The 10 Greatest Moments of CM Punk's WWE Career
This Saturday marks the 300th day of CM Punk's WWE Championship reign. Punk has worked for WWE for seven years and after spending his first year in Ohio Valley Wrestling, he moved up to the main roster, where he's been a key figure for the past six years.
Today, we celebrate the current WWE Champion's career by looking at his top 10 moments while working for Vince McMahon's company. It's important that this top-10 list won't be looking at his run in Ring of Honor, Total Nonstop Action, Ohio Valley Wrestling or anywhere else. It's all about his WWE run, which covers his stints on the ECW, Raw and Smackdown brands.
There are a lot of Punk moments that are memorable, and I'm sure that some of you will disagree with the list, but that's part of the fun of compiling a list like this.
I can think of so many great promos from the summer of 2011, his outstanding work during the Straight Edge Society run, feuds with Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Undertaker and others that will not make this list. I almost included his backstage interaction with Steve Austin because I enjoyed it so much. These are just some of the things I had to think about when writing this list.
Once I settled on the order, it was a lot of fun to remember the great moments in the WWE career of CM Punk.
Let's see what made the cut.
10. Defeating Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Title at Survivor Series: 11/20/11
This was more of a "big moment" thing than it was about the match itself. I wrote about the New York City PPV live, though, so let's share that play-by-play, followed by some analysis.
Match Details: There is a big-match feel for this match. I love it. The crowd is ridiculously hot for Punk already. There are also early chants for "ice cream bars" and "Colt Cabana," which is damn cool. The majority of the first 10 minutes of the match had CM Punk taking advantage for some good nearfalls.
Del Rio was able to counter the GTS with the Backstabber for two. Punk fought back with a rollup for two, then a charge missed and Del Rio hit an enziguiri kick for two again. Nice armbreaker by Del Rio to seize control again. Punk fought back. He went to the top for a Randy Savage elbow, but Del Rio crotched him on the top rope.
Del Rio continued to work on the left arm. He charged in the corner, Punk avoided it and ADR went crashing into the steel post. Now Punk goes for the top-rope Savage elbow. That gets two and it also leads to another “Randy Savage” chant.
Punk goes for the GTS, ADR avoided it and he managed to put the Cross Armbreaker on Punk’s left arm. Punk was screaming in pain. He made it to the ropes. Punk went for the GTS, couldn’t lift him and ended up kicking Ricardo in the head. Then he kicked Del Rio in head. Punk went for the cover. It got two. He quickly put him in the Anaconda Vice. Del Rio tapped. Punk won the WWE Title via submission in 15 minutes.
Post-match, Punk celebrated in the crowd. He jumped into the crowd twice. It was a massive pop. It was one of the loudest reactions you will ever hear for somebody winning a major title. That’s why Madison Square Garden is special. Punk seemed genuinely happy about it and the crowd loved him for that.
Analysis: It was slow for the first 10 minutes, but they picked up the pace later on and put on a great finishing sequence. Punk winning with a move other than the GTS was a nice change of pace because it shows he can beat you in different ways.
They did a lot of little things in the match, like when Punk had Howard Finkel, who was in tears by simply being part of the event, introduce him to the match to counter Ricardo Rodriguez's introduction of Alberto Del Rio.
The celebration of Punk also made it feel like a big deal as well. It wasn't like any other WWE Title win. It was a wrestling fan winning the ultimate prize in the "World's Most Famous Arena" and celebrating with his fans in a way that showed just how much he loves the wrestling business.
Here we are 298 days later. Punk is still WWE Champion. This win was the start of something special, whether we realized it in November 2011 or not.
9. Defeating John Morrison for the ECW Championship: 09/04/07
They say you always remember your first, right? In the case of CM Punk, his first taste of championship gold in WWE was when he won the ECW Title by defeating his rival, John Morrison.
It was billed as a "Last Chance" Championship match, which meant that if Punk failed to win, then he would not get another opportunity at Morrison's title. It was a huge win for the babyface Punk, who captured the championship after 15 minutes of excellent action thanks to his patented Go To Sleep (GTS) finishing move.
The crowd reaction to the match was terrific. There are a lot of bad things you can say about WWE's ECW brand because of how it was booked, how talent was pushed and how it faded away into dust within a few years.
My opinion is that Punk vs. Morrison in 2007 was the best feud under WWE's ECW umbrella. It is this win by Punk that drew the biggest crowd reaction and made people care about that Championship. They worked hard, they had awesome chemistry together and CM Punk left the match as a conquering hero that won over a lot of fans who believed in him long before he set foot in a WWE ring.
While the ECW Championship isn't considered as a major championship, it's still important to remember how important it was when Punk won his first title in WWE.
8. Attacking the Rock at Raw 1000: 07/23/12
I think it goes without saying that the 1,000th episode of WWE Monday Night Raw was the most heavily promoted episode in the history of the show. For months they were hyping it up as if it was a PPV-like event. A lot of big names returned to the broadcast, but none of those names were bigger than The Rock.
Midway through the show, The Rock was in the ring with WWE Champion CM Punk along with his main rival, Daniel Bryan. During the discussion between the three men, The Rock announced that he would be receiving a WWE Championship match at January's Royal Rumble.
The main event that night was CM Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. The Big Show interfered, so Punk kept his title. He chose not to save Cena, though, so out came The Rock to be the hero. Once Rock put down Big Show, something surprising happened.
I won't forget the image of Punk hitting Rock with a clothesline out of nowhere. He followed it up with a GTS while walking out with his WWE Championship. Was he justified for his actions, or was he just being a jerk? It's something that is up for interpretation, but when you consider that he's been booked as a heel ever since that moment, it's obvious that "jerk" is the reaction he was looking for.
In the weeks that have followed, Punk has made it clear that he felt disrespected by The Rock during this incident. His heel turn was a result of there being a lack of top heels in WWE at the moment. Also, it might just be a case of Punk being the best heel in the business and this is the best role for him.
It's rare for a WWE Champion to turn heel during their reign. Randy Savage did it between WrestleManias IV and V. Punk has done it this year. It takes an elite talent to do such a thing. Savage is in that elite class. Punk has proven he's right there with him.
7. Promo Against Rey Mysterio's Family: 03/12/10
There are so many Straight Edge Society moments I could pick, but this one was the best of them all, in my opinion. Rey Mysterio was in the ring with his wife, son and daughter as they were celebrating the birthday of Mysterio's daughter, Aaliyah. During the promo, CM Punk challenged Mysterio to a match at WrestleMania 26, which ended up happening.
With fellow SES members Luke Gallows and Serena by his side, Punk interrupted the birthday celebration the only way he could. He spoke to Mysterio's daughter Aaliyah, who was hiding behind her father: "I'll let you shut your eyes while I reduce your daddy to tears and make him beg for my mercy."
Punk's verbal assault continued on the rest of Mysterio's family. He begged Mysterio to fight him right there. Instead, Mysterio chose to fight another day and left the ring with his family.
At the end of the segment, Mysterio's family walked out. With the family gone, Punk sang "Happy Birthday" to Aaliyah. The crowd booed. It was the kind of evil heel performance that reminded me of Jake Roberts. It was masterful.
The feud with Mysterio ended up lasting for several months. Mysterio won the feud by shaving Punk's head. It was one of the best feuds of 2010.
6. The WWE Title Match Against Daniel Bryan at over the Limit: 05/20/12
This is one of my favorite pure wrestling matches that WWE has had in many years. I wrote about it live back in May, so let's go to the play-by-play and then I'll throw some thoughts in at the end.
Match Details: There were dueling "CM Punk/Daniel Bryan" chants at the beginning. Punk put him in a leg lock submission while the announcers put over Bryan's ability to get out of holds. Bryan fought out, delivered a series of kicks and Punk was able to come back. He stomped the back of Bryan into the mat while he was in a surfboard-type hold. That was cool. Punk gave Bryan a kneebreaker and he followed it up by throwing Punk over the top to the floor. Bryan rammed him into the security wall.
Back in the ring, Bryan hit his awesome missile dropkick for two. Bryan gave him an abdominal stretch as Cole pointed out that Punk has sore ribs and a sore back due to the attack of Kane on Smackdown. Story continuity is a good thing.
Punk tried to fight back with the figure four, but Bryan rolled him up for a count of two. Bryan kicked him in the back for two. There were "yes" chants as Bryan stepped on the back of Punk's knees and pulled back on his arms. He yelled "yes" as he put Punk in the surfboard. Bryan hit two running knees to the back of Punk. The third one missed. Punk hit a Perfectplex for two.
Bryan came back with a suplex. He went to the top rope and hit a flying headbutt for the count of two. Bryan tried to wear him down, but Punk was able to make his comeback. He hit a side kick followed by a neckbreaker. Bryan blocked a corner charge by getting his foot up and then Punk hit a powerslam for two.
Cole talked about how they weren't poster boys for WWE. Booker put over how their talent got them there. Bryan charged at him and Punk gave him a back body drop over the top to the floor. Punk hit a dive between the middle and top rope that knocked Bryan down.
Punk went for a springboard attack. Bryan countered with a dropkick to the ribs. Psychology! Bryan attacked with a series of kicks. Punk blocked the last one, gave him a dragon screw leg whip and then put him in the Figure Four Leg-lock.
They had a punch fest while they were in the FFL. Bryan was able to get to the ropes so Punk was forced to let go. After each guy went for a rollup, Bryan decked him with a stiff kick to the head. That got him a count of two. We're at the 20-minute mark now as a "this is awesome" chant breaks out. The crowd is absolutely right about its awesomeness.
In the corner, Bryan tried to set him up for a superplex. Punk shoved him off, Bryan got crotched and Punk hit a springboard clothesline while Bryan was sitting on the top rope. That got him a count of two. They had a slugfest while on their knees. Punk won that, went for the Go to Sleep and Bryan escaped. They each got a nearfall. Bryan went for the Yes Lock, but Punk fought out of it and gave him a slingshot. Bryan did a skin-the-mat move to get back in. Punk kicked him for a count of two as Bryan got his foot on the rope.
Punk was able to keep Bryan down. Punk went to the top rope and delivered the top-rope Flying Elbow for a count of two. A small "Randy Savage" broke out on this day, which is the one-year anniversary of his death. Punk sold like he couldn't cover because his back and ribs were hurting.
Bryan fought back with a series of knees to the ribs. His corner charge missed as Punk moved. Punk hit his running knee in the corner. Bryan countered the bulldog out of the corner with the Yes Lock! Bryan had him in the hold. Punk rolled back. Bryan's shoulders were down for a three count and just as the ref counted to three, Punk tapped him on the shoulder as a top out. The replay showed that Bryan's shoulders were down before the tap out. The match went 25 minutes.
Analysis: Their chemistry was fantastic. I didn't know how the match might end, so the way they did it was certainly different. Not like I'm complaining, though. The crowd was hot for most of it, chanting "this is awesome" many times, and they weren't really against either guy.
Punk and Bryan have the ability to have classic matches. It's important that they are given that kind of opportunity once in a while because "wrestling" is what a lot of fans still want.
Over the Limit 2012 wasn't a great PPV. This match was, though. If you haven't seen it, be sure to seek it out because what they did in the ring this past May was wrestling perfection.
5. Money in the Bank Victories: 03/30/08 and 04/05/09
CM Punk is a history-maker for many reasons. When it comes to Money in the Bank matches, he's the only man who can say that he's won two of them in back-to-back years.
The first Money in the Bank win happened at WrestleMania XXIV, when Punk defeated six other men to capture the coveted briefcase. I didn't expect Punk to win it that year. I thought it was going to be somebody like Chris Jericho or MVP.
Punk was still a part of the ECW brand, which was clearly No. 3 on the brand totem pole, so when he was able to capture the briefcase by battling Jericho at the top, I was genuinely surprised by it.
The second Money in the Bank win happened at WrestleMania XXV, when Punk defeated seven other men to win the briefcase for the second year in a row. Once again, I didn't expect Punk to win the briefcase this time because he had won it the year before and it was rare to see somebody do it two years in a row.
Like most others that have won the Money in the Bank briefcase, Punk went on to win a major championship a few weeks later.
4. Cashing in Money in the Bank the First Time: 06/30/08
When somebody wins the Money in the Bank briefcase, it's usually a question of when they cash it in, not "if" they cash it in. Aside from John Cena earlier this year, every person holding a Money in the Bank briefcase has managed to cash it in to win either the WWE or World Title.
In the 2008 draft, the babyface Punk was selected for the Raw brand. On his first official night as part of the Raw roster, Batista, who was also drafted to Raw, had destroyed Edge in the center of the ring.
Batista was frustrated that he couldn't take the World Title off of Edge and now that he was on Raw, he wouldn't get another opportunity to do so. He left Edge lying in the center of the ring after a devastating Batista Bomb.
Punk took advantage of a beaten Edge by running down to the ring with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Edge staggered back to his feet. The crowd erupted. Punk capitalized on the fallen champion with a Go To Sleep to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time.
The first World Title reign of CM Punk ended with a whimper when Randy Orton punted him in the head in September of 2008, which led to Punk having to forfeit the title without ever losing it.
The way he won the World Heavyweight Championship was a moment that every CM Punk fan will remember forever.
3. The Heel Turn and Feud with Jeff Hardy in 2009
The second time that CM Punk won the World Heavyweight Championship came at the hands of the very popular Jeff Hardy. It was the start of a three-month feud that, in my opinion, was the best story in WWE in 2009.
For the first time in his WWE career, Jeff Hardy had "reached the mountaintop" as a singles competitor by defeating Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at the June 2009 Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
Moments after Hardy's grueling victory, the still babyface Punk ran out with his Money in the Bank briefcase along with a referee by his side. He quickly hit Hardy with the Go To Sleep. Hardy kicked out. Hardy even managed a rollup for a two count. Punk fought back with a kick to the head, followed by a second GTS, and that was enough to give Punk the World Title. As Jim Ross put it on commentary: "CM Punk has ruined this Jeff Hardy party!"
Their next match happened at The Bash pay-per-view in late June where Punk retained the World Title after after he accidentally kicked the referee following an "eye injury" he suffered in the match.
At July's Night of Champions pay-per-view event, Hardy defeated Punk for the World Title in clean fashion. By this point, Punk was showing signs of heel tendencies, but he wasn't all the way there yet.
On the first episode of Smackdown following Hardy's World Title win, Punk (whose Straight Edge lifestyle was being pushed heavily) turned heel on Hardy. No longer would he shake the man's hand. Instead, he hit Hardy in the head with a microphone. The assault continued around the ringside area, as Punk left the champion knocked out. Punk had a smile on his face since the heel turn was complete.
At SummerSlam, Hardy defended the World Title against Punk. Keep in mind that there was also a John Cena vs. Randy Orton match on the card, so for these two to go on last was proof at just how good the feud was. Punk ended up regaining the World Title after 20 grueling minutes in a TLC match. It was one of the best matches of the year.
They would have one more match on the following Smackdown, as Punk defeated Hardy in the steel cage. It's the last match that Hardy wrestled in WWE. His contract expired, so he left to go to TNA.
The Punk/Hardy rivalry was perfect because as characters they were so different. While they were able to work together very well in 2009, these days the two are rumored to have legit heat with one another. Punk's known for living his life the Straight Edge way while Hardy has been charged for using drugs and has been known to have a drink or two. It's what made the rivalry special.
We don't want to see two guys that act the same way having matches. We like to see performers that can offer something different.
In their case, their differences made their matches that much more special. I would love to see them have more matches together. If it never happens, that's OK, because at least we got to see their outstanding rivalry in the summer of 2009.
2. Beating John Cena for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank: 07/17/11
I wrote about this live in July 2011, so let's go to the play-by-play recap, followed by my analysis.
Match Details: There's an early "You Can't Wrestle" chant in the direction of Cena. Punk goes for the Anaconda Vice. Cena counters into an armbar to slow it down. Punk gets a hiptoss and dropkick followed by a side headlock. The crowd approves. They each attempt their finisher, but neither guy hits it.
Five minutes in. Not a whole lot has happened, although the story so far is the awesome crowd reactions. Cena hits a big clothesline and then grabs a headlock. They're obviously going to get a lot of time, which is why they're slowing it down like this. I'm OK with that. Tell me a story. Punk gets a backdrop for two. There's a dueling "CM Punk/Let's Go Cena" chant. I guess there are kids in the crowd since some are chanting for Cena. Two count for Cena after the Fisherman Suplex.
At the 10-minute mark, Punk drops a knee across Cena's neck while it was draped over the ring apron. Cool spot. Punk misses a charge into the corner. They're both hurting. Punk grabs another chinlock. The crowd is quiet for the first time all match. Now the announcers acknowledge the "CM Punk/Let's Go Cena" chants.
Punk hits a crossbody for two. Cena selling a knee injury now. From the apron, Cena suplexes Punk over the top and all the way to the floor. That's a spot that they tease a lot, but don't often do. That's a very physical bump. The announcers point out that Cena's left knee is hurting him. Cena hits a Fisherman's Suplex and an elbow for two. Cena hits a modified powerslam for two. Nice move. Just passed 15 minutes.
They do a dueling punch-off with the crowd chanting favorably for Punk while booing Cena. Punk breaks out of the abdominal stretch and then they do a double-clothesline to do the 10-count. Cena gets up with the shoulderblocks, but Punk counters with a rollup for two. Cena hits his slam. Cena goes for Five Knuckle Shuffle, so Punk kicks him in the face, then knees him out of the ring and hits a dive out to the floor as they crash into the barricade around ringside. That was an awesome sequence. How many guys counter the Five Knuckle Shuffle? Crowd loves it. I do too. My kind of people. We're at 20 minutes now.
Punk misses his springboard clothesline. Cena comes back to hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Punk counters the AA and uses a series of kicks to put Cena down, earning a two count. Cena counters the GTS with a Gutwrench suplex for two. Punk counters the AA. He hits two running knees to the jaw followed by a bulldog. The springboard forearm gets two for Punk.
The replay of the knee to the face was awesome. Cena ducks a spin kick and then he puts Punk into the STF. After about 30 seconds, Punk made it to the ropes. Punk recovers, hits a side kick to the head and that gets two. Another awesome near fall. We're at the 25-minute mark. Crowd has been amazing for all of it.
Punk hits a Crossbody, Cena catches him. He goes for the AA, but Punk counters. He goes for the GTS, Cena avoids it and puts him in the STF. Punk is close to the ropes. Cena pulls him out, puts the STF on and Punk counters out of it with the Anaconda Vince. Cena fights out with the Attitude Adjustment. One, two…no!
That's the best near fall of the night. Loud "CM Punk" chants erupt. Cena goes to the top for his leg drop, but Punk avoids it and hits a powerbomb on Cena for a near fall. Punk signals for the Go To Sleep. Cena makes it to the ropes and uses the ropes to choke Punk. Cena to the top. He hits the leg drop on the back of the head. That gets two as Cena has one of his "What can I do?" faces. We're at 30 minutes now.
Cena hits the AA. Punk lifts his left shoulder up. Cole: "No! Not Again!" He wants Cena to win to keep the belt in WWE. Cena's frustrated by it, wondering why he can't win the match. Cena lifts Punk to the top, he goes for a top-rope AA, but Punk fights out with elbows. He gets a top-rope hurricanrana that sends Cena to the other side of the ring. Punk hits a running knee. Go To Sleep by Punk hits Cena in the ribs instead of the face. Cena rolls out to the floor.
Cue Vince McMahon in a suit as well as John Laurinaitis (Johnny Ace), a talent executive. They watch from the aisle. Vince calls for the bell. Laurinaitis runs to the ring, but Cena punches him in the face. He tells Vince he wants to do it his way. Cena goes back in, Punk hits the GTS and he is the new WWE Champion! Crowd goes absolutely nuts! Match went 35 minutes.
After the match, Alberto Del Rio came out to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase after Vince McMahon told him to. Punk dropped him with a kick to the head. Punk left with the title through the crowd. He blew Vince a kiss goodbye, much to the delight of the capacity crowd.
Analysis: This was my match of the year in 2011. It's also the match that was the biggest of CM Punk's career, in my opinion. He could top it, but it will depend on the build of the match and who the opponent is. That image of Punk leaving with the WWE Title through the crowd will be everlasting.
They worked a slow style early on and then it built up to an exciting finish, especially in the last 10 minutes. Punk kicked out of his finisher. He survived the STF. Then he beat Cena clean, relatively, and the crowd absolutely loved it. That was an awesome moment to cap off a really well-built match. The moment is what people will remember more, but the match was one of the best in WWE history, too.
This was the kind of wrestling match that a fan like myself lives to watch for. It was special. The crowd certainly helped, too, but the guys in the match deserve a hell of a lot of praise as well.
I also think Punk's win meant more because it was against John Cena. If it was against somebody else it would have been good, but because of who he beat in his hometown of Chicago, it made it extra special.
CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank is one of the best matches in the history of WWE. It took place at one of the best pay-per-views in WWE history. Due to those reasons, it was unquestionably one of the greatest moments in the career of CM Punk.
1. The Infamous "Shoot" Promo on Raw in Las Vegas: 06/27/11
Who can forget the moment when Punk sat at the top of the ramp at the end of Raw while wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt and holding a microphone in his hand?
Let's relive that speech that brought the term "pipe bomb" to the forefront during the "Summer of Punk" in 2011.
John Cena, while you lay there, hopefully as uncomfortable as you possibly can be, I want you to listen to me. I want you to digest this, because before I leave in three weeks with your WWE Championship, I have a lot of things I wanna get off my chest.
I don’t hate you, John. I don’t even dislike you. I like you a hell of a lot more than I like most people in the back. I hate… this idea… that you’re the best… because you’re not. I’m the best. I’m the best in the world. There’s one thing you’re better at than I am, and that’s kissing Vince McMahon’s ass. You’re as good at kissing Vince’s ass as Hulk Hogan was. I don’t know if you’re as good as Dwayne though… he’s a pretty good ass-kisser… always was and still is. Oops… I’m breaking the fourth wall. [Punk waves to the camera.] I am the best… wrestler… in the world. I’ve been the best ever since Day One when I walked into this company, and I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy. You know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar… and he split, just like I’m splittin’, but the biggest difference between me and Brock is that I’m going to leave with the WWE Championship.
I’ve grabbed so many of Vincent K. McMahon’s imaginary brass rings that it’s finally dawned on me that they’re just that. They’re completely imaginary. The only thing that’s real is me, and the fact that day in and day out, for almost six years, I’ve proved to everybody in the world that I am the best on this microphone, in that ring, and even on commentary. Nobody can touch me. And yet, no matter how many times I prove it, I’m not on your lovely little collectors’ cups, I’m not on the cover of the program, I’m barely promoted, I don’t get to be in movies, I’m not on any crappy show on the USA Network, I’m not on the poster of WrestleMania, I’m not on the signature that’s produced at the start of the show. I’m not on Conan O’Brien, I’m not on Jimmy Fallon, but the fact of the matter is I should be, and trust me, this isn’t sour grapes, but the fact that “Dwayne” is in the main event of WrestleMania next year and I’m not makes me sick!
Oh hey, let me get something straight, those of you who are cheering me right now… you are just as big a part of me leaving as anyone else, because you’re the ones sipping out of those collector cups right now, you’re the ones that buy those programs that my face isn’t on the cover of, and then at five in the morning at the airport, you try to shove it in my face thinking you can get an autograph and sell it on eBay because you’re too lazy to get a real job.
I’m leaving with the WWE championship on July 17 and hell, who knows, maybe I’ll go defend it in New Japan Pro Wrestling… maybe I’ll go back to Ring of Honor… [Punk waves to the camera again] hey, Colt Cabana, how you doing? The reason I’m leaving is you people because after I’m gone you’re still going to pour money into this company — I’m just a spoke on the wheel — the wheel’s gonna keep turning. And I understand that… that 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 because he surrounds himself with glad-handing nonsensical [censored] yes-men like John Lauranitis, 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 is 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.
Let me tell you a personal story about Vince McMahon. You know we do this whole bully campaign…
(Microphone is cut off. Punk hits the mic a few times, says something inaudible, yells “I’ve been silenced” and we fade to black.)
From that moment on, Punk was on another level. It was the single biggest moment of his career and not only did he hit a home run, but he knocked the cover off the ball like he was Roy Hobbs in The Natural. Punk was given the opportunity to speak for five minutes in the main event of Raw. He killed it. He absolutely did as good of a job as anybody has ever done in that kind of situation.
This speech is up there with Stone Cold's "Austin 3:16" promo in 1996 and Chris Jericho's 1999 debut as one of the greatest promos in the history of WWE.
This was my favorite part:
The only thing that’s real is me, and the fact that day in and day out, for almost six years, I’ve proved to everybody in the world that I am the best on this microphone, in that ring and even on commentary. Nobody can touch me.
It was Punk's way of saying I'm sick of sitting back and watching others in my spot, so I'm going to do everything I can to be the man. For the past 15 months, that's exactly what he's done. "Nobody can touch me" spoke volumes. He's also been the best in the business for that period of time. All he needed was an opportunity.
I don't know how many years Punk has left in WWE (he'll turn 34 later this year). Will there be more great moments in CM Punk's career? I certainly think so. I'd be shocked if he is able to top this moment because of how significant it was in his career. Choosing this as No. 1 was a no-doubter in my mind. It's not just his best moment; it's one of the best WWE moments ever.
The "shoot" promo from Vegas is an example why CM Punk is an all-time great performer.
When he got his chance, he produced. What more can you ask for out of a performer? It's why CM Punk is on his way to legendary status in WWE.
Best in the world.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com along with his talented staff of writers. He also writes a lot about the NFL at TJRSports.com too, so check him out there as well! You can follow John on Twitter @johnreport too.