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#ThrowbackThursday (6/30/16): The Night CM Punk Cashed In



June 30, 2008. Precisely eight years ago. A sweaty, humid night in Oklahoma City. Nothing much going on. Except for CM Punk completing his ascent from beloved indie darling to the king of professional wrestling as he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to defeat then-World Heavyweight Champion Edge for the Big Gold Belt—his first true world title reign.



To be fair, it wasn't as if Punk had been toiling away in obscurity before that point; he'd just come off of a successful two-year run headlining ECW as its Heavyweight Champion, and had successfully become the fourth man to be crowned Mr. Money in the Bank after stealing the show at WrestleMania 24 just three months earlier.

But this wasn't just Punk playing opportunist; the WWE's self-proclaimed Straight Edge Savior had a real axe to grind with Edge at that point, after the Rated-R Superstar's interference had cost him his prized ECW Championship to Chavo Guerrero in early 2008. Fortunately for him, he'd just been drafted to the RAW brand in the traditional post-WrestleMania talent draft. So he just happened to be in the right place and the right time when a raging Batista chose that night to ambush a sneering Edge and decimate him with a vicious guided tour of nearly every hard surface within the arena, culminating in a vicious Batista Bomb that left the champion out cold.

Cue the opening strains of "This Fire Burns," CM Punk's legendary first theme song, as a satisfied Animal made his way to the back. The crowd erupted as Punk stated his intentions to referee Chad Patton, manhandling a groggy Edge up into a crisp Go To Sleep for the 1-2-3 in 12 quick seconds.

Check it out right here.


History would repeat itself one year later, as Punk made history as the first man to successfully cash in on a MITB contract twice, this time on Jeff Hardy at Extreme Rules 2009.


It's a shame we'll probably never get to rejoice in these kinds of moment with Punk ever again, as a recent interview with ESPN confirmed some lingering saltiness about the pro wrestling phase of his life. When asked if he would ever make a return to the WWE, his reply was full of his trademark venom.

No, I don't think so. But it is one of those "never say never" things. I like to cover all my bases, just so some internet dweeb is going to be like, "You said you'd never wrestle again!" But WWE? No. Absolutely not. But you never know, I could pop up here and there. Let me explain that to you even better. It's not going to even be televised, it's going to be me in a ninja fucking outfit wrestling one of my buddies and nobody's ever going to know. It's going to be very "Monty Python" so to speak.

He went on to deride the WWE even further on a separate interview with FOX Sports, saying the company essentially treats its talent like "indentured servants."

Back in I want to say, 2011, my contract was up and they were trying to re-sign me and they were trying to re-sign me for lowball figures. It’s what they do to the guys. They’re indentured servants. They try to pay them the smallest amount of money you could possibly pay them. There’s no health insurance. You’re responsible for your own travel, your own hotels, your own food on the road. You’re home once a day, maybe. I did that 10 years to get to the WWE and then I did it 10 years there, so my gas tank was empty in that regard. 
In 2011, it was kind of hanging in the balance there and I made the decision to re-sign. It’s not that I regret that decision, it’s just that if I didn’t re-sign, I would have dedicated myself 100-percent to this. So I re-signed, that story unfolded, that chapter of my book’s over with and now I 100-percent dedicate myself to this now. It’s just later than I anticipated and it’s a bigger challenge now cause I’m older.

Do you have any great memories of CM Punk from 2008? Which cash-in did you prefer, his 2008 cash-in against Edge, or the 2009 edition against Jeff Hardy? Let us know in the comments below!

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