Superstar origins: 8 debuts that changed WWE

CM Punk

Most fans remember CM Punk’s first battle against ECW original Justin Credible inside Hammerstein Ballroom in 2006 – many also erroneously consider that to be his WWE debut. Initially competing on the independent scene before joining WWE, The Second City Saint appeared twice on Sunday Night Heat in spring 2005. Misidentified as “Chad Collyer,” Punk tagged with Chad Russell Simpson as the oddly named Team of CM Punk in a bout against the duo of Maven & Simon Dean.

CM Punk's Superstar profile | The rise of CM Punk

One month later, Punk was defeated by Val Venis, but his charisma and talent impressed WWE officials enough to earn the Chicago native a contract. Few knew it at the time, but the longest WWE Championship reign of the modern era was not far away.