These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
It's also possible to interpret him as the truly good guy who has to put up with fans and fellow wrestlers who are misled - the Jeff Hardy feud that turned Punk heel, and ended when Jeff left the company (and was arrested for drug trafficking soon after), helped.
From his final heel turn before leaving Ring of Honor: who was the real snake, Punk or the ROH fans?
Punk's NewNexus feud with John Cena. It's really not that hard to interpret Cena's actions in the past as horrible. Using childish names like "CM Sucks" doesn't help, but one of the real kickers was on the 1/17/11 edition of RAW, when John Cena is walking to the ring to face Punk, randomly grabs a guy's cell phone, hangs it up, and tosses it at him.
Is Punk truly upset that the WWE Champion is taking a backseat to less-than-meaningful storylines involving John Cena and the sudden presence of the Rock, or is it that he's getting upstaged?
Crowning Moment Of Awesome: Has his own page, but all that the little "Indy god", as detractors called him, not only made it to the biggest company left in the world but for a time sold more merchandise than John Cena, something no one else had done since Jeff Hardy, is awesome enough to mention here. For once the crowds weren't chanting "Cena sucks" but "CM Punk".
Badass Decay: After turning back heel he spent the majority of the first five months largely ducking John Cena and Ryback (while receiving continuous "you must fight 'em [again] if you want respect" speeches from anyone who'd approach him), infamously getting his ass kicked one on one by Vince McMahon once (who never kicks anyone's ass all by himself) and needing a crooked fame-hungry referee and three justice-toting mercenaries to come to his aid time and again in order to retain his title. The "ducking" part at least was largely rectified at the end of the title run thanks to his feud with the Rock.
Broken Base: His base, The Rock's base, and WWE's base just about exploded during his feud with The Rock. Fans adored Punk and loathed the Rock, adored Rock and hated Punk, and everything in between.
His 2014 walkout. Some say he did it to take a stand against WWE's mishandling of their hard working talent in favor of part timers. Some say he's a baby throwing a tantrum because he didn't get what he wanted, and is ungrateful for great opportunities he's been given. Others think that given what he's done for the business, and given his physical statenote It's well known that he'd been working hurt for some time, something not made easier by his straight edge lifestyle, to the point that it was affecting his performance and given that he is financially secure, his decision to leave is selfish but not unreasonable. Others counter that leaving before his contract was up was horribly unprofessional. And a final group notes that, whatever anything else, his leaving seems to have opened the door for other stars such as Daniel Bryan and Cesaro to rise and reach their full potential.
Becomes more evident in his fight vs Orton on the 4/18/11 edition of Raw it had fans cheering the both of them in a similar fashion to "let's go Cena", "Cena Sucks" chant.
Taken to a whole new level on the 11/12/12 Raw, where he interrupted Jerry Lawler's return from his near-fatal heart attack on live TV. He proceeds to say that he could have beaten Jerry to death again, and later mocks his illness when Paul Heyman pantomimes a heart attack, something that should have been a crossing of the Moral Event Horizon. Later in the show, he faces John Cena and the fans immediately start a dueling chant of "let's go Cena, CM Punk."
Try an actual death. That of Paul Bearer. Less than a week after the fact, he would intrude on the Undertaker's tribute to the man, and that was only the beginning of the disrespect. Yet Punk still found his name chanted that night in the main event match against Kane. And he still wasn't finished.
On the other hand, Paul Bearer's family approved the angle, so YMMV on the YMMV. Besides, considering WWE's penchant for Real Life Writes the Plot storylines, is anyone really surprised?
Punk's the best heel in the company right now, no doubt about it. It's because of that that no matter what he does, anything short of murdering someone will not prevent him from being cheered, because fans will love him all the same.
Evil Is Cool: Much in the same fashion of the nWo, CM Punk's fiery and unfiltered style of cutting promos gets him cheered even when he's playing a heel. Everyone likes the rebel and he definitely fills the niche.
Evil Is Sexy: That crazy smile? Licking his own blood off his wrist tape on the February 7th, 2011 episode of Raw? The way he demonstrates complete and total authority over The Nexus?
Fountain of Memes: Especially his big promo ("idiotic daughter and doofus son-in-law", "glad-handing nonsensical douche-bag yes-men," etc.)
Fan-Preferred Couple: There's a significant number of Twitter followers who think CM Punk should date Hayley Williams, front woman of Paramore, due to their very close real life friendship and their Twitter banter.
On fanfiction.net, his most popular het ship that doesn't involve Original Characters or slash is with AJ Lee, despite the fact that their storyline ended almost a year ago and AJ is now with Dolph Ziggler. One could deign to say that it's been the most popular het ship in the last six or seven years.
Life Imitates Art: Punk and AJ started dating in 2013 and got married the following year.
Fridge Brilliance: Even as a face/Anti-Hero, Punk's been calling himself the "Best in the World" for over a year. Of course his Awesome Ego would go to his head and turn him heel eventually.
A rather Genre Blind moment has happened in his recent feud with John Cena. He decided to try to get to Cena by insulting his Broken Base. Seems he forgot that just last year Cena personally led the crowd in the traditional "Let's go Cena!/Cena sucks!" chant and actively embraces his Broken Base.
It less likely Genre Blindness and more like he forgot, or honestly thought it would get to Cena.
Yet another Genre Blind moment occurred when Punk came out to confront Cena, who was sporting a sling after having elbow surgery. Punk gave Cena a chance to leave the ring before he would further injure him. After having counted to five, Punk turns around only to find Cena wielding a pipe, which he then uses to sock Punk in the stomach. Guess Punk forgot that Cena is the epitome of Determinator and isn't about to back down from a fight, regardless of his condition.
At Night of Champions 2011 he attacked Triple H after the water spit part of his entrance.
At Hell In A Cell 2011 when Cena went for the signature taunt before his Five-Knuckle Shuffle, Punk kicked him in the face.
A small in-ring example, albeit important, is when Punk's opponent shoots their arm and shoulder up to break a pin count. Emphatic? Yes, but it makes it much easier for Punk to cinch in the arm for the Anaconda Vice. It's how he beat Del Rio for the WWE Title at Survivor Series 2011.
On the September 2nd, 2013 episode of Raw, we find out that Triple H approved the match between CM Punk vs Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman. Why? Punk's obsession with Paul Heyman borders on Tunnel Vision. He is ignoring everything else that is going on in the company. Think about it; Triple H wants Punk's focus to be on Paul Heyman. Remember Punk's promo on Raw that kickstarted the Summer of Punk? Imagine if Punk started to focus on what was happening to Daniel Bryan?
At Night of Champions 2013, Ryback came out and cost CM Punk a win over Paul Heyman. After that Paul Heyman immediately aligned with "The Big Guy" and demonstrated a deep infatuation for him. Why? Because in October 2012, Ryback was such an obstacle for Punk, Heyman had to pay Brad Maddox to cheat Ryback out of the title he knew he could win. Paul knows the CM Punk thinks Ryback could beat him.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: On October 8th 2012 in Sacramento, CM Punk was harassed by a fan and accidentally retaliated against another fan at Raw. The next time they were in Sacramento was January 2013 for Smackdown. The pre-sale Ticketmaster password was SMACKFAN.
"Don't worry buddy, you know the CM stands for Cole Miner."
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: His ROH title match with Samoa Joe still has the highest ringside gross of any European show and the highest attendance record of any independent wrestling show in the UK.
And also a promo in which he calls both himself and Triple H by their real names on live camera. note They're both known to hate this, even among wrestlers. Hunter's one half of the Trope Namer for Do Not Call Me Paul, in fact. And then ends the promo by braining Trips with the mic out of nowhere and doing a crotch chop over his prone body.
His most recent match (essentially a #1 Contender's match for a spot at WrestleMania) against John Cena saw him busting out a picture-perfect Piledriver against Cena to try to put him down. And, yes, that was a real piledriver, which WWE superstars haven't been allowed to use for several years,
Hype Backlash: Some wrestling fans may not understand quite why he was so hyped by the internet wrestling community prior to his WWE debut.
Internet Backlash: Go to any wrestling forum and say Punk is either overrated or not as good of a wrestler as the majority of the IWC claims he is.
Also, following the Summer of Punk and subsequent IWC Punk-lovefest, some have begun to rag on Punk for just about everything.
"My dad was an alcoholic and my parents... we didn't have any money and I grew up really poor. I watched them spend all of their money on cartons of cigarettes and stuff like that and I didn't understand how if we were broke and we couldn't afford Christmas presents, why could you smoke all of those cigarettes? It's not like they are making you better... they are killing you. It seemed real idiotic to me."
Love to Hate: Punk's good - no, GREAT, as a face. However, he's just so damn awesome at being a dick and at being a heel in general that it's gone into Draco in Leather Pants territory. Punk always manages to get heat for kicking the dog, while at the same time having his name chanted by the entire arena.
On the January 10 2011 Raw, he did a promo on top of the TitanTron and said he was going to jump in order to initiate himself into the new Nexus. He made it seem like he would. And, surprisingly, the crowd wanted it. He then revealed he was hooked on a harness and two people were spotting him, saying that anybody that thought he was really going to jump was an idiot.
On the February 7th, 2011 Raw, he revealed his reason for leading Nexus to attack Randy Orton during Orton's title match at the Royal Rumble, thus revealing the real reason why he took over Nexus. He'd been plotting Orton's downfall since Orton and Legacy attacked him and cost him the world title. Keep in mind that this happened back in 2008. The person who had wronged him that he mentioned back at the Slammy Awards had been Orton all along, and Punk had close to three years to plan his revenge.
Memetic Badass: In some portions of the IWC, to the point where he has ascended to the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker level: the inability to get booed. To wit, he ambushed the Undertaker, laid him out with his own urn, then opened up the urn and poured the ashes on Undertaker while slathering them on himself (and keep in mind that, at least in storyline, the ashes were meant to be those of the recently deceased Paul Bearer), and portions of the crowd were STILL chanting his name.
Memetic Sex God: The rumor that Punk was dating Tracy Brooks, Daffney, and Maria at the same time is simply one example; you could say Punk is sleeping with anybody and you'd have people that'd believe you. That said, he has made the rounds of the WWE Divas and is now married to AJ Lee. It would not be out of the realm of possibility if their sex amounted to Big Ball of Violence.
Moral Event Horizon: If his controversial actions in the past (mocking Jerry Lawler's heart attack RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM for instance) don't count, then his mockery of the recently dead Paul Bearer (not even a week after the fact) most likely will.
Narm: When he finally got his hands on Laurinaitis and gave him the GTS, good ol' Johnny Ace gave absolutely zero reaction to his predicament. No Oh Crap expression, no panicked screams, no pleas for mercy, just a dull, blank stare. Totally not Punk's fault, though.
Never Live It Down: In WWE, CM Punk started doing an springboard elbow drop and during the time he did so and even afterwards he was always mocked for it by the former wrestlers who work as columnists for the Observer. When Punk imitated someone's else's elbow drop, such as Bret Hart or Randy Savage, he was usually spot on with it too but they found it more fun to insist Punk couldn't do elbow drops period.
Rooting for the Empire: He got a pretty good ovation when the crowd realized he was the new leader of Nexus. They even started chanting his name. "CM Punk" chants have happened fairly regularly since then.
To give you some perspective on this one, the Boston crowd chanted his name over hometown hero John Cena, even after comparing Cena to their most hated enemy, the New York Yankees.
Short-Lived Big Impact: His run at the top of the company was very brief compared to a lot of other top stars. In that two or so years since the infamous promo, he got over with fans to the point where chants can still be heard for him a full six months after his departure.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Punk's speech on the 7/11 RAW to John Cena. Cena mentions that Punk is a hypocrite and Punk gets mad at him for him suggesting that. He talks about how Cena was always thought of as the "underdog". Like how his city's teams (save for the New England Patriots), were always underdogs. He goes on a small rant after this, ending it with comparing John Cena to the New York Yankees (The Red Sox's biggest rival) and showing how Cena is no longer the underdog, but has become what he's claimed many times to fight against.
Stop Helping Me!: This is the problem he's been having with Raw GM John Laurinaitis. In the gauntlet match on Raw at the end of 2011 with Dolph Ziggler, Punk has Ziggler pinned, but the ref is talking with Laurinaitis, who came out and "fairly" removed Swagger and Vickie Guerrero from ringside for earlier interference, during the match. Punk goes to ward him off, only to get Zig-Zagged by Dolph for the 1-2-3, which earns him a WWE Title match the following week. In that match, Punk has Ziggler locked in the Anaconda Vice and tapping, only for the ref to miss it again because the Raw GM is "dutifully" instructing the man to replace a turnbuckle pad that came loose during the match.
This has resulted in Laurinaitis installing himself as the special referee for the Punk-Ziggler title rematch at Royal Rumble, and the Precision F-Strike of a warning delivered above.
After being warned that he would be stripped of the his title if The Shield interfered in his match against The Rock at the Royal Rumble, he called them out on Smackdown, and told them not to get involved, saying they stood for justice, and it would be a great injustice if Punk lost the title. Not sure though if the message went trough, as they simply left without saying anything.
It didn't. They helped again, but with the lights off for the entirety of their assault against the Rock. Punk assumed "no proof" meant he was in the clear and proceeded to take gloating advantage for the victory, but Vince came out to strip him of the belt regardless…only for a half-dead-looking Rock to ask to restart the match and then beat Punk straight up anyway.
Strawman Has a Point: A lot of people sided with Punk during his feud with Jeff, feeling that Jeff's "live life to the fullest" philosophy really wasn't justifying his notorious drug use and that cheering Jeff for being a "free spirit" was really irresponsible.
His recent feud with Cena has this as well with Punk calling Cena on a lot of the immoral crap he's pulled over the last year.
Pulls the same thing with Orton, but this is less effective since Orton's made it perfectly clear in the past that he knows his actions have no excuse, but doesn't care and does them anyway.
The one with Orton might have been aimed at the people who root for him despite even at his least evil, still being a Designated Hero.
The epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech on the 6/27/11 RAW was full of these, but perhaps his paragraph about Vince McMahon fit this trope the best:
CM Punk: But Vince McMahon's gonna make money despite himself. He's a millionaire who should be a billionaire. You know why he's not a billionaire? It's 'cuz he surrounds himself with glad-handing, nonsensical douchebag yes-men like John Laurinaitis, who's gonna tell him everything he wants to hear! And I'd like to think that maybe this company will be better after Vince McMahon's dead, but the fact is, it's gonna get taken over by his idiotic daughter and his doofus son-in-law and the rest of his stupid family!
Becomes a Lampshade Hanging when Trips told Vince the board fired him and he was replacing him at least in kayfabe.
Another Reason You Suck Speech to John Cena on July 11th's RAW. While John Cena had a point about Punk claiming to know what the fans want but still going to leave them all the same, Punk's retort that Cena has become a dynasty and that Cena can't call himself the underdog anymore struck home harder.
Cena didn't have a point. Punk's "Voice of the Voiceless" statement referred to the guys who lost their jobs unjustly because they didn't fit Vince's mold of a wrestler. Not the "WWE Universe" exactly. Also, it is not like fans are incapable of watching Punk in any other promotion.
Ironically, Cena ends up standing up for him when Vince suspended him and tried to cheat him out of his title match...
Somewhat inverted with his recent feud with Triple H. It's... honestly kind of hard to get behind Punk when Trips has been extremely lenient with Punk and his constant verbal abuse and accusations. Not helped by the fact that Punk is accusing Trips of stuff that has been made fun by everyone in the company for years, including Triple H himself. The only thing he really has any real point about is the possibility that Triple H was the one who sent Kevin Nash the text to Jackknife Punk at Summerslam, and as time goes on evidence shown makes it increasingly less likely that Trips really was the one who sent it. As a result, Punk comes off as less of a corporate rebel advocating change and more as a bully throwing a temper tantrum that things aren't going his way.
Well, his point is that Triple H is basically the same guy as Vince McMahon; no matter what Trips says, he's still stuck in the past and content with a boring product. Punk is playing a jackass revolutionary opposed to Trips' respectful traditionalist.
With Punk's recent feud with John Cena and The Big Show, Punk has been feeling overshadowed by Cena, The Rock, Triple H, and pretty much any other talent doing main events recently. He has demanded that those inside, and outside of the ring should show him more respect. Normally, this could be seen as baseless whining, and assuredly, Punk has turned heel for the story, but the fact is that Punk has been one of the longest reigning WWE Champions in history. He has beaten out more than his fair share of opponents (including Chris Jericho and Bryan Danielson) to retain his title, and is determined to put on a five-star match each and every time. Knowing this, it's hard to take Babyface Cena's comments about Punk needing to earn respect seriously, as he's earned it time and time again, and yet it's still Cena main eventing PPVs with non-title matches.
Punk's rant about John Cena being awarded the Superstar of the Year, where he pointed out that in 2012 Cena lost his "Once in a Lifetime" match against the Rock, he failed to capture the WWE Championship at SummerSlam (one of multiple occasions in fact), he was the first to cash in his Money in the Bank and fail, and he lost the TLC match for Ziggler's briefcase the night before, whereas Punk has been WWE Champion so far every day of the year. This isn't even accounting for the fact that there are several other superstars who've had far more successful 2012s than Cena, or that Cena's entire character credo has become arguably bunk as well.
Take That: A MASSIVE one leveled at John Laurinaitis at the 2011 Slammys, which included all the cheesiness of an 80s style montage complete with Stan Bush's "The Touch" (doubles as a Shout-Out to the Transformers.
Tear Jerker: This one sentence after Chris Jericho poured liquor all over him:
"The one thing that was going through my mind was... I smelled exactly like my father used to."
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Summer of Punk-esque John Cena feud in 2011 could have been more effective if CM Punk walked out for more than a single RAW. However, this trope would still be in effect had they drawn it out longer or began sooner: the symbolism of CM Punk beating Cena in Chicago and again at Summerslam was too good to pass up.
Vindicated by History: A Kayfabe meta-example. We all know that CM Punk's heel Smug StraightEdge EvilTeetotaler character from 2009-2010 ranged somewhere between having a sensible moral point to his position and being a complete asshole, which made it tough at times for some viewers to really evaluate how they felt about him. But then in 2011 his straightedge became deemphasized in favor of becoming a cult leader for The Nexus, then the Voice of the Voiceless, then cementing his place as the Best Wrestler in the World.
Enter 2012. In his "Best in the World" feud with Chris Jericho, the former Y2J takes it upon himself to expose the dirty laundry about Punk's father's alcoholism to the WWE audience for the first time and then make up even more about Punk's sister and mother just to piss him off. When this doesn't work, Jericho decides to stoop so low as to try and step on Punk's core by letting/helping Mark Henry leave Punk floored and prone for two weeks in a row only so he can pour and/or smash large quantities of whiskey and beer all over Punk.