It happened so quickly, I rewound it on the DVR and watched it again. The second time I saw it, I got chills and teared up.
CM Punk defended his WWE Championship against Alberto Del Rio in the main event of Monday Night Raw, with the stipulation that if Punk was intentionally disqualified, he would lose the title. As they always do, the two superstars lived up to their billing in the ring—and Punk even got away with two very un-TVPG, "kiss my ass" lines in his pre-match promo.
Near the end of the match, a chair entered the ring, meaning talk would turn as to whether or not Punk would lose the belt by using it. Entering the ring with the chair was did a gimmick that should have been familiar to long-time WWE fans. As you see at the 1:06 mark of the video, Punk tosses the chair to Del Rio then hits the deck as if he has been whacked with the chair, which almost gets Alberto disqualified.
Unfortunately for both of Del Rio's fans (presumably the Bella Twins), Alberto lost the match thanks to the ref being distracted by "personal ring announcer" Ricardo Rodriguez, and what Gordon Solie would have called a "modified Go To Sleep" on an exposed turnbuckle.
Just over six years ago, Eddie Guerrero used the same gimmick, hitting the mat after tossing a chair to Mr. Kennedy to get a DQ victory and a place on the SmackDown team for the 2005 Survivor Series. The following week on SmackDown, Eddie was scheduled to win the World Heavyweight Championship from his friend, Batista, in a three-way dance also involving Randy Orton.
That match would not take place, nor would Latino Heat be part of Survivor Series. The Mr. Kennedy match was Eddie Guerrero's last; two days after the match aired, Eddie was found dead in his Minneapolis hotel room.
It was never a secret that CM Punk was a huge fan of Eddie Guerrero. There is fantastic fan footage on YouTube of Punk paying tribute after a recent house show in Eddie's hometown of El Paso, Texas. But to see one wrestler pay tribute to another by openly using a patented move—not stealing it and calling it their own, but using it in homage to its creator—reminds us of the tight relationship of the wrestling fraternity.
For the first time since it aired as part of the Eddie Guerrero tribute show, I watched the Guerrero/Kennedy match again while writing this piece, and I got even more chills. The referee for that match and the Punk/Del Rio match was the same man—Charles Robinson. What emotions must have been flowing in the ring as Robinson, Punk and Del Rio pulled off the bit and in the locker room afterward as they relished in their version of a Guerrero specialty.
Earlier today, Punk tweeted two words, "Thanks Eddie." No—thank you Punk, Charles and Alberto. That was special.