Posted by James Tee
Hello, and welcome back to the latest part of my look at the life and career of CM Punk. Two weeks ago, Punk went into Money In The Bank in Philadelphia as part of the biggest Money In The Bank match we have ever seen. A match full of past World Champions, CM Punk fell short in his challenge to become the first man to hold the Money In The Bank Briefcase on three separate occasions.
Now, we will look at those first two Money In The Bank wins and his subsequent rise to World Champion.
PART FIVE – Mr Money In The Bank
We left Part four as CM Punk finally won the ECW Championship from John Morrison. Over the final few months of 2007, Punk came through numerous successful defences, and entered 2008 as somebody who could put in reliable title matches against any opponent. His defences ranged from athletic matches against Elijah Burke, John Morrison and The Miz, to a lesson in Wrestling survival against Big Daddy V. His reign would soon come to an end though.
Heading into Wrestlemania 24, and the fourth Money in the Bank ladder match, CM Punk was getting great crowd reactions, but had yet to trouble the main event scene on Raw or Smackdown. Entering the Money In The Bank match alongside Chris Jericho, MVP, John Morrison, Mr Kennedy, Carlito and Shelton Benjamin (Jeff Hardy was scheduled to be in, and likely to win the match, but failed a Wellness test, and was removed from the match).
Hardy’s loss was Punk’s gain.
After years of grafting through the independent scene, CM Punk was now on the cusp of becoming a World Champion in the biggest wrestling company in the world. One week before his cash-in, Punk was drafted to Monday Night Raw.
His first appearance as a Raw superstar couldn’t be any bigger.
CM Punk had overcome all of the odds to become the World Heavyweight Champion. There was always a sense that WWE didn’t have full faith in the Second City Saviour, retaining the title for three months, without ever being involved in a memorable feud.
The way he lost the title was a prime example of the lack of booking faith in Punk.
Punk, who that night at Unforgiven 2008, was due to defend his title in a Championship Scramble match, yet due to the attack by Rhodes, DiBiase and Manu, was forced to vacate the title, without having the chance to defend it. His place was taken by Chris Jericho, who pinned Kane at the end of the match to walk out with the championship. Punk would receive a rematch against Jericho eight days later, but would end up being unsuccessful, losing inside of a Steel Cage.
It would not be long before Punk found himself with championship gold around his waist though. Alongside Kofi Kingston, Punk would gain a measure of revenge against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase by defeating them for the World Tag Team Championships on October 27th. Whilst champion, Punk entered a tournament to determine a number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship.
The pairing of Punk and Kingston would lose the belts at a live event to The Miz and John Morrison in mid December, but Punk appeared to be on the way to Intercontinental Championship glory. At Armageddon, Punk defeated Rey Mysterio to win the number one contenders tournament.
On January 5th, Punk received his shot against champion William Regal. Although victorious, due to the fact Regal got himself disqualified, Punk’s victory meant nothing. The following week, he was granted a rematch by Stephanie McMahon, although this time, it was himself who was disqualified. In a match to determine a final victor, McMahon granted Punk one final, no DQ match, and with his victory, became the Intercontinental Champion, and a Triple Crown winner. On top of that, Punk became the fastest Triple Crown winner in history, with just 203 days between his World Title win and his Intercontinental Title triumph.
It looked like Punk would head into Wrestlemania 25 as the Intercontinetal Champion, but a few weeks before, Punk was defeated by JBL, meaning that his focus would now be on trying to reclaim his Money In The Bank briefcase in Houston.
Punk would be successful.
Knocking Kane off of the ladder, Punk became the first, and to date, only man to win two Money In The Bank ladder matches. Like the year before, Punk was traded between brands after his MITB win, this time heading over to Smackdown from Raw. His trade between brands brought about a feud with Umaga, who attacked Punk numerous times, when it appeared that Punk would be cashing in his briefcase.
The feud between the two men culminated in a Strap Match at Extreme Rules 2009, which Punk won.
His night’s work wasn’t over though.
With Jeff Hardy arguably the most popular superstar amongst WWE fans at the time, the timing of Punk’s cash-in had people wondering if we would see Punk turn heel for the first time in WWE. Regardless, Punk ended Hardy’s minutes long reign, and became a two time World Heavyweight Champion.
After defeating Edge and Hardy eight days later on Raw in a Triple Threat match, Punk would head to The Bash to defend his title, one-on-one against Hardy. However, the match would be shrouded in controversy. Punk ‘accidentally’ kicked the referee in the head, claiming that he could not see due to an eye injury.
When Hardy brought up the fact that Punk could have feigned injury, the rumoured heel turn moved into full speed. Punk used his Straight Edge lifestyle to proclaim that he was the moral superior of Hardy, and therefore, he was better than him.
At Night of Champions, Hardy defeated Punk, reclaiming the title he had lost a month earlier. However, Punk soon regained the title at Summerslam, his third world title reign. On the August 28th episode of Smackdown, Punk and Hardy faced off inside of a Steel Cage, in a match where the loser would have to leave the company.
Punk achieved his aim of forcing Hardy from the company by defeating him, but the problems for Punk would only increase. When Punk won the title from Hardy at Summerslam, in a TLC match, he was attacked after the match by The Undertaker.
Continuing his new feud with The Deadman, Punk faced off against Taker at Breaking Point in a Submission match. After Taker originally won the match with Hell’s Gate, Smackdown GM Teddy Long declared that an earlier ban on the submission move was still in place, meaning that the match would be restarted. Punk would go on to win the match with an Anaconda vice, in a finish that resembled the 1997 Montreal Screwjob. The decision of Scott Armstrong to end the match without a clear submission took place in the same building as the original screwjob, and left The Deadman seeking revenge.
His revenge would come inside Hell In A Cell, where Punk would have to fight Taker inside his ‘natural habitat’. Despite his best efforts, Punk was unsuccessful in his title defence, and in the process, left the World Title scene.
But he would soon be back, with a new faction supporting him.
NEXT TIME – THE STRAIGHT EDGE SOCIETY, THE NEW NEXUS, AND THE PIPEBOMB
My apologies for the long delay in-between parts, but Part 6 will be up as soon as possible.
Many thanks for reading
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