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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.