The quality of this era of WWE has peaked, and now we are on the decline, and it all started going downhill after CM Punk left.
To say I was a CM Punk fan would be an understatement. I loved the guy, I thought he had everything you could ask for from a WWE superstar which is why I was so frustrated when he left the way he did.
CM Punk signed for WWE in May 2005, and was sent to their, then, developmental territory OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling). Punk spent a year in OVW, which included a stint as OVW champion, before heading over to ECW for two years (2006-08).
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While in ECW Punk qualified for the Wrestlemania 23 Money in the Bank ladder match, however he failed to win, he was knocked off the ladder seconds before Mr. Kennedy (...Kennedy) won the match. Also while in ECW Punk won the ECW championship from John Morrison, he then went on to hold the title for around 6 months before losing it to Chavo Guerrero, after being speared by Edge.
In 2008 Punk won his first major WWE belt. After winning the Money in the Bank ladder match he went on to cash in against then World Heavyweight Champion Edge, winning the title.
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Despite this early success and another Money in the Bank ladder match win (becoming the first man to win the match twice) WWE struggled to find a character for Punk to play on screen, which left him struggling to connect with the fans, and win major titles.
From 2008-11 Punk went through both the Straight-Edge Society and the New Nexus, in my opinion both of these were awful moves by WWE's creative department. These roles wasted Punk's character.
After these attempts however they finally seemed to find the right role for Punk, with a face turn and a good storyline Punk became one of the WWE Universe's most loved superstars.
In his hometown Chicago, Punk faced Cena for the WWE championship; after announcing that his contract expired at midnight the night of the match he told Vince McMahon that he was going to walk out of the WWE with it's most prestigious title.
After one of the loudest reactions I've ever heard from a WWE crowd, Punk went on to defeat Cena and left the arena through his hometown crowd, pausing to hold the title and blow Vince McMahon a goodbye kiss.
After Punk returned he continued to demonstrate his new character as 'the voice of the voiceless' and it was something the fans, including myself, loved. I thought he was amazing and every time he came down to the ring I couldn't wait to see what 'pipe bomb' he would drop next.
Despite the fact that Punk had one of the longest title reigns in WWE history, John Cena remained the face of the company throughout Punk's tenure at the WWE. I feel the best way to describe this situation is that Cena may have been the face of the company, but Punk was the shoulders that the burden of carrying the shows rested upon.
This was a job that he was excellent at, drawing massive reactions from the crowds as both face and heel.
Punk's exit from WWE was something that very few of us saw coming, however now knowing the his full reasoning is something that most of his fans can fully understand. He was severely mistreated by the company, risked his life and was fired on his wedding day.
Ever since Punk left the WWE, the quality of their programming has been on a severe downward slump. They can't find someone to fill that role that Punk has left and if I'm honest, looking at the current crop of talent that they have coming out of NXT, I don't think any of them have the mic skills to fill the role either.
Finally I don't think I can talk about CM Punk's exit without mentioning his wife AJ Lee. She was one of the most inspiring divas the WWE has ever had, she single handedly brought the Divas division so much further forward than it was before and should be commended for it. She is a legend, who deserves a place in the Hall of Fame. #ThankyouAJ.