There are a few moments in wrestling that seem to transcend the business. Often times these are moments that mirror real life and make the fans question their assumptions about wrestling being a “work.”
The moment in recent memory that did this was CM Punk’s “Pipebomb” on June 27th, 2011.
CM Punk had been crowned number one contender for the WWE Title. But he was still upset. He felt the bosses (Vince and Triple H) weren’t giving the little guys like himself a chance. He had been offered to re-sign with the WWE but was holding off. He’s thinking was that he couldn’t change the system so perhaps he would leave it.
Vince knew this, so he used Punk’s animosity and frustration to build tension. He began letting Punk cut promos “unfiltered.” This moment was the result of that. Punk ran to the ring, put Cena through a table, grabbed a mic, sat down on the stage, and delivered one of the most memorable “unplanned” moments in WWE history.
Punk was threatening to leave the company and take the belt with him. It felt real and people were excited. The stakes were at an all time high, especially because the match was in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. His entrance created one of the greatest crowd reactions in WWE history.
He won the match and then actually “left” the company with the title!
Returning a few weeks later to feud with “new” champion John Cena again with a new song and massive pop from the crowd.
How real was it?
According to the Best in the World documentary, Punk was indeed about to leave the company and actually didn’t re-sign with the company until the day he won the title. I personally am skeptical that this was the case. Vince McMahon was burned by something like this once before with Bret Hart, so I doubt he would let it get this far. Punk maintained after he left WWE that it was the case. It solidified Punk as a top guy and cult favorite. But the changes he sought came too slowly. He left WWE for good 3 years later. Ironically, his abrupt departure at the beginning of the build for Wrestlemania XXX started a domino effect that actually led to Daniel Bryan main eventing and winning the title. So he did get the change he sought, he just had to sacrifice his career in order for it to happen.
Are you still a CM Punk fan? Share your thoughts.