Monday, June 8, 2015

7 Years Ago Today: CM Punk wins first World Championship

Seven years ago today - June 8, 2008 - CM Punk won his first World Heavyweight Championship in WWE, after defeating Edge via "Money in the Bank" cash in.

Not even counting the fact that this clip includes CM Punk, it was just brilliant storytelling and is honestly one of the greatest Monday Night Raw moments of the last 10 years in WWE. Some backstory:

WWE would hold yearly "talent draft" shows, where certain wrestlers would be moved between Raw and SmackDown. This was the first show after those draft picks were official. There were two top titles in the company: the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H was the WWE Champ and exclusive to SmackDown and Edge was the World Champ and exclusive to SmackDown.

Raw didn't have a champion. Batista - a Raw superstar - had a shot the night before, but Edge cheated and the title stayed on SmackDown. He came out to the ring to gloat about that fact, and that's where the video starts.

The Money in the Bank briefcase holds a contract for a world title shot any time the competitor wants it. Edge won the very first one in 2005. He realized a loophole and used it to win his first world title from John Cena after Cena had already wrestled a match. He swooped in on a defenseless wrestler and beat him. The next year, Rob Van Dam won the MITB contract and was honorable and cashed it in well in advance. In 2007, Edge once again had the briefcase and used it to win the World Championship from The Undertaker after he had already competed.

This day in 2008, it was then sweet irony that CM Punk cashed in on an unconscious Edge to take his title. It finally came around to bite Edge after he had used that loophole so many times himself.

And, of course, we all know my thoughts on CM Punk if anybody has ever read anything I've written about him. He was always the true "People's Champion" in professional wrestling. He wasn't part of the "corporate machine" that designed wrestling superstars. He clawed and fought his way to the top, the audience recognized his talent, and WWE was forced to make him a top star.

All of that culminated into an amazing 6-minute segment on Monday Night Raw that will always stand the test of time. It's just an awesome segment. A fan tweeted about the anniversary of that moment (although she accidentally said "6 years" instead of 7) and CM Punk re-tweeted her and replied. 

Looks like a little dig there at the system that he had to fight against for so many years. Since leaving WWE in January of 2014, Punk really hasn't commented that much on professional wrestling. He did the infamous podcast interview with Colt Cabana where he opened up about leaving, but that's really been it. He has been training for a UFC career and writing comic books for Marvel.

June 8 was a good day in wrestling history to commemorate. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

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