The Best of CM Punk in IWA Mid-South

You might know him as the “Best in the World.”  You may know him as the man that put ROH on the map.  You may know him as the WWE champion.  I will always remember him as a rookie driving from Chicago to Louisville twice a week and wrestling the likes of Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno), Colt Cabana and Suicide Kid every week.  It was a privilege getting to know Punk on his way up and seeing the hours of training, studying (I couldn’t tell you how many all nighters they pulled at Ian Rotten’s trailer after shows watching videos and taking notes) and just overall hard work that went into making Punk the best in the world.  I could tell early on that he had what it took to be a star.  He had the charisma.  He had the stamina.  He had the talent.  He had the desire.  He had the work ethic.  It was just a matter of time and opportunity.  Since I gained a lot of followers on twitter today due to being retweeted by Punk, I thought it would only be fitting to go over some of my favorite memories of CM Punk in IWA Mid-South Wrestling.

GBM

 

Photo: Colt Cabana, Jim Fannin, CM Punk, Suicide Kid

That picture was taken after the 55 minute Tables, Ladders and Chairs match from the last show in the House of Hardcore in Charlestown, Indiana against Chris Hero.  I am not sure how any mention of CM Punk in IWA couldn’t begin with talking about that match.  Side Russian Leg Sweep off the 12 foot high balcony through tables onto the concrete floor.  A game of chicken while literally hanging from the rafters of the building and falling crotch first onto the top rope.  Ranas to the floor through tables.  A jumping tombstone piledriver from the ring apron to the floor through a table on Nadia Nyce.  Way too many moments to recall off the top of my head from 10 years ago and not having seen the DVD.  That was definitely the night that I knew that one day I would see both Punk and Hero in a WWE ring or that they at least DESERVED the opportunity.  10 years later, I was right because Hero just got his 1st performance on WWE NXT as Kassius Ohno.  I can’t wait for the day that Vince McMahon puts them in the ring together again.

You can buy the House of Hardcore 2nd Anniversary Show from Smart Mark Video and have it inside of a week at: House of Hardcore 2nd Anniversary Show

Another matchup with Hero cracks my top memories list and that is the 2 out of 3 Falls, 90 Minute Time Limit matchup that happened 1 year later.  “When Hero Met Punk” was the night where Chris Hero finally defeated CM Punk after 1 1/2 of losing to him or going to a time limit draw.  While I can’t remember much in the terms of exact details, I remember be mesmerized for 93 minutes by the endurance, stamina and fortitude that I saw that night.  I remember thinking that it was the best job that Dave Prazak and myself did as a commentary team.  I think it sparked a trend on the indies where a lot of guys tried to go out and go longer than 93 minutes but I guarantee you that if they did, it didn’t have the drama or quality of this one.  This one was also the night that Chris Hero officially became the face of IWA Mid-South in the eyes of our fans.  He was ours.  He became our Sting.  The crowd took to loving Hero with a fierce loyalty when he faced “outsiders” that didn’t necessarily call IWA home on a weekly basis.   That led to the memorable Samoa Joe vs. Chris Hero match in Highland that started the dueling chant phase of wrestling.  I still get goose bumps thinking back at how charged that building was with the “Let’s Go Hero” “Let’s Go Joe” dueling chants.  I digress however since this is supposed to be about Punk.

You can buy the When Hero Met Punk dvd from Smart Mark Video here:  When Hero met Punk

While few people have the technical skills and promo skills of CM Punk, he also had the ability to not take himself so seriously that he couldn’t provide comedy.  If someone doesn’t mention the matches against Chris Hero when they talk about Punk in IWA, they talk about the 8 man tag comedy match from the 2004 Revolution Strong Style Tournament.  Chris Candido, Claudio Castagnoli (Antonio Cesaro in WWE), Nigel McGuinness and Steve Stone vs. CM Punk, Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne in WWE), Danny Daniels and “Sexy” Ace Steel.  This was the semi main event of the strong style tournament show.  There had already been 2 plus hours of guys killing each other with suplexes, headbutts, forearms and everything else imaginable under the sun.  There was still the finals to go.  What could we go out there and do that the crowd hadn’t already seen that night?  How about going out and putting on the most ridiculous wrestling match that I have ever seen?  I don’t want to spoil everything that happens in the match because that takes away from the shock if anyone actually purchases the DVD and gives it a look.  I will go on to give this back story though.  In one of the previous shows in Lafayette, I had wrestled in a handicapped match where it was Danny Daniels, Ryan Boz and myself vs. Ian Rotten and Steve Stone.  I wore my yellow and red “Jimamania” tank top:

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The only difference was that I didn’t have the t-shirt on underneath the tank top.  The crowd proceeded to taunt me throughout the match with “you need a bra” chants.  So for the 8 man comedy tag, we did a spot where I got in the ring to fight the referee after he had bodyslammed a bare assed Chris Candido.  I took off my shirt and “forgot” that I had a sports bra on underneath.  The spot got me an “IWA” chant from the crowd without getting my head caved in by a chairshot!  Considering it was also one of my last chances to manage the legendary Chris Candido before his untimely passing, it will always be one of my favorite matches that I was involved in let alone CM Punk too.

You can purchase the 2004 Revolution Strong Style Tournament from Smart Mark Video at:  2004 Revolution Strong Style Tournament

In the same vein as the aforementioned comedy 8 man tag, CM Punk did 3 hilarious matches with Delirious that will always stick out in my mind.  The spots that they would do where Delirious would try to hide by sitting in a chair in the front row seat were hysterical.  Punk would play it up perfectly acting like he couldn’t tell that the only guy sitting in the front row wearing a mask with 5 foot long tassels on it WASN’T Delirious.   Quality wise, these three matches were better than the tag because it had tremendous wrestling to go along with the comedy so it wasn’t as one dimensional.  The rubber match of this feud was Punk’s last match in IWA Mid-South and was on the No Blood No Guts No Glory 2005: War Games DVD that I have already blogged about in the past.

You can purchase the 3rd matchup from Smart Mark Video at: IWA Mid-South DVD No Blood No Guts No Glory 2005

I’m going to wrap up this blog with just one last memory.  Punk worked in IWA for 5 years and there are 100s of moments that I have left out.  It would take forever to write a blog chronicling everything.  This is just my top 5 moments.  There are matches with Colt.  Matches with Eddy Guerrero.  Matches with Guerrero and Rey Misterio Jr.   The 8 man tag elimination match where I managed CM Punk, Chris Hero, Ace Steel and Danny Dominion against Ian Rotten, Suicide Kid, Too Cold Scorpio and Colt Cabana.  All pale a little in comparison for me to this last moment.  It happened at Sweet Science 16 Tournament in 2001.  To this day, I am thankful that CM Punk knew how I felt and took the time to clue me in on what he was going to do so I could be present to see it.  The Insane Clown Posse were on the show that night.  Words cannot even begin to do justice for how badly I hate those f’n clowns.  Punk felt the same way and he was doing a run in on them at the end of the night.  He told me what he was going to do unbeknownst to the clowns.  I was giddy as a schoolgirl leading up to it.  I came in from my car that was in the middle of the field behind the building where I was listening to the farm report  on am radio because it was the only station that came in there.  I wanted no part of being around the f’n clowns or hearing their music.  I made it back to the building just in time to jump on commentary and witness one of the greatest moments ever.  CM Punk powerbombed one of the f’n clowns into a bed of thumbtacks…for that Punk will always be a hero of mine!

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