By Dustin Brewer
After leaving the WWE in January and months of rumors about if/when he’d return, CM Punk’s contract with the company is up and it’s clear it’s going to be a while before we see him in the ring again, if we ever do. Let’s take a look back at some of the best moments from throughout his WWE career.
Finally at least, there is some closure on the CM Punk saga. Almost daily, speculation would run rampant about his eventual, possible or unlikely return.
Fans kept a keen eye on the calendar as it was well known that his contract would expire July 16 and he’d in January that he wasn’t sure if he’d sign another one to stay with the company.
Frustrated by the storylines the writers were pitching him, the return of part-timer Batista who went on to win the Royal Rumble after years off and general wear and tear from years of life on the road performing daily he finally reached a boiling point and walked out the Monday after the Rumble, less than an hour before Raw was set to air.
For awhile after that, there was nothing but radio silence on both sides. Fans chanted CM Punk week in and week out as everyone else in the WWE pretended not to hear it and Punk remained silent until finally returning to Twitter, albeit, only focusing on the Stanley Cup playoffs.
When July 16 finally came, both sides finally addressed the situation; WWE placed Punk under the Alumni section of their website and Punk tweeted out a thank you to all the fans.
It’s pretty clear that it’ll be a long time (if ever) before we see Punk in a WWE ring again and he hasn’t yet announced any plans for what he’ll be doing now but that should come in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, here’s a Top 5 of some of Punk’s most memorable moments in 8 years with the company.
5. Punk Serenades Rey Mysterio’s Daughter
Part of what’s always made Punk so interesting is that whether he’s a heel or a face, it’s hard to not be impressed by the levels he goes to to get a reaction from the crowd. Well in to the run of the Straight Edge Society, Punk feuded with Mysterio, repeatedly attacking him in front of his family. This whole segment is online but what stands out the most is the image of Mysterio trying to get his family away as fast as possible, truly disturbed by what’s happening.
4. Feud with Paul Heyman
Fortunately for fans, one of the last big storylines Punk had with the company was also one of the best rivalries of his eight-year career. Fans have known for a long time that Punk attributes all his success and even really his shot in the first place to Heyman, who insisted he be allowed to use Punk when WWE revived ECW. So when Heyman turned on Punk at the 2013 Money in the Bank, fans expected some pretty intense stuff. It’s safe to say that it surpassed everyone’s expectations; the promos between the two men were always deeply personal and with every match, Punk had a new obstacle thrown his way, which made it all the more satisfying when he scored his revenge at Hell in a Cell.
The promo that started the Summer of Punk and launched his career to another level. About a month before his contract was set to run out in 2011, he cut what many consider to be one of the best promos in recent memory when he unloaded all his frustrations with the company and why that when his contract was up, he’d simply up and leave. Some of the things he says seem a bit prophetic now in hindsight (“It’s going to be taken over by his idiotic daughter and doofus son-in-law” and “Vince McMahon is a millionaire who should be a billionaire” seem the most pertinent given the WWE’s current state) but it’s pretty easy to see that the rumored reasons for him leaving for good now have been on his mind for some time.
2. Punk vs The Streak
CM Punk’s attempt to break the Undertaker’s 20-0 streak at Wrestlemania was already one of the biggest storylines headed into the event but after the sudden passing of Paul Bearer, the Undertaker’s longtime manager, it became THE story in a ‘Mania that included Rock vs Cena 2. Taking the promos and the attacks to a personal, and almost demented level, Punk again showed that he knew no bounds when working as a heel. The match was one of the most memorable in Taker’s streak, stole the show and was later voted Match of the Year.
1. “Your Arms Are Just Too Short to Box with God”
Punk held the WWE title for a record 434 days before finally losing it at the 2013 Royal Rumble to the Rock. In the build up to that match, the two men brought out the best of each other on the mic. In an epic 30-minute segment, the two never failed to hold the full attention of the audience and when Punk tells the Rock “your arms are just too short to box with God,” you can hear the crowd’s shocked response. Honestly, Punk could’ve just dropped the mic and walked away, because that buildup and that moment encompass everything he stood for throughout his career. Whether everyone loved him or no one did, he knew he was the best in the world and he’d go to any length to make sure we knew it too.
Thank you for all the great memories Punk, WWE is definitely not the same without you.
Here are a few links to some honorable mentions not included; Punk wins the WWE title the night his contract expires, Punk’s return at Payback and Punk and the Straight Edge Society trick the Raw crowd.