Summer of 2011: The ERA of Punk

Paul MurphyContributor IIJuly 18, 2011

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15:  CM Punk celebrates with fans before facing Shelton Benjamin during WWE Smackdown at Acer Arena on June 15, 2008 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)
Gaye Gerard/Getty Images

CM Punk has single-handedly ushered in a new era of professional wrestling. There is no way to refute this now after Punk's match of the year last night at Money in the Bank, in his hometown of Chicago, against the leader of the CeNation, John Cena.

Let's head back to June 27, a day of Punk's ascension into something only Cena has hit in the last few years. The famous shoot interview, where he was given a live mic and free reign to say what he wanted. This is exactly what the dominant professional wrestling demographic has been desiring for years now.

Males 18 to 34 since the Night of Punk have been investing into this storyline for a month leading into Money in the Bank. Even the continued shoot interview from last Monday night with the live contract negotiations, where he shot from the hip with such clips such as "I just made you a million dollars in ice cream sales", further shows Punk's dominance from social media, to the WWE Universe, and may have finally brought the male 18 to 34 demographic back to the WWE.

All this led into last night, when we see CM Punk get a bigger pop, hometown crowd or not, that even beat out the Rock's return on RAW months ago before Wrestlemania. And all Punk went on to do was deliver the best match the WWE has put out this year. Punk carried Cena (although it was Cena's best performance in years) to a match that was better than either Money in the Bank Match, and was up there with the Triple H versus Undertaker Wrestlemania match.

CM Punk is this generation's Stone Cold Steve Austin, whereas John Cena is this generation's Hulk Hogan. During the Attitude Era, Hogan was too old to face against Austin in a decent match. Cena and Punk delivered huge, and Punk, if he's re-signed, will continue to usher in a time that could rival the 80s or late 90s in professional wrestling popularity and hopefully reinvigorate the Sport's Entertainment world into something great again.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the era of Punk.