By Graham "GSM" Matthews
In this all-new, Next Era Wrestling exclusive column, Graham "GSM" Matthews highlights the heroes of wrestling and what makes them inspirational idols to him and to others. This on-going series will go beyond the squared circle in an attempt to break the fourth wall between a wrestler's character and real-life persona.
The date was July 16, 2010. I was watching Friday Night SmackDown over a friend's house, approximately around midnight or so (I think we spent the night playing video games or something). I remember very little about the show itself except for one segment. That one segment featured the Straightedge Society, led by CM Punk. I had already adopted Punk's straightedge lifestyle many months prior, but I still didn't consider myself a fan of his. That was, however, until this swarming July night.
In said segment, Punk discussed the Money in the Bank Ladder match that was happening that Sunday at the pay-per-view of the same name. It wasn't long before he was interrupted by Big Show, one of the competitors in the upcoming Ladder match. Punk threw insults at Show left and right, even challenging him to do a 450 Splash off the top of a ladder! It was absolutely hysterical, and the first time I actually found Punk's character, who was preaching people to be straightedge more often than not, to be humorous. Little did I know that almost exactly one year later Punk would compete in my favorite match as a wrestling fan to date against John Cena for the WWE Championship.