Punk faces pressures of ECW Title
ECW Champion CM Punk worked his entire life to earn the right to be called "champion." As he's now perched at the top of the Land of the Extreme, pressure will quickly become both the best friend and worst enemy of the Straightedge Superstar -- inside and out of the ring.
"My road here was really hard, but keeping this title, might actually be harder," CM Punk admitted, as he slung the ECW Championship from his right shoulder to his left. "There's more pressure on you as a defending champion. You don't want to be the guy that loses; you don't want to be the fluke. Plus, of course, you've got everybody who has ever been against you is either trying to be your buddy or kick your a**."
Anyone familiar with sports-entertainment will tell you that championship gold may as well be a radiant, lustrous target for a locker room full of contenders. But, as the Straightedge Superstar is aware, the challenge associated with the title around his waist does not always surface within the ropes of the squared-circle. Since winning the ECW Title earlier this month, CM Punk has arguably never seemed more thrilled or more focused -- his schedule's also never been so booked.
"When you're a champion, your duty is defending that title and also representing this company," explained a proud Punk. "Photo shoots, interviews (like this one)…when you're champion, the spotlight is on you and you have to deliver every minute of every day. And I love it so far."
Rapidly approaching only his third week as ECW Champion, Punk said that he is gradually adjusting to the lifestyle that accompanies the ECW Title. Though the Straightedge Superstar gladly welcomes such a change to his life, one has to believe that all that time spent at various events means more time away from the ring and less time available for training -- almost counterproductive for a defending champion who would require the exact opposite.
"When you're the titleholder, you're the guy doing appearances, signing autographs," he added. "I'm not complaining, but I'd be lying if I said it doesn't take its toll on you. Still, like I said, I welcome the challenge. I gladly welcome all of this."
Regardless of any toll taken on him, each time the Straightedge Superstar emerges through the curtain and scans the perimeter of an arena filled with ECW loyalists, Punk intends on giving every last ounce of himself to preserving his title reign.
"From Tommy Dreamer to Big Daddy V, if you're in ECW, you're not a slouch," Punk said. "Now, if they want an opportunity to take this title from me, they'll be stepping in the ring with a champion who is extremely confident -- not cocky -- and they're going to have to bring their ‘A' game."
One defense deep in what he hopes will be a lengthy tenure as champion, the Superstar who craves competition is eager to do whatever it takes to keep the ECW Title -- even if it means more time away from home, more time in the limelight, and especially if it means more contenders.
It's because, according to CM Punk, he is now exactly where he's always wanted to be.