When I bought this DVD, CM Punk had recently debuted for WWE's ECW brand, and I hadn't really gotten what all the hype surrounding him was about.
This was produced by Big Vision Entertainment, who have done great jobs on the “Hardcore Homecoming” and “Forever Hardcore” discs, not to mention the “Ultimate Insiders” shoot interview series.
This production focuses on Punk’s 2004 matches in Full Impact Pro, a tiny independent league operating out of sparsely-attended convention centers and nightclubs in Florida.While some of Punk’s opponents such as Justin Credible and Homicide are certainly capable of putting together decent matches, most of the action is... well, boring.
Part of it is the crowd; it’s hard to pull off an enthusiastic effort in front of a few dozen fans. You can often hear Punk talking mid-match (and even back then, he was a great talker) because the crowd is so dead. Really, most of the matches look like a glorified sparring session and didn’t hold my interest.
The one exception to this was a falls count anywhere match with Homicide that spills out into an actual strip club! The reaction of the drunken frat boys congratulating the combatants after the match is priceless.
But the bonus features are where the real sizzle is. They show two decent matches from Ring of Honor, against Brian Danielson and then against James “Jamie Noble” Gibson (where the rabid crowd reactions make all the difference), and a long package of highlights from Punk’s tenure in IWA Mid-South Wrestling (a promotion I’d never seen matches from before, but might have to start searching for). We’re treated to brief clips from Punk’s matches against Chris Hero, A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana and a hilarious wrestler named Delirious. Oh, yeah, and there’s A TRIPLE THREAT MATCH INVOLVING CM PUNK, EDDIE GUERRERO AND REY MYSTERIO.
I put that last part in all-caps because I wonder (a) why the F*CK wouldn’t Big Vision advertise this fact on the front F*CKING cover? It isn’t even mentioned in the F*CKING match listing inside! And (b) why the F*CK would you only show clips of that match instead of the entire thing?
Look, I understand that the people behind this DVD are trying to capitalize on Punk’s cult following. That’s fine. But when you’re able to take that one step further by tying him in with two of the most popular wrestlers of the modern era… DO IT!!!
Unless you’re a C.M. Punk completist or enjoy watching matches that spill out into strip clubs, you can skip the main program and enjoy the bonuses instead. The lack of mat classics here and the fact you have to really search for the good stuff made it hard for me to give this a catch-all recommendation.