CM Punk had long been the most over, popular, and passionately supported superstar in all of WWE's rebooted ECW brand by the time 4 September 2007 arrived. He had come close to acquiring the brand's top championship several times but had fallen just short, never truly having the full backing of Vince McMahon and other key members of WWE's creative team.
On that Tuesday night, everything changed.
After months of feuding with John Morrison over the prize, Punk finally blasted Morrison with the Go-To-Sleep and pinned his shoulders to the mat, earning his first championship in the promotion. He used that title win to build momentum for himself and, by the following June, attained his first World Championship on the Raw brand.
A decade after the win, it is easy to look back at it as the moment McMahon and Company put their seal of approval on the Second City Saint, but it is just as easy to see that it took far too long to get on board with Punk.
Management did it begrudgingly - and only after originals such as Rob Van Dam and Sabu failed and hand-picked golden boys like Morrison and Lashley either ran their course or moved on. The same can be said of the major push that came four years later...but that is a story for another time.
Erik Beaston is a freelance pro wrestling writer who likes long walks in the park, dandelions and has not quite figured out that this introduction is not for Match.com. He resides in Parts Unknown, where he hosts weekly cookouts with Kane, The Ultimate Warrior, Papa Shango and The Boogeyman. Be jealous.