CM Punk: Best in the World is not a documentary about a professional wrestler making his mark in WWE. This 3-disc set produced by World Wrestling Entertainment is the story of a man who overcame all of his obstacles and wound up living his dream. His dream just happens to be being a professional wrestler.
This is the most personal, honest, deep documentary that WWE has ever been involved in. From the opening moments when Punk says he wasn’t close to his family and felt like he was adopted or from another planet, which prompts him to show the “Space Boy” tattoo on his wrist, you are emotionally invested in his story.
He is not particularly close to his actual family, as none are interviewed for the DVD. Several of his friends, whom Punk calls his real family, are featured. They recall their memories of him growing up and getting into the punk and straight edge scene.
The reason behind becoming straight edge has been storyline fodder in both Ring of Honor and WWE and Punk discusses it on his DVD – his alcoholic father. The story Punk tells about his father is unsettling to listen to and must have been absolutely horrifying for Punk to live through as a child. He basically says he never saw anything positive about alcohol and decided to never drink. As he got older he learned about the straight edge lifestyle and realized it was a fit for him.
While he was also a kid, Punk discovered Roddy Piper and noticed that they hated him for two reasons – the way he dressed and the things he said. Punk noted that he was hated for the same reasons, so he fell in love with Piper and the wrestling industry.
His early exploits in wrestling are heavily featured, as are comments from his opponents and friends who are not associated with WWE. Footage from IWA: Mid South and Ring of Honor are presented, as well as interviews from his trainer Ace Steel, best friend Colt Cabana, and Chris Hero (before he was signed by WWE and repackaged as Kassius Ohno).
The amount of time spent discussing ROH is amazing. They look at his early feud with Raven, pointing out that it was his first time having a program against somebody already established in wrestling. They illustrate it with pictures from their bloody dog collar match. His 3-match series with Samoa Joe is presented as being what it actually was – one of the greatest series of matches in wrestling during the last decade. Cabana and Daniel Bryan are featured heavily discussing ROH.
Punk is actually interviewed inside an ROH ring at their training center, where Punk used to be the head trainer. It is so surreal to see Punk sitting beside an ROH logo discussing the infamous 2005 “Summer of Punk” angle, where he won the ROH Championship and threatened to take it to WWE.
It really gets interesting after Punk signs with WWE. That is when Paul Heyman is introduced on the set. Initially sent to WWE’s farm territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, Punk is against the idea because he sees himself as being above it. That is where they send people to learn how to wrestle. Punk felt he had already proven that he was among the best. Training at OVW at the time was The Miz, who was interviewed and said that he and the others went to Punk for advice during that time, as they knew of his pedigree in the ring.
This is where it gets tricky for CM Punk. He initially had Paul Heyman vouching for him and helping him through the political minefield of WWE. After Paul’s dismissal from WWE in December 2006 – “He was either fired or quit, depending on who you talk to,” Punk says – it was a different world for Punk. It wasn’t until winning the Money in the Bank ladder match in 2008 that he finally stopped worrying that WWE would release him.
He wins his first World Heavyweight Championship in 2008, but feels anger over the fact that he is not in the main event. Triple H makes his mark at this point in the set, noting that a wrestler is supposed to make the title important, but his was a case of the title trying to make a wrestler important and it did not work.
He expresses his frustration at losing the championship without even being in a match. He then drops down to win the Tag title and Intercontinental title, before winning the MITB again and earning his second World championship.
Punk recalls a conversation he had with Vince McMahon at this point, where McMahon said, “I have a challenge for you, I want to see if you can be a heel.” Punk responds by saying, “What’s the challenge?” Punk goes on to be one of the most compelling heels for WWE in the summer of 2009, before being defeated by The Undertaker and again dropped down the card.
Punk again expresses his frustration at proving himself to be a top player during the summer, but then getting knocked down a notch for no reason. In a rare instance of breaking kayfabe regarding the Undertaker, Michael Hayes reveals that Undertaker told him that he respected Punk after their series of matches.
Punk’s response to getting bumped down is to create the Straight Edge Society. It got over and Punk was again a top heel. Jim Ross is among the people singing the praises of the SES and how it could have been a top faction in WWE history, but politics got in the way again.
Punk’s decision to leave WWE is next. That leads into the infamous pipe bomb promo, which is shown in its entirety in the documentary. Comments from Kofi Kingston and Curt Hawkins are interesting here.
The 2011 “Summer of Punk” is where we end the DVD on a happy note, as he wins the WWE Championship and becomes a top star for the company. Well, it ends on a happy note from the company standpoint.
Something to ponder is that Punk mostly talks about how frustrated he is during his entire WWE run, especially regarding not feeling like he is getting the respect and recognition he deserves. Presently, he is the WWE Champion, but is not main eventing pay per views. He is the champion, but he is second fiddle to John Cena. If WWE ever releases a part two, one has to wonder what Punk will have to say about this part of his life.
Bottom line, buy this set. The documentary is amazing. The matches included on discs 2 and 3 are awesome as well. This is one of the best sets released by WWE. Go buy it.