At the conclusion of Raw last Monday, many in the WWE Universe were shocked to see WWE Champion CM Punk, moments after completing his brutal assault on John Cena, driven away from the scene of his attack by Paul Heyman. (WATCH) The mastermind of the Original ECW is best known in WWE circles as the man who brought Brock Lesnar to WWE 10 years ago, and to this day remains Lesnar’s advisor. What most don’t realize, however, is that as the leader of WWE’s reincarnation of ECW in June 2006, Heyman was also responsible for giving Punk his opportunity to debut on WWE TV in New York City and receive a standing ovation and “CM Punk” chants.
Simply put, Punk was “a Paul Heyman guy” long before he debuted in WWE’s ECW. After years of competing in independent promotions and building a reputation as a tough-as-nails non-conformist, Punk was signed to a WWE developmental contract and assigned to Louisville, Ky., home of then-WWE developmental promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling. It was then and there that Paul Heyman – who at that point was creating future Superstars for WWE – immediately formed the opinion that Punk had the “it” factor.
Punk looked nothing like WWE main-eventers of the time, which included Cena, Randy Orton, The Undertaker and Triple H. Yet Paul Heyman stuck to his convictions. He had always stated that “talent is talent, size is not talent, and a competitor need not both to be World Champion.” Heyman took that same approach when he recruited Mexican free agents Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio for the Original ECW. These two future WWE World Champions were deemed too small by WWE in the mid-1990s, until they eventually proved that everyone was incorrect. That is, everyone but Paul Heyman.
Fast forward to July 11, 2011, and the infamous “pipe bomb” promo that CM Punk detonated live on Monday Night Raw. Fearlessly shooting straight, Punk unleashed his opinions of WWE’s top stars like John Cena, as well as WWE owners, the McMahon family. In the middle of an unforgettable tirade that ended only because WWE cut his microphone, Punk proudly declared, “I’m a Paul Heyman guy.” (WATCH) He did this because Heyman’s multiple disagreements with WWE management over the years had made him persona non grata, and Punk knew that pledging his allegiance to Heyman would further enrage the establishment.
Proving the adage that you can never say “never” in wrestling and WWE, when Paul Heyman returned to WWE as Brock Lesnar’s legal representative last May, it was @CMPunk who broke the news to the world via Twitter, proclaiming to his 1 million followers:
Okay. I’m having a blast with this. Here he is. The man. MY man. And he’s headed to the ring….
With Brock Lesnar once again gone from WWE after successfully completing his mission of breaking Triple H’s arm and making him tap out at SummerSlam, it’s evident that Paul Heyman needs an outlet for his insatiable thirst to create anarchy. Who better to latch himself on to than CM Punk, an old friend who wants to earn respect while tearing down the WWE establishment – and doing so as the WWE Champion, no less?