The WWE recently released a masterpiece in their hand-holding chronicle of quite possibly the most controversial wrestler of this generation.
CM Punk: Best in the World couldn't have been any more apt of a title, as one of the many themes of this near two-hour documentary details Punk's vehement refusal behind the scenes to be booked as anything other than the WWE's biggest star.
This was apparent in Punk's blatant disgust with the Miz headlining WrestleMania XXVII over him, being relegated to a dark match against R-Truth shortly after headlining SummerSlam in 2009 and even dating back to his ECW days when he held an impromptu meeting with Vince McMahon looking to be booked to win the ECW Championship at the behest of Paul Heyman.
A rather specific chapter that covers the rise and fall of the once hot Straight Edge Society is one of the documentary's many microcosms that easily explain why CM Punk will eventually join the ranks as one of the greatest heels in wrestling history.
After writing 14 weeks of television in a spontaneous outburst of productive frustration that eventually spawned the cult-like stable, Punk describes his motives to get over with live crowds as the WWE's resident devil:
"Knoxville, Tennessee, I had a grandmother jump the rail to slap me in the face and the quote was 'You are not Jesus Christ and you will burn in Hell for your sins.' And that's exactly what—that's exactly—I turned right to Gallows and said, 'We did it! We got 'em!' And that was the desired reaction I wanted.
I wanted this emotional, just guttural, just hatred. I wanted people to slash my tires. Set my car on fire.
Punch me in the kidneys when I stood in the stands.Chase me out of town with pitchforks and torches."
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the DVD—and of its subject—shows that despite being a loner, constantly looking for means of escape through music, comic books, exercise and professional wrestling, CM Punk may have abandonment issues stemming from a rough childhood that resulted in the future WWE Champion literally running away from home.
John Morrison, Daniel Bryan, Lars Frederikson of Rancid, Colt Cabana, Natalie Slater, Lita, Joey Mercury, Luke Gallows and childhood friends Chez and Chaleen, whom he formed a makeshift family with after running away from home, are all specifically mentioned or featured as close friends or family of CM Punk's, people Punk loves and is described as being "fiercely loyal" toward.
A touching aspect of this loyalty came when Joey Mercury told a story of CM Punk writing a six-figure check to buy his house following Mercury's release in 2007. The home of the former MNM member had previously been on the verge of foreclosure while Mercury rehabilitated from substance abuse.
The flavor of this meticulously structured documentary is closer to Oliver Stone than Vince McMahon, who is conspicuous by his absence of influence on the DVD in addition to an absence as an interviewee.
Instead, John Cena, WWE COO Triple H and head producer Michael P.S. Hayes take on the duties of providing the corporate view of the carnival of stories related to Punk's internal power struggles with management.
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The WWE should be commended for not allowing a captivating story to be restricted through TV-PG limitations. No punches were pulled in extracting raw emotion through the liberal airing of well-placed curse words (sometimes censored, sometimes not) in interviews with various wrestlers and wrestling personalities.
The DVD is far and away the most complete diary of a WWE Superstar ever put together in-house. In fact, CM Punk's early days on the independent scene are so prominently featured, it's worth wondering whether Cary Silkin and Gabe Sapolsky were secretly hired on as executive producers for this project alone.
Best in the World is obviously a can't-miss three-disc set for fans of CM Punk. Yet it also maintains general appeal as it documents one of the most tangible tales of one man's unstoppable mission toward greatness ever told.