Just weeks before his WWE contract was set to expire, CM Punk made a passionate speech that many WWE fans will never forget.
In what would become known as the "pipe bomb" promo, Punk laid out his complaints with the organization, many of which were likely not exaggerated.
On the last night of his contract, Punk captured the WWE title at Money in the Bank in July 2011. Suddenly, WWE had its most interesting angle in quite some time.
Directly after winning the title, Punk left through the crowd, blowing a kiss to Vince McMahon. WWE had an excellent storyline which they could build up for months, maybe longer.
Instead, Punk made an appearance at the San Diego Comic Con just days later, where Triple H happened to be addressing fans. Punk and Triple H exchanged insults, planting the seeds for a future battle.
Punk was still WWE champion, but a new champion was crowned, one that was presently competing in WWE. To the surprise of few, it ended up being John Cena. Triple H decided that both Cena and Punk had a claim to the title, and booked a match between the two at SummerSlam.
Punk once again defeated Cena, but his celebration wouldn't last long. This was the first mistake on the part of WWE.
Following his win, Punk was ambushed by Kevin Nash. After showing up out of the blue, Nash delivered his Jackknife Powerbomb to Punk. This set up Alberto Del Rio, who held the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Del Rio came out and picked up the scraps, winning the title from a defenseless Punk.
Suddenly, Punk seemed embroiled in a feud with Nash, which made almost no sense. On top of that, the two would never actually wrestle due to Nash's health concerns.
Instead, Triple H took the place of Nash, facing Punk one-on-one at Night of Champions. Triple H agreed to put his job title on the line, claiming he would no longer be COO of WWE if he lost.
This should have been one of the best matches in the history of the pay-per-view event, but it fell way short. The match was contested under No Disqualification rules, and that opened the door to outside interference.
And outside interference there was. In a match that lasted about 24 minutes, Punk and Triple H were subjected to attacks from The Miz, R-Truth and Nash.
Yes, all three men attacked both competitors. It had to leave viewers scratching their heads.
In the end, Triple H was able to get his sledgehammer and hit Nash with it. He then connected with the Pedigree on Punk to put him away.
In a matter of three months, WWE managed to take one of the most interesting storylines they had put out in years and completely destroy it.
Not only did Punk lose the title, but it was due to a man who was no longer an active competitor. In addition to not getting a match with Nash, Punk was defeated by the COO of the company, someone who no longer competed full time himself.
Punk not only showed he can be magic on the mic with his promos during that three month stretch, but he also competed in two excellent matches with Cena, proving his worth inside the ring as well.
No one could do what Punk was doing, and a good portion of the crowd knew it. This was the angle that should have solidified him as a WWE Hall of Famer. Instead, three years later, he doesn't even work for the company anymore.
What led to Punk's departure? That is anyone's guess, but someone who walks out on a contract can't be happy.
What Punk created with his historic promo on June 27, 2011 is something WWE should have embraced much more than they did.
Sure, he had a WWE title reign that lasted an incredible 434 days. He had great matches with guys like The Rock, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. He also lost all of those. Arguably, he could have accomplished all of that had he never uttered a word to close out that fateful episode of Raw.
Maybe Punk didn't want to travel anymore, or maybe he didn't like the fact that part-time wrestlers such as Lesnar and Batista were getting spots higher on the card. At this point, it doesn't really matter.
But one has to wonder if things would have gone any different had he defeated Triple H at Night of Champions in 2011.
Losing to Triple H came across like a supervisor punishing an employee for speaking out. It seemed like WWE's way of bottling up someone's thoughts and emotions, even if they turned it into a storyline.
Triple H is the COO of the company, it doesn't benefit him at all to get into the ring and defeat the top Superstars in WWE. It doesn't benefit anyone. While he put his suit and tie back on, Punk was left to recover from a nonsensical job of booking that took all of the sting out of his words that past June—and he never really did.
The height of Punk's WWE career took place the moment he grabbed the microphone on June 27, 2011 and the weeks that followed. WWE should have waited a little longer to bring it crumbling down, at the very least.