REVIEW: CM Punk “Best in the World” 3-Disc WWE DVD

September 24, 2012 by Joe Israel

WWE CM Punk Best in the World DVD

I’ve had high expectations for a DVD looking back at the career of CM Punk since it was announced.  Once we learned how much input Punk would have on the DVD, my expectations went even higher.  And when we learned that they would reaching out to stars and companies from his pre-WWE days, my expectations basically peaked.  I first saw CM Punk live back in 2004 (at ROH’s first Survival of the Fittest event), and I’ve been a fan of his ever since.  He’s been a part of some of the greatest wrestling storylines of the last 10 years (both ROH and WWE’s version of the “Summer of Punk” come to mind), and has had some classic matches.  Clearly, this DVD has some high expectations attached.

Fortunately, this DVD almost completely lives up to those expectations.  The documentary feels authentic, and serves as a great overview of the highlights of Punk’s career (including his pre-WWE career in a surprising amount of detail).  The match selection was top notch, and although a lot of the matches will be familiar, they were the right choices.  Disc 1 runs about 2 hours, 20 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes for the documentary and about 35 minutes for bonus features), Disc 2 runs 1 hour, 45 minutes, and Disc 3 runs about 3 hours.  The DVD is rated TV-14.  As a nice bonus, all TV matches are complete, and include the portions of the match that took place during commercials.


“Straight edge Means I’m Better than You”: The Documentary

WWE CM Punk Best in the World DVD

When we first heard that CM Punk was going to have a lot of involvement in this documentary, I wasn’t sure how much the doc would differ from those on other DVD releases.  As it turns out, the documentary follows a very similar “life story” format to those other documentaries, but because of those interviewed, it has a slightly different feel.  The opening of the documentary, featuring a quote from CM Punk with no background music, was a very strong start.  From here, we learn a bit about his childhood and adolescence (which has definitely shaped the way he is).  I was surprised how open Punk was about this stuff.  I don’t think it’s any secret that Punk is usually a pretty private guy, so how open he was on this documentary could have gone either way.  By bringing in other people from his childhood, we were able to get a good picture of how Punk came into the world of wrestling.  This reminded me a lot of the Edge documentary from earlier in the year; they picked the right people to interview to give us a complete picture of Punk’s life.

CM Punk Promo ROH

After this, we move into Punk’s early career as a “backyard wrestler” before being properly trained.  I wasn’t aware of this part of Punk’s career, and it’s fun to watch.  The WWE was able to get their hands on a lot of the old footage.  After this, we move into what was probably the highlight of the documentary: a look at Punk’s “indy wrestling” career.  This isn’t simply a look at some footage from his indy days along with general comments about it.  They actually go in depth about what are probably his greatest indy career moments: his friendship and matches with Colt Cabana, his feud with Chris Hero in IWA-MS, his feud with Raven, the matches with Samoa Joe, and the “Summer of Punk” storyline in ROH.  In total, this portion of the documentary ends up running about 25 minutes, which is a good amount of time for all of this footage.  We get to see pieces of a lot of his classic promos from ROH, and lots of highlights from the Joe-Punk trilogy and his infamous Tables & Ladders match with Chris Hero.  Hero, Cabana, Ace Steel, and Daniel Bryan are among those interviewed.

If you are at all a fan of indy wrestling, you will love this portion of the DVD.  It was great to see just how much time was given to this part of Punk’s career.  At one point, Punk is talking about the different cities that he was working throughout this era of his career, and he mentions wrestling “Wednesdays in Nashville”.  So, yes, there is one very small and very indirect reference to Punk’s run in NWA-TNA.

The next portion, talking about Punk’s days in OVW and on the ECW brand, might have been my favorite part of the documentary.  There were two chief reasons for this.  First, I didn’t know much about what was going on backstage during this time in Punk’s career, so a lot of the information was new.  Second, Paul Heyman was involved, and he is great at these interviews.  It suddenly became clear to me why the ECW documentary is so damn good. A big part of it is because of Heyman.  He has a gift for telling stories about what was going on backstage and you are hanging on every word he says.  I’m not going to go into much detail about any of the stories told, but you get a good sense of the frustration Punk and Heyman were both feeling.

WWE CM Punk Triple H

After this, we move into his Money in the Bank victories and runs with the World Heavyweight Title.  I was very curious about this part of the DVD, and they were as open as I was hoping in regards to these title runs.  His first title run in 2008 was pretty meaningless, and you can tell how upset Punk was about this.  The way his run ended also was very disappointing, and this is discussed as well.  The second run in 2009 is given a bit more time, especially to go into detail about his feud with Hardy.  I think this was where Punk became a WWE superstar, and it sounds that way on the documentary as well.  Unfortunately, after this feud, creative struggled to come up with anything else for Punk to do, and this almost caused him to leave the company.

The discussion of his time with the Straight Edge Society makes it clear just how good that faction was, especially when they were feuding with Rey Mysterio.  We hear a very heartfelt story from Joey Mercury about Punk bringing him back to the WWE, something that I didn’t even know occurred.  You could tell that Punk really enjoyed his time with the Straight Edge Society, and the WWE just didn’t really know how to use them.  After this, Punk discusses his frustrations with not being used properly, and we quickly move to the infamous “Pipe Bomb”.  His time as leader of the “New Nexus” is completely skipped, which I think says something about Punk’s thoughts on that gimmick.

WWE CM Punk Champion

The first “Pipe Bomb” speech is played in its entirety in the documentary, and it was awesome to hear about the mood backstage during both this promo and his title win at Money in the Bank.  The documentary actually ends with Punk deciding to re-sign his contract with the WWE following Money in the Bank.  I thought this was a great choice.  It provides a very natural ending to the story, with Punk rejoining the company on his own terms.  Although I would have enjoyed hearing about his feuds with Jericho or Bryan, it didn’t really fit in the overall story, so this was the right choice.

WWE CM Punk Best in the World DVD

The names used for interviews over the course of this documentary was perfect.  There is not a single person interviewed who is only being included because he is a big WWE name.  Everyone used has a relationship with Punk, from his friends in the early days of his career to his friends and opponents in the WWE.  This helps set the tone for the DVD very well.  Everything feels very personal, and there is a lot of passion behind what everything is saying.  We usually don’t see this on WWE DVD’s, so it helps the documentary stand out.  It was great to see WWE reach out to so many outside names as well, from Punk’s childhood friends to an ex-girlfriend to wrestlers like Cabana and Ace Steel.

Overall, the documentary is definitely in the “upper echelon” for WWE documentary.  While I was hoping for some unique film-making due to Punk’s involvement, it’s hard to complain because the documentary fits very well in WWE’s catalog.  One of the biggest benefits (besides the great names being interviewed) is that the DVD is paced very well.  As much as everyone loves the Austin documentary, there are parts of that documentary that definitely drag.  You never feel that here.  Everything moves at a nice speed.  The discussion of Money in the Bank 2011 and re-signing with the WWE probably could have been given a bit more time in the documentary, but this is one of my only major complaints.


“One Nation, Under Punk”: The Bonus Features


The bonus features are all pretty interesting, and are definitely worth watching.  In fact, after watching the bonus features, this led to my other major complaint about the documentary.  A lot of the footage cut and put in the bonus features really should have been included in the documentary.  Some of these include “in-ring style” (a discussion of his wrestling style, where, in an awesome moment, he gives KENTA credit for coming up with the Go 2 Sleep), “first impressions”, and “December to Dismember”.  These are only a couple of the stories that I felt would have made the documentary more well-rounded.  While some of the other bonus features are a bit more slight, they still are interesting, and you should certainly watch them.


“It’s Clobbering Time!” The Bonus Matches

OVW Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals: CM Punk Vs. Brent Albright (OVW, 3/1/06) – ** 3/4

At this point, you can tell Punk is still wrestling an “ROH style”, and Albright was always best in that style as well.  They have very good chemistry, but a strange injury angle hurts the overall flow of the match.

WWE CM Punk Anaconda Vice

CM Punk Vs. Justin Credible (ECW, 8/1/06) – * 1/2

A typical TV match used to introduce a new wrestler.  We do get Punk’s introductory promo before the match, which is a fun inclusion.

ECW Championship Last Chance Match: CM Punk Vs. John Morrison (ECW, 9/4/07) – *** 1/4

An above-average TV match.  Punk and Morrison really clicked, and you can sense that they both are trying to impress the higher-ups backstage with their final contest.

CM Punk Money in the Bank

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: CM Punk Vs. Chris Jericho Vs. Shelton Benjamin Vs. John Morrison vs. Carlito Vs. MVP Vs. Mr. Kennedy (WrestleMania XXIV, 3/30/08) – ****

Money in the Bank is always a great spotfest, but I wish that this particular match could have had a bit more storylining in there as well.  I did enjoy the ending of the match a lot, though.

World Tag Team Championship Match: CM Punk & Kofi Kingston Vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase (Raw, 10/27/08) – ** 1/4

A typical TV tag team match.  All four men are solid, but the match itself is nothing special.

Intercontinental Championship No-Disqualification Match: CM Punk Vs. William Regal (Raw, 1/19/09) – *** 1/2

Like Punk Vs. Morrison, another above-average TV match.  I would have loved to see a match between Punk & Regal where they are given a lot of time.  The chemistry is fantastic, and they could have a great match if given a lot of time.

WWE CM Punk Vs Jeff Hardy

World Heavyweight Championship TLC Match: CM Punk Vs. Jeff Hardy (SummerSlam, 8/23/09) – **** 1/2

The perfect balance between being a spotfest and telling a great story.  I was really impressed with just how strong the storytelling was here.  I’ve always felt that this was the match that “made CM Punk”.

Rey Mysterio Joins SES Vs. CM Punk’s Hair: CM Punk Vs. Rey Mysterio (Over the Limit, 5/23/10) – *** 1/2

A solid match that is really slowed down in the beginning because Punk gets accidentally busted open.  Once the match really starts off, it plays pretty well, even though the finish comes a bit out of nowhere.  The entire post-match segment is included as well.

WWE Championship Match: CM Punk Vs. John Cena (Money in the Bank, 7/17/11) – *****

Truly one of the greatest matches of all time.

WWE CM Punk Vs Jericho

WWE Championship Match: CM Punk Vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XXVIII, 4/1/12) – **** 1/4

A great WrestleMania title match.  I really enjoyed the overall pacing to this match.  The finish meant a whole lot more due to the slow, methodical start to the match.

CM Punk Elbow Drop

WWE Championship Match: CM Punk Vs. Daniel Bryan (Over the Limit, 5/20/12) – **** 1/2

Punk & Bryan have known each other for a long time, and their chemistry is fantastic.  They are able to have a great technical contest while still making the match work for WWE audiences.  Of course, as a long time fan of both, I also enjoyed the little callbacks they included to their indy days.


“Best in the World”: Closing Thoughts

Young CM Punk

As I’ve said a few times now, the expectations for this DVD were pretty astronomical.  Because of this, it’s hard to say just how well the DVD will live up to your expectations.  Yes, the DVD is very, very good, and for me, it just lived up to my expectations.  The documentary has a great feel to it, and I think a lot of this has to do with the choice of the names interviewed.  They all have a close relationship with CM Punk, and it makes this documentary feel more personal than others that the WWE has released.  As far as individual superstar documentaries go, this does just narrowly outrank the Austin DVD as my favorite, but I don’t know that it lives up to the greatness of the Four Horsemen or ECW docs.

CM Punk Wade Barrett

The bonus features helped supplement the main feature really well.  In fact, some of the bonus features felt like essential viewing to help the documentary come full circle.  There are even more bonus stories on the Blu-Ray, and I would imagine that they will add a lot to the documentary as well.  Even though Punk’s career has been relatively short, it’s interesting just how many stories there were for the documentary.  I could have gone for even more bonus stories talking about his pre-WWE career.

CM Punk ROH Farewell

For a lot of fans, the biggest selling point for this DVD will be the footage from IWA-MS and ROH, and this footage is used very well.  I know some people were upset that there weren’t any complete matches included, but I don’t think this would have fit the flow of the bonus matches anyway.  Most of his classic matches in IWA-MS or ROH were pretty long as well.  If you are a fan of both the WWE and independent wrestling, then I think picking up this DVD for the documentary is a no brainer.

The bonus matches are, for the most part, fantastic, and you really see the evolution of Punk in the WWE over the course of the two discs.  While Disc 2 doesn’t have any classic matches, you can see how he is adapting to the WWE style, and none of the matches are bad.  On Disc 3, four of the five matches ranked in at **** 1/4 or higher.  This is definitely an impressive disc, and is one that I could easily see myself going to a lot in the future.  My biggest complaint about this DVD, though, is that there were no bonus promos to go along with the matches.  This, quite frankly, is a huge mistake.  Punk is so well known for this mic skills that they should be represented on here.  Fortunately, the first “Pipe Bomb” is included in full as part of the documentary, but we should have had some other promos included as well.  I would have been OK with sacrificing 1 or 2 bonus matches to allow room for this.

WWE CM Punk Backstage

As expected, this is a no-brainer recommendation.  As a complete package, there really is nothing disappointing on the set.  My only disappointments had to do with there not being enough of a few things.  I watched the entire set very quickly, which is always a good sign as well.  Punk was surprisingly open throughout the documentary, and while you aren’t going to hear him talk about anything particularly private (like his love life) he still is pretty open about how his career has gone.  I’m sure most of you were planning on it already, but you certainly should go out and pick up this DVD.  It is the DVD of the year so far for 2012.

Order it :: Amazon US.   Silver Vision UK.   Shock Australia.

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46 Comments left on this article...

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  1. Randy says:

    I like punk cause me & him are similar. Both guys in school that never really fit in with anyone, we both like listening to the same kind of music, we love wrestling (I never miss an episode of raw).we don’t really get along with our families & we are both straight edge…I was straight edge before I knew that was another way of saying drug/alcohol free.

    Btw, I saw someone ask about the song at the beginning.its called New Day by The Bouncing Souls (thank you soundhound, lol)

  2. emily says:

    this dvd really does deserve a better review becasue it was a life changing exsperiance for me and i really was intrested with him because i am straight edge just like punk and to see what he went through is really depressin. its just like me with my future wwe diva career

  3. Anonymous says:

    This DVD deserved a better review. This review is a disgrace to CM Punk. Brett Mix would have done a much better job.

  4. Simon says:

    I’m one of the few who didn’t really enjoy this really. I’ve never been a CM Punk fan, but with all the buzz around the DVD, I figured I’d give it a watch. However, I found it to be rather thin on the ground and at times, repetitive.

    What I mean by that is in most retrospective documentaries such as these, you get a look back at the featured superstar’s most memorable matches and feuds in their time at WWE. But the problem is, Punk really hasn’t had that many classic matches or feuds – and thus there wasn’t too much to discuss.

    Sure, the main bullet points were hit (and rightly so), but in between those rare highlights, entire months were completely glossed over. His first title reign was even acknowledged as a disaster, and he only got his breakthrough when he threw a couple of tantrums and threatened to quit.

    And that was one of my lasting memories of the programme – the fact that he’s obviously a very talented wrestler, but he only got to where he is now by whining, moaning and complaining. Why I like Steve Austin is because he wasn’t getting the push he wanted, and so took matters into his own hands, buckled down and worked hard, and finally broke through. Punk, on the other hand, gave the impression that all of this was too much hard work, and that he expected Vince McMahon to hand him everything on a platter purely because he was the big fish in a small pond on the indy circuit.

    So instead of a proper look back on his career (which wouldn’t have taken 1 hr 50 mins), we get an extended look at the man behind the character – and this is where I found it to be rather tedious. He made grand gestures for his friends (see: Joey Mercury), but on a day-to-day basis, sounds like an awkward, unfriendly dick. People excuse him for it: “Oh, he’s just like that because he wants to be the best” – but being the best doesn’t mean you can’t have any class. At times, Punk almost seems proud of the fact that he’s rude and uncooperative, which sends a poor message to an impressionable, young audience.

    I admire his ‘straight edge’ stance, but hearing the reasons why – that his father was a Grade A alcoholic – makes me question why he frowns upon even casual, social drinkers. He obviously had a very scarring and unfortunate experience with his father; one that is abnormal for most people. As a consequence of this scarring, he chooses not to drink. But he needs to realise that most people haven’t encountered alcoholism in their childhood, and are able to enjoy a relaxing drink on a Saturday night without going OTT and throwing up in a car at 4pm on a weekday afternoon. So yes, I understand his stance, but to look down at others who do drink – when his circumstances were extraordinary, not the norm – is very patronising and completely detached from reality.

    • D1393 says:

      I have to admit that even though I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary, I have to agree that Punk was at least somewhat callous (verging on the point of bitchy many times). I especially thought that his criticisms of Miz in regards to his main event match at Wrestlemania 27 were capricious and uncalled for (complain earlier in the doc about not being given a chance, complain when someone gets a chance later in the doc). Even with these flaws however the DVD is well worth the price, the doc is still brutally honest about Punk in many respects.

    • guyincognito says:

      you are aware that you are really hardly talking about the documentary at all (but instead about the person behind “CM Punk”?).

      • Simon says:

        Well considering the documentary itself is an insight into the man behind the CM Punk character, I’d say yes, I do realise.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just watched it now and it was kind of a let down it was supposed to be this new style never before done in WWE but it was the same old shit to be honest. It was good but is nothing compared to the Austin Blu Ray or the ECW DVD.

  6. Mike says:

    What would be better the dvd or the blu-ray?

    • Dave says:

      Definitely go for the blu-ray if given a choice between that and the DVD.

      I would rather have better quality and exclusive content than fancy artwork.

    • Joe Israel says:

      I did actually get mostly straight A’s in elementary school… and middle school, and high school, and at one of the top universities in the United States. I’ve been writing in that style under the assumption that some people are only going to read the “closing thoughts” section of the review.

      If people would like me to stop using this style, I’d be happy to make the reviews shorter.

  7. Vincenzzzzzo says:

    Just finished watching CM Punk on RAW tonight. That guy is an awesome heel. He just seems to get better and better every time I see him on TV. In my opinion, CM Punk is now officially a made man in the wrestling industry… no doubt about it….

    Good review. I know this will be the odds on favorite for DVD of the year – what seems like a fantastic documentary along with the perfect matches. I cannot wait to get the Blu-ray.

    • pmdmf says:

      I agree. CM Punk is the first heel that I like, and I don’t normally like heels. I can’t wait to get the blu ray.

    • Joe Israel says:

      To you or anyone else who is a fan of Punk’s heel work: If you haven’t checked out his ROH promos from the “Summer of Punk” era, I highly recommend you pick up the DVD chronicling that storyline from ROH’s site. While there are certainly some amazing matches on there, I think it’s his promo work during that angle that really sets it apart. Some of my favorite promos ever.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve watched some of those interviews before, and they were very good. Haven’t seen alot of them, though. It just seems like Punk is now becoming the complete performer. I like how he interacts with the crowd and makes them part of the show too. He’s getting better and better everyday.

  8. Jake says:

    Been a huge CM Punk fan way before his WWE Days, it’s truly amazing how we all got see Punk grow as a performer and person over the years. This DVD looks to be collector’s gold, I can’t wait too get my copy as everyone is. There’s really no one more honest on the WWE Roster to do a DVD on, Punk is brutally honest (which clearly hurt him a lot in his career). Best in the World looks to be the Best DVD in the world. Thanks for the review and love this site.

  9. Roly says:

    Not a huge Punk fan (he is not in the league of Bryan as an all round performer) but this review has made me very excited for this set. Looking forward to my copy of the BD turning up. Excellent review, thanks.

    • ax3 says:

      nigga u crazy

    • CaptainCrazy says:

      anyone noe where ican find ppvs from 2002 n before for cheap

    • guyincognito says:

      you make it sound like you are not a huge fan of Punk BECAUSE to you Bryan is the better worker. but what does that have to do with anything.

      I like Punk AND Bryan. and even more “shocking”, I like John Cena, too.

    • guyincognito says:

      I think this dvd is amazing. the match selection is great (if you just consider WWE or “WWE-related” promotions) and the documentary is as honest as a still-active competitor could be.

  10. stub says:

    Any signs of any footage from his visit to the WWE warehouse back in march?

  11. fantabulous review man. just want it more now

  12. Anonymous says:

    Does it show The Undertaker attack Punk following his win in the TLC Match vs Hardy? It was cut out of the Best PPV Matches of 2009 DVD

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just like to ask about something you didn’t touch on. Does PG get in the way of language in the documentary? Hopefully not much censoring. Hope someone can tell me what it is like.

  14. pmdmf says:

    The review makes it look interesting. I can’t wait to get the blu ray.

  15. DrFever says:

    This needs to always be the case!!!!!

    all TV matches are complete, and include the portions of the match that took place during commercials

  16. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic review. Really looking forward to picking this one up.

    For those wanting ROH matches, I think ROH has put out 2 Punk compilations pretty recently. Should still be in print. One covers the entire Summer of Punk and the other one the Joe trilogy.

  17. Jeff Copeland says:

    skip zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz cm boring

  18. Brad Attitude says:

    Brock Lesnar – Here Comes the Pain will be the 2012 dvd/bluray for me ..

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is the This Straight Edge Promo from his ROH feud with Raven in the documentary? I ask because there is a picture of it on the review…… I think that’s the greatest promo ever!

    • Daniel Bee says:

      Not sure it’s completely in full, but yes it’s in the documentary and shown for a time. For me personally it’s the first time I’ve seen the promo and it definitely stood out to me.

    • Joe Israel says:

      Unfortunately they don’t include the complete promo, but we do get a solid chunk of this promo and the promo from after he wins the ROH title.

      If anyone is unfamiliar with these promos, it is worth trying to track down the complete versions.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I REEEEEEEALLy want this dvd on cm punk so much. He’s my hero. I love cm punk since 1999. He is the best in the world! He is a true entertainer @ heart. I watch monday nite raw EVERY week & I even record it too! Thank god for cm punk! Did i mention he is also incredibly sexy hot and breath taking. WOW!

  21. mommy says:

    i watched it and it was very solid, never dragged at all

    BUT i agree with the reviewer that it should of had more promos from last summer, the pipe bomb is shown on the doc but what about the other great promos like the contract signing for both MITB and summerslam

    overall solid set and one of the best, but not the best imo

    • Anonymous says:

      I got those on Blu-ray.

      The contract signing with Cena is on the SummerSlam 2011 Blu-ray, and the promos and the contract signing with Triple H is on the Night of Champions 2011 Blu-ray. Granted I imported those two Blu-ray’s from the U.K.

  22. Geolink says:

    Damn as much as I want to read this review I can’t because I want to see it first.

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