A new breed of punk
When the punk rock movement began in the mid-1970s, the status quo believed the underground, anti-establishment movement that rebelled against apathy and political and social wrongs would eventually recede into history… it didn't. With bands like The Misfits, the Sex Pistols and the Ramones propelling punks to get off their Barcoloungers and hit the streets in protest, the campaign caught on and progressed.
Now, nearly a half century later, ECW is feeling the effects of that movement — but inside the confines of the Extreme, a faction is anything but united. "The Reject" Shannon Moore and CM Punk have gotten people talking in ECW -- and not all of it has to do with their in ring performance. The two Extremists immediately clashed upon running into one another in the ECW locker room. Since then, the two nonconformists have been embroiled in a battle for supremacy.
In and outside of the ring, both Punk and Moore are progressive, provocative and free thinking. Looking at both of their ‘take me how I am' demeanors, one would think that they'd get along… but a closer look revealed that they're total opposites.
CM Punk, a city slicker from Chicago, holds steadfast in his belief that it's not what you wear or the way someone reacts to you that makes you who you are.Having defeated Moore two weeks straight, Punk bears a contrasting view of "The Reject's" image.
"Being punk has nothing to do with a hair style or a way of dress or anything like that; it's an attitude," said Punk. "Shannon Moore just bothers me… I just try to live my life and be me because I don't know how to be anybody else. To me, I'm the Clash and he's Good Charlotte; I think people see who the real deal is," he said.
Moore -- arguably the more eccentric of the two -- hails from small town Cameron, N.C. He dons a fanned Mohawk (like Wattie Buchan from the band the Exploited), has make up plastered on most of his face and eyes and has tattoos and piercings on almost every square inch of his body.
"I don't see myself as a punk rocker; I don't claim to be a punk rocker," says Moore. "Everybody judges me on my appearance, especially the older businessmen and business women; they look at me and automatically think I'm a bad person for the way I look and my lifestyle."
Unlike Moore's multicolored Mohawk or his unconventional outfits, CM Punk has taken the no-image-image approach. He's got tattoos, long hair like Eddie Vedder from the late 1990s and lives by the motto that's inked across his midsection: "straightedge." But it's the music and the attitude that punk music portrays that helped mold Punk into the drug free, alcohol free avenger of the squared circle -- and it certainly had nothing to do with trying to fit in with the crowd.
"Punk rock is just what I've always listened to," says Punk. "It's kind of working class music. Growing up, I never had money. I never really had anything, but I could always listen to music to escape and it was just a way for me to relate to other people."
Whereas Punk favors the Misfits, the Clash, Rocket from the Crypt and Rancid, "The Reject" said he's more in tune with the image that artists like Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie project. Moore revels in the alarm he sets off when people see his Mohawk scraping the ceiling, his combat boots firmly poundings the floor and his piercing gleaming in the light.
"[Marilyn Manson is] the shock value person. He knew that whether you were talking good about him or talking bad about him, somebody's gonna be talking about him, and that's one thing that I strive for," said Moore. "I don't do the right things to make people happy. [CM Punk is] straightedge; no drinking, no smoking…I'm open to anything that either helps me to be a better person or simply helps me through life in general."
"The Reject" claims to have found solace in the enjoyment he gets from the gasps and appalled looks he receives when he walks around in public. He also shunned Punk's comments about why it is he does the things he does or dresses the way he does.
"I'm representing the others like me," explained Moore, "the ones in the corner alone because every body judges them and looks at them wrong."
Perhaps one of the only similarities both Punk and Moore would be their love of expression through tattoos and piercing.
"I've got six piercings: both ears, my lip, my tongue and my nipples, which, yes, I do take out when I wrestle because I'm not stupid," said Punk. "I can point out the individual tattoos that I had done, and the rest were probably three separate four to five hour sessions," he said.
Moore was quick to mention that his three piercings and the blanket of tattoos that cover his epidermis represent who he is, and that he's happy with every alteration he's made to his body.
"I don't care what you think about me. Until society or until somebody is living my life for me, then all my decisions are up to me; if it makes me happy, then I'm going to do it," he said.
Both CM Punk and "The Reject" would no doubt educe the same knee-jerk reaction from any grandparent, but beyond that initial reaction, there's little commonality between them. In the ring, Punk has gone two up over Moore on ECW on Sci Fi, but outside of the squared-circle it's difficult to define which has the most extreme identity. From tattoos to music to attitude, here's how these Extremists stack up.