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On June 24, 2006, Punk made his WWE television debut, performing in ECW, which was then a branch of WWE.Throughout his career, Punk has consistently used the gimmick of being an outspoken, sharp-tongued, and straight edge iconoclast.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, Punk, along with fellow Steel Domain graduates Colt Cabana, Chuckee Smooth, Adam Pearce and manager Dave Prazak, formed an alliance named the Gold Bond Mafia.From February 2003 until May 2004, Punk refused to wrestle for IWA: Mid-South, because he claims that this was in protest to Ian Rotten's mistreatment of Chris Hero in the company.
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.
Eventually Punk returned to IWA: Mid-South and continued to perform as a wrestler and commentator for them until 2005 when he was signed to World Wrestling Entertainment.
His last appearance in IWA: Mid-South was on July 2, 2005 in which he competed in a 60-minute time limit draw against Delirious.
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. 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. It was in the Steel Domain that he met Scott Colton, who soon adopted the stage name Colt Cabana.