Photo Courtesy of WWE’s Official Website
With WWE Payback taking place Sunday, June 1, WWE fan/expert David Ridderhoff will take a look at the eight greatest WWE moments in Chicago’s history. This moment is rated as the greatest Chicago WWE moment of all-time.
From a historical standpoint, this match doesn’t even come close to no.2 on the list, but as far as Chicago is concerned, it’s the greatest. When you combine a former cult leader with a cult hero status, a man that in my opinion is one of the three greatest superstars in WWE history, who as a face gets the loudest boos on a consistent basis and a Chicago WWE crowd that knew they wanted to steal the show, but weren’t able to because of a 35-minute long, five-star match. CM Punk and John Cena put on one of the greatest matches in WWE history, at a small PPV that was only in its second year of existence.
The lead-up to this match was probably the greatest build-up ever. It all started with Punk’s revenge for what everyone thought was a spilled Diet Pepsi. But that wasn’t the case, and Punk spent almost 10 minutes on an open microphone venting about his problems with the WWE and Cena, all just weeks before the contract he was signed with the WWE ended. This moment, now known as Punk’s Pipebomb, set up Punk and Cena for the match for the WWE Championship.
In the following weeks, Vince McMahon tried to sign Punk to a very large contract, with negotiations taking place in the ring on multiple occasions. Despite this, Punk refused to sign, with the final straw being when Punk telling Cena that he wasn’t the underdog that he used to be, but instead was, “the New York Yankees”, an insult to someone from the suburbs of Boston.
The match is somewhat overshadowed by the entrance of the two competitors. As the camera panned the crowd, one of the loudest “C-M-Punk” chants I’ve ever heard rose up, and when his entrance music hit the crowd erupted. They got even louder when Punk physically appeared. They chanted his name for a few minutes while Punk milked his awesome entrance, but that had nothing on when Cena appeared. Never have I heard boos louder than when Cena appeared, it was almost deafening. It sounded like literally every person in attendance was booing him, and the atmosphere was set for the entire match.
I won’t bore you with an entire match synopsis, but the ending was spectacular. After Punk got out of three STFs by Cena, Cena put him in it again, and McMahon and the Interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis were both at ring side, and McMahon instructed Laurinaitis to have the timekeeper ring the bell, and as Laurinaitis ran to have him do exactly that, Cena left the ring and knocked Laurinaitis down, telling McMahon that he was going to win it clean. When he got back in the ring, Punk hit him with the GTS and got the three-count.
Chaos ensued, McMahon got on the announcer’s microphone and told them to stop Punk’s music, and then ordered that the RAW Money in the Bank winner, Alberto Del Rio, cash in his contract, but before he could Punk kicked him in the head and left the ring. Punk exited through the crowd, but not before blowing a final kiss to McMahon.
The match was a five star match according to Dave Meltzer, making Chicago one of the few, if not only American city to have multiple five-star matches according to Meltzer. The crowd definitely may have played a factor in that, showing exactly how influential the Chicago WWE crowd can be. While in the grand scheme of the WWE it’s not the greatest moment to take place in Chicago, it is the greatest for Chicagoans, who got to support their home-town hero in a way that we haven’t seen replicated since, besides by the same fans with the same superstar. Who am I kidding, I miss CM Punk, and so does any legitimate WWE fan in Chicago.
Thank you for reading this series, and don’t forget that Payback is 7 pm CST tonight, and on demand on the WWE Network. Also, come back to Da Windy City tonight for reactions from Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals, and hopefully a preview of the Stanley Cup Finals.
WWE Network Event: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31359911
CM Punk’s Pipebomb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ms0DFxpptk
Punk Calls Cena the Yankees: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4vz41TrKCs
Complete Match, Including Entrances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8iyf0ErBfM
CM Punk Returns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9PIdDXmLgY
CM Punk Fake Return at Raw Chicago, March 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00cZ6G_1ICU