Recently I got my hands on the new CM Punk DVD, and as this is the first release in a long time that I took the trouble to pre order I figure I may as well review it before everyone gets their hands on a copy.
So what’s it about? Well, CM Punk obviously. It is the latest addition to WWE’s hit and miss collection of biographical DVDs. As a CM Punk fan I was always going to order this DVD, but I was crossing my fingers that it wasn’t just a collection of matches with the occasional talking head in between. Thankfully it doesn’t follow this formula. What you get is an approximately 2 hour long biography of Punk with an excellent, and relevant, array of talking heads. Along with Punk we hear from Paul Heyman, Colt Cabana, Michael Hayes, Kofi Kingston, Triple H, Daniel Bryan, Chris Hero (interestingly not referred to as Kassius Ohno), Ace Steel, Jim Ross and other genuinely relevant people in Punk’s wrestling life. The good thing about this DVD is that it’s not just about Punk the wrestler; it’s about Punk the person. None of his biological family are interviewed but we do hear from his childhood friends whom he more or less lived with as a teenager. We also hear from a couple of ex-girlfriends, one of which being Lita. Also, and probably the coolest talking head on any WWE DVD, Lars Frederiksen from the band Rancid provides more and more insight into Punk the person as the DVD goes on.
The basic story of the biography logically follows Punk from his childhood through to becoming WWE Champion. Nothing seems rushed or brushed over, this feels like a complete biography. Punk speaks very matter of factly about his childhood and his Dad’s alcohol issues. We hear about his teenage years as a backyard wrestler and his eventual route into the pro ranks via Ace Steel’s Steel Domain wrestling school. From this point on I must say that the selection of archive footage is superb. We see footage from countless indie promotions, IWA and even his days in ROH are well covered with footage from his matches with Raven and Samoa Joe. For me this DVD would not have been complete without footage from Ring of Honor, WWE have done well to acknowledge this. His signing with WWE is covered, as is his disappointment at initially being placed in OVW. It’s interesting to see how big he got in these days. Not ‘roided up muscle obviously, just chunky. Punk says that at one point in OVW he weighed around 240 lbs. and was a “balloon of a wrestler”, it’s hard to disagree in some of the footage. It’s from this point in the DVD that Punk’s dissatisfaction with how WWE handled, and to an extent still handle him, becomes known. It’s clear to see that Punk has decided what points in his WWE career are included in the DVD. For example, he speaks very highly of the Straightedge Society, but there is no mention of the New Nexus.
As expected Punk speaks very candidly and is very open about his feelings at various stages in his career. He reveals that he had reached the end of his tether two years before the end of his contract and only signed a new deal while the Money in the Bank 2011 PPV was in progress. Punk is not the only person to speak openly either. Paul Heyman of course speaks his mind while Michael Hayes provides some really interesting notes about Punk’s position within the company.
Some people may think that Punk comes off as egotistical in certain parts, but not me. I actually think he comes across as very intelligent and extremely passionate. He is a man that knows his own worth, no more and no less, and is striving to be the very best at what he does. The title of the DVD may be ‘Best in the World’ but the message I take is that this is not Punk’s status; it is his goal, and one that he has dedicated his life to achieving.
In between the various stages of Punk’s life and career are little diversions and anecdotes to fill in the blanks. In some of these Punk talks about his tattoos, he talks about his love of music and we also see him doing media appearances.
Along with the main feature you’ll also find some extras, outtakes, and oh yes, tons of quality matches. There are 11 (12 if you get the Blu-ray) in total and they are all of high quality. I’m sure this isn’t coincidence but all of these matches are good to excellent and all cover significant points in Punk’s career. There is the obvious inclusion of his Money in the Bank epic with Cena but also matches from his feuds with Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy and Daniel Bryan. Happily his Intercontinental Title match from Raw with William regal is also included, this is a forgotten gem.
As I have said and as you will know from the blog I am a big CM Punk fan. However, this being a review I do have to remain objective because I did find a few little negative points to the DVD, they are very minor though. Firstly, I know Punk hand-picked his talking heads but I found it a little perplexing that The Miz was included (he says nothing interesting) but Vince wasn’t. Even if just to talk about Punk’s contract situation heading into Money in the Bank, Vince’s inclusion would have given us some fantastic insight. Secondly, while a great job is done to mention and show footage from Punk’s pre WWE days there is absolutely no mention of TNA. Granted his time there was brief but everything else is covered so thoroughly I’m surprised it wasn’t at least mentioned in passing. Finally, WWE have done well to show footage from Ring of Honor, but I am still a little disappointed that they were unable to feature a full match. In fact all but one of the matches is from WWE, the exception being a match with Brent Albright in OVW. I would have liked to have seen more from his early days but I suppose time is limited on these discs so I have to give WWE props for including his most significant matches.
Overall this DVD has to be one of the finest WWE has ever released. If you are a CM Punk fan then this is a must have. Even if you don’t like Punk but like wrestling I would still recommend this DVD, it’s one of the best biographical accounts of a wrestler you will find on DVD. Honestly, and without any bias, In my opinion I would rank this alongside ‘Steve Austin: The Most Popular Superstar of All Time’ and ‘The Rise and Fall of ECW’ as the best DVD WWE has ever released.