CM Punk


CM Punk
CM Punk
Ring name(s) CM Punk[1]
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Billed weight 218 lb (99 kg)[1]
Born October 26, 1978 (1978-10-26) (age 33)
Chicago, Illinois[2]
Resides Lockport, Illinois
Billed from Chicago, Illinois[1]
Trained by Ace Steel[3]
Danny Dominion[4]
Kevin Quinn[4]
Dave Taylor[5]
Fit Finlay[5]
William Regal[5]
Steel Dominion Wrestling School[5]
Debut 1999[6]
Website CMPunk.com

Phillip Jack "Phil" Brooks[7] (born October 26, 1978),[2] better known by his ring name CM Punk, is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE and working on its Raw brand currently serving his second title reign as WWE Champion.

In professional wrestling, Punk is a seven-time world champion. In Ring of Honor (ROH), he won the ROH World Championship once. In WWE, he has won the ECW Championship once, the WWE Championship twice, and the World Heavyweight Championship three times, making him the second wrestler (after Kane) to have held all three of WWE's World titles.

In addition to these championships Punk has also won the World Tag Team Championship (with Kofi Kingston), and the WWE Intercontinental Championship making him the nineteenth WWE Triple Crown Champion. Between WWE and ROH (where he is also a two time tag team champion), Punk has won a total of eleven championships. He was also the winner of the 2008 and 2009 Money in the Bank ladder matches, the only Superstar to win the match twice in a row.[8]

Punk initially came to prominence through his career on the professional wrestling independent circuit, primarily as a member of the ROH roster, where he won the ROH Tag Team Championship, ROH World Championship, and was the first head trainer of the ROH wrestling school. In 2005, Punk signed a contract with WWE and was sent to its developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he won every championship available in the promotion.

Throughout his career, Punk has consistently used the gimmick of being straight edge, a lifestyle he follows in his actual day-to-day life.[4] Depending on Punk's alignment as a crowd favorite or villain, he emphasizes different aspects of the culture to encourage the desired audience reaction.[4]

Contents

Professional wrestling career

Early career

CM Punk in a match against Danny Dominion at an NWA Midwest event on November 23, 2002 in Grayslake, Illinois.

Punk's first venture into wrestling was a stint in a backyard wrestling federation called the Lunatic Wrestling Federation with his friends and brother Mike Brooks in the mid-late 1990s. He first started using the ring name CM Punk when he was put into a tag team named the Chick Magnets with CM Venom after another performer skipped out on the card.[4][9][10] Unlike his friends, Punk genuinely wanted to be a wrestler and saw it as more than simple fun.[4] When the promotion started taking off, doing spot shows out of a warehouse in Mokena, Illinois, Punk found out that his brother Mike had embezzled thousands of dollars from the small company, causing them to become estranged. Mike has not wrestled since.[11]

He soon left the federation and enrolled as a student at the "Steel Dominion" wrestling school in Chicago, where he was trained by Ace Steel,[3] Danny Dominion and Kevin Quinn to become a professional wrestler. As part of the training, he wrestled at Steel Domain Wrestling in St. Paul, Minnesota.[4][5] It was in the Steel Domain that he met Scott Colton,[12][13] who soon adopted the stage name Colt Cabana. Punk and Cabana became best friends and spent most of their early career together working in the same independent circuit promotions, as opponents or allies.[12] In the independents, Punk, along with fellow Steel Domain graduates Colt Cabana, Chuckee Smooth, Adam Pearce and manager Dave Prazak, formed an alliance named the Gold Bond Mafia.[4]

Independent Wrestling Association: Mid-South (2000–2005)

Punk's home promotion for his early career is usually considered to be Independent Wrestling Association: Mid-South (IWA:Mid-South).[4] During Punk's time in IWA:Mid-South, he had high profile feuds with Colt Cabana and Chris Hero while also rising to the top of the roster winning the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship twice and the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship on five separate occasions, beating stars like A.J. Styles, Cabana and even Eddie Guerrero for that Championship. Punk's feud with Hero included a 55-minute TLC match,[4] a 93-minute two out of three falls match,[5] and several 60-minute time limit draws.[13]

Punk's matches with Cabana led him to being hired by the Ring of Honor promotion.[5] From February 2003 until May 2004, Punk refused to wrestle for IWA:Mid-South, because he claims that this was in protest to Ian Rotten's mistreatment of Chris Hero in the company.[4] Hero, however, has stated he believes there were other reasons, and Rotten's treatment of him was just an excuse by Punk to stop working for the company.[14] Eventually Punk returned to IWA:Mid-South and continued to perform as a wrestler and commentator for them until 2005 when he was signed to World Wrestling Entertainment. His last appearance in IWA:Mid-South was on July 2, 2005 in which he competed in a 60-minute time limit draw against Delirious.[15]

Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

Storylines with Raven (2002–2004)

Initially, Punk joined Ring of Honor (ROH) as a crowd favorite,[4] but quickly became a villain in a feud with Raven that featured numerous variants of no disqualification matches.[16] Their rivalry lasted most of 2003 and was considered one of ROH's top feuds of the year,[17] and was based around Punk's straight-edge lifestyle, with him likening Raven to his alcoholic father.[18] Their rivalry was settled at The Conclusion in November 2003, where Punk defeated Raven in a Steel Cage match.[16] At the same time, Punk joined the wrestling promotion NWA Total Nonstop Action (TNA), in which he was paired with Julio Dinero as members of Raven's TNA alliance The Gathering.[4]

CM Punk during a cage match against Raven at Ring of Honor's The Conclusion on November 28, 2003 in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Punk started climbing the ranks of ROH, including coming in second at the Second Anniversary Show during the tournament to crown the first ROH Pure Champion, losing to A.J. Styles in the finals[16] and winning the ROH Tag Team Championship twice with Colt Cabana as the Second City Saints. Both times Punk and Cabana defeated the Briscoe Brothers to win the championship.[19] Circa October 2003, Punk was hired as the first head trainer of the Ring of Honor wrestling school,[4][20] having previously been a trainer for the Steel Domain[4] and Primetime Wrestling.[21]

Shortly before a TNA show on February 25, 2004, Punk had a physical scuffle with Teddy Hart outside of a restaurant that was broken up by Sabu. The scuffle reportedly stemmed from an ROH show in which Hart performed three unplanned spots putting several other wrestlers in danger of injury.[22][23] Around the time of the scuffle, Punk and Dinero stopped appearing on TNA shows, leading to speculation he was fired for the incident.[24] Punk, however, has stated that the scuffle had no bearing on his TNA career.[24] He said the reason he and Dinero stopped appearing on TNA pay-per-views was that TNA officials believed that he and Dinero had not connected with the fans as villains, having recently turned against the popular Raven and instead formed a villainous tag team managed by James Mitchell.[24] The officials decided that as the teams as villains was not working decided to put the storyline on hold indefinitely, and thus had no work for Punk or Dinero.[24] Punk officially quit TNA in March 2004 during the Rob Feinstein controversy, after having a dispute with the TNA offices over his ability to compete in ROH following a TNA order that their contracted wrestlers were to no longer wrestle in ROH.[25]

Pursuit of the World Championship (2004–2005)

In ROH, Punk faced off against ROH World Champion Samoa Joe for the championship in a three match series. The first match, on June 12, 2004 at World Title Classic in Dayton, Ohio, resulted in a 60-minute time limit draw when neither Punk nor Joe could pin or cause the other to submit in the 60 minutes. The second match between Punk and Joe was planned for December 4, 2004; however, due to Steve Corino being pulled from a match with Joe by Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE, the second match was hastily rescheduled on October 11, 2004 for October 16 in Punk's hometown of Chicago.[13] At Joe vs. Punk II on October 16, they wrestled to a second 60-minute draw.[16] In addition to Joe vs. Punk II becoming Ring of Honor's best-selling DVD at the time, the match received a five-star rating by Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It was the first match in North America to receive a five-star rating in seven years—the last one being the Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at Badd Blood: In Your House in 1997.[13] Joe ended the series by defeating Punk in the third and final match on December 4, 2004 at All-Star Extravaganza 2 in which there was a no time limit stipulation.[16]

CM Punk in Ring of Honor.

In June 2005, Punk accepted a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment, after a try-out match against Val Venis on its Sunday Night Heat show. Even though he had accepted the deal, Punk went on to defeat Austin Aries with his Pepsi Plunge move, winning the ROH World Championship on June 18, 2005 at Death Before Dishonor III.[19] Immediately after the match, Punk proceeded to become a villain and started a storyline where he threatened to bring the ROH World Championship to WWE with him. For weeks, Punk teased the ROH locker room and the ROH fans as well as mocking the championship he possessed, going so far as to sign his WWE contract on it. During the storyline, Mick Foley made several ROH appearances, attempting to convince Punk to do the right thing and defend the title on his way out. On August 12, 2005 in Dayton, Ohio, Punk lost the ROH World Championship to James Gibson in a four corner elimination match consisting of himself, Gibson, Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels, who re-debuted after a year-and-half absence.[19] Punk's final scheduled match in Ring of Honor took place at Punk: The Final Chapter on August 13, 2005 against long-time friend Colt Cabana in a two out of three falls match, which he lost.[16] In his last match, Punk was visibly crying and was showered with streamers when he posed in the middle of the ring.

Punk made a special appearance at the ROH show Unscripted II on February 11, 2006, when the original card had to be scrapped due to Low Ki leaving ROH the week prior.[16] In addition, most of the ROH roster contracted to TNA were pulled from the show because of a snowstorm that TNA officials thought might prevent performers from reaching a pay-per-view scheduled the next day.[26][27] In the main event, Punk teamed with Bryan Danielson to wrestle and ultimately defeat Jimmy Rave and Adam Pearce in a tag team match.[27]

World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2005–2006)

In September 2005, Punk was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), a WWE developmental territory. He made his debut on September 8, 2005, in a dark match, where he, Nigel McGuinness and Paul Burchill were defeated by Deuce Shade, Elijah Burke and Seth Skyfire.[28] On September 26, 2005 in his OVW television debut, Punk suffered a ruptured eardrum and broken nose after Danny Inferno hit him with an overly stiff right hand. Despite the injury, Punk finished the match and quickly recovered.[29][30]

On November 9, 2005, Punk became the OVW Television Champion after defeating Ken Doane,[29] which immediately led to a feud between Punk and Brent Albright, who had previously been feuding with Doane for the Television Championship and had lost his chance to wrestle Doane after Punk hit him with a chair so he himself could wrestle Doane. They wrestled in series of matches, including one that ended in overtime with Albright having Punk submit to Albright's finisher, the Crowbar, but Punk was able to keep the championship, as he had not agreed to the extra time.[29] On January 4, 2006, Punk lost the OVW Television Championship during a three way dance among himself, Albright and Doane. Doane was injured halfway through the match and was replaced by Aaron "The Idol" Stevens. Punk submitted to Albright's Crowbar and was eliminated, but he returned later in the match to distract Albright allowing Stevens to pin Albright and become the new OVW Television Champion.[31] The feud continued after a short period in which Albright and Punk were a tag team, but they became opponents again after Albright wanted the respect of Punk, who would never give it to him, and instead proceeded to "punk out" (get the better of) Albright repeatedly. This feud continued for weeks with Punk always getting the better of Albright until a double turn occurred on February 1, 2006 when Albright became a villain during a tag match, allowing the Spirit Squad to beat Punk and, in doing so, making Punk a crowd favorite.[31] During this time, Punk had a minor appearance at WrestleMania 22 on April 2, 2006 as one of the gangsters who rode a 1930s era car to the ring before John Cena's entrance.[32]

After Matt Cappotelli vacated the OVW Heavyweight Championship because of a brain tumor in February 2006, a tournament was held to crown a new champion. The finals were Brent Albright vs CM Punk with Albright defeating Punk to become the new champion.[31] Punk and Albright continued their feud, with Albright becoming more unstable and paranoid about maintaining his championship after several close call matches against Punk, resulting in acts such as threatening Maria. On May 3, 2006, Punk finally defeated Albright in a strap match to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship.[31] As champion, Punk retained the title in matches against opponents such as Shad Gaspard,[31] Ken Kennedy,[31] Johnny Jeter[31] and Mike "The Miz" Mizanin.[33]

On July 28, 2006, Punk and Seth Skyfire defeated Shad Gaspard and the Neighborhoodie to win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship at a house show.[34] They lost the Tag Team Championship on August 2, 2006 to Deuce Shade and "Domino" Cliff Compton after an injured Skyfire tagged in an already injured Punk.[31] This altercation led to a feud between Punk and Skyfire after a rematch for the Tag Team Championship on August 7, 2006 in which a healthy Punk purposefully tagged in an injured Skyfire to be beaten by Shade and Compton.[31] On August 30, 2006, a match was scheduled to take place between Punk and Skyfire for the OVW Heavyweight Championship. Prior to the match, however, Skyfire was attacked by Charles "The Hammer" Evans, with whom Skyfire had also been feuding, and was replaced in the match by Chet Jablonski (Chet the Jet) who pinned Punk to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship.[31] As Punk no longer possessed the championship, OVW no longer required him. He was removed from the roster and brought up to the WWE roster full-time. He continued to make sporadic appearances for the company, such as at the 400th episode of OVW on television,[31] up until WWE announced it was ending its developmental territory agreement with OVW on February 7, 2008.[35]

ECW (2006–2008)

CM Punk with a portrait as the ECW Champion in 2008.

On June 24, 2006, Punk made his ECW debut during a house show at the former ECW Arena, defeating Stevie Richards.[36] He made his TV debut on the July 4 episode of ECW on Sci Fi, cutting a brief pre-taped promo about his straight edge lifestyle emphasizing the disciplinary aspects of being drug and alcohol free.[37] Although he had retained the straight edge gimmick, he now had a Muay Thai training background. Punk made his TV wrestling debut on August 1, 2006 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, defeating Justin Credible.[38] CM Punk established himself in ECW by going undefeated, defeating opponents such as Christopher W. Anderson,[39] Stevie Richards[40] and Shannon Moore.[41]

Soon after, Punk began feuding with Mike Knox after Knox's girlfriend, Kelly Kelly, was seen to have feelings for Punk.[41] Punk defeated Knox in their first singles match (qualifying for the Elimination Chamber at December to Dismember in the process)[42] as well as the rematch, after which Kelly Kelly celebrated CM Punk's victory over her boyfriend.[43] Punk then teamed with D-Generation X and the Hardy Boyz in their Survivor Series match against Rated-RKO, Knox, Johnny Nitro and Gregory Helms, a match in which all the participants on DX's side survived elimination.[44] At December to Dismember, Punk participated in the Elimination Chamber for the ECW World Championship; however, he was the first person eliminated by Rob Van Dam.[45]

CM Punk as ECW Champion on September 30, 2007 in Hammond, Indiana.

Following the pay-per-view, Punk entered into a feud with Hardcore Holly, who ended Punk's six-month unbeaten streak in singles competition on January 9, 2007.[46] Punk went on to feud with Matt Striker, who gave him his second singles loss since being in ECW on January 30.[47] Punk then qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23 by defeating Johnny Nitro.[48] In the final week leading up to WrestleMania 23, Punk made appearances on both Raw and Friday Night SmackDown!, defeating Kenny Dykstra[49] and former World Heavyweight Champion King Booker,[50] respectively. At WrestleMania 23, Punk competed in, but did not win, the Money in the Bank ladder match, being knocked off the ladder just seconds before the winner, Mr. Kennedy, claimed the briefcase.[51]

On the April 10, 2007 edition of ECW on Sci Fi, Punk briefly became a villain by officially joining the New Breed alliance,[52] after several weeks in which both the New Breed and the ECW Originals had attempted to recruit him.[53][54] Two weeks later, however, Punk betrayed the New Breed during a four on four elimination match between the New Breed and ECW Originals by kicking New Breed leader Elijah Burke in the back of the head and costing them the match. After the match, Punk proceeded to deliver his finisher, the Go To Sleep, on Burke and sarcastically apologized before leaving the ring alone, becoming a fan favorite again. WWE.com later confirmed that Punk was no longer a member of the New Breed.[55] At Judgment Day, Punk wrestled and defeated Burke in his first singles match on a pay-per-view.[56] Punk then went on to One Night Stand and teamed up with Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman in a tables match to defeat the New Breed.[57]

When ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley was drafted to Raw and stripped of the ECW World Championship, a mini-tournament was announced to declare a new champion among Punk, Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Von and the recently drafted Chris Benoit. Punk defeated Marcus Cor Von on the June 19, 2007 edition of ECW on Sci Fi. By doing so, CM Punk was meant to face Chris Benoit at Vengeance: Night of Champions for the vacant ECW World Championship.[58] Benoit, however, was hastily replaced by Johnny Nitro when Benoit no-showed the event due to what was described on-air as "personal reasons". Nitro subsequently defeated Punk at Vengeance for the vacant championship.[59] Punk won another shot at the title at The Great American Bash against Nitro, who had changed his moniker to John Morrison by this point; however, Punk was defeated again by Morrison.[60] The next week, Punk challenged Elijah Burke and Tommy Dreamer in a triple threat match to determine the next competitor in Morrison's 15 Minutes of Fame Challenge, in which Punk came out victorious.[61] A week later, Punk defeated Morrison with the Go To Sleep to earn an ECW Championship title match at SummerSlam. At SummerSlam, however, Punk lost the match when Morrison used the ropes for leverage.[62]

At the September 1, 2007 (aired September 4) ECW taping, in a "last chance" title match, Punk defeated Morrison for the ECW Championship.[63] Punk then went on to have successful title defenses against the likes of Elijah Burke (at Unforgiven),[64] Big Daddy V via disqualification (at No Mercy)[65] and The Miz (at Cyber Sunday).[66] On the November 6, 2007 edition of ECW, Punk retained the ECW Championship in a match against Morrison following The Miz's interference.[67] At Survivor Series, Punk retained his title in a Triple Threat match, beating The Miz and John Morrison.[68] On the January 22, 2008 edition of ECW, Chavo Guerrero defeated CM Punk in a No Disqualification match to win the ECW Championship after Edge, (acting as a guest commentator at ringside) ran in and speared Punk.[69]

Mr. Money in the Bank (2008–2009)

CM Punk with his first of two Money in the Bank briefcases.

At WrestleMania XXIV, Punk won the Money in the Bank ladder match, after defeating Chris Jericho, Montel Vontavious Porter, Shelton Benjamin, John Morrison, Mr. Kennedy and Carlito.[70]

On the June 23, 2008 edition of Raw, CM Punk was drafted to the Raw brand during the 2008 WWE Draft.[71] His first night on Raw came the following week, and he made an immediate impact. After Batista beat down World Heavyweight Champion Edge and left him lying in the ring, Punk and referee Mike Chioda ran to the ring with Punk carrying his Money in the Bank contract. Moments later, as Edge was struggling to get up, Punk hit him with the Go 2 Sleep and pinned him to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Later that night, Punk won his first defense of the title against JBL, who challenged him shortly after his win.[72] His win over Edge would eventually also earn Punk the Slammy Award for the "Oh my God" Moment of the Year.[73] Punk continued to hold and defend the title until Unforgiven on September 7, 2008. Before the Championship Scramble match, Punk was attacked by an early version of The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase with Manu). Orton finished the assault by punting Punk in the head.[74] It was announced that Punk could not participate in the match due to the attack and, as a result, he involuntarily forfeited the title. However, Punk was replaced by Chris Jericho, who went on to win the match and the title.[75] He received a re-match eight days later on the September 15 episode of Raw, where he failed to regain the title in a steel cage match against Jericho.[76]

CM Punk as World Heavyweight Champion during his first reign at SummerSlam.

On the October 27, 2008 episode of Raw, Punk and Kofi Kingston defeated Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to win the World Tag Team Championship.[77] The duo were members of Team Batista at Survivor Series, where their team lost to Team Orton.[78] Punk was then entered in an Intercontinental Championship Tournament, in which the winner would get to challenge for the championship in the future. He would defeat Snitsky and John Morrison in the first two rounds.[79] Punk and Kingston lost the World Tag Team Championship to John Morrison and The Miz at a live event on December 13, 2008.[80] The next day Punk defeated Rey Mysterio at Armageddon to win the tournament.[79] On the January 5 edition of Raw, Punk received his title match against William Regal, which ended in a disqualification, when Regal grabbed the referee's jersey.[81] Due to this, Stephanie McMahon awarded Punk a rematch the following week, but this time it was himself that was disqualified.[82] McMahon awarded him another rematch, this time a No Disqualification match on January 19 edition of Raw, Punk won the match and the title.[83] With this win, he became the nineteenth Triple Crown Champion. Also, the victory made him the man to accomplish the Triple Crown in the fastest amount of time, shattering Kevin Nash's old record.[84] Punk lost the title on the March 9 edition of Raw to John "Bradshaw" Layfield.[85] At WrestleMania XXV, Punk won the Money in the Bank ladder match and became the first person to win the match twice.[86]

On April 13, 2009 during the 2009 WWE Draft, Punk was drafted from Raw to SmackDown.[87] In the period after the draft, Punk feuded with Umaga over Umaga's repeated surprise attacks while Punk was attempting to cash in his Money in the Bank Contract. This ultimately resulted in a Samoan strap match at Extreme Rules which was won by Punk.[88]

At the end of the pay-per-view, Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to defeat Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Championship.[89] Punk retained his title in a Triple Threat match against both Edge and Hardy eight days later on the June 15 episode of Raw.[90] At The Bash in Sacramento, California, Punk lost to Hardy by disqualification after kicking the referee after being afflicted with a storyline eye injury, claiming he could not see the referee, but because titles do not change hands on a disqualification, Punk retained the championship. Hardy called Punk into question about his eye injury, believing he had been feigning it, leading Punk to turn heel, claiming to be the moral superior of those who support Hardy due to his drug-free lifestyle.[91] At Night of Champions, Punk lost the championship to Hardy.[92] Their feud continued through SummerSlam, where Punk regained the title in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match; afterward, Punk was attacked by The Undertaker.[93] On the August 28 edition of Friday Night SmackDown, Punk concluded his program with Hardy and achieved his booked goal of excising him from the WWE, defeating Hardy in a steel cage match wherein the loser agreed to leave the company.[94] This act would earn Punk a second Slammy that December as he was named winner for 2009's "Shocker of the Year".[95]

At Breaking Point Punk defeated The Undertaker in a submission match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Undertaker originally won the match with his Hell's Gate submission hold. SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long re-started the match after stating that the ban that former General Manager Vickie Guerrero had placed on the move was still in effect. Punk would win the match with his Anaconda vise when referee Scott Armstrong called for the bell despite Undertaker never submitting (reminiscent to the Montreal Screwjob, which took place in the same venue in 1997).[96] The feud between the two continued and at the Hell in a Cell PPV, Punk lost the World Heavyweight Championship to The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match.[97] He lost two subsequent rematches against The Undertaker on Smackdown and in a Fatal Four Way match at Bragging Rights also involving Batista and Rey Mysterio.[98][99]

Straight Edge Society and New Nexus (2009–2011)

His character took on a more sinister demeanor on the November 27 episode of SmackDown when he revealed that he had converted Luke Gallows, who had previously been portrayed as the mentally incompetent wrestler Festus, to the straight-edge lifestyle which had rid him of his mental troubles.[100] Continuing to espouse his straight-edge philosophy, Punk began to present himself as a cult-like savior to the crowd, growing the hair on his head, face and chest in an allusion to Jesus.[101] Through January 2010, Punk began to convert planted members of the audience to a straight-edge lifestyle, making them take a pledge of allegiance to him and shaving their head as a sign of renewal and devotion.[102][103][104] After converting many people who were not seen again, convert Serena began accompanying Punk and Gallows to form the Straight Edge Society.[104][105] As well as leading this alliance, Punk was also the mentor of WWE NXT rookie Darren Young who flirted with the idea of becoming straight-edge before refusing just before his head was to be shaved.[106]

Straight Edge Society: Serena, Punk and Luke Gallows.

Punk continued to show messianic traits, frequently giving sermons including during the annual Royal Rumble match as well as during an Elimination Chamber match at both of the eponymous pay-per-views.[107][108] In the Chamber match, he was eliminated by Rey Mysterio, whom he had feuding with leading into the PPV. Tensions escalated as Mysterio prevented him from winning a Money in the Bank qualifying match, causing Punk to interrupt Mysterio's celebration of his daughter's ninth birthday.[109] Mysterio challenged Punk to a Street Fight at WrestleMania XXVI but lost to Gallows, meaning Punk picked the stipulation that if Rey lost he would have to join the Society.[110] At WrestleMania, Punk lost to Mysterio[111] sparking a rematch at Extreme Rules where Punk would have to shave his head, like his disciples, if he lost. Punk won this match after interference from a fourth member of the Society who kept his face covered.[112] At Over The Limit, a third and final match was booked with both stipulations reactivated. In the match Punk lost and was subsequently shaved bald.[113]

Embarrassed by being shaved bald as he considered himself always pure, unlike his followers, Punk appeared on the following episode of SmackDown, May 29, wearing a mask to hide his baldness.[114] At Fatal 4 Way, Punk challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship against Mysterio, The Big Show and the champion Jack Swagger, but was unsuccessful when he was attacked by Kane, who was accusing various people of attacking The Undertaker.[115] On July 16's SmackDown, Punk was finally unmasked by Big Show while healing from an arm injury.[116] The following week Show also unmasked the anonymous member of the Straight Edge Society who was revealed to be Joey Mercury.[117] This led to a handicap match at SummerSlam where Show defeated the entire Society after Punk abandoned his teammates.[118] Show also beat Punk in a singles match at Night of Champions.[119] Following this Serena was released from WWE[120] while Mercury became injured,[121] severely thinning the Society. Gallows began showing signs of dissension too, and Punk defeated him on SmackDown, airing September 24,[122] after which Gallows began a short face run before also being released from the WWE, ending the group.

Punk as leader of New Nexus.

Punk was traded back to the Raw brand on October 11 after being swapped with Edge. He took part in the interbrand tag team match at Bragging Rights after injuring Evan Bourne to win a place,[123] but the team lost. It was reported later that he was suffering with a hip injury that would stop him from competing.[124] To keep a presence on television, he began commentating on Raw from November 22,[125] having already commentated one episode of NXT. During his commentary, he criticized John Cena for his actions against The Nexus. Sometimes he favoured heel wrestlers over face wrestlers. At the end of December, Punk left the commentary team after assaulting John Cena on Raw[126] and SmackDown[127] with a chair. Punk later revealed that his motives for the attacks were that he had joined and assumed control of The Nexus.[128] He would then use the group to attack Randy Orton, blaming him for prematurely ending Punk's first World Heavyweight Championship reign in 2008; this led to a WrestleMania XXVII match[129] and a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules both of which Punk lost.[130]

Conspiracy; WWE Championship (2011)

CM Punk after winning the WWE Championship in his home town of Chicago.

In June, after pinning WWE Champion John Cena on Raw,[131] Rey Mysterio at Capitol Punishment[132] and finally Alberto Del Rio again in a contendership match (which included Mysterio) all within one week, Punk revealed his contract would expire at Money in the Bank and vowed to leave the company with the WWE Championship, and started showing the personality of an anti-hero more than a heel. After making a scathing on-air speech concerning the way in which WWE is run and its owner Vince McMahon, he was given a suspension from televised WWE events[133] but was reinstated the following week on Cena's insistence.[134] Two weeks later at Money in the Bank, CM Punk defeated John Cena to become the WWE Champion on his final night under contract with WWE.[133][134]

On July 21, CM Punk made an unannounced appearance at a joint WWE and Mattel panel at the San Diego Comic Con to mock new Chief Operating Officer Triple H and offer WWE Championship tournament finalist Rey Mysterio a match for Punk's own WWE Championship, as long as it was in Punk's hometown, Chicago.[135][136] Punk appeared at July 23's All American Wrestling show, showing respect to Gregory Iron, a wrestler with cerebral palsy.[137] Mysterio won the WWE Championship tournament on the July 25 episode of Raw, only to lose it to Cena later that night. After Cena's victory, Punk returned to Raw and upstaged the new WWE Champion's victory celebration while also entering into a title dispute. Triple H would later uphold both Punk and Cena's claims to the WWE Championship as legitimate,[138] and schedule the two to a match at SummerSlam to decide the undisputed WWE Champion. At Summerslam, Punk defeated Cena to become the Undisputed WWE Champion. Punk immediately lost the title after being attacked by Kevin Nash and defeated by Alberto Del Rio who had cashed in his Money in the Bank contract.[139]

The night after Summerslam, Nash returned to Raw, to explain his actions at SummerSlam to Triple H. CM Punk entered the ring and confronted both men. Nash attacked Punk for insulting Triple H and his wife, then prevented him earning a WWE Championship match. After repeated confrontations between the two, Nash and Punk both demanded to face each other at Night of Champions event, to which Triple H, the newly appointed WWE chief operating officer, acquiesced. However, after CM Punk's repeated verbal personal attacks toward Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, Triple H booked himself to replace Kevin Nash in the match. Punk lost to Triple H at Night of Champions after interference from Nash, The Miz and R-Truth. The following night on RAW he ended his feud with Triple H saying he knows he's not a part of the WWE Championship conspiracy. Two weeks later, Punk lost in a triple threat hell in a cell match at Hell in a Cell to Alberto Del Rio. Following the match, Miz and Truth entered the cell and attacked Punk, Cena, Del Rio, referees and other employees in the cell.[140] Punk teamed with Triple H in a losing effort against Miz & R-Truth at Vengeance after Kevin Nash interfered to attack Triple H.[141] Punk would then return his attention to the WWE Championship challenging Alberto Del Rio, one-on-one this time for the title at Survivor Series.[142] At the 2011 Survivor Series, Punk won his second WWE Championship by making Del Rio tap to the Anaconda Vise.

Gimmick

Punk has adopted his real-life following of the straight edge movement as his professional wrestling gimmick, but the gimmick uses different elements of Punk's personality and the beliefs of the straight edge movement depending on his alignment. While portraying a crowd favorite, the gimmick tends to be that of Punk's normal personality,[4] largely indifferent to others who drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, partake in recreational drug use or have promiscuous sexual behavior, but emphasizing the social discipline involved with abstinence. Conversely, his villainous personality tends to be that of one who is hardline or militant straight edge, exemplifying the elitist attitudes and superiority complexes—defined by Punk's common mantra during villainous-themed promos that, because he is straight edge, he is "better than you".[4] Punk performs the straight edge symbol of crossing his arms in an X formation while having the letter X written on the back of his hands, usually drawn on his wrist tape.

Originally, the initials CM in his ring name represented the phrase "Chick Magnet", the name of the tag team he was in as a backyard wrestler.[4][10] Punk, however, later changed CM into an orphan initialism, declaring that it has no meaning,[5] though when asked since he has taken to making up meanings that fit the initials, going so far as to make up long stories to explain the origins that do not match the actual origin story at all.[5] Since beginning this practice, Punk has stated CM stands for "Cookie Monster",[143] "Cookie Master",[144] "Crooked Moonsault",[145] "Chuck Mosley",[145] "Charles Montgomery",[10] "Charles Manson",[10] "Crazy Mariachi", "Chicago Made",[146] "Championship Material" and "Cole Miner" among others.

An integral part of Punk's gimmick are the numerous tattoos that adorn his body, some of which have come to become symbols associated with Punk, as well as mantras and declarations that have been integrated into his gimmick. The tattoos as a whole, due to their large quantity and variety, have also become an attribute identifiable to Punk.[147] The most important of the individual tattoos in Punk's character, whether through association, symbol, or mantra, are:

CM Punk at a Raw taping. Prominently visible are the Pepsi Globe tattoo on his left shoulder, the "luck is for losers" sleeve tattoo on his left arm, and the "straight edge" tattoo across his stomach.
  • A Pepsi Globe logo on his left shoulder that inspired the names of two of his signature moves. It also became a symbol of Punk himself, who wore the logo on his ring gear in the independent circuit, as well as a slightly modified Pepsi logo being used as part of his TitanTron entrance video.[148] He got the tattoo as a joke, as many fraternity members in his school were getting beer logos tattooed on their bodies. Punk, a keen Pepsi drinker, chose to receive a Pepsi tattoo to emphasize his straight edge beliefs.[5] The tattoo is also a reference to former Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker, who had a Coca-Cola tattoo and explained this by saying "I like Coca-Cola". When people inquire about Punk's Pepsi tattoo, he often replies "I like Pepsi" in a similar fashion.[4]
  • The words "Straight Edge" are spelled out on Punk's stomach. This is one of his oldest tattoos;[147] he has referred to it as his identity.[149]
  • A sleeve tattoo on his left arm that reads "luck is for losers" and features numerous good luck symbols, including a rabbit's foot, four-leaf clover and a horseshoe.[150] The tattoo also features four ace playing cards as a tribute to trainer Ace Steel.[150]
  • A tattoo on the back of his left hand reading "No gimmicks needed", a tribute to deceased wrestler Chris Candido.[151]
  • A tattoo on his right shoulder of the Cobra Command logo, G.I. Joe's enemy.
  • Another GI Joe themed tattoo on his right forearm, mimicking the tattoo Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow have on their forearms.
  • A tattoo of a rose on his left wrist.[152]
  • A tattoo across his knuckles with the words "DRUG FREE" ("DRUG" on his right knuckles and "FREE" on his left).
  • A tattoo behind his left ear of the number 31 with three stars surrounding it.
  • A tattoo on his chest, the design of which is unknown, but includes a skull and a snake.
  • A tattoo of a dead fish on the back of his left shoulder.
  • A tattoo on the back of his hand with the logo of the now defunct rock band, Rocket from the Crypt.
  • A tattoo of the Gill-man from The Creature from the Black Lagoon on the inside of his left bicep.

Punk's character and gimmick have been parodied by the wrestling federation Chikara with the mascot character CP Munk, the straight edge chipmunk. The character includes references to Punk, such as X-marked wrist tape, a Pepsi logo on the costume's left shoulder, and a high-pitch version of Punk's best-known independent circuit theme song "Miseria Cantare – The Beginning", by the band AFI.[153] On his website, Punk has said about the character CP Munk, and the people behind it:

I'm split 50/50 on it. Some days I get real pissed about it, because it's disrespectful. I'm sure it's no secret that the dorks that run Chikara and I don't get along, so they're [sic] judgement on trying to "mock" me is a little off. Most other days I just laugh it off because nobody from Chikara will ever be over enough anywhere for anybody else to parody them'.[154]

Personal life

CM Punk at an autograph signing in Madrid, Spain.

While working for Ring of Honor he was romantically linked to professional wrestlers Shannon Spruill[155] and Tracy Brookshaw.[13] After joining Ohio Valley Wrestling, Brooks began dating Maria Kanellis, who was working in OVW as an interviewer,[156][157] however they broke up sometime after Brooks was moved to World Wrestling Entertainment and started working on the ECW brand.[158] Brooks was dating Amy Dumas.[159] However, as stated in Matt Hardy's interview in March 2010, Brooks and Dumas are no longer dating.[160] Brooks is currently in a relationship with WWE Diva Beth Phoenix.[161]

Other media

Brooks made an appearance on the February 16, 2004 episode of Monster Garage, "Box Truck Wrestling Car", performing a short match with Samoa Joe.[162] On October 31, 2006, Brooks joined The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) to shoot the Sci Fi Channel special Ghost Hunters Live, which was a six-hour show broadcast live Halloween night from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Initially skeptical about what he might find, Brooks claimed to have heard children giggling and footsteps when there were not any children booked into the hotel.[163]

In 2008, Brooks appeared as the Sports Grand Marshal of the nationally-televised McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in downtown Chicago.[164][165]

In wrestling

CM Punk applying the Anaconda Vise on Mike Knox.
CM Punk about to perform the Go to Sleep on Kane.

Championships and accomplishments

Punk in his first reign as World Heavyweight Champion.
Punk as one half of the World Tag Team Champions.
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • 5 Star Match vs. Samoa Joe at ROH Joe vs. Punk II on October 16, 2004
    • 5 Star Match vs. John Cena at WWE Money in the Bank on July 17, 2011
    • Feud of the Year (2009) vs. Jeff Hardy[207]
    • Best Gimmick (2009)[207]

Luchas de Apuestas record

Wager Winner Loser Location Date Notes
Hair Rey Mysterio CM Punk Detroit, Michigan 02010-05-23 May 23, 2010 S.E.S. Pledge vs. Hair match at Over the Limit.[208]

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