My ill fated quest began on July 4, 2006. For weeks, WWE Management hyped my debut by having me tape vignettes displaying my lifestyle and my addiction to professional wrestling. It can be argued that I was all talk and my debut would go unnoticed by the WWE Universe.
After a few weeks, the date for my debut was set.
August 1, 2006.
From the start, it was as if I was being “fed to the dogs”. My debut would take place on the shows signature arena. The Hammerstein Ballroom was undoubtedly ECW’s homeland. Paul wanted my debut to be in front of the original ECW fans.
I guess this was Paul’s way of protecting me.
The goose bumps associated with my debut led me to rushing to the ring. To my surprise, there were a large amount of fans anticipating my debut.
My match flowed smoothly. I remained the center of attention by utilizing some moves I picked up during my time in Ring of Honor. This didn't stop fans from utilizing the overrated chant to describe my performance. I quickly silenced the chants with a shining wizard/bulldog combination.
After a Muay Thai combination, I finished off the legend with the anaconda vice.
Backstage, Paul Heyman smiled as if he had just watched his first son being born. Naturally, I was ecstatic and felt as if I made a real connection with the audience. Unfortunately, the higher ups didn't share my opinion.
Despite the general distaste for me and my straightedge lifestyle, Paul Heyman was able to keep this would be sinking ship afloat by establishing me as undefeated. As time passed, I was placed in angle where I would feud with another wrestler because of his girlfriend’s infatuation with me.
As most predicted, the feud didn’t do anyone involved any favors. Other than added a few wins to my streak, the angle was absolutely pointless.
After a few months of singles matches, I was briefly placed into the ECW Title picture. Paul Heyman had this idea where I would submit ECW Champion, The Big Show, with the Anaconda Vice. Heyman wanted to establish me as a future star but Vinnie Mac was against the idea.
At ECW December to Dismember, I was the first to be eliminated from the Extreme Elimination Chamber. At this point, it was obvious that Vince and WWE Creative were preparing Bobby Lashley as the new face of extreme. It was also obvious that Vince had a strong distaste for me and everything I stood for.
The next day, Paul Heyman informed me that he was leaving the WWE.
His decision wasn't surprising. The Evil Genius created ECW and without him, One Night Stand would've been a flop. Heyman was the proverbial “sitting duck”. Vinnie Mac took ECW and molded it in RAW and SmackDown’s image.
Paul Heyman was against this from the start. I've always considered Heyman the only support I had backstage and without him, I would be back in Ring of Honor in six months.
When Heyman officially exited the WWE, I was on my own. Every member on the WWE Creative team hated my guts. I was a self made Superstar. Unlike the rest of the WWE Roster, I wasn't a WWE Creation and that ate McMahon up inside.
As the weeks passed, my undefeated streak was ended at the hands of Hardcore Holly. My frustration set in when I was placed in a vulnerable position throughout the majority of the feud. Despite my ludicrous booking, lead writer, David Lagana, was said to be my only supporter backstage.
Despite my knowledge of this, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before Vince McMahon gave me my walking papers.
However, things changed when WrestleMania 23 rolled around.
I was the only ECW Superstar in the Money in the Bank ladder match. To my surprise, Shawn Michaels saw potential in me. Shawn’s words changed my standing with Vince and WWE Creative. I didn't win MITB that year but I was satisfied with my role in the match.
In the months that followed, I had become a prominent staple of the ECW Brand. I was placed in the middle of a tug of war between the New Breed and the ECW Originals. I even “turned heel” for a week because of it.
The turn was just a ploy for the premature demise of the New Breed. Being the Messiah I am, I systematically picked apart the New Breed. Elijah Burke fell to the GTS at Judgment Day 2007. On the other side of the tracks, Bobby Lashley was drafted to RAW.
Lashley was stripped of the ECW Championship, leaving the title open to ECW Superstars, like myself. WWE Creative decided to bring Chris Benoit in as a mentor to the newer ECW Superstars. At this point in time, ECW had become a platform for rising stars. Originals like Rob Van Dam, Sabu, and the Sandman had already departed the WWE.
Chris Benoit was supposed to shed some light on the brand. Creative set up a tournament that saw Benoit defeat Burke and me pinning Marcus Cor Von after the Go 2 Sleep. The match was set but the tragic events of that weekend altered the combatants.
Newcomer, Johnny Nitro, replaced Benoit. It was already predetermined that I would lose this matchup.
In the weeks that followed, Nitro went through a character transformation. Morrison was a hit backstage. Molded in the image of late rock star Jim Morrison, John created every aspect of the gimmick. After a plethora of title matches that saw yours truly defeated three times in a row, John Morrison tested positive for anabolic steroids.
Vinnie Mac used this as an excellent opportunity to capitalize on my straightedge gimmick. In what was labeled my “last opportunity”, I won the ECW Championship after defeating Morrison with the GTS.
Thing is, WWE Creative continued to book me as the underdog.
For example, my first title defense was against Elijah Burke. WWE Creative had Burke dominate me the whole match only for a win with surprise roll up. This was the typical “CM Punk” title defense until I found myself at odds with The Miz and John Morrison.
WWE Creative finally booked me as a “strong” champion when I decisively defeated both in a triple threat match at Survivor Series 2007. When it seemed as if I’d finally fallen into the good graces of Vinnie Mac, the WWE reverted to the typical CM Punk match.
It was the Holiday Season and my frustration with the WWE was at an all time high. Eventually, Chavo Guerrero defeated me for the ECW Championship. The event was a foreshadowing of the things to come.
Issues with the WWE Wellness Policy removed the RAW Superstar who was planned to win the MITB briefcase at WrestleMania. This was my big break. The WWE decided to have me win the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 24.
I must say, though WWE is bashed for their booking ways and the predetermined winners, to stand atop of the ladder and realize that in less than one year, I’d be the World or WWE Champion was arguably the most exhilarating feeling ever.
On the other hand, I realized my time on the ECW Brand was coming to an end. After sporadically teaming with Kane, I was drafted to RAW in the 2008 WWE Draft.