Punk wins the WWE championship; setting off one of the most exciting eras in WWE history.
The talk of the wrestling world. Our -Howard Finkel voice- NEEEEEEEEEEEEEW Unemployed WWE Champion. Now I could bite other blogs and get into such things as….
-How awesome this was.
-Where we go from here.
But I’m not. There’s plenty of that to go around across the bevy of news sites, forums, and social networks you frequent. Besides, for those of us who followed his career from the days of Steel Domain, IWA-Mid South, ROH, etc….we knew a star when we saw one.
It wasn’t a question of if he could run with the main event slot, it was all a matter of if the big leagues would let him. And it just feels plain good to see that happen for such a hard worker and genuine star.
So in a change of pace, I’d like to share a story that’ll always stick out to me about CM Punk. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting the man; but I get the sense from stories I’m told about him and his sheer humility in terms of his stature in the business, despite having the right to feel himself even a little bit, that I’d like him just fine.
Also, I need you to remember this word and definition.
crunk/krəNGk/Adjective: (of a person) Very excited or full of energy.
I’m sure you’ve heard this expression in terms of rap music, Dirty South slang, and the fact it was a generally popular term around the time period I’m about to discuss. I was an avid fan of it myself. This word will come into play later
I’d like you all to jump in the Wayback Machine with me to December 3, 2006….Augusta, GA…the James Brown Arena. Yes, that’s right…the “pay per view of which we do not speak”…
Augusta, GA FINALLY gets a PPV and it goes down as one of the worst ones ever. Figures.
ECW December to Dismember. -LIGHTNING STRIKES, THUNDER ROLLS, BABIES CRY, LEBRON’S HAIRLINE REAPPEARS-
Really? All that because I said….ECW December to Dismember?
-LIGHTNING STRIKES, THUNDER ROLLS, BABIES CRY, REBECCA BLACK DROPS ANOTHER SINGLE-
Okay, I’m not testing fate anymore. But yes, there was a time that Augustians were actually EXCITED to see this pay-per-view. It also just so happened me and my best friend, Dantae Robertson, nabbed two tickets in some pretty swank seats for the event. Our suspicions were high on the possible sucktitude of this show, but everything is more fun when you’re not paying for it! So we hopped in the Impala and headed on down to the newly renamed James Brown Arena to check out the ECW brand’s first pay-per-view under WWE.
At this time, I’d been in the business a few years (way before I’d make any kind of real accounting for myself in the ring and WAY before a certain afro and basketball got introed into my life) and Danny always hit me up about information about indy wrestlers and wrestlers he didn’t know about. I’ve earned the nickname via Murder One (Of Rampage Pro and UWF fame. Hit him up at @MurderOne and tell him you’re looking for “FINE CHINA, babaloo.” :p ) of Computron 5000 due to my deep knowledge of all things wrestling. So it was only natural he’d ask me, “Who is CM Punk?”.
I swear, he got an education that car ride. Punk was the main reason I watched ECW and was who I would have paid to see going into this show. He gave me faith that the indy star could get to the big leagues and still retain the aspects that made him special. Not only that, but he got to main event this show in the Extreme Elimination Chamber. Surely this’d be his breakout night tonight, right? Bottom line, when I gave Danny the rundown, I wasn’t just rattling off info. I needed him to understand that Punk was a revolution waiting to happen and that the next star was in the making. I knew this because it had already been on display numerous times.
“Is he like the Rock?”
“Then how would you describe him?”
“He’s his own thing, dude. An original. Man….Punk is Crunk.”
It was the best i could do to describe him at the time. And the fact that I couldn’t make comparisons intrigued Danny, because he’d have to see him at work himself.
Fast forward some hours later; we’re in our seats and strangely geeked up for two guys that had sat through what guys around us called a “glorified house show”. But again, no money out our pockets; so we were having fun for what it was.
Finally, the main event came. Killswitch Engage thundered over the speakers and the arena came alive for this tattooed anti-thesis of everything WWE was pushing at the time. And it was awesome. The Augusta crowd received him quite well and for me, it was no ROH show with side banners to slap to the drum beat of “Miseria Cantare”; but it was close enough. Was finally gonna get to see him do work live and it was just a great feeling. Then it got even better; he entered the ring to take his place in one of the chamber pods….
…the chamber pod right next to our section on the floor.
I couldn’t resist. Now, I was fortunate to have been in a section with some good-hearted folk that didn’t mind some crazy chants throughout the night. So it had to be done. I had to see if I could get away with it.
Soon a few voices joined along, and eventually, our section was loud enough in the chant to catch his ear.
“PUNK IS CRUNK! PUNK IS CRUNK!”
What happened next completely threw me off guard, but showed me the kind of cat he was. It lead to a story I’d tell for fun which I’m now sharing with you guys.
Punk proceeded to turn around in his chamber, which struck me as odd given I thought the average guy would be immersed in the “big match situation” he was currently in. Regardless, he turned to our section; listening through the chamber pod at our chant. He then tapped the glass to get our attention, the tap as effective as a mute button.
CM PUNK: “IS THAT A GOOD THING?!”
CM PUNK: -Cheshire cat grin and a thumbs up- “OKAY!”
He then egged us on to chant it more and we gladly obliged him as loudly and strongly as we could. In the midst of me starting the chant, I failed to realize that he may have NEVER heard the term “crunk” before in his lifetime. So I’d like to think he was educated that night :p
Most of all, I hope he realizes that taking the word “crunk” for the base meaning…CM Punk is exactly that. A lot of people enjoy him and admire him for different reasons. I think I do because he’s accomplished the extraordinary, but has remained humble in thought and action even when he sits atop the throne. In all my years of watching wrestling and being apart of it, you’ll have many constantly speak at the highest of their lungs how great they are. How good they are.
Real power, is when the people KNOW you are; without any words being spoken. I’m proud to have lived in a time where this has finally been displayed.
“Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and he lets them come;
things disappear and he lets them go.
He has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When his work is done, he forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.” – Lao Tzu