A look back at Punk’s first WWE World Title victory.
In June of 2008, Dave Bautista took out World Heavyweight Champion Edge on Monday Night Raw and following up on the attack was then-Mr. Money in the Bank, CM Punk.
Punk cashed in on Edge to win his first World Championship in WWE. Weeks later, Punk put the title on the line against Bautista at the Great American Bash and that pay-per-view was the subject of the latest Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard podcast.
Prichard recounted that moment and said he always liked Punk better as a heel. He stated that there was a groundswell of support for Punk from the audience, although he may not have been everyone’s favorite behind the scenes. Prichard said there were genuine reactions and looks of surprise on people’s faces backstage when Punk successfully cashed in.
He went on to say that he thinks Punk was a victim of people forming an opinion about him just based off his look. Prichard had great discussions with Punk and they had ‘philosophical differences’, but they were able to talk everything out.
Very controversial (CM Punk cashing in Money in the Bank on Edge). It was controversial because I don’t think that Punk had a lot of people in the locker room that were really pro-Punk. He’s a polarizing figure. I thought, if he’s that polarizing in the locker room then, what’s the general audience feel about him? And I really felt the general audience was intrigued. He was different and there was something about Punk, especially at that time… it was a groundswell. People were getting behind him. I thought then, I think now, later on when he did the whole X Division, I thought that he was a much better heel, a natural heel. The idea at the time was for him to eventually turn heel. The way that they did it, that was after I was gone, I thought was superb. I thought it was really good for him but again, in an effort to shake things up, you wanna see surprise on people’s faces? You wanna see genuine reactions? Have a camera backstage when Punk won the title. There were those that were like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ There were those who were happy for him and again, it was a moment that no one was going to call, and I thought it was a good one.
Hopefully, if you listen to the beginning of this show, you heard me talk about and praise CM Punk and talk about how he was misunderstood and how people felt about him and the fact that I thought that we just needed to explain who the hell he was… and people have a habit of you look at somebody and immediately form an opinion of who they are by the way they look and you can’t do that. That just doesn’t work in life, and I think Punk was a victim of that… The interactions that I had with Punk during that time were all good and we had great discussions. Look man, we had philosophical differences at times that we were able to talk out and that’s why I learned so much about him and figured out that, wait a minute, this guy’s just misunderstood.
This past Saturday, Punk headlined his sixth consecutive episode of AEW Collision. He and Darby Allin lost to Ricky Starks and Christian Cage.
If the quote in this article is used, please credit Something to Wrestle with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.