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Following CM Punk Day 5
Following CM Punk - Day 5
By Brandon Campbell with photos by Rich Freeda
March 30, 2008
All it took for CM Punk to become addicted was a blow to the head with a coconut. While watching wrestling as a young child, CM Punk witnessed WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper bust open the tropical fruit on Jimmy Snuka's skull. Ironically, it was this moment that inspired the former ECW Champion to embark in a career in sports-entertainment.
"There was just something so romantic about what had just happened," Punk recalls. "It stood out so much more to me than someone hitting a homerun, someone kicking a field goal or catching a ‘Hail Mary' for a touchdown. There's something about smashing fresh produce over somebody's head and getting paid for it."
Growing up in Chicago, Punk was the average little boy -- hyperactive. He would wrestle with his family and friends. As Punk got older, his hyperactive nature turned into aggression, oftentimes causing him to be reprimanded for fighting.
"Getting in trouble a lot for fighting is how I got my name ‘Punk,' " says the Straightedge Superstar, reminiscing about his past. "Anybody who had some type of authority, I would just mouth off to. I was an individual with a capital ‘I.' Anybody who told me not to do something, I would do it anyway. When someone told me I wouldn't [accomplish] something, I'd prove them wrong."
But that was then and this is now. Punk doesn't get into trouble for fighting anymore -- because he says it's his job to fight. The Straightedge Superstar lets his tension out on opponents in the ring. He's widely popular for living a drug-free and non-alcoholic lifestyle, and is an example of how one should never judge a book by its cover. WWE.com will follow CM Punk all week before he appears in The Granddaddy of Them All in his second consecutive Money in the Bank Ladder Match to show our fans there's more to the former ECW Champion than meets the eye.
8:33 p.m. -- What's Next?
Now that Punk holds the power in his hands, our fans want to know which title Punk will seek. "That's the thing about Money in the Bank; I can go after who I want, whenever I want. All you have to do is look at every person who has cashed in Money in the Bank. Almost every time, a new champion has been crowned," an ecstatic Punk says while sitting in the Citrus Bowl locker room.
7:44 p.m. -- Mr. Money in the Bank
Punk's body is covered with sweat. Every limb aches and blood drips from his brow. It's the type of pain that comes from wrestling in a brutal match. "Winning Money in the Bank symbolizes a new level. I was hurting, but I persevered," Punk says after outlasting Y2J to win Money in the Bank. Punk also got even with Mr. Kennedy, smashing the loudmouth with a ladder, ending his chance of a repeat. "What goes around comes around. I hope Mr. Kennedy watches this match tonight," Punk says. "He'll know how I felt. Tonight, he had that briefcase in his hand and so did I last year."
7:38 p.m. Who Wants it More?
In what will go down as one of the best Money in the Bank Ladder Match finishes in history, Punk and Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho reach, tug and fight for the briefcase that would offer one of them a future World Title opportunity. The Straightedge Superstar is now Mr. Money in the Bank. "Chris Jericho wanted to win Money in the Bank no less than I did. In the end, I came away with the briefcase," the Straightedge Superstar recalls. "He's a very tough fighter. Jericho is a [Superstar] who has done a lot for this industry. As a fan, I've watched what he's been able to achieve in Mexico, Japan and WWE. He's the first-ever WWE Undisputed Champion. I have a lot of respect for him."
7:18 p.m. CM Punk is Here
Punk enters the Citrus Bowl and our 74,635 fans go wild. The Straightedge Superstar is ready to make his mark on WrestleMania history.
5:58 p.m. -- New Gear
Yesterday, it was a suit at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. Today, at WrestleMania XXIV, Punk shows off his brand-new wrestling gear. "It's WrestleMania, so you want to look your best. Simply put, my gear is the Chicago flag - four stars and two stripes. I came up with design. It's simple, because I'm a simple dude. Our seamstress put it all together for me. I think she did a good job," Punk explains.
5:33 p.m. -- Something Old
It's not what you may be thinking. Punk isn't wearing his 2-year-old wrestling shoes because he's superstitious -- Punk doesn't believe in luck. "One would think I would've gotten some new shoes. I keep telling myself I will. I'll be at home sitting on my couch, and don't feel like getting up to log onto the Web site to order them," the Straightedge Superstar recalls before laughing out loud. "When it comes to my fashion, I'm a walking contradiction. On the one hand, I like to get things done. I like to be prepared. When I'm at home relaxing, I don't want to deal with it."
4:03 -- The Time is Near
The Straightedge Superstar takes it all in. It's hard to believe WrestleMania XXIV is closing in. "Competing in WrestleMania is a dream come true. There's nothing in the world like it. People live and die out there. In a few short hours, I get to be in that ring. Win, lose or draw, I'm going to have the time of my life," Punk says when asked what WrestleMania means to him. "Turn around and look at that set. Look at the stage we're sitting on. Look at this place. The Citrus Bowl has never looked this good," the Straightedge Superstar reflects, while admiring the WrestleMania set.
3: 36 pm -- Me, Myself and Vince
On his way to the locker room, CM Punk is greeted by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. "Vince is probably the last great promoter of our time. He's the guy who's made every Superstar who they are," Punk says about the Chairman. "He gave me an opportunity, and I like to think I'm taking the ball and running with it."
3:06 pm -- Money
Punk and The Greatest Fighter in the World, Floyd Mayweather, talk hours before "Money" steps into the ring with The World's Largest Athlete, Big Show. "I met Floyd at No Way Out, the night he broke Big Show's nose. I thought he was the coolest dude ever," Punk says. "After my match with Chavo, Floyd asked me non-boxing questions, such as how high I can kick. Floyd's a cool dude and a great entertainer. I'm glad he's here."
2:13 p.m. -- Focus
The Straightedge Superstar envisions climbing up the ladder, grabbing the briefcase and becoming Mr. Money in the Bank.
1:21 p.m. -- Inspiration
WrestleMania is the event where Superstars soar to new heights in their careers and are enshrined into immortality by a great performance. Punk will attempt to achieve just that. Here Punk, a true student of sports-entertainment, and Tommy Dreamer, admire a plaque featuring legends from the 1961 National Wrestling Alliance Convention in Toronto.
11:02 a.m. -- On the Way
Punk, the former ECW Champion, is hours away from competing in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania XXIV. "I feel so good. I'm ready," says Punk, as he leaves his hotel for the Citrus Bowl. "I just have to go out there, stick to my game plan and the rest will take care of itself. When it's all over with, that's when I'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief."
10:39 a.m. -- D-Day
Walking into CM Punk's room, it's obvious that today is not a typical day. Music is blaring in Punk's bathroom. Of course, it's his favorite genre -- heavy metal. Punk grabs another one of his signature T-shirts. "I feel good. I'm ready. There's no place on earth like being under those lights."