The Rise Of MLW’s First Renegade: CM Punk

“Take a look at this face because if you don’t know now, you should. My name is CM Punk and what I am is straight edge and simply put, what that means is I’m drug free, I’m alcohol free and that means I’m better than each and every single one of you watching this. Now I don’t have an ego problem, that’s simply the way it is and maybe that’s why I’m the one guy Joey Styles didn’t want here in MLW. You see I don’t conform to your rules, I don’t listen to what you have to say, I come and go as I please. I make up my own rules. I am my own man. You see, my destiny is to be champion wherever I go and I call it like it is and that makes people nervous. I’m the one guy everybody in MLW should be afraid of and after I beat everybody here in MLW and prove to the world exactly who I am, you’ll know too exactly why straight edge means I am better than you.”

Even back in 2003, a young brash CM Punk wasn’t afraid to speak his mind in Major League Wrestling. He did so with the above quote from MLW Underground, the original MLW TV series.

Always with a “don’t give a damn” attitude and a champion of the straight-edge lifestyle, Punk never wavered and made sure that 2003 showcased the rise of an up-and-coming renegade. He was a righteous warrior in his cause for a straight edge revolution and promised his followers that he’d expose the debauchery and decadence of MLW. Nobody was a better suited target than the legendary Raven.

The purveyor of Pepsi took great exception to Raven’s debaucherous lifestyle outside of the ring. After losing his first encounter to the wrestling veteran in early May at Revolutions, Punk came out victorious against Raven one-on-one in June at Hybrid Hell. This led to him taking the W down an unnecessary road. Post event, Punk opened up “Hybrid Happy Hour” as he walked down a “bar” lined with shots of alcohol to take his own shot at Raven’s personal issues.

“Raven, you’re losing (if not you already lost) your edge,” Punk said. “All those late nights of partying and drinking beer and doing shots is getting you nowhere fast here in MLW. You have met your match. An old man in 2003 isn’t going to get any better doing all the hard drugs and illegal substances you partake of. For instance, this poison that I hold in my hand right here,” Punk said in disgust as he dumped out the shot of whiskey over his shoulder.

“See Raven, I’ve played your game, time and time again here in MLW and sooner or later, you’re going to have to play mine, under my rules, under straight-edge rules. And when we do that, you’re going realize, that I am the choice of the new generation and you’ll find out exactly why straight-edge means I’m better than you.”

Punk clearly had no regards for Raven’s struggles with addiction and managed to find such a seam in psychological warfare with the hardcore legend as he ended up besting him on two more separate encounters, one with the very “Straight Edge Rules” match he spoke of on August 22 at Summer Apocalypse.

A good deal of the fans may have not been fooled by CM Punk’s bravado but he sure had the wool pulled over his emerging followers eyes, who were aptly named the Straight Edge Army. Along with a woman named Simply Lucious, Punk’s cause was also championed with the assistance of a ready-to-listen Nosawa. The lucha libre trained Japanese up-and-comer was swayed by Punk’s cult-like mentality and Punk, like he has shown before, took advantage of such an opportunity. Punk was both mentally and physically abusive to his “protege” but all that was turned on its head on September 13.

At MLW War Games, Punk was caught off-guard with an impromptu match against none other than another man of mysterious ilk, Vampiro. Vampiro beat Punk that night and Raven so happened to do the same to Nosawa.

With the help of Vampiro, Nosawa eventually saw the light and pushed back against Punk’s abuse of power. He aligned himself with Vampiro and together the two took Punk down his own road of torment, closing out 2003 with poetic justice against Punk and his “holier than thou” frame of mind.

Want to see some more legends of MLW? Be sure to check out the most recent episode of MLW Anthology featuring LA Park!

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