Why CM Punk Says His WWE Debut 'Felt Like High School'

While accepting Cauliflower Alley Club's Iron Mike Mazurki Award this week (via Sports Guys Talking Wrestling), CM Punk explained why his WWE debut in 2005 felt like a "high school" experience, and did not give him a sense of belonging within the company. According to Punk, the match also marked the main roster debut of Mickie James — who had graduated from WWE's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling — and WWE's plan was to present the pair as an onscreen couple.


Although Punk did not specify at what particular event the match was held, he noted that it took place in Cleveland, Ohio, and that he was presented as a babyface from Chicago. "I remember pulling Mickie aside and going, 'This isn't going to work. They're gonna boo the s–t out of me, and you're gonna take the stray for this one,”" Punk recalled. "We came up with an elaborate entrance, and I think might have kissed, and that was the kiss ... the instant I kissed you [Mickie] in front of Cleveland, they might have started throwing f—ing garbage at me."

"I proceeded to have an okay match, but it wasn't up to snuff," Punk continued. "I remember getting to the back and Arn [Anderson], Hunter [Triple H], and Shawn [Michaels] were just standing in the corner, and it felt like high school because they were pointing at me, and I knew they were talking about me. I was like, 'Oh god, I guess I s–t the bed.'" According to The Internet Wrestling Database, Punk wrestled Rob Begley in a dark match on "Sunday Night Heat" in Cleveland, Ohio, in July 2005. One can assume Punk was referring to this particular match, seeing as he wrapped up his stint with ROH earlier that year, and landed a WWE contract following a tryout match with Val Venis. Clearly, the match in Cleveland didn't impress WWE officials, as Punk revealed he got sent down to OVW immediately after.


CM Punk Remains Grateful For OVW Demotion

At the time of his demotion, Punk figured he'd spend "six months tops" in OVW before returning to WWE's main roster. Instead, "The Second City Savior" spent more than a year in WWE's developmental territory before debuting in WWE's version of ECW in June 2006. To Punk's credit, he viewed the demotion as a blessing in disguise, as he got to pick the brains of the likes of Danny Davis and Paul Heyman, both of whom were overseeing the OVW territory at the time.   


"The best thing about being in OVW was I got to work with Danny Davis," Punk admitted. "I don't know why Danny liked me. All these old school guys, I don't know why they put up with me, I don't know why they liked me. Paul Heyman would allow me to the Davis Arena on Tuesday nights and help write the television show because my thing was, 'I'm never getting called up.' That was my one chance." 

Punk revealed he planned to use the lessons he learned from Heyman and Davis and apply them elsewhere, seeing as he had little hope to make it — let alone thrive — in "the shark tank" that was WWE's main roster. "Paul taught me how to write a television show, how to time a television show, how to second out to commercial. Danny Davis and Paul Heyman let me sit in the control room with them, and learn how to edit the television show. This is when I started drinking coffee — I developed insomnia, and that is not a joke, it's real life." Despite his skepticism of ever making the WWE main roster, Punk did get the call-up thanks to a recommendation from Heyman.