The ‘Voice of the Boston Celtics’ reviews ‘CM Punk: Best in the World’

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October 23, 2012

Let me start with this … I’m a CM Punk guy.

I mean, I’m a Paul Heyman guy, too. It’s hard not to be.

And truth be told, I’m old enough to have been a Bob Backlund guy, but that’s not the point.

When you’re a member of the WWE Universe, an NBA fan, a sports fan, love movies or television, whatever our passion, we crave the moments — the ones that resonate.

But on a Monday night early last summer in Las Vegas, CM Punk threw the dice roll of his life and delivered a promo that did the impossible. It not only stopped the show, but it also changed it.

It was a where-were-you-when, Twitter-trending, ground-shifting, WWE moment. The kind of moment we wait for, savor and remember. 

The great moments, in the ring on the mic, the ones we can rattle off from memory as if they happened yesterday, all have something in common. Something that flies in the face of everything we’ve been told about the business we’ve loved since we were kids.

They’re real.

In “Best in the World,” the new WWE DVD release on the career of CM Punk, of course you’ll see the promo, the “pipe bomb” that both blurred reality and crystallized the WWE champion in our minds. But the real genius is that you’ll see where along his journey, from the disenfranchised Chicago childhood, cutting a permanent swath through the IWA and Ring of Honor, and onto ECW and the place on the WWE roster in which he never truly felt at peace. You’ll see the genesis of each and every one of the 681 words that fateful night.

And it’s as real, as real gets.

Punk’s promo that night wasn’t born from a storyline. It created one.  

“Best in the World” reminds us that every time we see a CM Punk match, or any WWE match, it isn’t just happening that night. It’s born from years of work and dedication to the craft. You’ll see the unmistakable framework of what we know the WWE champion to be every Monday night, in his very early work in the independent circuit, on the mic, and in the rings with his friends Colt Cabana and Chris Hero, both of whom, like many close to the man it’s seemingly very difficult to get close to, appear in the DVD to shed light. None brighter than Joey Mercury, who’s story will make it just that much harder for you to boo CM Punk.

Which, if “Best in the World” teaches us anything, will only make him work harder to get you to boo.

There have been some phenomenal WWE DVD releases over the last few years, the declassification — if you will — of the machinations of the business combined with ever-growing library of historic footage has unearthed content we couldn’t have imagined as fans a generation ago. But I’m not sure there’s been a microscope on any one superstar, rivalry or phenomenon that not only breaks down the fourth wall, but also demonstrates how razor-thin that line truly is.

And how relatable, too.

Listen to John Cena, Michael Hayes, Jim Ross and especially Paul Heyman explain perfectly how that reality often gets lost in our pre-conceived perceptions.

See how each of the brass rings, the rocky start in OVW, his call up to the WWE/ECW roster in 2006 and even winning the World Heavyweight Championship in 2008, were never what he’d thought they’d be.

And in his unmistakable, matter-of-fact candor, he describes his rope coming closer to its end when The Miz, was placed in the WrestleMania XXVII main event, instead of him.

In sports-entertainment, there’s no four-letter word more confounding than this one.

Real.

This is real. All the great stuff is. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels was real. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had been future endeavored by WCW in 1995 — when he found his voice, it was real. That year, Mick Foley put together arguably the greatest series of promos ever in ECW on his way to WWE. Why? Because they were real.

It comes through the screen when it’s real.

The great ones, the truly great ones don’t conform to anyone’s idea of what a champion or what a superstar should be. 

They change it.

You can’t explain real to someone who isn’t a WWE fan. Go ahead and try. Try and explain the Montreal Survivor Series to an outsider. Really, go ahead and try it one day. And try and explain how a cross-legged CM Punk, sitting on the Raw ramp, is changing the business without taking a step toward the ring.

We love the characters, the larger-than-life personas on which the industry was built. But in the end, we come back, oddly enough, for what’s real. CM Punk … is real. 

His journey to the top of the business, and to one of the longest WWE title reigns in history, is not only real, but it’s also oddly familiar.

Why? Because most of us have felt unappreciated at work, watched as others got the spot we’d thought we’d earned. Most of us know what it feels like to put all of ourselves into something only to have someone just not “get” us.

And most of us were the outcasts. When he talks about being an outcast growing up, straight edge, punk rock? Hey, we’re wrestling fans. We get it. We weren’t the cool kids.

There’s far more punk rock, than rock star in all of us. 

Far more Punk … than Rock.

But in a lifelong search for like-minded people, the teenage outcast now has 1.4 million followers on Twitter.

Go figure.

It is a true inside look not just at the man, but the life of a WWE Superstar: the endless road, media demands and his dramatic change in diet this year. The catchphrase of which, ironically this week, would be “feed me … less.”

His legacy, you realize while watching the DVD, isn’t even close to being written. And the beauty is that watching his journey, makes you wonder who’s next? To whom will he pass his gifts, as Eddie Guerrero and Raven did for him? Who will be the one to benefit when one of the game’s great students, becomes one of its great teachers?

For now, we, the fans, are the ones who benefit. 

A lot of us set out to be the best in the world.

CM Punk actually did it.

This is the story of how.

Get your copy of “CM Punk: Best in the World” on DVD and Blu-ray at WWEShop.com. The “Voice of the Boston Celtics” Sean Grande is a lifelong WWE fan and the radio play-by-play announcer for the Boston Celtics. He can be found on Twitter @SeanGrandePBP

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