Dueling Diary: CM Punk and Chris Jericho, Introduction

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March 27, 2012

In April 2006, a relatively unrecognized competitor in WWE territory, CM Punk, toted a tommy gun in one hand while the other clutched the side of a 1940s coach riding down the ramp at WrestleMania 22. Six years before he’d step into battle on The Grandest Stage of Them All to defend the top prize in WWE, the tattooed warrior debuted in the WrestleMania main event … in a way.

The zoot-suited soon-to-be-Superstar rode into the Second City’s Allstate Arena among a throng of gangster hired to herald the arrival of WWE Champion John Cena. Under the brim of a hat, the lip-ringed mock mobster made a humble first appearance as an accessory to the champion Punk would later dethrone in the same building years later.

That night, Punk – in an uncharacteristic shoulder-padded, double-breasted jacket, slacks and slick loafers – exited the grand stage without much notice, slipping into the shadows that he’d have a difficult time finding while in the WWE spotlight shortly after.

CM Punk quickly commanded the attention of the WWE Universe following his in-action debut on the ECW brand in the summer of 2006. Within a year’s time, The Straight Edge Superstar was fully embraced by Land of the Extreme loyalists, propelling Punk to his first-ever title reign in WWE.

On Sept. 1, 2007, CM Punk seized the ECW Championship from John Morrison to commence a new era of extreme and prepare the kick-padded pugilist for even greater heights among the competitors of Raw and SmackDown not long after. Punk’s tenacity led him to treasures like the Intercontinental Championship and World Tag Team Championship, but his earliest accomplishments in the barbed wire-laced brand rooted him as a WWE fan favorite.

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