I attended the CM Punk: Best in the World DVD Screening at the Portage Theater in Chicago last night, and it was a great time for everyone involved.
I was in line for a few hours prior with hundreds of other fans, and earlier in the day, Punk bought pizza for the loyal fans waiting in line outside the theater. Awesome stuff right there. The show was scheduled to begin at 7, with doors to the theater opening at 5:30. We proceeded inside, received our wristbands, and it was first come, first serve seating with the exception of the reserved seating for Punk's friends/family/media in the middle of the venue. Concessions were being sold just as it was a regular show night, as well. The curtains opened as they played some WWE video packages as you would see at live shows, with trivia about Punk in between the packages. Pretty cool stuff as the crowd would roar when they showed the correct answer.
Fans continued to file in as 7 PM approached, along with many of Punk's family and friends. I sat to the right of the stage, only a few rows back from the front. They had WWE banners draped across the stage, as well.
The festivities began with Marty DeRosa, a comedian, and friend of Punk, coming down the aisle and onto the stage to warm up the crowd, to only then introduce Lita! Lita came down to a big ovation, spoke for a moment, then introduced Cliff Compton (Domino of WWE fame). Compton climbed onto one of the chairs and posed with the crowd, and was really excited to be apart of this big night. Compton then introduced Colt Cabana, who requested the loudest Colt Cabana chant ever as he walked to the stage. Cabana delivered some kind words and thanked everyone for coming out, and then introduced his best friend, the man of the hour, CM Punk. Punk was followed by a WWE camera crew as they seem to document him for a majority of the night. Punk got on stage and admitted he forgot most of his intro but it was pretty surreal for him to be in this situation watching his own story inside a movie theater filled with fans and people who are close to him. Without further ado, they all embraced and exited the stage to allow the movie to begin, but low and behold, a clip of HHH's "Inside Out" was shown on the screen as the crowd booed, and Punk ran back up and screamed "Wrong clip, wrong clip!" Pretty funny moment. Punk said last July he promised everyone 2 things, "ice cream bars...and CM Punk: The Movie, so here's CM Punk: The Movie." Punk once again exited the stage, and the actual movie began to play.
Punk sat down a few rows back in the middle/reserved section. Punk sat down next to Lita, Cabana, Compton, and DeRosa. Also, sitting a row in front of in the Punk in the "reserved" section was Frank the WWE Clown, Punk's sisters and brother, Punk's mom, Natalie Slater (Bake and Destroy), Jill Thompson, Armando Estrada, and other friends/family of the WWE Champion. It was a who's who of Chicago and the wrestling scene.
I won't divulge into much details of the movie itself, but it is hands down one of the best DVD's, if not THE best WWE produced DVD. Punk and his section of friends were laughing, and making jokes amongst themselves the entire duration of the show. The atmosphere was unlike anything I've ever been a part of before. The fans would roar at any appearance on screen (except John Cena who was unanimously booed), and they gave a standing ovation after the film was over, which Punk seemed to be genuinely moved by.
Punk walked back up to the stage, and announced he had bought over $800 worth of cookies and milk for everyone to enjoy. Andy Kaufman-esque! The cookies were passed out by some of Punk's friends/family and had a big red X in frosting on top of them. Punk answered fan's questions for about 20-30 minutes as everyone enjoyed their cookies, and remained in their seats. Punk wrapped things up by thanking everyone for coming out, he hoped everyone had a good time, and that they didn't have to "go home, but they had to get the hell up out of here." The fans filed out as Punk's people stayed back inside the closed theater.
All in all, a great night for everyone involved. I'd say there were at the very least 600 people or so inside the arena, although it was hard to tell because many people rolled in late. Really cool to see a WWE star do something like this for the fans, and I'm sure there will be clips shown on RAW on Monday or on WWE.com. I strongly suggest you go out and purchase the DVD next week. Great story, and you can tell its something Punk is very proud of.
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