Early career (Late 1990s – 2000)
Punk’s first venture into wrestling was a stint in a backyard wrestling federation called the Lunatic Wrestling Federation with his friends and brother Mike Brooks in the mid-late 1990s. He first started using the ring name CM Punk when he was put into a tag team named the Chick Magnets with CM Venom after another performer skipped out on the card.
He soon left the federation and enrolled as a student at the “Steel Dominion” wrestling school in Chicago, where he was trained by Ace Steel, Danny Dominion and Kevin Quinn to become a professional wrestler. It was in the Steel Domain that he met Scott Colton, who soon adopted the stage name Colt Cabana. Punk and Cabana became best friends and spent most of their early career together working in the same independent circuit promotions, as opponents or allies.
Independent Wrestling Association: Mid-South (2000–2005)
Punk’s home promotion for his early career is usually considered to be Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (IWA:Mid-South). During Punk’s time in IWA:Mid-South, he had high profile feuds with Colt Cabana and Chris Hero while also rising to the top of the roster winning the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship twice and the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship on five separate occasions, beating stars like A.J. Styles, Cabana and even Eddie Guerrero for that Championship.
Punk’s matches with Cabana led him to being hired by the Ring of Honor promotion. From February 2003 until May 2004, Punk refused to wrestle for IWA:Mid-South. He claims that this was in protest to Ian Rotten’s mistreatment of Chris Hero in the company. Hero, however, has stated he believes there were other reasons, and Rotten’s treatment of him was just an excuse used by Punk to stop working for the company. Eventually Punk returned to IWA:Mid-South and continued to perform as a wrestler and commentator for them until 2005 when he was signed to World Wrestling Entertainment.
Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2002–2004)
Initially, Punk joined Ring of Honor (ROH) as a crowd favorite, but quickly became a villain in a feud with Raven that featured numerous variants of no disqualification matches. Their rivalry lasted most of 2003 and was considered one of ROH’s top feuds of the year, and was based around Punk’s straight-edge lifestyle, with him likening Raven to his alcoholic father.
At the same time, Punk joined the wrestling promotion NWA Total Nonstop Action (TNA), in which he was paired with Julio Dinero as members of Raven’s TNA alliance The Gathering.
Punk started climbing the ranks of ROH, including winning the ROH Tag Team Championship twice with Colt Cabana as the Second City Saints. Circa October 2003, Punk was hired as the first head trainer of the Ring of Honor wrestling school, having previously been a trainer for the Steel Domain and Primetime Wrestling.
Shortly before a TNA show on February 25, 2004, Punk had a physical scuffle with Teddy Hart outside of a restaurant that was broken up by Sabu. Punk and Dinero stopped appearing on TNA shows, leading to speculation he was fired for the incident. Punk, however, has stated that the reason he and Dinero stopped appearing on TNA pay-per-views was that TNA officials believed that he and Dinero had not connected with the fans as villains, having turned against the popular Raven and instead formed a villainous tag team managed by James Mitchell. The officials decided that as the teams as villains was not working decided to put the storyline on hold indefinitely, and thus had no work for Punk or Dinero. Punk officially quit TNA in March 2004 during the Rob Feinstein controversy, after having a dispute with the TNA offices over his ability to compete in ROH following a TNA order that their contracted wrestlers were no longer allowed to wrestle in ROH.
Pursuit of the ROH World Championship (2004–2005)
In ROH, Punk faced off against ROH World Champion Samoa Joe for the championship in a three match series. The first two matches resulted in a draw when neither man could make the pin or submission within the 60 minute time limit, before Joe managed to defeat Punk in the third match. Joe vs. Punk II became Ring of Honor’s best-selling DVD at the time. The match also received a five-star rating by Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, making it the first match in North America to do so in seven years.
In June 2005, Punk accepted a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment, after a try-out match against Val Venis on its Sunday Night Heat show. Even though he had accepted the deal, Punk went on to defeat Austin Aries, winning the ROH World Championship on June 18, 2005 at Death Before Dishonor III. Immediately after the match, Punk proceeded to become a villain and started a storyline where he threatened to bring the ROH World Championship to WWE with him. For weeks, Punk teased the ROH locker room and the ROH fans as well as mocking the championship he possessed, going so far as to sign his WWE contract on it.
On August 12, 2005 in Dayton, Ohio, Punk lost the ROH World Championship to James Gibson in a four corner elimination match consisting of himself, Gibson, Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels. Punk’s final scheduled match in Ring of Honor took place at Punk: The Final Chapter on August 13, 2005 against long-time friend Colt Cabana in a two out of three falls match, which he lost. In his last match, Punk was visibly crying and was showered with streamers when he posed in the middle of the ring.
Ohio Valley Wrestling (2005–2006)
In September 2005, Punk was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), a WWE developmental territory. He made his debut on September 8, 2005, in a dark match, where he, Nigel McGuinness and Paul Burchill were defeated by Deuce Shade, Elijah Burke and Seth Skyfire. On September 26, 2005 in his OVW television debut, Punk suffered a ruptured eardrum and broken nose after Danny Inferno hit him with an overly stiff right hand. Despite the injury, Punk finished the match and quickly recovered.
On November 9, 2005, Punk became the OVW Television Champion after defeating Ken Doane, which immediately led to a feud between Punk and Brent Albright, who had previously been feuding with Doane for the Television Championship and had lost his chance to wrestle Doane after Punk hit him with a chair so he himself could wrestle Doane.
On January 4, 2006, Punk lost the OVW Television Championship during a three way dance among himself, Albright and Doane. This was followed by a feud which continued for weeks with Punk usually getting the better of Albright.
After Matt Cappotelli vacated the OVW Heavyweight Championship in February 2006, a tournament was held to crown a new champion. The finals were Brent Albright vs. CM Punk with Albright defeating Punk to become the new champion. However, on May 3, 2006, Punk finally defeated Albright in a strap match to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship.
On July 28, 2006, Punk and Seth Skyfire defeated Shad Gaspard and the Neighborhoodie to win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship at a house show, but lost the Championship shortly after on August 2, 2006 to Deuce Shade and “Domino” Cliff Compton.
On August 30, 2006, a match was scheduled to take place between Punk and Skyfire for the OVW Heavyweight Championship. Prior to the match, however, Skyfire was attacked by Charles “The Hammer” Evans, with whom Skyfire had also been feuding, and was replaced in the match by Chet Jablonski (Chet the Jet) who pinned Punk to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship. As Punk no longer possessed the championship, OVW no longer required him. He was removed from the roster and brought up to the WWE roster full-time, although he continued to make sporadic appearances for the company.
On June 24, 2006, Punk made his ECW debut during a house show at the former ECW Arena, defeating Stevie Richards. He made his TV debut on the July 4 episode of ECW, cutting a brief pre-taped promo about his straight edge lifestyle emphasizing the disciplinary aspects of being drug and alcohol free.
Punk made his TV wrestling debut on August 1, 2006 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, defeating Justin Credible. CM Punk established himself in ECW by going undefeated, defeating opponents such as Christopher W. Anderson, Stevie Richards and Shannon Moore. Soon after, Punk began feuding with Mike Knox after Knox’s girlfriend, Kelly Kelly, was seen to have feelings for Punk.
At December to Dismember, Punk participated in the Elimination Chamber for the ECW World Championship; however, he was the first person eliminated by Rob Van Dam.
Following the pay-per-view, Punk entered into a feud with Hardcore Holly, who ended Punk’s six-month unbeaten streak in singles competition. Punk then qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23. In the final week leading up to WrestleMania 23, Punk made appearances on both Raw and Friday Night SmackDown!, defeating Kenny Dykstra and King Booker, respectively. At WrestleMania 23, Punk competed in, but did not win, the Money in the Bank ladder match, being knocked off the ladder just seconds before the winner, Mr. Kennedy, claimed the briefcase.
On the April 10, 2007 episode of ECW on Sci Fi, Punk briefly became a heel by officially joining the New Breed alliance. Two weeks later, however, Punk betrayed the New Breed during a four on four elimination match between the New Breed and ECW Originals by kicking New Breed leader Elijah Burke in the back of the head and costing them the match, making Punk a fan favorite again. At Judgment Day, Punk wrestled and defeated Burke in his first singles match on a pay-per-view.
However, on the January 22, 2008 episode of ECW, Chavo Guerrero defeated CM Punk in a No Disqualification match to win the ECW Championship after Edge, (acting as a guest commentator at ringside) ran in and speared Punk.
Mr. Money in the Bank (2008–2009)
At WrestleMania XXIV, Punk won the Money in the Bank ladder match, after defeating Chris Jericho, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, John Morrison, Mr. Kennedy and Carlito.
On the June 23, 2008 episode of Raw, CM Punk was drafted to the Raw brand. His first night on Raw came the following week, and he made an immediate impact. After Batista beat down World Heavyweight Champion Edge and left him lying in the ring, Punk and referee Mike Chioda ran to the ring with Punk carrying his Money in the Bank contract. Moments later, as Edge was struggling to get up, Punk hit him with the Go to Sleep and pinned him to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Later that night, Punk won his first defence of the title against JBL, who challenged him shortly after his win. His win over Edge would eventually also earn Punk the Slammy Award for the “Oh my God” Moment of the Year.
Punk continued to hold and defend the title until Unforgiven on September 7, 2008. Before the Championship Scramble match, Punk was attacked by an early version of The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase with Manu). Orton finished the assault by punting Punk in the head. It was announced that Punk could not participate in the match due to the attack and, as a result, he involuntarily forfeited the title. However, Punk was replaced by Chris Jericho, who went on to win the match and the title. He received a rematch eight days later on the September 15 episode of Raw, where he failed to regain the title in a steel cage match against Jericho.
On the October 27, 2008 episode of Raw, Punk and Kofi Kingston defeated Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to win the World Tag Team Championship. Punk was then entered in an Intercontinental Championship Tournament.
Punk and Kingston lost the World Tag Team Championship to John Morrison and The Miz at a live event on December 13, 2008. The next day Punk defeated Rey Mysterio at Armageddon to win the Intercontinental Championship Tournament and in a No Disqualification match against William Regal on January 19 episode of Raw, Punk won the Intercontinental title. With this win, he became the nineteenth Triple Crown Champion. Punk lost the title on the March 9 episode of Raw to John “Bradshaw” Layfield. At WrestleMania XXV, Punk won the Money in the Bank ladder match and became the first person to win the match twice.
On April 13, 2009 during the 2009 WWE Draft, Punk was drafted from Raw to SmackDown. In the period after the draft, Punk feuded with Umaga over Umaga’s repeated surprise attacks while Punk was attempting to cash in his Money in the Bank Contract. This ultimately resulted in a Samoan strap match at Extreme Rules, which was won by Punk.
Also at Extreme Rules, Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to defeat Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Championship. Punk then retained his title in a Triple Threat match against both Edge and Hardy eight days later on the June 15 episode of Raw.
At Night of Champions, Punk lost the championship to Hardy. Their feud continued through SummerSlam, where Punk regained the title in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match; afterward, Punk was attacked by The Undertaker.
On the August 28 episode of SmackDown, Punk concluded his fued with Hardy and achieved his booked goal of excising him from the WWE, defeating Hardy in a steel cage match wherein the loser agreed to leave the company. This act would earn Punk a second Slammy that December as he was named winner for 2009′s “Shocker of the Year”.
At WWE Breaking Point, Punk defeated The Undertaker in a submission match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Undertaker originally won the match with his Hell’s Gate submission hold. SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long re-started the match after stating that the ban that former General Manager Vickie Guerrero had placed on the move was still in effect. Punk would win the match with his Anaconda Vise when referee Scott Armstrong called for the bell despite Undertaker never submitting (reminiscent to the Montreal Screwjob, which took place in the same venue in 1997). The feud between the two continued and at the Hell in a Cell PPV, Punk lost the World Heavyweight Championship to The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match.
Straight Edge Society and New Nexus (2009–2011)
His character took on a more sinister demeanour on the November 27 episode of SmackDown when he revealed that he had converted Luke Gallows, who had previously been portrayed as the mentally incompetent wrestler Festus, to the straight-edge lifestyle which had rid him of his mental troubles. Continuing to espouse his straight-edge philosophy, Punk began to present himself as a cult-like savoir to the crowd, growing the hair on his head, face and chest in an allusion to Jesus.
Through January 2010, Punk began to convert planted members of the audience to a straight-edge lifestyle, making them take a pledge of allegiance to him and shaving their head as a sign of renewal and devotion. After converting many people who were not seen again, convert Serena began accompanying Punk and Gallows to form the Straight Edge Society. As well as leading this alliance, Punk was also the mentor of WWE NXT rookie Darren Young who flirted with the idea of becoming straight-edge before refusing just before his head was to be shaved.
Punk continued to show messianic traits, frequently giving sermons. In the Elimination Chamber match at WWE Elimination Chamber, he was eliminated by Rey Mysterio, whom he had feuding with leading into the PPV. Tensions escalated as Mysterio prevented him from winning a Money in the Bank qualifying match, causing Punk to interrupt Mysterio’s celebration of his daughter’s ninth birthday. Mysterio challenged Punk to a Street Fight at WrestleMania XXVI but lost to Gallows, meaning Punk picked the stipulation that if Rey lost he would have to join the Society. At WrestleMania, Punk lost to Mysterio sparking a rematch at Extreme Rules where Punk would have to shave his head, like his disciples, if he lost. Punk won this match after interference from a fourth member of the Society who kept his face covered. At Over The Limit, a third and final match was booked with both stipulations reactivated. In the match Punk lost and was subsequently shaved bald.
Embarrassed by being shaved bald as he considered himself always pure, unlike his followers, Punk appeared on the following episode of SmackDown, May 29, wearing a mask to hide his baldness. At Fatal 4 Way, Punk challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship against Mysterio, The Big Show and the champion Jack Swagger, but was unsuccessful when he was attacked by Kane.
On July 16′s SmackDown, Punk was finally unmasked by Big Show while healing from an arm injury. The following week Show also unmasked the anonymous member of the Straight Edge Society who was revealed to be Joey Mercury. This led to a handicap match at SummerSlam where Show defeated the entire Society after Punk abandoned his teammates. Following this Serena was released from WWE while Mercury became injured, severely thinning the Society. Gallows began showing signs of dissension too, and Punk defeated him on SmackDown, airing September 24, after which Gallows began a short face run before also being released from the WWE, ending the group.
Punk was traded back to the Raw brand on October 11 after being swapped with Edge. It was reported later that he was suffering with a hip injury that would stop him from competing. To keep a presence on television, he began commentating on Raw from November 22. During his commentary, he criticized John Cena for his actions against The Nexus.
At the end of December, Punk left the commentary team after assaulting John Cena on Raw and SmackDown with a chair. Punk later revealed that his motives for the attacks were that he had joined and assumed control of The Nexus. He would then use the group to attack Randy Orton, blaming him for prematurely ending Punk’s first World Heavyweight Championship reign in 2008; this led to a WrestleMania XXVII match and a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules both of which Punk lost.
WWE Champion (2011–present)
In June, Punk revealed his contract would expire at Money in the Bank and vowed to leave the company with the WWE Championship. After making a scathing on-air speech concerning the way in which WWE is run and its owner Vince McMahon, he was given a suspension from televised WWE events but was reinstated the following week on Cena’s insistence. Two weeks later at Money in the Bank, CM Punk defeated John Cena to become the WWE Champion on his final night under contract with WWE.
On July 21, CM Punk made an unannounced appearance at a joint WWE and Mattel panel at the San Diego Comic Con to mock new Chief operating officer Triple H and offer WWE Championship tournament finalist Rey Mysterio a match for Punk’s own WWE Championship, as long as it was in Punk’s hometown, Chicago. Mysterio won the WWE Championship tournament on the July 25 episode of Raw, only to lose it to Cena later that night. After Cena’s victory, Punk returned to Raw and upstaged the new WWE Champion’s victory celebration while also entering into a title dispute. Triple H would later uphold both Punk and Cena’s claims to the WWE Championship as legitimate and schedule the two to a match at SummerSlam to decide the undisputed WWE Champion. Punk prevailed but immediately lost the title after being attacked by Kevin Nash to Alberto Del Rio, who had cashed in his Money in the Bank contract.
The night after SummerSlam Punk accused Nash of conspiring with Triple H to keep Punk away from the WWE Championship. At Night of Champions Punk lost a No Disqualification match to Triple H after Nash, The Miz, and R-Truth attacked both men. Miz and Truth also attacked Punk at Hell in a Cell after he lost a WWE Championship Triple Threat match.
On October 31 Punk strong-armed his way into a one-on-one match with Del Rio at Survivor Series, where he regained the WWE Championship by way of submission with the Anaconda Vise.
World Wrestling Entertainment
- WWE Champion (2 times)
- World Heavyweight Champion (3 times)
- ECW Champion
- World Tag Team Champion
- WWE Intercontinental Champion
Ring of Honour
- ROH World Champion
- ROH Tag Team Champion (2 times)
Ohio Valley Wrestling
- OVW Heavyweight Champion
- OVW Southern Tag Team Champion
- OVW Television Champion
- IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion
- IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Champion
- IWC Heavyweight Champion
- MAW Heavyweight Champion
- NWA Cyberspace Tag Team Champion
- NWA Revolution Heavyweight Champion
Outside of the ring, CM Punk is actually Phillip Brooks, born October 26, 1978 in Chicago, Illinois.
He started his wrestling career in backyard wrestling federation, Lunatic Wrestling Federation, with his brother and friends. Unlike his friends, Punk genuinely wanted to be a wrestler and saw it as more than simple fun. When the promotion started taking off, doing spot shows out of a warehouse in Mokena, Illinois, Punk found out that his brother Mike had embezzled thousands of dollars from the small company, causing them to become estranged. Mike has not wrestled since.
Throughout his career, Punk has consistently used the gimmick of being straight edge, a lifestyle he follows in his actual day-to-day life outside of wrestling. Depending on Punk’s alignment as a crowd favourite or villain, he emphasizes different aspects of the culture to encourage the desired audience reaction.
- Originally, the initials CM in his ring name represented the phrase “Chick Magnet”, the name of the tag team he was in as a backyard wrestler. Punk, however, later changed CM into an orphan initialism, declaring that it has no meaning. However, Punk has jokingly stated CM stands for “Cookie Monster”, “Crooked Moonsault”, “Chuck Mosley”, “Charles Montgomery”, “Charles Manson”, “Crazy Mariachi”, “Chicago Made”, “Championship Material” and “Cole Miner” among others.
- Has been romantically linked to WWE Divas Amy Dumas (better known as Lita) and Beth Phoenix, but as of January 2012, is apparently single.
- During his time in OVW, Punk had a minor appearance at WrestleMania 22 on April 2, 2006 as one of the gangsters who rode a 1930s era car to the ring before John Cena’s entrance.
- Punk is the only WWE Superstar to win the Money in the Bank match twice in a row having won the match in both 2008 and 2009.
- He is the nineteenth WWE Triple Crown Champion and also the fastest man to earn the honour, having done it in just 203 days.
- Punk is instantly identifiable by his numerous tattoos, which include a Pepsi Globe logo on his left shoulder, the words “Straight Edge” written on his chest, a sleeve tattoo saying “Luck is for Losers”, a tattoo across his knuckles with the words “DRUG FREE” (“DRUG” on his right knuckles and “FREE” on his left) and a tattoo on the back of his left hand reading “No gimmicks needed”, a tribute to deceased wrestler Chris Candido.
- MAW.net Tag: CM Punk - All posts on this website tagged with “CM Punk”.
- CM Punk’s WWE Profile - Punk’s official profile on WWE.com.
- Official Website – Punk’s official website.
- CM Punk on Twitter – Punk’s verified Twitter account.
- Better-Than-You.net – Your ultimate resource for WWE Superstar CM Punk.
- CM Punk-Lovers.com – Your dedicated source for Mr. Best in the World, CM Punk.