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Retired Professional Wrestler CM Punk’s Journey From Backyard Rings to the Biggest Stage

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When cable became more accessible in the 80s, several television programs started gaining momentum. People could tune into MTV to enjoy their favorite artists’ latest hits or switch over to the news for local, national, and international stories. However, professional wrestling started to grow in popularity and became the highlight for every pre-adolescent boy. At some point, they dream of performing in the squared-circle but later abandon their aspiration. However, Phil Brooks maintained his dream and stands today is known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers under the name CM Punk.

CM Punk was born in Chicago, Illinois, but later grew up in Lockport. One of five siblings, Punk grew up in a household where his father struggled in his battle against alcoholism, an event that would make him implement a straight edge lifestyle. CM Punk found his escape from his troubles by watching wrestling on television. He idolized “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and played around with his friends in the backyard, imitating “Hot Rod.”

During the 90s, CM Punk and his friends joined a backyard wrestling federation called the Lunatic Wrestling Federation, where he came up with his ring name. Joined by his friends and brother, the group turned their childhood dreams into a reality. However, CM Punk was the only one to show genuine interest in wrestling professionally, while the others saw it as fun. LWF started taking off and went around the state doing house shows. CM Punk remained as he believed that his career was in professional wrestling.

It did not take long before the young wrestler would leave for training at the Steel Dominion wrestling school in Chicago, befriending Scott Colton, who is best known as Colt Cabana. The two would spend many of their early careers facing off against each other and partnering up. The two would then sign with IWA Mid-South, where CM Punk rose to prominence and won the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship and Heavyweight Championship in four years. During that time, his feuds with Colt Cabana were celebrated and brought them to Ring of Honor’s attention.

CM Punk started gaining more momentum with the new promotion as his in-ring performance and feud with Raven. Their rivalry lasted throughout most of 2003 and was considered one of the promotion’s top feuds of the year. With a reputation that continued to surge, CM Punk joined TNA, where he performed in 2005. 

By then, Punk had already established himself around different promotions and decided to sign a deal with Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE’s developmental territory. From there, he continued to climb the ranks and eventually made his debut in ECW.

Throughout his career, CM Punk established himself as one of the best technical wrestlers who thrived in delivering promos. Whether he played a heel, face, or anti-hero, CM Punk often showcased what he was capable of. Punk would apply his real-life philosophies into his gimmick during his stint, forming the straight edge society around 2009 and implementing them into the Nexus faction.

However, the pinnacle of Punk’s career came about in 2011 when he held a promo stating his contract was set to expire and he would leave with the WWE Championship. His on-air speech covered his concerns over how the company was run before getting cut off and going through a storyline suspension. On the last night of his contract, CM Punk delivered on his promise and left with the WWE Championship, receiving his second five-star rating performance.

However, Punk would return shortly and go on one of the longest reigns as champion, holding the title for a little over a year. Throughout his run, CM Punk won every championship he set his eyes on. Although he has been away from the wrestling scene for years now, his legacy has been cemented, paving the way for independent wrestlers to make it in the most prominent wrestling organization today.


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