bill bodkin looks at the best in the world…
The WWE has always had a penchant for creating excellent wrestling documentaries — whether it be on a particular superstar, an out of business yet fondly remembered wrestling promotion or the history of a title, pay-per-view or type of match.
Yet, if you combine all of the WWE’s best doc’s, they still could not hold a candle to CM Punk: The Best in the World.
The DVD perfectly reflects the spirit of the man it’s documenting, a man who’s known for never holding back on stating his opinion, who puts the important people in his life first and who puts his pop cultures loves, no matter how unaccepted and dorky as they may seem, literally on his sleeve.
And that’s what’s so awesome about this DVD. For wrestling fans who’ve been watching CM Punk since his independent days, you’ll be absolutely stoked to see clips from Punk wrestling in IWA: Midsouth and Ring of Honor and JCW against the likes of Chris Hero, Reckless Youth, Colt Cabana, Raven and Samoa Joe. The inclusion of people like Ace Steel and Colt Cabana, two men close to Punk who were released by WWE, as well as Hero (known as NXT wrestler Kassius Ohno) and former ECW/OVW guru Paul Heyman really bolster the quality of the DVD. These are two guys who know Punk better than most and their commentary and insight on the tattooed superstar only adds to the truth and accurateness of the documentary. And unlike a lot of other superstar documentaries, Punk’s independent days are examined in great detail. They even have Punk return to the old Ring of Honor wrestling school he ran to talk about his run in that company. Usually things like this are usually glossed over or told in much quicker fashion in other superstar DVDs.
One of the best commentators on the DVD is actually a non-wrestler, Lars Frederiksen, the guitarist of the punk band Rancid. As a longtime best friend of Punk’s and a lifelong wrestling fan, it’s really great to get his insight not only on Punk the man, but the wrestling industry itself. And surprisingly, “company men” like Michael Hayes, Triple-H and even John Cena are completely honest and forthright about their feelings on Punk with both Hayes and Cena admitting to dismissing the thought of Punk being special.
Also, the inclusion of Joey Mercury, who was best known for his run in the tag team MNM with John Morrison, added a great human element to Punk’s story. Most will probably forget Mercury was Punk’s Straight Edge Society, but the behind-the-scenes stories Mercury shares about how Punk helped him out of a financial, spiritual and emotional hell, is near tear-inducing.
However, what drives the DVD is the cult of personality that is CM Punk. His brutal honesty ranging from his relationship or lack thereof with his biological family or his frustrations with his role within the WWE, you become enthralled with every word he says. His honest, love me or hate me approach to his life, is something you don’t often see in these DVD’s. Usually a nice, rosy picture is painted; but here Punk often says he’s not an easy guy to get along with or he’s not a likeable guy. Yet, even saying these things, you still want to here his story. It’s just one of those Rocky-type stories spiked with a true spirit of DIY punk rock hustle.
And while this all may sound way too serious, we’re also treated to the lighter side of Punk, watching him geek out at comic book conventions or wax poetic about tattoos, which are a major part of his persona.
In terms of the matches on the DVD, it’s a collection of his greatest hits in the WWE. One of the true nuggets on the disc is his OVW title match with Brent Albright. His ECW debut against Justin Credible is also a fun watch. The rest are what you’d expect — his work in Money in the Bank, against Cena, Morrison, Edge, Jeff Hardy and the like.
This DVD is an absolute must-own. It’s engrossing, engaging and most importantly entertaining. It tells a great story, is shot in an absolutely cinematically beautiful way and is crafted perfectly. This is DVD is on par with an ESPN E60 doc or an HBO Sports doc, it’s that good. In fact, it’s the best.