Turn — he reminded the fans that "I'm still a snake, you idiots!", declared his intention to take the ROH belt to the WWE, and signed his real WWE contract on the ROH belt.
An earlier moment involving Punk took place at Death Before Dishonor 2003. As part of his feud with Raven, Punk has been ragging on ECW and its fans. Punk beats Raven in a dog-collar match, ties him to the ropes, and announces that he's going to send Raven back to rehab... but then the crowd EXPLODES as he gets jumped by Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer ties Punk to the ropes, releases Raven, and the two embrace, symbolically bringing an end to their long-running ECW feud. Then Dreamer does Sandman's "bash his forehead with a beer can until he bleeds" schtick, and Raven forces Punk to drink his first beer.
Punk once rehabbed a broken skull without pain medication.
At the 2006 Survivor Series, his first WWE Pay-Per-View appearance, CM Punk was part of a 10-Man traditional Survivor Series match captained by DX, along with the Hardy Boyz. For the majority of the match, the crowd was chanting Punk's name like crazy while the whole team would impressively defeat Rated-RKO in a shut-out. CM Punk even brought this up 5 years later during his feud with Triple H.
In his feud with Jeff Hardy, Punk had riled up Jeff and as just when Jeff was ready to lay into him, Punk advised him not to do so with three words.
Jim Ross said there's a lot of meaning to that phrase, but beyond that, it's basically the distillation of everything that worked about Punk's Smug Straight Edge gimmick into three simple words.
Kicking Wade Barett out of The Nexus: he extends his hand out to him and takes his armband off and kicks him off the cage allowing Randy Orton to become the #1 contender.
Only to cost him the title later in revenge.
His first World Heavyweight Championship defeatingEdge by using his Money In The Bank contract.
Raw, 6/27/2011 — Knowing full well he's leaving on July 17th, Punk ends the show by costing John Cena a tables match against R-Truth. After having said earlier on Twitter that he's in "what are they going to do, fire me?" mode, Punk cut a promo that buried just about everything bad and wrong about the WWE. He buries the Merchandise-Driven nature of the company, takes WWE to task for mispromoting the bajesus out of him, refers to himself as a "wrestler" (practically a dirty word in the company) and threatens to take the WWE Championship to rival companies (which aren't even acknowledged by Vince McMahon) — going so far as to namedrop New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor as possible venues to wrestle in after he leaves WWE.
CM Punk:(looking into the camera, waving) Hey, Colt Cabana, how ya doing?
He was only cut off when he started going off on the company's anti-bullying initiative. As far as worked shoot promos go, this was easily the greatest since Joey Styles' infamous "I Quit" promo — and it may have surpassed that one, to boot.
How good was this as a promo? Jim Rome highlighted it on his show the next day, because he thought it was real.
If you buy what CM Punk has said offscreen, he went off-book enough and close-to-the-bone enough that it kind of was.
He wasn't necessarily about to trash the bullying initiative itself, but he was very likely going to tell a story about Vince McMahon that was going to insinuate that Vince is just as much of a bully as those in the schoolyard that WWE is rallying against.
Vince McMahon:(to the audience) I don't give a damn what you want—
CM Punk:THAT'S THE PROBLEM!
Getting a massive pop from the crowd not only by mentioning his friend Colt Cabana (again), but arguing for getting his face on mechandise—including the wildly popular WWE Ice Cream Bars.
To put it in perspective, the crowd started an "WE WANT ICE CREAM!" chant. Yes. Really.
Don't forget that the chant made complete sense in context.
Oh, and the chant immediately started a letter-writing campaign to bring them back. At first Good Humor cited poor sales as the reason of discontinuing them, but later started mentioning the increased letters concerning the former product.
Considering that Cena's home town is Boston, that is as big of a Berserk Button as you can get. Big enough for Cena to try and hit Punk.
Also remember that this took place in Boston, so Punk just called a city's hometown hero their most hated rival. It resulted in some truly epic heat.
In context it made tons of sense to set up the dark main event after RAW went off the air - Punk came out and was roundly booed, so when Cena beat him with help from his dad, who was in the crowd, everybody went home happy.
Finally, to cap off the feud, Punk defeated John Cena AND fends off Alberto Del Rio (winner of the RAW MITB match), who'd been ordered by Vince McMahon to cash in his title shot, then Punk blows a taunting kiss to Vince before escaping through the crowd to end the PPV, leaving Chicago with the WWE Championship. ABSOLUTE VICTORY.
One particular moment in all of the match stands out. Punk has just kicked out of not one, but TWOAttitude Adjustments. Cena goes for another before Punk slips out and sets up for the GTS. However, Cena catches his leg and clamps on the STF. Punk crawls for the ropes, but Cena quickly drags him back to the center of the ring. On any other night, ANYBODY would have tapped. Punk even looks close to, then the fans start cheering his name. He quickly shouts No to the question of whether he gives up, gives a yell and then worms his free hand in between his neck and Cena's arm. All of a sudden, it's now Cena screaming in pain as Punk has reversed the STF, Cena's ultimate submission, into the Anaconda Vice, Punk's own. The pop was deafening.
This match also gained a 5 Star rating from the Observer, the first that WWE has earned since 1997, and the first for North America since 2006.
This match is also regarded by most fans as the best match of Cena's entire career — beating out both his matches with Shawn Michaels, who is widely regarded as the best in-ring performer ever. That's how good this match is.
Being the second man (after Kane) to hold the ECW Championship, World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship.
The original "This is Straight Edge!" promo from ROH.
Then he turns around and gives John Cena one for calling CM Punk a phony.
Punk: Hey, John-boy. This is about you and this is about me. This is about the WWE Championship. It is easy for you to sit there and act all noble and holier than thou when you have been afforded opportunity after opportunity. You're placed on a pedestal so your perspective is skewed. You look down on everybody else. You look down on me, and I'll give you an example. Some odd years ago, I won my first championship here in the WWE, I won the ECW championship. The next day, you, who didn't bother saying two words to me before that, pat me on the back and said, "Good match. Congratulations, champ. I almost gave up on you." I hold grudges and ever since then, I have a sour taste in my mouth because who in the hell do you think you are? You gave up on me? You know who gave up, Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect? You know who gave up on their dream? You did. When you moved to California to become a body builder and became a Sports Entertainer because you couldn't hack it, alright. I started as a professional wrestler and I fought to get to where I'm at right now. And yeah, I held up the WWE for some perks. Do I want an Ice Cream Bar with my name on it? YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT! You are the lion. I am the hyena. I got to fight for my share. I held everybody up to get the opportunities that you've just been handed. The opportunities that you've been just given. Yeah, you can take. Who would turn them down? Certainly, I wouldn't. Here is the thing John Boy. Seven years ago in Los Angeles, you walked in and won your first WWE Title. Congratulations. This Sunday. You are walking back into Los Angeles and you are walking out with nothing. YOU ARE WALKING OUT WITH NOTHING! Sure, you will be a big star the next day. You'll be in the Marine 4 or maybe, you'll have your big fight with Dwayne,which is great, and you'll still have your legions of fans who pee in their pajamas every time they think about you. Y'know what you are not going to have, John Boy? You are not going to have the WWE Championship. YOU. WILL. NOT. BE. WWE CHAMPION. Because the WWE Champion will be me.
In Summerslam 2011, CM Punk once again beat John Cena and remained the WWE Champion after another epic match. Unfortunately Kevin Nash showed up right after...
His third match with John Cena, once again another epic match between the two. Punk may of lost due to Kevin Nash distracting him, but a great showing.
The whole CM Punk/Triple H feud is one big Moment Of Awesome like the Cena/Punk feud before it. They really sell the angle to the audience, and Punk and Trips' interactions sounds 100% genuine.
October 3, 2011. Reports are coming in from WWE that John Cena, after 5 years atop the heap as the main merchandise seller of WWE, has dropped to 2nd on the list. The new #1? CM Punk. If there was any more proof needed that 2011 has been one extended Moment of Awesome for Punk, that was it.
October 22, 2011. At an appearance at an FCW (==WWE's== Developmental territory) show, CM Punk was confronted by Dean Ambrose, leading to a match later that night. The two then proceeded to tear the roof down.
October 31, 2011. Forcing Alberto Del Rio to give him a title match via Anaconda Vice.
November 20, 2011. At Survivor Series 2011, he made Alberto Del Rio tap out once again to the Anaconda Vice to win the WWE Championship yet again. The roof was ready to blow off the roof at Madison Square Garden right as Punk won.
Complete with Lambeau Leaps into the first few rows!
And he brought in a personal ring announcer, none other than THE FINK!!
November 21, 2011. The day after ''Survivor Series, Punk's first match as the new champion is a Champion vs. Champion match against the WWE United States Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler. In what was essentially a glorified exhibition match with nothing on the line, he and Ziggler proceed to blow the roof off the place. Definitely a Moment of Awesome for Ziggler as well, but this match proved if nothing else that Punk does not mail in his non-PPV performances like some otherface champions have been accused of doing.
December 12, 2011. CM Punk wins Superstar of the Year at the Slammy Awards. What makes this even more awesome was that it was decided by fan votes, and one of the guys Punk beat was John Cena.
Punk sky dived from 13,500 feet in the air with the U.S. Army's Golden Knights.
December 18th, 2011. WWE's Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay-per-view event had Punk defending his WWE Title versus both The Miz and Alberto Del Rio. The match itself was a fitting main event to an evening of shockers, but Punk arguably stole the show via his crafty and brilliant way to victory. Miz has just handcuffed Punk to the turnbuckle, and it seemed all was lost for the WWE Champ, but Punk pulls a Batman and actually unscrews the rope with his bare hands before outfoxing both Miz & Del Rio to retain his WWE Championship.
The fact that Daniel Bryan cashed in to become the new World Champion on the Smackdown side made it an awesomeCue the Flying Pigs moment. Two guys that came into WWE with pretty much everything working against them, given the state of the company - indie roots, the fact that neither one cuts an imposing figure, and that both are wrestlers first and entertainers second. In the matter of a calendar year, the entire philosophy of what WWE is said to look for in a main-event titleholder has been flipped on its ear. It's actually a bit surprising that there wasn't a shot of the two celebrating together. Granted, considering what happened the last timeWWE did that (the two superstars died young) it's probably for the best.
And then basically everybody can "get behind" this.
Remember in Punk's epic 6/27/11 promo how he lamented that he wasn't in the WWE's signature intro? As of December, 2011, he's now a part of the intro. It may be low-key, but it shows how far he's gone since that fateful promo.
It should be noted that Punk had Laurinaitis right in the palm of his hands, as proven by causing the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw to flinch shortly after finishing his tirade.
January 23, 2012. After a long (near 4 Month) wait, CM Punk finally nails Laurinaitis with the GTS.
January 29th, 2012. The 2012 Royal Rumble.: Punk retains his WWE Title in a well-fought match against Dolph Ziggler, even with Mr. John Laurinaitis officiating.
January 30, 2012. Champion vs Champion match. Yes, WWE Champion CM Punk faces World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan.
February 6, 2012. CM Punk completely shuts down Chris Jericho's "The Reason You Suck" Speech by simply walking out to the ring, raising the WWE Championship Belt in front of him, then leaving, effectively pulling a Jeri-Trolling of his own. To put that in perspective, CM Punk said more with one action than Chris Jericho did in all the words he (finally) threw out.
Punk turned his back to him before leaving, presumably to show his "Best in the World" slogan on the back.
February 19th, 2012. Elimination Chamber 2012.: Punk literally knocks Chris Jericho out of the Raw Elimination Chamber Match with a kick to the head, on the way to retaining his title by putting The Miz to sleep.
The utter calmness in Punk's voice as he dishes out the verbal pwnage just makes it even more awesome.
April 1st, 2012. WrestleMania XXVIII.: Even with a stipulation added by General Manager of both Raw & Smack Down John Laurinaitis where he'd lose the WWE Title if he got DQ'd, Punk wrestles his heart out versus Chris Jericho, and managed to retain the title by making Jericho tap out to the Anaconda Vise.
That doesn't quite do it justice, frankly. This match was every bit the wrestling and storytelling clinic that most people in the know predicted it would be, and ended with something like a pin reversed into the Walls of Jericho reversed into the AV reversed into the Walls again and then reversed back into the Anaconda Vise—all in about 30 seconds.
April 23, 2012: Punk pulls one his best Batman Gambits to date. Alex Riley points Chris Jericho to what he believes is the scene of Punk drinking backstage which (apparently) violates company policy, so Laurinaitis states that if he can prove Punk is drunk, the title will be vacated and be handed over to Jericho. Cut to Jericho, Teddy Long and two police officers in the ring calling out Punk. When Punk makes his entrance, he slumps, he nearly trips over the floor and he even accidentally drops the title, as soon as he opens his mouth; it's the same deal, he slurs his words, he stutters, he even calls the fans the "WWF Universe". Punk proceeds to fail reciting the alphabet backwards and can't even walk in the marked straight line in the ring. The officers determine Punk is intoxicatednote Apparently using a breathalyzer never occurred to them, and per agreement, Punk has to vacate the title. He looks disappointed in himself as he hands the title to Teddy Long but as soon as he hands it over, he begs for one more chance which Teddy Long reluctantly grants. Cue him reciting the alphabet backwards perfectlynote Actually he messed the order of S and T. while walking down the straight line, he even moonwalks back to the start when he finishes it and does it again by doing the famous Ric Flair strut, and then you realize that this has all been one long ruse to get Jericho in the ring alone with him so he can freely beat the shit outta Jericho, which is exactly what he proceeds to do.
April 29th, 2012. Extreme Rules: Again in a big-match situation in front of his hometown fans in Chicago, this time taking on Chris Jericho in a Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Title, Punk more than delivered. Highlights include: Hitting his "Macho Man" Flying Elbow on Jericho through the Spanish Announce Table, escaping the Walls of Jericho by way of fire extinguisher, and more importantly, sealing the win with a GTS to Jericho, avenging his family's honour.
May 20th, 2012, Over the Limit: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. Not only was it a great wrestling match, it was a massive Cue the Flying Pigs moment for smarks the world over.
May 28th, 2012: Revealing that he is on the cover of WWE 13. While trolling John Laurinaitis in the process.
Punk is now the longest reigning WWE Champion in almost five years - since John Cena held the title for over a year in 2006-2007.
To be clear - the biggest episode of Raw in history went off the air with CM Punk standing over two of the biggest WWE superstars ever.
Punk was already emanating awesome before RAW 1000 even started, and a poor "fan"who messed with Punk at St. Louis International got a massive ego-slapping. (To elaborate, the "fan" asked Punk pretty rudely to autograph about 30-50 pictures, slapped Punk's headphones off to get his attention and asked if he could have a threesome with Punk & Lita. Punk predictably went off on the idiot.)
The 1001st Raw, the week after Punk's heel turn, saw the WWE champion call the company out on always having John Cena in the main event of every single show, even when the WWE title is on the line. On top of that, he takes Jerry Lawler to task for declaring that Punk had turned on the people by attacking The Rock; and whilst on commentary for the Big Show vs. John Cena match to determine the number one contendor, proceeds to verbally eviscerate Lawler & demolish every argument he had to try & paint Punk as the bad guy.
And then, after Big Show side-stepped a charging Cena & he flew across the commentary table into Punk, he proceeded to boot Cena in the back of the head as he tried to hit the Attitude Adjustment on Big Show & followed up by knocking Big Show out with a kick to the head as he tried to get up.
Few people can make driving out of an arena with someone awesome. At the end of the 9/3/12 broadcast of Raw, CM Punk, after claiming he's taking the night off earlier, comes back and costs Cena a falls-count anywhere match against Alberto Del Rio. Punk then picks up Cena, delivers a GTS off the hood of the car, and crouches down next to Cena and says, "Respect!" The best moment is Punk getting in the car while raising his title to the delight of his hometown Chicago crowd, then, as he's driving away, who should peak their head out the window to look at Cena's inert body? Paul Heyman!
Just as notable - if not more - was the fact that as of that day, CM Punk has held the WWE Championship for a year. Ladies and gentlemen, Punk is now the longest reigning Champion in the past 25 years, having surpassed 400+ days, the previous record holder being Cena's 380 day reign. Unfortunately he suffered a knee injury which required surgery and the rearranging of the 2012 TLC PPV. Fortunately, he wasn't stripped of the title.
He became the first WWE champion since Hulk Hogan to hold the title for a full calendar year, and on top of that, held it for 434 days.
Cena did it before him (winning it at Unforgiven 2006 and vacating it near No Mercy 2007 due to injury, lasting 380 days altogether). However, Punk did set a 25-year record for longest reign.
A calendar year begins on the New Year's Day of the given calendar system and ends on the day before the following New Year's Day. In that regard, he is the first since Hogan to pull it off.
His confrontation with The Rock in the first Raw of 2013 has this quote:
CM Punk: Your arms are just too short to box with God!
He wrestled John Cena yet again in the main event of Raw on February 25, 2013 for the #1 contendership to the WWE Championship and a match with The Rock at Wrestlemania. The match is another 20 minute instant classic, and saw Cena pulling out a Batista Bomb (sitout powerbomb), a Benoit-style crossface, and a hurricanrana. Punk proved that he knew Cena well enough to dodge and counter multiple of Cena's signature moves. Which included dodging one of his second shoulder tackle and send him flying out of the ring, and even resurrected the original piledriver.
A minor awesome moment in the wake of becoming the man to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania, but Punk "exorcised" a past demon of his own by pinning Randy Orton, a man who was nigh undefeated against Punk in recent years, in the Fatal Four Way to determine Taker's opponent for WM 29.
Punk vs Taker. WrestleMania 29. If ever a match fully delivered on it's promise, it was this one. Nothing could have followed that. Nothing.
During his feud with the Undertaker leading up to Wrestlemania, Punk repeatedly disrespected the recently deceased Paul Bearer, culminating in him beating down Taker with Paul Bearer's urn, then standing over Taker's prone body, opening the urn, and bathing himself in the dead man's ashes. Jesus wept!
Punk's return to the ring at WWE Payback, in his hometown of Chicago, no less. Sporting Wolverine-esque mutton chops and Chicago Blackhawks-themed ring gear, Punk made an impressive comeback by beating Chris Jericho in front of the cheering Chicago fans, just a couple of months removed from his unexpected sabbatical.
The very night after his return, CM Punk had a face off with none other than Brock Lesnar, who gave him an F-5 to kick-start their feud.
While Punk did pin Randy Orton earlier in the year, he had a much more vindicating one-on-one win in a solid main event against "The Viper" on the 7/8/13 RAW, countering the RKO twice, including a high angle roundhouse kick (not unlike Rob Van Dam) into a GTS for the 3.
A bit of Awesome Genre Savvy as well, as Punk didn't once go for his signature springboard clothesline, likely knowing Randy could turn it into a mid-air RKO like he did two years earlier at WrestleMania.
Punk on 7/15/13, after losing the MITB match because of Paul Heyman, calls out Heyman and Brock Lesnar, and it's clear Punk is pissed. Heyman comes out, in full-on heel mode, and talks down to Punk, explaining that without Heyman, he is not the best in the world, he is nothing. Punk, ever the Implacable Man, simply says, "Are you done yet?" He then makes it clear to Heyman that he is going to get his revenge on him, and it doesn't matter who stands in his way, whether it be his friends, his clients, or even his family, Punk will get his revenge. Even after Heyman calls out Brock to put a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Punk, he fights back with all the ferocity of a god damn cougar. Keep in mind that Punk is much smaller and less physically imposing than Brock, and this is a man who just the previous night had thirteen staples put into his head to close up a wound.
An otherwise token match on the 8/3/13 Smackdown has CM Punk squaring off against Fandango. Typical job for the rookie that ends with a GTS and Punk looking strong, correct? Not quite. Fandango actually fights on a relatively even footing with the multiple-time champ (a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for him in itself) and has Punk set up for his leg drop finisher. Punk, being Genre Savvy, springs to his feet and kicks one of the ropes (which causes Fandango to slip and land on his fan-dangly bits), jumps up to the top turnbuckle, blows a kiss to the crowd, then takes Fandango over for the superplex, floating directly over into the Anaconda Vice submission without letting go of Fandango at all.
Summerslam 2013. The Best vs. The Beast. Twenty-five minutes of brutal action. Both men took a vicious beating. While Punk ultimately lost, he put up an amazing fight and looked credible against one of the biggest, baddest men to ever compete in wrestling.
The day after, on RAW, CM Punk is out cutting a promo, when a fan boos him loudly. CM Punk immediately puts the fan in his place, and amazingly, does so without breaking character or interrupting the flow of the promo. Even more amazingly, that part was completely improvised by CM Punk.
November 4, 2013: For the first time since December 2011, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan stand side-by-side against a common foe: The Wyatt Family. Just the sight of seeing two of the biggest names from the indies taking on some of NXT's brightest prospects is one to behold.
Possessing the same unfazed, pragmatic mindset going into the 3-on-1 handicap match against The Shield that he had going up against Brock Lesnar. Three against one? He knows the odds are impossible. Bruised, possibly busted ribs? He already had a target on him from the get-go, so he doesn't want any bandages. The likelihood that he'll be annihilated at TLC? All that matters is that he plans on taking as many of the Shield as he can with him.
Pulls off a HUGE upset at the TLC PPV, capitalizing on a partially blinded Reigns spearing Ambrose by mistake to pick up the pinfall.
He is still one of the most frequently and loudly-chanted for wrestlers in the WWE, well after he deserted the company in January 2014. You never know when the next CM Punk chant will show up, but when it does, you know it will be passionate. That's how popular he remains.