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Happy anniversary to a high point of my adult wrestling fandom

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Nine years ago today, CM Punk defeated John Cena at Money in the Bank and left Allstate Arena with the WWE championship. This was weeks after the Pipe Bomb shook up the wrestling world, turned Punk into arguably the hottest act WWE’d had since the Attitude Era, and convinced a lot of lapsed fans to start watching Raw again.

Punk would celebrate with the belt in his beloved Chicago that night, crashed San Diego Comic-Con the following week, and we really weren’t sure if he’d be back. WWE spent the July 25 episode of Raw crowning an “official” champ... and immediately started screwing up their Summer of Punk by having him return to confront Cena at the end of the night.

Which is why I say Money in the Bank 2011 is a high point of my adult wrestling fandom. There have been plenty of other great moments since - including one which has its roots at the same show, since Daniel Bryan winning the briefcase leads to his first World Heavyweight title run, during which he starts doing the “YES!” chant to get heat, and you know where that took us.

But it often feels like things have generally been regressing since July 17, 2011. And I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment. Look at either tangible metrics like television ratings & WWE Network subscriptions, or anecdotal data like how many people you know that came back because of the Pipe Bomb and Punk & Cena’s classic in Chicagoloand who’ve since drifted away again.

Let’s worry about that later though. For now, just listen to that pop when the referee counts three, and the sustained roar after Punk blows Vince McMahon a goodbye kiss and heads off into the crowd.

I miss that. We’ll get back there. Maybe it’ll last next time. Maybe it won’t.

It’ll be great either way.

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