Punk is born in Chicago, Illinois. Punk grows up in the area as an active fan of rock music, comic books and the Chicago Cubs. Both of his parents struggle with substance abuse through his early life.
I grew up with an alcoholic father. He never beat me, he never raised a hand against my mother or anything like that, but I’d seen enough stupid and ridiculous things between that, my mother and her prescription pills, and just hanging out with an older crowd when I was a kid, that I didn’t understand a lot of the fun to what partying was, so I just never did it. I didn’t understand waking up next to somebody you don’t remember going to bed with; I didn’t understand getting, you know, blackout drunk and not remembering the good times you have with your buddies; and I feel so strongly about it that I’ve just always been this way—it just made sense.
Punk starts a small promotion with many other untrained friends that starts in his backyard. Lunatic Wrestling soon begins running shows out of Warehouses and charging for tickets. Punk’s longtime friend, Larry Statkus, recalls:
I think at that point it was our biggest attendance and it was like, Wow, this is it. You look out there and there’s like 1,000 people. I was just blown away by what we had done because we had literally started in the backyard.
Punk closes Lunatic Wrestling Federation after discovering his brother has embezzled thousands of dollars from the small company. He cuts off contact with his brother and decides to pursue a more professional environment.
I think I have always had to outsource for support or anything I want to do. The people who were willing to accept me with open arms weren’t blood related to me. To me, that’s what family is. Family supports you. So like my Mom, my Dad, my brother – the only thing my brother ever did to me was steal a (crap) load of money from me.
Punk discovers the Steel Domain wrestling school, run by Ace Steel and Danny Dominion and begins his training for professional wrestling.
Thanks to the Internet, I wound up finding out about the Steel Domain Wrestling School [in Chicago]. After that, it’s a lot like the Mob. When you talk to anyone who is in wrestling, they’re very guarded about how you actually get into the business.
Punk begins working for IWA: Mid-South as an in-ring performer. This federation is considered his home, although indy wrestlers are free to work anywhere, in his early career.
I think it was September of 2000. My debut match was against Colt Cabana, he had been there about a week or two before I arrived. It was Dave Prazak that recommended Colt and I to Ian. Ian had been looking for guys that could do straight out wrestling. Looking back it wasnt a great match but after I worked Cabana it blew Ians socks off. He said he couldnt afford to pay me a lot but I would have an open invitation if I was free to come down and work. I really learned to wrestle in IWA by working guys with many different styles and I still have that open invite to this day. In MAW I learned to cut heel promos and how to work the crowd. I owe Ian a lot because when you’re first starting out you don’t get offered lots of bookings.
Punk debuts for Ring of Honor. He cuts an in-ring promo and claims he is shocked that the crowd recognizes him.
I got a phone call while I was out with my head injury. The first thing Gabe asked me was how my head was, which was rally cool. Then he asked me if I would be ready to work in November and I told him no problem. I got myself and Cabana in the group. We were working the 3PW show on I think September 21st and we walked across the street to the MurphyRecreation Center where ROH runs and they asked me to do an in-ring promo. I went out there and was surprised at the reaction as the fans knew who Cabana and I were.
Punk begins appearing for TNA Wrestling on their weekly pay-per-view events. He appears as part of the faction “The Gathering”.
I got into NWA:TNA through an old friend from Minnesota, Mortimer Plumtree. After my concussion and head fracture I was in Philly traveling with my good friends Josh Prohibition and M-Dog 20. Ace called me and told me to come home; we were going to be on the PPV. We got there and saw on the booking sheet we were going to be a tag team that was going over and getting into the battle royal. Like lots of times in this business, dont count your chickens till they hatched.
Punk leaves TNA when the company ends their talent sharing agreement with Ring of Honor. Punk, wishing to still compete in ROH, severs ties with the company entirely to continue working with ROH.
Punk competes in a try-out match on WWE Sunday Night Heat. He is later offered a developmental deal with WWE to begin training in their OVW territory which he accepts.
Punk defeats Aries in singles competition at Death Before Dishonor to become the Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Champion. The match ends when Punk delivers a Pepsi Plunge and picks up the pinfall. Punk announces that he has signed with WWE and begins threatening to take the ROH championship to WWE with him.
Noble defeats Joe, Punk and Daniels in a four way elimination match to become the Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Champion. Noble winning the championship prevents Punk from taking the title to WWE with him as he’d teased for weeks.
Cabana defeats Punk in singles competition in Punk’s final shceduled appearance at the Ring of Honor event titled Punk: The Final Chapter. After the match Punk is greeted with streamers and cheers from the fans in attendance.
Punk makes his first WWE televised appearance as part of their roster on OVW. Punk wrestles Danny Inferno in singles competition. Punk wins the bout with a roll up pin.
Punk makes his final appearance for Ring of Honor. Punk is not obligated to appear beforehand, as he’d wrestled his final scheduled match months earlier. When TNA prevents multiple wrestlers from travelling to appear at the Undisputed II event due to a snowstorm, Punk agrees to make a special appearance to fill in.
Punk is called up from developmental to join WWE’s main roster as part of the ECW brand. Heyman comments on bringing Punk to the brand:
They never wanted CM Punk to begin with. When I was in Louisville, doing WWE Developmental, they sent CM Punk down to me so I could fire him. Every week I would send memos to guys who were in charge of the Raw and SmackDown rosters saying: ‘You have a main eventer down here; someone scoop him up’ and no one would take him for a year—to the point when we launched ECW in WWE, I brought him with me because no one else on Raw and SmackDown even wanted him.
Punk makes his debut on WWE’s ECW brand. In his first match, he defeats Credible in singles competition via submission after locking in an Anaconda Vice hold.
Punk defeats Morrison in singles competition on WWE’s ECW brand to become the ECW Heavyweight Champion. Punk picks up the pinfall victory after delivering a GTS at fifteen minutes.
Punk loses the ECW Heavyweight Championship to Guerrero in singles competition on WWE’s ECW brand. Guerrero picks up the pinfall victory after Edge interferes and spears Punk.
Punk defeats Jericho, MVP, Benjamin, Morrison, Anderson and Carlito at in the Wrestlemania 24 Money in the Bank ladder match to claim a WWE title shot any time over the next 365 days.
Punk is drafted from the ECW brand to begin appearing on WWE’s flagship program, Monday Night RAW as part of WWE’s 2008 draft pick lottery.
Punk cashes in his Money in the Bank title shot to win the World Heavyweight Championship in his first appearance on WWE Monday Night RAW. He cashes in the shot on Edge, pinning him after an attack from Batista leaves him unconscious in the ring.
Jericho defeats The Undertaker, CM Punk, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio, and John Morrison in an Elimination Chamber Match to win the title.
Wrestlemania 26 is held at The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The event features Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes vs Ted DiBiase, Triple H vs Sheamus, Rey Mysterio vs CM Punk, Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon, Chris Jericho vs Edge, John Cena vs Batista and The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels in a retirement match.
Ziggler defeats Punk in singles competition on WWE Monday Night RAW via count out. Due to the circumstances of the victory, Ziggler does not become the champion. The match ends at thirteen minutes.
Wrestlemania 27 is held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia. The event is hosted by The Rock and features Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker vs Triple H, Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton vs CM Punk, John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki vs LayCool and Dolph Ziggler and The Miz vs John Cena.
Punk defeats Del Rio in singles competition at WWE Survivor Series to retain the WWE Championship. Punk picks up the submission victory by locking in the “Anaconda Vice” at seventeen minutes and fifteen seconds.
Punk defeats Ziggler in singles competition at WWE Royal Rumble on pay-per-view to retain the WWE Championship. Punk picks up the pinfall victory after delivering a “GTS” at fourteen minutes and thirty seconds.
Punk defeats Jericho in singles competition at Wrestlemania 28 to retain the WWE Championship. Punk picks up the submission victory after applying The Anaconda Vice at twenty-two minutes and ten seconds, forcing Jericho to tap out.
Wrestlemania 28 is held at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. The event features Kane vs Randy Orton, Big Show vs Cody Rhodes, The Undertaker vs Triple H, CM Punk vs Chris Jericho and The Rock vs John Cena.
Punk defeats Henry in singles competition, contested under no disqualification rules, on Monday Night RAW to retain the WWE Championship. Punk picks up the pinfall victory after delivering a top rope elbow drop with a chair at thirteen minutes and ten seconds.
Punk defeats Jericho in singles competition contested under Chicago Street Fight rules at Extreme Rules to retain the WWE Championship. Punk picks up the pinfall victory after delivering a GTS at twenty-four minutes and fifty seconds.
Punk retains the WWE Championship by defeating Bryan in singles competition at Over the Limit. Punk picks up the pinfall victory despite being locked in a Yes Lock submission hold by rolling over on Bryan at twenty-four minutes and two seconds.
Punk defeats Bryan and Kane in triple threat action at No Way Out to retain the WWE Championship. Punk picks up the pinfall victory over Kane after delivering a GTS at eighteen minutes and fifteen seconds.
Punk takes over as host of the podcast to interview regular host, Cabana. The pair discuss wrestling , Chicago and the podcast’s 100th episode.
Colt interviews me something like, two years ago. I approached him and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if for the 100th episode I interview you?” And I’ve known Colt the longest in this crazy world of wrestling so, who better to do it?
Punk defeats Bryan in a singles bout contested under no disqualification rules at Money in the Bank to retain the WWE Championship. Punk picks up the pinfall victory after delivering a German suplex through a table at twenty-seven minutes and fifty-five seconds.
USA Network airs the 1,000th episode of WWE Monday Night RAW live. The special features appearances By The Rock, D-Generation-X and Brock Lesnar as well as Christian vs Miz, Lita vs Slater and Punk vs Cena for the WWE championship.
Punk and Cena fight to a no contest when Big Show enters the ring and attacks Cena causing a disqualification victory. Due to the circumstances of the loss, Punk still retains the championship. The match ends at eleven minutes and fifteen seconds.
Punk retains the WWE Championship at Summerslam by defeating Cena and Big Show in triple threat action. The match ends and is restarted due to Big Show submitting when both men had him on a hold. Punk ultimately picks up the pinfall victory over Show at fourteen minutes and twenty-five seconds.
Punk retains the WWE Championship by fighting Cena to a draw at Night of Champions. Both men’s shoulders are on the ground as the referee counts the pin, thus ending the bout in a double pinfall at twenty-six minutes and fifty-five seconds.
Punk defeats Ryback in singles competition contested inside the Hell in a Cell cage at the pay-per-view of the same name. Punk picks up the pinfall victory at eleven minutes and twenty-two seconds to retain the WWE Championship.
Punk retains the WWE Championship by defeating Cena and Ryback in triple threat competition at Survivor Series. Punk picks up the pinfall victory over Cena at seventeen minutes and fifty-eight seconds.
WWE Champion Punk defeats Clay on WWE Monday Night RAW in a nontitle match. Punk applies the Anaconda Vice for the submission victory at three minutes and forty seconds.
The Rock defeats Punk in singles competition at Royal Rumble to win the WWE Championship. Rock picks up the pinfall victory at twenty-three minutes and nineteen seconds.
The Rock defeats Punk in singles competition to retain the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber. The Rock scores the pinfall victory after delivering a Rock Bottom on Punk at twenty minutes and fifty-five seconds.
Punk talks to Ashbury Park Press about using Paul Bearer’s death in his storyline with The Undertaker.
Everything is designed to push people’s buttons – so it’s unfortunate that Percy had to die for him to be a part of this story – but trust me, he would have loved it, he really would have loved it.
Punk talks to Marvel.com about wrestling The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29.
Well yeah, I mean a match against the Undertaker any other day of the year is still a big deal but not as big of a deal when you’ve got the opportunity to do that nobody’s been able to do for over 20 years this week at WrestleMania.
Undertaker defeats CM Punk in singles competition at Wrestlemania 29.
Orton obtains the Money in the Bank contract briefcase to claim a shot at the WWE Championship anytime over the next year. Orton ascends a ladder and grabs the briefcase hanging above the ring for the victory at twenty-six minutes and thirty-four seconds.
Punk talks to CBS Chicago about Brock Lesnar and Vince McMahon.
There are a lot of people back there who say me and Brock are very very similar. Unapproachable, bad attitude. A kind of cloud hanging over our heads. But to me, he’s a sweetheart. I have no bad stories about Brock, yet.
Lesnar defeats Punk in no disqualification singles action at WWE Summerlsam. Lesnar picks up the pinfall victory after delivering an F5 to Punk on a steel chair at twenty-five minutes and fifteen seconds.