THE SUMMER OF PUNK (DVD Review)
Rated: UR/Region: 1/1:33/Number of disc: 2
Available from www.rohwrestling.com
For many, if you ask them if they remember CM Punk and the “Summer of Punk”, they’ll tell you of the Summer of 2011 when Punk dropped the pipe-bomb on RAW and went on to beat John Cena for the WWE title before “leaving” the company. The thing is, that was actually a bit of a re-hash of the original Summer of Punk. The real Summer of Punk took place in 2005 in Ring of Honor and is widely known as one of the greatest ROH storylines to every come from ROH. And just to show you how great this story was, it came at a time when ROH was full of great storylines, so if it stood out THAT well it had to be great. ROH has decided to release the whole Summer saga on one two disc DVD set and that is what we’re looking at today. The set not only has the matches from the story, start to finish, it also has the great promos and other ring chaos that was taken place as well. If you are a fan of CM Punk, ROH, or great wrestling and storytelling in general, this is a must-have set.
CM Punk vs. Austin Aries (ROH World Title Match) (Death Before Dishonor III 6/18/05)
I don’t give away results in matches for these sets, but I think everyone who has a clue knows how this one ends. While the match is great and as flawless as you could see in the ring, the crowd and the story makes the match. Everyone knew CM Punk was going to WWE and this was his swan song, well think again. The end results for this match set forth the events in this release and made the wrestling the best it could be from a story standpoint. Meaning, nobody had a clue what was coming next. The post-match promo from Punk also helps seal this one as a perfect segment and angle for ROH.
– Here we get the great in-ring promo from Punk where he signs his WWE contract on the ROH Title
CM Punk vs. Jay Lethal (ROH World Title Match) (Sign of Dishonor 7/8/05)
Now, logic would have told anyone that there was no way a young Jay Lethal would walk away from this match as ROH World Champion. Jay was well away from being what he is today. BUT nobody knowing when Punk’s last night in ROH really was made each match better by the pure unknown factor. However, on the disc you know and while the story was still good, especially the pre-match promo with Mick Foley, the match felt a little off at times.
– Balcony promo from Punk, Mick Foley also comes into play here
CM Punk vs. Roderick Strong (ROH World Title Match) (Escape From New York 7/9/05)
Here’s another case of Punk helping build up the roster on the way out. Everyone knew Strong was good and heading towards being great, this match only helped bring that idea home. Here you get a hard-hitting match that really shows what ROH is all about. You’ll notice Punk’s in-ring style in ROH was a bit different from his style in WWE, but he still knew what he was doing either way, and Strong was more than game here.
– More promo goodness from Punk
CM Punk vs. James Gibson (ROH World Title Match) (Fate of an Angel II 7/16/05)
Oddly enough, Gibson was having one of the best Summers ever in ROH in 2005 and while he was in the thick of things to try to stop Punk from taking the ROH tile to WWE, he himself was also basically out the door for WWE as well. Gibson and Punk tell a good story in the ring here and the blood from both does wonders. Gibson from the planned blood and Punk from the accidental kind, as he actually slashes his back open from an ROH sign hanging around the ring.
CM Punk vs. Christopher Daniels (ROH World Title Match) (The Homecoming 7/23/05)
Well, both Punk and Daniels are seen as some of the best in the business at what they do. People were hyped for the match, and as you see by watching the DVD, Punk had plenty of seeds planted with a few people making the story able to go in many different directions. From the start here you can see by the slow pace where this one heading and I think you kind of see the finish coming because of it. I think that overall hurt the match, not the storyline, but the match alone doesn’t hold up well these ten years later.
CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe vs. James Gibson vs. Christopher Daniels (ROH World Title Elimination Match Redemption 8/12/05)
Remember those seeds I spoke of? Well they all come together in this epic battle here between Punk, Daniels, Gibson, and Samoa Joe. The story they tell here in done in some very creative ways and you never knew just who would walk away with the gold, because as mentioned before, you didn’t know which night was really Punks last night. This match shows how classic ROH really put storytelling into the matches at times and made it work.
CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana (2 Out Of 3 Falls Match) (Punk: The Final Chapter 8/15/05)
Punk closes out things with a match between his best friend, Colt Cabana, here in Chicago, really the only fitting place to end it. The match here is just a good match with the bigger story being that it was supposed to be the for certain last time we see Punk in ROH before the WWE jump. If the crowd and Punk’s reaction doesn’t get you misty eye’d, then I’m sure the post-match promo from Punk and everyone coming to the ring to send him off will.