CM Punk def. WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio (New WWE Champion)

BY RYAN MURPHY November 20, 2011

NEW YORK — The “Entertainment Era” begins now.

Making good on his pledge to beat WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series, CM Punk walked out of New York City’s historic Madison Square Garden with the coveted title around his waist after forcing The Mexican Aristocrat to submit with the Anaconda Vise. Now, The Straight Edge Superstar will have to live up to the second part of his promise — make the WWE Championship interesting again.

If Punk’s choice for his personal ring announcer was any indication, the man definitely knows what the WWE Universe wants. Recruiting WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel to vocally overpower Del Rio’s sniveling manservant Ricardo Rodriguez, Punk immediately thrilled the Garden faithful who fondly remembered hearing The Fink’s booming voice during some of MSG’s most classic moments. But once the excitement of the announcements subsided, it came down to two men fighting it out for one championship.

Hungry for retribution against Del Rio ever since The Mexican Aristocrat used his Money in the Bank briefcase to steal Punk’s WWE Title at SummerSlam, The Straight Edge Superstar was characteristically aggressive from the opening bell. It quickly became apparent, though, that the WWE Champion wasn’t going down easy.

Blistering his opponent with the devastating strikes and submissions holds he’d learned during his brutal years competing in the most dangerous corners of the world, Del Rio let Punk know that just because he was rich didn’t mean he wasn’t vicious.

Still, there wasn’t a single move in the Mexican Superstar’s arsenal that could have stopped WWE’s antihero. Rearranging Del Rio’s good looks with his tattooed fists, Punk beat the aristocrat to the canvas before cinching in an Anaconda Vise that was so unforgiving it may have very well put the champion in the hospital had he not submitted first.

With that, the sold-out Manhattan crowd erupted as Punk leapt into the front row and The Fink emphatically introduced the “Winner of this bout and newwwwwww WWE Champion!” Even the most grizzled WWE fan had to admit it — this was a moment.

Earlier this year, when Punk returned to WWE after leaving the company in controversial fashion, he said he did so because it was the only way he could bring about change. Now that the spotlight is on him, let’s see what The “Voice of the Voiceless” can do.