WWE's CM Punk: The Evolution from King of the Indies to the Best in the World

Ryan FryeSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2011

Via the Enigmatic Generation of Wallpapers (Sister site of the Enigmatic Generation of Wrestling)
Via the Enigmatic Generation of Wallpapers (Sister site of the Enigmatic Generation of Wrestling)

Most WWE Superstars follow a certain mold. They are 6'1, 240 pounds and are often shallow in a gimmick. These days, the faces are just kiss-ass good guys, nothing more or nothing less. Meanwhile, the heels are slow talking, suit wearing, hypocrites, following the path that Chris Jericho paved out not too long ago.

And then, you have a man by the name of Phillip Jack Brooks.

This is a man is from the streets of Chicago, Illinois who is covered with tatoos and literally looks like a hippie straight from the 1980's.

He is a technical wrestling master and can talk on the microphone like Vincent Van Gogh painting Starry Night.

Whether a face or a heel, Brooks can pull any desired emotion out of the WWE Universe. 

He follows a simple rule that is so complex to a normal man. You see, he is straight edge. He refrains from many things that are popular in society today. 

Instead, he drinks Pepsi and hangs out with his buddies. 

In fact, his worst addiction is professional wrestling.

Today, I am going to walk to through the evolution of this special talent named CM Punk. He has done just about everything asked perfectly and has been one of the most unique people to walk through the Titan Towers while doing so.

The King of the Indies

Brooks began in a backyard wrestling federation and thought up the name of CM Punk.

To this day, many still wonder exactly what CM stands for. I tend to think it means Chicago Made, but maybe Punk himself doesn't know. That's neither here nor there.

In this small federation in Chicago, Punk was simply pursuing a dream while having the time of his life. Later on, he would from a stable called Gold Bond, made up of Colt Cabana, Chuckee Smooth, Adam Pearce and Dave Prazak as the manager. 

Soon, Punk impressed the local Independent Wrestling Association in Chicago and often put on classics with names such as Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, AJ Styles and even the late Eddie Guerrero.

Yes, I'll let you soak in the possibilities of CM Punk going toe-to-toe with those men. IWA Mid-South had simply hit a gold mine stretching from 2000 to 2005. 

Then, came Ring of Honor.

CM Punk became the microphone master he is today when he was put in a program with Raven, where Punk criticized Raven for his life-style of choice, like he would later do to Jeff Hardy.

Afterwards, we saw Punk form a team with Colt Cabana named the Second City Saints, where they beat the Bricoe Brothers on two separate occasions.

He put on thirty minute iron-man matches with the likes of Christopher Daniels and Low-Ki.

Sound drool worthy yet? Don't worry, things get better!

Punk would meet his match in the form of Samoa Joe.

Together, Punk and Joe put on instant classics and had fans anxiously awaiting the what was going to happen next.

In the finale, Joe beat Punk.

When his time in the company began to draw near an end, he was the centerpiece of a similar storyline that the WWE just ran, except it was drawn out much longer.

Eventually, he did drop the title before leaving. 

Punk Goes Extreme, Saved By Unlikely Foe

 After time spent in then-developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, CM Punk finally got the opportunity he had dreamed about his entire life.

In a debut promo, he profiled his straight-edge life-style, however spun it in a light that soon made him a crowd favorite in the reincarnated version of ECW.   

At first, Punk had a difficult time with backstage politics. As Dave Lagana recently highlighted on his I Want Wrestling website, agents and Vince McMahon didn't like CM Punk because he wasn't WWE-created. In fact, McMahon almost wished Brooks well in his future endeavors until Shawn Michaels convinced him otherwise.

Indeed, just another thing we have the Heartbreak Kid to thank for.

The tides began to turn in the Summer of 2007 for Punk. He made it into the final of a tournament to crown a new ECW Champion, where he was supposed to face Chris Benoit. However, due to circumstances we are all aware of, Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro (who won the match).

Although Nitro won and soon transformed into John Morrison, him and Punk would go back-and-fourth in a feud that created two stars.

Eventually, Punk was crowned ECW Champion while John Morrison would enter a successful bro-mance with The Miz. Soon, Punk won Money In The Bank at WrestleMania 24, setting his first world championship reign in motion. 

Underdog World Champion, Move to Raw 

 The week after being drafted to Monday Night Raw, Punk cashed in on a beaten-down Edge.

He was in the role of the underdog face world champion, similar to Rey Mysterio in his championship reigns.

He beat JBL in his first defense before being ambushed and punted in the skull by Randy Orton, which cost him his World Heavyweight Championship.

Upon his return, him and Kofi Kingston became tag team champions, forming a friendship due to their common enemies (Legacy).

Oddly enough, Punk became Intercontinental Champion, just to drop it to JBL so he could once again win the Money In The Bank ladder match.

Turning Into the Straight-Edge Messiah

A month after winning his second Money In The Bank briefcase, CM Punk would cash in on a vulnerable Jeff Hardy.

With Jeff Hardy's drug riddled past as a tool, Punk began one of the most brilliant heel turns in recent WWE history.

I have reviewed this great feud in the past, and as I previously mentioned, it brought out a CM Punk that we hadn't saw since his Ring of Honor feud with Raven.

After sending Jeff Hardy packing, Punk formed the Straight Edge Society.

This stable had great potential with member Luke Gallows, Serena Deebs and near the end, Joey Mercury.

While the leader of this stable, Punk had grown out a beard and chest hair and put on a tremendous feud with Rey Mysterio.

Unfortunately, the WWE missed the boat and had Mysterio shave Punk's head rather than being forced to join the SES.

In my mind, this was the first nail in the casket of this once promising stable, the last being the release of Serena.

Once this ended, Punk floundered around in obscurity until just a couple weeks ago.

The Anti-Hero Of The New Era, The Cult of Personality

 A legitimately frustrated CM Punk announced his contract was expiring just an hour after Money In The Bank went off the air.

A week later, Punk cut possibly the greatest shoot promo in the history of the company, which also was the catalyst to one of the greatest buildups for a match in WWE history: CM Punk versus John Cena.

Punk proclaimed he was going to leave the company with the WWE Championship, and Mr. McMahon did not want to see this happen.

Nonetheless, the match went on, and CM Punk did leave the WWE with it's most prestigious title.

After crashing Comic-Con and cutting a promo for indy promotion AAW, Punk returned this week on Raw, suggesting he will face the newly-crowned champion John Cena to identify the real champion. 


Just to further demonstrate his ability to adapt, Punk's finishing move in Ring of Honor was the Pepsi Plunge. This move was essentially a Pedigree off the top rope. Of course, when he signed with the WWE, he could no longer use the move as something similar had already belonged to Triple H.

While he is just 32, CM Punk is well on his way to an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.

He has set himself so far apart from everybody else, it's quite embarrassing honestly.

I look forward to what is going to happen next, as the most interesting man in professional wrestling may just do what we believed was impossible to do: make pro wrestling (somewhat) mainstream again.

If you like my writing, please visit the Enigmatic Generation of Wrestling, where I along with other Bleacher Report alumni have exclusive pieces daily. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RyanFrye_V2, and fan me on my Bleacher Report profile page. 


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