DIGITAL PICTURES — SCREEN CAPTURES
If the WWE Universe didn’t think CM Punk was a superhero already, they will after witnessing his daring performance in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match at WWE TLC.
Up against the rogues’ gallery of the treacherous Miz and the underhanded Alberto Del Rio, The Straight Edge Superstar miraculously broke free of handcuffs after being latched to the ropes by The Awesome One. The WWE Champion then fought his way to the top of a ladder and snatched his title before celebrating high above the carnage he’d just created.
It was the kind of fearless, in-your-face showing that has defined The Straight Edge Superstar’s run since he resigned with WWE in the late summer. Outspoken about his frustrations with the sports-entertainment empire in the past, Punk chose to be an agent of change instead of sitting around and waiting for one to appear. The “Voice of the Voiceless” wanted to see a more entertaining WWE Champion? At WWE TLC, he became it.
No stranger to Tables, Ladders & Chairs Matches, Punk defeated Jeff Hardy in this dangerous environment to win the World Heavyweight Title at SummerSlam in 2009. But where Hardy was an honorable, if not reckless, competitor, the champion’s opponents in the 1st Mariner Arena were a breed of Superstar who would step over their own mothers to claim victory.
Alberto Del Rio — who used his Money in the Bank briefcase to steal Punk’s WWE Title at SummerSlam — was willing to sacrifice his manservant Ricardo Rodriguez to get to the top of the ladder. The Miz — who maimed both R-Truth and John Morrison on his way to this bout — went even further, using handcuffs Rodriguez brought to the ring in order to incapacitate the counterculture champion.
Still, no matter what his opponents threw at him, Punk fired back with even more intensity. The Awesome One grabbed a chair? The Second City Savior kicked it into his face. The Mexican Aristocrat brought in a ladder? Punk drove him right into it. Even when he found himself shackled to the ringpost with no hope of stopping The Miz from grabbing his championship, the tattooed Superstar continued to fight. Ingeniously removing the turnbuckle in order to release himself, Punk charged up a ladder, smashed his opponents and triumphantly grabbed the title.
In that moment, it was clear that the WWE Champion is often outnumbered, but never outmatched.