Punk won multiple world championships during his 15-year wrestling career: including the ROH World Championship and ECW Championship once each, WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship three times, and the WWE Championship twice. He won the World Tag Team Championship (with Kofi Kingston) and the Intercontinental Championship, making him the 19th WWE Triple Crown Champion and the fastest man in WWE history to achieve this feat, in 203 days. He was a two-time ROH Tag Team Champion (with Colt Cabana as part of The Second City Saints). Punk also won the 2008 and 2009 Money in the Bank ladder matches (the only wrestler to win the match twice), and the 2011 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award in WWE.
Punk initially came to prominence through his career on the American independent circuit, primarily as a member of the Ring of Honor (ROH) roster, where he was also the first head trainer of the ROH wrestling school. Along with Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins, Punk is one of three men to hold both the WWE and ROH World championships. In 2005, he signed a contract with WWE and was sent to its developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he won every championship available in that promotion. In June 2006, Punk made his WWE television debut, performing in ECW, which was then a branch of WWE. In 2011 he rose to stardom and became a fan favorite on the main WWE roster, remaining a company fixture until his acrimonious departure in 2014. Despite his prominence within the company, Punk was never selected to headline WWE’s premier annual pay-per-view event, WrestleMania, which became a source of professional dissatisfaction.
Throughout his career, Punk consistently portrayed the character of an outspoken, sharp-tongued, anti-establishment, straight edge iconoclast. His straight edge principles and outspokenness were based on his actual demeanor and way of life when out of character. Depending on his alignment as a hero or villain, he emphasized different aspects of the straight edge culture to garner the desired audience reaction. He also trained several wrestlers.
Following his retirement from professional wrestling, Punk signed a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and began to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.
Brooks was born in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in nearby Lockport, Illinois. He was one of five children; his father was an engineer and his mother was a stay-at-home mom. He attended Lockport Township High School .
Punk’s first venture into wrestling was a stint in a backyard wrestling federation called the Lunatic Wrestling Federation with his friends and brother Mike Brooks in the mid-late 1990s. He first started using the ring name CM Punk when he was put into a tag team named the Chick Magnets with CM Venom after another performer skipped out on the card. Unlike his friends, Punk genuinely wanted to be a wrestler and saw it as more than simple fun. When the promotion started taking off, doing spot shows out of a warehouse in Mokena, Illinois, Punk found out that his brother Mike had embezzled thousands of dollars from the small company, causing them to become estranged. They have not spoken since.
He soon left the federation and enrolled as a student at the “Steel Dominion” wrestling school in Chicago, where he was trained by Ace Steel, Danny Dominion and Kevin Quinn to become a professional wrestler. As part of the training, he wrestled at Steel Domain Wrestling in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was in the Steel Domain that he met Scott Colton, who soon adopted the stage name Colt Cabana. Punk and Cabana became best friends and spent most of their early career together working in the same independent circuit promotions, as opponents or allies. In the independents, along with fellow Steel Domain graduates Colt Cabana, Chuckee Smooth, Adam Pearce, and manager Dave Prazak, Punk formed an alliance named the Gold Bond Mafia.
Punk wrote the introduction for the hardcover edition of Marvel Comics’ 2012 crossover event Avengers vs. X-Men, and described the opportunity as a “geek dream come true”.
In 2013, Punk wrote a foreword for his friend and ex-girlfriend Natalie Slater’s cookbook Bake and Destroy: Good Foods for Bad Vegans.
In February 2015, Marvel Comics’ Thor Annual #1, partly written by Punk, was released. Punk co-wrote “The Most Cursed”, which appeared in Vertigo Comics’ Strange Sports Stories #3 in May 2015. Punk is also co-writing Marvel Comics’ upcoming Drax ongoing series, set for release in late 2015.
Brooks is an atheist. He is an avid fan of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Chicago Cubs. In his spare time, he reads and collects comics. He once worked for a shop named All American Comics, and cites Preacher as his favorite comic. He is close friends with professional wrestlers Colt Cabana (whom he met when he trained at Steel Domain Wrestling) and Cliff Compton, as well as Rancid vocalist Lars Frederiksen.
Brooks married April “AJ Lee” Mendez on June 13, 2014.
On February 19, 2015, Christopher M. Amann, the WWE doctor who Brooks claimed misdiagnosed his staph infection and mistreated his concussion, filed a lawsuit against Brooks and Scott Colton (Colt Cabana) for defamation and invasion of privacy. He is seeking $1 million in compensation from each defendant and an undisclosed amount in punitive damages. WWE issued a statement and video in support of Amann, claiming that Brooks had never informed anyone at WWE of his staph infection.